• 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 F-line to Dudley via Park
newpylong wrote:Given their renewed interest in branchlines (New England Southern for example) it wouldn't surprise me to see Pan Am want it back, especially with a couple more possible customers. They could use another Nashua local...
Yeah, but does that particular branchline have any meaningful upside for their current business model? They're going all-in on the passenger-shared (or future passenger-shared) lines where they reap the benefit of somebody else paying for the infrastructure, branches with obvious long-term strategic upside or intermodal potential, and branches with solid and/or growing anchor customers. At least booting NEGS off the NH Main fits that mold. I'm not sure where's the "there" there with M&B. Even if some passenger investment + future Ayer-east double stack could bring 286K and DS to Nashua Yard (I think all the highish highway bridges north of N. Chelmsford are already up-to-snuff on clearances because of the navigable river), is there really that much out there on the branch with potential to feast off growing mainline or Nashua traffic?

I'm not overly familiar with the area, but seems like it's got a pretty low natural ceiling that wouldn't be raised too much higher by booting out podunk little M&B for a carrier "upgrade".
  by newpylong
David Fink Jr to marketing/operating departments: "go after every single damn carload".

You be the judge what that means.
  by bunky
Pan Am serves already serves all the customers on the Hillsboro branch now. I believe Leishman owns or has interest in Granite State Concrete and has trackage rights over Pan Am to reach the concrete plant. Translation Granite State will just use trucks if they can't use rail. I don't where the physical boundry line between the two railroads are but Pan Am runs out to Wilton to use the run around behind the station when serving the wire company out in Milford. The only possible customer past Milford besides the quarries in Wilton is Monadnock Paper Mill out in Bennington and I don't think the track is even in service out to Bennington.
  by BowdoinStation
http://www.wmur.com/news/nh-news/Dump-t ... index.html

The (since there is only one) Milford Bennington train was involved in a crossing accident in Milford NH the other day. Looks like a medium duty dump truck ignored those red flashy things, and those ding ding dings going off at a crossing.. Speaking of dingers, looks like the article in this month's Rail Pace about the demise of the MB are slightly premature and basically false reporting.. First rules of journalism.. confirm, confirm, confirm.
  by MEC407
Moderator note: I moved the "Pan Am vs. Milford-Bennington" thread from the Pan Am forum to the New England forum so that I could merge it with the "Milford-Bennington Discussion" thread. Makes more sense to have all MBRX discussion in one place.

There have been several news articles written lately about this topic, which I'll post below.
  by MEC407
From SentinelSource.com:
SentinelSource.com wrote:A Peterborough legislator with a 20-year rail freight relationship with the state is crying foul over a Department of Transportation recommendation that his firm be dumped as the operator of the Milford-Bennington Railroad.

The state Executive Council will discuss today the DOT’s finding that Springfield Terminal Co. — a wholly owned subsidiary of Pan Am Railways — should take over the job from Democratic state Rep. Peter Leishman.
. . .
Leishman has urged the council to reject this agreement and protests the fact he’s never been told why his firm, Milford-Bennington Railroad Co., was disqualified.

“I haven’t been able to get any information on what knocked me out of the running. It’s outrageous,” Leishman said. “What’s even more unthinkable is the state has negotiated a much more lenient agreement with Pan Am than I have had to operate under for the past two decades.”
Read more at: http://www.sentinelsource.com/news/stat ... 3ac8a.html
  by MEC407
From The Telegraph of Nashua:
The Telegraph wrote:The state Executive Council put off until May 15 a decision on whether to take away from State Rep. Peter Leishman a short-line railroad contract.

Transportation Commissioner Chris Clement is recommending that the contract be given to Springfield Terminal Co. of Billerica, Mass., a wholly owned subsidiary of Pan Am Railways.

Clement said Leishman’s Milford-Bennington Railroad Co. proposal was tossed out by a selection committee because it lacked “significant” requirements of the competitive bid.
. . .
Leishman said he has invited the councilors to visit his rail company site and meet with the only freight rail customer on the line, executives with Granite State Concrete, who support keeping Leishman as the operator.

