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Fred Krebs Pres NY & Atlantic Railroad, Freight Progress
March 11, 2005 @ 12:00 am EST
Fred Krebs, the president of Long Island’s freight rail system spoke to our LIMBA audience this morning.
Fred started by telling us those facts that he is, and should be, proud of. That is the fact that the number of freight cars on Long Island has more than doubled since he and his company, NY & Atlantic began operating in 1997. Thousands of trucks have been removed from our roads, with a subsequent reduction in air pollution.
However Mr. Krebs, is frustrated by the senseless and arbitrary actions taken by the LIRR that inhibit the use of freight trains on Long Island.
One bone of contention is the prohibitive charges made for the construction of siding switches needed to accommodate freight customers. Krebs cited example after example of situations where the MTA wanted $500,000 or more to install a switch that the contractor could build for under $80,000.
Another source of his frustration is the relicensing of cars that are oversized again and again. He gave an example of a rail car which has been on the same route numerous times and the tolerances are known, and approved, having to go through the same cumbersome approval process even though everyone knows that car has been approved many times before.
In a meeting at the transportation committee of the LIA earlier this week, I brought up the question of the overpriced switches with Jim Dermody, president of the Long Island Railroad. Dermody denied that there was such a problem. We, at LIMBA, know differently, since two of our members have complained of this problem.
This was a meeting that was rich with information, and in no way can I do justice the spirited discussion that took place after Fred’s formal remarks, but nobody in that room was satisfied that our public officials in the MTA are concerned with the very real problem of overcrowded highways that is being made worse by not moving more freight by rail. We move less than 2% of our freight by rail, the rest of the country averages 40%. That’s a disgrace! With a little help we can remove hundreds of thousands of trucks from the roadways each year and breathe easier too. LIMBA is committed that goal.
Thank you Fred Krebs for your successes so far. Thanks to our very interested audience as well.