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 Post subject: Re: FEC #148 Rebuilding
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:43 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
Posts: 2315
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Continuing my thoughts, for the captive network they will run on, the roller bearing conversion was unnecessary. I also saw on Facebook that they installed a handbrake on the tender. Again, necessary? None of the engines I have worked on in the USA had hand brakes.

Even if the customer says, "cost is no object", I think a sound business plan and customer relation is to match the work to the expected application.

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 Post subject: Re: FEC #148 Rebuilding
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:22 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 1:24 am
Posts: 87
Location: Michigan
softwerkslex wrote:
Continuing my thoughts, for the captive network they will run on, the roller bearing conversion was unnecessary. (SNIP)

Even if the customer says, "cost is no object", I think a sound business plan and customer relation is to match the work to the expected application.


Just a little speculation on my part here, but perhaps it was among the early high-level discussions between U.S. Sugar leadership & Scott that given the proximity with CSX, it is not a far leap to conclude some of the management may have had hopes or dreams of some movements on CSX at a future date. So from that line of thinking and with cost as no object, the roller bearing conversion makes sense. What we're not privy to are those early high-level discussions. Perhaps those may leak out someday and the broader picture will make more sense.

Adam


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 Post subject: Re: FEC #148 Rebuilding
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:35 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
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Location: Northern Illinois
softwerkslex wrote:
Continuing my thoughts, for the captive network they will run on, the roller bearing conversion was unnecessary. I also saw on Facebook that they installed a handbrake on the tender. Again, necessary? None of the engines I have worked on in the USA had hand brakes.


Tender hand brakes was standard practice on some US roads. Both Southern Pacific steam locos in the IRM collection have hand brakes on the tender, accessible from the deck.

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 Post subject: Re: FEC #148 Rebuilding
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:58 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:19 am
Posts: 191
Location: Decatur, GA
Dennis Storzek wrote:
softwerkslex wrote:
Continuing my thoughts, for the captive network they will run on, the roller bearing conversion was unnecessary. I also saw on Facebook that they installed a handbrake on the tender. Again, necessary? None of the engines I have worked on in the USA had hand brakes.


Tender hand brakes was standard practice on some US roads. Both Southern Pacific steam locos in the IRM collection have hand brakes on the tender, accessible from the deck.



Both of the operating steam locomotives at TVRM have been retrofitted with tender handbrakes, as was the 610 before it went out of service. I believe the 1702 at Great Smoky has one as well. It's becoming more and more common as an added safety feature. Easy to install and makes things safer. What's the big deal?

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 Post subject: Re: FEC #148 Rebuilding
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 11:17 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 5621
WVNorthern wrote:
The sugar company has a lot of "main-line" trackage as well as the usual "mill trackage", TRAINS magazine had an article on the sugar company and its operation a few years ago and had this map which I've included below


WVNorthern -

Thanks for the map. I had to look up South Central Florida Express to find out that it was owned by U.S. Sugar. So there appears to be a nice amount of track for the 148 to run on, if it does eventually get restored to service. My fingers are crossed!

Les


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 Post subject: Re: FEC #148 Rebuilding
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 1:29 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:41 pm
Posts: 514
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Les Beckman wrote:
WVNorthern wrote:
The sugar company has a lot of "main-line" trackage as well as the usual "mill trackage", TRAINS magazine had an article on the sugar company and its operation a few years ago and had this map which I've included below


WVNorthern -

Thanks for the map. I had to look up South Central Florida Express to find out that it was owned by U.S. Sugar. So there appears to be a nice amount of track for the 148 to run on, if it does eventually get restored to service. My fingers are crossed!

Les

Given the extent of this railroad and its connections to CSX, I am wondering if there are other customers that are served, not just the captive US Sugar traffic. If so, then it is part of the general system and all FRA rules apply, including Part 230.


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 Post subject: Re: FEC #148 Rebuilding
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:52 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2004 10:38 pm
Posts: 67
Hamster,

Not sure what you are trying to imply here?

Ed


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 Post subject: Re: FEC #148 Rebuilding
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 12:44 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2007 12:33 am
Posts: 66
Location: Batavia, Ohio
Les[/quote]
Given the extent of this railroad and its connections to CSX, I am wondering if there are other customers that are served, not just the captive US Sugar traffic. If so, then it is part of the general system and all FRA rules apply, including Part 230.[/quote]

Having done contract train crew service for U.S. Sugar back in 2010 I can offer insight on this. At that time the operations were divided between South Central Florida Express (SCFE) and U.S. Sugar Rail Operations. South Central Florida Express is a common carrier and was operated as such. The plant facility and the rail operations into the cane fields were operated as a industrial switching operation since it was all on U.S. Sugar property. Any material from that came out from the fields that connected at Bryant would be turned over to SCFE and then handled down to Clewiston. I would say there was easily a dozen different customers on the SCFE route between Bryant and Ft. Pierce.

