The Maine Central Railroad Mountain Division

Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.

Moderator: MEC407

Re: Reactivating the MEC Mountain Division?

Postby gokeefe » Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:51 pm

File this one under: "Truth is stranger than fiction" ...
gokeefe
User avatar
gokeefe
 
Posts: 9677
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm
Location: Winthrop, Maine

Re: Reactivating the MEC Mountain Division?

Postby Rockingham Racer » Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:03 am

Not a peep about who would fund the upgrade to Fryeburg. But if the line were upgraded, one could take the theoretical State Fair Special in October. :wink:
User avatar
Rockingham Racer
 
Posts: 2863
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:25 pm

Re: Reactivating the MEC Mountain Division?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:42 am

It must be spring. The Mountain zombie has awoken from hibernation and is hungry for foam! :P


NHN already has customers trucking out of Ossippee Yard to Fryeburg via NH 16 and US 302. Now that they've got spiffy new 286K Class 2 mainline track they're investing more in logistics @ Ossippee and gradually lengthening their car storage on the mainline stub beyond the quarry spur to stuff more cars for more business. They have almost 2 miles of self-owned OOS track beyond current end of operable track (to the NH 28 grade crossing) before the division post with NHDOT's railbanked portion and are probably going to keep adding more operable tail storage 1000 ft. at a time until they reach the first crossing (Old Granite Rd.) a mile out.

There isn't a land deal cheap enough in Fryeburg to float the amount of self-funded share Poland Spring would have to contribute to get direct rail access. And that's even assuming that MEDOT is going to go full-on stupid with the amount they'd spend. So if it's here and not Lincoln or elsewhere with an active mainline rail connection seeing daily trains, then don't believe one word of any of the bluster to-date about how much they value direct access. They're gonna truck it longer-distance, either to Ossippee where this is exactly the kind of score NHN has been waiting for...or to Auburn ramp. You can't make the direct-rail math work in Fryeburg...can't. Either the direct-rail assumption is totally wrong, or the assumption that Fryeburg is as high on PS's site list as is being reported is wrong. There is no third option because the costs of Mountain restoration for direct rail are several orders of magnitude afoul of the revenue upside in a region where you can't throw a rock and not hit bargain-basement unused prime industrial real estate sitting sorely underutilized on some other high-traffic freight main.


If Greater Fryeburg ever gets connected back to civilization on or near a freight line, I remain resolute that it's going to be via Ossippee-Conway and never ever via Westbrook-Fryeburg no matter how much MEDOT keeps dreaming. NHN remains cautiously calculating about eventually wanting (however futile it is to try to bait NHDOT) a crack at new biz development further north. And Conway has Conway Scenic and the prospect of 40 MPH passenger service to Dover on NHN's newly-upgraded main backing up the rear flank while CSRX could never make money crawling at 10 MPH on the bunny-hop from PTC. Ossippee transload on the NH 16 corridor quietly builds the business case in the distant (if wholly sanguine) hope that attitudes in Concord someday...somehow...change. And if it doesn't...Ossippee transload has its own self-contained growth prospects to pad NHN for the long haul because of its location on a prime 50 MPH truck corridor spanning most of upstate on the east side of Mt. Washington. In a battle of very low restoration odds on either route, the 20-mile gap in New Hampshire spanning a fast heavyweight CWR freight main to the south and a well-maintained fast-ish passenger line to the north runs the table on the near- 50 miles of dog-slow stick that would have to be rehabbed to the east.
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 7097
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Reactivating the MEC Mountain Division?

Postby Mikejf » Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:21 am

I will also believe it when I see it. The cost to refurbish the line to just get it to 10mph is going to be tremendous. Most crossings will need rebuilding, all electronics will need replacing/upgrading. Bridges. Any good for 286,000?
The place in Fryeburg is right next to the tracks, so loading directly into a boxcar. Or load into a container and haul it to Portland to load.
Last edited by Mikejf on Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mikejf
 
Posts: 1481
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:46 pm
Location: Maine

Re: Reactivating the MEC Mountain Division?

Postby MEC407 » Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:32 am

And as we've discussed in the Pan Am forum, there is good reason to believe that the towns of Lincoln and Madison are much more hungry for Nestle's investment than Fryeburg would be, and thus would fight much harder and be more willing to offer incentives. Rumford is also in the game but I really think Lincoln and Madison are the two to watch because they have the most to gain, by a wide margin.

It IS interesting and notable that Nestle has signaled interest in four towns that all have railroad trucks running through them, but I wouldn't read too much into it, especially in the case of Fryeburg. Fryeburg's biggest (and perhaps only) selling point is that Nestle already extracts water there. But Fryeburg also has a downside, which is that Nestle wants to add an additional water source to their portfolio. Expanding in Fryeburg would presumably mean using the existing water source, or one that is nearby and part of the same watershed.
MEC407
Moderator:
Pan Am Railways — Boston & Maine/Maine Central — Delaware & Hudson
Central Maine & Quebec/Montreal, Maine & Atlantic/Bangor & Aroostook
Providence & Worcester — New England — GE Locomotives
User avatar
MEC407
 
Posts: 10665
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:15 pm

Re: Reactivating the MEC Mountain Division?

Postby gokeefe » Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:13 pm

It's all very easy to write the story off. I'm certainly ready to.

That being said Poland Spring is serious about rail right now in a way that I think is easy to underestimate.

I think we will all be very surprised at the final outcome.

Personally I think Rumford is higher up on the list than any of us realize. It's a very active branch line with excellent service, available yard jobs and also very close to some pristine groundwater sources. There are also a lot of possible sites available for redevelopment that would have direct rail access.
gokeefe
User avatar
gokeefe
 
Posts: 9677
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm
Location: Winthrop, Maine

Re: Reactivating the MEC Mountain Division?

