Activity on the Mountain Branch (Portland to Westbrook)

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: Activity on the Mountain Branch (Portland to Westbrook)

Postby drcrf93 » Sun May 17, 2015 7:41 pm

PO-1 w/ MEC 354 - MEC 347 brought two loads of LPG to Dead River this afternoon (On a Sunday of all days!) Looked like two empties to go back to Rigby with.
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Re: Activity on the Mountain Branch (Portland to Westbrook)

Postby newpylong » Sun May 17, 2015 8:22 pm

Did they switch anyone else while out there?
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Re: Activity on the Mountain Branch (Portland to Westbrook)

Postby drcrf93 » Sun May 17, 2015 9:22 pm

newpylong wrote:Did they switch anyone else while out there?

We left after they pulled the empties out so I am not sure.
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Re: Activity on the Mountain Branch (Portland to Westbrook)

Postby atholrail » Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:28 pm

Caught PO1 3105 on the branch today. 2 LPG loads for Dead River, and 2 Slurry loads for Sappi...
Attachments
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Westbrook
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Switching Dead River
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Switching Dead River Propane
https://www.flickr.com/photos/123370123@N05/
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http://photos.nerail.org/show/?order=by ... =atholrail
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Re: Activity on the Mountain Branch (Portland to Westbrook)

Postby Mikejf » Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:53 pm

Caught a run returning from Westbrook today. 9 or 10 tank cars (3 white) and one hopper car.
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Re: Activity on the Mountain Branch (Portland to Westbrook)

Postby Cosakita18 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:56 pm

This may be a dumb question, but why doesn't SAPPI Westbrook do any outbound by rail? Its not like they don't have good rail access and they must be the only mill in the state that does almost nothing by rail.
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Re: Activity on the Mountain Branch (Portland to Westbrook)

Postby gokeefe » Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:25 pm

They don't make the right kind of product for shipment by rail.

Interesting to note that PAR seems to have kept very steady local business in the Portland area recently. Lots of propane deliveries.
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Re: Activity on the Mountain Branch (Portland to Westbrook)

Postby MEC407 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:49 pm

gokeefe wrote:They don't make the right kind of product for shipment by rail.


Yup. And for anyone curious about what they make at the Westbrook plant (it's really better described as a plant than a mill), check out their web site — it's really interesting and you've probably got Sappi Westbrook stuff in your home or car!

http://www.warrenreleasepapers.sappi.com/home
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Re: Activity on the Mountain Branch (Portland to Westbrook)

Postby Mikejf » Wed Mar 23, 2016 7:10 pm

That hopper was a covered hopper by the way. Also looked like a tank car(s) was on the main west of Larrabee Rd when I was headed home on the turnpike after my original post
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Re: Activity on the Mountain Branch (Portland to Westbrook)

Postby newpylong » Wed Mar 23, 2016 8:17 pm

gokeefe wrote:They don't make the right kind of product for shipment by rail.

Interesting to note that PAR seems to have kept very steady local business in the Portland area recently. Lots of propane deliveries.


Lots of propane everywhere. It's easy business and hard to f up. The product doesn't go bad and the consignee doesn't care what car # they get as long as it's a load.
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Re: Activity on the Mountain Branch (Portland to Westbrook)

Postby Cowford » Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:05 pm

Highly seasonal with the highest demand during the year's worst weather (and the worse the weather, the higher the demand!), stringent hazmat compliance requirements, very challenging to forecast as it's so temperature-dependent. Yeah, it's a snap! :P
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Re: Activity on the Mountain Branch (Portland to Westbrook)

Postby newpylong » Thu Mar 24, 2016 7:15 am

Cowford wrote:Highly seasonal with the highest demand during the year's worst weather (and the worse the weather, the higher the demand!), stringent hazmat compliance requirements, very challenging to forecast as it's so temperature-dependent. Yeah, it's a snap! :P


I think we have a pretty good grasp on when it's supposed to get cold now...

