• Pan Am in 2014

  • Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.
Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.

Moderator: MEC407

  by CPF363
 
With the arrival of 2014 today, what is in store for Pan Am in 2014? What objectives will they reach? Will any new trains be introduced on to the system such as TOFC/COFC to Maine from Ayer, Eimskip train service form Portland and any new unit train service? Seems the system is not starving for track projects, the Conn River, Pan Am Southern, Northern Maine and 1500' of track to serve the Port of Portland to name a few.
  by MEC407
 
I will go out on a limb and predict that Eimskip will finally get direct rail service to their facility before the end of 2014. Maine's governor is up for reelection and he's already been using Eimskip as a feather in his campaign cap. It won't look good if November 2014 rolls around and Eimskip still isn't getting direct rail service. I think his administration will make sure that this happens one way or another.
  by CN9634
 
Yes they will get direct rail service but I don't think there will be a dedicated train... just not enough volume there. Even so, the port is pretty small and they are calling Portland every 2 weeks so I don't think you will see anything dedicated.
  by Engineer Spike
 
I predict more slow orders, more units laid up dead in Waterville, more rail related property sold off, and more dissatisfied customers. It has been working for over 30 years, why change now?
  by mulfreak
 
No going out on a limb here. You never know what you'll see with Pan-Am. Like today,no activity at all either in Wigginville or the depot??? I would like to see 4 MMA's hunting thru here on the curve. I just can't wait for spring so I can spot from my yard again.
  by KSmitty
 
Engineer Spike wrote:I predict more slow orders, more units laid up dead in Waterville, more rail related property sold off, and more dissatisfied customers. It has been working for over 30 years, why change now?
What's wrong with selling rail related property if it no longer has rail related value? "Northpoint" had outlived its value as a rail yard, and was worth a killing in Boston's real estate market. The Calais Branch and Mountain Division were dinosaurs, more expensive to operate than the revenue they generated. Selling Billerica was a good play, right to occupy as they had but exempt of property taxes and the environmental cleanup bill. You won't find too many cases of seller's remorse when it comes to GTI/PAS property sales.

The OOS 500's are all being rebuilt, and the deadlines haven't grown by more than 1 or 2 units in several years, they fluctuate between 78-83 units in service and have for years, its what they need and so its what they keep on the road. That number has held relatively constant over the last 5 years.

With the Conn River work coming next summer, and other track projects sure to happen in track season, a dramatic rise in slow orders seems unlikely, though new slow spots may rise up others will be repaired and considerable speed increases should come to parts of the system.

Dissatisfied customers are a product of 30 years of poor maintenance, something that takes time and money to undo. They are working on it, as evidenced by the sizeable work projects that have gone on over the last 2 or 3 years, including those that are self funded. Times are changing and so is the railroad.

I'd imagine we'll see more trackwork on D1, hopefully some new iron. Direct rail service to Eimskip (thanks MDOT). The rest of the 500's return to service. Maybe some more power purchases (leased helms to stay?)
The biggest questions in the year will be 1) Who gets the MM&A and what does that mean for the Freight Maine from Old Town to Lincoln. 2) Paper mills-Will New Page in Rumford manage to survive a declining paper market for another year? Will Madison seek the return of rail service (state dollars?) 3) Can existing slow orders on PAS be tamped out and timetable speeds restored?
  by Mikejf
 
KSmitty wrote:
The OOS 500's are all being rebuilt
I don't think they will all be rebuilt. There are some that are just about shells. Not much of anything left of them.

The surge of 6 axle power is probably over. The only thing you might see now on them is an occasional new paint job.

The "OCS" has finally gotten a third car so now the cars out number the locomotives. I would expect a blue dip on the stainless steel at some point.

