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Barge vs Rail for Cargo

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Re: Barge vs Rail for Cargo

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 06 Jul 2015, 21:23:14

Toledo, Ohio? Thanks for the offer but I don't think we will get that far. We would turn off the canal at Oswego and head east from there.

In fact we are planning to take the canal in a year or two. Many folks do a "Great Circle Loop" which can start anywhere along the route but includes the Mississipi, Tom Digby, crossing Florida, up the AICW, then to NYC, up the Hudson, across the Erie Canal, and into the Great Lakes.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Loop

We however are looking to do a part of the "Down East Loop" going up the Hudson, across the Erie, into the lakes, and down the St. Lawrence. To complete the loop you would go around Nova Scotia and then coast back to NYC.

We however intend to do PEI, then the Madgelans, and the East coast of Quebeck, into Labrador before turning home to Newfoundland. I've done the Nova Scotian coast a few times so I can skip that for new territory.
Last edited by Newfie on Mon 06 Jul 2015, 21:27:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Barge vs Rail for Cargo

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Mon 06 Jul 2015, 21:24:12

We are talking about canal utilization as it is today with today's oil price and current EPA regulations. Let fuel rise to $7.00+/ gallon and /or a carbon tax be put in place and the canals will get a lot busier.
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Re: Barge vs Rail for Cargo

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Mon 06 Jul 2015, 21:30:29

Newfie wrote:Toledo, Ohio? Thanks for the offer.

In fact we are planning to take the canal in a year or two. Many folks do a "Great Circle Loop" which can start anywhere along the route but includes the Mississipi, Tom Digby, crossing Florida, up the AICW, then to NYC, up the Hudson, across the Erie Canal, and into the Great Lakes.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Loop

We however are looking to do a part of the "Down East Loop" going up the Hudson, across the Erie, into the lakes, and down the St. Lawrence. To complete the loop you would go around Nova Scotia and then coast back to NYC.

We however intend to do PEI, then the Madgelans, and the East coast of Quebeck, into Labrador before turning home to Newfoundland. I've done the Nova Scotian coast a few times so I can skip that for new territory.

Can you go from the Hudson through the Champlain canal into lake Champlain then on to the St. Lawrence at Montreal and on to the Atlantic or the St. Lawrence sea way? I know the Champlain canal is still there but don't know if there are canals and locks to let you drop the 100 feet of the Richelieu river down to the St. Lawrence.
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Re: Barge vs Rail for Cargo

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 06 Jul 2015, 21:50:11

Yes, it is a smaller waterway. Supposedly very pretty. It's a possible option, but then we would miss the Thousand Islands area.
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Re: Barge vs Rail for Cargo

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 25 Jun 2016, 16:58:18

We are about half way through our portion our trip across the Erie Canal. Some reflections.

We came up the Hudson River. The East shore has Metro North/AMTRAK and th West shore freight, lots of freight. The noise nearly runined a couple of pretty good anchorages.

Now along he Erie Canal we have a heavily used freight line that also runs a couple of AMTRAK trains. I'm surprised by the amount of trains moving.

The canal itself really is NOT a canal as we typically think of it. From what I have seen so far this iteration of the canal is really a very long lake with locks. In short what they did was to flood the Mohawk River valley and make it navigable.

When we think of canals we typically think of tow paths for dray animals, and that was the original canal. But with motorization the canal was rerouted and the tow paths abandoned. It would be extremely difficult, an impossible, to install tow paths on the existing canal.
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Re: Barge vs Rail for Cargo

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sat 25 Jun 2016, 17:22:18

Newfie wrote:We are about half way through our portion our trip across the Erie Canal. Some reflections.

We came up the Hudson River. The East shore has Metro North/AMTRAK and th West shore freight, lots of freight. The noise nearly runined a couple of pretty good anchorages.

Now along he Erie Canal we have a heavily used freight line that also runs a couple of AMTRAK trains. I'm surprised by the amount of trains moving.

The canal itself really is NOT a canal as we typically think of it. From what I have seen so far this iteration of the canal is really a very long lake with locks. In short what they did was to flood the Mohawk River valley and make it navigable.

When we think of canals we typically think of tow paths for dray animals, and that was the original canal. But with motorization the canal was rerouted and the tow paths abandoned. It would be extremely difficult, an impossible, to install tow paths on the existing canal.

