Conrail Shared Assets

Information Systems for Infrastructure

LTK is assisting Conrail Shared Assets in updating its infrastructure assets databases and maintenance production history.

IA1-ConrailConrail Shared Assets is a switching and terminal carrier for Norfolk Southern Railway Company (NS) and CSX Transportation, Inc. (CSX) with operations in the Philadelphia area, New Jersey, and Detroit.  NS and CSX created the carrier in 1999 as part of their split-up of Consolidated Rail Corporation.  Conrail Shared Assets serves as a neutral partner giving equal customer access to both NS and CSX.  Conrail Shared Assets retains responsibility for train operations and infrastructure maintenance.

LTK is assisting Conrail Shared Assets in updating and maintaining its infrastructure database.  Because LTK professionals were key architects of Conrail’s asset database, LTK was commissioned to convert historical data (predating the split-up) into Conrail’s current data management system.  LTK performed the following tasks:

  • Developed program specifications for processing archived Asset Management System data into the current Track Chart System.
  • Updated and realigned maintenance production data (capital programs) and track configuration data covering a six year period.
  • Produced updated track charts with current track configuration and maintenance data.
  • Installed and updated Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Route files and analyzed data from the locomotive on-board GPS receivers, to determine the best way to utilize these for management purposes.
  • Assisted in annual data uploads and data quality control for track charts.

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Capital Area Transit (CAT)

Preliminary Design of Commuter Rail System

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Capital Area Transit (CAT), serving the Harrisburg, PA region, engaged Gannett Fleming and LTK Engineering Services to perform the preliminary design of their CORRIDORone starter commuter rail system.  CAT granted this work as follow-on work to earlier successful conceptual studies.  CORRIDORone is a two-legged through commuter rail route between Lancaster, Harrisburg, and Mechanicsburg, PA. 

Gannett Fleming engaged LTK for operations analysis, track layout review, vehicle choice guidance, operations and maintenance cost forecasting, and other systems engineering.

LTK’s operations task included commuter train schedule development based on service parameters provided by CAT.  One parameter consisted of blending CAT and Amtrak Keystone service schedules between Harrisburg and Lancaster, necessitating schedule discussions with Amtrak.  Additional complexity to the schedule integration occurred during this study when Amtrak announced a line upgrade increasing speed and frequencies.  LTK in establishing the CAT schedules identified a line capacity constraint and developed a position paper for the client as background for future line enhancement negotiations.  Upon conclusion of schedule development, LTK produced pro forma operations and maintenance budgets adaptable to various contemplated scenarios.

LTK’s track layout task entailed conceptual advising for locating single and multiple track portions on the segment between Harrisburg and Mechanicsburg.  This piece of CORRIDORone utilizes a freight branch line that requires reconfiguration, rehabilitation, and coordination with Norfolk Southern.  Drawing on the schedule development, coupled with discussions with Norfolk Southern, LTK developed a joint line track configuration.  Integral in the track layout is the separation for Norfolk Southern yard and local switching operations from the commuter operations.   LTK also made recommendations on cost tradeoffs between separated and joint track usage.

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United States Department of Justice

Appraisal of Three Rivers Marine and Rail Terminal

Charleroi, Pennsylvania

The United States Department of Justice, through Insignia/ESG, Inc. engaged LTK Engineering Services to perform an appraisal of the rail component of a barge/truck/rail transload property.  A small portion of the property, including some railroad trackage, was being taken by condemnation due to reconstruction of an access road to an adjoining lock and dam.  Even though small, the taking, left unmitigated, would have severed CSX’s access to the Terminal, along with access by the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad to an industrial complex. 

The Department of Justice engaged Insignia/ESG and LTK to determine the loss of property value to Three Rivers Marine and Rail Terminal that the property taking would cause, as well as the cost of mitigation.  Central to the appraisal was an in-depth analysis of the existing rail operation available to Three Rivers, as well as the options for rail operation after the taking.  The value determination hinged on the overall potential utility of a marine/rail terminal property with different configurations of track and rail carrier access patterns.  Although there were options for restoring CSX’s access, an unmitigated taking of track would have reduced track storage space available to Three Rivers and the ability to handle long blocks of cars.  Both of these impacts could have had significant consequences on Three Rivers’s ability to attract future barge/rail transloading business.

LTK performed a comprehensive inventory of the rail facilities, including a condition assessment, and the serving rail carriers’ operations in servicing the terminal.  One component of the value determination was based on the assets, developed from a reconstruction cost estimate of the rail facilities, less deprecation.  The other component of value included analyzing potential terminal rail/barge transload capacity, particularly unit train handling using 286,000 pound gross weight rail cars.  The unmitigated taking seriously impaired the terminal’s potential for handling whole train loads or even very long blocks of cars unless replacement tracks were located in an area of the terminal where they would consume valuable ground storage space.  Another undesirable consequence was potentially reducing service from the regional rail carrier if their access to nearby industries were severed.  Valuation analysis included the impact of higher rates from the potential loss of two-carrier service, and the potential loss of train load rates. 

