A Final Toast For Metro North’s Bar Cars


New York Times sort of summed it up on May 10, 2014: Since before World War II, when rail was king and Prohibition was dead, the rolling saloon has been a national staple — its contents relied upon to make the strangers less strange, the commutes less interminable. But over the years, the bar cars began to disappear: Chicago, one of the last holdouts, abandoned its bar service in 2008.

We wrote about bar cars before then even more about bar cars

Connecticut can and cannot afford, it’s well known that this is a service that more than pays for itself. In the 1960s, the bankrupt New Haven had exactly one line of black ink on its ledgers:  commuter bar cars!  I can’t think of any reason why the economics of this are any different today.

The commuter bar cars were a post-war phenomenon. The New Haven began operating them in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Supposedly Wilfred Duprey, the NH’s dining car department superintendent, got the idea after observing the crowds of drinkers in grill cars employed on special excursion trains. However, in the early 1930s the New Haven operated what was known as a “breakfast bar car” for commuters. This car operated on morning trains running between Stamford and GCT. It may have actually served as the inspiration for the evening commuter bar cars. Regardless, it was the alcoholic beverages served in the commuter bar cars that kept the NH’s dining car service marginally profitable through the end, which is something that no other “modern” railroad was able to do.

Quote from Marc J. Frattasio Feb 18

The Cloud IS the Way… Really?


We’ve been tracking and writing about cloud based systems since the first issue of ec-bp.com. Of course back then in 2003 we referred to is as SaaS or even just ‘online applications.’ Since that time the world has mostly overcome its apprehensions about putting corporate data and processes outside the firewall. Even so, Cloud speculation and operations continue to be big news. To this I say – Whoop-de-doo!


Four Private Companies Are Bidding On Operating AMTRAK Routes


The Indiana Department of Transportation has received four proposals to provide services for the Hoosier State Amtrak route between Chicago and Indianapolis.

Bidders include:

Iowa Pacific Holdings Inc., which operates specialty passenger railroads including the Pullman Rail Journeys between Chicago and New Orleans. It also operates the Saratoga & North Creek Railroad in New York’s Adirondack Region.

Corridor Capital LLC of Los Angeles;

Railmark Holdings Inc. of Wixom, Michigan; and

a partnership between Herzog Transit Services Inc. of Irving, Texas, and Passenger Transportation Specialists Inc. of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Amtrak previously submitted its own proposal for 2014-2015, INDOT said.

INDOT hopes to select a finalist by this summer and begin negotiations that could lead to a public-private partnership, agency spokesman Will Wingfield said. The state transportation department asked last month for proposals for services including operating the train route in its entirety or providing services such as Wi-Fi or food and beverage. The agency did not divulge the contents of the proposals.

The Hoosier State operates four days each week. Another Amtrak train operates on the same route three days per week and proceeds on from Indianapolis.

INDOT and seven local governments are paying a $2.7 million subsidy to Amtrak to keep the Hoosier State running through this fall. That subsidy came about after federal support of certain Amtrak routes of less than 750 miles ended.


Birth Of The Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad


Head on over to Gino’s Rail Museum as soon as possible. I am honored to
host photos of the start of The Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad in
April of 1971. The CMO of the current operation was just a youngster when
he and his mom rode the equipment being moved between Oneonta and
Cooperstown. The former DO Line tourist railroad was relocating from the
former Ulster and Delaware Railroad between Mickle Bridge and Oneonta.
Chris captured the equipment getting ready to leave the old U&D Station in
Oneonta, the ride along the D&H, the stop at Cooperstown Junction and the
ride through Portlandville, Milford and it’s destination at Cooperstown.
Wait ’till you see the ceremony that was held for the start of the new

Feds issue another crude-by-rail emergency order, advisory to enhance safety


The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) yesterday issued an emergency order requiring all railroads operating trains containing large amounts of Bakken crude oil to notify State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs) about the operation of those trains through their states.

The order requires that each train carrying more than 1 million gallons of Bakken crude, or about 35 tank cars, in a particular state provide the SERC notification regarding the expected movement of such trains and the affected counties. The notification must include estimated volumes of Bakken crude, frequencies of anticipated train traffic and the planned routes. The order also requires that railroads provide the SERCs contact information for at least one responsible party and help the commissions share the information with appropriate emergency responders in affected communities.

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Mill Steel to establish facility at rail-served Indiana port in Jeffersonville, IN


Mill Steel Co. announced plans to launch operations at the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville on the Ohio River.

Mill Steel purchased a 105,000-square-foot facility at the port and immediately expects to add 120,000 square feet to the building. To be operational in June, the facility will house two state-of-the-art slitting lines in addition to a cut-to-length line, which will expand the company’s service capabilities, Mill Street officials said in a press release.

Served by CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway and the Louisville & Indiana Railroad Co., the port offers direct connections to multiple railroads. The three railroads also interchange with CN, Canadian Pacific, the Indiana Rail Road Co. and Paducah & Louisville Railway Inc.


In addition, the port offers year-round barge shipping with access to the Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes through the Ohio-Mississippi river system, Ports of Indiana officials said. The port is home to a ‘steel campus’ alliance of 13 businesses that work together to provide a range of metals-related synergies, they said.
“Mill Steel’s advanced manufacturing capabilities are a perfect fit for our multi-modal port environment,” said Ports of Indiana Chief Executive Officer Rich Cooper.

The Ports of Indiana — which also governs ports in Burns Harbor and Mount Vernon — helps businesses boost their logistics skills through direct rail-to-barge capabilities that are strategically located at the nation’s crossroads, said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith.

Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville

The Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville is the fastest growing port on the Inland Waterway System. This intermodal transportation gateway is located on the northern bank of the Ohio River in Jeffersonville, Ind., directly across the river from Louisville, Ky. This location is within a one-day drive of more than two-thirds of the U.S. market and is adjacent to the “automotive and appliance alley.”

As you may know, we have written extensively about the “Big 4” Bridge in Jeffersonville and are very interested in the economic progress of the region.



With help from Penney Vanderbilt