Yes they got rid of the mule paths back when Teddy Roosevelt was governor of NY. Have you passed any commercial barge traffic on the canal? I've driven beside it several times in recent years and never seen anything other then a sport fishing boat.
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Re: Barge vs Rail for Cargo

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 25 Jun 2016, 18:12:06

No commercial traffic, very little through recreational traffic.

But we see that everywhere, we are constantly surprised at how few boats are on the water.
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Re: Barge vs Rail for Cargo

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sat 25 Jun 2016, 18:19:29

Newfie wrote:No commercial traffic, very little through recreational traffic.

But we see that everywhere, we are constantly surprised at how few boats are on the water.
Well for the commercial traffic it is just a matter of what the railroad charges for the same ton delivered. You better then anyone knows what it cost to have a private craft on the water or tied up at a marina.
I'd hate to see the canal fall into disrepair just before fuel prices escalate and make it economically viable again. But of course it doesn't go all the way to Iowa or Kansas so maybe it is already a relic of times past.
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Re: Barge vs Rail for Cargo

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 25 Jun 2016, 18:51:58

One never knows. Perhaps it would simply be valuable to local communities for transport? I agree it's a resource and it appears to be more ecologically friendly than a highway or rail, but it's not year round.

I think it would be interesting to understand all the implications in the movement of the water itself, looks complicated.
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Re: Barge vs Rail for Cargo

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sat 25 Jun 2016, 18:59:39

Newfie wrote:One never knows. Perhaps it would simply be valuable to local communities for transport? I agree it's a resource and it appears to be more ecologically friendly than a highway or rail, but it's not year round.

I think it would be interesting to understand all the implications in the movement of the water itself, looks complicated.

It is quite an engineering project but I don't think there are any sinister implications. The water falls as rain in the mountains and runs down to the canal and ends up exiting to the sea either through the Hudson or Lake Erie and the gulf of St. Lawrence which is where it always went.
You would have to look back at maps from the 1700's to know how many streams were diverted or altered to get it all to the canal.
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Re: Barge vs Rail for Cargo

Unread postby Tanada » Sun 26 Jun 2016, 05:47:13

vtsnowedin wrote:
Newfie wrote:No commercial traffic, very little through recreational traffic.

But we see that everywhere, we are constantly surprised at how few boats are on the water.
Well for the commercial traffic it is just a matter of what the railroad charges for the same ton delivered. You better then anyone knows what it cost to have a private craft on the water or tied up at a marina.
I'd hate to see the canal fall into disrepair just before fuel prices escalate and make it economically viable again. But of course it doesn't go all the way to Iowa or Kansas so maybe it is already a relic of times past.


What do you mean by that? If Newfie wants to he can take the Erie Canal to Buffalo, NY. From there it is a long sail across Erie up around Michigan through Lakes St.Claire & Huron, then down through Lake Michigan to the Chicago Canal where he can cross over into the Mississippi/Missouri river complex. That would let him easily access Iowa (on the Mississippi) or Kansas (on the Missouri).

For barges and small craft the water highway is still there, but compared to rail, highway or air cargo it is a slower route. Our current culture is obsessed with speed as being the most efficient and we heavily subsidize highway and air cargo because of this. Take away those subsidies and suddenly Rail is the competitive land transportation because it is very energy efficient compared to trucks or airplanes. By the same token if you are not constantly screaming faster faster barge traffic is a very energy efficient way to move goods, right along with ships in deeper waters.
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Re: Barge vs Rail for Cargo

Unread postby EdwinSm » Sun 26 Jun 2016, 06:27:17

Have a great rest of the trip Newfie.

A long time ago I realised that I could not see how things would unfold,ie. which businesses would survive or which would fail. So when I had discretionary spending I tended to support things that I consider might be useful in an oil crisis. Canal systems would fit in that, as there seems little commercial potential with the current speed of business, but they might be useful in a power down world - so Newfie's trip, apart from being an enjoyable one, is one that (in a small way) helps preserve the infrastructure that might be useful as we slide along the bumpy downsizing of oil production.
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Re: Barge vs Rail for Cargo

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sun 26 Jun 2016, 07:16:30

Tanada wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:....
..... But of course it doesn't go all the way to Iowa or Kansas so maybe it is already a relic of times past.


