Saturday VB-2/211s Now Operating

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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Saturday VB-2/211s Now Operating

Postby necr3849 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:55 pm

I've been posting these sightings regularly on Yahoogroups, and I'm going to start doing them here to add some site activity. Starting from earlier this year.....

MMA had been discussing with Sprague in Searsport about adding a Saturday turn out of Northern Maine Junction. As of January, it began with small trains of like 3-8 cars. There didn't appear to be a real set time for the on-duty, but by March, things were into sort of a routine. Now in June, the trains are definitely for real.
An engineer out of Brownville will drive down to NMJ and report to the office anywhere from 11:30a through 3:30p. Normally, he's on closer to the earlier end of that window. He'll figure out his game plan, and head for "the Farm" or LMS. The power is almost always stored here, but Winter in particular can have the power stashed up near PAR's building. As of late, a weekday crew has been staging cars and making up some tains for the run to Searsport. More often than not, the Brownville guy still has to do a few switches or bring in a recent Brownville turn. In most cases, tanks rule for places such as....

1) Dead River in Hampden
2) GAC in Searsport
3) Sprague in Searsport

Once in a while this time of year, Lane gets some mini 2-bay hoppers in Stockton Springs along with their home off Cleanout in Hermon/Bangor. On most occasions, the train leaves for Searsport within an hour of the engineer's arrival. There have always been two locos sandwiching RC caboose VB-2, and it's a one-man operation. Last week's job with 8583 and 8578 had one car short of 20 once it left Dead River. GAC had 13 alone. Sprague has been taking some good blocks of slurry tanks on average. Weekdays still have a turn on Monday and Wednesday nights. I think that job reports for 7pm, so these weekend daylight moves have added some nice variety. Just wish the weather would be nice more often.

Just beware that these jobs aren't 100% guaranteed to leave Hermon. Every so often, the job stays "home" and spends its time switching or aasembling trains. Alway be sure you see it leave past Maine Energy and continue toward I95 before you haul to the next spot!

J Bray
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Re: Saturday VB-2/211s Now Operating

Postby BAR » Sun Jun 26, 2011 3:31 pm

Thanks for the interesting report about the NMJ to Searsport Saturday train. It may warrent another topic but it would also be interesting to hear what is going on north of Millinocket with all the changes that are taking place up there with Irving's Maine Northern. Does anyone have any knowlege they can share? Is the MM&A still running trains between Madawaska and Van Buren and if so how often?
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Re: Saturday VB-2/211s Now Operating

Postby roberttosh » Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:47 pm

Would be interested to hear what MMA and PAR are interchanging (car types, counts, frequency, etc) at Northern Maine Jct these days? Thanks.
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Re: Saturday VB-2/211s Now Operating

Postby necr3849 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:21 pm

Last year, I seem to remember MMA and PAR interchanging quite a lot of those NBSR wood cars that had been cut from boxes to resemble pulpwood racks. This past Winter had like none of those moving through NMJ. It doesn't seem that the two roads interchange a huge amount when I really think about it. An occasional tank, hopper or a couple boxes, but nothing that appears to amount to much...at least lately. The MMA end probably isn't helped too much by the NBSR/PAR trains out of Mattawamkeag.

You have Pine Tree, Maine Energy, Dead River, GAC and Searsport/Sprague that take tanks from Brownville via NMJ.

For lumber, you have MMA's east end loadout and Dysart's in town that takes a couple centerbeams here and there.

The only one I don't know for sure where the hoppers come from is the operation between LMS and the lumber loadout. They take quite a bit of centerflows here, but I don't quite know if those come off PAR or down from Brownville. They don't usually have anything happening on the weekend, and I don't normally get to see trains from Brownville getting put away.