At some point in the last few years US Sugar made changes to the rail operations to streamline everything. As far as I know everything the private/industry rail operations were merged into the SCFE and thus it is all operated as the US Sugar Railroad and all falls under the jurisdictions of the FRA & CFR 49 Part 200-299.


Chris Edwards
Batavia & Ohio Railway Services, LLC.


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 Post subject: Re: FEC #148 Rebuilding
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 9:41 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:41 pm
Posts: 514
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Railbreaker wrote:
Hamster,

Not sure what you are trying to imply here?

Ed

Some comments were made about "if the locomotive stays on the USS property" does the restoration have to be "so complete", implying that Part 230 might not be applicable. Then the map of the USS railroad was posted, including TWO CSX interchange points, and I simply asked myself the question about the USS property and its actual use. I know nothing about how USS operates their railroad, only that it is considerably more extensive than the typical industrial railroad and thus MIGHT serve other customers besides the captive USS traffic. So I made the comment.


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 Post subject: Re: FEC #148 Rebuilding
PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:25 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 7:28 pm
Posts: 375
Location: Northern WV
Is there anyone out there in cyberland who can update the status on FEC #148? Has another contractor been selected? Are they trying to finish it in-house? Have they given up? I haven't been able to find anything recent on the internet.

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 Post subject: Re: FEC #148 Rebuilding
PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 4:29 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:45 pm
Posts: 157
On the trackage....

The sugar company has more than 120 miles of non-general system (private) track, some which is used by the SCFE. There is a branch or two that shows SCFE ownership, but which are basically operated as private sugar lines.
They have 70 miles of track from Clewiston to Sebring that is their common carrier.
They have 16 miles of track on their Okeelanta Branch.
They have 68 miles of track from Clewiston to MP15.5 near Fort Pierce, much of which is leased from the Florida East Coast.
There have also been surveys to build their own line to the northeast to avoid much of the FEC track.

This is a big railroad operation, so lots of options for different operating plans.


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 Post subject: Re: FEC #148 Rebuilding
PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:56 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:41 pm
Posts: 514
Location: Minneapolis, MN
If, as Bory2502 has stated, the USS railroad is all under one operational umbrella, then it is indeed under FRA jurisdiction. It seems illogical that one part of a single railroad can be a common carrier while another part is not. Anyone know what the rules might be in this case?


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 Post subject: Re: FEC #148 Rebuilding
PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:34 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:45 pm
Posts: 157
There are two parts of the company.

The South Central Florida Express is a common carrier serving many different customers. It falls under the FRA regulations as a common carrier.

The U.S. Sugar lines are actually non-general railroad system lines, and thus generally do not fall under the FRA regulations.

There are separate timetables. There used to be separate locomotives, crews, track forces, etc., but today they are often swapped as needed, but charged to the appropriate company. This was a topic discussed by the company when they began looking at the steam operations and public passenger train trips.


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 Post subject: Re: FEC #148 Rebuilding
PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:17 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:41 pm
Posts: 514
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Bartman-TN wrote:
There are two parts of the company.

The South Central Florida Express is a common carrier serving many different customers. It falls under the FRA regulations as a common carrier.

The U.S. Sugar lines are actually non-general railroad system lines, and thus generally do not fall under the FRA regulations.

There are separate timetables. There used to be separate locomotives, crews, track forces, etc., but today they are often swapped as needed, but charged to the appropriate company. This was a topic discussed by the company when they began looking at the steam operations and public passenger train trips.


Sorry, but power and crew sharing means that the ENTIRE operation is under FRA jurisdiction. Can't be non-FRA sometimes and FRA at other times. The railroad is either insular or not. A locomotive may spend 95% of its time on the "insular" side of the railroad, but if it spends 5% on the common carrier side it must comply with all applicable FRA requirements. Same with crews.


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 Post subject: Re: FEC #148 Rebuilding
PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:31 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:45 pm
Posts: 157
"Sorry, but power and crew sharing means that the ENTIRE operation is under FRA jurisdiction. Can't be non-FRA sometimes and FRA at other times. The railroad is either insular or not. A locomotive may spend 95% of its time on the "insular" side of the railroad, but if it spends 5% on the common carrier side it must comply with all applicable FRA requirements. Same with crews."


This is a long, and can be complicated, issue. The issue becomes the organization that is actually doing the work. U.S. Sugar owns two different operations - South Central Florida Express, which is a common carrier, and U.S. Sugar, which is not. However, over the years, the company has slowly blended parts of the two operations simply for simplicity, not because the FRA forced them.

First, "insular" has nothing to do with private railroads. Read 49 CFR Part 213.3. Nowhere does the FRA use insular as part of defining what is a non-general railroad system of transportation. Instead, they state that the track only serves one shipper - the non-railroad owner of track.

