March 29, 2009

CSX Line

This one completely baffles me in the Telegram, Commuter rail talks back on track. The whole issue with CSX and the sale of the train tracks between Worcester and Framingham has been the issue of liability.

The crux of the issue is "CSX wants each side to pay for damages to its own property and passengers; state officials say that policy that would unfairly hold taxpayers accountable for any misconduct or negligence by CSX." The newspaper article states that Government Accountability Office (GAO) has determined, as the article reports, that there is no national standard for railroad agreements that backs CSX.

Who cares what the GAO thinks? CSX owns the line and that is what they want or they will not sell the lines. A headline that says the talks are back on track when then number 1 roadblock is still unresolved makes no sense? It should read "Commuter rail talks at stalemate over liability".


Jahn said...

....and last week did I read of poss. cutbacks in the number of commuter rail trains servicing Worc.....??...............if fewer trains then why does the state need to buy CSX's rights..........and ooooh also there's the small isssue of valuing these rights and then paying for them....???

The problem with teh laibilty issue is that in Mass-Hole - achusetts......if there an accident and the MBTA is 99% at fault and CSX is 1% at fault and the MBTA cant pay b/c they're bankrput (which technically they are and prob. always will be )......then guess what happens under Mass law..........yup............CSX can be held respopnsible for the entire judgement ........even if CSX is deemed only 1% at fault............

Bill Randell said...


I was all excited about the sale of the train lines. If we ever had reliable service to Boston under an hour, it would make the canal district a great place to live.

Right now I just don't see this sale happening.


John said...

I haVE TAKEN THAT TRAIN ONCE AT ABOUT 200PM INTO s. STATION. It was over an hour and half...........and there were no delays........just the rountine multiple stops into boston.......too loong IMO......yes tehres the reliablty issue and then there's the time issue..............constant comlaints by regular riders the train is continually late..........and the state is going buy the rights up and the late arrival times will end.....yup right...........almost as good as improving health care by having uncle sam take it over..........then there's alway the post office......which s/b cut to 3x weekly for residential delivery........and there's my mail person who sits in their truck from 3:15 to 4:15 everyday then heads back to home base for 430 .......try pulling that crap with Fed Ex or even worse UPS...........truck stoppoed for more than few mins at any one location = all the bells and whistles go off at headquaters......unless the driver calls in b4 hand to to advise why the truck is stopped for long in one place.....while we're at it lets have gubmint handle and asian long horn beetel program too.......and the public schools too........ohhh the airport too

Anonymous said...

Speaking of rail service to Boston, whatever happened to the talk about rail service to NORTH STATION in Boston? Wasn't a consideration to have rail service start in the Greendale section of Worcester...go through Clinton and onto North Station in Boston? If Worcester had rail service to North AND South Station ... then you would see a TON of investment in Worcester.

Harry T
Worcester, MA

Paulie's Point of View said...

how engaged is this community in rail transportation??? Really!

my family has a property that is going to be taken via eminant domain for the green line extention in a year or two..the green line extention has been all the talk for years in the area...citizen groups involved..public hearings...seems one guy is carrying the torch out here...TIM...little community involvement

Anonymous said...

...ahhh Paulie ... but invision if you will if Worcester had trains running to North AND South Station... high paying medical, educational, finance folks who love the big $$$$ paychecks of Boston would love Worcester's affordability... with all those disposable dollars laying around then the stimulus of the urban core can finally be realized...

...and I am thinking this with a sound mind, too...

Harry T

Paulie's Point of View said...

I didn't say it isn't a good thing Harry (T)hin Mint..what I said is that the WooTown community is not engaged in the process which is not surprising considering this recent eacher fiasco in the city

Anonymous said...

OK Paulie ... you got me there ... although wouldn't it be nice to see all those big Boston $$$$ types coming into the urban core of Worcester and ...if they want anything done in the neighborhood, they would have to treck on down to Chandler Street ... kiss the Guinness soaked hand of Paulie "Urban Core"-leone Collyer while they observe him stroking his pet Beagle Buddy ...and asking him for favors ...what a trip that would be !!!


Boston can have Whitey Bulger, Worcester can have Paulie Collyer !!!

Harry T(he Godfather part 4?)

Bill Randell said...

