Rockland Branch Discussion

Discussion of present-day CM&Q operations, as well as discussion of predecessors Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) and Bangor & Aroostook Railroad (BAR).

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Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby MEC407 » Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:42 am

Effective January 1, 2016, Maine Eastern Railroad will no longer operate the ex-MEC Rockland Branch. MaineDOT has awarded the contract to Central Maine & Quebec Railway.

From the Portland Press Herald:

Portland Press Herald wrote:Central Maine & Quebec Railway on Wednesday won the right to lease the state-owned rail line between Brunswick and Rockland and operate freight service on it.
. . .
Central Maine & Quebec will take over the rail line Jan. 1. The company has no plans to offer passenger service, said Ted Talbot, spokesman for the transportation department.
. . .
Central Maine & Quebec Railway and the state will now negotiate the financial terms of the lease agreement, Talbot said.


Read the rest of the article at: http://www.pressherald.com/2015/09/02/r ... imperiled/
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Re: CMQ wins contract to operate Rockland Branch

Postby BandA » Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:12 am

MEC407 wrote:Effective January 1, 2016, Maine Eastern Railroad will no longer operate the ex-MEC Rockland Branch. MaineDOT has awarded the contract to Central Maine & Quebec Railway.

From the Portland Press Herald:

Portland Press Herald wrote:Central Maine & Quebec Railway on Wednesday won the right to lease the state-owned rail line between Brunswick and Rockland and operate freight service on it.
. . .
Central Maine & Quebec will take over the rail line Jan. 1. The company has no plans to offer passenger service, said Ted Talbot, spokesman for the transportation department.
. . .
Central Maine & Quebec Railway and the state will now negotiate the financial terms of the lease agreement, Talbot said.


Read the rest of the article at: http://www.pressherald.com/2015/09/02/r ... imperiled/
I'm confused; How can you have a lease signed but still be negotiating financial terms? Are shipper rates included in the financial terms? Also confusing is that Maine doesn't want to subsidize passenger service - the Downeaster is heavily subsidized, especially Portland-Brunswick.

ME should run some special tourist trains this fall & Christmas so that Mainers will miss them. Or they should immediately cancel anything that isn't profitable since they won't be back for quite some time.

Are the two bids online?
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Re: CMQ wins contract to operate Rockland Branch

Postby rr503 » Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:17 am

The trains news wire article says that "Central Maine did agree to "accommodate and prioritize a passenger rail operation" and could conceivably coordinate continued passenger service with Maine Eastern."
http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/20 ... tral-maine
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Re: CMQ wins contract to operate Rockland Branch

Postby MEC407 » Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:26 am

BandA wrote:Also confusing is that Maine doesn't want to subsidize passenger service - the Downeaster is heavily subsidized, especially Portland-Brunswick.


From the article: "...the state is not interested in subsidizing a new passenger rail service anywhere in Maine..."

"New" is the key word there.

The other issue is that the subsidy for the Downeaster doesn't come out of the state's general fund; it comes from a combination of federal CMAQ grants and a tax on rental cars. Presumably those two sources would not be adequate to fund year-round scheduled service on the Rockland Branch, meaning the state would have to come up with the money in some other way. That, I assume, is what they don't want to do.
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Re: CMQ wins contract to operate Rockland Branch

Postby CN9634 » Thu Sep 03, 2015 12:44 pm

A DE expansion to Rockland is a low hanging fruit... justifies two investments, one made years ago to bring the branch up to better spec and the other was the recent Brunswick expansion. In the mind of the politicians they can boost ridership for the DE going all the way to Rockland. MERR got snuff'd on this one folks
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Re: CMQ wins contract to operate Rockland Branch

Postby MEC407 » Thu Sep 03, 2015 12:51 pm

CN9634 wrote:A DE expansion to Rockland is a low hanging fruit... justifies two investments, one made years ago to bring the branch up to better spec and the other was the recent Brunswick expansion. In the mind of the politicians they can boost ridership for the DE going all the way to Rockland.


