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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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Fri Mar 18, 2016 10:01 pm

Interesting. I wonder if CMQ is pacing the runs to and from Brunswick differently.
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby CN9634 » Sun Mar 20, 2016 11:34 am

MERailFanJay wrote:Rockland yard if full. Something I've never seen before. They've taken 2 hoppers down to the siding by the former train station. Dragon has restarted operations so some of these should be heading out soon. I believe the rest are all empty Perlite hoppers from Decaperl.

No photos since I only had my potato quality cell phone and its raining.


Thank you Jay. On the Pan Am forum, Atholrail reported 37 CEFX cement cars on EDPO last week. Since that seems like a pretty unusual move, I wonder if 'new' cars are coming to Rockland to phase out the nearly 50 year old cars. I also heard rumors of increased cement traffic at some point this spring...
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby Watchman318 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:11 pm

CN9634 wrote:
MERailFanJay wrote:Rockland yard if full. Something I've never seen before. They've taken 2 hoppers down to the siding by the former train station. Dragon has restarted operations so some of these should be heading out soon. I believe the rest are all empty Perlite hoppers from Decaperl.

No photos since I only had my potato quality cell phone and its raining.


Thank you Jay. On the Pan Am forum, Atholrail reported 37 CEFX cement cars on EDPO last week. Since that seems like a pretty unusual move, I wonder if 'new' cars are coming to Rockland to phase out the nearly 50 year old cars. I also heard rumors of increased cement traffic at some point this spring...
I dunno what "potato quality" is, Jay, but I like the expression. :-)
Re CN9634's info, the "Salem [MA] Action Alert" thread mentioned increased cement traffic to Everett, MA, as possibly affecting the Somerville MA Pan Am yard. From the number of vehicles parked on the tracks around Dragon's terminal in Boston (satellite view), I'd have to guess that terminal only receives barge traffic.
The "Bay Colony Millis Line" thread seems to reflect little or no recent traffic to Tresca Bros., one of Dragon's regular customers for at least the past couple of years.

I know CMQ made an eastbound run yesterday morning (22nd), but I didn't see them return. The previous round trip that I'm aware of was 03/05, a Saturday. I get little or no info about consists from my source. Dragon is presently getting things back up to quality standards after the shutdown, so they might not be shipping much.
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Mar 23, 2016 4:42 pm

Tresca is mostly seasonal. They get a couple lonely cars during winter to keep their reserves from dipping too low, but it's mainly a Spring-Fall rail transload on the Millis Industrial. Schedule's always very unpredictable, though.
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby Watchman318 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 5:17 pm

Thanks for the info, F-line.
I don't know how much of the westbound (interchanged with PAR at Brunswick) MERR cement traffic went to Tresca, and how much (if any) went to Dragon's terminal in Windsor, QC. It was usually good for once/week or so during "construction weather."
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby GP40MC1118 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 7:57 pm

The terminal in Everett belongs to Ciment Quebec, not Dragon.

The one cement car at Tresca's last week was a car CSX apparently lost for about a month!

D
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby jjoyce1 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 8:07 pm

Watchman318 wrote:Re CN9634's info, the "Salem [MA] Action Alert" thread mentioned increased cement traffic to Everett, MA, as possibly affecting the Somerville MA Pan Am yard. From the number of vehicles parked on the tracks around Dragon's terminal in Boston (satellite view), I'd have to guess that terminal only receives barge traffic.
The "Bay Colony Millis Line" thread seems to reflect little or no recent traffic to Tresca Bros., one of Dragon's regular customers for at least the past couple of years.

I know CMQ made an eastbound run yesterday morning (22nd), but I didn't see them return. The previous round trip that I'm aware of was 03/05, a Saturday. I get little or no info about consists from my source. Dragon is presently getting things back up to quality standards after the shutdown, so they might not be shipping much.


Just because Tresca in Millis isn't getting railcars doesn't mean they're not still one of Dragon's top customers in the Boston area. My understanding of the situation is that they primarily source their cement from Dragon's Boston Terminal, which as you point out is barge-served and has no rail. Barge/vessel is *the* most economic way to move portland cement over any substantial distance, so long as water is available ;-) This is not only due to pure cost per ton mile savings, but when you want to unload 6,000 tons of cement it's much quicker to pump it off a barge at 400tph+ for 15 hours than unload one railcar an hour, for 60 hours....economies of scale, which is the name of the game in portland cement.