The Hazmat requirements are not stringent, it's not a TIH class product.

The railroad doesn't forecast it, the consignees and thus the market does. They order the cars, it's up to Pan Am to get them from point A to B. All Pan Am does is stuff a track in Deerfield and Rigby full of LPG and make a cut on x number of cars and haul it away. The customer doesn't care which they get or where they are spotted - which is a huge difference from other products. Take it from someone who has done the work, it's hard for the RR to f-up LP traffic.
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Re: Activity on the Mountain Branch (Portland to Westbrook)

Postby Cowford » Thu Mar 24, 2016 10:09 pm

Good grasp on when, eh? So what's your forecast on how many heating degree days should be expected next winter? Kinda makes a difference.

Dismissing the regulatory/safety requirements of LPG? That's discouraging.

Finally, markets don't forecast demand, industry participants forecast market demand. Railroads forecast and plan for LPG movements just like LPG retailers, suppliers, intermediaries... it's not just demand that is forecast, but also sourcing locations, etc. and just like railroads do for every other commodity they handle. Granted, LPG moves in private equipment, so that's out of the equation... but aren't unit trains easier? Or blocks of other product that move in private equipment? And you seem to think storage tracks aren't planned for? You're right, propane is, generally speaking, propane. And you're right, you (usually) don't have to spot the cars in any particular order. But foul up your service in a cold snap (which is when you're at the highest risk of doing so) and the receiver will source by truck, with that volume gone forever. Sorry man, there's more that goes into it than spotting a cut on a spur.
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Re: Activity on the Mountain Branch (Portland to Westbrook)

Postby newpylong » Fri Mar 25, 2016 7:49 am

Cowford wrote:Good grasp on when, eh? So what's your forecast on how many heating degree days should be expected next winter? Kinda makes a difference.


Have you ever had automatic fuel delivery? Not a new science.

Cowford wrote:Dismissing the regulatory/safety requirements of LPG? That's discouraging.


No I said there is nothing special about LPG vs other hazardous commodities being moved. It is not a TIH class product and thus requires no special handling or train service.

Cowford wrote:Finally, markets don't forecast demand, industry participants forecast market demand. Railroads forecast and plan for LPG movements just like LPG retailers, suppliers, intermediaries... it's not just demand that is forecast, but also sourcing locations, etc. and just like railroads do for every other commodity they handle.


That is correct - which makes LPG no more difficult to plan operations for.

Cowford wrote:Granted, LPG moves in private equipment, so that's out of the equation... but aren't unit trains easier? Or blocks of other product that move in private equipment? And you seem to think storage tracks aren't planned for?


No they are not, like I said Deerfield and Rigby both have dedicated tracks. There is nothing to "plan" for. When the customer begins to order cars in the fall those tracks fill up. The switchers go in and take X number of cars and they are done.

Cowford wrote:You're right, propane is, generally speaking, propane. And you're right, you (usually) don't have to spot the cars in any particular order. But foul up your service in a cold snap (which is when you're at the highest risk of doing so) and the receiver will source by truck, with that volume gone forever. Sorry man, there's more that goes into it than spotting a cut on a spur.


The customer does not wait until a Noreaster and their storage is running low to order cars.

If Pan Am can successfully deliver and actually gain LPG traffic, I think that's an example in itself of how un "special" it is.
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Re: Activity on the Mountain Branch (Portland to Westbrook)

Postby festis » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:05 am

MEC407 wrote:
gokeefe wrote:They don't make the right kind of product for shipment by rail.


Yup. And for anyone curious about what they make at the Westbrook plant (it's really better described as a plant than a mill), check out their web site — it's really interesting and you've probably got Sappi Westbrook stuff in your home or car!

http://www.warrenreleasepapers.sappi.com/home


It would be better said "not the right kind of VOLUME for shipment by rail" High value, reusable paper, ordered a couple of tons at a time. Domestically moved LTL. Full containers trucked to port for overseas distribution.
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