Contingent Workers

We used to call them “temps”. Some were remote workers. They didn’t usually have very glamorous jobs. They used to do things like maintain “legacy” systems. All this is changing; and it is being pushed by both the companies and the workers.


Railroads in Ogdensburg, New York

I read on a railroad forum that the steel for the Ogdensburg-Prescott bridge across the St. Lawrence River was shipped on the New York Central Railroad. Instead of continuing on the Central’s branch from DeKalk Junction to Ogdensburg, it instead went to Norwood and did the last few miles to Ogdensburg on the Rutland Railroad. Another member surmised that the bridge was being built on the east side of the river in Ogdensburg while the NY Central line terminated on the west side.

Now a more knowledgeable person on the forum responded.


At the time, there were only two bridges across the Oswegatchie River, Lafayette St and Lake St. Lafayette at the time could not support heavy loads. Lake Street could support traffic as State Route 37 used this bridge. But… people in Ogdensburg weren’t very pro-New York Central.

Ogdensburg is where the Northern Railroad, which became the Ogdensburg Railroad, then Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain, was founded. It was financed mostly by businesses from the Ogdensburg area. Even in the

1950’s, many were pro-Rutland and the town administration would not allow the bridge pieces to cross the Lake Street Bridge. So they had to be routed through Norwood and over to the port.

Now the “wanne be expert” and the “real expert” got into a great discussion:

WANNABE: Thanks for correcting me on why the movement was over the Rutland. I was never clear on how Rutland and NY Central connected/interchanged. Have a picture of NY Central station and I think that was on the West side of the river. Did it serve both the line from Watertown and the line from DeKalk?

EXPERT: The NYC Station in Ogdensburg was located south of the ferry dock on the west side of the Oswegatchie River where it joins the St. Lawrence. The NYC Line from Dekalb Jct to Ogdensburg then continued west along the St. Lawrence River to Morristown, across from Brockville Ontario. The station was torn down in the early 1990’s I believe, while the freight house is still there, it is now a restaurant. Good food there too. All of this a block or two north of Claxton-Hepburn Hospital.

WANNABE: Where was the Rutland station?

EXPERT: The Rutland station was at the end of the yard, Patterson Street. This is now the main entrance of the OBPA Port Facilities.

WANNABE: I was relying on a memory from 50 years ago. Besides, in those days, my trips to Ogdensburg (from Canton) were primarily seeing student nurses from the State Hospital.

EXPERT: The State Hospital still exists.

WANNABE: So who owned what in “The Berg”? Who owned the bridges? How much interchange was there?

EXPERT: The road bridges? The bridge across the Oswegatchie called Lake Street was owned by the City. That was until it was demolished and replaced this summer. As for interchange, there was coal interchange between CP and the NYC via the ferry. I believe that the old Silk trains used to ferry cars across the St. Lawrence too. The Rutland had many shippers that dealt with at the port, however there was no direct interchange between the

NYC and the Rutland. There may have been passenger interchange when passenger service was still there as I believe the street car that was in Ogdensburg did serve both stations.

WANNABE: I got hung up looking for a Rutland Route 67 grade crossing (road from Canton), but realize the crossing was on route 37.

EXPERT: Route 37 crossed the Rutland’s spur to the State Mental Hospital east of Ogdensburg. Before the Route 37 bypass opened, Route 37 (Proctor Ave) crossed over the Rutland. After the bypass opened, the Rutland line has a crossing just west of the 37/812 junction. The NYC line crossed Route 37 near the station before all of the downtown “renewal” that occurred, and went under the Route 37 where the road crossed both the NYC line and the Oswegatchie River a mile south of the station area.

The former NYC line from Lake Street south to Heuvelton is now called the Maple City Trail and is a nice walking trail until you are south of the Route 37 bridge. Concrete mile post markers and whistle posts are still in place. The area is “rough” so I wouldn’t walk it in the evenings.

