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A Solution to Jacksonville's Logistics Problems

The City, Port Authority and Mayoral candidates are spending considerable time trying to figure out a solution to Jacksonville's logistics problem. Metro Jacksonville offers up an alternative solution that could enhance the port, create jobs throughout the Northside and introduce reliable mass transit option to local residents.

Published November 1, 2010 in Transit      50 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

feature

Metro Jacksonville: Why shouldn't the port construct its own intermodal railyard?

Bob Mann: Rail yards are "delay machines" in the railroad business, any car in the yard is NOT making money. There are only three reasons to construct any yard tracks at all, they are:

1. Storage of terminal owned container and specialty train cars for quick access by any shipper. In other words, car inventory and supply might be helped with a few storage tracks. Please note however that these are not revenue tracks.

2. A small engine house, fuel and repair facility would make the terminal attractive to contract operators. Repairs come under two categories, RIP-rolling-repair which is done by all carriers to minor defects to equipment. Back shop repairs which handle major overhaul.

3. Sorting of freight cars for local movement, again something done quickly on five or six tracks.
 
Bottom line, aside from a few tracks to make up trains or break down trains, and a possible engine or RIP track. No yard in the classic sense needs to be built anywhere.






An active portion of the S-Line crossing the Trout River can be seen in this image.  COJ, JTA, JAXPORT and others should consider the possibility of a public/private partnership in purchasing this track for the future of the city's economy.

MJ: Why should JaxPort and the City of Jacksonville purchase CSX's S-Line instead of building their own railyard?

BM: The benefit is neutral access to the port by all carriers. Today the port is captive and there is no choice of carriers, except for NS access to Talleyrand. The FEC once had access at Atlantic Marine in the Southside, but that is long since closed. Some of the costs would be off-set by FEC movements from the Port to Bowden Yard (I checked and YES they are moving them via truck cross-town!) FEC would have access to the port as would NS and CSX. The purchase and rebuilding of the "S" would afford us a tap line with income producing freight service on it, as well as open the door to rail transit on our own railroad line.
 
Also the railroads have little interest in "fishing" for traffic. Frankly the railroad would rather have the containers just show up at the Moncrief, Export, West Jax, Simpson, or Bowden Yard's. Having a shortline operator do the drilling usually suits the railroad management just fine.





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The Talleyrand Terminal Railroad (reporting mark TTR) is a short line terminal railroad run by Rail Link, Inc., a subsidiary of Genesee and Wyoming Inc. It serves the Jacksonville Port Authority and tenants with over ten miles of track. It has only one main line, running west from the port to an interchange with CSX and Norfolk Southern northeast of downtown Jacksonville, Florida. Operations began on July 28, 1996.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talleyrand_Terminal_Railroad



MJ: What are the existing short line railroads operating in Jacksonville?

BM: Talleyrand Terminal Railroad (G&W RR, shorline family), Jax Port (Blount Island terminals), First Coast Railroad (St. Marys-Yulee-Fernandina Beach). There is also the Rail America headquarters coming to town, which will share space with FEC in the FEC offices. FEC is now the flagship property of RA. We also have a handful of industrial properties with their own captive railroads and equipment. History shows that quite often these companies go railroading when an opportunity such as this presents.

KEY:

Orange = Major JaxPort Terminals

Blue = CSX

Gray = Norfolk Southern

Green = Florida East Coast

Red = Short Line Railroads

Yellow = Major Railyards

Current Situation:

Currently the Tallyrand Terminal is the only Port facility that can directly ship goods to multiple railroad companies.  The others are forced to rely only on CSX Transportation.  This will result in additional truck traffic throughout town to access CSX's Westside railyards, as well as Norfolk Southern and Florida East Coast railyards.

Metro Jacksonville solution:

As opposed to building a new $60 million railyard off Heckscher Drive, we suggest JaxPort, JTA and the City of Jacksonville purchase the CSX line serving JaxPort's terminals in the Northside and reconstruct the former S-Line rail line.  Under the ownership of JaxPort, all port terminals would have direct access to all three major railroad lines and their yards in Jacksonville.  This move enhances the port's attraction and removes additional truck traffic off the city's streets.

Mass Transit as a side benefit:

This move would also allow the JTA to have direct access to a rail line that could stretch from downtown to the airport and up to Fernandina Beach for commuter or light rail use. The rail line could also become a dedicated stream of revenue by leasing the track to a short line operator to serve the growing amount of industries throughout the Northside.



In addition, such move opens up the possibility of significant economic development and job creation throughout the Northside.



Springfield Warehouse District: Day (above) and Night (below)


Established walkable neigborhoods where significant public infrastructure already exists could become the site of new transit oriented developments, historic preservation and adaptive reuse projects throughout the Northside.


Did You Know?

Quote
 Every $1 spent on public transit projects generates on average $6 in local economic activity. (Source: American Public Transportation Association)

 Between 3,140 and 5,700 jobs are generally created for every $100 million invested in public transit. (Source: Cambridge Systematics, Inc.)

 Research shows that businesses realize a gain in sales of three times the public sector investment in transit ; a $100 million transit investments results in a $300 million increase in business sales. (Source: Cambridge Systematics, Inc.)

http://www.detroittransit.org/cms.php?pageid=54

For examples of rail based economic development in peer cities: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2010-jun-before-after-rail-spurs-economic-development


Restoring rail transit to the S-Line (highlighted in green) would bring connectivity and transit oriented economic development to downtown and several Northside neighborhoods.  This line would also come within walking distance of several existing major destinations including Shands Jacksonville, Swisher International, Springfield Historic District, Durkeeville, LaVilla and Edward Waters College.  Last but not least, this corridor is a part of the city's adopted Urban Core Visioning Plan, pending 2030 Mobility Plan and North Florida TPO's 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).  By working together and pooling resources, such a project could turn out to be quite affordable, solving multiple problems addressing our city with one efficient stroke.

