Vermont Activity and Sightings

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

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NHV 669
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Location: In the VT woods, between the Mt. Division and WACR

Re: Vermont Activity and Sightings

Post by NHV 669 » Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:45 am

Recent photos by Kevin Burkholder show the newly-repainted 3812 around Newport, and heading through the "tunnel" to Columbia Forest products. Not sure if they're still letting the WACR handle it as needed.

Speaking of the photographer and 3812, here's a drone shot from Lyndonville last Friday as NPWJ picks up four cars at CTI:
http://www.railpictures.net/photo/613863/

They left town with 38 cars, including a bunch of loaded centerbeams, so there was certainly a need to borrow CMQ power.

Another photo by Kevin, as the train heads just south of Passumpsic, VT:

http://www.railpictures.net/photo/613864/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Casey

NHVT 669 sits at the south end of the "Pompy" line in White River Jct., VT on 4/29/1993. Photo by Richard Roberg.

mkittredge
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Re: Vermont Activity and Sightings

Post by mkittredge » Wed May 03, 2017 3:59 pm

If I had not been there to see all this, I would not have believed it. On Monday May 1st I ventured to Richford. 710 arrived with 31 cars at 13:45 with a striking array of power: 6537, 3815 and 2540. All three units returned to Farnham with 18 cars and I think they were all empties. That left 3812 with 31 cars and I think they were all loads to move to Newport. They pulled the first 15 off and headed for Newport at 15:10. They failed to get up the hill heading out of North Troy so they halved the train again and proceeded to Newport. 31 cars had become only seven. That is when I said enough and headed back to St. Johnsbury. Three units with a light train and one unit with a heavy train and steep grades. What a way to run a railroad!

Mike
P.S.: Nice shots Casey!

csx2039
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Re: Vermont Activity and Sightings

Post by csx2039 » Thu May 04, 2017 11:38 pm

Yes they are a joke, loosing business to pan am because their rates are too high and transit times are too long. Recently a customer had to shut their mill down as they ran out of product while thier super hot loads sat on Cmq tracks waiting for 7 days only 30 miles from said mill. And as of today customer still has not received cars. You ask any of the big wigs up in Maine they are just full of excuses and don't give a crap anywho.... And that's why they are loosing traffic.

csx2039
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Re: Vermont Activity and Sightings

Post by csx2039 » Thu May 04, 2017 11:40 pm

mkittredge wrote:If I had not been there to see all this, I would not have believed it. On Monday May 1st I ventured to Richford. 710 arrived with 31 cars at 13:45 with a striking array of power: 6537, 3815 and 2540. All three units returned to Farnham with 18 cars and I think they were all empties. That left 3812 with 31 cars and I think they were all loads to move to Newport. They pulled the first 15 off and headed for Newport at 15:10. They failed to get up the hill heading out of North Troy so they halved the train again and proceeded to Newport. 31 cars had become only seven. That is when I said enough and headed back to St. Johnsbury. Three units with a light train and one unit with a heavy train and steep grades. What a way to run a railroad!

Mike
P.S.: Nice shots Casey!
It would help if the Canadians would make more then 2 trips every 7 days to Vt...

dustybroe
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Re: Vermont Activity and Sightings

Post by dustybroe » Fri May 12, 2017 1:17 am

i was Richford Monday and Yesterday both Newport to Richford Trains had 23 Cars. both 710 15 cars Monday Also yesterday i talked to John the conductor on 710, he told me more traffic is increasing. more on the Newport Sub. he also Stated CMQ is going Start Replacing 4,000 ties On Newport Sub in Vermont and in Canada, due to More Bigger heaver trains on Newport sub. in Future. he Said also there talking about increasing service on Newport sub.

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NHV 669
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Re: Vermont Activity and Sightings

Post by NHV 669 » Sat May 13, 2017 12:13 pm

Northbound traffic headed to CMQ seems light, based on consistent WACR reports by Fritz, perhaps this is more traffic (lumber?) coming south? Trains are apparently daily/as needed, (as opposed to the previous M/W/F) and most seem to be close to at least 10 cars, if not a few more on a more consistent basis.
Casey

NHVT 669 sits at the south end of the "Pompy" line in White River Jct., VT on 4/29/1993. Photo by Richard Roberg.

Dick H
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Re: Vermont Activity and Sightings

Post by Dick H » Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:06 pm

Report on another list that the WACR (VTR) power went south
with just light power both of the last two days. Apparently,
CMQ was a no show at Newport.

csx2039
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Re: Vermont Activity and Sightings

Post by csx2039 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:43 pm

Expect much more of this in future, cmq only running one day this week. Mondays only. Terrible railroad for vt customers and connections. Absolutely terrible.

dustybroe
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Re: Vermont Activity and Sightings

Post by dustybroe » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:59 am

I wont Be Surpised to See Vermont Rail System take over the Newport Sub.

