Our Short Line Railroad Collection

So what is a “SHORT LINE”?
As defined by the Surface Transportation Board, a Class III is a railroad with an annual operating revenue of less than $28 million. In Canada, Transport Canada classifies short line railroads as Class II. … Handling shortlines exist only to move cars along their tracks for larger railroads.

We have a major WebSite called Short Line Railroads

Lets discuss some of the more unusual “short line railroads.

The Buckingham Branch has 6 interchanges with Class I Railroads. Three interchanges each with CSX and Norfolk Southern give our customers freight connections to anywhere in North America and to the Port of Virginia. With connection alternatives to both CSX and Norfolk Southern our customers also are assured of the most competitive freight rates and the best freight schedules.

The station in Troy was owned by the Troy Union Rail Road. The TURR lasted from the mid 19th Century till the mid 20th Century. It was owned by the New York Central, Delaware & Hudson and Boston & Maine. Access from the South was from Rensselaer; from the West, via the Green Island Bridge; from the North was street running almost the entire length of Troy.

Gary Railway (reporting mark GRW) is owned and operated by Transtar, Inc., a subsidiary of the United States Steel Corporation. It currently runs along 63 miles of yard track throughout Gary, Indiana as a class III switching carrier for local steel supply. It used to be part of the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway which officially ceased to exist January 31st, 2009, at 11:59 PM. At midnight, February 1st, the line became Canadian National property. Over 120 years of history went out with a whisper. There were no special trains or ceremonies… Just business as usual. There are also extensive archives available.

More shortlines are covered in “A Collection of Short Stories about Railroads – Book One” and “A Collection of Short Stories about Railroads – Book Two


Troy & Greenbush Railroad


Detroit River Tunnel Company

Amsterdam, Chuctanunda and Northern Railroad

Bay Ridge Avenue subway station set to reopen

Brooklyn Eagle

R train stop is coming back

Bay Ridge residents will soon be getting one of their most vital transportation links back.

The R train’s Bay Ridge Avenue subway station, which has been closed for renovations since April 29, is set to reopen on Oct. 13, according to local officials.

An MTA spokesman told the Brooklyn Eagle via email that he would not confirm the date of the station reopening. But two community leaders in Bay Ridge told the Eagle that a top figure within MTA had informed them of the agency’s plans to reopen the shuttered station.

The Bay Ridge Avenue station, often referred to by local residents as the 69th Street station, is one of the busiest subway stops in the Southwest Brooklyn neighborhood. It is part of a major transportation hub in the neighborhood, with access to three bus lines, the B9, B64 and B70.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last year that the Bay Ridge Avenue station would be one of three Brooklyn subway stations to undergo repairs under MTA’s Enhanced Station Initiative.

Along with Bay Ridge Avenue, the other stations closed for repairs under the project were 53rd Street and Prospect Avenue. The 53rd Street station reopened two weeks ago.

Here are some of the improvements riders can expect when they enter the Bay Ridge station for the first time in nearly six months:

Enhanced lighting throughout the station

Improved signage for easier navigation, including digital, real-time updates on on-time performance at subway entrances, before customers even enter the station

Amenities, such as countdown clocks, cellular connectivity, Wi-Fi, new art and security cameras

John Quaglione, who won the Republican primary earlier this month and is now the GOP candidate for Bay Ridge’s City Council, said the city should be doing a lot more to make life easier for residents until the subway station reopens.

He called on the Department of Sanitation to suspend alternate side of the street parking regulations in the vicinity of the train station for the next two weeks. Under his proposal, alternate side parking would be temporarily suspended from 68th Street to Ovington Avenue, between Third and Fifth avenues until Oct. 13.

“The soon-to-be-completed repairs will make for a more enjoyable subway ride, and we look forward to taking the train from Bay Ridge Avenue again. As the project winds down, I call upon the NYC Department of Sanitation to suspend alternate side of the street parking for the remaining two plus weeks for the sake of those who live, work and own businesses in the area,” Quaglione said in a statement.

Quaglione said he knows firsthand the frustration Bay Ridge residents living near the subway station face when they try to find parking spaces. Last week he had an appointment at the Emphasis Restaurant on Fourth Avenue and said it took more than a half hour to find a parking space.

Justin Brannan, the Democrat running for City Council who has made transit issues a centerpiece of his campaign, recently wrote a letter to MTA Chairman Joe Lhota asking when the Bay Ridge Avenue station would reopen.

“We are eager for service at the Bay Ridge Avenue station to resume and I’m hoping you can provide a timeline for this,” Brannan wrote in his letter.

“In response to my letter, MTA says Bay Ridge Avenue station will officially re-open [the] second week of October,” Brannan wrote on Facebook on Friday.

