ABANDONMENT BY ANY OTHER NAME is . . .
With all the line sales and abandonments going on throughout the railroad industry, it's sometimes easy to forget that shippers want nothing more than an assurance of continued quality service. A Maine case is a good example.Canadian-owned CP Rail has filed a motion with the Interstate Commerce
Commission to terminate Canadian National Railway's claims to trackage rights over Guilford Transportation Inc. lines in the state of Maine.
CP claims that because CN didn't ask for trackage rights over the Boston & Maine and Maine Central railroads when Guilford acquired the two roads in 1983, CN wasn't entitled to ask for the rights later.
Earlier this year CN threatened to abandon its 165-mile Grand Trunk Eastern division, mostly in Maine. Subsequently, in September it agreed to sell the line to Emons Holding Co., which also owns the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad, but the request for trackage rights is still pending.
CP took its action even though Maine transportation officials believe that CN will relinquish those claims once the sale of GTE goes through.
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SHIPPERS ARE CROWING over better truck service in north central Kentucky.
New transplants to the region have brought infusions of new trucking blood, says a source at Crucible Materials Corp. of Elizabethtown, Ky. Crucible, maker of industrial magnets, is primarily a less-than-truckload shipper, the traffic manager says.
This means carriers can't take shippers for granted, says a distribution official at Mid-America Warehouse & Distribution Center Inc. in Elizabethtown.
Mid-America, a public warehouse company, owns three facilities totaling 168,000 square feet. The facilities house Dow Corning Corp. products manufactured at Dow sites in Carrollton, Ky., and Greensboro, N.C.
New truck service also created an array of alternatives for shippers, says a transportation manager at the Elizabethtown plant of Alcatel Inc., which produces telecommunications cables.
Those alternatives prompted Alcatel to pull the plug on its in-house fleet this week, the manager says. The fleet wasn't cost-efficient on shipments to the Northeast because of freight imbalances, he says. The corridor is vital to Alcatel because cable sales to New York's Nynex Co. represent 8 percent of its volume.
Elizabethtown, 45 miles south of Louisville, Ky., became host to three new shippers this year.
The town now boasts Ambrake Corp., makers of auto brakes, which began operations in March. Ambrake is a joint venture between General Motors Corp. and Akebono Brake Industries Ltd. of Tokyo.
Two other Elizabethtown newcomers are Cytech Products Inc., and AP Technoglass, owned by Asahi Inc. of Japan. Cytech is finishing tests of its chemical agent production equipment while AP plans to start up its automobile windshield-making operations in February.
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K LINE IS THE LATEST OCEAN CARRIER to opt for its own intermodal yard.
After two years of construction and wrangling with local officials, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. has a new 55-acre intermodal facility in Elizabeth, N.J., just south of the Port of Elizabeth.
For K Line, the move amounts to a defection from Conrail's Croxton intermodal yard in Jersey City, N.J., about 10 miles north.
Starting today, the yard handles K Line's twice-weekly inbound stack
trains from Long Beach, Calif., and Tacoma, Wash., and makes up its thrice- weekly outbound trains. The outbound trains consist of cars destined for both West Coast ports, which are sorted in Chicago.
K Line's new terminal boasts four 10-stack car tracks, according to sources. It's operated by Pacific Rail Services, a unit of International Transportation Services, itself a subsidiary of K Line.
K Line says the yard will remain a dedicated facility, but a terminal official believes the ocean carrier will open it up to competitors sometime next year.
And the threat of competition is compelling Conrail into pre-emptive action. The rail carrier plans to do major work at its 200-acre Croxton yard, according to a Conrail official.
The work will mostly involve fine-tuning operations with state-of-the-art equipment, he says.
Croxton has capacity to unload 47 stack cars simultaneously, store 44 more on dedicated tracks, 30 others on miscellaneous tracks and park 3,250 trailers, he says.