Dick H
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Re: Vermont Activity and Sightings

Post by Dick H » Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:26 pm

Two issue on the VTR taking over the Newport sub. First, that would require
operating into Canada. Secondly, the VRS only owns the ex D&H line from
Rutland to Whitehall. Maybe some sort of lease agreement. I do not see
the state of VT purchasing the Newport sub.

F-line to Dudley via Park
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Re: Vermont Activity and Sightings

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:29 pm

Dick H wrote:Two issue on the VTR taking over the Newport sub. First, that would require
operating into Canada. Secondly, the VRS only owns the ex D&H line from
Rutland to Whitehall. Maybe some sort of lease agreement. I do not see
the state of VT purchasing the Newport sub.
Those are kind of moot, because the bankruptcy court agreement that transferred MMA's assets to CMQR stipulated that the system had to remain fully intact for 10 years. CMQR is prohibited from partitioning any of itself without prior approval from the courts that such moves would be in the best interests of the ex-MMA territories. So any ownership moves affecting the makeup of the inherited railroad would require re-petitioning the bankruptcy court for approval under the terms of the original settlement. Even ones as inocuous as CMQR just selling the Newport Sub ROW under their feet to VTrans and flipping to trackage rights with zero change in ops. Certainly something as basic as that wouldn't raise any concerns with the court, and would also tap some new state-level funding sources through VTrans' responsibility to maintaining its asset. They might even be compelled to do a VRS sale if that demonstrably showed win-win service improvements on the sub, or a partial territorial outsource that moved the interchange from Newport to Richford or Cowansville so VRS could catch CMQR running slightly more frequently.

But there's also no compelling reason now to go to all the trouble of reopening the bankruptcy settlement for a multi-national company for something as relatively small as that. The revenue at stake isn't worth the lawyers or paperwork in dotting all i's and crossing t's with the courts, when they can just wait another 7 years for the system preservation clause to expire and slice-and-dice the system any which way they please. Running in Canada is no biggie for VRS. They deal with Canadian tarriffs 24/7 with all its CP and G&W Canadian Gateway entanglements, as well as the St. Lawrence Seaway port traffic they handle on the separate NY & Ogdensburg reporting mark. Actually running into Canada to chase some minor net-positive addition to their bottom line isn't a very big leap for a company that already is so Canada-dependent on traffic sources. It fits their general business mold, so I don't think border-crossing red tape is going to deter them if they see strategic value in chasing it. But again...why go to the trouble of going before the bankruptcy court and pushing a lot of paper to get their blessing to amend the MMA preservation clause? Just wait 7 years. That's why there's not going to be any transfer of control of the Newport Sub in the near-future: too much easier to just wait 7 years to be able to negotiate mano-a-mano rather than having to lard on a bunch of extra lawyers to petition the courts.


Also figure, by waiting 7 years there'll be a resolution on the owner/operator staring contest over the St. Johnsbury-Gilman portion of the Mountain Div. Twin State's/Lamoille Valley's trackage rights agreement with Pan Am expires on 12/31/2018 unless representatives of Lamoille Valley's deceased owner's estate voluntary step forward to claim the 10-year carrier-option extension of those rights to 2028. If nobody from the estate steps forward to explicitly file for the extension, Pan Am (or most likely PAR dumping the track on VTrans) will be able to put the trackage rights back out to bid in as little as 17 months. State aid for considerable track rebuilding notwithstanding, VRS may have an easier path bidding their way east of St. Johnsbury and through NHCR territory into an eventual interchange with SLR. And they may not have to count carloads to make it worth their while to pursue that move, as the mere threat of a second Northern VT Class III interchange may be all it takes to light a fire under CMQR to stiffen up its Newport service levels and "fix the glitch" so-to-speak without VRS needing to buy its way across the border at all. So why dispatch lawyers before an international court to amend the MMA system preservation agreement now when it's less than 2 years before they know if they have the option to open-bid on Gilman, and only another 5 years after that before that 10-year preservation clause expires and they can make a deal directly with CMQR. Any way you slice it, it's a wait-and-see and not a situation where instant gratification is going to work to anyone's benefit. VRS is better off running out the clock on these time-limited agreements--both the MMA system preservation clause and the "keep CMQR honest" threat of a potential SLR interchange--and letting those expiration dates work to their competitive advantage rather than acting impatiently because CMQR...today...is providing underwhelming service to Newport. There's a lot more chess moves to play by waiting for some expiration dates to pass on various legal entanglements and seeing if that loosens up their options.

csx2039
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Re: Vermont Activity and Sightings

Post by csx2039 » Sat Oct 06, 2018 7:40 pm

Just wanted to take a minute to recognize a great milestone for the CMQ in Vermont, it took an extremely long time to be realized but as of last week, CMQ has finally returned to the practice of the previous 2 railroads in having the Newport based crew pull their own traffic out of Farnham and it shows. This not only frees up engines and crews but also traffic immediately started moving more expeditiously. The Vermont based crews may be small but they have a great can do attitude and it shows. Congratulations and a thank you to the CMQ for this great accomplishment!
You now are in a great position for growth within your vermont operations...

