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Home / News & Reviews / News Wire / Watco to create new short line in upstate New York NEWSWIRE

Watco to create new short line in upstate New York NEWSWIRE

By Dan Kittay | November 13, 2018

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Norfolk Southern will lease its Ithaca Secondary line to Watco Companies, which has said in regulatory filings that it will create the Ithaca Central Railroad short line.
TRAINS: Rick Johnson/Steve Sweeney
ALBANY, N.Y. — Watco Companies has filed for permission to lease track from Norfolk Southern and operate a new Class III railroad in New York and Pennsylvania. The new line would be called the Ithaca Central Railroad.

Pittsburg, Kan.-based Watco wants to lease NS track running from Sayre, Pa., to Lansing, N.Y., about 48.8 miles. The shortline holding company, according to its Nov. 8 filing with the Surface Transportation Board, controls 38 Class III railroads and one Class II line. Short line officials say in their filing that they anticipate no increase in revenue or traffic that would require it to become a Class II or I railroad.

The line is known as the Ithaca Secondary, says NS representative Jon Glass. The lease agreement has been completed and is awaiting STB approval, Glass says. The STB has yet to post its decision as of Tuesday morning.

NS was interested in having someone take over the line, says Tracie VanBecelaere, Watco communications director. The two companies “have partnered on other successful lines,” VanBecelaere says.

There are currently four customers, shipping salt, coal, plastics, and magnesium chloride, she says. The Class 2 track will initially be served by two SD40 locomotives.

“Typically, we work with short lines in cases where the short line is able to focus on generating local business and serving local customers, and when it makes sense from an efficiency or cost-effective standpoint,” Glass says.

CORRECTION: The Ithaca Central Railroad will maintain tracks for the new service. An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that Norfolk Southern would continue maintaining tracks. Nov. 16, 2018, 8:47 a.m. Central time.

8 thoughts on “Watco to create new short line in upstate New York NEWSWIRE

  1. And now there will be 4 railroads running the (basically contiguous) LV main line. Does that make sense? . . .

  2. There is something interesting in this lease as reported in this article: it sounds like NS is doing the track maintenance – and paying for it. Is that accurate? And what is the reasoning here?

  3. Correct, the power plant in Lake Ridge is mothballed. The lease does seem to cover that Milliken Industrial Track, maybe it will be used for refitting as gas-powered or for moving pieces from demolition/decomissioning.

    The part from Sayre to the Clinton St. yards is indeed the passenger main, but from MP 306 north it is the ex-Cayuga Lake Railroad to Cayuga Bridge (1873) and Auburn, cut back in 1950 to Ludlowville and re-extended to Lake Ridge when the power plant was built in 1954.

    And it does make sense as a separate railroad, in that much of the traffic is interchanged with NS at the Sayre-Waverly NY connector and does not continue down the Lehigh Railway towards Wilks-Barre.

    All in all this is a good outcome, once the power plant no longer received unit coal trains there was no reason for NS to keep it, and a short line will give more attention to building new local traffic.

  4. still wondering when a passenger service will start up from Scranton PA. to either Penn Station or to Hoboken NJ. always talk about it but nothing happens the tracks are their , between Norforlk & Southern and the Delaware Lackawanna railroad they could run a passenger service that I believe will be a success mainly because it cost an arm and leg to park a car in Manhattan plus all the tolls , they could run specials for the train ticket and Broadway shows plus other sights to visit while in the city!

  5. Also a connection from Binghamton sourth to Scranton or north Schenectady and Albany NY. might actually work well. their is no north south passenger service right now

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