Before Jacksonville spends hundreds of millions on an intermodal railyard that still does not give ultimate access to all major railroads operating in the area or additional highway construction, we urge our public officials and 2011 Mayoral candidates to take a look at the situation from a larger perspective and consider public/private partnerships to purchase and reconstruct rail lines heading into our port terminals.

Article is a joint effort between Metro Jacksonville's Ennis Davis & Transportation Consultant Bob Mann







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50 Comments

Wacca Pilatka

November 01, 2010, 08:33:44 AM
Get this in front of every mayoral candidate.  I'm so sick of this city wasting money and time when MetroJacksonville has done all the studies for them and has cost-effective solutions.

Coolyfett

November 01, 2010, 08:43:31 AM
I see Norfolk & Csx connect either behind the union station or under Beaver Str. Where does JaxPort rank in logistics NATIONwide not just Atlantic coast?

CS Foltz

November 01, 2010, 04:28:46 PM
What I do not understand is...........why are we trying to play catch up? Rail should have been an integeral part of any intermodal design! A port, no less, should have had rail from the start and this was not even considered! 9A was to be the primary route out of the Port and this is not a sane design from any point of view! To make matters even worse, 9A was to be enhanced for the additional truck traffic, taxpayers to be paying for the original upgrade, but the studies showed that within 3 years all of the upgrades would have to be redone again..........once more at taxpayer expense! Rail should have been an integeral part of the design from the beginning.............not after the start! Who made money off of this situation..........not the taxpayers! I wonder who is doing the 9A upgrades and wonder if this was a low bid process or is this just one more project put into someones hands to make a buck off of?

cline

November 01, 2010, 04:43:09 PM
At this point, CSX has a monopoly for rail going into the port on the northside.  From a business standpoint this works well for them.  Why would they be interested in selling and, even if they were, how expensive would it be?  Would we be able to get it for 60MM (the price of the proposed railyard)?

CS Foltz

November 01, 2010, 05:07:01 PM
I have a simple solution..............called "Eminent Domain"! Jaxport got most of their property using that tool, but exclude CSX and do a Jaxport line ....City owned, maintained and used?

thelakelander

November 01, 2010, 05:28:55 PM
At this point, CSX has a monopoly for rail going into the port on the northside.  From a business standpoint this works well for them.

I think this answer can be found in the article.  I'm also sure Ocklawaha can explain in further detail once he notices this post.

MJ: Why should JaxPort and the City of Jacksonville purchase CSX's S-Line instead of building their own railyard?

BM: The benefit is neutral access to the port by all carriers. Today the port is captive and there is no choice of carriers, except for NS access to Talleyrand. The FEC once had access at Atlantic Marine in the Southside, but that is long since closed. Some of the costs would be off-set by FEC movements from the Port to Bowden Yard (I checked and YES they are moving them via truck cross-town!) FEC would have access to the port as would NS and CSX. The purchase and rebuilding of the "S" would afford us a tap line with income producing freight service on it, as well as open the door to rail transit on our own railroad line.
 
Also the railroads have little interest in "fishing" for traffic. Frankly the railroad would rather have the containers just show up at the Moncrief, Export, West Jax, Simpson, or Bowden Yard's. Having a shortline operator do the drilling usually suits the railroad management just fine.


Quote
Why would they be interested in selling and, even if they were, how expensive would it be?  Would we be able to get it for 60MM (the price of the proposed railyard)?

Good question.  To get the holistic answer, we would have to add up the benefits.  

1. How much would it cost to build a $60 million yard and still be held hostage to a single rail carrier?

2. What ultimate economic impact would that have on our port as it competes with ports that have access to multiple carriers in the future?

3. How much will it cost the community to establish north commuter rail line along the CSX S-Line?

4. What type of economic development can be stimulated by rebuilding the S-Line throughout the Northside and providing a fixed transit connection through Jacksonville's densest and most transit dependent neighborhoods?

5. How many trucks will such a proposal take off existing roads, reducing the need to expand them due to port growth?

6. How much revenue could a municipal owned railroad generate annually to help cover the O&M costs of providing mass transit operations along the line?

7. How much track would be purchased in such a transaction and how does that compare/mile to recent rail ROW acquisitions?

I believe, when you start pooling resources and implementing a plan that solves several issues facing this community, the price on each single entity drops considerably.

urbaknight

November 01, 2010, 09:38:31 PM
I didn't read the article, but I read the headline. Although I love metjax opinions, I can't help but realize that they are just that, opinions. If we can take these ideas to the city, and make them see what's good for us and turn these "opinions" into city plans, I might be more enthused and excited to read about them.

Do any of these dreams ever find their way to city council?

Again, I love these ideas, but I don't want to fall into a pipe dream.

Let's get these ideas across to the city leaders.

Then, we can celebrate the ideas, as we rightly should.

I will read the article later, than I will give my opinion.

urbaknight

November 01, 2010, 09:47:55 PM
What I do not understand is...........why are we trying to play catch up? Rail should have been an integeral part of any intermodal design! A port, no less, should have had rail from the start and this was not even considered! 9A was to be the primary route out of the Port and this is not a sane design from any point of view! To make matters even worse, 9A was to be enhanced for the additional truck traffic, taxpayers to be paying for the original upgrade, but the studies showed that within 3 years all of the upgrades would have to be redone again..........once more at taxpayer expense! Rail should have been an integeral part of the design from the beginning.............not after the start! Who made money off of this situation..........not the taxpayers! I wonder who is doing the 9A upgrades and wonder if this was a low bid process or is this just one more project put into someones hands to make a buck off of?


