Ideas for the Future.


Is Governor Lynch invincible?

I don’t know the answer to this question. I didn’t watch the state of the state address or hear any of the details of the jobs program. Apparently the governor talked about the new federal prison opening in Berlin and the 300 or so jobs it will create in this area. It should be interesting to see how many of these jobs actually go to NH residents and what kind(s) of training and/or education opportunities exist at this new prison. It’s my impression that many of the jobs are for corrections officers and though the position offers a decent hourly wage there isn’t much opportunity for career advancement sans the training in the prison environment itself.

But the environment inside a prison… An education in human psychology. That might be worth something.

Then Gov. Lynch talked about another project in New Hampshire.  And this is the widening of I-93 and the continued political interest in rail through the capital corridor a/k/a the New Hampshire Mainline from the Ma. border up through to Concord.

This is a video I found on UTUBE which I think can demonstrate why it’s going to be extremely difficult if not impossible for this rail project to move forward in New Hampshire. The train shown is the NH Bow Unit Coal train featuring a Canadian Pacific Alco M 636 on the head end. If you’re a rail buff like me this is an important shot because Alco stopped manufacturing these locomotives in 1970-1971 and its rare even to see one never mind on a valuable revenue train like a coal job. The trio of power behind the Alco are SD-40s built by the Electro Motive Division of General Motors they are very common among mainline railroads and leasing companies of which these are.  The coal train which was filmed in 1992 is restricted to ten miles an hour through the entire length of its journey through New Hampshire; the primary reason for this is that the track and roadbed structure simply cannot support the weight and inertia of the heavy locomotives and trains moving at faster speeds. And it’s a multi-million dollar proposition to upgrade these tracks to allow the faster speeds.

So now it becomes a clear question of economics or perhaps politics. I think the question is this who should invest in the upgrade in these tracks and why? I don’t think the railroad is ever going to purse this because of the economics of the line. The coal account at Bow is certainly a lucrative contract but not enough of a reason on its own to make this capital investment. Ten miles an hour is perfectly acceptable to bring the coal trains to their destination. To my knowledge there isn’t another freight customer or customers on this line that could justify this investment. I also believe that if PSNH-Bow were to ever stop receiving coal that this entire line could be filed for abandonment.

So this leaves the politics. Last fall Rep. Peter Leishman filed an LSR seeking to have the state investigate acquiring the NH Mainline I don’t see this happening.

To Be Continued…

Source: nhrailroadman.