There are mail and express trains, particularly at night, and any freight movements that are impossible otherwise. (These mail and express trains use freight EMUs in a similar mold to the Japanese M250 series of EMUs and are designed with two dedicated types of freight cars, a box car for aircraft-size boxes and commercial RailBox and RailSkid containers and flatcars designed to exclusively to carry 20', 33', 40', 48' and 53' containers. These trains and designed to make speeds of up to 140 mph on the NEC.) All other movements on it are passengers, owing to it's huge number of users.Is there still any fast freight on NEC or that purely a passenger line?
Amtrak, Via Rail and Auto-Train all use the NEC, with Amtrak's services on the NEC being divided into three classes, those being the fastest Acela Express services, the faster (and limited-stop) Metroliner services, the luxury Royal Blue Service and the all-stop Northeast Regional trains, as well as a long list of long-distance trains. Via's services are the Maple Leaf, Diplomat and Fleur de Lis from Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal respectively, while Auto Train's long-distance services use the NEC between Foxboro, MA and New Haven, CT and south of Trenton, NJ (it uses the Poughkeepsie route and the former L&NE to bypass New York, which while not strictly necessary - Auto-Train uses specially-built autoracks and passenger cars to fit inside NEC loading gauge - is done to make it easier for the company, and allow it to have a terminal in Maybrook, NY, for passengers from New York to head to Florida on Auto-Train trains), some trains off of the Keystone Corridor and Wyoming Valley Line go to New York, some off of the Empire Corridor go to Philadelphia, Baltimore or Washington and of course is the trains of the MBTA (Boston), CT Rail (Connecticut), Metro-North (New York area), NJ Transit (New Jersey), SEPTA (Philadelphia), MARC (Maryland, but MARC now runs as far as Washington and Wilmington) and Virginia Rail Express (which now has trains running to Baltimore-Washington Airport) running on the corridor.
This traffic density is also why the entire NEC, many of its closest lines (including the Empire Corridor, Hartford Line, Wyoming Valley Line, Keystone Corridor and Commonwealth Corridor) are entirely grade-separated, which is the case with the NEC all the way to its current end point in Raleigh, NC.
Conrail has two primary freight bypasses south of New York, one using the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel from Norfolk, VA and then the former PRR to Wilmington, DE, this line then swinging across the Delaware River south of the NEC to Carneys Point, NJ and then sticking to the New Jersey side to Newark, Elizabeth and Bayonne, the other connecting to Chessie System at Hagerstown and Frederick, Maryland, the Hagerstown line going to Harrisburg (and the Pennsylvania Main Line) while the Frederick route goes to Lancaster, PA, and uses what were PRR secondaries to get around Philadelphia to the north. As the B&O in the TheMann Universe bought the Reading and CNJ the Amtrak exclusivity on the NEC leaves Conrail at a bit of a disadvantage in this regard (as Chessie has the former B&O, RDG and CNJ route to New York), but the formation of Conrail led to a number of line transfers, benefitting both The Cat and Big Blue. North of New York, Conrail owns the freight route carved out of the New Haven and Lehigh and New England (the Lehigh and Hudson River is now part of Chessie) and the line from Maybrook and Campbell Hall to New Haven as well as the (huge) South Boston Freight Terminal is joint territory. (The PRR and B&O had a similar agreement, and a new bridge at Poughkeepsie was built in the 1960s, this track being a triple-track one. The old bridge was retired from train service in 1981 and has been a pedestrian walkway since 1986.) Chessie has freight operations on the former New Haven freight route via Middletown, Willimantic, Plainfield, East Providence and Brockton, while Conrail runs off the joint route at Shelton and runs its freight route to Boston via Waterbury, Hartford, Putnam, Blackstone and Millville.If the latter, which routes does conrail use for freight in the Northeast?
The overall result is that Conrail and Chessie are distinct competitors across the Northeast, with New York Central a competitor north of New York and the Erie Lackawanna east of New York, as well as the NYC's South Pennsylvania Division, which runs from Connellsville to Philadelphia. The massive Manhattan Express Terminal (the former St. John's Terminal, which was expanded in the early 1960s), the High Line (still used for freight train service here) and its line up to the joint line at Pawling, NY are owned by the New York Terminal Company, which is jointly owned by Conrail, Chessie and New York Central and is used by all three of them. (Erie Lackawanna, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific serve New York from facilities on the New Jersey side of the Hudson.) Freight service to Long Island is provided by limited services via the Tunnels to Penn Station (no hazardous materials are allowed here for obvious reasons) and via the Hells Gate Bridge, Conrail operating services on the latter across that bridge to New Haven and the Joint Line. The NYTC is entirely electrified for obvious reasons and the Manhattan Express Terminal here is a six-story terminal at the south end of the High Line, with extensive parcel and refrigerator and freezer facilities for the shipping of food, which is a major part of its operations. (It also means fishing boats regularly go to the adjacent terminal the Hudson, and the Hudson Square seafood market is one of New York's largest.)