But that's true regardless of who the chosen freight operator of the branch is.
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Re: CMQ wins contract to operate Rockland Branch

Postby Cowford » Fri Sep 04, 2015 12:55 pm

I agree, 407, I don't get that... the ME never stood in the way of expanded pax rail. And why would MDOT need to justify the Rockland branch rebuild now, considering it was done 20+ years ago? CMQ is doing MDOT a favor by assuming the lease.
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Re: CMQ wins contract to operate Rockland Branch

Postby MEC407 » Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:08 pm

13 years ago, I believe. Let's not age ourselves prematurely. :wink:
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Re: CMQ wins contract to operate Rockland Branch

Postby MEC407 » Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:15 pm

It was reported in the BDN that MERR and CMQ were the only two bidders. This is in contrast to the past when there were three, four, or five bidders every time MDOT put it up for grabs. Apparently PAR didn't even bother to do their usual token bid this time around, which is mildly surprising because I'd think PAR would have the greatest moneymaking potential of any bidder, since they'd be interchanging with themselves. Last two or three years we keep hearing that PAR wants more business and isn't as opposed to small customers as they used to be.

I wonder if CMQ has been eyeing this since the beginning or if it was more of a spur-of-the-moment "here's an opportunity, we'll throw our hat in the ring" thing...
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Re: CMQ wins contract to operate Rockland Branch

Postby Watchman318 » Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:30 pm

MEC407 wrote:13 years ago, I believe. Let's not age ourselves prematurely. :wink:
Somebody finally got the BDN reporter to state that the rebuild was completed in 2002, not "the early Nineties."
I first saw the Rockland Branch in '93, and I think it was FRA Excepted then.
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Re: CMQ wins contract to operate Rockland Branch

Postby MEC407 » Fri Sep 04, 2015 4:12 pm

Yeah, the BDN has been repeating "early '90s" in every Rockland Branch article they've written for the past few years. Not sure where they got that from. The CWR didn't come until at least a year after the B&M got its CWR from Plaistow to Portland (2001).

If Maine Coast had been hauling CWR trains with their Alcos I have no doubt many of us would've gone to great lengths to see it happen. :wink: (see what I did there?) Alas, I'm pretty sure it was Safe Handling with their ex-Conrail GP15-1. Maine Coast went away in late 2000, and Safe Handling was interim operator 'til 2002.
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Re: CMQ wins contract to operate Rockland Branch

Postby rr503 » Fri Sep 04, 2015 5:22 pm

MEC407 wrote:It was reported in the BDN that MERR and CMQ were the only two bidders. This is in contrast to the past when there were three, four, or five bidders every time MDOT put it up for grabs. Apparently PAR didn't even bother to do their usual token bid this time around, which is mildly surprising because I'd think PAR would have the greatest moneymaking potential of any bidder, since they'd be interchanging with themselves. Last two or three years we keep hearing that PAR wants more business and isn't as opposed to small customers as they used to be.

I wonder if CMQ has been eyeing this since the beginning or if it was more of a spur-of-the-moment "here's an opportunity, we'll throw our hat in the ring" thing...

Giles said that "state officials approached his company" whatever that may mean.
http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/20 ... ne-eastern
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Re: CMQ wins contract to operate Rockland Branch

Postby Watchman318 » Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:27 am

rr503 wrote:Giles said that "state officials approached his company" whatever that may mean.
There was a Request for Proposals. Companies could [competitively] bid or not bid, as they chose. http://bangordailynews.com/2015/06/19/business/state-seeks-bids-to-operate-rail-line-that-runs-from-brunswick-to-rockland

I had heard NBM (J.D. Irving Group) was interested in operating the Rockland Branch, but apparently they passed it up. Some people (mostly news reporters) still can't tell the difference between Eastern Maine Rwy. and Maine Eastern RR, and maybe NBM didn't want to perpetuate that. :wink:
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Re: CMQ wins contract to operate Rockland Branch

Postby NHV 669 » Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:51 am

Watchman318 wrote:I had heard NBM (J.D. Irving Group) was interested in operating the Rockland Branch, but apparently they passed it up. Some people (mostly news reporters) still can't tell the difference between Eastern Maine Rwy. and Maine Eastern RR, and maybe NBM didn't want to perpetuate that. :wink:


Free PR, couldn't hurt...
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Re: CMQ wins contract to operate Rockland Branch

Postby MEC407 » Sat Sep 05, 2015 12:10 pm

Since they like to have unique names for each of their operations, maybe they would've called this one Mideastern Maine or Maine Mideastern or Midcoastal Southern or...... :P
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