CN9634 wrote: ↑Wed Dec 06, 2023 6:44 pm
The lumber loading at Enfield was build during a period of time when the line was largely dormant, so not exactly sure what Pleasant River was thinking... I guess with things ramping up maybe they will have a regular service plan but how could they honestly expect to get good service there? Then again, PR is in a strange time, they quietly sold off half their production to another outfit....
https://www.mainebiz.biz/article/robbin ... -employees
PR sold off the pine board side of the company as it was no longer needed. They supply a lot of lumber for Irving actually, quite a bit of the studs they make are sold to Weyerhaeuser and are repackaged and relabeled before being sold in the south east. When they expanded the mill at Dover, they added a small production line for pine finish boards, which is more than enough to suit the needs of their customers. PR has been aggressively expanding the past few years with the purchase of two lumber stores (Ware-Butler and Crescent Lumber and another company based out of Kingfield) and they are currently aiming at buying another chain of hardware stores in NH. They have also been buying a number of forestry management and logging companies. They bought several thousand acres of former GNP land in 2021 and bought out the remaining assets of Gerald Pellitier and Son. They purchased two trucking companies to move the finished products as well.
Going back to the two pine mills, those were acquired after they bought out the company which owned those two mills as well as the shuttered mill in Enfield, and a large amount of working forest downeast. The pine mills were never really the gem of the deal, which is why they never invested a whole lot into them while they have been dropping almost $500 million in Enfield, Dover, and Jackman. Robins on the other hand has been looking to either build a pine mill or buy an existing one to meet the demands of their customers in Europe. Robins recently purchased a biomass company and with that came some land and some log yards in northern Maine which weren't really being used. On top of the cash exchange, the log yards and land went to PRL.
PRL just finished building a cabinet manufacturing plant in Detroit which they needed capital for. They also are eying land in the Ashland area to either build a fourth large scale stud mill or a OSB/plywood plant so they can completely supply all of the building materials for the stores they own. Which was the second driver for the sale.
FWIW, under Pan Am PRL was getting OK service at Enfield. OT-1 used to do a turn up to Enfield on Monday or Tuesday and would switch them a second time on Thursday or Friday when they went up to Permatreat. At one point they were looking at getting state matching grants to rehab the portion of the Howland Branch which was still in, so they could get logs by rail in behind the P&C office across the street from the mill. But after the sale happened service became more and more sporadic. The last set of loads sat from Thanksgiving of last year to sometime around April of this year. In that time the cars were unloaded and reloaded several times. CSX was running work trains fairly frequently to Mattawamkeag at the time, why they never bothered to switch them when they were running by is beyond me. I haven't been up in a few months, but last I checked the spur was either spiked or clamped shut, so I don't think they are intending on using rail again. Yet again they haven't had much luck with CP either.