Maine Northern Railway (ex-MMA lines operated by EMR/NBSR)

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: Maine Northern Railway (ex-MMA lines operated by EMR/NBS

Postby CN9634 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:03 pm

Looks like NB Southern is about to grab some major traffic in the next few years if all goes as planned. Same could be true of CMQ and Pan Am...

http://www.joc.com/port-news/internatio ... 60922.html
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Re: Maine Northern Railway (ex-MMA lines operated by EMR/NBS

Postby johnpbarlow » Sat Sep 24, 2016 5:53 am

Very interesting article but it's not obvious that an enhanced Saint John container port adds any capabilities that ports of Montreal and Halifax don't already facilitate, such as proximity to the "hinterlands". And there currently isn't much rail-hauled container traffic from Montreal south to the major mid-Atlantic metro areas via either CSX or CP/NS. Plus getting containers from Saint John to southern New England (eg, Ayer or Worcester) at any reasonable velocity is going to take a monumental PAR track and operations philosophy upgrade between NMJ and Rigby. Question: isn't the 18 foot or so tidal swing at Saint John problematic for shipping? I remember seeing photos from 50 years back of ships somewhere in the Bay of Fundy sitting on their exposed keels waiting for the high tide.

Thanks for posting the article.
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Re: Maine Northern Railway (ex-MMA lines operated by EMR/NBS

Postby Cowford » Sun Sep 25, 2016 6:28 pm

isn't the 18 foot or so tidal swing at Saint John problematic for shipping?


Yes. The tide is actually close to three times that and ships are limited to relatively short windows during the tide cycles.
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Re: Maine Northern Railway (ex-MMA lines operated by EMR/NBS

Postby CN9634 » Fri Sep 30, 2016 8:40 pm

Three times is a bit much... according to Gov't data the largest recorded swing was about 9M and it looks like they average about 7-8M so 20-20ft is about accurate.

http://tides.gc.ca/eng/station?sid=65

Interesting to see Saint John going to try to attract an east-west connection, as well as some kind of trans-pacific corridor. From what I'm told CP is watching this development closely.
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Re: Maine Northern Railway (ex-MMA lines operated by EMR/NBS

Postby Cowford » Sat Oct 01, 2016 11:36 am

Yeah, you're right - I was referring to the Bay of Fundy in general. But port sailings are, indeed, restricted based on the tide cycles.
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Re: Maine Northern Railway (ex-MMA lines operated by EMR/NBS

Postby gokeefe » Sun Oct 02, 2016 9:20 pm

CN9634 wrote:From what I'm told CP is watching this development closely.


Wow. Is there potential (re)-acquisition interest?
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Re: Maine Northern Railway (ex-MMA lines operated by EMR/NBS

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Oct 03, 2016 5:35 am

From Irving? I seriously doubt that. Irving guards its corporate supply chain, of which NBSR is a critical cog, jealously. They have nothing to gain from floating their rail holdings; the rail holdings exist in-service to Irving's much bigger business units.

CP can cut all sorts of deals advantageous to NBSR, but ownership ain't one of them.
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Re: Maine Northern Railway (ex-MMA lines operated by EMR/NBS

Postby CN9634 » Mon Oct 03, 2016 11:46 am

I should have been less leading with that statement... CMQ & NBSR have regular meetings each quarter with CP regarding the status of this project as it relates to potential intermodal traffic. CP officials have been to the Port of SJ a few times and probably will go a few times more. With the quickest direct route and good rates (key there), a CP-CMQ-NBSR routing may be the preferred choice over the all CN routing to markets in Toronto perhaps a bit beyond. CP is in cost cutting mode and likely won't seek to acquire either route, but adding on an A-B unit train service would be ideal for them.
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Re: Maine Northern Railway (ex-MMA lines operated by EMR/NBS

