• Rockland Branch 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 Goddraug
 
Not entirely sure what you’re asking here, but I think Dragon’s probably just getting rid of excess cement as they reshape their business model to distribute cement rather than make it themselves.

Current possibilities for shipping (according to The Lincoln County News back in January) involves petrol products and salt alongside ASA, Dicaperl, and O’Hara’s.
  by Emmett
 
Goddraug wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2024 2:06 pm Not entirely sure what you’re asking here, but I think Dragon’s probably just getting rid of excess cement as they reshape their business model to distribute cement rather than make it themselves.

Current possibilities for shipping (according to The Lincoln County News back in January) involves petrol products and salt alongside ASA, Dicaperl, and O’Hara’s.
sorry for my vague words. to rephrase "is there any current customers that would be willing to step up shipping with midcoast (as in more carloads).
  by mowingman
 
So, if they are going to distribute cement out of this closed plant, here are some questions.
1. Where will their cement come from.
I don't think there are any plants close by that part of the country.

2. How will the cement be transferred in to keep their supply built up? The plant will no longer produce. Barge or ship transport looks to be out of the question. Truck traffic bringing in cement would be very heavy on what few good highways exist. Plus, it is not economical to bring it in by truck from hundreds of miles away, only to load it on a truck and haul it back out.
Something is wrong with this whole picture. One of three things is going to happen here:
1. The whole operation will shut down for good, no production, no distribution.
2. They will restart the plant at some point when it makes economic sense to do so.
3. They will sell it to another cement company who will modernize as needed and resume production.
With all the hard to get permits in place, option 2 or 3 make the most sense.
  by Goddraug
 
Current plans call for shipping cement to Searsport, then trucking it over to Thomaston. Not by rail, since doing CPKC-CSX-Midcoast would be way too expensive and circuitous.

Not sure whether that's pure cement or super sacks. May still be an opportunity for Midcoast depending on what type of cement's headed in through Searsport.
Emmett wrote:sorry for my vague words. to rephrase "is there any current customers that would be willing to step up shipping with midcoast (as in more carloads).
Phenomenal question. Management's probably doing their best trying to add new shippers and increase volumes on the current ones.
  by JBlaisdell
 
The plant had used a dirty coke that's a byproduct of another industry. The limestone absorbs the fuel impurities that make it too dirty for conventional use, but that may still be proving to be environmentally problematic. Coupled with only a few years (10 max) of raw material left to quarry and it it becomes economically unfeasible to make upgrades, whether it was Dragon or a new owner.

My guess is Dragon will use existing production storage facilities to store the imported cement for redistribution. Frankly, I think the whole plan is absurd. Rte 1 is busy enough, how many trucks will each shipload take to transfer?
  by NHV 669
 
Emmett wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2024 5:00 pm sorry for my vague words. to rephrase "is there any current customers that would be willing to step up shipping with midcoast (as in more carloads).
The end customer orders cars as needed, they're not going to ramp up shipments for the the sake of offsetting the loss of other customers' carloads; that's not how it works...

DiCaperl gets a few cars a month, ASA averages <5 a week. O'Hara's has received <5 cars period. If you're expecting any kind of major increase from any of those three, you're going to be sorely disappointed...
  by Goddraug
 
I’ve heard rumors that ASA and DiCaperl will be picking up as the year goes on, but not by an insane amount (might just be how things tend to pick up as the weather warms up). O’Hara’s is probably going to be another tiny handful of cars again this year, though.
  by NHV 669
 
JBlaisdell wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2024 7:58 pm Rte 1 is busy enough, how many trucks will each shipload take to transfer?
If limits are 40 Tons for GVW on the roads, figure 25 trucks for every 1000T coming in.
  by Emmett
 
Goddraug wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2024 10:27 pm I’ve heard rumors that ASA and DiCaperl will be picking up as the year goes on, but not by an insane amount (might just be how things tend to pick up as the weather warms up). O’Hara’s is probably going to be another tiny handful of cars again this year, though.
Hopefully that rumor is correct. I'll be up there on vacation during all summer months so hopefully I'll see some runs.
  by Goddraug
 
Might not be enough of a traffic uptick for a schedule increase so your best bet will probably still be Tuesdays. NNEPRA says they’re trying to get the trial runs for the Downeaster extension sorted this summer though, so keep an eye out for that.
Last edited by Goddraug on Wed Mar 20, 2024 11:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by CPF66
 
JBlaisdell wrote:The plant had used a dirty coke that's a byproduct of another industry. The limestone absorbs the fuel impurities that make it too dirty for conventional use, but that may still be proving to be environmentally problematic. Coupled with only a few years (10 max) of raw material left to quarry and it it becomes economically unfeasible to make upgrades, whether it was Dragon or a new owner.

My guess is Dragon will use existing production storage facilities to store the imported cement for redistribution. Frankly, I think the whole plan is absurd. Rte 1 is busy enough, how many trucks will each shipload take to transfer?

As for your statement about only having 10 years of raw material left, where did you hear that? Most of the news articles have said they have 40-60 worth of material at various locations, although I don't think some of those are zoned for mining, although I am sure that could be changed.
From what I have read, the failure to get the natural gas line into the plant was the final straw. The plant needs a lot of upgrades, which they might have undertaken had the line been constructed. But the availability of raw materials definitely didn't have a part in its closure. It was mentioned in at least one article that Dragon was toying with the idea of selling unprocessed limestone, which would probably bring some rail traffic once the plant closed.

As for other traffic sources, Clarks Scrap looked at building a yard in Thomaston to move operations to once Livermore Falls closed. But I think the zoning requirements are what pushed them to the new site in Augusta. There was also a LPG dealer who was looking to locate on the branch, which would be good since LPG is high revenue. Other than that options are limited, unless they convince Robbins Lumber to build a transload somewhere. The only other real business they could attract would be asphalt emulsion. Right now companies either have to truck it from Hermon or from Mass to plants in southern and western Maine. If there were a transload closer, someone could make a good deal of cash.
  by Emmett
 
Goddraug wrote: Wed Mar 20, 2024 9:24 am Might not be enough of a traffic uptick for a schedule increase so your best bet will probably still be Tuesdays. NNEPRA says they’re trying to get the trial runs for the Downeaster extension sorted this summer though, so keep an eye out for that.
that'd be cool for sure
  by Goddraug
 
Robbins Lumber is probably a good bet, would absolutely need a transload though. There's a fair amount of space in Thomaston and Rockland, though, so if/when they build it, they've got some room.
  by CPF66
 
They have tried at NMJ on CMQ as well as Searsport, but if I recall the routing as well as the interchange between roads at NMJ fouled things up. They have also expanded substantially since they last tried in 2015/2016, so I suspect they could make something work.
  by NHV 669
 
Midcoast was into Brunswick at 12:04 with two empties from ASA. Back at Harding's at 12:45 to pick up their cement empties for Thomaston.

[Edited at 15:55]

2310 was EB through Finntown Road in Warren at 15:08 with 1 perlite and 10 empty cement.
Last edited by NHV 669 on Wed Mar 20, 2024 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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