Welcome to Florida, if you don't have your own car, well then, you're not worth the sh&$ that comes outta a redneck's a$$. That's the popular belief of floridiots.

thelakelander

November 01, 2010, 10:04:38 PM
Most of the ideas stimulated on this site do make the radar of our civic leaders, council and mayor's office. Some, like the Laura Street streetscape, removing BRT from Adams Street and commuter rail become actual projects. Others take more time to pick up steam. All we can keep doing is to continue to expose and promote creative ideas and concepts that will make Jax a better place because you never know who's paying attention.

Ocklawaha

November 01, 2010, 10:22:01 PM
Far more then your average media opinion...

1. metrojacksonville is owned by professionals who make up the core of it's editorial content. Within the corporation one would find an urban consultant, transportation consultant, IT specialists, railroad executive, and local entertainment czar.

2. The board continiously takes the projects to the City, JTA, State and even National Government, including our complete studies, in both paper and audiovisual.

3. Laura Street Improvements, I-95 signage, stopping billion dollar BRT for an economy version, Commuter Rail on the 'S' Line... and a host of other projects have already happened or are in study.

So take heart, we haven't scratched the surface of what's to come.


OCKLAWAHA

Ocklawaha

November 01, 2010, 10:36:38 PM
At this point, CSX has a monopoly for rail going into the port on the northside.  From a business standpoint this works well for them.  Why would they be interested in selling and, even if they were, how expensive would it be?  Would we be able to get it for 60MM (the price of the proposed railyard)?

As the industry has grown and expanded in the last 20 years, it has become highly specialized as well as sleek. Where large railroads once owned thousands of miles of branchlines, which are generally slower, less well maintained properties with infrequent service, today they have either abandoned or spun off most of these branches. The majority of the shuffle is complete, but there will always be new adjustments to the systems. It is generally no longer economically beneficial for giant railroads, specializing in high speed freight services between major markets to fuss with foraging for freight cars. A shortline railroad is an industry that has seen explosive growth, are small and generally locally owned or managed, with small crew sizes, smaller locomotives, less miles and a generally attractive rate division with the larger partner roads. There is no reason to think with a mutually attractive agreement that we can't work out an excellent intermodal plan that will benefit all parties.

OCKLAWAHA

fieldafm

November 02, 2010, 02:23:09 PM
The problem the port(and city) has is the lack of available money... so with that in mind: 

How long is the S line?(how much track, b/c like what is happening in Tampa, you cant just buy a section of the track from CSX) and how much would CSX be willing to sell the line for? 

How would this be different from just building direct rail offloading facilities?  Wouldn't CSX have a much bigger economic incentive to push for this instead?

In this scenario, would the city have to provide incentive money to a short track operator?  Is that money going to come from the mobility fees, and then what type of impact would that have on the money theoretically earmarked for commuter rail and streetcar lines?

Who would administer this?  Seems likely that a new regional rail agency would be needed.  Then, would surrounding counties be on board to foot the bill as well?  And then how would such a new agency get proportionate money extracted from funding sources within the 2030 Mobility Plan, which is administered by a state agency(JTA)?

thelakelander

November 02, 2010, 03:02:28 PM
The problem the port(and city) has is the lack of available money... so with that in mind:  

How long is the S line?(how much track, b/c like what is happening in Tampa, you cant just buy a section of the track from CSX) and how much would CSX be willing to sell the line for?

Rome wasn't built overnight.  Perhaps the best solution for a cash strapped community is a phased plan.  With that said, there are two sections of the S-Line.  One owned by CSX and 5 miles of abandoned ROW owned by COJ.   Putting back in 4 miles of track on the COJ owned ROW would connect Tallyrand to FEC, which would give that terminal direct rail access to Bowden Yard.

I'll need some help determining the amount of CSX owned track between Panama Park and Georgia.  It's a 10-mile stretch between Commodore's Point and the Blount Island spur off North Main Street.  There is another 13-mile stretch of track between Eastport Road and Yulee, where CSX meets up with First Coast Railroad and St. Mary's Railroad.  So about 23 miles total but 10 up to the Blount Island spur.  

To figure out the total mileage of CSX owned track, we'll need to know how much of the 11-mile Blount Island spur (if any) does JAXPORT's railroad control?  So at this point, we're looking at anywhere from 23 to 40 (i'm throwing in extra mileage for double track, spurs, etc.) miles of track.

The Orlando/Sunrail deal with CSX is $150 million for 61 miles of track, which breaks down to $2.46 million/mile.  A similar number for 23 to 40 miles of track would put our number in the $56.6 - $98.4 million range.

Looking at the high end, you're getting a dedicated revenue generator, a commuter rail corridor connecting DT with the airport and Yulee, and direct JAXPORT access to CSX, FEC and NS for $40 million more than building a CSX only accessible intermodal yard.  If it falls on the low end, you may be able to purchase that entire spur for the same price as building an intermodal yard.
  

Quote
How would this be different from just building direct rail offloading facilities?

Its in the port's best interest to have direct access to all three local rail lines and their yards.  With this in mind, there's no right-of-way to build direct rail offloading facilities that connect with NS and FEC from Blount Island.  

