Leasing and Trackage Rights

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by 2-8-2, Nov 24, 2006.

  1. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    This isn't so much an operations question as it is a business question. If this is the wrong forum for this, please direct a moderator to move it to the right location...

    I'm trying to redo my freelanced road's history and operating agenda, to make it more believable. It's located in the heart of Ohio's Nickel Plate Road territory, and has interchanges with several others in the 1950's. You can view my system map here.

    By the 1950's, the NKP had acquired the W&LE, which had major lines running through Ohio's coal region in the SE part of the state. I want my railroad to have access to the coal industry and these rails, but my 110 miles of track are located in the NW part of the state.

    My question is...would it have been more realistic for the NKP to lease my short line, therefore I could travel all of NKP's trackage in Ohio or to have a trackage agreement with the NKP allowing my company to use the lines running through the coal region?
  2. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Hi 2-8-2..
    I would have answered this sooner but,wanted to do some research first in order to give you a solid answer.
    First the nearest coal Field shelf to Norwalk is the Goshen Coalfield located in Tuscarawas and Carroll counties.
    Getting there from Norwalk.
    First by looking at your map it appears the W&N is a short line that serves no major cities or lake ports..Not to worry there is lots of short lines like that.Now lets us study on some possibilities.:D
    1.We can merge the W&N with another short line running from say Coshocton to Sandusky.That would give the W&N coal mine to Lake Port operation.:thumb:
    2.You could become a member road in the Alphabet route and use trackage rights on the W&LE to the coal fields but,I doubt if such would have happen..


    3.As part of NKP acquisition of the W&LE the W&N got trackage rights to Coshocton and and 2 mines..

    Now my choice will be A rather then then 2 & 3 because the W&N would be competitive with the NKP/W&LE for lake coal as it would give the shippers alternative routing to Lake Erie.
    Another thought would be a power plant at Grand Rapids and the W&N can function like a conveyor belt between mine and the power plant much like the real C&IM.
  3. liven_letdie

    liven_letdie Member

    Interesting history on the alphabet route, us West Coasters don't bother with that black stuff. I knew of only two of the lines listed and I think the only reason I have ever heard of them was due to these "special tactics" to keep up with the big boys. Thanks for the info!

  4. kitsune

    kitsune Member

    If the NKP leased your line, it would effectively cease to exist. The NKP would almost certainly use it's own power and crews. The W&N engines would mix with the NKP stuff and might keep their paint, and they might even wander down to coal territory. But it wouldn't be the same as a W&N train going down there.

    If W&N had a trackage right over NKP, W&N trains could run over NKP to get theoretically get to mines down there. But since it's a trackage right, it's likely they'd only be getting to interchange closer to the mine, and not serve it directly, as most railroads do not allow switching rights to go with the track rights. It's not in their interest to give their revenue away to another carrier. On a similar note, it's likley that what would happen is NKP would route the coal headed for the W&N via NKP rails and trains as far as it can, to get the highest split of the revenue, and then hand it off right where the W&N tracks start. The W&N, on the same token, would probably run it's coal empties via track rights as far south as possible, and hand them off there.

    If the W&N's management *coughs* just wants coal on it's line, then any customer on the W&N needing coal would do that. If the W&N is looking to acquire revenue by directly serving coal mines, it'll need to build to reach them.

    One suggestion to fulfill the latter, have a small shortline down south build to reach some mines -- even just a 1-2 mile shortline will do -- and then have it end up in the W&N corporate fold, and have it linked to the W&N via trackage rights. Now you have a captive customer on an isolated but commonly owned line, and you can use NKP trackage rights to connect the business from there to the W&N proper.
  5. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    First, thanks for the responses guys!

    Second, the quote above is where I'm stuck. When I created this railroad, the name Wauseon & Norwalk just sort of wouldn't go away. It sounded "railroady" as others have put it, and I like the name. However, after digging deeper into the Ohio industries and the competition, it seems like my short line may be short-changed.

    I wanted to be able to run NKP on my rails, that was a must. I didn't want to model the NKP, because I'm not a rivet counter, and I like the alternate history possibilities with a freelanced road. However, had my road actually existed...I'm not sure it would be very profitable. There's some major competition in this neck of the woods.

    Larry has a valid point, and I need to look at that before moving forward. I think I could still keep the W&N name, but I should do some rerouting of my line and come up with an advantage to using my rails over the competition's. It's funny that he mentions Sandusky, and an alternate port to Lake Erie...because I've been looking at that myself over the past few days.