I think transportation, rail and air, are the keys to Worcester future. The better the commuter service, to both North or Sout Station, and air service.

This story in today's paper bummed me out and puts the whole sale of this section or rail back to where we have been all along . The whole liability issue.

You are right about Tim in the forefront of this issue but is how for local people to get engaged when nobody lets you in? I, for example, would love to be on Airport Commission.

Since I live one mile over the line in Holden I can not be engaged.

Paulie's Point of View said...

you look a little like Clemenza

Jeff Barnard said...

I posted about this train wreck back at the beginning of October, so I won't fill up the comment space with my ranting about it here. The problem with the liability issue, as Jahn appears to understand, was adequately explained almost a year ago.

Bill Randell said...


The mistake I made was that, well here goes.

The problem has been liability all along. When they announced last year that they had reached an agreement, I assumed the liability issue had been worked out.

Today when I read that it had not, I was kind of shocked. Why did they make the big announcement last year if the liability issue had not been resolved?


jahn said...

Bill, you can't be shocked that you were lied to by pols about an issue..........????.....specific ally the libailty issue being settled.......bill it is easily settled ..... just have all the tort lawyer legislators on beacon hill do away with the law...........begining w/Senor Timothy.........too bad it probably wont here's a case where lawyers are impairing potential econ. growth

and how engaged is Tim (and Deval?)in Worc and the other 350 municipalities in Mass..............well they're so seems they forgot about my property tax cut.........

Deval is more concerned about where he'll be in Washington 4 years from Murray better start wondering where he'lll be in 4 years too...........CEO of Community Dev'ment Corporation????..... or maybe suing St Gobain in another tort case and getting his proverbial legal +++ whipped...and making the wall st journal for being Mayor & fool enough to sue the one remaning large manufacturing company in his city.........yup....tim's all for econ. growth as long as he gets his 1/3 fee plus outta pocket expenses.......gotta win for that to happen tho

Worcester tivia: Who took more times to pass the bar exam Tim (Torts) Murray or John (No Comment) Conte?

Anonymous said...

Here are the particulars regarding the proposed Worcester->Clinton->Boston North Station line:

Harry (MB)T(A)

Anonymous said...

For those that couldn't open the link...

Boston eyes commuter line to link Clinton, Worcester
By Jason Crotty/Correspondent
Fri Mar 14, 2008, 03:12 PM EDT

