Lewiston Industrial Track/Lewiston Lower Rd/Branch status

Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.

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Re: Lewiston Industrial Track/Lewiston Lower Rd/Branch statu

Postby gokeefe » Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:40 pm

Mikejf wrote:The line was never repaired or maintained past the mill site. They rebuilt the line so the mill could ship by rail. By the time the workwas complete, the mill was on life support.


I didn't realize it was open in the same era that the line was renovated. I thought it had shut down much earlier than the mid 1990's.
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Re: Lewiston Industrial Track/Lewiston Lower Rd/Branch statu

Postby bwparker1 » Mon Sep 26, 2016 2:45 pm

I think there is mill confusion. The mill that was operational when the line was rebuilt was the Knight Celetox OSB mill. The Worumbo Mill, which I believe made woolen blankets, was closed much earlier.
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Re: Lewiston Industrial Track/Lewiston Lower Rd/Branch statu

Postby gokeefe » Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:40 pm

Right but I'm pretty sure the ongoing demo is at the Worumbo site.
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Re: Lewiston Industrial Track/Lewiston Lower Rd/Branch statu

Postby Mikejf » Tue Sep 27, 2016 6:09 am

Yes. I did mean the Celotex Mill. The Worumbo Mill was long dormant when the line was repaired to Celotex.

A few weeks ago I did drive down to the loading dock in the industrial park and found it surrounded with trees, some with trunks the size of your leg. No activity there in a long time.
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Re: Lewiston Industrial Track/Lewiston Lower Rd/Branch statu

Postby sleepingtree » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:03 am

Today in Lisbon I saw a number of PanAm MOW trucks at the River Road crossing in Lisbon - River Road was closed. Probably the first time there's been a railroad related truck there for 25 years or more. I'm guessing they're removing the crossing at that location.

As an fyi, I don't believe the Celotex plant was financially unstable. My understanding from reporting at the time was that the parent company grew too fast and racked up too much debt. Celotex, specifically CEO Jim Knight, invested heavily in China and apparently did not get the returns they had hoped. During the financial crisis, B of A forced a sale to cover those Chinese investments. Had the bottom not dropped from the housing market and had Celotex not grown too quickly - there would probably still be 200 jobs in Lisbon. Talk about sad stories.
Last edited by sleepingtree on Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lewiston Industrial Track/Lewiston Lower Rd/Branch statu

Postby gokeefe » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:06 am

sleepingtree wrote:Its parent company, specifically CEO Jim Knight, invested heavily in China and apparently did not get the returns they had hoped.


There are a lot of stories like that floating around right now. Although I'm pretty sure no one is going to rebuild a mill on this line I do think there's going to be some significant manufacturing growth in the U.S. (including Maine).
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Re: Lewiston Industrial Track/Lewiston Lower Rd/Branch statu

Postby sleepingtree » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:19 am

As a follow-up to my previous post about rail removal at River Road, I wonder if it's related at all to the proposed sale of this end of the line to Androscoggin Land Trust. Anybody have any insider info on that? Seems like a Pan-Am thing to strip out rails before a sale.

http://www.ci.lewiston.me.us/ArchiveCen ... /Item/2160
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Re: Lewiston Industrial Track/Lewiston Lower Rd/Branch statu

Postby gokeefe » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:46 am

Could very well be. I had no idea a trail like this was so far along.
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Re: Lewiston Industrial Track/Lewiston Lower Rd/Branch statu

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Oct 13, 2016 1:44 pm

The trail's been in planning for years (decades?). It just took a very long time for the state to convince PAR that it had nothing to fear after all of TRNE's bleating about using this branch as a convoluted Lewiston/Auburn passenger routing that could reach across the river onto the SLR main for Montreal. It freaked Billericadome the hell out out to see potentially serious competitive intrusion by SLR casually tossed about in conversation like it was nothing special, so they spent years digging in and playing hard to get. That whole malarkey has been done and buried for years now with parameters of the sale more or less agreed upon. Lately it's just been the agonizingly slow process of stashing away enough pennies at a time to save up for the final buy.

They may be getting close to paydirt...close enough to maybe get PAR out in the field to take a survey of the property for the first time in eons to get their stories straight for the eventual legal paperwork, and to start cleaning up any junk the railroad--not trail designers--are going to be officially responsible for removing in the end. But it hasn't formally transacted, because there'd be mandatory STB filings and reciprocal legal notices published in the local papers (plus, obviously, some press coverage of the long-awaited sale milestone).



Does make complete sense that Mellon's going to want this property scraped off the books at long last before he ever puts the company up for sale. Here, Hampton Branch in NH, and Lowell Industrial Track in MA are the 3 abandoned properties in D1/D2 that have had longstanding public sale negotiations slow to an impasse. All three (plus Pennacook if that abandonment filing is imminent) he's going to want scrubbed before entertaining acquisition bids, because I'm sure an internal property audit is going to throw up some other surprises to address of other long-forgotten ROW flotsam from the last 30 years (or even prior) they had no idea they still owned...and haven't been paying property taxes on.
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Re: Lewiston Industrial Track/Lewiston Lower Rd/Branch statu

Postby BM6569 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:02 pm

Are we sure the River Road crossing is being removed? Doesn't the state own parts of this line? If so, where does their ownership start? April of 2014, fresh rock had been dropped on the tracks just east of the crossing. If the state owns this section, wouldn't they be responsible for removing the tracks?

