baldy wrote: ↑Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:21 pm
I believe a lot of money was wasted there, and all for a tourist run. Did the state or the Feds get their mony back on this?
The primary reason the Rockland Branch was rebuilt was because the state needed a safe and secure way to get Maine Yankee demolition debris out of Wiscasset. A line with rotten ties, 90lb stick rail, and cinder ballast was fine for Dragon Cement hoppers but not so great for nuke loads. The secondary reason was the usual "it'll take trucks off the road" that they always use to justify these kinds of projects. Tourist trains had absolutely nothing to do with it. (Maine Coast RR operated tourist trains on the Rockland Branch long before the track rebuild. Maine Eastern initially wasn't planning to do tourist trains but they were asked asked if they could operate a special for the lobster festival and it was successful and eventually morphed into a full fledged service.) The state did, however, say that the rebuild would make it much easier to expand the Downeaster to Rockland in the future, and I'm sure that's why some people voted for the bond.
If there was any federal money involved, it was minimal. The rebuild was funded almost entirely by a voter-approved bond. Hard to say whether we "got our money back" or not, but I don't think anyone in Wiscasset or the rest of the midcoast would've been too keen on getting stuck behind a nuke debris truck on Route 1 for an hour or more in summer traffic.
Hard to put an exact price on that.