“I’m not giving up. People ask me if I’m disappointed, and I say, ‘no’ because I’ve been dealing with this harassment and attempts by Pan Am to put me out of business for 30 years,” Leishman said.
Read more at: http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/100 ... s-use.html
  by MEC407
From The New Hampshire Union Leader:
The New Hampshire Union Leader wrote:Leishman's company uses the track to transport crushed stone from a Wilton quarry to the Granite State Concrete processing plant in Milford. But in early 2012, the state asked bidders to submit proposals and a 2½-year deal, billed as a trial period for the new operator, goes to the Executive Council today for approval.

The Pan Am deal has drawn criticism.

The e-bulletin "Atlantic Northeast Rails & Ports" criticizes state officials for how they handled the bidding process, suggesting they cut corners to favor Pan Am Railways.

And in a letter to executive councilors, the chairman and chief executive of Monadnock Paper Mills said he believes Pan Am has a vendetta against Leishman and will stop at nothing to keep him from succeeding.
Read more at: http://www.unionleader.com/article/2013 ... /FRONTPAGE
  by MEC407
From The New Hampshire Union Leader:
The New Hampshire Union Leader wrote:After the meeting, Leishman said he was surprised to learn the bid was considered defective. "The DOT has a huge file on us," he said, "and the documents requested are in that file. I would have provided them if someone had told me that was necessary. This is the first time I'm hearing about it."

Leishman said he would be glad to provide the documents now if the DOT is willing to reconsider his bid.

"This doesn't make any sense," he said. "The customer was very satisfied with our service. The paper mill has been very supportive. We thought our response to the RFP addressed all the questions raised. No one from the department ever reached out to us and said there's something missing."
Read more at: http://www.unionleader.com/article/2013 ... /130509873
  by toolmaker
It all comes back to this.

"Since then, Fink has moved aggressively in the past to knock Leishman out of business. In 2009, Fink brought ethics charges against Leishman, charging he had used his political clout to help negotiate a 10-year lease with the state for the rail line.

The Legislative Ethics Committee ultimately found Leishman did not violate ethics rules, though it urged him in the future to avoid potential conflicts between the two roles."
  by tahawus84
If the only customer on the line is happy with the current operator why try to give him the boot? I seriously doubt pan-am can provide the same personalized service that his small rr can.
  by jaymac
Mere-mortal hypothesization, but this could be part of Fink 2.0 doing a re-set of Fink 1.0: The influence from NS to get more business, the access to another on-line source of stone, the reassertion of PAR in the Merrimack Valley could in varying degrees bear on what's happening. NEGS may be an informative example of PAR reversing its shedding of lines.
  by GP40MC 1116
They did this to New England Southern in Concord and its doesn't surprise me that they are doing this again.....

Oh wait... that ONE Nashua based switcher crew can handle all of Nashua, Wilton, Milford, Bow and Concord??
  by thebigham
tahawus84 wrote:If the only customer on the line is happy with the current operator why try to give him the boot? I seriously doubt pan-am can provide the same personalized service that his small rr can.
Very true.

So the customer is going to call GRS? GRS is going to send a loco from Nashua over bad track to service the customer? HA.
  by newpylong
I'm not going to get into the political side of things but you guys are off on the operational side.

First of all, there are two switchers based out of Nashua, NA-1 and NA-2. They tried to get a CO-1 when they started going to Concord again but there was no interest in the job and the Nashua locals were able to pick up the slack.

If there is increased business, more jobs are put on. Look at Billerica - the park started doing a ton of rail again, LA-3 was bid out and assigned. They got the Chelsea traffic from CSX, LA-4 was bid and assigned. Traffic in CT is coming back, they put EDPL/PLED back on. Traffic off the VRS grew, they put AD-2 on. The list goes on and on. As long as they have the manpower (they are hiring as fast as they retire) they will try to put switchers on to handle it.

As far as Pan Am being able to provide better service vs "tailor made" service from the M&B- what good is tailor made service if the cars sit waiting for interchange with Pan Am for days? I wouldn't be so fast to say that service would decline if Pan Am took back the whole thing, we're not talking about the same railroad as 5 years ago.
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