I was just talking about the eight year jinx with MMA's conductor last week. Correct me if I'm wrong, but CDAC lasted about that long before they threw in the towel. MMA has been through their share of changes, too. Hopefully, they stick around a bit longer.
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Re: Saturday VB-2/211s Now Operating

Postby jjoyce1 » Fri Jul 01, 2011 11:54 am

Here are some of the traffic flows that interchange between the MMA and the ST at Northern Maine Jct:

- dimensional lumber mostly for Ayer, MA and a few for Scarborough, ME that come out of the sawmills up north (Fraser Levesque, maybe Irving's mills in NB as well...and Twin Rivers Plaster Rock NB is another one)
- sodium chlorate out of Magog QC (MMA) for the various paper mills on the ST including Lincoln and Old Town
- feed grain out of St Jean QC (CN/MMA) for the various feed mills on the ST in Maine (N Leeds, Augusta, Detroit). This seems seasonal and may be winding down around this time this year. Cars often marked INTX and ATGX (Interstate Commodities Inc)
- a little bit of product out of I think JM Huber in Easton that goes to Gardner, MA...ships in MMA boxcars 1-220 for example
- the MMA gets some tanks from the ST there, last week I shot this example:
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... id=2597511
- logs that go in NBSR-marked cars to the SAPPI mill in Shawmut, for example:
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... id=2020308
- starch that unloads at the farm at LMS, generally comes out of where I'm at (Kansas City MO) and moves NS to ST to MMA. Those long NLSX and GPFX pd hoppers move this lading, it's transloaded here for Maine paper mills:
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... id=2606584

Comments, additions, corrections always welcomed!

JAJ
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Re: Saturday VB-2/211s Now Operating

Postby Cowford » Fri Jul 01, 2011 4:08 pm

I'm going to guess that the inbound tank car carries adhesive for the LaPac LSL mill in New Limerick. It's the right material (MDI) and I can't think of any other possibility.
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Re: Saturday VB-2/211s Now Operating

Postby necr3849 » Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:14 pm

The weekend habit continued today with 8569+VB-2+2005. With the ex-SF B23-7 facing west, I'd guess it led coming down to Searsport this afternoon. We didn't stick around NMJ to chase it today, since it was cloudy then and the power was stuff we've already seen on more than one occasion this year. From what I could see for cars in the yard, it was going to be a short train less than ten cars. It looked to have a Dead River and Spragues rounding them out. We heard the job blowing for crossings near Sandy Point around 4pm this afternoon.
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Re: Saturday VB-2/211s Now Operating

Postby necr3849 » Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:56 am

This Saturday's power for the Searsport run will be 8569(AGAIN)+VB-2 and 2006.
Haven't seen an ex-BNSF pumpkin down this way in months it seems. Friday evening, there looked to be a decent block of GACs sitting in the Lower Yard, but not sure what else will be along for the ride.
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Re: Saturday VB-2/211s Now Operating

Postby trainsinmaine » Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:34 am

What is the schedule for the trains down to Searsport and back? I've met a freight on that line only once, on a Thursday evening at the Rt. 69 crossing in Winterport at around 9:15, if I recall. That was several months ago.
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Re: Saturday VB-2/211s Now Operating

Postby necr3849 » Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:45 pm

From what I recently heard, the weekday Searsport runs are "scheduled" for Mondays and Wednesdays at 7p. However, the Saturday ones are not really on a time. The engineer usually arrives at NMJ from Brownville anywhere between 11a and 3p. The train is usually close to made up already, and he usually does minimal switching. Unfortunately, the weekend one isn't always guaranteed. No job even reported today as of almost 4pm.
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Re: Saturday VB-2/211s Now Operating

Postby necr3849 » Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:15 am

While retreading the deck in Orland late this morning(about 11:30a), VB-2 could be heard in the distance heading south/west with 8569 in command. Sunday was the only day I hadn't ever seen or heard a Searsport run. Something must have come up yesterday to have the run bumped to today. Figure I'll go out for Searsport around one and if everything comes together, perhaps a few pics of the 2006 leading back in afternoon light through Prospect!
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Re: Saturday VB-2/211s Now Operating

Postby ShortlinesUSA » Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:00 pm

Please do post your shots if you go out-- always interested in seeing photos of the MMA! Appreciate the updates on these trains.
Mike Derrick
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Re: Saturday VB-2/211s Now Operating

Postby necr3849 » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:15 pm

My mind was pretty much made up while I did that post. Sure enough, we went out and found the job in Searsport. Quite a lengthy wait was in store, but like always was worth it. Hopefully this link works...

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/M ... ssage/6802
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Re: Saturday VB-2/211s Now Operating

Postby ShortlinesUSA » Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:18 pm

You can only view that link if you are member of the MMA Yahoo group. Not sure how many folks here are.
Mike Derrick
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