Quote
Wouldn't CSX have a much bigger economic incentive to push for this instead?

CSX may have bigger fish to fry.  In the grand scheme of things JAXPORT is a small player to them.  From what I understand, they have higher priorities in upgrading their facilities in other (more profitable) areas of the US.

Quote
In this scenario, would the city have to provide incentive money to a short track operator?  Is that money going to come from the mobility fees, and then what type of impact would that have on the money theoretically earmarked for commuter rail and streetcar lines?

One would have to determine the revenue stood the be gained from a short line operator on those lines.  In any case, I can't imagine the need to provide a short line operator incentives to serve the number of industrial clients and terminals on those 23-40 miles of track.  I imagine, someone like Tallyrand Terminal or First Coast Railroad would love to be a part of such a solution.

Quote
Who would administer this?  Seems likely that a new regional rail agency would be needed.  Then, would surrounding counties be on board to foot the bill as well?  And then how would such a new agency get proportionate money extracted from funding sources within the 2030 Mobility Plan, which is administered by a state agency(JTA)?

Good question.  In Austin, their transit authority (Capitalmetro) does.  However, here it seems like JTA already has their hands full trying to maintain a decent bus system.

fsujax

November 02, 2010, 03:05:03 PM
The City should have a rail authority!

cline

November 02, 2010, 03:09:29 PM
Quote
To figure out the total mileage of CSX owned track, we'll need to know how much of the 11-mile Blount Island spur (if any) does JAXPORT's railroad control?

Does JaxPort control any of that spur?  I was under the impression that it was all CSX as part of the Dames Point spur.  

fieldafm

November 02, 2010, 03:19:07 PM
Quote
CSX may have bigger fish to fry.  In the grand scheme of things JAXPORT is a small player to them.  From what I understand, they have higher priorities in upgrading their facilities in other (more profitable) areas of the US.

CSX though is talking with Jaxport about direct rail offloading facilities right now.  Jaxport is going to almost double it's TEU output with the Hanjin deal alone.  Let's be honest, the reason Mr Rick Ferrin(who was a phenomenal operational manager to his credit) is being replaced is that Jaxport is afraid of losing out on the Post-Panamax revolution and need to get massive money in their hands to upgrade the facilities so as to reap the rewards of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity gold rush.  They are behind the 8 ball so to speak now.  With that said, if they can start upgrading their facilities by 2015-ish timeframe, they could potentially triple their cargo.... CSX sees this and is pushing Jaxport to action.

Quote
you're getting a dedicated revenue generator

So, the city would lease track time to multiple rail carriers(why couldn't CSX just do the exact same things themselves if they think there is significant revenue to be generated and just rent time on the portion owned by the city?  To further my knowledge, where are some examples of this around the country(where the municipal owns the track and leases back to multiple carriers)... trying to get an idea of the amount of money we are talking about here.  Again, a regional rail agency sounds like it would be required.

What revenue is generated from commuter rail-Im assuming this is not exactly revenue neutral... who funds the losses from commuter rail?  And would a regional transit agency/regional rail agency also lease time from the city, or would the city then give the land to said agency?  I ask b/c I'm ignorant on matters such as this.

thelakelander

November 02, 2010, 03:23:29 PM
Quote
To figure out the total mileage of CSX owned track, we'll need to know how much of the 11-mile Blount Island spur (if any) does JAXPORT's railroad control?

Does JaxPort control any of that spur?  I was under the impression that it was all CSX as part of the Dames Point spur. 

I don't know.  I've heard in the past that a short line operator works Blount Island but I would not be suprised if CSX owns the entire thing.  I'm hoping that someone with more in depth knowledge will fill in the gap.

tufsu1

November 02, 2010, 03:30:40 PM
The Orlando/Sunrail deal with CSX is $150 million for 61 miles of track, which breaks down to $2.46 million/mile.  A similar number for 23 to 40 miles of track would put our number in the $56.6 - $98.4 million range.

some folks like to claim it was closer to $425 million for 61 miles...or basically $7 million per mile....that is the # the Tampa people are using in their LRT estimates ($680 million for 97 miles)

tufsu1

November 02, 2010, 03:31:51 PM
The City should have a rail authority!

more goverment...woo hoo!

thelakelander

November 02, 2010, 03:38:48 PM
Quote
CSX may have bigger fish to fry.  In the grand scheme of things JAXPORT is a small player to them.  From what I understand, they have higher priorities in upgrading their facilities in other (more profitable) areas of the US.

CSX though is talking with Jaxport about direct rail offloading facilities right now.  Jaxport is going to almost double it's TEU output with the Hanjin deal alone.  Let's be honest, the reason Mr Rick Ferrin(who was a phenomenal operational manager to his credit) is being replaced is that Jaxport is afraid of losing out on the Post-Panamax revolution and need to get massive money in their hands to upgrade the facilities so as to reap the rewards of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity gold rush.  They are behind the 8 ball so to speak now.  With that said, if they can start upgrading their facilities by 2015-ish timeframe, they could potentially triple their cargo.... CSX sees this and is pushing Jaxport to action.

Let's be honest.  If it were really a top priority of CSX, they'd pay for the facility and the Springfield bypass themselves.  While they may be talking, no one has come to the table in the aggressive manner that improvements are taking place in other areas of the country, such as the National Gateway project.

http://www.nationalgateway.org/

http://blog.cleveland.com/business/2008/05/csx_plans_190_million_rail_upg.html

Quote
So, the city would lease track time to multiple rail carriers(why couldn't CSX just do the exact same things themselves if they think there is significant revenue to be generated and just rent time on the portion owned by the city?  To further my knowledge, where are some examples of this around the country(where the municipal owns the track and leases back to multiple carriers)... trying to get an idea of the amount of money we are talking about here.  Again, a regional rail agency sounds like it would be required.

