RenegadeMonster wrote:Thanks for the info.
Are there any other branch/lines that Pan Am have reactivated or any that could potentially be reactivated in the next 10 years or so?
-- Woburn Loop industrial track
, Woburn (PAR-owned). Very recent OOS embargo (months ago) after the cement plant closed. That New England transload outfit just filed a bunch more environmental reports with the STB last month, so that new sign-on on this spur is still slowly moving forward despite the local opposition.
-- South Peabody Branch
, Peabody (PAR-owned). Good odds of future *partial*
rehab to extend operable track +2400 ft. from grassy field past Allens Ln. to foot of Summit St. grade crossing. Minor move to expand tail storage for Rousselot, since canning hell has caused a lot of problems with them not moving empties out of North St. yard and Castle Hill fast enough. Probably a necessary and logical short-term move to get all 3200 ft. between he Allens and Summit crossings fully operable for storage so service levels to fast-growing Rousselot remain stable in spite of PAR's slop-ops.
-- East Boston Branch
, Revere/Boston (MBTA-owned). Almost reopened in 2012 for Global Petroleum's ethanol mixing operation before the NIMBY's shut that down by attacking Global with local ordinances. No current talks, but anything is possible there...and quickly...if Global comes up with a new business angle for using rail.
-- Mystic Wharf Branch
, Boston (Massport-owned). Subject to longer-range Massport studies for rail reactivation. Any initiatives here take a backseat to CSX rail service to Marine Terminal on Track 61, so won't happen soon. But probably will become a thing eventually through state action at the port, through no effort of PAR's.
Flimsy but greater-than-zero odds:
-- Bucksport Branch
, Bangor-Bucksport (PAR-owned). Technically not OOS yet since they're still hauling dirty dirt from site cleanup @ Orrington and Bucksport, but there's that strange proposal that popped up last couple months for a logging operation interested in setting up shop in the Bucksport yard. Unusual proposal, but if the operation really wants it there it'll get served by PAR.
-- Medford Branch
, Medford (PAR-owned). Brewery was all set to restart service, but negotiations bogged down 2 years ago over clearance restrictions on Plate F boxcars forcing PAR to take a more ops-costly route into Medford for what isn't going to be enough weekly carloads to justify that extra overhead. I don't know if this is dead-dead now or if they're still staring at each other. Since the cold storage warehouse on the branch hasn't taken a load in 7 years, this is an all-or-nothing deal. The branch will either get held OOS a while longer if there's any possibility of the brewery accepting regular-size boxcars...or if they've moved on it'll be abandoned very soon because there's zero other reason to hold it and it's costing PAR a nonzero yearly sum to maintain a signalized switch and active grade crossing protection here.
-- Wilmington Cold Storage spur
, Wilmington (third-party owned). Anybody not-named-PAR would take one look at this track and see a gimme opportunity or two on a part of the NH Main thick with industry. PAR doesn't care, but their successors might. Built by whoever developed the industrial park, so probably won't ever be abandoned no matter how overgrown it gets.
-- Montvale Yard spur
, Winchester (third-party owned). Another industrial park -built spur, OOS for years and not as attractive on-spec as the sites on the Wilmington spur. MassDOT owns Montvale Yard including the derelict portion buried in the weeds north of Tighe opposite the cemetery, and a grant for yard reactivation is seen as a potential storage relief valve for Somerville (in a post-PAR era when their successors give two craps about not canning everything in the T's way). If that happens and the BO-# jobs start using Montvale as a stopover it would modestly bump the attractiveness of the Holton St. sites on the spur track (perhaps even just for Tighe if they want to gobble up a couple more warehouses inside that industrial park for expansion). Negligible present odds, but you never know given Tighe's explosive growth and what the T's storage stance will be re: the Montvale option in the post- Green Line Extension era.