Postby gokeefe » Mon Oct 03, 2016 12:25 pm

That makes a lot of sense and I appreciate the clarification. Interesting to see that the former "International Railway of Maine" continues to have a future (maybe ...).
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Re: Maine Northern Railway (ex-MMA lines operated by EMR/NBS

Postby pumpers » Mon Oct 03, 2016 3:00 pm

CN9634 wrote:Three times is a bit much... according to Gov't data the largest recorded swing was about 9M and it looks like they average about 7-8M so 20-20ft is about accurate.

http://tides.gc.ca/eng/station?sid=65

Interesting to see Saint John going to try to attract an east-west connection, as well as some kind of trans-pacific corridor. From what I'm told CP is watching this development closely.

2 points from an armchair quarterback.
1. Regarding St. John vs Montreal (or TOronto) as the transfer site, assuming it is coming up from the south, how long would it take a container ship to get to Montreal or Toronto vs to St. Johns, and how long would the train route from St. Johns be - is there time to be saved by unloading at St. Johns.
2. Regarding the tides, presumably the ships went (or could go) through the Panama canal and fit into locks, so do people ever try to build locks at the dock to get around the tide swing issue. Or just not practical (such as too expensive) for some good reason.
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Re: Maine Northern Railway (ex-MMA lines operated by EMR/NBS

Postby CN9634 » Mon Oct 03, 2016 6:08 pm

Here is some relative information about what you are looking for, although I would argue that those transit times are dated as 5 day intermodal from Saint John to Montreal is miserable. From what I was told it would be 24-36 hours to Montreal (probably more towards the 36) and another 2 days to Toronto. If would say if everything lined up they could zip stuff from Saint John to Toronto in about 3-4 days.

http://www.sjport.com/business-resource ... vity/rail/
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Re: Maine Northern Railway (ex-MMA lines operated by EMR/NBS

Postby fogg1703 » Mon Oct 03, 2016 7:50 pm

Not to nitpick, but for the sake of accuracy the port of Saint John New Brunswick is the discussion point, not the Port of St John which is in Newfoundland.

CN9634 wrote:With the quickest direct route and good rates (key there), a CP-CMQ-NBSR routing may be the preferred choice over the all CN routing to markets in Toronto perhaps a bit beyond.


I hope your right about CP rates as I would love to see full DS run on the Moosehead, however CN has a leg up already with excess capacity out of Saint John for intermodal and bulk as well as an established intermodal equipment supply based out of Moncton and Halifax that could easily be shifted south to Saint John to serve any potential new growth. CN's Tropical service has been rock steady in Saint John for years and is more than equipped for an upscale. CP (CMQ+NBM) has to reopen the lane from scratch including providing equipment and getting US Customs on board for faster transit times. CP offers a lot more East Coast opportunities while CN has the market on more Midwest opportunities.

Im wondering how CSX falls into this. Would they be content with offering rates through Barbers or would they think outside the box and utilize their Valleyfield QC intermodal terminal in conjunction with a CP or CN routing?

Sadly I see PAR getting cut out of the deal as DS direct out of Saint John via NBM-CMQ-CP-CSX or NS lands you in New York/PA in a more predictable time than it would be to travel the length of PAR and then be handed off to a Class I in MA.
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Re: Maine Northern Railway (ex-MMA lines operated by EMR/NBS

Postby Ridgefielder » Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:45 am

pumpers wrote:2 points from an armchair quarterback.
1. Regarding St. John vs Montreal (or TOronto) as the transfer site, assuming it is coming up from the south, how long would it take a container ship to get to Montreal or Toronto vs to St. Johns, and how long would the train route from St. Johns be - is there time to be saved by unloading at St. Johns.