DeKalb to Ogdensburg branch: By 1956, there was only one passenger run a day left. It was gone by 1961.The paper mill at Ogdensburg struggled on until about 1985, when it closed for good. The road shut down operations, since there was no other business. After about a year, the track was removed. March 1987 seems about right as the date of abandonment. So what does USA do for paper these days? Import paper from China?

DeKalb to Ogdensburg branch started on the West side of the river in Ogdensburg. It went South through Heuvelton and Rensselaer Falls to DeKalb Junction. At DeKalb Junction, it met the old New York Central (now CSX) rail line from Watertown to Massena. In Ogdensburg, a former New York Central branch ran Southwest along the St Lawrence River to Watertown. This branch crossed the river and met the Rutland rail line that ran to Rouses Point. Now this line goes to Norwood where it meets CSX. It is owned by the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority that also owns the international bridge that replaced the car ferries.

Prescott – Ogdensburg car ferry: It was first started by the Grand Trunk Railway, then the St. Lawrence & Ottawa Railway took it over, then CPR got a hold of it and created a subsidiary company to operate it until it was discontinued. With predecessors it operated to Prescott, Ontario, from the mid 1860s through Sept 1970. In conjunction with the Canadian Pacific Railway from 1930-1970 the joint operation used the tug ‘Prescotont’ and the car barge, ‘Ogdensburg.’ It should be noted that the company also operated the car ferry between Brockville and Morristown.

See some maps of the Ogdensburg area

Picture below was the New York Central Railroad station in Ogdensburg

Selecting SCM Systems

In a recent article Supply Chain Management as a Service (SCMaaS), a couple of interesting comments came up: (1) are there end-to-end applications available or just the sort of point solutions you’ve listed? Based on your broad definition of the supply chain, it would almost seem that a broad solution would be a cloud-based ERP; (2) are there vendors that focus on the planning side? The vendors you describe seem to be on the execution part of the process.

On another recent project (Wholesale Distributors; Do They Use ERP or CRM?), I found  software that was advertised as addressing “Wholesale Distribution Software”.

Back to basics. Just what is a Supply Chain Management System?

Misconceptions About Cloud Computing

Most of us are in the “supply chain” somewhere (logistics, EDI, procurement, da de da) but we keep learning and see that Cloud computing is great for us. But we keep seeing all kind of things that warn us about the Cloud, tell us of dangers in the Cloud and make us concerned if we are going in the right direction. Is it real or is it just our IT people concerned about their status quo? You know: huge rooms full of servers, rows and rows of cubicles full of administrators. I am going to sift through a whole basket of stories on the Cloud that relate to Supply Chain Management. I will try and pick the best.

Transcontinenal Railroads, Chinese High Speed Rail, California High Speed Rail and the 2nd Avenue Subway in New York City

What is wrong with this picture? NOTHING! It is an example of something getting done.

The US Transcontinental Railroad was built between 1863 and 1869. Lincoln didn’t say “Let’s study it”, he said “Let’s build it”. In building the Transcontinental Railroad. What if THEY had to follow current environmental, employment, etc laws? What if they got sued by every town for either going through it, or not going throuh it.

I saw a good article about how the Chinese built their high speed rail system. Picture showed a bunch of nice condos underneath a viaduct. The owners did not know what was coming until a Red Army construction battalion showed up one morning. And they talk about the Chinese corruption. Understand the Transcontinental Railroad was pretty crooked too?

In 2008, President Obama said he was going to build high speed rail. See any of it? California is the worst example. They have spent billions of dollars on study and planning. Maybe by the Year 2020 they will have a few miles of track running from nowhere to the middle of nowhere.

