D&H South End Sale Approved by STB

On May 15, the Surface Transportation Board approved Norfolk Southern’s petition to acquire 267 miles of the old Delaware & Hudson Freight Main Line between Sunbury, Pa., and Schenectady, N.Y., including the Voorheesville running Track from owner Canadian Pacfic. Trackage rights from Schenectady to Mechanicille would allow NS to reach the new intermodal yard located there, and the connection with Pan Am Southern and the Patriot Corridor route to Boston. According to the STB notice, the transaction will benefit shippers and increase operating efficiency since NS is now the principal user of this route.

One item of interest was the potential for NS to acquire the trackage rights formerly assigned to D&H down the Hudson Line to access the Long Island interchange at Fresh Pond, N.Y. The STB responded in its explanation that those trackage rights were granted as a result of the 1999 Conrail break-up, and are not related to this most recent acquisition by NS.

Also of note was short line Saratoga & North Creek’s petition to have the contractual barrier struck down to allow interchange with Norfolk Southern as well as D&H (CP) at Saratoga Yard. Because the request was related to potential future traffic and not current carloads, SNC’s request was denied. The STB decision also stressed that while the overall footprint of D&H will be reduced by this line sale, “Delaware & Hudson will continue to exist as a common carrier, separate from Norfolk Southern,” and remain a subsidiary of Canaidan Pacific.

The D&H is one of America’s oldest transportation companies, dating back to the 1823 creation of the Delaware & Hudson Canal Co. The decision will be made effective on June 14, 2015.

—Railfan & Railroad