I'm sure Ock will explain in greater detail but from my understanding, you would have a single short line work the municipal owned track between the three carriers, from my understanding.  An example of this can be found at the Tallyrand terminal.  There the Tallyrand Terminal Railroad connects goods moving in and out of that terminal with both CSX and NS.

Quote
What revenue is generated from commuter rail-Im assuming this is not exactly revenue neutral... who funds the losses from commuter rail?  And would a regional transit agency/regional rail agency also lease time from the city, or would the city then give the land to said agency?  I ask b/c I'm ignorant on matters such as this.

Direct revenue generated would come from the freight side and the potential for additional industrial development along the existing line. Indirect revenue generated would come from TOD associated with passenger rail throughout the Northside.  I'm not a railroad guy, so I can't answer all of your questions in great detail, but I'm sure you'll have them by the end of the night.

thelakelander

November 02, 2010, 03:42:00 PM
The Orlando/Sunrail deal with CSX is $150 million for 61 miles of track, which breaks down to $2.46 million/mile.  A similar number for 23 to 40 miles of track would put our number in the $56.6 - $98.4 million range.

some folks like to claim it was closer to $425 million for 61 miles...or basically $7 million per mile....that is the # the Tampa people are using in their LRT estimates ($680 million for 97 miles)

The actual purchase of the 61 miles of track was for $150 million.  The additional money is associated with the upgrade to the S-Line, since CSX would have to relocate existing traffic on that main line to another to bypass Orlando.  This would not be the case in either Tampa or Jacksonville.  In these situations, you're talking about non "mainline" track at the end of the line.

CS Foltz

November 02, 2010, 03:43:34 PM
The City should have a rail authority!

more goverment...woo hoo!
Do you trust JTA to do the right thing regarding rail? I know that I don't.........not sure about the so-called Rail Commision either! Mr Delaney does not have a clue any more than the Mayoral Candidates either. Rick Mullaney has an idea, but he cheated.............he got with stephen and lake one Saturday morning and he took notes from what I saw..........hope it means something to him, we will see!! A seperate rail commision may be something to consider..........at least think about!!

thelakelander

November 02, 2010, 03:45:09 PM
The break down of the CSX/Sunrail deal can be found on page 8 of this document:

http://www.righttrackflorida.org/_resources/browse/file/SunRail%20Briefing%20Book%20Jan%2009.pdf

fsujax

November 02, 2010, 03:46:04 PM
well, tufusu it seems not many on this board trust JTA, FDOT, COJ, the Port and whoever else to do anything right so I figured just create another entity!

Coolyfett

November 02, 2010, 03:51:05 PM
Most of the ideas stimulated on this site do make the radar of our civic leaders, council and mayor's office. Some, like the Laura Street streetscape, removing BRT from Adams Street and commuter rail become actual projects. Others take more time to pick up steam. All we can keep doing is to continue to expose and promote creative ideas and concepts that will make Jax a better place because you never know who's paying attention.

This is true, the promotion of ideas is where its at, some great ideas cost a lot of money though. I think logistics is important for the future of many cities/metros...If Jax can get a big grip of the shipping sector, it would be a great thing.

Coolyfett

November 02, 2010, 03:54:46 PM
The City should have a rail authority!

more goverment...woo hoo!
Do you trust JTA to do the right thing regarding rail? I know that I don't.........not sure about the so-called Rail Commision either! Mr Delaney does not have a clue any more than the Mayoral Candidates either. Rick Mullaney has an idea, but he cheated.............he got with stephen and lake one Saturday morning and he took notes from what I saw..........hope it means something to him, we will see!! A seperate rail commision may be something to consider..........at least think about!!

I dont like this. JTA may have a bad rep, but another transit firm in Duval? Or is this something for the 4 county metro?

thelakelander

November 02, 2010, 03:56:00 PM
^I think Jax would be better off trying to kill multiple birds with one stone. Logistics deals with more than just the needs of JAXPORT.  As soon as we figure that out, we'll open our eyes to potential solutions that help JAXPORT and resolve other issues facing this community at the same time.  Something else to keep in mind is such (multimodal) strategies will also allow us to tap into additional financing resources that may not be available to single focused solutions.

tufsu1

November 02, 2010, 03:57:44 PM
well, tufusu it seems not many on this board trust JTA, FDOT, COJ, the Port and whoever else to do anything right so I figured just create another entity!

guess I should have put a wink icon next to my statement....I was kind of kidding.

That said, you have a point

CS Foltz

November 02, 2010, 04:15:11 PM
NFTPO had some idea's regarding this and there was talk about a possible Regional Transportation Office overseeing everything! Not really sure which would be the most cost efficient way to go............I just know I don't believe JTA has much in the way of answers for much of anything! Unless your discussing "Concrete" then they are king of the hill!

Coolyfett

November 02, 2010, 04:52:37 PM
Concrete huh? Interesting.

fieldafm

November 02, 2010, 05:33:34 PM
Quote
Let's be honest.  If it were really a top priority of CSX, they'd pay for the facility and the Springfield bypass themselves.  While they may be talking, no one has come to the table in the aggressive manner that improvements are taking place in other areas of the country, such as the National Gateway project.