    I'm heavily considering extending a line down from Norwalk to Stuebenville, which would also give me a port on the Ohio River. I could connect through Canton, and Akron as well...giving some major cities along the route. The only problem with that is the name...I'd have to come up with something different. Maybe I'll luck out and find some cities down there and be able to keep my website address (wn-rr.net) and road herald. Wish me luck!
  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    2-8-2 First if you like we can go into a in depth study to see how you can get there from here.I am willing to help with ideas and suggestions..I also plan on doing a topic on forming,naming and day to day ops in the next few days.Still I am willing to help you as much as I can because short lines just*might* be my only strongest forte in the hobby.sign1
  7. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member


    Personally I wouldn't worry about the name so much.. Railroads oftentimes operate in areas that's nowhere near their name. For instance, the New York Central operated trackage as far west as Illinois. That's quite a few hundred miles from New York! ;)
  8. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    The NYC also went to St.Louis,Ontario and Quebec..
  9. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    I rest my case! :D

    Another one... Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe... It operated as far east and north as Chicago, as far west and south as Lalaland before it got "bunsuf"ed..

    As long as the region of operation falls within a few hundred miles of the named locations I guess it's OK! sign1
  10. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    The B&O was "Linking 13 Great States with the Nation".:D
  11. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    The AT&SF doesn't link two of it's three names. I believe Atchinson, and Topeka are no longer served. What about Santa Fe?
  12. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    Those are some major (Class I) railroads. ATSF, B&O, etc. I think when it comes to shortlines, if the company is named after cities, they're going to be on the route. In my case, I could still route my line through Wauseon and Norwalk. But there's about 100 miles between them. If I extend a route all the way to southern Ohio, I'd have my railroad named after about 25% of my trackage...which seems kind of silly to me.

    Larry, I made it to Steubenville. From Norwalk, here's the route:
    - Wellington
    - Medina
    - Akron
    - Greentown
    - Canton
    - Waynesburg
    - Carollton
    - Amsterdam
    - Steubenville

    There are a few others along the route, but you should be able to follow it from the list above. Does this seem feasible? I think my route is definitely a more direct route to Lake Erie than others, which would be an advantage. Any thoughts?

    Also, I considered routing my line to Wheeling, VA. I could keep my herald and change the name to Wheeling & Norwalk or Wheeling & Northern.
  13. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Hi 2-8-2 :wave:
    Looks good,,Let's see then..
    At Akron you have a strong connection with PRR,B&O,Erie,
    At Canton you have a strong East,West and Northwest connection with the B&O/PRR.
    At Steubenville
    you have a strong East,West and Southwest connection with the PRR.:thumb:
    Plus your NKP connection and a NYC connection at Sandusky.

    Also the W&N on the edge of the Pittsburgh coal seam #8 which is just South of Steubenville so the addition of some "coal branches" out of Steubenville will cover your coal needs as well as the Goshen coal Fields around Carrollton..

    See how competitive your railroad has become? :thumb: It is now a strong player in moving Ohio coal to Lake Erie and has several major connections for routing Ohio industrial goods to the Nation..
    I like the Wheeling & Northern..
  14. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member


    I routed the line NW of Norwalk back along its original line back to Wauseon to establish a connection to the DT&I and Wabash. Also, I extended the line S to Wheeling, VA and added a few branchlines into a few of the major coal producing counties (Jefferson, Belmont) and also near Carrollton. From Norwalk, a branchline extends N to Sandusky and Lake Erie.

    You were right...NOW this feels more like the shortline I want. What maps are you using for reference to the coal regions? The one I have is great, but it highlights the regions according to which railroad served them. The actual name of the areas is hard to read.

    I'll have to make a few changes, but Wheeling & Northern does have a ring to it. This new route definitely opens up some more industry and modeling options. I think because my layout space is so small, I found myself thinking small. Who knows, maybe one day the CFO will approve more real estate for me, but for now at least, 4x6 will have to do.
  15. brakie

    brakie Active Member

  16. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I think I said somehwere else that if you can add an imaginary line, you can delete some of the lines that did exist. (If my line had existed, they wouldn't have had to build ...)
    And railroads can be bigger and smaller than their names. Check how many lines had Pacific in their names but never got past the mid-west (or even the near-west).
  17. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    In the beginning every small town and city wanted rail service..This coupled to the local industry lead to several short lines being built because a major railroad may have not been interested and by past that city or town or in some case flat refused to build a branch line to that city or town..Sadly a lot of these short lines fell on hard times and was abandon some times within a short period of time due to several reasons including the local industry such as coal,lumber and stone playing out..Of course some railroads was doom from the start due to very little industry and the coming of automobiles and paved roads killed what passengers they haul..

    So,a major railroad would have been built anyway and may have parallel the short line for a short distance after all major railroads could and did parallel each other..
  18. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    As an European ( born in Belgium ) , I always found the operations of railroads in USA and Canada fascinating. Terms such as consolidation, trackage rights and haulage agreement are completely unknown to me because in Belgium ( and most other European countries ) there is only one state owned railroad company.
    That's why there will never be any robber baron in Belgium :)
  19. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Adding to Brakie, the routing of a railway could make or break a town. Two nearby small towns, no discernable difference, and one suddenly becomes hugw when the railway chooses it. Or a prosperous town holds out for too many concessions and the railway goes elsewhere.
  20. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    One other point about the building of a railroad that turned out not to be so profitable...

    The railroads were the "dot com" of their time, especially in the mid- to late-1800s. In many cases it was much more profitable to build a railroad than it was to run it...! ;)


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