• MMA To File 241 Mile Abandonment With STB

  • 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 doublestack
Cowford wrote:In my eyes, the significance is this technology being used on road trains. It's no secret that class 1s want to migrate to one-man crews...
I agree 100%. All railroads are looking to cut their budgets by eliminating personnel where possible. This is the biggest expence a company faces.
I'm sure we all remember when Florida East Coast took the chance and tried going cabooseless and won, putting another person back on the street. Now, try and find a caboose anywhere on any major road freight carrier.
  by BAR
I am not sure of the current MM&A train schedule but several years ago the Squa Pan-Fort Kent turn was operated with a one man crew. There was no intermediate switching on the turn and the engineer from Squa Pan swapped trains at Fort Kent with the crew of the Madawaska-Fort Kent turn which had a two man crew.
  by Cowford
Should abandonment take place, the transloading option would likely be not as bad economically (or operationally) as these folks fear. An ideal terminal location would be Mattawamkeag. It's only 12 miles from I-95 and within 100 miles of virtually all the affected shippers. With the cooperation of NBSR, rate structures could be established to allow MMA even footing to compete with PAR for the business. Just the conversion of a move from having an "open" vs. a "local" origin station would exert downward pressure on the rates, at least partially offsetting trucking/transload handling costs.

I was amused at the comments of the L-P plant manager implying that MMA should have told them the line was in danger years ago. I'm doubting that L-P advised MMA that their shipments would crater in 2009.
It is too bad LouisanaPacific closed their Woodland OSB Mill. The mill is still sitting idle. The NBSR rail siding is still in place. The Woodland to Calais branch could certainly use some more activity as the Domtar Mill is only a pulp mill now, the paper machines are going out the door.
  by roberttosh
The ironic thing is that they probably went with New Limerick over Woodland due to better service; I guess that didn't turn out so well...
  by CN9634
We had talked quite a bit about the rail line through Maine instead of around it. Here is some interesting information from reports about this:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_8 ... n46109086/
http://www.maine.gov/mdot/major-plannin ... xecsum.php

I know it's a lot of material, but these are many different opinions and studies about how traffic going around Maine is highly inefficient. Granted a lot of this reflects the construction of an East/West highway system, however, it is possible this sort of system could help the MMA grow traffic. If an East-West highway were established, then most likely shippers in Canada would switch to that highway. Then the MMA could market itself as the "alternative" to that corridor. Notice how a lot of railroads now market themselves against highways (NS Crescent Corridor markets itself against I-81, ect ect.). CN can market itself against Highway 2 in Canada around Maine. PAR can do the same for I-95/495. The MMA really can't market against a highway.
  by Cowford
...it is possible this sort of system could help the MMA grow traffic. If an East-West highway were established, then most likely shippers in Canada would switch to that highway. Then the MMA could market itself as the "alternative" to that corridor...
Not sure I understand the logic here. Are you talking about existing truck traffic that plies Highway 2 now? And you're saying that because the highway doesn't parallel the MMA, they can't market against it? The CN, MMA and Highway 2 all ply the same corridor. If the MMA route was so superior, it would make more sense to market themselves as an alternative to this circuitous route NOW rather than against a new route that's more direct. In fact, the MMA had such (intermodal) service and it failed.

Interesting links. The MDOT report states that an E-W highway is likely not viable... and the options they propose aren't a heck of change from what is available now. Of course, the MMA letter is pure propaganda. Searsport as a container terminal remains (and will remain) a dream. It's interesting to note that a new container terminal in eastern Nova Scotia is now being planned as an East Coast equivalent of Prince Rupert, BC. Apparently the port planners don't view the CN over-the-top routing as a hinderence.
  by Highball
CN9634 wrote:Looks like CN may have some regrets about repurchasing the NBEC line in Canada. Since the repurchase, the line has lost traffic. Perhaps it is just the economy, but whatever the cause, CN needs to get some traffic back on that line.
Three major sources of rail traffic were lost for CN in northeast New Brunswick from pulp and paper mill closings, in Miramichi, Bathurst and Dalhousie........the UPM-Kymmene mill in Mirimichi being the largest. It has been mostly dismantled.
  by Cowford
(3) Trackage rights over MMA to connecting carriers.
As designed by MMA. the Abandonment Lines are isolated from
all other carriers in the region, and connect only with MMA. For
operations of the Abandonment Lines to be economically feasible,
the State believes that the operator must be able to provide direct
coimections to carriers other than MMA. The State proposes that
MMA be required to grant its operator overhead trackage rights (1)
between Madawaska, MP 260 and an interchange with Canadian
National at St. Leonard; (2) between Millinocket, MP 109 and an
interchange wilh Eastern Maine Railway/New Brunswick Southern
Railways at Brownville Junction; and (3) between Millinocket, MP
109 and an interchange with Pan Am Railways at Northern Maine
Junction. The State or its operator would be responsible for the
costs of any additional infrastructure determined to be reasonably
required at the interchange locations to accommodate the addition
of trackage rights operations. The trackage rights would be at a
reasonable commercial rate to be agreed to by the parties or as
established by the Board in setting the terms and conditions of the
OFA purchase.
Interesting (and smart) that the state added the PAR NOMEJCT interchange to the list of interchange access points. I'd still hope that this arrangement would be carried out on a haulage basis.
  by CN9634
As far as I know the deal fell through and the MMA will proceed with the abandonment.
  by CN9634
Perhaps I spoke too soon...

To me, $18 Million is a reasonable offer for the line. Looking at what they paid for the entire system to begin with (What was it, $50 Million?) and the state of repair the line is in, the deal seems good. Also think what the MMA could take the $18 million and put it towards (Pay off some bills perhaps). They could put this money into the Canada operation (Money maker) and maybe some Bangor area ops. Looking at the situation, I understand the MMA would like to get the traffic from a new railroad up North but think about the alternatives. 1.) The line is abandoned, the shippers either transload to CN at St. Leonard or PAR/NBSR at Keag (I doubt shippers would choose the MMA after this ordeal). 2.) Another railroad gets the line with trackage rights to PAR, NBSR and CN. Granted MMA may lose some or all of the traffic (What little traffic is there now), but the potential to at least pick up some of the traffic still exists. And if you assume that a new railroad such as the NBSR picks up the line, the MMA could lease some of its units to the NBSR to operate the line until they pick up more power. Further, any new company which picks up the line will have to invest money into the line (Potentially negative cash flow for the first few years of operation). The MMA could set itself up to be a partner in this situation, rather than a competitor.

If the NBSR picked up the line, MMA could have an upper hand. Traffic heading west would have to either back track to CN or PAR. The MMA could be an advocate for the NBSR to pick up the line and grant them trackage rights to Brownville Jct. With this, the NBSR would have no need for trackage rights to Northern Maine Junction or St. Leonard because they already have their own CN and PAR interchanges.
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