To be fair, and you can go to their annual reports... the Midwest has been identified as a significant long term push for the company.  They're trying to increase freight traffic from mfg centers to the east coast and long-haul freight is a significant profit center as competition is significantly small due to high barriers of entry.  I think they are very interested in increasing cheaper/more efficient rail traffic through Jaxport, they just want the port to pay for some of it(Hundred and a half million in investment for activities that generate hefty profit margins, versus 60 or so million in investments for smaller profit margins... hence they want the port in on the upfront investments too).  And Jaxport has to get motivated to get more money, and they are seeing that... case in point, the search for a replacement for Rick Ferrin... who again, was a great operational man and very well respect(deservedly so).

You're right, it's not their top priority, but its important to both parties(definately the TOP priority for Jaxport IMO).  Long haul freight has higher margins and as such is a higher priority for the rail company, but Jaxport knows its losing out to Savannah whose traffic would still flow through Jacksonville by land.. and the port loses out on money for cargo that would ultimately touch Duval County soil if it gets offloaded by sea an hour and a half up north of here.  CSX is going to get the freight traffic in either scenario, so obviously they know the carrot is in front of Jaxport so they want Jaxport to bring some good money to the table.

I will reiterate my idea for a dedicated funding liason for the port by COJ.  Having a Paul Hardin-type lobbying for funding sources and joint partnerships/deals with logisitics companies would be significant for our community.  I tend to think they envision their new CEO to be this type of person, but a CEO has to wear many hats... which is why a person dedicated to lobbying for federal/state money and to put together deals like say a joint partnership CSX/Jaxport rail offload terminals would be beneficial.

Looking forward to Ock chiming in about the technical details...

thelakelander

November 02, 2010, 05:44:57 PM
At the end of the day long term, a CSX only accessible port is not the answer if JAXPORT wants to be the major player in this country or even the East Coast, that they claim they want to be.  To play in the big leagues, you'll got to put yourself in the best position to compete.  Looking at the assets of competition, that position should include an attempt to make you customers accessible to multiple rail carriers.  On the other end, Jacksonville should not be isolating JAXPORT logistically.  What impacts the port also impacts the rest of the community.  Solving our logistic issues from a holistic standpoint will open the door to additional financial opportunities that JAXPORT can't take advantage of today.

Ocklawaha

November 02, 2010, 09:47:45 PM

This is not some weird untried concept...


Even small towns own and sometimes operate their own railroads...


There is not a lot of profit in this photo for CSX, but a Terminal road might make a buck off those cars...


There is a pay-off...

Let's sort through this mess huh?

1. JAXPORT ALREADY HAS RAIL! YES! WE HAVE IT! I think about one more "Jaxport needs a rail connection" post and I'm going to hit my pain free potion...

2. Anyway we cut it, today-this moment, if you have a heavy shipment of containers headed to Titusville or Macon, you can route via any of our 3 carriers. Railroad's are in competition but always mindful of NETWORK.

As an example let's say 5 double stack cars daily of containers move from Jaxport to a food processor in Titusville. Keep in mind, this same day 40 cars of containers move out to the north via the CSX - off the Jaxport spur - Yulee - Gross - Callahan - and right into Waycross where CSX will create trains and hustle them northward.

Now back to those 5 cars for Titusville. Obviously they are moving over the Florida East Coast, as nobody else get's anywhere near Titusville. Each day the cars come off the Blount Island spur over the CSX, but 5 cars doesn't make a train. So CSX shoves these into a pocket track and waits 4 days so it can economically pull 20 cars to Moncrief Yard, already set up for delivery to the FEC.

The crew ("job" in RR slang) only works the Blount Island-Moncrief segment, so the cars spend the night in Northwest Jacksonville. The following day a "transfer job" moves 59 cars including the 20 container cars down to Bowden Yard on the FEC. From there the FEC will get them to Titusville ASAP, usually within hours.

For the FEC the economy of speed (competition) from truckers may be so poor that they lose the entire daily shipment to the highway, after all was said and done, while it might be far cheaper to use the rails, 5 days to get across Jacksonville was just unacceptable to the shipper.

3. Multiply this times every shipper using the FEC or NS - Houston we have a problem.

4. Note that even with a new 60 million dollar yard, we are not boosting our position in the shipping world one bit.  Nothing in this example is changed with such a yard.

WHAT IF:

1. The city purchased the trackage from Yulee to Maxwell House and everything east thereof, the city also rebuilds the short segment between Jacksonville Terminal and Springfield yard, where it intersects the line to Yulee, this right of way is already city owned.

2. The city leases the track to a shortline operator, in this example we'll use Talleyrand Terminal Railroad as our "operator."

3. The city taps both new intermodal terminals with direct railroad connections as well as constructs a small recieving yard for intermodal loads.

4. Each day Talleyrand Terminal will send it's jobs to Blount Island to switch the port terminals and whatever intermodal yard we end up building. They pull out loads headed to each railroad, as they use smaller equipment, they might choose to do this in 3 trains. So our 40 cars for CSX, arrive at the interchange either at Yulee or Panama Park Jct. ready to roll. Within a couple of hours, 2 other trains have made delivery's of short cuts of cars for both NS AND FEC. These moves could be nocturnal or midday.

5. CSX divests itself of terminal track which carry's a higher risk, harder to work and maintain. While it retains 100% of it's traffic it is able to move that traffic over lines with a much better operating ratio then twisting industrial and port trackage.

6. Talleyrand Terminal would cut a rate deal with each carrier and earn a share of the revenue per car originated. Terminal charges are likely to be flat fees, thus development of new industry is a primary key to shortline successes. The Terminal Company has an incredibly light operating overhead, meaning they CAN profit where giants fail. Perhaps it comes down to: several small trains working constantly to do a great job = one big train that gets a job done.

