• CMQ for sale?

  • Discussion of present-day CM&Q operations, as well as discussion of predecessors Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) and Bangor & Aroostook Railroad (BAR).
Discussion of present-day CM&Q operations, as well as discussion of predecessors Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) and Bangor & Aroostook Railroad (BAR).

Moderator: MEC407

  by MEC407
baldy wrote: Wed Jan 01, 2020 8:08 pm Using the GP22ECOs on the Rockland line won't pacify the NIMBYS down there. They'll see smoke from the turbo stacks and "oh, my gosh, the world will be ending". These people won't be pleased no matter what one does. Move and keep the B23-7s down. A CMQ employee has told me they're good locos.
It sort of fascinates me that there were very few complaints about smoke or fumes when Maine Coast Railroad — an all-ALCO operation whose locomotives produced very significant amounts of smoke — was operating the Rockland Branch. Yet when Maine Eastern took over and operated a mostly-EMD fleet that were virtually smokeless, the complaints started pouring in.

Anyhow, I'm sure CP will get rid of the B23s as quickly as they feasibly can, which is sad but totally expected. They are in fact good locomotives that were very well maintained for most of their career by GE techs who worked on site for ATSF and later BNSF. They're still well supported today by GE/Wabtec. Hopefully some GE-friendly shortline will snatch them up.
  by NHV 669
Perhaps FGLK could use some, they've got a couple on site don't they? I saw FB that they've been using GMTX 3008 (former GMRC 302) on a few GS-2 trains lately, no idea if they got it for system traffic growth or because of power issues.
  by MEC407
That is true, FGLK seems to like older GEs. So does Minnesota Commercial although I don't know if they need more. The other one that comes to mind is Pickens Railroad, although I'd hate to see a U18B displaced by a B23-7!
  by RGlueck
As far as the GE units are concerned, I assume Pickens nose best. (insert rimshot)

But seriously folks, I live between two of the crossings in Winterport, and theyve been running trains with old CP EMD units, Canadian name spray painted out, and at least one GE unit in Santa Fe blue.
  by bsweep
Today I watched the NBSR block their train in Brownville before heading East to McAdam and Saint John. They did a good job for sure but it still took a couple hours, especially when adding the Pan Am cars which came north from NMJ. We left before they headed out but you can for sure add even more time if they picked up cars at Hardy Pond from the MNR. I suspect this is the sort of thing CP will want to avoid and which will create interesting new patterns and I suspect possibly even trackage rights. While the Pan Am haulage was always sort of coup for CMQ and provided needed revenue and quite frankly rationalized two marginal lines exactly where they should have been (the Pan AM line to Keag and BAR to Brownville), I suspect it won't be of the same interest to CP. It will be very interesting to see how the Pan Am and NMR traffic is handled - perhaps on separate trains, and perhaps even via trackage rights over CP.
  by CPF363
Further it will be interesting to see what conditions iare placed on the merger by the STB. Remember that none of Pan Am's connections are changing as part of this merger, so in the eyes of the STB, the line to Keag is still operational providing for a direct connection to the NBSR.
Last edited by MEC407 on Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:13 am, edited 1 time in total. Reason: unnecessary quoting
  by bostontrainguy
I just have to ask . . . how long has CP been considering this? They could have bought this line for what about $15 Million in 2014 when it was put on the block? And now they buy it 5 years later for $130 Million! Didn't someone think about this back then?
  by gokeefe
Apparently not. That being said ... Without access to the potash loads it might not have been worth it. In the meantime CMQ did some upgrades (probably cheaper than CP would have had to pay) and now the line is that much further along to their standard.

They basically saved themselves 5+ years of possible operating losses (due to their likely higher wages and benefits) along with some hard work getting rid of slow orders. Not a bad deal overall. Also didn't have to live with the short term aftermath of the Lac-Megantic disaster.
  by Cowford
They basically saved themselves 5+ years of possible operating losses
That would imply the expectation of operating losses in the future.

What I can't recall is for how much CP sold the line back in 1995. I found one article that the combined CP lines sold to Iron Roads handled about 30,000 carloads/yr. Not quite apples-to-apples with CMQ, but that's not much different to today's activity, and the mix has changed. Certainly less paper and more logs. They did have a woodchip move from Greenville to MIllinocket in the late 80s (not sure when it stopped), but I don't think CP was handling any logs at the end (possibly in VT?).
  by gokeefe
Cowford wrote: Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:57 pmThat would imply the expectation of operating losses in the future.
That's my point about the potash. It appears to be important enough that it changes the equation for CP. Couldn't do it in the past 5-6 years because the traffic was locked down by contract.
  by CN9634
The driving factors are simple and well stated in this thread -- port connections.

What does CP tell us needs to be exported right now?


There you have it.

Not sure why we are looking for a needle in a haystack or trying to 'understand the strategy' here, when CP has very clearly explained the reasoning behind this purchase. Since they have to answer to shareholders for this type of things, why don't we take them at their word (or dollars for that matter).

Next Quarterly call is Jan 29th, lets see if anything comes up. Otherwise, June 11th is proposed day 1.
  by gokeefe
I think the presumption, especially from Cowford's point of view, which I share, is that neither containers nor auto traffic appear to make sense. It is unclear how much potash traffic is up for grabs and whether or not it's enough to make a difference.

CP has indicated that the opportunity in auto traffic is export related which is likewise odd given the lack of available facilities.

I don't think anyone disputes what they are saying but making rational sense of it is challenging given certain facts on the ground.

Given all of the above it would appear that CP has some significant new business which is as yet undisclosed.
Last edited by gokeefe on Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by CN9634
For the sake of discussion and what is happening with the CP takeover, it's fair to say there is potential for a number of increases in business from any sector really. Now CP can apply the enhanced network to their existing book of business, or prospectively chase down new ones. Again, it sounds to me as though this is to bolster their competitiveness in the existing landscape and they've also said they have customers asking for new solutions in the East.

I guess my point is you all still seem in a daze that this is happening but the fact remains, this is happening. Let's give it the appropriate time to see the answers come together more clearly. I do know there is already activity about Searsport, so hopefully that comes to fruition sooner than later.
  by Zeke
Friend of mine who is a really big wheel on a Class one still thinks Irving's are feeling around getting out of the RR Biz and CP made the first step in grabbing the CMQ at any price. CP appears to be in that strategic position to revive the Montreal St John traffic lane if an offer comes to pass. As for class ones doing dumb stuff BN and BNSF rue the sale of the NP mainline across Montana to the Washington Group a decision that has haunted them to this day.
  by backroadrails
From what I have heard Irving has no intentions on selling out. Honestly it wouldn't be a smart move for them, since they control the supply chain for several of their other companies. I could see CP running with trackage rights to St. John but I don't see Irving selling out, atleast anytime soon. Also as a side note, per Kevin Burkholder on Facebook, the STB has released a schedule of proceedings for the sale, and as it stands right now, the official take over date is June 3rd.
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