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).

Moderator: MEC407

bml54
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:03 pm

Re: More CMQ troubles

Post by bml54 »

ok ok they just fixed up there crap gp20d's and in maine- farmham qb the servis is great but north lots of power problems mainly because they only have 9 out of the original leasers and the b23-7's they own run but only 1 gp20d runs the rest are toast.

CN9634
Posts: 2361
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2004 5:50 pm

Re: More CMQ troubles

Post by CN9634 »

To pull from another thread....
csx2039 wrote:I think Giles is finally starting to see the light. His Rosie predictions were a little far fetched. BTW....1 trip to newport last week and word on the street is all major track work has been cancelled for vt for the next 5 years. Hopefully they unload vt soon. They have also chased away Columbia Forest Products by mothballing the old Quebec central spur. It just keeps getting better down here... lol
No major track work for 5 years seems far fetched... how could they possibly make an accurate traffic forecast over the next five years. That makes no sense.... they would cancel a season perhaps or wait until the line justified work. Are you certain the QC spur is done? I believe they have contracted VRS to service that. Also, they just ran down to Newport today. Further, they are net gaining on their locomotive pool (the GP20Ds are done now but they have replaced them with more locos)

They now have in place lanes opening up to CSX and NS via Vermont but still waiting for PAS / NECR to settle... which as I'm sure you are aware hasn't yet.

Fritz
Posts: 485
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2008 12:25 pm

Re: More CMQ troubles

Post by Fritz »

Hello,
This is second-hand but from someone I would consider an extremely reliable and knowledgeable source: Yes, VRS has been contracted by the CMQ to switch the customers in Newport, including Columbia Forest Products; however, apparently the CMQ has refused to repair the trestle over Landing Street on the Beebe Spur, despite having the materials on-hand in the yard at Newport. Thus, the VRS is unable to access Columbia Forest Products but continues to switch Poulin Grain and Feed Commodities.

Just thinking out loud here, but part of the reason that it sounds like all of the posts are thrashing the CMQ is that, for most part, the only reports being posted are from Vermont. The CMQ is a big railroad and has many more terminals - and presumably trains - in Maine and Quebec. Some say that the CMQ is operating well on the remaining 95% of the railroad, but it would help to support that contention if someone were to post observations about operations on the other 95% of the railroad. I know that the CMQ runs through some remote country, but Bangor has far more people than the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and even Millinocket is similar in size to Newport, so surely someone out there can give us some idea about CMQ operations in Maine and Quebec. CN9634's recent observations about track work being done in Northern Maine Junction and other reports about track work in Quebec are promising, but learning about how often trains are running on the various lines and how many cars they are pulling would certainly support the contention that operations on the other 95% are running smoothly, even if it does support our contention that the CMQ really is "dropping the ball" on the Newport Subdivision (perhaps for some good reason unknown to the rest of us). Anyhow just a thought...

One thing that has occurred to me is that the MMA's selling the Northern Maine lines to the State of Maine and turning over their operations (and the routing of cars off those lines) may well have hurt the CMQ in the long run. Whereas, in the past, the MMA had the financial incentive to route that traffic from Madawaska, Levesque, Presque Isle, etc. via its route across Maine and into Quebec for interchange. Now Irving has the ability and incentive to use multiple routings to get the best deal possible. Although routing traffic from northern Maine via the CMQ remains one option, Irving has other viable options as well, including routing this traffic via CN at St. Leonard or via Pan Am at Mattawamkeag/Northern Maine Junction.

Okay, that is all for now. Sorry for being so long-winded.
Cheers,
Fritz

csx2039
Posts: 130
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:27 pm

Re: More CMQ troubles

Post by csx2039 »

CN9634 wrote:To pull from another thread....
csx2039 wrote:I think Giles is finally starting to see the light. His Rosie predictions were a little far fetched. BTW....1 trip to newport last week and word on the street is all major track work has been cancelled for vt for the next 5 years. Hopefully they unload vt soon. They have also chased away Columbia Forest Products by mothballing the old Quebec central spur. It just keeps getting better down here... lol
No major track work for 5 years seems far fetched... Are you certain the QC spur is done? I believe they have contracted VRS to service that.

