Just a note or two from someone who has been around BAR, Iron Road and MMA. I truly wish everyone would make the distinction between BAR and Iron Road. BAR was one of the most respected roads in the country and it really gets my goat when someone tries to put them in the same kettle with Iron Road. I am a native Mainiac and as my name implies an employee. The B&A was managed by Mainiacs for over 100yrs and although they had some scathing owners in the later years who raped it for all they could it continued a proud tradition of family business with sons following in their fathers footsteps and getting freight through no matter the weather. Then along came Iron Road...........mostly former CP execs (did everyone miss that?) and spent money like a drunken sailor in port. (no disrespect to sailors) If ya can't see where they were getting the money then you really missed the point. In just a few years they took the name Bangor & Aroostook Railroad from one of respect and pride to one of shame and embarassment for the employees by not paying creditors and empty promises of payment for goods and services. But I must admit that faxing a creditor a picture of a check then not sending the actual check for payment does take balls.
Now comes along Ed the great and we all were told that we would be so happy. Straight off we were treated to a 25% pay cut from what we were promised (in writing) which was reinstated later that same year. The state and federal goverment was withholding monies for projects from IR because they were being paid but not doing the work and this was finally released to MMA to do much needed work. I sat in a meeting and was told by Mr B that it was the B&A was forced into bankrupcy by the employees...........This was the last I saw that man and do not wish to see him again. I don't know how many times someone would come in from "away" with "fresh ideas" that we knew just would not work but this was another one. 6 axle locos just grind the track to peices, been there, seen that but it "worked in Wisconsin and it will work here". As one engineer told Mr B, "with all due respect you have to understand something........this is not Wisconsin".
All in all none of what has happened and is happening suprises me at all. It has been a matter of "how much government money can we get" for quite some time now. I do wish MMA the most of sucess and truly hope they will realize their greatest assets are the employees but I'm not going to hold my breath on that. It does run downhill as was again proven last year when everyone was given a 15% cut in pay and told they would have to work overtime and not be paid for that work.
Now I leave it to the "experts" whose railroad knowlege if far greater than mine.