March 16, 2008

CSX and Liability

Story in today's paper how liability is the impasse in negotiations with CSK to buy 20.90 mile railroad line between Framingham and Boston. Buying this line is the key to achieve the goal of 20 trains per day each way from Boston to Worcester.

Right now CSX still owns the tracks and lets the the state use it on a limited basis, with a no fault liability provision. Any claims are paid by the Commonwealth, no matter who is at fault. Since its inception in 1995, some minor claims have been filed although the story does not detail who was at fault. The only way CSX will sell the line is that a no-fault liability provision must be included.

Can you blame them? First CSX is not hurting for money so they do not have to sell it. Second if they do sell it and there are now twenty communter lines traveling this stretch each way the chances of claims occuring ten fold. Is it worth the risk for them? Obviously it is not and they will not sell it until this happens.

Our politicians can say whatever they want, but this sale is not going to happen without a no fault liability provision and you can not blame CSX.


Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed how the council has stepped up to the plate on this issue?

They are using the "pARIS cINEMA" methodology. Palmieria & Clancy are LOoking to examine CSX infrastrucure in the City for code violations, checking for possible toxic spill sites along the tracks, and other such "shopping cart" baloney. Maybe they should take a drive by some city owned properties that I have outlined on here, before they start throwing mud

Problem is that CSX is not some 2 bit, cash strapped, small time porno venture. CSX is a $20$ Billion operation and I am sure their in-house counsel as well their hired legal guns are not going to rollover and go away like the Paris or some small time landlord.

You come into my sandbox and play, then you play by my rules. You want to buy my sandbox, here's the deal take it or leave. You want to take my sandbox via eniment domain......yup can do that, too, but you'll have to consider my increased insuarnace costs as part of the purchase price, b/c more passenger traffic on our former lines = more liablity.

BTW, it's a bit ironic that the city & state do not want to limit CSX's liablity, yet the City has very, very limited liablity (by law) when it screws up. Check my numbers on this, but I think it's limited to $100,000 unless the plaintiff can prove gross negligence on the citys part. I wonder if that's why the city recently settled a suit against the police for $100,000........b/c maybe the plaintiff's lawyer knew that proving gross negligence was going to be a hard sell.

Also, why are we pushing this matter, when no one knows where the money is going to come from to fund it. State projected budget is reportedly $2 billion in the red for 2009 already and the Boston papers are reporting the pols want to build a commuter line to the Fall River/ New Bedford area b/c they have none. WHo gets what first....expanded rail service for Worc or a line to the South Coast? Maybe Murrays got the juice to get us ours first, if he's still around a few years from now.

Anonymous said...

Jahn is right on point. Once again the "D" team is totally out of its league. Has anyone noticed that the Lt. G has been very quiet on this issue? He knows that this is going nowhere and will not piss into a fan. Commuter service is the one huge possibility for downtown renewal and these guys are going at it the wrong way. Time for a new plan. Time to end the small time bullying. We need polished professional corporate or bright legal types to see what has worked in similar situations and put them on the case. This is one situation where if the city has to pay the right people to get things going it would be worth it. You can tell however, that this will take a lot of years and we will need to be patient.