4-5 years, this is correct. CFP is all done, QC is out of service now and for the forseeable future. As Fritz has stated all materials are there, its just the blatent refusal to fix. They are forced to truck. Look for more customers to be leaving cmq shortly. Too bad Cmq did not have the same attitude twards customers as VRS. Completely different outcomes in the same economic area. CMQ'S our way or the highway attitude is not working. And patience won't change that.

Dick H
Posts: 3565
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 8:55 pm
Location: Dover, NH

Re: More CMQ troubles

Post by Dick H »

While the VRS (WACR) has likely looked at taking over the Newport Sub,
there are many issues to be considered. Most of the VRS trackage is owned
by the state of VT, with the former D&H Whitehall to Rutland line being
the exception. Whether the state of VT would be interested in the Newport
Sub, including trackage in Canada remains to be seen. It is about 65 rail
miles between Farnham and Newport. Lots of track to maintain and what
is the current state of repair on the line. And what kind of guarantee would
the CMQ give to the VRS on what traffic would be routed via the Newport Sub.
Time will tell...

Cowford
Posts: 2826
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2004 12:34 pm
Location: Florida

Re: More CMQ troubles

Post by Cowford »

When CMQ was formed, there were optimistic expectations that oil would return in 2015/2016. That door's now been closed - at least for the time being. Furthermore, I've not heard of any new traffic captured by CMQ since their start-up. So what the heck is going to keep them afloat?

csx2039
Posts: 130
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:27 pm

Re: More CMQ troubles

Post by csx2039 »

Dick H wrote:While the VRS (WACR) has likely looked at taking over the Newport Sub,
there are many issues to be considered. Most of the VRS trackage is owned
by the state of VT, with the former D&H Whitehall to Rutland line being
the exception. Whether the state of VT would be interested in the Newport
Sub, including trackage in Canada remains to be seen. It is about 65 rail
miles between Farnham and Newport. Lots of track to maintain and what
is the current state of repair on the line. And what kind of guarantee would
the CMQ give to the VRS on what traffic would be routed via the Newport Sub.
Time will tell...
Vrs did bid on it with cmq, and cmq can't run it. I am sure it's a matter of time before vrs is... at least that gives us vermonter's some hope for a revitalized rail route...

CN9634
Posts: 2361
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2004 5:50 pm

Re: More CMQ troubles

Post by CN9634 »

Cowford wrote:When CMQ was formed, there were optimistic expectations that oil would return in 2015/2016. That door's now been closed - at least for the time being. Furthermore, I've not heard of any new traffic captured by CMQ since their start-up. So what the heck is going to keep them afloat?
They have regained some traffic from MMA's real past... the Madawaska traffic is coming back going MNR-CMQ-VRS-NECR-CSX... which is the reason for the CMQ picking up its own fleet of boxcars. They are pursuing old contracts in the automotive and intermodal arena... and of course they have gained some traffic the MMA didn't have... the Pan Am traffic going to EMRY. Through no fault of their own (Pan Am's) the cost was outweighed by the service for CMQ... now they gained about 40 carloads a day one way (so 80 each way a day) which we can translate into maybe 400 carloads a week. So I would confidently say 16,000 - 20,000 new carsloads a year but only on the NMJ-Brownville portion. Also, some word of new customers in Canada but you'd have to verify that with someone else.... some limestone, coil steel and grain mostly.

In any regard, I think they can make it work, just be a bit more patient

CPF363
Posts: 675
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:00 pm

Re: More CMQ troubles

Post by CPF363 »

Don't forget that the old CAR and BAR systems are basically on round three here (Iron Roads, MM&A, Fortress {CAR} Irving {BAR}). It is a tough system to run and will need ingenuity to make it work in the midst of much of the hard forestry business leaving the region over the past many years. It is a wonder why the MM&A did not sell the BAR to the State of Maine while retaining the exclusive freight rights, à la B&M with the MBTA lines and the PAS with the recent Conn River Line sale. Also, to make the Lyndonville Subdivision work with the Maine-based and system and points east, it is frustrating that CP did not keep the old Beebe Subdivision between Newport, VT and Lennoxville, PQ. This would have allowed the railroad the operate more of a direct line to the south via Newport to White River Jct. verses running west to Farnam and back east and south to Newport. Hopefully, more readers of the blog can inform everyone about the other parts of the CMQ system in addition to the Vermont portion, such as more freight and track work as time moves forward.

