• The Maine Central Railroad Mountain Division

  • Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.
Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.

Moderator: MEC407

  by bwparker1
From the most recent issue of TRAINS under the Abandonments & Acquisitions:

9/3 Twin State to abandon 20 miles, St. Johnsbury - Gilman, VT., ex-Maine Central Mountain Subdivision line to Whitefield, N.H. owned by state of Vermont and formerly operated by Lamoille Valley, whose inactive St. Johnsbury 0 Swanton line is authorized for abandonment.

Does anyone know anything about this? Are they just discontinuing service or is the track truly going to be ripped up? I though for a while there was talk of a mill in Gilman reopening, but that was just talk.


  by shadyjay
According to Railpace-Dec 2004, the state of Vermont DOES NOT own the ex-MEC Mountain Division in the state of Vermont, but rather, Twin State owns it. But according to Maine Central (Guilford) they own it and had only leased it to Twin State. Meanwhile, the state of Vermont is working to purchase the line to operate it.

If the state of Vermont gets its hands on that line, they'll probably transform the line, similar to what has been done by VTRS on the Conn River Line north of WRJ.

  by ferroequinarchaeologist
This is becoming a messy situation. Roughly, (1) Twin State filed for abandonment, (2) Vermont stopped the abandonment proceedings by offering to buy the line, (3) Guilford said that Twin State couldn't abandon the line because it wasn't theirs - they had only leased it from Maine Central, and, for the same reason, Vermont can't buy it. In the meantime, the Surface Transportation Board has warned Twin State that they can't remove the tracks.

Send money, guns, and lawyers.


  by wolfmom69
:( What about the short segment of track between Whitefield and Gilman??? If this could be ropened,then,the New Hampshire central could come down from N. Stratford and Groveton,and serve the mill,as they could interchange with the SLR at Groveton,and the mill would get good service. Groveton - Whitefield segment was rehabed about 3 years ago with tax dollars. A lot shorter and cheaper than the mileage to St. J. Bud :P

  by NRGeep
With the exception of the 79MPH issue on the Portland line it seems that all small RR's are relegated to be Hamilton Berger to Mellon's (GRS's) Perry Mason. :(

  by Aji-tater
Well, if they start ripping up tracks before things are legal they'll have to deal with Lieutenant Tragg!

  by joshuahouse
If you guys can find Della, let me know. :P

  by ferroequinarchaeologist
Boy, did this topic go down hill fast.


There's an earlier chapter. In late 2002, the MEC and the State of NH petitioned the STB to terminate Twin State as the operator of the Line from Whitefield to St J, since TSRR hadn't run a train since 1999. They proposed that MEC would operate St J to Gilman, and a new operator would be found for Whitefield to Gilman. The substitution was granted by the STB. Should be an interesting soap opera to watch.


  by Cowford
The mileage between Westbrook/Cumberland Mills and North Conway is 52. To meet your stated criterion of 50 carloads per mile-year, you'd have to generate 2,600 carloads in that stretch. Sorry, but there is no possible way to do that on this line at this time or in the forseeable future. The best best you may have is with the few propane retailers - and they buy their LPG from local points: Sea-3 in Portsmouth (import), Eastern Propane in Rochester, NH (rail from various sources- on NHN) or Duke Energy in Auburn (rail from various - on SLR). Even if you converted all of these guys, you'd be looking at maybe 150 cars/yr max. Better to wait for someone to build a paper mill in Fryeburg... and I'm not holding my breath for that to happen.

By the way, for that line to used as a through route again would take an act of God... akin to the Atlantic rising to the extent that it floods GRS' main line west of Portland. GRS already has western gateways... don't think for a second that they'll cooperate with a shortline that'll shorthaul them.
  by bwparker1

You would enjoy a series of post involving an establishment that has proposed to reopen the MEC Mt. Division to through passenger service.



Discussion of proposal at:




It has been a trip, that is for sure!


  by MountainFan
I agree, "traditional" shippers on the Mountain Division could only generate a few hundred carloads per year. However, there are large-scale aggregate shippers located directly next to the track who desperately need to get their product into the Portland market and even south. Trucks currently do this, but rail saves both money and local roads. And this isn't even including the tourist train market. The state just rehabbed the Rockland line to Class III standards and it doesn't originate a huge amount of traffic, mainly cement going from Thomaston to Rockland. Rail makes sense when dealing with such huge quantities, even if it's short-haul. Through traffic to Canada is not likely; SLR already takes care of that market. We'll see how it all plays out here in Maine. If MaineDOT decides to go ahead with this, it has the potential to do well. It all hinges on the aggregate operaters.

  by Cowford
The Mountain sub was built as a U.S. through route to Detroit and beyond... and it provided MEC preferential revenue divisions vs. routing via the BM in Portland. Given the decline in Maine industry and rail shipments in general- and the four other routes (GRS, SLR, CN over the top and MMA) out of Maine- the need will never come back for that line for overhead traffic. In fact, Maine only needs two westerly routes at most. I've stated in the MMA forum that if the Onawa trestle collapsed tomorrow, it would not affect Maine industry in the slightest... and New Brunswick's only slightly. In fact, it would have the positive affect of bolstering GRS's system.

Can't comment on the need of potential agg shippers. One thing to remember... agg doesn't provide good revenue... low value product, short hauls, and tri-x trucks in Maine with which to compete against.

PS - Just because the State of Maine poured $26 million or so into the Rockland branch doesn't make it a good decision. I would rather they had given the money to GRS for their own infrastructure improvements.

  by MEC407
Cowford wrote:I would rather they had given the money to GRS for their own infrastructure improvements.
We already gave Guilford $60 million.

  by Noel Weaver
MEC407 wrote:
Cowford wrote:I would rather they had given the money to GRS for their own infrastructure improvements.
We already gave Guilford $60 million.
Question, who gave Guilford $60 million and for what?
Noel Weaver

  by NRGeep
Mellon's billions dwarfs Maine's $'s so let's forget about the corporate welfare and let GRS pay for their own infrastructure improvements.
re 60 million: Is that the figure the state of Maine paid to upgrade the Portland Line?
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