The analysis showed that it was prudent and cost effective to build the lock and dam access in a way that would provide for replacement trackage configured in the same manner as the tracks being taken.  The replacement tracks were built shortly after the completion of the appraisal.

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Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA)/Port Authority Transit Company (PATCO)

Rail Infrastructure Inspection

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Lindenwold, New Jersey

Since 2004, LTK has conducted biennial infrastructure and support system inspections of the Port Authority Transit Company (PATCO).  PATCO is a subsidiary of the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) and operates a 14-mile double-track rapid transit line linking downtown Philadelphia and Lindenwold, NJ.  The purpose of these inspections is to fulfill bondholder requirements to document that PATCO is properly maintaining the assets in accordance with industry standards and good maintenance practices.

IA4-PATCOLTK activities comprise the following tasks:

  • Physical inspection of the assets, including track, power supply, signals, and fare collection system
  • Interviews with maintenance staff
  • Review of inspection and maintenance records
  • Assessment of recently implemented as well as planned capital programs

LTK summarized the results of these activities in report form to provide the following information:

  • Various assets assessments:
    • Track
    • Traction Power
    • Maintenance/Utility Equipment
    • Signals
    • Ticket Vending Machines
    • Communication Systems
    • Supervisory Structure
  • Assessment of the effectiveness of maintenance practices
  • Assessment of the effectiveness of inspection practices
  • Changes in condition since the previous biennial inspection
  • Recommendations for maintenance improvements and future capital program work

LTK shares the report findings with PATCO maintenance staff and supports the findings with extensive photographic coverage of conditions encountered.

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New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and NJ Transit (NJT)

New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway (NYSW) Rail Infrastructure Valuation

Hawthorne to Sparta, New Jersey

IA5-NYSWGraphicThe New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), in conjunction with New Jersey Transit (NJT), investigated the feasibility of acquiring 52 miles of the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway (NYSW) between Hawthorne and Sparta, NJ.  NYSW is an active freight carrier connecting upstate New York with intermodal facilities in northern New Jersey. The investigation was driven by NJT’s interest in obtaining control of the corridor for future commuter rail development between northern New Jersey counties and Manhattan.

LTK assisted NJDOT by developing estimates of the value of rail assets on the NYSW property.  LTK performed a comprehensive physical inspection, asset inventory and condition assessment.  Assets considered included rail, other track material (OTM), special trackwork, ties, ballast, roadbed, highway grade crossings, and highway warning devices.

IA5-NYSWPicLTK estimated the value of these assets under three recognized valuation theories:   

  • Gross Liquidation Value (GLV), which reflected the gross proceeds associated with theoretical abandonment of the line, gained through an orderly disposition of resalable assets for their highest-and-best use. 
  • Net Liquidation Value (NLV), which deducted projected dismantlement costs from GLV to estimate the net proceeds which could be obtained through an orderly disposition of resalable assets.   
  • Reconstruction Cost New Less Depreciation (RCND), which estimated the cost to replicate the  assets in “new” condition, minus appropriate deductions for obsolescence and observed wear-and-tear, to develop an estimate of the “in-place” values of all assets, resalable or not.  

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Confidential Client (CC)

Rail Infrastructure Assessment

LTK supported a large North American rail carrier as a confidential client (CC) to obtain long-term asset-secured financing for general capital restructuring.  CC successfully operates mixed heavy haul and general merchandise freight traffic on a medium density corridor.  CC also operates branchlines and major freight terminal facilities. 

LTK’s role in the due diligence services included verifying the physical condition of rolling stock, infrastructure, and operations.  LTK provided the potential financiers with assessments that included past maintenance practices, current conditions, and an opinion on the ability of the carrier to carry forward maintenance and capital programs. 

The financiers had special concerns on the business risks associated with bridges.  LTK demonstrated through records that the carrier has appropriately reinvested in bridges, ranging from pro-active inspections to innovative upgrades, and replacements.  Also, CC’s major business risk due to a bridge calamity is relatively small due to availability of detour routes and quick response construction contractors.

LTK provided a comprehensive review of the railroad infrastructure, operations, terminal and line capacity, and equipment assessment including the following:

  • IA6-ConfidentialClientTrainEquipment maintenance facilities
  • Railroad infrastructure
    • Track Structure
    • Right-of-Way
    • Structures
    • Highway crossings
    • Communications
  • Locomotives
  • Freight cars
  • Work equipment
  • Train control systems
  • Operations
    • Overview
    • Capacity
    • Efficiency
  • Staffing


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