Searsport Branch

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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Searsport Branch Activity

Postby mwhite » Thu Jul 08, 2004 3:39 pm

Lately I've seen racks with logs headed South from NMJ, and empties returning. They look like saw logs, not pulp. Anyone know where these are going?
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Searsport Logs

Postby sandpvrr » Thu Jul 08, 2004 5:53 pm

Hello All,
Last I knew, the logs were going to Searsport to be loaded onto 18 wheelers to be taken elsewhere for use, something about going to a mill I think.
They actually stopped that for a while, evidently they are back up to speed on it.
In other news, reports indicate that there is now a large warehouse in Searsport, and that tracks are being built to it. Plans also have reached my ears, indicating that a much larger warehouse will be built there this fall.
This could be very good news for the MM&A, giving it another outlet for shipped products.
Have fun all!
cya, Joey
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Postby Cowford » Sat Jul 10, 2004 4:15 pm

There's also talk of building a clay import terminal at Searsport... but, alas, the clay is planned to be moved by truck to the mills. Short distances, joint-line rail hauls, and Maine's 64,000lb payload limit for trucks with tri-x trailers. Not a good combination.
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Postby sandpvrr » Sat Jul 10, 2004 5:14 pm

Hello Cowford and all,
Thats a good point - One thing I've never understood, when looking at a rail map of the state, was why a line from Searsport to Belfast (or that immediate area) was never constructed.
Although I'm not completely familiar with the geography of the area, it would seem that enough traffic was headed from BAR to BML over the years to justify a rail link. To get a car from Belfast to Searsport: 33 miles over the BML - 46 Miles to Northern Maine Junction over the MEC - 29 Miles down the Searsport branch over BAR. Over a hundred miles to go a distance that as the crow flies has got to be half that (or less).
If a Searsport-Belfast line existed, shipments from Searsport could head over that line, up the BML to MEC, and then to the paper mills around Waterville. Although it would still be a three line haul, the distance would be much shorter, and probably faster.
Just a thought!
Comments?
cya, Joey
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RE:Searsport Activity

Postby Fogg1703 » Sun Jul 11, 2004 2:50 pm

Joey wrote:
Although I'm not completely familiar with the geography of the areas never constructed, it would seem that enough traffic was headed from BAR to BML over the years to justify a rail link. To get a car from Belfast to Searsport: 33 miles over the BML - 46 Miles to Northern Maine Junction over the MEC - 29 Miles down the Searsport branch over BAR. Over a hundred miles to go a distance that as the crow flies has got to be half that (or less).

What traffic are you referrring too? The potato shipments from Washburn in the early-mid 80's? These were transloaded at Searsport and trucked to Belfast. The only sustainable traffic after the chicken business dried up for BML was tourist trains, occasional grain movements from Thorndike and the abraisives transload for a customer on the abandoned Rockland branch.

Joey wrote:
If a Searsport-Belfast line existed, shipments from Searsport could head over that line, up the BML to MEC, and then to the paper mills around Waterville. Although it would still be a three line haul, the distance would be much shorter, and probably faster.

What shipments could originate at Searsport and shipped to Paper mils around Waterville? Most clay products come from the south in covered hoppers and even if they build a clay terminal at Seasrport, rail is out for shipping as it would be cost in-effective and time consuming. By the time the BML got the car to Burnham Jct, the truck is already unloading at the paper mill and another loaded truck is on the way and another truck is returning empty. It would be a great idea, don't get me wrong, however, trucks clearly have the advantage here.

Brian
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Re: RE:Searsport Activity

Postby sandpvrr » Mon Jul 12, 2004 10:29 am

Fogg1703 wrote:
What traffic are you referrring too? The potato shipments from Washburn in the early-mid 80's? These were transloaded at Searsport and trucked to Belfast. The only sustainable traffic after the chicken business dried up for BML was tourist trains, occasional grain movements from Thorndike and the abraisives transload for a customer on the abandoned Rockland branch.


I wasn't referring to any traffic in particular, I was just thinking that if a rail link existed, some of that chicken traffic might have gone northbound via the old BAR.

Fogg1703 wrote:What shipments could originate at Searsport and shipped to Paper mils around Waterville? Most clay products come from the south in covered hoppers and even if they build a clay terminal at Seasrport, rail is out for shipping as it would be cost in-effective and time consuming. By the time the BML got the car to Burnham Jct, the truck is already unloading at the paper mill and another loaded truck is on the way and another truck is returning empty. It would be a great idea, don't get me wrong, however, trucks clearly have the advantage here.


I didn't say it was a perfect idea! Time consuming as compared to a truck haul, yes. However, if they are currently shipping by rail, the relative distance would make the trip quicker.

Once again, I'm not saying this link would be practical to build, but it was just a 'hole' in the Maine Rail Map that I thought should have been filled when railroads were still being constructed.

Just a thought...
cya, Joey
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Searsport Branch Activity

Postby trainsinmaine » Wed Jul 14, 2004 10:27 pm

I'm not sure I know the topography of the area a whole lot better than anyone else in this thread, but I know it well enough to know that if a connection were ever to be considered, it couldn't be made in Belfast. It would have to be further west. The Passagassawaukeag empties into Penobscot Bay at Belfast, and the BML enters the city more or less along the river bank. The top of the east bank of Belfast Bay is considerably higher than the level of the railroad.