7. Now with direct Jacksonville Terminal (DOWNTOWN TRAIN STATION) connection the city/state is free to initiate commuter service over the same trackage which would likely run from the Airport Road to downtown, and depending on shortline operations, perhaps into Fernandina Beach (Center St. Station).


OCKLAWAHA

fieldafm

November 02, 2010, 10:12:42 PM
Ok Ock(thank you btw)... since you posted a picture, tell me about Tacoma(oddly enough, another big customer of Mitsui OSK).  They have a decent sized port and a railyard run by the local utility company.  Any links to case studies about their system?

How much would it typically cost to construct such a system?  
What would the typical operating costs be?  
What would be the potential revenue generated?  
Who would administer such a system?  
Are there other municipalities that have shared lines for commuter rail and city-run intermodal services?  
How would this shared line work, aren't their congestion limits on tracks to consider?  If you're talking about say 60 minute headways for commuter rail, and then moving freight as well... how would you keep the lines from running over 50-60% capacity?(isnt this the standard to keep under?)

How would this be cheaper and/or more efficient than partnering with CSX and investing in intermodal container offload terminals?(estimated to be about in the $60million dollar range)

thelakelander

November 02, 2010, 10:24:10 PM
Thanks for the detailed response Ock. In addition to this, potentially using this same track for commuter rail, improvements that help JAXPORT could also be funded with federal New Starts money.  That's something that could fund a lion's share of the cost that isn't available to JAXPORT today. Also, since the line would be municipal owned, millions would be saved by not having to lease ROW from CSX or anyone else. Furthermore, if you follow the FEC model, as the port grows, land adjacent to the rail line could be developed into TOD, industrial and manufacturing uses, strengthening the city's tax base and putting people back to work.

thelakelander

November 02, 2010, 10:28:38 PM
The CSX only intermodal yard still doesn't get shipments to FEC and NS in a timely matter.  That's probably the largest downfall with such an idea.  You're dropping $60 million and still not solving the ultimate problem.

fieldafm

November 02, 2010, 10:30:30 PM
Quote
In addition to this, potentially using this same track for commuter rail, improvements that help JAXPORT could also be funded with federal New Starts money.

When is the time to apply for the 2012 round of transit money?  

fieldafm

November 02, 2010, 10:32:25 PM
The CSX only intermodal yard still doesn't get shipments to FEC and NS in a timely matter.  That's probably the largest downfall with such an idea.  You're dropping $60 million and still not solving the ultimate problem.

Currently, about how much cargo gets rerouted through trucking companies b/c of this 'gap' in the supply chain?

tufsu1

November 02, 2010, 10:35:56 PM
Quote
In addition to this, potentially using this same track for commuter rail, improvements that help JAXPORT could also be funded with federal New Starts money.

When is the time to apply for the 2012 round of transit money? 

you must first conduct preliminary environmental studies before getting in line...and then its a political game.

if we get started on those studies in early 2011 (as JTA plans to do) then we might be able to get in line sometime in 2012...but more likely 2013 or 2014

fieldafm

November 02, 2010, 10:37:45 PM
And then typically you're looking at what, 40-50% of your startup costs if you're succesful in getting the money?

tufsu1

November 02, 2010, 10:38:40 PM
Feds used to fund 80%...now it is as low as 50%

thelakelander

November 02, 2010, 10:53:27 PM
If the 2030 Mobility Plan passes council, additional money generated by the Mobility Fee could be combined with other funding sources as well.  Politically with Mica and Brown (both strong advocates for commuter rail) in position to help, I think we could fare pretty well if we came to the table with a true multimodal solution and local money for matching opportunities.

Ocklawaha

November 02, 2010, 11:24:40 PM
The beauty of this whole concept is that it's a WIN WIN for EVERY player...

CSX, NS, FEC, JAXPORT, COJ, JTA, FDOT...


OCKLAWAHA

spuwho

November 03, 2010, 12:15:10 AM
The only concerns I bring up on the use of the "S" Line as a primary connector;

- A 50 unit dual stack container train moving at essentially yard speed through central Jacksonville at grade will cause some crossing congestion. If these are deferred to night service to facilitate through traffic, then noise will be a concern, especially as it horns to switch or cross non-signalled crossings.

- I agree that cross use for a commuter like system is ideal, but only if freight is moved at night. Freight switching and on time commuter schedules don't mix, especially if the container stacks are long unit types.

- COJ can't fund it without significant contributions from the Feds and FDOT.

thelakelander

November 03, 2010, 12:24:03 AM
The fact that COJ can't fund anything alone is more reason to take the holistic approach. This will allow a local project to qualify for and pool together an assortment of funding options. NS and CSX bound trains (the majority of traffic from the port, I assume) won't have to use the rebuilt S-Line.  However, I'll let the railroad guys explain ways to alleviate noise and scheduling concerns.

fieldafm

November 05, 2010, 11:27:11 AM
Ock, interested in going and crashing the party with your ideas come December?

Via Daily Record:
http://jaxdailyrecord.com/showstory.php?Story_id=532245

Quote
In what proponents believe will further link Northeast Florida to the global economy, the first phase of a comprehensive regional plan was presented Thursday to the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization.

The study, the “North Florida Freight, Logistics and Intermodal Plan,” was presented by Ron Ratliff, RS&H executive vice president.

It detailed the first phase of a comprehensive regional plan to identify freight database development and market trends and pinpoint immediate critical transportation system deficiencies.