Postby Mikejf » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:37 am

Yes, I also think Rumford would be a good choice. But ultimately, rail service or not, Poland Spring will build the plant where most feasable to them. If they have to truck water, that is what they will do. They are trying to do the right thing by using the most fuel efficient way to ship, but they will also ship on price.
Mikejf
 
Posts: 1481
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:46 pm
Location: Maine

Re: Reactivating the MEC Mountain Division?

Postby SemperFidelis » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:12 am

Ah, memories from my truck dispatching days.

Every driver I ever had to send into Maine for spring water hated the run. It had something to do with being paid by the zip code mileage and not odometer mileage but I don't recall the exact arguement.

Honestly, I am surprised Poland Spring hasn't set up a warehouse to fill boxcars with pallets of water. It is a heavy commodity (1 pallet equals 2088 lbs), so it is a good candidate for rail.

I imagine this will all be a moot point when a few million more people become obsolete (and jobless) when driverless trucks hit the road.
SemperFidelis
 
Posts: 1297
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2006 3:49 pm
Location: Stupid Voterland

Re: Reactivating the MEC Mountain Division?

Postby Cowford » Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:56 pm

Given Fryeburg's acrimonious relationship with Nestle, it's hard to believe that they would seriously consider an expansion there. That said, most reports I've read state that production at the proposed bottling plant would be expected to be 175M gallons/yr. Total (outbound) tonnage would be equivalent to that of a large paper mill. Even a small market share could generate significant volumes.
Cowford
 
Posts: 2667
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2004 12:34 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Reactivating the MEC Mountain Division?

Postby gokeefe » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:59 pm

Cowford wrote:Even a small market share could generate significant volumes.


My impression as well. It's a big opportunity for the railroad if they can make this work. Feels like a "once in a generation" opportunity to cement a modal shift.
gokeefe
User avatar
gokeefe
 
Posts: 9677
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm
Location: Winthrop, Maine

Has Nestlé's settled on Fryeburg for its new PS facility?

Postby johnpbarlow » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:35 am

There's a good sized article in this week's Bloomberg Businessweek about how Nestlé is #1 in the bottled water business (~100 bottled water factories in 34 countries) realizing $7.7B revenue w/w in 2016. Interestingly, $343M of revenue came from Michigan where it bottles Ice Mountain Natural Spring Water and Pure Life for an extraction fee of $200!!!

Anyway, the relevant snippet of the article is:

In Fryeburg, Maine, it took the company four years to successfully appeal a zoning board resolution to build a facility it said it needed for its Poland Springs line. Last year it gained rights to extract water for the next 20 years - and perhaps 25 more after that.
johnpbarlow
 
Posts: 1616
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 12:50 pm

Re: Has Nestlé's settled on Fryeburg for its new PS facility

Postby Mikejf » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:53 am

What they are talking about is the loadout facility that has been in operation for a while now.
Mikejf
 
Posts: 1481
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:46 pm
Location: Maine

Re: Has Nestlé's settled on Fryeburg for its new PS facility

Postby johnpbarlow » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:13 am

This public access Facebook page "Community Water Justice" makes it seem like a sale of Eastern Slope Regional Airport land to Nestle for a new bottling plant is imminent and controversial among some Freyburg area residents:

https://www.facebook.com/communitywaterjustice/

Conway Daily Sun ran this article on Sept 12, 2017:

https://www.conwaydailysun.com/news/local/nestle-reportedly-interested-in-airport-land/article_61f6661a-94b3-11e7-a2a0-4f283c287dda.html

Excerpt:
Poland Spring Natural Resource Manager Mark Dubois released a statement about the bottled water company's interest in the airport land:

"As part of Poland Spring’s ongoing exploration into building a potential factory in the greater Fryeburg region, our company is talking with both the Town of Fryeburg and the Eastern Slope Airport Authority about the possibility of purchasing Town-owned land situated between Route 5 and the existing Airport Authority operations at the Eastern Slopes Airport.

"If a sale is approved and if this property is chosen as a site for a new Poland Spring bottling facility, the Greater Fryeburg area would see benefits in the form of new jobs, capital investment, property taxes, land protections, and community benefits.

"If all the parties decide to pursue a deal, the Federal Aviation Authority would need to approve any agreement to sell the land. Fryeburg residents will also have an opportunity to vote on the sale at a Town Meeting."


Then there's this August 7, 2017 article discussing how much land Nestle has acquired in Fryeburg recently with a couple of references to shipping water by rail:
https://www.conwaydailysun.com/news/local/fryeburg-selectman-sells-land-to-poland-spring/article_3f52ae5c-7852-11e7-8d5a-cf1509de925b.html
johnpbarlow
 
Posts: 1616
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 12:50 pm

Re: Has Nestlé's settled on Fryeburg for its new PS facility

Postby newpylong » Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:29 am

Reading the article there's nothing that I see that makes Fryeburg a slam dunk.
newpylong
 
Posts: 3920
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 12:32 pm
Location: NH

Re: Has Nestlé's settled on Fryeburg for its new PS facility

Postby Mikejf » Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:54 am

One of those "I'll believe it when I see it". The extraction of water has been going on over there for a while now, has been fought hard against, and still are against.

The possibility of them building a new plant, which is essentially next to the Mountain Division, may be exciting, but just a dream for now. And rail service from there? That would be expensive to rehab track now dormant for almost 35 years.
Mikejf
 
Posts: 1481
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:46 pm
Location: Maine

PreviousNext

Return to Boston & Maine/Maine Central

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: ExCon90 and 5 guests