• Portland Waterfront Rail Ops (Yard 8, Intermodal, etc)

  • 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

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  by markhb
 
So long as the rail ROW is preserved to Commercial St. (more for the potential of service to the container facility than anything else) I'm all for it. I actually have been thinking that Portland should consider turning everything from Becky's Diner west to the head of navigation at the PanAm bridge to be a sort of Marine Industrial Park... and if those of us who live off-peninsula and want to see development lessen the residential tax burden outvote the NIMBY's in the West End we could make it happen.
  by roberttosh
 
Sounds like if this goes through it may mean the end of the LP Gas customer which they just got back, oh well...
  by gokeefe
 
roberttosh wrote:Sounds like if this goes through it may mean the end of the LP Gas customer which they just got back, oh well...
My thoughts as well, but if the customer is Unitil or some other propane business than they will almost certainly relocate and build a new terminal somewhere else. Unfortunately this could make the Suburban Propane site next to the PTC suddenly attractive, especially as the rail spurs and the rail unloading facility there are intact.
  by markhb
 
It turns out that the propane is owned by someone who is leasing space from Unitil. Also, according to documents on the Planning Board website, this proposed project would cut the rail line off at the gas works; no access to the container port or anywhere else west of the Casco Bay Bridge would be available any longer.
  by MEC407
 
That makes sense. I couldn't really figure out why a natural gas pipeline operator would need tankcars of propane. I was hoping someone would explain that. Thanks. :)
  by Red Wing
 
MEC407 wrote:The propane place in Wells hasn't had rail service in several years. Would be nice to see that change. Wells has been pretty dead, in terms of rail freight, ever since Spencer Press left.

(note: merging this thread with the existing thread on the same subject)
While on the Downeaster yesterday, I saw some workers working on the tracks on their property.
  by gokeefe
 
markhb wrote:
bostontrainguy wrote:
markhb wrote:Now if PanAm could only see value in extending their line to the east, to the under-reconstruction container port at the former Scotia Prince terminal.
Looking at the satellite, it looks like the tracks are still there although in need of a bit of work. Who owns those tracks?
AFAIK all the tracks are still owned by Portland Terminal Co. PTR (I think that's the reporting mark) also still owns a good-sized chunk of land (not sure if it was originally part of Yard 1 or Yard 8) immediately west of the Casco Bay Bridge footprint and the container port tarmac, so if they wanted to run a spur onto the port facility they wouldn't have any intervening land ownership issues. An MDOT rep once told me that they'd be happy to have rail service to the container port if PanAm were to approach them about it, which implies to me that PAR hasn't gotten enough nibbles from potential container shippers to make it worthwhile to run a line there.
PAR is more open to developing new business now than they ever have been. At this point anything seems possible.
  by markhb
 
gokeefe wrote:PAR is more open to developing new business now than they ever have been. At this point anything seems possible.
Not if, as I alluded to, the move of Portland Yacht Services goes through and the rail line is cut off. Incidentally, there was one letter (from a South Portland resident) in the public comment section of the Planning Board committee packet for the project that advocated keeping the rail line.
  by gokeefe
 
markhb wrote:
gokeefe wrote:PAR is more open to developing new business now than they ever have been. At this point anything seems possible.
Not if, as I alluded to, the move of Portland Yacht Services goes through and the rail line is cut off. Incidentally, there was one letter (from a South Portland resident) in the public comment section of the Planning Board committee packet for the project that advocated keeping the rail line.
Yes, I agree. On the other hand I don't think it will be as hard of a fight for MDOT to keep their rail access if they ask for it. GRS would have told them "pay us $X million for us to subdivide the parcel and keep the right of way intact", I believe that PAR would be significantly more amenable than that.
  by markhb
 
I knew we had discussed this somewhere. The Portland Yacht Services plan went through, but before it did the site plan was changed to keep a 27' easement for PAR along the frontage of the property, to enable rail access to the IMT if conditions warrant. Amended application is here for now; the Planning Board homepage has a few other documents re: the project, under the title of Canal Landing in the 12/18/2012 meeting. This, of course, also means that using the site as a passenger station is effectively toast (in case there were doubts).
  by markhb
 
Thanks... I'm just glad they worked out that easement! Granted, the Portland waterfront no longer has ships at every pier bringing in heavy cargo, but to remove the capability for rail handling entirely would be senseless if we're going to keep any semblance of a "working waterfront".

Also, there were a couple of recent pictures from the "Portland Maine History 1786 to Present" page on Facebook that I think are of interest. (Since it's FB, I'm not embedding.) This one shows the early stages of construction of the old Veteran's Bridge, and also shows the tower on the Pan-Am harbor bridge and another feature I hadn't been aware of... a second rail line off the Portland Harbor bridge that cut across the water and onto what is now the Pan-Am main line. That second line is also shown more clearly in this photo.
Last edited by markhb on Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by MEC407
 
Great photos!
  by bml1149
 
That second rail line across the water where it connected with the main line was known as "River Junction" and was controlled from tower 3, which you saw in the photo. That went away when the new bridge was built and the track was re-aligned and connected at "Mountian Junction" where it is today. If you can look at the book "The Mountain Division" by the 470 club, it has some good diagrams showing the trackage during different eras.
Leverett Fernald
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