What do you mean by that? If Newfie wants to he can take the Erie Canal to Buffalo, NY. From there it is a long sail across Erie up around Michigan through Lakes St.Claire & Huron, then down through Lake Michigan to the Chicago Canal where he can cross over into the Mississippi/Missouri river complex. That would let him easily access Iowa (on the Mississippi) or Kansas (on the Missouri).
.........

You are correct of course. I forgot about the St. Lawrence seaway link.
But that is a pretty roundabout route where I-90 and the rail line that parallels it are both shorter and faster.
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Re: Barge vs Rail for Cargo

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 26 Jun 2016, 08:04:51

In fact I'm, hopefully, going down the St Lawrence enroute to Newfoundland.
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Re: Barge vs Rail for Cargo

Unread postby Tanada » Sun 26 Jun 2016, 16:45:23

Newfie wrote:In fact I'm, hopefully, going down the St Lawrence enroute to Newfoundland.


In case I forgot to say it earlier have a great voyage! Are you planning to take the Oswego canal north from the Erie Canal into Lake Ontario? Or going all the way to Buffalo and then down the star locks on the Welland Canal?
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Re: Barge vs Rail for Cargo

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 26 Jun 2016, 18:04:04

We are at Sylvan Beach, east shore of a lake Onida now. Hopefully Oswego tomorrow where we put the mast back up. The. On to Kingston, Ontario or thereabouts.

Th canal somewhere west of Three Rivers Jct is closed for culvert repairs. Not that I would have done that, just saying.
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Re: Barge vs Rail for Cargo

Unread postby hvacman » Mon 27 Jun 2016, 12:35:49

OT, kinda - reading Newfie's on-the-water posts reminded me of a great summer couples'-read that relates to the adventures of traveling old commercial canals converted to more-recreational use. "The Little Paris Bookshop". A Parisian bookseller with a converted canal barge/bookshop travels down France's old canal system from Paris to southern France, re-discovering himself and recovering from a tragic loss along the way. Five stars.
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Re: Barge vs Rail for Cargo

Unread postby sweetblago » Sun 24 Jul 2016, 15:28:52

vtsnowedin wrote:
Newfie wrote:No commercial traffic, very little through recreational traffic.

But we see that everywhere, we are constantly surprised at how few boats are on the water.
Well for the commercial traffic it is just a matter of what the railroad charges for the same ton delivered. You better then anyone knows what it cost to have a private craft on the water or tied up at a marina.
I'd hate to see the canal fall into disrepair just before fuel prices escalate and make it economically viable again. But of course it doesn't go all the way to Iowa or Kansas so maybe it is already a relic of times past.


Living near the Erie Canal, and being in the transportation industry I figured I would add this link here. It's from the bureau of transportation statistics. While incomplete, you can get somewhat of an idea of what the difference is between barge and rail. It shows Average Revenue per Ton Mile.
(There is some more relevant info on the site, I'll have to dig for it)

http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_03_21.html

I'd also like to bring up St. Louis, MO. Home to the Mississippi river providing transport of bulk products, and six (of the seven) class 1 railroads have a presence there as well. That is an ideal situation in my mind. It's also the third largest rail hub in the country. Rail rates out of St. Louis are very cheap. An extremely attractive way for bulk products to head out west.
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Re: Barge vs Rail for Cargo

Unread postby sweetblago » Mon 25 Jul 2016, 11:01:36

Didn't realize that I can't edit posts. Found some good information that I thought I'd share here:

http://www.thefreightway.com/advantages/americas-third-largest-inland-port/
https://www.logisticspage.com/inland-port/
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Re: Barge vs Rail for Cargo

Unread postby Tanada » Mon 25 Jul 2016, 12:13:31

sweetblago wrote:Didn't realize that I can't edit posts. Found some good information that I thought I'd share here:

http://www.thefreightway.com/advantages/americas-third-largest-inland-port/
https://www.logisticspage.com/inland-port/


Regular members have a limited editing window so that you can fix typo's or fix grammar in most of the sub forums. After the allotted edit window period expires you have to ask a Moderator to do the edit, or just make a new posting with further information like you did here.
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