They have been improving the Main Line from CPF 185 through to Leeds Junction to raise speeds to 25. I predict when the ground thaws that the speeds will permanently drop back to 10mph
  by CPF363
 
Pan Am could have had a ribbon cutting event with Amtrak and the States of Massachusetts and Vermont on the Conn River yesterday; wasn't the original completion date to be last day of 2013? The 1500' of track for Eimskip is not that far, get a contractor in there to prepare the roadbed, use some decent 2nd hand ties and discarded 100# bolted rail from the Conn River project there. The Madison Branch could see a good-faith tie and rail replacement effort followed by a ballast and surfacing; use more discarded rail from the Conn River. Isn't Madison Paper one of their biggest consignees? Is the North Billerica welded rail plant in operation still, if so, get a crew in there this winter and start welding in time for the spring debut of work projects? When the Madison branch is finished, work the tie, surfacing and rail crews east towards NMJ. Lastly, why should the State of Maine be called upon to fund more track repair projects anyway?
  by KSmitty
 
Mikejf wrote:I don't think they will all be rebuilt. There are some that are just about shells. Not much of anything left of them.
They have been improving the Main Line from CPF 185 through to Leeds Junction to raise speeds to 25. I predict when the ground thaws that the speeds will permanently drop back to 10mph
The rumor going round is that Helm has purchased the 5 OOS 500's with the intention that they all be rebuilt. I'll give you 513 is a shell, but the going price for a recently rebuilt GP40-2 mixed with the guarantee of a sell-and-lease-back deal with Pan Am should justify the expense of new internals.

Ground thaw always brings some slow orders back. The fact is though, that they realize 10mph for 200 miles doesn't get the job done. Recent projects have worked to stabilize what they have (5 and 10's) but as I know, nothing has been increased to TT speeds (185 to Waterville is all "40MPH" railroad and Keag to Newport is all, laughably so, "25MPH"). 30 years of deferment takes more than 1 or 2 years of work to undo, and runs in the hundreds of millions. They have limited resources, both monetary and physical, and 600 or so miles of railroad to cover. They have obligations that take priority, Downeaster service area, PAS, etc...They fix the squeaky wheel first, and only those that are economically viable to fix.

Its hard to see, if you don't step back and look, but things are changing on Pan Am. Look at the big picture. Realize the time (1 mile/day with a tie crew for example, surfacing crews cover less than that) and money (+/- a million/mile to go from Class 1 to Class 3 track). Much of the line east of Waterville needs new iron, thats big bucks. Pretty much the whole line MP.3 to 467 needs some tie or surfacing work. Locomotives need work, but deadlines didn't grow much if any this year. Most importantly 30 years with a corporate culture of "good enough" takes a while to turn to "do it better", but it is happening.

Good things will happen for Pan Am in 2014. Even if paper mills are a short term customer as the paper market continues to decline, there is promise of new traffic. Have you seen the lumber? As the housing market recovers, and Irving opens a lumber mill in Ashland lumber promises to be a growing commodity. Fiber could also be big business, but they need to do work to offer the turnaround needed for efficient equipment use. Ayer is busy, and Eimskip promises to boost intermodal loadings, even if nominally. The "fluff piece" in Trains back in January 2010, about how the railroad was a "Phoenix Rising" holds a lot of merit...
  by KSmitty
 
CPF363 wrote:Pan Am could have had a ribbon cutting event with Amtrak and the States of Massachusetts and Vermont on the Conn River yesterday; wasn't the original completion date to be last day of 2013? The 1500' of track for Eimskip is not that far, get a contractor in there to prepare the roadbed, use some decent 2nd hand ties and discarded 100# bolted rail from the Conn River project there. The Madison Branch could see a good-faith tie and rail replacement effort followed by a ballast and surfacing; use more discarded rail from the Conn River. Isn't Madison Paper one of their biggest consignees? Is the North Billerica welded rail plant in operation still, if so, get a crew in there this winter and start welding in time for the spring debut of work projects? When the Madison branch is finished, work the tie, surfacing and rail crews east towards NMJ. Lastly, why should the State of Maine be called upon to fund more track repair projects anyway?
Thought the Conn was a 2014 project. Nevermind that...

Eimskip, and the Port of Portland is an MDOT project, and has been since day 1. Its currently part of Maine's most recent transportation bond. Why it wasn't a 2013 priority we'll never know..