When Dragon's sole barge either goes down for repairs in the off season or can't achieve the tonnage throughput needed to keep Boston Terminal "in supply" in the peak season, I understand that they supplement or "peak shave" with rail straight to Millis, which enables Dragon to reposition a significant amount of tonnage away from the barge lane and terminal, and into the hands of Tresca. It's by no means cheaper on a landed cost basis than is Boston, because if it were you'd see it happen 365 days a year.

Edit: FYI that Everett Terminal used to be Holcim's, until last summer when the Lafarge-Holcim merger required it to be divested, so it went to Essroc Italcementi which is a 50/50 JV partner in Ciment Quebec. "D" is right, I hear Ciment Quebec will source it from St. Basile plant by rail.

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a former "cement-head"
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby MERailFanJay » Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:55 pm

Quick update. All Perlite hoppers headed west including the 2 that were down by the pax station. 2 at Decaperl. But even with them gone the yard is quite full. Were do they send cement in all these cars? I estimate at least 30 cars including 6 of the local shuttle cars.

Sorry I have no specifics, I mainly look while driving past.
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby Watchman318 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 12:31 pm

GP40MC1118 wrote:The terminal in Everett belongs to Ciment Quebec, not Dragon.
Oh, okay. I didn't think Dragon had one there, but couldn't "confirm or deny" it because dragonproducts.com appears to have gone away.

The one cement car at Tresca's last week was a car CSX apparently lost for about a month!
Sheesh. Well, I think there was a Flexi-Flo car that disappeared somewhere between Maine and a southern state back in 2004 or so (when Dragon first purchased the cars and sent them out for repainting), and I don't know if it was ever found.

Good info there, D, and from JJoyce's post.

MERailFanJay wrote:Quick update. All Perlite hoppers headed west including the 2 that were down by the pax station. 2 at Decaperl. But even with them gone the yard is quite full. Were do they send cement in all these cars? I estimate at least 30 cars including 6 of the local shuttle cars.
I haven't counted "whalebelly" cars recently, but I think there are at least 12 of those. (One "imploded" some years back during unloading, and I think it got written off.) They tend to move to and from the waterfront in a string of six.
I haven't confirmed yet where all the westbound loads go, but those generally went to Dragon's terminal in Canada, or down to Millis. Not sure if there was another destination for them.
The next time I'm up that way, I might have a look at Dicaperl and see if there are any cars with reporting marks other than BN/ATSF/BNSF. I think all the NAHX cars (with the partly-rounded sides) are cements, but I'm not sure.
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby Watchman318 » Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:32 am

Two empty perlite cars headed west through Warren, MP 74.47, around 10:32. Couldn't catch what the power was.

Update: CMQ 2001 (I think) went east through Waldoboro around 15:20, with what looked like a Flexi-Flo (DPCX) on the head pin.
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby YamaOfParadise » Sat Jun 11, 2016 11:47 am

How's traffic going now that summer is in full swing? (Besides from just being curious, I'm also going up on vacation to the Thomaston/Rockland area in a couple of weeks, so I'm interested in some info about train times to go catch some of them myself. :wink: )
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby CN9634 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 4:02 pm

I believe Pan Am is making the run at times twice a week, but at minimum once. Cement traffic is going by rail for Mill is, MA transload
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby johnpbarlow » Thu Jun 23, 2016 4:44 am

Is it the case that the Millis bound cement (and the return of empties) goes by way of Selkirk Yard? Or have PAR and CSX come up with a short cut interchange somewhere?
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby CN9634 » Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:58 am

Oh yes... Adds several days to the transit time too.
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby Narrowgauger » Fri Jul 22, 2016 11:26 am

So are they still operating the branch? Used to seeing lots of photos and news from the line. Now that CM&Q took over all I hear are crickets??? Where is all this added traffic? I do hear complaints about the lack of a tourist train though.
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