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View Full Version : Montreal, Maine & Atlantic may abandon a large portion of its system


ShortlinesUSA
08-20-2009, 02:10 AM
This operation in northern Maine has struggled since inception. Bought from Iron Roads in bankruptcy by RailWorld (Ed Burkhart, of WC fame), they have been dealt body blows from day 1, when their largest customer declared bankruptcy and shut down its paper mill in Millinocket. Service cuts have been significant due to the recession, and many have been wondering how the MMA would fare in a state that is in a declining in manufacturing. Something had to give, and apparently, it will be 241 miles worth of trackage from Millinocket north to Madawaska. This would essentially leave the MMA as a bridge carrier between CP and the New Brunswick Southern, with a branch down to Searsport. Lean times, indeed. Full story at this link:

http://www.bangordailynews.com/detail/116046.html

FBU32804
08-22-2009, 07:14 PM
Will appreciate updates on this one as I plan to visit the operation in less than one month.

ShortlinesUSA
01-20-2010, 10:37 PM
News from the MMA is not encouraging, from today's Railway Age...

http://www.railwayage.com/breaking-news/mma-railway-foresees-abandonment-of-230-miles.html

chuckman
01-21-2010, 12:33 AM
From a railfan's perspective, the worst thing that could happen is that the line shuts down. This would mean the nice old GEs are default for s-sc-sc-sc-scrap!

ShortlinesUSA
03-03-2010, 08:09 PM
It appears the state of Maine is actively trying to purchase the portion of the system proposed for abandonment:

http://www.wcsh6.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=115043&catid=2

Note, both proposals go to the voters for approval. MMA is [U]not[U] waiting to see whether the state is going to pony up or not, and may have service ended by June. So, that brings a couple of possibilities-- 1) The lines fall silent for a period of time and are restarted, and 2) This of course brings the possibility of rebidding the operation. MMA may start as an interim operator until the state puts operation of the line out to bid, and then be right there with several other shortline operators bidding to operate on its old line.

Certainly a good development that the state is interested in preserving the lines, but is also doing due diligence in allowing the citizens of the state to have a say, as long as the politicos are willing to stomach that the answer could be "no way."

ShortlinesUSA
04-12-2010, 06:45 PM
The Surface Transportation Board has weighed in on the effects of the proposed abandonment. Also, the bond issue is facing a close battle in the Maine's state senate, and a vote should come today on whether or not to send the issue to the voters. They did not have the 2/3 majority needed as of Thursday afternoon, and tabled the issue until today.

From today's Progressive Railroading:

STB assesses proposed Maine line abandonment
On Friday, the Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) released a draft environmental assessment of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd.’s proposed abandonment of 233 miles of track in northern Maine.

The SEA determined that the abandonment in Aroostook and Penobscot counties could divert as many as 73,344 truck trips annually to Maine’s highways, resulting in an additional 3.3 million gallons of fuel consumed each year. The agency estimated it would take four trucks to replace each rail car of freight.

However, the draft review found that the truck diversions would be within the level of traffic allowed by area roads, according to the STB.

Montreal, Maine & Atlantic is seeking STB approval for abandonment because the line doesn’t generate enough revenue, according to the railroad. The Maine Department of Transportation and state representatives, who are trying to preserve the line, have asked the STB to study the abandonment’s impacts and hear from local shippers and residents.

In that regard, the STB has scheduled a public hearing for May 10 in Presque Isle, Maine, to gather feedback on the proposed abandonment and projected truck traffic increase.

ShortlinesUSA
04-12-2010, 07:27 PM
Here is a nice summation of where the bond issue stands at present:

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9EV4K901.htm

ShortlinesUSA
04-12-2010, 09:20 PM
State Senate has approved a revised bond issue, with funding for the MMA purchase intact. All this step does is put the issue before voters in a June referendum, so still a ways to go in this story...

http://www.bangordailynews.com/detail/141030.html

JRMDC
04-27-2010, 02:49 PM
More news:

http://www.rtands.com/newsflash/stb-postpones-action-on-proposed-mma-abandonment.html

STB postpones action on proposed MMA abandonment
Monday, April 26, 2010

TheSurface Transportation Board agreed to postpone action on the proposed abandonment of rail lines in Northern Maine in order to give the parties time to arrive at a mediated solution.

The state of Maine and the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd. have agreed to confidential mediation conducted by the Board. The Board will suspend any formal action on the matter for three weeks and will postpone a public hearing scheduled for May 10 in Presque Isle, Maine. The hearing is postponed until further notice of the Board.

"We are pleased that the parties in the case have decided to take advantage of the Board's mediation services,'' said STB Chairman Daniel R. Elliott III. "Agreements resulting from folks sitting down and negotiating are almost always better than decisions imposed from Washington."

The railroad has asked the Board for permission to abandon 233 miles of rail line in Aroostook and Penobscot counties. Maine officials fear the abandonment would hurt the economy of Northern Maine and cost jobs.

Earlier this month, the Board's Section of Environmental Analysis released a draft environmental assessment that found that the abandonment of the lines could divert onto Maine's highways as many as an additional 73,344 truck trips per year, consuming an additional 3.3 million gallons of fuel per year.

ShortlinesUSA
05-18-2010, 01:43 AM
While nothing necessarily new, a nice summation of where this issue lies at present for those following the story:

http://www.mainebiz.biz/news46314.html

ShortlinesUSA
06-10-2010, 06:15 PM
The referendum was passed by voters in Maine, so it looks like plans for the state to purchase the trackage up for abandonment will be proceeding.

From today's Progressive Railroading:

6/10/2010 State Funding

Voters approve bonds to preserve Montreal, Maine & Atlantic line
On Tuesday, Maine voters approved a bond referendum that will provide $47.8 million for railroad, marine and highway facilities. The referendum includes funds to help preserve 240 miles of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd.’s track in Aroostook County.

Greg P
06-11-2010, 10:50 PM
Very Exciting News

Pan Am can't be the only railroad in Maine. It just can't be allowed.

ShortlinesUSA
06-22-2010, 03:56 PM
Don't forget about the Eastern Maine Railway (New Brunswick Southern). With the Irving family backing that one, it should hopefully be around for a long time.

ShortlinesUSA
06-23-2010, 06:37 PM
Here is the latest in what is turning out to be a long saga. Somehow I suspect the "impasse" involves granting a new operator trackage rights over MMA to allow them to access another railroad.

A snip from today's Progressive Railroading:

STB moves ahead with public hearing on MMA's proposed abandonment
Earlier this year, the state of Maine and Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd. (MMA) asked the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to extend its procedural schedule for the railroad’s line abandonment application. The state and MMA wanted to negotiate a resolution to the railroad’s plan to abandon 233 miles of track in Aroostook and Penobscot counties, and Maine's efforts to acquire the line and preserve rail service. But five days ago, the state and MMA notified the STB that their negotiations are at an impasse, so the board will proceed with plans to hold a public hearing on the case.

ShortlinesUSA
10-20-2010, 02:58 PM
It appears the state of Maine and MMA have reached an agreement:

http://www.pressherald.com/news/montreal-maine-and-atlantic-railroad-track-state-purchase.html

Bottom line, it looks like the price got upped a few million, but MMA ceded on overhead rights for a new operator. Next up-- selecting an operator...