• Milford-Bennington Railroad (MBRX) Discussion

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

  by citystation1848
Addressing and adding my 2 cents on some of the comments, curiosities, and lingering questions made in this thread...

The Bennington Paper Mill was the last customer on the line beyond Wilton in 1986 when Guilford's labor strike hit. Because of the strike they switched over to trucks, and despite a return of rail service after the strikes, they took a few more railcars and then continued on with trucks. After the cease in service for the mill, Guilford abandoned the Hillsboro Branch past Wilton and that's when the state purchased it in 1988.

Location wise, the mill is located 19 rail miles railroad-north of Wilton (16.5 miles north of Granite State's quarry). The two sidings for the mill are still intact, externally it appears to only be an internal reconfiguration of mill processes that would be needed to switch back to rail service. Back in the mid-2000s, you could get a track car from Wilton all the way to the end of the rail-head a few hundred feet north of the mill - the line is intact. The line could probably use a thorough trimming now.

The only other business that could potentially use rail service (adjacent to the rail line) out beyond South Lyndeboro is a scrap yard at Russel. It's doubtful that would produce any significant rail traffic for the branch. 19 miles of track for one customer seems a bit much. When the Wilton Scenic Railroad was running, the biggest concern with reaching Bennington was possibly having to rebuild the curve at Elmwood.

Back in 2003, if Guilford wasn't in the picture as the interchanging railroad, would the paper mill consider switching back to rail service? You bet. But now that we're with new leadership and direction at Pan Am, could that decision change? Who knows.

Do I think this recent spat between the two railroads is due to the them not playing well in the sandbox? Oohhhh yeah.

  by johnden223
This is too bad. I was hoping there was a more business-centric reason to this squabble. It looks like PanAm has spent a large amount of time and $$$ fighting MBRX in court, and MBRX seems to be in a survival mode.

I first heard about this issue from someone who was hired to check on PanAm on behalf of a customer that was considering transloading via Ayer after Beacon Park closes. He left me the article from the NH newspaper. I have no insight into how this stuff affects business, but it can't be good for either party to be in this fight. I'm sure there are easier ways to get business than to take over a run-down branch line with limited potential.
  by citystation1848
One business I failed to include is Pike Industries quarry just railroad-north of Granite State's quarry. One reason it slipped my mind is that Pike has utilized rail service in the past. Guilford had trackage rights up to Pike to haul ballast loads out to send over to the seacoast for the track rehabilitation in preparation for the Downeaster.

Personally, I think if Pike were to utilize rail service, it'd be low volume - it's a fraction of the size of Boston Sand & Gravel's Ossipee property. Secondly, why would they switch to rail service just because Pan Am got the contract? Granite State's siding is 1/3 mile south of them (the driveway for both quarries is off the end of Quinn Drive in Wilton). The only thing MBRX may have to do is just exercise the switchstand for Pike's siding, which was last regularly used in 2005 for the Wilton Scenic.

I continue to see this not being about service to the paper mill, and only about targeting MBRX. Pan Am rehabilitate 16.5 miles of rail for one customer? Pam Am might be counting on the rehab the line saw for the Wilton Scenic to Muzzy Hill Road (5.5 miles from the paper mill), but that was 10 years ago now.

  by citystation1848
Greetings all,

The SW9, #1423 is stored on the siding at Greenfield, which is located off of Slip Road. There's actually a "road" that spins down by the tracks... Depot Road.

Peter never owned any other motive power... just the SW900 #901 for operation and the #1423 for parts.

  by MEC407
Copied from the New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion:
djlong wrote:Somehow, the Union Leader is calling this: http://www.unionleader.com/apps/pbcs.dl ... 18943&NL=1" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; a "related story".

Fair use quote:
In a turn of events that could affect efforts to restore commuter rail service in the southern tier, state Rep. Peter Leishman is back in the running for a contract to operate 18 miles of state-owned railroad track from Milford to Bennington.

Last May, DOT Commissioner Christopher Clement recommended Leishman's arch-rival, Pan Am Railways, for the contract. But the Executive Council in a 3-2 vote decided it did not want to do business with Pan Am, formerly known as Guilford Rail System, even though Pan Am's cooperation is seen as essential to any restoration of commuter railroad service in the state
  by bk77
I don't live in the area, so I'm curious to what the update is... Has the legal stuff been resolved or still ongoing? Is the M-B still running??

---Bill K.
  by multimodal
Will someone provide a summary of the current situation for the M&B v PanAm.

Additionally, what is the interchange between the two, how often, 263 or 286, and any height restrictions.
  by BostonUrbEx
I don't believe they interchange anything with PAR. The M&B just shuttles 10 hoppers between Wilton and Milford a couple times a day, except during winter months. There's a set of extra regulations in PAR's yard limits at the end of the Hillsboro Branch because of a minor incident between M&B and PAR.
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