From what I heard there had been interest from CN in this line, (with NBSR too) as this shorter line would be a better route than the existing NTR line. More online traffic, more interchanges and a direct mainline route through Saint john may be beneficial to CN. The problem with the NTR line is the massive trestles that will require massive work at some point in the future. The tradeoff is the Moosehead needs a bit of work, longer sidings and has more grades/curves than the NTR line.
The one thing that has changed from the past 20 years is potential US Class 1 interest...
What exactly is "potential" interest?
CSX2039, give me five years and I'll put a sawbuck on that wager!
The NTR line was intentionally built to come within a few feet of Maine following the countries' border, but never actually leaving Canada. CP's line was shorter, but required crossing the border twice, and by the mid-80s was drastically less successful than CN's the point that CP formally abandoned it after the US Surface Transportation Board approved their filing in 1994. Remember, CP's tracks were maintained to passenger standards at the time; VIA was running across Maine on the Moosehead and Keag Subs until 1994 too. The bad old days for CP meant one train each direction, each day on very well maintained track.
Today, more than twenty years after the last CP train through Maine, and two failed railroads later, CMQ is running trains three days a week on the Moosehead on track in far worse condition than when CP left it. CN on the other hand has been making mad money running trains around the edge of Maine this whole time, with a 60MPH trackspeed for the majority of the time, while trains on the former CP are 25 at best, plus having to go through customs twice. Sure CP's route is shorter/more direct in milage, but far longer in hours/days.
The "more online traffic" argument baffles me, because the LACK of online traffic on the Moosehead Sub has always been considered among every railroad related person I've talked to in my life the most likely reason it would eventually go out of service for good.
Since we're so deep into rumorville/imaginationland with this stuff...... .....From what I've heard talking with employees of CMQ and EMR, CMQ is hoping to either sell the Canadian milage to a Canadian company, and the American milage to an American company, and get a "return on their investment" for the Wall St owners, or rip up the entire Moosehead for its scrap value. You're right when you say CN would need much longer sidings, especially since CMQ ripped up completely / shortened several sidings on the Moosehead already.