• Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by markhb
 
Does anyone know, was there anything "wrong" with the way M&E managed the line, or was it just a case of CM&Q outbidding them when the time came for renewal?
  by jcpatten
 
I heard at the time that M&E was "invited" to NOT bid on the Rockland Branch operating contract. I don't know why.
  by gokeefe
 
The previous administration may not have wanted passenger rail service on the Rockland Branch to continue (it was a Baldacci legacy). Pure speculation on my part but I think it's probably not far from the mark.
  by troffey
 
Does anyone know off hand when the CM&Q/CP lease for the Rockland Branch runs until?
  by markhb
 
troffey wrote: Fri Nov 29, 2019 6:49 pm Does anyone know off hand when the CM&Q/CP lease for the Rockland Branch runs until?
Until CP realizes they bought operating rights to a 60 mile disconnected branch line with a handful of customers? (The irony of the Rockland Branch being run by a Class I operator amuses me no end.)
  by MaineCoonCat
 
On Nov 26, 2019 In an article entitled "Canadian Pacific to buy rail company that runs Rockland branch", Stephen Betts of the VillageSoup • Knox staff wrote: Impact on potential passenger service uncertain
Canadian Pacific to buy rail company that runs Rockland branch
By Stephen Betts | Nov 26, 2019

CP Rockland Branch.PNG
ROCKLAND — A Canadian railroad company that stretches from the Pacific to Atlantic has reached an agreement to buy the company that operates the rail line from Rockland to Brunswick.

Canadian Pacific announced Nov. 20 in a news release that it reached an agreement to buy Central Maine & Quebec Railway. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Central Maine and Quebec had a lease with the Maine Department of Transportation since Jan. 1, 2016 to operate the 56-mile long railroad branch that ends in Rockland. Central Maine & Quebec was awarded the lease over Maine Eastern Railroad which had operated the Rockland line for the previous 12 years.

Nathan Moulton, the director of the freight transportation division for MDOT, said Monday, Nov. 26 that the Central Maine & Quebec lease runs through 2025.
Read more of this story at VillageSoup • Knox's web site
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  by baldy
 
Me thinks that CP realizes that they bought the operating rights to the Rockland line. And I belive CP knows the state owns the property. They're no fools. Unless there's a clause in the contract saying they cannot, expect CP to sell the contract to another carrier. This would require the Maine DOT to approve the sale as well as the STB. Would it delay Amtrak, well only if the state and Amtrak wants it to. They wanted to do something last summer, but the state and the rail authority didn't do anything last winter, as far as I could see. If they had done their work, you'd had something. Remember the state put in tons of money in that line. So it shouldn't take a ton more to get it in shape. What, one train a week uses that line (Thomaston to Brunswick). 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? If you haven't read the link to the Village Soup, please do. By the postings of the village idiots, in the Village Soup no less, I'd say when CP sells the contract, send all the B-23s with the contract. That otta fix their butts......
  by gokeefe
 
baldy wrote: Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:21 pm They wanted to do something last summer, but the state and the rail authority didn't do anything last winter, as far as I could see. If they had done their work, you'd had something.
The rail authority has done their work and then some several times over. No lack of effort on their part. The issue was partly political (funding challenges under a previous administration) and then partly operational (rule changes at Amtrak for dark territory).
  by MEC407
 
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. :wink: Hard to put an exact price on that.
  by Safetee
 
if i'm not mistaken, when the hopes and dreams for an enhanced rockland branch restoration were in full bloom, one of the benefits of a restored
branch was the possibility of commuter rail service especially for those BIW employees who lived north of Woolwich.
  by MEC407
 
I remember people talking about that too. What I can't remember is whether or not that was an official position from the state or if it was just something that some midcoast politicians were talking about.
  by gokeefe
 
It was not an official position (that I recall). It was a "maybe in the future if this works" ...
  by artman
 
TRNE wrote: Sun Nov 24, 2019 5:34 am Not a word in that article about how TrainRiders/NE has kept the station open for Downeaster passengers for more than a decade. Dover's passenger load has continued to grow over the years, but the city wants income from the property, trashing their responsibility to traveling public.
With all due respect, the City wants to offset the costs associated with maintaining the building and lot. Why is that so bad?
  by TRNE
 
Understood, however, there have been several attempts to lease out the building and the occupants were unable to maintain a viable business. The reason people are there is to get on the train, get a seat and if desired, visit the Cafe Car for a morning breakfast.
  by Dick H
 
The Dover station lease to a delicatessen is unlikely to appreciably reduce the city's expense of maintaining the facility.
In the lease, there is some detailed computation on what the tenant will pay, mostly a portion of the utilities. In fact,
the City maintains the main intent is to keep the station open for more hours. According to the initial lease, the
station was to be open to the public from 6AM to 2PM, Monday thru Friday. An article in the local newspaper seemed
to indicate that the station would be open at other hours, if a station host is available, with the deli operation secured.
The City is providing four 15 minute free parking spaces, which would seem to indicate that take out business may be
a major part of the business. After 3 years, there are modest monthly rent payments to be made. Two of the long time
station hosts have recently retired. Time will tell on just how much current train info will be available, when no
station host is available. The "vestibule" for the QT ticket machine is supposed to be open from early morning to early
evening.

At any rate, the station waiting room is scheduled to close completely shortly for an extended period of time during which
renovations will be done. The station was never designed for such a business. All of the current utilities are buried beneath
the cement floor, which will require extensive excavation to access and expand.

Three of the four "food" establishments adjacent to the rail line from the station to Central Avenue have closed their doors
in the last two months, leaving only the Dunkin Donuts by the Central Ave. crossing. Supposedly, two of the closed businesses
are supposed to reopen at some point.
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