Responding as another armchair quarterback: In order to dock at Toronto, a container ship would have to be what is called "Seawaymax" - i.e. able to fit through the locks on the St. Lawrence Seaway above Montreal. That's substantially smaller than the Panamax and Suezmax ships handling most international container traffic. Given that constraint you can probably take Toronto out of the equation altogether. As for Montreal- it depends on where the ship is coming from. If the vessel is inbound to Canada from Europe, distance-wise it's pretty much a push unless the master wants to attempt the Strait of Belle Isle between Newfoundland and Labrador. If you're coming up from the south, however- say from the Panama Canal and the Caribbean- calling at St. John instead of Montreal probably saves you 3-4 days steaming time. Rounding Cape Breton, reaching across the Gulf of St. Lawrence then steaming up the river adds something like 1,400 miles to the trip.

pumpers wrote:2. Regarding the tides, presumably the ships went (or could go) through the Panama canal and fit into locks, so do people ever try to build locks at the dock to get around the tide swing issue. Or just not practical (such as too expensive) for some good reason.

There are plenty of places where locks precisely like that exist. Le Havre, France, and Tilbury and Avonmouth (the main container ports for London and Bristol, respectively), England are good examples. Somebody on here with local knowledge can tell you for sure why St. John doesn't have docks like that but my guess is $$.
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Re: Maine Northern Railway (ex-MMA lines operated by EMR/NBS

Postby CN9634 » Tue Oct 04, 2016 4:13 pm

fogg1703 wrote:Not to nitpick, but for the sake of accuracy the port of Saint John New Brunswick is the discussion point, not the Port of St John which is in Newfoundland.

CN9634 wrote:With the quickest direct route and good rates (key there), a CP-CMQ-NBSR routing may be the preferred choice over the all CN routing to markets in Toronto perhaps a bit beyond.


I hope your right about CP rates as I would love to see full DS run on the Moosehead, however CN has a leg up already with excess capacity out of Saint John for intermodal and bulk as well as an established intermodal equipment supply based out of Moncton and Halifax that could easily be shifted south to Saint John to serve any potential new growth. CN's Tropical service has been rock steady in Saint John for years and is more than equipped for an upscale. CP (CMQ+NBM) has to reopen the lane from scratch including providing equipment and getting US Customs on board for faster transit times. CP offers a lot more East Coast opportunities while CN has the market on more Midwest opportunities.

Im wondering how CSX falls into this. Would they be content with offering rates through Barbers or would they think outside the box and utilize their Valleyfield QC intermodal terminal in conjunction with a CP or CN routing?

Sadly I see PAR getting cut out of the deal as DS direct out of Saint John via NBM-CMQ-CP-CSX or NS lands you in New York/PA in a more predictable time than it would be to travel the length of PAR and then be handed off to a Class I in MA.


Thanks for the clarification, the locals also hate the spelling "St. John" when it is always written out Saint John.

Not sure what you mean about capacity and equipment? The port has the chassis, lift equipment, hostlers, ect. Only equipment the RR has to provide are the well cars. Also NAFTA 2.0 solved the customs issue (which I asked customs officials and experienced freight forwarders a pointed question about this type of situation in 2012) with a streamlining of electronic submission of customs paperwork and an e-manifest. They were piloting several trains with this system back then running from Prince Rupert into the US or via the US to points in Canada. It's now a moot point and intermodal trains cross in and out of the US across the country all the time now.

The Tropical service on CN definitely works but the traffic is a drop in the bucket. The only reason it works really is because 407 shuttles the cars to Moncton where it is joined with existing intermodal job 120/121.

No way you'd see an NBM-CMQ-CP-CSX routing... too many hands in the pot. Remember, intermodal is really low revenue and works only with high volume (60+ loaded containers usually going more than 600 miles). You are looking for trainloads not carloads, I think you are still thinking about this under the manifest operations pretenses. Any connection to CSX or NS will go NBM-PAR surely unless Pan Am has really large service issues... which of course isn't at all unheard of.
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Re: Maine Northern Railway (ex-MMA lines operated by EMR/NBS

Postby gokeefe » Tue Oct 04, 2016 5:08 pm

Interesting to note that the customs issues have been resolved.
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