The Eagle reported on Sept. 22 that Brannan also emphasized in his letter the need for quality subway service over cosmetic improvements. “Right now, people who live in different states can get to Manhattan quicker than we can,” Brannan said.

The renovation project has not gone entirely smoothly.

During the first few days of the station’s closure, riders were confused and angry over the disruption in their daily commute.

MTA opted not to provide shuttle bus service so that passengers would be able to get on the R train two alternative stations, 77th Street and 59th Street.

On May 1, the first workday of the closure, Liam McCabe, a Republican who was running in the GOP primary for City Council at the time, decided to get behind the wheel of his Buick offer free rides to passengers from the Bay Ridge Avenue station to the 59th Street station.

“I figured it’s the least I can do,” McCabe told the Eagle.

How To Save The Mall

LOS ANGELES, United States — Do consumers still need shopping malls? One in four US malls won’t exist in five years, according to a June report by Credit Suisse. This year alone, American shopping malls will lose an estimated 8,640 stores to closures. That’s, in part, thanks to digital sales of apparel, which are growing fast and estimated to reach 35 percent of total apparel sales by 2030, up from 17 percent this year.

And yet, for those raised on the west side of Los Angeles, the Century City mall is an institution. On October 3, the latest, gleaming, iteration of the shopping centre — the third place of third places — will be officially unveiled to consumers by Westfield, the multinational mall operator which is doing its best to dispel the idea that the shopping mall is dead.

The new Westfield Century City, re-imagined in partnership with Los Angeles-based (and television famous) interior designer Kelly Wearstler, features outdoor dining spaces, acres of gardens, even a canopy of olive and palm trees. And yes, stores. Over 200 of them, including a three-storey Nordstrom, a Zara and a Bonobos.

Food, too: Lots of it. Along with Eataly, the first location of the high-end Italian food hall to open on the West Coast of the United States, there is an expansive location of the popular local grocery store Gelson’s and plenty of fast-casual and fine-dining restaurants, including Din Tai Fung (the first Taiwanese spot to receive a Michelin Star).

Fitness buffs can join the upscale Equinox gym, or take a class Gloveworx boxing studio. The company has even hired a “creative head of global entertainment” — well-regarded Broadway producer Scott Sanders — to run its live programming across its centres. Out of dozens of retailers, 50 of them have never before done business with Westfield.

But even with all the bells and whistles — Uber waiting lounge included — Westfield Century City is still, of course, a mall.

“The word ‘mall’ is a dated word,” says Steven Lowy, the corporation’s co-CEO. “It’s been lost in the vernacular.” The answer to making the word “mall” relevant again, Westfield and many of its competitors say, is to transform these properties into community centres that aren’t totally focused on apparel retail. The strategy rests on the hypothesis that the internet may be killing the mall, but humans still desire interaction.

In 2007, 42 percent of sales at Westfield developments came from department stores. Today, it’s only 28 percent. The company says that only approximately 12 percent of revenue from its two London malls — two of the most productive in its portfolio — come from department stores.

By shrinking its portfolio to 35 centres globally — which includes properties in the US, the UK and soon mainland Europe — the Sydney-based Westfield (which divested its Australian centres in 2014 to form a separate entity, the Scentre Group) says its properties, mostly located in urban areas instead of white-flight suburbs, are valued at $31 billion, with flagship assets currently making up 82 percent of the lineup. The rest are “regional” properties, many of which the company will likely sell off in the coming years.

“Ten years ago, Westfield had 69 shopping centres in the United States, today we have 33 and two in the UK. We probably will have quite a bit less over the coming years as we focus on being what we would regard as the highest quality retail real estate company in the world,” Lowy says. “We’re not far away from that right now, and the way we do that is by selling non-core assets and reinvesting that capital in assets like London, Milan, New York…Silicon Valley…etc.”

In 2018, after years of red-tape delays, Westfield will begin developing what is being touted as the city of Milan’s largest shopping mall, a €1.4 billion ($1.6 billion at current exchange) investment, built in partnership with Gruppo Stilo, which owns a quarter stake. Now scheduled to open in 2020, its crown jewel will be an outpost of the famous French department store Galeries Lafayette.

Westfield’s strategy is not unlike those of many of its competitors, who are betting that experience — including food, entertainment and health and fitness — will allow a certain sort of development to thrive even as consumers spend more time online.

“Changing consumer behaviours, attitudes and technologies have drastically altered expectations for a shopping experience, and we are facing this trend head-on by transforming our mall assets into community hubs, with varied offers that service each of our communities’ specific whole-of-life needs and aspirations,” says Skye Fisher, head of strategy at QIC Global Real Estate, a development firm with properties across the US and in Australia. “Offering more than a simple consumer transaction, we are creating places that encourage people to dwell, drawing in the community and ensuring people will visit again and again. By curating a more integrated, experience-led offer that responds to a broad range of customer needs, we’re supporting an uplift in sales across all categories including fashion and apparel.”

