• M&E and the Octoraro

  • Discussion about the M&E, RVRR and SIRR lines of New Jersey, and also the Maine Eastern operation in Maine. Official web site can be found here: www.merail.com.
Discussion about the M&E, RVRR and SIRR lines of New Jersey, and also the Maine Eastern operation in Maine. Official web site can be found here: www.merail.com.

Moderators: GOLDEN-ARM, mikec, cjl330

  by cjvrr
Was a post on another message board that Septa was buying the line back and making Penn Eastern the designated operator. Can anyone else confirm?

Also the same message stated that storm damage created a few washout on the line.

  by rob216
As far as I know, SEPTA still owns the line and M&E is just running it temp. There was damage done to lats year with all the heavy rains we had. I'm not sure if has been now with all the more rain that we have seen up here along the line. If anyone else has any more info, that would be great.

  by PVRX
SEPTA owns the property. You cannot buy back something you never parted with - except in maybe a bitter divorce.

The whole thing eminated from a legal battle when Rail America subsidiary Delaware Valley Railway was removed as operator in favor of Bethlehem Steel. BS didn't want the east - west line, favoring the north south line so their Coatesville plant could connect directly to CSX at the south end, and NS at the north end. Hence, the east-west line was going to be orphaned.

SEPTA sought interim operation bids/rfp's for the line. A more permanent arrangement has not been made to my knowledge. M&E is in there, others including PennEastern could be a contender but........

SEPTA owns the east-west line, PennDOT owns the north-south line and "managed" both contracts.

  by rob216
Does anyone know any more info of what is going on with this line? I haven't seen anything for sevral weeks on the line and was woundering if there is something going on with it. I also read in another msg board that SEPTA sold the line for $300,000. I dont know if it is true or not. If so, did M&E buy the line or someone else?

  by cjvrr
Saw this post and photos on Trainorders.com;

"On Friday October 22nd, the M&E left the Octararo. I was there and it was interesting. The M&E's Alco and 6 cars was stranded on the line after the last Hurricane storm came through. The storm created numerous washouts and the M&E decided to abandon the line since they were NOT awarded the line in the bid. (Makes sense) After fixing the washouts ahead of the engine so they could get back the the Brandywine RR line and go to Coatesville, they could not start the C424! So the Brandywine RR took an engine off of one of it's north bound trains and went down the line and pulled the C424 with 6 cars back to Chadds Ford. After coupling the M&E stuff back to its northbound train, 4 engines and 39 cars went to Coatesville. As of last week, the C424 was awaiting pickup by the NS to head back to NJ.

The East Penn is awaiting permission and final paperwork from Septa to get on the line. They need to fix several washouts. Power will probably be an ex CR B23-7. Septa is dragging its feet. There are approximately 25 cars stranded on line. To complicate things even more, the Brandywine Valley RR is up for sale and 6 bidders are due to deliver a bid soon on that line. ISG Steel wants to focus on the steel business, not railroading.(They will keep in plant switching)

Oh well, these lines are in a continuous state of change!"

Posted to Trainorders by "brfriedm"


Saw another post somewhere which referred to a newspaper article that the price bid was $300,000, most went to track repair and only $28,000 went toward the actual purchase of the property. The local government is also involved.

  by Sandy Burton
The 4231 was back in Morristown on Monday, November 15.

  by Pull Man
The M&E has recalled it's power from the Octoraro for periodic maintenance while the washout situation is resolved with SEPTA. The M&E continues to agressively persue opportunities in SE Pa. and in other east coast markets.

  by rob216
What are they going to do with the money that they recived from the state of PA.? I forget how much that they got, but they did get a good amount.

  by The Rising
The M&E era appears to be over now......

FD 34618 for East Penn Railways, was filed today.

  by rob216
Well just last week Penn Eastern Rail Lines (PRL) seems to be running the line. From what I have heard, there will be some new buisness going on the line shortly with Tastycake down in Oxford. So I guess this might mean that M&E is out of there now?
  by cjvrr
Looks like this confirms East Penn is taking over the line;

Full Text of Decision






Surface Transportation Board

[STB Finance Docket No. 34618]

East Penn Railway, Inc.–Modified Rail Certificate

On November 22, 2004, East Penn Railway, Inc. (East Penn), a Class III rail
carrier, filed a notice
for a modified certificate of public convenience and necessity under 49 CFR
1150, Subpart C,
Modified Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, to operate a portion
of a rail line known
as the Octoraro Branch (also referred to as Line 142), extending for
approximately 27.51 miles
between milepost 26.98 at Chadds Ford Junction, PA, and milepost 54.49 at the
state line near Sylmar, MD.

The Octoraro Branch was previously owned by the Penn Central Transportation
Company (Penn
Central), and is currently owned by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation
Authority (SEPTA).
The Octoraro Branch was not included in the final system plan at the time the
Consolidated Rail
Corporation was formed and, as such, was authorized to be abandoned without
further regulatory
approval pursuant to the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of
1976, Pub. L. No.
94-210. SEPTA acquired the Octoraro Branch from the trustees of Penn Central
after it was abandoned
in 1976.

East Penn states that, until recently, the line was operated by the Morristown &
Erie Railway, Inc.
(M&E), under an interim operating agreement that terminated on November 19,
2004, and that it
proposes to replace M&E as the interim operator. See Morristown & Erie Railway,
Inc.–Modified Rail
Certificate, STB Finance Docket No. 34369 (STB served July 24, 2003). On
November 18, 2004, SEPTA
and East Penn entered into an interim license agreement commencing on November
19, 2004. Under the
operating agreement, East Penn will provide rail service over the Octoraro
Branch from November 22,
2004, through approximately December 19, 2004, after which, East Penn plans to
purchase the Octoraro
Branch from SEPTA. The interim operating agreement will terminate at the
transfer of ownership to
East Penn.

East Penn will initially provide rail service on an as-needed basis, and will
expand service as
customers and traffic increases. East Penn states that the Octoraro Branch will
connect with ISG
Railways, Inc. (ISG), at Chadds Ford Junction, PA, in order to connect with
Norfolk Southern Railway
Company (NS) at Coatesville, PA. ISG’s rail line also connects with the former
Reading Railroad’s
Wilmington & Northern line at the Delaware/ Pennsylvania state line, providing
East Penn access to
both NS and CSX Transportation, Inc., at Wilmington, DE.

The rail segment qualifies for a modified certificate of public convenience and
necessity. See
Common Carrier Status of States, State Agencies and Instrumentalities and
Political Subdivisions,
Finance Docket No. 28990F (ICC served July 16, 1981).

East Penn indicates that: (1) there are no subsidizers; (2) there are no
preconditions for shippers
to meet to receive rail service; and (3) it has obtained liability insurance

This notice will be served on the Association of American Railroads (Car Service
Division) as agent
for all railroads subscribing to the car-service and car-hire agreement:
Association of American
Railroads, 50 F Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20001; and on the American Short
Line and Regional
Railroad Association: American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, 50
F Street, N.W.,
Suite 7020, Washington, DC 20001.

Board decisions and notices are available on our website at

Decided: December 13, 2004.

By the Board, David M. Konschnik, Director, Office of Proceedings.

Vernon A. Williams

  by Urban D Kaye
Spied a couple of old GE's (U-boats or Dash-7s) in new EPRY paint, along Baltimore Pike in Chadds Ford today.