Also, I live in the L/A area and have heard nothing about this rail trail plan. I don't think it's that far along in the sale process or I would have read about it in the paper.

Guess I better walk that last section from East Avenue to Pleasant St before it's gone. I've walked all other sections from Lincoln St to Lisbon St.
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Re: Lewiston Industrial Track/Lewiston Lower Rd/Branch statu

Postby gokeefe » Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:41 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Does make complete sense that Mellon's going to want this property scraped off the books at long last before he ever puts the company up for sale. Here, Hampton Branch in NH, and Lowell Industrial Track in MA are the 3 abandoned properties in D1/D2 that have had longstanding public sale negotiations slow to an impasse. All three (plus Pennacook if that abandonment filing is imminent) he's going to want scrubbed before entertaining acquisition bids, because I'm sure an internal property audit is going to throw up some other surprises to address of other long-forgotten ROW flotsam from the last 30 years (or even prior) they had no idea they still owned...and haven't been paying property taxes on.


Most of the post made me laugh but this part in particular ... not because I disagree but because I can only just imagine the kinds of things they might discover ...
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Re: Lewiston Industrial Track/Lewiston Lower Rd/Branch statu

Postby sleepingtree » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:12 pm

The state owns east of the River Road crossing. It's easy to tell - east of River Road is clear of weeds and debris, west is nearly impassable.

The crossing was removed today - the ground has been prepared for paving.
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Re: Lewiston Industrial Track/Lewiston Lower Rd/Branch statu

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Oct 14, 2016 2:18 pm

gokeefe wrote:
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Does make complete sense that Mellon's going to want this property scraped off the books at long last before he ever puts the company up for sale. Here, Hampton Branch in NH, and Lowell Industrial Track in MA are the 3 abandoned properties in D1/D2 that have had longstanding public sale negotiations slow to an impasse. All three (plus Pennacook if that abandonment filing is imminent) he's going to want scrubbed before entertaining acquisition bids, because I'm sure an internal property audit is going to throw up some other surprises to address of other long-forgotten ROW flotsam from the last 30 years (or even prior) they had no idea they still owned...and haven't been paying property taxes on.


Most of the post made me laugh but this part in particular ... not because I disagree but because I can only just imagine the kinds of things they might discover ...


Joking aside, it's not all that rare since you're dealing with record-keeping of land deeds dating back to mid-19th century. Guilford's only been Guilford for 33 years...before that B&M and MEC were in/out/teetering-around bankruptcy for decades with internal turmoil no doubt taking its toll on internal record-keeping efficiency. In the 13 years between Conrail's gov't formation and it's spin-off to IPO they had to deal with thousands of lost or disputed property records from their bankrupt predecessors and predecessors' predecessors uncovered during internal audit. And it led to constant stream of oddball ICC filings to clean up botched or unclosed past dockets, discontiguous chunks of abandoned lines that were never formally abandoned, discontiguous chunks of active lines thought to be sold to other RR's but actually putting them in an unwelcome landlord situation, and land disputes out the wazoo where somebody comes out of the woodwork with a shriveled piece of 19th century contract whose authenticity can't be verified.

Granted, the scope of Conrail and its constituent parts are nothing compared to PAR where D1/D2 are almost exclusively lifelong B&M and MEC holdings passed intact, and Guilford has been Guilford entirely inside the era of computer record-keeping. PAR being a private entity also means they don't have to self-audit the property files with nearly as fine-toothed a comb as a quasi-gov't holding like Conrail did in its prep-for-IPO. Some records management liability is going to be on the buyer's side in take-it-or-leave-it fashion, because the stakes for an "Oops...I guess we never sold that disconnected 2 miles in Winchendon" moment are so low within the scope of the merger. It's mainly going to be about whose butt is covered by whom in the transaction for surprise property tax bills greater than X decimal places.


But it will happen. That's simply inevitable when very old RR record-keeping pockmarked by periods of company instability over 150 years get dealt in-bulk. There will be a few STB brain-teasers that provoke a bemused "Really? They still have that? How does one forget they own that?!?" reaction. Only betting odds to wager on is whether it's going to be a MellonFink-era delinquent tax bill or an MEC-era trivia question for the history buffs.
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Re: Lewiston Industrial Track/Lewiston Lower Rd/Branch statu

Postby gokeefe » Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:54 pm

Two words: Quebec Junction ... ok just kidding. Thanks for the response.
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Re: Lewiston Industrial Track/Lewiston Lower Rd/Branch statu

Postby BostonUrbEx » Sat Oct 15, 2016 2:53 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:All three (plus Pennacook if that abandonment filing is imminent) he's going to want scrubbed before entertaining acquisition bids, because I'm sure an internal property audit is going to throw up some other surprises to address of other long-forgotten ROW flotsam from the last 30 years (or even prior) they had no idea they still owned...and haven't been paying property taxes on.


Interesting, this would jive with a recent move to abandon some ROW in the Somersworth/Rochester area. It seemed the property owned didn't connect directly to anything, yet it was still in PAR hands, perhaps unknowingly for a long time. I'm not sure if the FRA filing has happened yet or not, but they were getting their paperwork together this summer.

Who knows how many unknown properties are on their books!
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