• Official New England Southern Thread (NEGS)

  • 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 Jackinbox1
 
I don't see them surviving on one customer, but don't they also do a whole bunch of other things such as equipment moves for the Winnie scenic?
Also, is there any chance of that NH National guard thing happening again?
  by b&m 1566
 
Even more reason why I think it would make more sense for Pan Am to service the lone customer. Award the lease to PLRR to Concord but allow Pan Am trackage rights for any and all freight. It would not be a money maker for Pan Am but I can't see it breaking the the bank either because service is so infrequent.
  by Mikejf
 
I was in the area yesterday and noticed just north of Concord that theyhad dumped some new ballast. I believe it was mentioned earlier, but has yet to be spread
  by Jackinbox1
 
I'm looking at their line on google earth, and in Northfield on Forrest road, there is some sort of facility by the tracks.
Anybody have any clue what that is?
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Jackinbox1 wrote:I'm looking at their line on google earth, and in Northfield on Forrest road, there is some sort of facility by the tracks.
Anybody have any clue what that is?
Amerigas Propane, per a Google address lookup. And I think there may be a co-tenant on the south end of the lot, because it looks like there's stacks of masonry supplies in the yard not at all related to the propane operation. No Street View here, so no way to read the sign on the driveway.


There's an approx. 100 ft. MOW siding here with a trackmobile sitting on it in the Google Maps overhead shot, but it doesn't even get halfway to the property fence before all the rest was ripped out. This siding remnant probably hasn't been used for freight since B&M still had the White Mountain Branch, and that's way too small a propane dealer (only 2 tanks) for it to ever be a prospective new customer. Compare to the Amerigas dealership on the Canal Line in Plainville, CT: 6 storage tanks, 8-car siding. Minimum viability threshold for rail deliveries probably requires twice-or-better the capacity of that current Northfield location.
  by Jackinbox1
 
On a different note of freight service, does Bridgewater Power Co. seem like a potential customer, along with Person's concrete not far north of that? I always thought no, because they are so far from the NEGS facilities in Canterbury.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Jackinbox1 wrote:On a different note of freight service, does Bridgewater Power Co. seem like a potential customer, along with Person's concrete not far north of that? I always thought no, because they are so far from the NEGS facilities in Canterbury.

Vanishingly unlikely. Bridgewater's a very small biomass plant. They wouldn't generate enough carloads to pay NEGS's bills for running that far north, or for paying back the trackage rights fees for NEGS to extend its territory north of Tilton. In the unlikely event there's ever a need for occasional drop-offs of wood pellets or whatever as a second-source for fuel, that's the sort of thing Hobo can very easily qualify itself to handle.

Persons has the disadvantage of the tracks being at the rump end of the sand pit, the mixing machinery being a half-mile down NH 49 from the grade crossing, and several small hills chopping up the mining area between machinery and tracks. On Google 3D view it doesn't even look physically possible to snake a rail siding through there. And that's assuming there's enough carloads to begin with to even go to the trouble of trying to link them, which is very unlikely. Persons also has other rail-accessible locations in NH, and has never seen fit to actually use them. One on the NH Main in Bow staring across the tracks from the coal plant, and one in LIttleton on the recently-abandoned NHCR trackage. If neither of those got any freight action, then they probably aren't a company much inclined to do any rail shipping.


It's not like NEGS hasn't tried to generate business. They sold the crap out of the NH Main when they were running it, spent better part of 20 years trying to recruit someone out in Penacook, and actively tried to get somebody else in Tilton. No takers. And even 3M is a very small plant. Impressive storage capacity on their siding, but the plant itself is less than 50,000 sq. feet. That's not going to net many plastic pellets tankers even if firing at full capacity. The business just isn't there. If NEGS couldn't squeeze blood from stone when they were bigger it's not possible for them to do any better with no full-time staff, 1 locomotive, and paychecks that arrive once every month or two.

For that reason I can't even see PAR bidding for the job in NEGS's wake. It's 20 miles of extra track to qualify on for a monthly light move to one customer. Their frequencies into downtown Concord are pretty anemic as it is, and you can't throw a stone on the NH Main without hitting an empty siding they farted away so they (or their successors) have a lot of work to do shooting some free throws to recruit some abutting mainline business before light moves on marginal branches become any Class II's idea of energy well spent. I know there were those rumors of them being interested in the small paper mill at the end of the 15-mile unused portion of the Hillsborough Branch, but that's not analogous to potential interest in Tilton. Billerica HQ has its quixotic longstanding feud with Milford & Bennington RR, so there was a lot of tactical static in those rumors designed to stir the pot with M&B. Second, it's a paper mill, the type of traffic PAR specializes in...so whether their true interest was genuine or not there are some strategic synergies with their main revenue base on that Hillsborough Branch customer. 3M doesn't really fit that traffic profile mold in the same way and wouldn't justify the superfluous running miles like a small paper mill would. Third, their NH jobs get run out of Nashua Yard at the start of the Hillbilly Branch so the extra running miles past Wilton to the mill aren't that far from home base. Whereas they'd be very very far from home spending a few hours on slow track going Nashua-Concord, and then tacking on another 20 miles beyond that for 1 or 2 measly tankers at 3M.