CPF363
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Re: Vermont Activity and Sightings

Post by CPF363 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:52 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Also figure, by waiting 7 years there'll be a resolution on the owner/operator staring contest over the St. Johnsbury-Gilman portion of the Mountain Div. Twin State's/Lamoille Valley's trackage rights agreement with Pan Am expires on 12/31/2018 unless representatives of Lamoille Valley's deceased owner's estate voluntary step forward to claim the 10-year carrier-option extension of those rights to 2028. If nobody from the estate steps forward to explicitly file for the extension, Pan Am (or most likely PAR dumping the track on VTrans) will be able to put the trackage rights back out to bid in as little as 17 months. State aid for considerable track rebuilding notwithstanding, VRS may have an easier path bidding their way east of St. Johnsbury and through NHCR territory into an eventual interchange with SLR. And they may not have to count carloads to make it worth their while to pursue that move, as the mere threat of a second Northern VT Class III interchange may be all it takes to light a fire under CMQR to stiffen up its Newport service levels and "fix the glitch" so-to-speak without VRS needing to buy its way across the border at all. So why dispatch lawyers before an international court to amend the MMA system preservation agreement now when it's less than 2 years before they know if they have the option to open-bid on Gilman, and only another 5 years after that before that 10-year preservation clause expires and they can make a deal directly with CMQR. Any way you slice it, it's a wait-and-see and not a situation where instant gratification is going to work to anyone's benefit. VRS is better off running out the clock on these time-limited agreements--both the MMA system preservation clause and the "keep CMQR honest" threat of a potential SLR interchange--and letting those expiration dates work to their competitive advantage rather than acting impatiently because CMQR...today...is providing underwhelming service to Newport. There's a lot more chess moves to play by waiting for some expiration dates to pass on various legal entanglements and seeing if that loosens up their options.
How does operating the northern end of the Mountain Division really benefit the VRS operation north of White River Jct.? True, they end up with a connection to NHCR and possibly get into hauling propane and such over to a handful of customers in Northern N.H. Also true is NHCR's connection to the SLR which could afford some freight from the Gorham paper mill traffic to route to the south. While the NHCR connects to the SLR, why not simply work with the NECR down in White River Jct. Both the SLR and the NECR essentially go to the same place in Canada and are both owned by G&W. The return on investment of rebuilding the Mountain Division to Whitefield for both the VRS and the VAOT may not be worth it for minimal freight in the end. Clyde Forbes has not run anything over the line in a lot of years and all of the through traffic from Rigby was rerouted away from the line in 1984, so it is going to be costly to get the corridor even minimally functional.

As a side note, what would have been beneficial for the VRS Newport-WRJ line is if CP had not abandoned the Beebe Subdivision of the old Quebec Central between Newport and Lennoxville in 1992. That would have allowed traffic from Brownville Jct. and the Maritimes to take a much more direct and shorter routing to the south without running via Farnham, Richford and North Troy.

Dick H
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Re: Vermont Activity and Sightings

Post by Dick H » Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:47 pm

Even if there are no plans to reinstitute rail service from St. Johnsbury to Whitefield
and beyond, the VAOT and the state of VT will likely want to preserve that right of
way. Once it gets chopped up for sale, it's gone forever. Even my tight ward state
of NH has done this on many abandoned rail lines, even removing the rails, but
keeping the rights of way.

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NHV 669
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Re: Vermont Activity and Sightings

Post by NHV 669 » Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:26 pm

Clyde Forbes hasn't run anything in a long time, because he's dead, like the railroad and the mills it served, starting with Gilman's closure almost 20 years ago.

What traffic would possibly benefit VRS to run over the mountain? Their only big traffic to the east is the unit slurry train, and they only require PAR to get it to it's end destination. Using the MD would add two extra unnecessary shippers. There's ZERO cost benefit out of such a massive investment.

What Gorham mill traffic? The first mill was torn down at least a dozen years ago, and the Cascade plant stopped making paper not long after that, and the switch is no longer connected to the mainline. There are no existing paper mills in the North Country anymore. The through traffic was the only thing keeping the line in business for Maine Central.

As for propane, there is only a single rail-served customer up here, Rymes, and they are already served by NHCR in Stratford, right off the SLR. Again, no need to add an extra carrier.
Casey

NHVT 669 sits at the south end of the "Pompy" line in White River Jct., VT on 4/29/1993. Photo by Richard Roberg.

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