In the 12-month period ending June 30, 2017, Westfield said fashion sales in specialty retailers at flagship properties were up 1.5 percent, while leisure sales were up 6.4 percent. However, sales at general retail — which includes department stores — were down 5.8 percent. Today, food and dining make up 18 percent of the portfolio’s overall sales (from 15 percent a decade ago), while technology and auto make up 16 percent (from 9 percent a decade ago). “In some of our malls, Apple is the highest-grossing retailer, not the department stores,” Lowy says. “Apple is doing that out of 10,000 or 20,000 square feet. The department stores have 250,000 square feet.”

But can doubling down on these growing categories truly supplant the overall retreat from brick and mortar, and encourage consumers who visit these developments to actually shop? “I’ve seen the retail universe adapt to whatever changes consumers have thrown at them, but this generational change has created a conundrum for retailers of all types that it hasn’t been able to deal with,” says Richard Kestenbaum, a partner at Triangle Capital, a sell-side M&A and capital-raising advisory firm with a concentration in fashion and retail. “Every square foot of retail is worth less than it was 24 or 36 months ago. Once that is recognised, it changes the economics of retail. People will lose a lot of money in the transition, but there is money to be made.”

In order to eke productivity out of properties, developers not only have to change the mix of retailers represented, but retailers need to reevaluate the purpose of their brick-and-mortar stores. Today, many consumers view physical retail as a place to easily drop off online returns, rather than an opportunity to browse and shop. In October, the American value-driven department store Kohl’s will begin accepting Amazon returns at 82 locations in an unprecedented deal, underscoring the physical store’s role as a return centre.

Lowy, for one, is okay with that dynamic. “We all just need to evolve and not really care if the store is a store or a showroom. The consumer is going to shop how they want to shop,” he says, citing the prevalence of “click and collect” schemes in the UK and Europe. “I don’t really care whether the consumer comes to the mall and buys something or sees something and buys it elsewhere or returns something. We’ve just got to do what the consumer wants.”


AECOM India pegs Hyperloop to compete with flights

Hyperloop will re-invent transportation business and systems worldwide, said AECOM India senior vice-president G.V.R. Raju.


New Delhi: AECOM India Pvt. Ltd, one of the winners of the Hyperloop One global challenge, expects the fare for a 334km Bengaluru-Chennai trip in a hyperloop high-speed transport system to be around Rs2,000.

AECOM claims it will take just 3-5 years for India to set up its first project once the technology is accepted.

Hyperloop is an experimental transportation mode that will move freight and people at a speed of around 1,000-1,200 km/hour and involves moving magnetically levitated pod-like vehicles through a low-pressure or vacuum tube.

AECOM is one of two teams from India to win the Hyperloop One global challenge in September. The over-a-year-long challenge identified new routes to be developed, using hyperloop technology. While AECOM India won the Bengaluru-Chennai route, Hyperloop India bagged the 1,102km Mumbai-Chennai route.

“It will reinvent the transportation business and systems worldwide,” said AECOM India senior vice-president G.V.R. Raju, who led the five-member team to the Hyperloop One challenge final.

According to Raju, a transportation system that is better then air travel at a fare of Rs2,000 is a compelling proposition.

“We have no doubt about its viability,” he said, pointing out that people pay anywhere between Rs3,500 and Rs10,000 for an air trip from Bengaluru to Chennai now.

It will cater more to the middle class than the masses, he added.

The company chose the route keeping in mind the industrial growth in Chennai and Bengaluru in the last two decades. A lot of industrial clusters are coming up along the Bengaluru-Chennai corridor, which will provide enough traffic for hyperloop to work. Besides, the route doesn’t have a rough terrain, making it easy to put up the infrastructure.

On the question of costs, Raju said in the beginning one may need to pay intellectual property charges as it’s a new technology but once there is wide acceptance, it will be cheaper than a high-speed rail link. The company is already in talks with investors, including some automobile companies manufacturing electric vehicles in India, for a potential partnership. “At the moment, the investors are watching for the first project to come up,” he added.

AECOM India has discussed the project with the governments of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and the feedback has been enthusiastic, Raju said.

Bringing hyperloop technology to India will face two principal challenges: The first is legislative, as the transportation system does not fall in either air, rail or road categories covered by existing laws. Second, it will need high initial investments and will be viable only on routes where people have purchasing power.

Last year, Hyperloop One, a Los Angeles-based start-up, secured a $50 million investment from the world’s third largest port and terminal operator DP World Ltd to conduct a feasibility study for transporting cargo for a distance of around 50km through an underwater channel. The company plans to conduct a second trial of its technology at its testing facility in Nevada in the US this month.