If NEGS (likely) disappears in the next few years, either rail service isn't so near and dear to 3M that they'd do much more than shrug...or, NHDOT can sit down with 3M and Hobo, see what's in everyone's best interests, see if a handful of one-offs from Concord interchange to 3M can be set up without triggering common carrier status for Hobo, and perhaps roll that up as leverage to get Hobo direct access and crew qualifications to Concord interchange for doing their own equipment swaps and pocketing passenger trackage rights for future special excursions to Concord. Certainly don't think the world is going to end for 3M or Hobo if NEGS gives up the ghost. There's lots of cost-neutral options for protecting the White Mountain Branch. It's just not going to involve new customers, because that's been tried before and the total universe of theoretically possible carloads just isn't there in enough carload quantity to pay the cost of fuel/fees/etc.
  by Jackinbox1
 
If they can't generate enough money for bills and such, I'm surprised they can have enough cash for Ballast north of Concord.
Also, found this picture on their website.
Image
I don't know how old that is, but who is that being offloaded for? (Or loaded?)
  by b&m 1566
 
The state owns the line, I believe they foot the bill for maintenance.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
b&m 1566 wrote:The state owns the line, I believe they foot the bill for maintenance.
They do. It's required in the trackage rights agreements to NEGS and Hobo to give annual material support.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Jackinbox1 wrote:If they can't generate enough money for bills and such, I'm surprised they can have enough cash for Ballast north of Concord.
Also, found this picture on their website.
Image
I don't know how old that is, but who is that being offloaded for? (Or loaded?)
That's their transload track on West Rd. in Canterbury, right off I-93 Exit 18. When they were still running the NH Main on outsource contract from Pan Am they moved their transload spot from the interchange in downtown Concord out to here, and expanded what was just a passing siding into a mini-yard with 2 new side tracks. Almost immediately after that expansion, PAR booted them from the NH Main and moved the transload spot back to Concord where their own set-offs 3 exits down handle the same exact function. I don't think Canterbury has been used for any customers ever since. They just park their ballast hoppers and flatcar there and have a red shipping cube in the parking lot that's their "world headquarters" office. There was one very heavily-vandalized disabled hopper parked on the siding track for close to 5 years without moving. Recent NErail photo evidence from their June 11 light move to Hobo showed it finally repaired and mobile again, with the equally recent Google Maps overhead refresh showing it finally gone from its parking spot. That's about the most noteworthy thing that's happened at Canterbury in half a decade. :(
  by Jackinbox1
 
Thanks for the info, but not exactly the answer I was looking for. When did they ship the steel beams (I'm guessing that's what those are) and is that something that they could potentially do again?
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Jackinbox1 wrote:Thanks for the info, but not exactly the answer I was looking for. When did they ship the steel beams (I'm guessing that's what those are) and is that something that they could potentially do again?
I have no clue who it was for. The move had to be in Spring 2010, because Canterbury opened as the replacement for Concord transload literally weeks before PAR gave notice it was terminating NEGS's trackage rights on the NH Main. As soon as PAR resumed running to Concord themselves that August, Concord was reinstated as their team track and there hasn't been a single paying customer at Canterbury ever since. Read back about 9 pages ago on this very thread; that whole saga is well-detailed straight from the mouths of then-current NEGS employees. NEGS was still putting the finishing touches on track work at Canterbury when the plug got pulled on them. It's quite possible those steel beams were one of the only commercial loads ever handled there, since it lasted fewer than 3 months as Concord's replacement and there's no other photographic evidence of commercial loads being spotted. They did a special-request move for the New Hampshire National Guard in 2014 offloading a bunch of military vehicles shipped cross-country on flatcars, but that's the only known pickup activity there within last 6 years.

It's still advertised on their website, yes, so theoretically any customer can request a transload there. Zero have, and zero ever will because they can request exactly the same service 9 miles and 3 exits away in Concord without having to get dinged for two carriers' worth of carload fees. It's financially impossible for NEGS to offer a lower price point than Pan Am.


The commodities listed on their website are all things they handled when they had local control of everything Manchester to Tilton. Post-2010, it has just been tankers to 3M and Hobo equipment/materials swaps.
  by Jackinbox1
 
Lord, it sounds pretty bad for them. Maybe we should start a Kickstarter campaign?
"NEGS, face it. You are screwed. Let us help you get a bit less un-screwed for about another 3 months.
  by BowdoinStation
 
The NEGS people are good people, and I am sure they can develop some nuggets of new business along the line. They do have freight rights all the way to Lincoln. One big issue that could be hurting their opportunities for growth are those two wooden bridges that go through Brochu's Nursury which puts a limit on car weights. NEGS did put together two special moves two years ago that originated in Canterbury, and had 96 cars. It was great to watch their SW1500 pull 48 cars. It was also the last time four Pan Am engines have been in Concord at the same time. That too, was great to see.

Also hearing rumblings that more of the Northern Line through Penacook and up to the current track end in Boscawen are going to be abandoned to continue the Northern Rail Trail towards Concord.
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