Here is the FRA statement on the matter:
Located inside an installation that is not part of the general railroad system of transportation (i.e., a plant railroad). As used in this part, a plant railroad means a plant or installation that owns or leases a locomotive, uses that locomotive to switch cars throughout the plant or installation, and is moving goods solely for use in the facility’s own industrial processes. The plant or installation could include track immediately adjacent to the plant or installation if the plant railroad leases the track from the general system railroad and the lease provides for (and actual practice entails) the exclusive use of that track by the plant railroad and the general system railroad for purposes of moving only cars shipped to or from the plant. A plant or installation that operates a locomotive to switch or move cars for other entities, even if solely within the confines of the plant or installation, rather than for its own purposes or industrial processes, will not be considered a plant railroad because the performance of such activity makes the operation part of the general railroad system of transportation. Similarly, this exclusion does not apply to track over which a general system railroad operates, even if that track is located within a plant railroad.

Notice the term installation - that does not mean inside a fence or insular, but simply the property of the shipper.

The FRA adds: 'That definition specifically stated that the plant railroad exclusion “does not apply to track over which a general system railroad operates, even if that track is located within a plant railroad.”' Note it says the railroad operates, not their equipment. This is common in grain elevators, coal mines, etc., where the railroad delivers the train to the site, and then the shipper operates the train on their own trackage with the railroad's locomotives.

It is interesting that the FRA also states: "FRA also did not intend for the Rail Integrity Final Rule to alter FRA’s approach to trackage located in an installation that is not part of the general system and that does not own, lease, or use a locomotive to move cars. FRA treats those installations as if they were plant railroads and does not generally apply the requirements of FRA’s TSS to those installations. However, like a plant railroad, FRA expects that the installations will maintain that portion of their trackage used by a general system railroad in a safe condition and in compliance with Part 213." Therefore, if the operation uses something besides a locomotive, it is even more loose. But it again says that where the common carrier operates, the tracks must meet the requirements of Part 213 (Track Safety Standards). However, the track is still a "private" railroad.

If general system crews working for a common carrier railroad switch the track, then the track can fall under the FRA Track Safety Standards, but the track is still "private". However, nowhere does it state that a general system railroad employee cannot also work for a private railroad operation. As long as the owners are different, it is different jobs. I know lots of railroad workers that also do some work on private railroads, and there are no problems since it is a different check from a different operation.

Moving locomotives back and forth also has no role whatsoever. Common carrier railroads lease locomotives all the time to private rail operations - by the hour, by the day, etc. As long as it is done clearly - no problem. Yes, the locomotive must comply with the FRA requirements since it operates at least part of the time on the common carrier, but that is because of its owner and where it is operating, and doesn't carry over to whether the private line is a general railroad system of transportation operation or not. Again, the FRA looks at the track owner and its use. U.S. Sugar simplified their locomotive fleet a few years ago by using a single pool of locomotives instead of their previous fleets. All are maintained to FRA standards, no matter where they are used, even by mill employees inside the mill. But again, that means some have higher inspection and maintenance requirements.

I can cite several examples off the top of my head of similar operations, and am working on a case right now for one.

Some "private" carriers fully comply with all FRA rules voluntarily for insurance and liability reasons. The SCFE mostly does this to simplify their operations. For years, they had track gangs, crews and equipment on the SCFE that were railroad retirement and FRA regulated, and duplicate crews, gangs and equipment on the non-general railroad system track which were not. I still get employees from SCFE and USSC who attend my workshops listed as working for the different companies. I have talked with them a number of times about using the FRA standards system-wide as an aid and as some liability assistance.

An interesting example is the recent new track built to the west of Clewiston, which was assigned to the SCFE since it served both U.S. Sugar and a orange processing company - thus two different shippers. However, the track in closer used to reach the new track is still shown as U.S. Sugar-owned (or at least is in the latest railroad documents that I have), but is covered by the FRA because freight for two shippers cross it.

The SCFE train crews generally report to their trains at the office and shop area in town, while U.S. Sugar crews generally report at the mill yard, but this is really being mixed over the past few years. This was always an issue since many of the sugar cane loading docks are on the SCFE.

What is interesting, even though 49 CFR 213.3 covers this, the FRA has actually said that it is not even this clear, and that even when a common carrier operates on "private" track, it is still not fully common carrier, but should be maintained to at least Class 1 track conditions for the safety of the common carrier's crews and equipment.

As I said, this is a very complicated issue, and I'm sure many don't want to read all of the compliance manual on this issue. However, I do all the time since I spend a great deal of time researching it, teaching it, consulting on it, etc. My general advice is to follow all FRA standards just to reduce liability - something I've stated here before and was criticized for it by a few. However, I also generally know how to separate general system and non-general system operations (some of the FRA decisions have confused me where they have declared some tracks to be private even when a common carriers operates on them - seems to be a case-by-case in some borderline situations).

By the way, one of the workshops that I teach covers this issue in detail, and is the first one in the United States to be FRA Part 243 reviewed and approved. We've been teaching this since 1992 and have had FRA assistance in making sure what we cover is correct.


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