• Activity on the Mountain Branch (Portland to Westbrook)

  • Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.
Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.

Moderator: MEC407

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  by markhb
 
Here's an article on the shutdown of Paper Machine #9. It says "...The mill's remaining assets, which support Sappi's Casting and Release Paper business, will continue to operate and produce a variety of release papers and films to meet the business' full range of customer needs. " I don't know if that's actually making paper, though, or doing finishing work like stamping the patterns into it.
Also of note is that they also shut down "major components of the energy complex". I'm guessing they have mostly decided to stop fighting the dam removal activists.
  by S1f3432
 
The pulp side of the mill shut down better than 20 years ago and is mostly dismantled- I had a hand in some
of that 10-15 years ago. The last paper machine continued in operation using market pulp brought in from
elsewhere. The remaining coating machines are freestanding machines separate from the paper machine and
the process involves embossing a texture into the surface of the paper- think of the crinkle surface on the
dashboard of your car- the paper is used in the manufacture of molded plastic products among other things.
  by MaineCentral252
 
The bottom line is that the plant is a shell of its former self and has been increasingly so for 20+ years. Sappi has done what they can to keep what remains of it viable with a specialty business, and their management is the reason that it still exists at all.

As far as rail goes, the reduction and loss of service is partly due to the nature of their product, which is relatively low-volume compared to other mills and destined for numerous different markets, mostly overseas. It's also largely a victim of the famous Guilford/Pan Am quality, on-time service that we all know and love. Not that things couldn't possibly change under CSX, but on top of recent dismantling on the outbound (boxcar) side and the amount of upgrading that would be required for a relatively small shipper (the favorite of class Is), management is not exactly excited about rail at this point in time, so I would not get my hopes up at all. A close relative was in upper management there for decades and he has complained about dealing with Pan Am just for the slurry loads.
eustis22 wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:27 am >I'm guessing they have mostly decided to stop fighting the dam removal activists.

There was a 2 acre collapse of the riverbank into the Presumscot last fall which may have affected Sappi.

https://bangordailynews.com/2020/09/18/ ... westbrook/
The landslide was downstream, so I don't believe this was a factor.
  by MEC407
 
Perhaps, but I think it's possible the Westbrook mill would've shut down years ago if it had been purchased by someone other than Sappi. As far as I can tell, Sappi has been a good steward of both the Westbrook and Skowhegan mills. Most other Maine mills haven't fared nearly as well.

From Sappi's web site:
Today, the Westbrook Mill focuses on making casting and release papers and is the world's largest producer, providing the textured surfaces from which synthetic leathers, coated fabrics, decorative laminate panels and many other products are made. Some of the most interesting, novel, and timeless textures are produced at our Westbrook Mill for recognized brands all over the world. In fact, you probably come across multiple products every day that have been textured by a Sappi casting and release paper made at the Westbrook Mill.
Not a bad legacy, in my humble opinion.
  by gokeefe
 
They got them away from the printing and writing paper market. These days as paper mill owners go that's what you're looking for. Skowhegan changed over a few years ago. Baileyville got into tissue. Rumford has partially moved to linerbaord and bag stock. Old Town restarted and is mostly export pulp. Jay is also in some specialty grades. There's more life to the remaining mills than there has been in years.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  by markhb
 
I just got a notice that MaineDOT and Pan Am will be reconstructing the grade crossings on Rand and Larrabee Roads over the next two weeks, with each road being closed while the work is done. I'm somewhat surprised as those seem to be in good shape and of course there's very little traffic, but maybe it's related to the other improvements going on for Rock Row.
  by CN9634
 
I'm not sure which road you've driven but I crossed that crossing about 3 weeks ago going to Lowes from exit 47 and pretty sure my tires were about to fall off my truck :P
  by MEC407
 
I went over the Larabee Road crossing a few times last week and it was quite rough.
  by markhb
 
I'll pay closer attention next time I guess :)
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