Without stoking the fire any more than it already is, I see not the point of the source of the money but as to how it is spent. No matter who took over the crippled line, a large amount of capital would have been needed to bring it up to where we find the line today both in equipment and infrastructure. What does it matter if the money came from the shrewd business empire of the Irvings, a stockholders pocket at CN or CP or a hedge fund?
CPF363 wrote:What is CMQ doing differently as compared with the two predecessor owners?
Fundamentally and operationally things look much different. Here are a couple of my thoughts as to why things are better:
1. Partnerships with connection roads. The PAR/CMQ maritime traffic agreement is huge. Farming out Newport switching to VRS saves a crew (poor service and overall dismal attitude to Vermont traffic notwithstanding). The SLR/CN Richmond gateway is also flourishing as well as a friendlier CP to expedite westbound traffic.
2. Reliable motive power. Once those ugly duckling GP20D's left, things normalized.
3. Track work. Hedge fund money for sure, but higher speeds in Canada makes for faster transit times for #1 and #2. NMJ work in partnership with PAR has really expedited moves there.
4. Grants. State IRAP grants and Federal dollars have brought some of the yards to at least the 20th century standards for modern freight cars allowing for less dwell times/switch moves
5. Addition of the Rockland Branch. Traffic is above ME levels on the branch with minimal investment. A good relationship with PAR also helps immensely.
6. Construction industry doing well. Finished lumber out of Aroostook has been a steady traffic source since the take over namely due to Irving's mills and Maibec's purchase of Fraser Masardis. Lets not forget the large merger of Moose River and Pleasant River Lumber.
7. Customers shipping more. CMQ has enjoyed expanded businesses such as AIM, Dead River, Pleasant River Lumber and various propane outfits system wide.
Now one can also list the difficulties to profitablitly they have faced:
1. Took ownership of a maintenance deferred road.
2. Complete loss of all paper traffic except for a trickle from Twin Rivers
3. Loss of a large amount of CP overhead traffic to NB
4. Loss of oil trains
5. Unable to capture any of the new Potash traffic to Saint John
6. Bust after bust in the Millinockets for any new traffic
7. The general anti-business mentality of the State of Maine
8. Soothing over a distrustful, fearful community in Megantic
I for one view CMQ profitability as a huge success. A bigger success for the Maine taxpayer as well as it did not involve any state money and it has helped the state owned Aroostook lines to become the rolling conveyor belt they are today.