Why should Madison see a good-faith project? The mill has continuously offered fewer and fewer loadings, which in turn leads to poorer service, which leads to less loadings. They currently truck the stuff to Fairfield and transload it to rail, but as far as a large shipper, hardly. Maybe they could be, but without a guarantee for loadings the railroad has no incentive to rebuild, and without quality service the mill has no incentive to offer loadings.
Why should the state pony up? Because its a better use of the money they plan to throw at the pipe dream that is the now 20 years dormant Mountain Division...A still active line with an anchor customer in an otherwise economically stagnant area of the state. If SOM can buy the Calais branch, the Mountain Division, the Rockland branch and the BAR Northern Division I see no reason why they can't spend some dough on the Madison branch, a relatively small endeavor that promises equal or better results.

Just work the crews east? See my above post, Oakland to NMJ would run them about $50M, half that if they reused the 100# off the Conn, but I have to wonder if thats actually enough of an improvement over the junk on the ground now to justify the cost of welding, hauling, dumping, installing and picking up.
  by MEC407
 
KSmitty wrote: The rumor going round is that Helm has purchased the 5 OOS 500's with the intention that they all be rebuilt.
I thought the arrangement for the 500s was with GATX Locomotive Group, not Helm.
  by RailNutNE
 
Does anyone think we will see any M&A action with PAR or any of the other big regionals? Should be noted G&W announced their intention to purchase the western half of the DM&E from CP today.
  by Engineer Spike
 
Just because Big Dave's name isn't on the letterhead anymore doesn't mean that he doesn't have a finger in the pie. Isn't he a minority owner? Why did ol' Timmy go along with Big Dave's bs for all these years? This is why I question the new and improved Guilford (excuse me, Pan Am). Has T.M. seen the light? Do you think the ghost of Christmases past, present, and future came to him, and convinced him to get serious about railroading?
  by newpylong
 
Engineer Spike wrote:Just because Big Dave's name isn't on the letterhead anymore doesn't mean that he doesn't have a finger in the pie. Isn't he a minority owner? Why did ol' Timmy go along with Big Dave's bs for all these years? This is why I question the new and improved Guilford (excuse me, Pan Am). Has T.M. seen the light? Do you think the ghost of Christmases past, present, and future came to him, and convinced him to get serious about railroading?
Two comments spoken like someone who knows nothing or no one east of Mechanicville. I hear Harrison is a dream to work for these days.
  by CPF363
 
KSmitty wrote:Why should Madison see a good-faith project? The mill has continuously offered fewer and fewer loadings, which in turn leads to poorer service, which leads to less loadings. They currently truck the stuff to Fairfield and transload it to rail, but as far as a large shipper, hardly. Maybe they could be, but without a guarantee for loadings the railroad has no incentive to rebuild, and without quality service the mill has no incentive to offer loadings.
Very true, however, Madison Paper has plenty of history to go by based on the level of service they have received over the past many years. The good-faith effort and investment would be on Pan Am's part to show their interest in providing service to the mill. The reason for using used parts from the Conn River and some new ties would be relatively inexpensive way to re-open the line and get a level of reliable service re-started and then go from there.
KSmitty wrote:Why should the state pony up? Because its a better use of the money they plan to throw at the pipe dream that is the now 20 years dormant Mountain Division...
Agree, the Mountain Division is a "has been." Might function as a branch line to West Baldwin but to go from there to the north and west and at what expense is not worth it, especially when the SLR serves basically the same market. Again, used rail from somewhere else could have been installed to fix the gap between Westbrook and South Windham verses using new welded rail. (Welded rail should have been installed between Brunswick and Augusta for extended Downeaster service to the state capital if anything.)
KSmitty wrote:Just work the crews east? See my above post, Oakland to NMJ would run them about $50M, half that if they reused the 100# off the Conn, but I have to wonder if thats actually enough of an improvement over the junk on the ground now to justify the cost of welding, hauling, dumping, installing and picking up.
They could purchase relay rail from A&K materials for example. See link
http://www.akrailroad.com/products/cont ... d-rail-cwr" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Old junk rail could be scrapped to partially fund some track repairs east of Oakland and any decent sections of existing rail could be saved and welded into 1400' strings if the rail is not too deformed.