Conditionally realistic if stars align, but unlikely real-world odds:
-- Lower Road
, Brunswick-Augusta (MEDOT-owned). PAR retains right-of-first-refusual ability to take back the trackage rights at any time. Some scenarios could force it back into play, such as future Downeaster extensions to Augusta rationalizing/pooling costs by switching the Waterville mainline from the Back Road to the Lower Road to max out cost amortizations. A combo of NNEPRA needing freight revenue to underwrite its extension costs and a new company owner needing to rationalize D1 operating costs could easily result in a decision to bootstrap the freights on new Class 4 / signalized / 286K weight / double-stack cleared track Brunswick-Augusta with a reciprocal company investment to rehab the Augusta IT to Class 2 + 286K + DS mainline status. Any such scenario would have a trade-in of ASAP abandonment of the Lower Road from Leeds Jct. to Waterville and stripping of all usable re-lay hardware to plug state-of-repair elsewhere on the system, but this may be the public-private price for keeping D1 viable if new ownership puts the screws to the state to help them rationalize further investment in Northern Maine
Flat-out extremely unlikely:
-- Madison Branch
(PAR-owned). When the paper mill was still open it wasn't generating enough carloads to keep all two-dozen-plus miles of crap-condition branch viable. Other embargoed customers have since been relocated, and the mill site is highly unlikely to net a net-gain rail customer. MEDOT would have to spend an unwise fortune on the rehab since PAR won't, and PAR's successors would have a hard time justifying the expense of this one. My guess is this goes for abandonment once all the Poland Spring-Lincoln business is fully settled, the mill site is past any further points of speculation on some really big redev, and it's time to do some system cleanup with the STB in prep for Billerica selling D1+D2. Maybe MEDOT can be blackmailed into taking Madison + Bucksport in an adverse abandonment settlement where PAR just squats on perpetual OOS rights and MEDOT takes all funding responsibility for further business development on the branch; they've certainly been gullible of that before. But this one comes off the company ledger in some way or another before Mellon cashes out.
-- South Peabody Branch
, Summit St. to end-of-track, Peabody (PAR-owned). Zero business potential here, but since they collect pennies of rent from the Peabody Municipal Light power lines on the ROW and will need the extended tail storage for Rousselot described ^^above^^, its worth enough net-positive profit to keep as-is forever. City of Peabody hasn't given up on luring a rail tenant to the industrial park at the end of the line, but that's entirely their bag. If the city gets lucky, PAR will serve the customer they lure. But most likely it's just going to remain OOS forever to collect the power line rent.
-- Lewiston IT
, anywhere past Grimmels (MEDOT-owned). There's literally nothing to potentially serve now that the mill site in Lisbon that MEDOT had such high hopes for when it overpaid for track rehab has been demolished and all redev plans for it dropped. Mill site's now pretty much the future trail head for when the municipalities finish their land purchase of the abandoned PAR-owned half of the corridor to Lewiston.
-- Mountain Div.
anywhere past Sappi-Westbrook (MEDOT-owned). Fryeburg already voted down Poland Spring in this fall's local referendum, so that one far-fetched proposal is now deader than dead. The Mountain Div. thread in the B&M/MEC subforum details at length every reason why any freight service out here fails to pass a hyena's laugh test.
-- Hillsborough Branch
, MBRX territory to Bennington (NHDOT-owned). Billerica's still trying to get Milford & Bennington booted from the quarry conveyor belt job for reasons that defy all rational explanation, but there is absolute zero chance that if they succeed at putting MBRX out of business that they will ever volunteer to serve the paper mill at the end of the line should the mill come calling. It's too tiny a mill for too few carloads over too many lonely miles past Wilton. MBRX probably can't even break even serving the mill with all the track maint that would entail, so past the Lyndenborough quarry it's all most likely a rail trail in-wait.
-- Mountain Div.
, St. Johnsbury-Gilman (PAR-owned). Only exists on the company ledger as legacy paper cruft from Twin State/Lamoille Valley's convoluted trackage rights agreement there. Twin State's rights expire 12/31/2018 if the estate of LV's deceased owner does not step forward and explicitly claim their 10-year extension option to 2028. PAR would've sold this track to VTrans years ago were it not for a fight LV waged claiming they had rights to sell all the rail hardware for scrap. If LV passes quietly into the night next Xmas then this gets scraped promptly off the books in a sale to the state. Mellon does not want any shennanigans up here causing headaches when he puts the company up for sale.
Obviously anything that was officially abandoned and/or expunged is never coming back for innumerable practical reasons. And they don't have any other paper barrier preemptions for taking back previously shed territory other than the Augusta Lower + Hillsborough Br. + St. Johnsbury-Gilman special situations (and odds therein) detailed above.