Another example of rail construction is the Second Avenue Subway in NY City. The need for one arose in the late 1930’s when they scrapped the elevated railway to sell scrap metal to Japan. Actually, it is a very complicated story . The Third Avenue elevated lasted until 1955, wiuth a “promise” to build a new subway. It left the East Side of New York with poor transportation and pushed an unreal number of riders onto the Lexington Avenue Subway. Plans for a Second Avenue subway existed as early as 1929 (but never any money). There was some construction in the 1970’s that was halted for “lack of money” in 1975. 20 years later, in 1995, it was realized that the need for the subway was worse. But instead of treating it as a revival of an old project, it was treated as a new project with years of studies and deal making, until work finally resumed in 2007. 12 years is a long time to jump start something that had already been started. Plus, it can be asked why it took 20 years to get back to this. Finally, it hasn’t helped to get this done that money from the 1951 and 1967 bond issues that should have been committed to this was gone and it was considered appropriate to issue a third bond for the same project when taxpayers are still paying on the first two.

Groundbreaking for the original IRT Subway in NY City was in March of 1900. In October, 1904, trains were running between the original City Hall Station and West 145th Street. It was like this: build the thing, put up a sign, collect money.

Why do we have such a problems doing what we once did and an “underdeveloped” country can still do: (1) existing infrastructure; (2) labor unions – labor was cheaper a century ago and nowadays we care about frivolous issues such as “vacation time” and “health care”; (3) OSHA; (4) environmental concerns. While construction techniques have become more simplified and affordable, the political needs for a massive capital construction project has become significantly more complex.

Maybe Robert Moses could have built it?

Cool Moves to the Cloud, Social Networking, and Colloborative SCM

Wow!  Every time I read the news or even order a new bread machine I run into yet another instance of cool technology. Automaker Mercedes-Benz is now a Cloud provider and is working at bringing social networking to cars. Pfizer Pharmaceuticals has gone to the Cloud in a big way and brought their suppliers along with them. Kiala, a French package delivery company, is taking advantage of the scalability of Cloud processing. Now on to the news.

GM Plant in Massena, NY

General Motors (Central Foundry Division / Power Train Group) site in Massena, NY. The facility operated as an aluminum diecasting plant from 1959 to May 2009. The plant made aluminum casings for various under-the-hood car parts (engines, transmissions and cylinder heads). It was located on Chevrolet Road aka Chevrolet Drive (not adjacent to either of the two ALCOA plants, one a former Reynolds plant). There were no other GM facilities in Massena. It was about the only GM facility between Tarrytown and Boisbriand/Ste-Therese (North of Montreal). The site is claimed to be a “highly-polluted” and EPA is supplying $$$ to clean it up. Little does EPA know that it is GM policy to make sure no competitor ever gets to use it again.

The old Reynolds plant only existed to service the GM plant, and that’s never coming back. Actually, it’s a miracle that GM kept the Massena facility through five decades of failed products. After all, Massena built engine components for the Corvair, then the disastrous Vega and finally the Saturn and other slow selling small cars.

MASSENA TERMINAL RAILWAY (MSTR) is a terminal switching railroad that was incorporated in 1900 and located in Massena, New York. The MSTR interchanges with the CSXT at Massena, NY. Services provided to existing customers along the MSTR’s 4 miles of track line include intraplant switching, track maintenance, car weighing. NOTE: the GM plant was served directly by NY Central, PC, CONRAIL and CSX.

See story by Ryan Morden


GM Plant in Massena

Le train vapeur

In southern France on the Cote de Azur, the GECP runs “Train Pignes” steam on a portion of the metric gauge track from  Nice – Digne-les-Bains, operated regularly by the Railways Provence.

You also come to find the simple joys of travel of yesteryear in old cars towed by an authentic steam locomotive, historical monument, which will take you through the colorful landscapes of the hinterland of Nice and Provence, olive trees to chestnut. Restored and maintained by an association composed exclusively of volunteers, the steam train runs on Sundays each year from May to October.

How did the United States loose the Ryder Cup

Ryder Cup

Simple: Ian Poulter , Rory McIlroy, Nicolas Colsaerts, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer

They were a real power house.

Golf is not thought of as a team sport, but this event of the exception. So like other team sports in the US, many people blame the coach. Personally, I admire him for benching Tiger Woods

One thought was he had too many aging stars going up against a more youthful team.