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 doublestack » Sat Jan 23, 2016 8:45 am

Dick H wrote:Here's a photo of ME #764 switching BIW in 2014. Thanks to Wayne Johnson for the photo.
http://photos.nerail.org/showpic/?photo ... =csrrfan86

Here's the video by Dan Comick https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQiXpDUnZaQ
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby Watchman318 » Sun Feb 07, 2016 12:08 am

Cowford wrote:
PS - BIW remains PAR's customer, no?
As far as I know, ST has never switched BIW since the line was abandoned. I don't believe there has been an MEC/GRS/PAR/ST locomotive delivering anything past the interchange point (Rock Jct. or westward) since MDOT bought the Rockland Branch, until the recent use of MEC 316 or whatever it was last month when CMQ power wasn't available. I'm pretty sure nothing but locomotives owned or leased by the various designated operators of the branch (MC/SRP/MERR/CMQ--and Amtrak last year) has been east of MP 30 or even Rock Jct. since MDOT bought the line.
If there's anything on paper saying ST or somebody can do the switching inside the Hardings plant (and collect whatever revenue may come from that), I'm not aware of it. But due to BIW being a defense contractor, there might be some "escape clause" for whoever hauls the cars from Rigby to also spot them inside the Hardings fenceline.
Last edited by Watchman318 on Sun Feb 07, 2016 1:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby Watchman318 » Sun Feb 07, 2016 1:08 am

MERailFanJay wrote:The only businesses I can think of in the Rockland area are a scrap metal dealer, and Fabian Oil, which just installed some sizable tanks a year or 2 ago, both located just down the tracks from DiCaperol. But I doubt either would be big enough to warrant any rail use. Especially since they would require new siding or even a spur to be constructed.
If Thomaston Recycling or another customer wanted a siding, one might be installed under the Maine DOT IRAP (Industrial Rail Access Program.) That was how the siding just east of the New County Rd. crossing in Rockland (just east of the yard) was put in a few years ago. (The satellite imagery in that area is crap before 2012, but I'm guessing the siding was built/rebuilt post-2007.) I think there was even a new loading dock built for the adjacent building, but unfortunately, the business that was supposed to occupy the building served by the siding never came to fruition. It's now being used for boat storage.

The propane dealer in Waldoboro looks as though they have buried their siding and it is fenced off. Might be able to reuse it, but again, the place may not be big enough to warrant rail use.
I'm not sure what company was in there before the present Amerigas, but any tank car unloading equipment has been gone for a long time. The switch into the property was taken up when the branch was rehabbed in the early 2000's. At the same time, the siding on the north side of the mainline ("Allen's Siding") was truncated to a point east of the US Rt. 1 overpass. That siding's west end used to be near where the switch into the propane dealer was. Amerigas rebuilt and expanded their fence not long ago, and now most of the former spur (including the bumper ["bunter"]) is inside the fenceline. That they didn't include a gate on the track side of the property might say something about the likelihood of future rail deliveries.
I think until the rebuilding of the Rockland Branch, hazardous materials weren't allowed on it, so that probably didn't help retain the LPG business. :(
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby MEC407 » Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:13 am

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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:48 am

Interesting two hoppers on the end. Almost looked like it might be coal for Dragon Cement.
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby Rockingham Racer » Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:56 am

Coal. Now that's become a dirty word, hasn't it?
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:46 pm

In many ways yes. I'm still confused by those last two hoppers, their origins and their cargoes. It almost looked as if they are from coal mines out west but I really have no idea at all. Perhaps Dragon uses some kind of specialty grade of coal?
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby doublestack » Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:51 pm

gokeefe wrote:In many ways yes. I'm still confused by those last two hoppers, their origins and their cargoes. It almost looked as if they are from coal mines out west but I really have no idea at all. Perhaps Dragon uses some kind of specialty grade of coal?

The last two cars are for Dragon Cement Co. and they contain perlite, an additive to cement products. Coal would only be transported in open hoppers.
This site explains perlite http://www.perlite.co.nz/perlite/concrete/
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby Cowford » Tue Feb 23, 2016 2:11 pm

Oh for Pete's sake, really? They've been hauling the same three commodities on this branch in the same cars for the same three customers for decades. Flat cars carrying steel plate go to BIW at Hardings; small-cube covered hoppers are cement cars used by Dragon at Thomaston; the larger-cube covered hoppers (often with western US road marks) carry perlite (I believe from Socorro, NM) for Dicaperl in Thomaston, which goes into perlite-based filter aid material.
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Tue Feb 23, 2016 4:22 pm

I thought the covered hopper cars were the perlite for Chemrock/Dicaperl and that the cement was being shipped outbound in Dragon's own tanker/cement cars.
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby 690 » Wed Feb 24, 2016 8:35 am

gokeefe wrote:I thought the covered hopper cars were the perlite for Chemrock/Dicaperl and that the cement was being shipped outbound in Dragon's own tanker/cement cars.


The ones labeled Dragon have been used for the cement shuttle between Thomaston and the barge in Rockland, I haven't seen any go on the westbounds to Brunswick. Keep in mind that these cars are getting rather close to the end of their usable service life, so Dragon is probably going to start phasing them out for newer cars in the near future.
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby MERailFanJay » Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:59 am

Dragon no longer burns coal. They've switched to Petcoke.
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby MERailFanJay » Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:06 am

doublestack wrote:
gokeefe wrote:In many ways yes. I'm still confused by those last two hoppers, their origins and their cargoes. It almost looked as if they are from coal mines out west but I really have no idea at all. Perhaps Dragon uses some kind of specialty grade of coal?

The last two cars are for Dragon Cement Co. and they contain perlite, an additive to cement products. Coal would only be transported in open hoppers.
This site explains perlite http://www.perlite.co.nz/perlite/concrete/


I believe all Perlite goes to Dicaperl, which is then distributed to Dragon and FMC BioPolymer.
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby Watchman318 » Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:21 am

MERailFanJay wrote:I believe all Perlite goes to Dicaperl, which is then distributed to Dragon and FMC BioPolymer.
Correct; Dragon receives nothing by rail anymore. The petcoke is trucked in from Searsport. There may have been some shipped in by rail for a short while right after the kiln was changed over, but I think having to cut wet/frozen fuel out of the cars with an air lance was deemed counter-productive. As far as I know, they don't mix perlite in their cement.
Dragon did at one time receive gons of "mill scale," mostly scrap metal, which was used as flux in the kiln. I think that traffic went away when the coal loads did.
Over the years, Chemrock/Dicaperl's perlite has come in covered hoppers with various reporting marks, most recently ATSF/BN/BNSF. Ten-plus years ago, there were some cylindrical LOs, mostly SLC (San Luis Central) reporting marks.
The NAHX cars and the larger DPCX "Flexi-Flo" (nee NYC, ex-PC/CR/MDTX) cars used to go up to Dragon's facility in Windsor, QC; I'm not sure if they still do. The GATX "whalebelly" cars usually are on the shuttle to the Rockland waterfront, but I've seen them going to/from Brunswick, too. Much of the westbound traffic is for Tresca Bros. in Millis, MA.
Dragon has just come back online from winter shutdown.

If Dan Comick stops by here: Re the video, the Rt. 215/Mills Rd. crossing is in Newcastle. The Rockland Branch doesn't go through Damariscotta, but that grade crossing is sort of a boundary of Damariscotta Mills. "The Mills" is just kind of a neighborhood in Nobleboro and Newcastle.
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Re: Rockland Branch Discussion

Postby MERailFanJay » Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:09 am

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.
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