• Twin State Railroad

  • 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 gokeefe
 
Yes, exactly. That's the one.

Should be interesting to see if survey stakes start showing up.

Has anything changed recently in the area or regionally that would create a business case for use of this line?

I'm wondering if there's some kind of interchange reason that would give Pan Am more favorable mileage on certain loads.

I'm assuming there's no potential whatsoever for online traffic.
  by NHV 669
 
Dunno. Route 135 was repaved this summer, and they cut in the crossing at the state line instead of shimming over it. Haven't seen track activity since the brushcutter hit the line between Scott Jct. to the powerlines for snowmobiles last year.

No signs of business, Gilman was still dead and quiet when I went fishing there a couple weeks ago. Groveton is still just a single company at the mill site, and there is absolutely nothing on the Vermont side.

What would Pan Am stand to gain by routing traffic completely out of the way? The cars for Presby are the only online traffic up here that touches their rails besides the seasonal salt loads to VRS and SLR. Then you're just tossing too many carriers into the ring.
  by Guard Dog
 
Who knows what the future holds. The Gilman wood pellet mill folks left, but the property sure isn't going anywhere. Of course, this begs the question of who's going to put what stable business all the way up there.

In any case, we should be at least somewhat glad that there's sections of the line still in service. Certainly makes prospects marginally less bleak than if the entire 131 mile route was completely dead in the water.

Cautious optimism most definitely doesn't relay railroad tracks and/or run trains down the line, but it does maintain an inkling of hope.
  by gokeefe
 
NHV 669 wrote: Sat Aug 31, 2019 2:04 pmWhat would Pan Am stand to gain by routing traffic completely out of the way?
Absolutely no idea unless there's some kind of rate division play to be made with NHCR.
  by gokeefe
 
2018 Report from Town of Concord, Vermont mentioning Pan Am meeting in Washington with the "transportation board". Comes up in discussion about a potential rail trail.
  by bostontrainguy
 
gokeefe wrote: Sat Aug 31, 2019 7:15 pm 2018 Report from Town of Concord, Vermont mentioning Pan Am meeting in Washington with the "transportation board". Comes up in discussion about a potential rail trail.
But their transportation report (link above) says:

Preserve service and rights of way statewide. During the latter half of the
twentieth century, a time referred to as the “retreat period” in the Statewide
Freight Plan of 2001, the number of railroad sidings were reduced, services
were terminated and lines were abandoned. When freight rail lines are
abandoned and the rights of way are lost, they cannot be restored easily.
Shippers, receivers and railroad industry stakeholders recognize the need to
retain existing sidings, lines and services, but also to preserve rights of way so
that reactivation or repurposing of transportation corridors can occur in the
future.
 Maintain state of good repair statewide. Maintaining a state of good repair
on Vermont’s railroads is essential for keeping the system operable and
reliable. The industry focus groups identified lines that need better
maintenance, including the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic’s (MMA) rail line
between Richford and Newport, which is in poor condition and cannot be used
effectively in its current condition; and the Twin State Line between St.
Johnsbury, VT and Whitefield, NH, which needs to be rehabilitated and
reactivated to provide access to New Hampshire and Portland, Maine.
  by Guard Dog
 
Vermont seems to have a very optimistic view when it comes to rail transit. At the same time, even NHDOT (in the 2012 rail plan, albeit) mentioned that the corridor should at least be moderately open due to it being a bridge line with active tracks in sporadic positions. If VT wants to pioneer reopening the line, all the power to them, I guess?

Maine’s got an interesting case with the Mountain Division. God knows what they’re doing with the tracks to Fryeburg, but there’s the weird development at Westbrook going on. That’s meant for other discussions however.

As I said before, in the end who knows, but I will say that recent developments all over NH have been, well, intriguing, to say the least.
  by gokeefe
 
Wow ... Amazing that Vermont seems to think that would still be useful.
  by NHV 669
 
bostontrainguy wrote: Sat Aug 31, 2019 7:50 pm
But their transportation report (link above) says:

in the Statewide
Freight Plan of 2001....

and the Twin State Line between St.
Johnsbury, VT and Whitefield, NH, which needs to be rehabilitated.....
Of course. You're citing an 18 year old report, from a time when the tracks had just recently ceased use.

At the time, both states likely saw the possibility of a more suitable operator jointly operating the Mountain to St. J, and the former B&M to Groveton. Losing three mills in less than a decade put the nail in that coffin, as there is no longer any traffic to justify restoring so much mileage in two separate states.

Making it a rec trail would certainly tie in well with the local community, and provide a solid addition/connection to the VAST snowmobile club network.
Guard Dog wrote: Sat Aug 31, 2019 8:28 pm God knows what they’re doing with the tracks to Fryeburg, but there’s the weird development at Westbrook going on.
Letting them sit, as they have for three and a half decades.

The Westbrook developer wants a convenient commuter shuttle to his property on the taxpayer dime. Not gonna happen, not even close to economically feasible.
  by gokeefe
 
Thanks for the clarification. Completely agreed that the corridor isn't viable at all in the current situation. I was very surprised to think that the state might believe otherwise.

How much traffic is NHCR generating right now?
  by bostontrainguy
 
This is from a more recent report (2015):

Inactive or Abandoned Lines

Until 1999, the Twin State Railroad operated over a route connecting St. Johnsbury with Whitefield, NH that was once part of the former Maine Central’s Mountain Division between Portland, ME and St. Johnsbury. Embargoed
and out of service, the estate of Clyde Forbes continues to hold operating rights leased from its owner, Pan Am
Southern. The legal status of these rights is unclear, and little effort has been made by the parties involved to
resolve the issue following Mr. Forbes passing in 2011.


https://vtrans.vermont.gov/sites/aot/fi ... _Final.pdf
  by gokeefe
 
And now the rights have expired as well.
  by bostontrainguy
 
If you look up the latest Pan Am map that little unattached piece of railroad is still listed as "ST" so I guess Pan Am still feels it's part of their system.
  by gokeefe
 
That's because it actually is.