Superior Court Grants Restraining Order On Grafton & Upton Railroad

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The State Superior Court issued a temporary restraining order against the Grafton & Upton Railroad.
The State Superior Court issued a temporary restraining order against the Grafton & Upton Railroad. Photo Credit: Richard Price file photo

WORCESTER, Mass.-The State Superior Court in Worcester issued a temporary restraining order against the Grafton & Upton Railroad on behalf of the town of Grafton, prohibiting the delivery of the 100-foot propane tank scheduled for delivery this afternoon at 42 Westborough Road. 

The town on Wednesday issued a cease and desist order to the railroad to halt the construction of a propane storage facility at the railroad's North Grafton facility. The railroad continued construction at the site after the order was issued, according to a press release issued by Town Administrator Timothy McInerney's office.

"We are in litigation with the town and have no further comment," said Jon Delli Priscoli, the owner of the Grafton & Upton Railroad this morning. 

A call to Grafton Police Chief  Normand A. Crepeau Jr. for comment has been placed. Crepeau had planned for traffic detours for the tank's arrival, scheduled between noon and 3:30 p.m.

There will be a hearing at 2 p.m. at Worcester Superior Court.

The Grafton Daily Voice will send updates as they come available. 

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Comments (18),+ma+cedar+swamp&hl=en&ll=42.273657,-71.590219&spn=0.022673,0.034847&sll=42.036922,-71.683501&sspn=2.912946,4.460449&t=h&hnear=Cedar+Swamp&z=15

This is a link (should work) on Google Maps, where you can see the Transflo location in Westboro, and its proximity to everything else in the area.

This is their website:
They don't specifically say yes or no on propane, but they do and will handle hazardous materials via train.

Also note, there are trucks coming in and out of that facility, they state approximately 30 a day, so there is some transfer of materials going on at that site.

Note as well, if propane is coming in via train, it is coming in via CSX, so this isn't just a G&U RR thing.

If anyone cares... the Westboro situation is different. The railroad (CSX) worked with the town and DID NOT CLAIM PREEMPTION. So, they worked with the Planning Board, the Building Inspector, the Zoning Board... and every other Town authority. CSX told the town well in advance of what they wanted to do and they had to apply for every permit. That's how a good business partnership works.

And according to this link, propane gas isn't even mentioned although I'm sure it is included as a commodity...

"The facility receives bulk shipments of commodities, such as, corn syrup, plastic pellets and industrial commodities by rail and transfers them to trucks for delivery to businesses in the commonwealth and New England that do not have a direct rail connection. It is twice as large as its previous Boston facility and is located on the existing footprint of a former automotive terminal owned by CSX. The $20-million investment in Westborough created approximately 106 construction jobs, with plans for eight full-time permanent positions to remain in the yard."

These tanks look old and rusty.
How old are they???

I found this site:

It says that in general "Propane tank systems have been in use for seventy years and some folks consider older tanks much safer than newer tanks. As the price of steel has increased, the thickness of the steel used has been reduced resulting in a lower safety factor for new tanks."

So, new may or may not be better. As long as they're safe...

If this is regulated by the feds, and would be regularly inspected, do you honestly believe they would allow a tank that was not up to code to be used? Do you think the New England Gas Company would sell these if they were a liability?

Did you think the pharmaceutical facility in Westboro didn't get inspected regularly? How about the state crime lab? There's nothing wrong with a healthy sense of distrust with governmental agencies.

I disagree. Granted there have been plenty of things in the news that allows some to point fingers, and people can generalize this as being "the government", but any comment I would have on any oversight would be based on fact - what they did or didn't do. I will not speculate and will certainly not blindly assume something, simply because they are a government agency. I have a little more faith in my ability to figure the truth out and come to my own conclusions.

Over 20 years old

Proof? I looked at the Herald New site, did not see any info on these tanks one way or the other.

Go back to the Herald site and type in Propane Tanks at the top right. One of the articles said they have been in service for half a century. Sorry I was off by 30 years. My bad!

Found it...50 years? Being they were owned by a gas company in Fall River, one would hope that prior to being sold they were fitted out so they meet current safety standards.

Sometimes being old is not always that bad. They may have made those tanks better than they do now. Hopefully they are safe and in place to get this man up and running.

Agree with Chris the end we may not be able to stop this from happening but at a minimum our elected and town officials have an obligation to be sure that it is done safely and that all proper permits are fulfilled. I am getting the impression that the RR is rushing this so that once they get in there the town has no recourse. I live 2-3 miles from the location but I feel for the nearby residents. This is not about anti business, it's about public safety.

Good news! Now let's see what the court does about it this afternoon.

So - here's the difference - One town (Westboro) works with a railroad for economic development - another town (Grafton) goes to court.

I see your point, and I'd like to see the railroad work for economic development in the town. I'd even like to see this propane facility built, with proper precaution and mitigation, etc.
However, I should point out that the Westborough facility is not handling things like propane, and it is not located near any residences. That makes cooperation a little easier, I think.

Well said - but how do you think the G & U gets its freight rail cars - the centerbeams with wall board going to Hopedale, and the tank cars going to West Upton? CSX brings these cars in from the west to Worcester - and the G & U loads go to the Westborough facility before they are transferred back to the North Grafton yard.

Ah I see. So, you're saying that while Westborough is not transferring or storing propane in permanent tanks, the propane will still be sitting there in cars on the siding in Westborough until it can be brought to approach the N. Grafton siding from the east. Good point, I was assuming that shipments came directly from west of Grafton.
The Westborough facility still has the advantage of not being near residences... although it actually does temporarily hold propane on the siding.