• Rockland Branch Discussion

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

  by MaineRailfan
newpylong wrote:...they would need to sign a contract with MassDOT as the operator...
*Maine DOT
MEC407 wrote:Not to say "I told you so," but I was always skeptical of Finger Lakes' assertion that they would be able to drum up more traffic than Maine Coast, Safe Handling, Maine Eastern, CMQ and CP could drum up. Likewise, I'm skeptical that VRS would fare any better. It's like when someone runs for Congress and says "I'm gonna go down to Washington and I'm gonna do what no one else in Washington has done: break through the partisan bickering and get things done!" We've heard it a million times before and it never happens. It takes a certain kind of hubris to think you'll be able to do what no one else could do, and it feels like we've been seeing that with past, current, and potential Rockland Branch operators.
FGLK got further than the prior operators. Maine Coast, Safe Handling, and Maine Eastern seemed to just focus on the status quo. CMQ tried but didn't get any bites, CP could have cared less if the branch slid into the ocean, but FGLK had potential customers in the pipeline from the start. They were talking to Clarks in Livermore Falls about moving operations to the Rockland Branch. Ultimately they moved to Augusta on CSX since I don't think they could find land or get permits for the scrap yard. Either Dead River or Maritime Energy as well as Robbins Lumber were both interested, however CSX may or may not have torpedoed that due to rates. But still, that's better than the previous operators. I am not sure how the loss of the cement shuttle equals out, but I know last spring FGLK had cement cars stuffed in every siding and yard track on the branch in anticipation of a major traffic increase. However I think once Dragon was unable to unload the petcoke, is when things officially started to go down hill.
NHV 669 wrote:MEC 506 came and grabbed the 19 hoppers (they grabbed more somewhere?), AEAX 2003, and 2310.
CSX brought a steel car and two cements to Brunswick, FGLK only took the steel car and refused the two cement cars which were backhauled. Of note, all of the cars from the Rockland Branch were empties and were left over.
newpylong wrote:What's the deal with Grimmel over in Lewiston? A good amount of work was done to the Lewiston Lower to serve them which ended abruptly a good while ago.
The scrap used to go to Portsmouth for export, however when the city forced them out they moved to Searsport. CMQ was going to serve them, but ran into issues with not being able to weigh cars. The scales at Searsport were close to 100 years old and had been out of service since the MMA era. In the end the cost for new scales wasn't worth a handful of cars per year. I think the last moves took place in 2017/2018. Grimmels still uses rail to a degree, due to the limited site space they load the scrap cars and shove them up to the runaround as needed. I think they looked into shipping to a different location other than Searsport on FGLK, however despite the line not having a state operator, the CSX freight rights on the line killed that idea.

I was out for the last train yesterday, it sounds like 2308 will be stationed at ASA from now on and will be used to run to Rockland as demand requires. I think this is similar to how Safe Handling ran operations for a while.
  by JBlaisdell
2308 was indeed parked at ASA this morning.
  by atsf sp
Is 2308 visible from the road? Was heading up there next week to hopefully catch the operations but I guess I will be one week too late. Hoping to at least see 2308.
  by JBlaisdell
It was on the ASA siding, almost under Rte 1.
  by MaineRailfan
It looks like the first two ship loads of cement for Dragon arrived at Searsport this week. David Kruschwitz posted photos from a tour he took at Mack Point in the Maine Ports Facebook group.
  by mowingman
So, does Dragon plan on shipping cement in to Searsport, then distributing it by truck? Are they going to use the closed cement plant as a storage and reload facility? This whole deal sounds like a screwy plan that some "bean counters" have come up with.
  by Goddraug
In essence, yeah, the Thomaston facility is going to be a distribution site. They said that rail would have been cost-prohibitive due to the nature of two class Is to a class II connection from Searsport. Of course, now there’s only two class Is, but the routing to Rockland from Searsport by rail is circuitous and probably wouldn’t be worth it for CSX to nab the Rockland Branch or worth Dragon’s time and cash (to my knowledge, anyways).
  by NHV 669
A hyrail ran the line west today.

2310 is back in Geneva

2003 was picked up by NECR 606N in Palmer tonight to drop back in Montpelier on 323. Isn't there one more RDC still out in NY?
  by MaineRailfan
Cement is being trucked in sacks to Thomaston. The mill is being used as a distribution site by modifying a few parts. Cement is only being sold locally and will be in low enough amounts rail isn't worth it. I am guessing they will send a ship every few months, since its just being used to supply plants in Maine and NH.
  by MaineRailfan
A friend who works in the CSX MOW department was told ASA intends on transloading on the Saco IT again and that there will be tie work going on to support said traffic soon. If true, then I guess CSX probably isn't pursuing running to ASA.
  by Emmett
Spotted 2308 in rockland yard today, around 9:50am. Was on the 2nd track to the left of the turntable
  by MaineRailfan
FGLK will be running tomorrow to move the empty they have at Dicaperl to Brunswick. I have heard this might be the last freight move on the branch under FGLK.
  by CN9634
It honestly wouldn't be too much for CSX to operate the line on a basis of when they get enough cars. If for instance Dicaperl could take 5 cars at a time (might need track extension and a pully) and likewise ASA, you could justify trips once a month or so. Preserves any potential future traffic as well, but honestly nothing really time sensitive moving up that way if MaineDOT wanted to keep the wheels turning. I also heard another rumor that I prefer not repeat at this time... but sounds like there is interest in a tourist line.
  by MaineRailfan
For what its worth, it would be easier for CSX to offer transloading at Saco for ASA and transloading for the perlite at Rigby. I would be surprised if CSX had any interest in the line without the cement plant or state subsidies.
But there does seem to be interest from a few operators, so far I have heard about Vermont Rail System, Raven Rail, and Conway Scenic are interested in it. Not sure about Raven or Conway, but the word about VRS came from a reputable source.
  by Goddraug
I’m all about not saying “never” or “no” but I can pretty confidently state that Conway Scenic isn’t in a spot to do anything with the Rockland Branch. They’ve got their own projects to focus on. Raven Rail and VRS seem more likely, and I have heard the tourist rumor separately from a solid source.
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