The first phase, which is the only part currently funded, will run through next summer.

The purpose, said Ratliff, is to help Northeast Florida keep pace with its competition across Florida and the Southeast.

“It’s a subject I’m very passionate about,” said Ratliff.

“This region has always been a transportation hub. It needs interconnectivity,” he said.

The freight database and market trends will include a commodity flow database while identifying industry best practices and transportation and freight policies, among other factors.

The study features the ports of Jacksonville and Fernandina; military and private ports; rail service, including CSX, Norfolk Southern and Florida East Coast Railway; intermodal rail terminals; Jacksonville International Airport; and the regional highway system.

A future phase of the study will look at long-range infrastructure and policy needs as well as short-range needs in the work program.

Along with RS&H, Cambridge Systematics Inc. and Martin Associates form the consulting team on the study.

In other news from the meeting:

• The board approved a resolution first discussed last month that supports the designation of the Cecil Field Spaceport. The support allows for further opportunity for North Florida TPO to allocate funds on projects such as Cecil Commerce Parkway, New World Avenue and its entrance, along with projects connecting the spaceport to other entities. “It’s not going to compete with anything yet (for funds),” said Jeff Sheffield, North Florida TPO executive director, “but it puts it in the pipeline.”

• The board approved Intelligent Transportation Projects funding recommendations for the next several years, beginning with $700,000 for fiscal 2011-12 followed by $1 million each for fiscal 2012-13 and 2013-14.

For the coming year, projects include $50,000 for installation of equipment on Beach Boulevard that will connect the Beaches to the rest of the signal system and network. In addition, $560,000 will go toward fiberoptic installation from Blanding Boulevard to the Clay County facility at Sleepy Hollow. Currently, the system uses DSL that is now obsolete. The last project funded in the coming year will be installation of intelligent transportation cameras in the Fernandina area along State Road 200.

• The next meeting will be Dec. 9, when board members will elect new officers for the coming year.


dchapman@baileypub.com

CS Foltz

November 05, 2010, 04:25:02 PM
From a personal point of view...........Bay Meadows is supposed to be controled by ITS system! If this is so, sumbitch ain't doing the job! Appears to be just JTA feathering their nest to watch out for someone somewhere, but its not the public! Bay Meadows is still screwed up morning noon and night!

fieldafm

November 05, 2010, 05:26:07 PM
From the Jax Biz Journal
http://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2010/11/04/low-hanging-fruit-up-for-grabs-by-port.html


Quote
‘Low-hanging fruit’ up for grabs by port
Jacksonville Business Journal - by Mark Szakonyi
Date: Thursday, November 4, 2010, 5:02pm EDT

The amount of cargo coming to East Coast ports when the expanded Panama Canal opens in late 2014 will be steady, not the surge expected by some, but there is “low-hanging fruit” available now, a port analyst told the city of Jacksonville’s Logistics Advisory Group members Thursday.

John Martin, president and CEO of port and shipping consultants John C. Martin & Associates LLC, said Florida ports, including Jacksonville, should work to gain the annual 2.8 million TEUs, twenty-foot-equivalent container units, that come to the state through non-Florida ports.

He said about 40 percent of containers imported into Florida go over non-Florida port docks. Building an on-dock or near-dock terminal for moving containers onto trains, and vice versa, would make Jacksonville a more attractive entry point for shipping companies’ customers.


Martin and Cambridge Systematics Inc., a transportation consulting firm, are working with the Jacksonville engineering firm Reynolds, Smith and Hills Inc. to determine the potential for freight movement in Northeast Florida and what are the best ways to increase the region’s share. The $400,000 study commissioned by the First Coast Transportation Planning Organization, along with the Jacksonville Port Authority and City of Jacksonville, will be completed by June 2011, said Ronald Ratliff, RS&H executive vice president.

He said the next phase of the study, which isn’t yet funded, would be to place the findings into the state’s strategic intermodal system plan. This would allow Jacksonville to better tap into state and federal funding since the impact of the port’s trade would be clearer and fit into the state’s push to build its logistics and trade industries.

Ratliff said what other ports have done to increase their trade and what approach will work for Jacksonville needs to be known before a long-term plan is created. The future study phases would also target the short-term priorities of the port.

Martin said East Coast ports will continue to increase their cargo handling, but it won’t be the up to 25 percent surge heralded by some analysts.

Shipping companies will still bring larger ships through the expanded Panama Canal in late 2014 and it’s important for Jacksonville to deepen its channel to 50 feet so the 6,500-TEU and larger ships can call on its docks, Martin said. The impact the expanded Panama Canal will have on East Coast ports has been dampened by improved labor relations at West Coast ports, more competitive rail service and a receding of environmental restrictions.

Martin warned that the Port of Miami, which had federal approval to deepen its port but no funding yet, will be a major competitor. It is essential that Jacksonville is the first U.S. port of call for Asian ships coming through the Panama Canal.

CS Foltz

November 05, 2010, 06:55:13 PM
If we don't get some "RAIL" working into and out of the Port..........we can wish in one hand and defecate in the other, which do you think will fill up quicker?

Noone

December 16, 2010, 05:41:30 AM
Thought this would be a good thread to throw this out. A good local issue. Rail is so important and I'm learning a lot on this issue from those who contribute their knowledge and expertise.

Its off topic but at One stop Thrift at Post and Edgewood I was there and noticed  some old beautiful post cards in great condition of train enginesThey are in an album and larger than your normal post card. Ock, Lake just thinking of you guys but someone else that is interested in the history of Rail may appreciate this. Over 30 post cards of engines all over the country.   
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