Cowford
Posts: 2826
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2004 12:34 pm
Location: Florida

Re: More CMQ troubles

Post by Cowford »

CN, I think you got your numbers backwards on cars/day vs cars each way/day regarding the overhead traffic. And remember that up to 50% of those are empties... cars moved is a lot different than carloads moved.

I still say it's eventually going to get split three ways, but patience? I've no dog in the fight and got nuthin' but time!

cvrr5809
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:26 pm

Re: More CMQ troubles

Post by cvrr5809 »

As Fritz has already said, there is way more to CMQ than Newport or VT as a whole. Like on many groups, fans from VT make it sound like their area represents everyone else. Don't get me wrong....I do think it's a shame that VT is being snubbed, but bitching on here won't change CMQ's stance. It WOULD be great if VTR could solve those issues. Some also like to compare CMQ to MMA and Iron Roads. I think CMQ was indirectly helped at the beginning by the fact that the company didn't have to worry about the impact of possible mill closures. Unfortunately, that had already happened to MMA most recently.

Down here on the South end, things are nearly polar opposite. Work crews have been all over the line replacing ties, ballast and the overall physical plant. It seems where trains aren't, rail crews have been all season. Now, we have the PAR reroutes here, and it's nearly daily for Brownville turns. Searsport has been doing well with existing customers and potential new ones. Even windmill trains add to the variety once in a while. LPG numbers are good, too.

CN9634
Posts: 2361
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2004 5:50 pm

Re: More CMQ troubles

Post by CN9634 »

Cowford wrote:CN, I think you got your numbers backwards on cars/day vs cars each way/day regarding the overhead traffic. And remember that up to 50% of those are empties... cars moved is a lot different than carloads moved.

I still say it's eventually going to get split three ways, but patience? I've no dog in the fight and got nuthin' but time!
I factored in mts ;) I used recent and consistent rail observations as well as the view from my own window. Typically the split going east is about 15-20 loads and 50-60 mts. Coming back it's about the opposite (Which makes sense). Also didn't factor in the traffic CMQ is hauling on its own line between Brownville and NMJ, which is mostly port traffic (acid, slurry, mixed chems) and propane, scrap metals, and some forest products. Quite regularly the daily NMJ to Brownville train will have 60-70 cars in each direction, at times I've seen 80s and low 90s. It all depends on the power available as they have at times left cars at one of the junctions cause of tonnage.


They are picking up some traffic from Northern Maine the MMA lost to CN.... also talk about the auto and intermodal traffic coming back (may just be that)

Fritz
Posts: 485
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2008 12:25 pm

Re: More CMQ troubles

Post by Fritz »

Hello,
Apparently there is a washout somewhere on the Newport Subdivision north of Newport. Not sure the exact location or how bad it is. The CMQ has "borrowed" the following equipment from the VRS to fill the washout:

CLP GP40-2 306
11 CP side-dump gondolas
1 CLP bay window caboose

The equipment moved north yesterday on the WACR. The train will be operating out of Newport shuttling rock to fill the washout. Caboose will supposedly be on the north end and locomotive on the south end.
Have a good day,
Fritz

Townshipfarmer
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:58 am
Location: Brome

Re: More CMQ troubles

Post by Townshipfarmer »

Is the washout in Vermont or Quebec. I have only seen a hi-rail on the line north of Richford this week.

Townshipfarmer
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:58 am
Location: Brome

Re: More CMQ troubles

Post by Townshipfarmer »

I spoke to a CMQ employee this afternoon. The wash out occurred in High water right next the boarder.

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