Clinton - Dinorah Caraballo, serving the town as permit clerk and planning and zoning board secretary, just received a spark from which she hopes to start a commuter rail revolution.
“I was getting discouraged. I didn’t think it would happen at all,” said the Berlin Street resident. “It was nice hearing Lt. Gov. [Timothy] Murray’s response, and seeing the recent coverage in the papers.”
Murray recently proposed running commuter rail trains north from Worcester along a track that runs through Clinton and Lancaster. The Boston-bound train would join the MBTA’s existing Fitchburg line at Ayer. The proposal would restore passenger train service to Clinton for the first time since 1958.
Although the line was touted as a way of adding more Worcester-to-Boston trips without burdening the MBTA’s Framingham line, Caraballo said the proposed line would have side benefit of greatly improving public transit in Clinton.
“For students going to school in Worcester, two different bus connections were required and this took one hour,” she said. “There are no travel options for anybody without a car.”
State Rep. Harold Naughton Jr., D-Clinton, said the commuter rail proposal would help protect the environment and save time.
“Commuter time will be shortened and car gas usage being cut will help with gas being well over $3 a gallon and atmosphere emissions happening,” said Naughton. “Based on the number of people in Clinton, the whole project is a great concept, although it’s some years off, if it happens at all. But I’m glad the [Gov. Deval Patrick and Murray] administration has taken some interest in it.”
Naughton said traffic reduction would also be beneficial.
“The former Marlborough mayor [Dennis Hunt] held a meeting with Clinton selectmen talking about reducing traffic congestion on Route 495. 495 is heavily used by people going to the Mass. Pike,” said Naughton.
As chairman of the Clinton Commuter Rail Service Committee, a volunteer group seeking train service for Clinton, Caraballo wrote a letter to Murray on Feb. 1 outlining the group’s hope for train service to Clinton.
Murray sent a reply on Feb. 25, supporting commuter rail service to Clinton. He said he awaits a decision from the state Executive Office of Transportation.
Neither Murray nor Secretary of Transportation Bernard Cohen could offer additional comment before the Times & Courier’s Tuesday evening deadline.
Caraballo sees commuter rail as increasingly important.
“The committee [has] done two limited surveys and have found people would like to have train service,” stated her letter to Murray. “The reasons were to take the family to Boston for events, shopping and work.”
One survey, consisting of 130 local residents attending Olde Home Day last year, determined people predominantly use trains on weekends or on a monthly basis. Of the 130 people, 113 of whom currently travel by car, 84 said they use the train for recreational purposes, while 27 others said they take the train into work and 29 others to connect to other transportation.
Naughton said Chapter 40R, a 2007 redevelopment law, would play an important role in sparking Clinton’s economy if commuter rail comes to town.
“40R will ensure the redevelopment of residential property near commuter rails, assisting in revitalizing town services and business. It is a great dovetailing,” he said.
Fellow state Rep. James Eldridge, D-Acton, also said commuter rail is a sound option.
“There is an increased demand for [this service] and if the people of Clinton are interested, it’s a good idea,” he said.
Town Administrator Michael Ward also backs the proposal.
“I applaud the efforts of the administration for this idea. I hope they get involved and see it happen,” he said.
In addition to Clinton and Lancaster, towns along the Worcester to Ayer route include West Boylston, Sterling and Harvard.
Harvard Town Administrator Timothy Bragan directed comments to Ayer officials. Ayer Planning and Development Director Christopher Ryan said a connection to Worcester and other towns would be helpful.
“I’m forecasting it to produce further upgrades within local towns,” he said.
Caraballo said the Rail Service Committee originally had eight members, but membership is down to three because of a lack of results.
In the May 2006 town election, Caraballo presented a question on the ballot asking if commuter train service should be in Clinton. She said approximately 2,000 voters were in favor.
With the help of a Clinton company, the committee hopes to raise funds to support commuter rail.
“Tyca has made us bags with trains stitched on, which we hoped to sell at Christmas last year but weren’t able to. We need to become a non-profit organization first, but we hope to raise some money.”

Harry (MB)T(A)
Worcester, MA

Anonymous said...

For now, this is the only additional confirmed train service to downtown Worcester:

Harry T(rainspotting)

Rich said...

What am I missing?

"But for years, the major sticking point has been a dispute over liability in the case of an accident: CSX wants each side to pay for damages to its own property and passengers; state officials say that policy that would unfairly hold taxpayers accountable for any misconduct or negligence by CSX."

"In June, Mr. McGovern and other members of Congress asked the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, to study railroad liability agreements. In a press release Thursday, U.S. Rep. James L. Oberstar, D-Minn., chairman of the House transportation committee, said the GAO report confirms that deals between local transit authorities and big freight rail companies “often result in commuter railroads assuming most of the financial risks for serving the public.”

The study found that by accepting some of the liability provisions demanded by freight companies, commuter rail agencies expose themselves — and taxpayers — to significant costs. But rejecting those provisions can lead to stalemate, “meaning that new commuter rail systems or expansions may not be realized,” the report states."

So there IS precedent for what CSX is asking for. It may not be legal precedent but this seems to be the "normal" negotiating position of the freight carrier.

Once again we spent time and taxpayer money to tell us what we already knew.

Jahn said...

I wonder if the Worc regional transit authority (the bus co.) has limited liabilty in the event of an accident involving other types of transport vehicles. If they do, then why cant CSX have similar treatment?? or at least change the law re: joint liabilty. This joint liabilty law is clearly an impediment to businesses expanding in Mass.

Anonymous said...

CSX is known nationally for not wanting to be on the hook for damage and injury to humans. Since they don't transport humans on a regular basis, they do not want to be responsible for them.

There are actually ways to make the deal happen. You take the deal and you keep CSX on an extremely tight leash. CSX has had serious maintenance problems regarding trackage in the past and it is very easy to get the Federal Railroad Administration to bang them on the head for those things.

MA should just take the deal and make the operating tolerance extra tight for CSX and you'll be fine.

Bill Randell said...


Wny would CSX want to do that??? They don't need the cash.. In fact CSX is running fine as is..