That having been said, Joey, I nevertheless think you've asked an intriguing question. Fogg1703's arguments "con" make sense; I wonder, however, I wonder if the BAR management ever toyed with the idea when they built the track to Searsport. For that matter, I've also sometimes wondered why the Rockland Branch ended at Rockland rather than continuing further up the coast. The MEC would have had to work around Mount Battie, but that wouldn't have been impossible.
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Question about the Searsport Sub

Postby Ejen34 » Fri Nov 04, 2005 5:34 pm

A question if I may?

Today was the second time I have noticed MMA running 3 powers down the Searsport sub with a small consist. Today I counted MMA 8544, 8525 and B&A 23 pulling 9 cars and 1 tank just above NMJ at North Bangor. I figured maybe one of those powers was running dead and/or was being dropped off at NMJ so after it passed me at the North Bangor crossing I strolled down to NMJ. When I got there I could not see a dropped off power. Any suggestions??

Ed
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Searsport local

Postby ShortlinesUSA » Wed May 28, 2008 5:03 pm

Are there any particular days this job is running at present? I believe it used to be M-W-F. Also, what type of power is typically used? It is possible I may be in the area next week for a very short visit, and would like to have this job as a "back pocket" plan depending on where my travels take me.

Appreciate any help!
Mike Derrick
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Postby mwhite » Wed May 28, 2008 7:16 pm

If I'm not mistaken it has been running at night on weekdays. A couple nights ago I could hear them blowing for crossings at about 9:30pm.
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Postby ShortlinesUSA » Wed May 28, 2008 7:36 pm

Yikes...that's not good. Any other daytime moves around NMJ these days on the MMA? I guess when they first cranked up, they kind of followed the old BAR schedule of 203 coming down from Brownville early morning, then the Searsport local would take a loco and some of the cars on down to the port.
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Searsport Terminal (Studies and Potential Traffic)

Postby CN9634 » Sat Nov 29, 2008 1:06 am

Cruising through this wonderful thing we call the internet I came across the Port Strategy Study for Maine. Of course it's a year late finding it having been released in Nov. 2007 but it still holds a lot of good material because lets face it nothing much has changed between now and then. It's a great read and gives statistical data on what kind of traffic a Rail/Container port may have at Searsport (As well as other locations in Maine) Also it quotes times and tons. Be ready though it is a 110 page study!

http://www.maineports.com/documents/Por ... dy_001.pdf

Also keep in mind that the MMA and the State have both said that they are pushing hard for this. I guess there is not much else that can be done from a public stand point but I do know a lot of opposition exists in the Searsport area. If you have a friend in that area do your part and convert them today! Oh geesh what am I saying :wink: But seriously this is the big "break" the MMA is looking for.
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Re: Searsport Terminal (Studies and Potential Traffic)

Postby murray83 » Sat Nov 29, 2008 6:15 pm

Why?

Halifax,Saint John and Montreal all have major losses in container business

Save taxpayers money and spend it on something usefull
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Re: Searsport Terminal (Studies and Potential Traffic)

Postby pjb » Sun Dec 21, 2008 4:21 am

:-D
The statement that Halifax loses money on container operations is wrong.
Not even by eliminating all the ancillary benefits (which monetarily exceeds
all the direct income from handling the cargo by a factor of 10+, according
to the provincial government' s accounting) do you derive a loss: from the cost of,
and income from, the direct stevedoring operations.
I believe that you have been fed a "bill of goods", by some environmental
or other NIMBY persons, that desire to stop any economic development.
These anti-development types from the upper classes have long been a
burden to the region, and have caused generations of people , such as
myself to go elsewhere to achieve a decent standard of living for
myself and family.
If you wish to point out that Searsport offers less , locationwise, than its
regional competitors - that is a propositon that is defencible from a
rational economic point of view. Trotting out lies about other competitive
ports does not serve any discussion about the subject well.
Good-Luck,PJB
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Re: Searsport Terminal (Studies and Potential Traffic)

Postby johnpbarlow » Mon Dec 22, 2008 6:00 am

Clearly, as this article from the Journal of Commerce attests, there has been a significant reduction in container volume (ie, TEUs & tonnage) at the port of Halifax.

"Halifax TEUs tumble

Updated July 16, 2008 11:45:42 AM
Courtney Tower / The JOURNAL of COMMERCE ONLINE

Container traffic through the Port of Halifax fell by double-digits in the first half of the year on the departure of two weekly ocean services and softened import demand from the United States.
Container TEUs dropped 16.3 percent through June 30 from the same period the previous year, while container tonnage declined by 19.6 percent, according to the Halifax Port Authority.
First-half container volume fell to 203,910 TEUs from 243,600 TEUs. Tonnage dropped to 1.70 million metric tons from 2.13 million tons.
The eastern Canadian authority claimed that “the decrease in containerized cargo is not a problem unique to Halifax --- ports all over North America are facing downturns.”
In fact, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority in British Columbia, which now markets itself as Port Metro Vancouver, reported a 4-percent increase in traffic for the first half, to 1.22 million TEUs from 1.17 million TEUs in the first six months of 2007. It did not disclose tonnage figures.
The Port of Montreal said box tonnage grew 10.2 percent through May, to 5.5 million metric tons from 5 million in the 2007 period. Volume increased 7.2 percent to 592,881 TEUs from 553,185 TEUs.
Canadian National Railway, the sole rail carrier serving the Port of Halifax, announced Monday it was cutting daily service to one pair from two pairs of trains because of weaker container volumes."


http://www.joc.com/articles/news.asp?section=ocean&sid=45829
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