• What's next for MMA?

  • Discussion of present-day CM&Q operations, as well as discussion of predecessors Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) and Bangor & Aroostook Railroad (BAR).
Discussion of present-day CM&Q operations, as well as discussion of predecessors Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) and Bangor & Aroostook Railroad (BAR).

Moderator: MEC407

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  by CN9634
 
Perhaps it would be appropriate to have a review, omitting the recent tragic events, of the MMA and highlight. My goal here is to remain largely positive in looking forward to some of the continued progress the next company will hopefully make.

1.) Restructuring -- While some may argue about the railroads decision to abandon the lines north of Millinocket, this had been discussed many years prior but previous companies. While I will not argue the merrits or losses of getting rid of the line, successfully abondoning almost half of your railroad is an accomplishment as at the end of the day, everyone benefitted (MNR is a pretty good line now, MMA made some money to pay down debt, State of Maine happy that customers are served & vice versa).

2.) Cost Reduction -- This can be a bit touchy, I'll admit. From a professional business perspective, the goal is always to make processes more efficient or what we like to call lean engineering (I'm sure you've heard it before). While it does usually mean the cutting of jobs (Never an easy decision), it can gain a net benefit for the entire system and the customers. Perhaps in this analysis of the MMA, it can go either way, but I would like to stay largely positive and say that it helped keep the system running even after the near sell out of 2010.

3.) Traffic -- The MMA was always seeking new traffic for the Moosehead and the oil traffic reflected this. The MMA had been approached by Irving and a broker, but still, their ability to keep up with new trends does lend a view on their survival ability. Enough about that, we all know where the oil discussion goes. Moreover, intermodal and auto traffic were at one point key parts of the MMA system. The 'Sunbury Train' suffered a tragic fate of the FDA and CBP but not without fight. Had the train continued, one could have hoped that it would grown and perhaps been combined with the auto traffic (Which had been known to happen from time to time). The Auto traffic on the other hand did grow with the help of NBSR building a distribution terminal in Saint John. Before they had just exported the autos at the port. A new contract with KIA a few years ago also bolstered this traffic that kept volume on the Moosehead. Hopefully the next suitor can revive auto and intermodal traffic on the Moosehead as with Saint John offering MSC and now Haypag-LLyod via Tropical, TEUs have doubled this year since last. Coupled with an expanding Potash terminal in Saint John, someone who more marketing power could potentially steal some traffic away from CN.

4.) Infrastructure -- Perhaps one of the greatest tributes was the ability to keep the infrastructure up and going after the challenges of CDAC. A long of these challenges stem from the CP era where they knew the Moosehead was on the chop block and elected to relay 100LB headless stick rail from Praire branchs on the Moosehead. Needless to say, the geometery of the Moosehead didn't help CDAC on this regard. The MMA was proactive from the start on replacing rail and took out a $34M loan from the FRA to do so. They laid a good portion of 115LB welded rail on areas in need, as well as some 115LB relay. Even after the oil boom they resumed rail upgrades with new ribbon rail recently being laid in Foster, QC. The railroad wasn't always the richest, but they were able to keep the trains moving and had many plans to upgrade the entire Moosehead.

Like I said, there are two sides to each story, but my goal here to remain largely positive. While looking back may reflect negative feelings for some, there is a simple solution to that in regards to this discussion -- don't post! We now can only look forward on the new railroad to be and hope for growth and prosperty of that new railroad to support the hard working people of the railroad as well as economic growth in the State of Maine.
  by Zeke
 
Mr. CN could you elaborate on the " Sunbury train"
what was it, where did it go, did MMA haul it ? thanks
  by 690
 
The train consisted of Sunbury trailers being shipped from St. John to Farnham. NBSR would hand them off at Brownville Jct, and MMA would take it the rest of the way.
Last edited by 690 on Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.
  by fogg1703
 
MMA Train 777/778 were Farnham to Saint John IM trains mostly loaded intitally with big box store (Walmart, etc) goods for distribution to Atlantic Canada. The service began in 2003 and lasted a couple of years until as CN9634 mentioned US FDA and CBP red tape and border delays doomed the service. Up to 150 trailers/week were being loaded during the height of the service, including those from other trucking firms as well as lumber loads out of NB. Sunbury is a subsidiary of JDI and even painted 2 of their GP38's into Sunbury yellow for the short lived service, 2317 and 2319.
http://www.traingeek.ca/blogpix/9801%20 ... %20SLB.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Also note for a time MMA would add loaded McCain trailers from Presque Isle Intermodal Terminal for furtherance west at Brownsville onto these trains. For a time in fact IR ran Train 208 from PI to Newport Vt with a connection to WACR/NECR/CR at Palmer MA for McCain French Fries destined for East Coast distributors. "The French Fry Express" as it was called was very short lived.
  by CN9634
 
I've heard we will know the details either Tuesday (if we are lucky) or at the latest, Thursday.
  by rootsblown
 
The BD newspaper said that there was multipal bidders on Friday but was not informed on who were the bidders. They will no more by the end of this week.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Here is the staff reported Bangor Daily News article to which Mr. Rootsblown likely refers to:

http://bangordailynews.com/2014/01/17/b ... ay-assets/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Brief passage:

  • BANGOR, Maine — Multiple parties have made initial bids for the assets of the bankrupt Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway ahead of next week’s auction.

    The deadline for bids on the railroad’s assets was the end of the day Friday. Robert Keach, the railroad company’s trustee in its bankruptcy proceedings, told the Bangor Daily News after the close of business on Friday that “multiple bids” were made, though he would not reveal additional details about the exact number or value of the bids.

    “We’re in the process of reading them now, analyzing them and seeing how they fit together,” Keach said. “As I said before, we’ll have something to say next week.”

    Keach previously told the BDN that no details about bids or the bidding parties would be released ahead of the sale hearing, which is scheduled to take place on Thursday, Jan. 23, in Bangor.

    The auction itself is scheduled to be held Tuesday, Jan. 21, at Keach’s office in Portland. It is expected to be a live auction, “although there is a right to convert at any time to sealed bids, and all bidders must be present,” Keach said. The auction is not open to the public or media.
This article appears to parallel the reporting within that from the Portland newspaper lin ked here by Mr. CPF.
  by MEC407
 
From The Portland Press Herald:
The Portland Press Herald wrote:Fortress Investment Group emerged as the winner of an auction on Tuesday for bankrupt rail carrier Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, which derailed in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killing 47 people.

According to Chop Hardenbergh, who edits the newsletter Atlantic Northeast Rails & Ports, said on Tuesday that Fortress was the victor of the 40-minute auction. The final decision will be made on Thursday by U.S. District Court in Bangor and the Superior Court of Quebec in Sherbrook, which will hold simultaneous proceedings starting at 10 a.m.
. . .
Another bidder, J.D. Irving Ltd., said its Eastern Maine Railway Co. unit had partnered with Springfield Terminal Railway Co. to submit a bid for only the Maine portions of the MM&A.

“In the end, the trustee went forward with a single buyer of the entire MMA railway line (Maine and Quebec track). We look forward to working with Fortress Investment Group of New York as they assume operation of the MMA railway,” Wayne Power, vice president of J.D. Irving’s transportation and logistics division, said in a statement.
. . .
Earlier this month, an empty cargo train owned by MM&A derailed in Nantes, near Lac-Megantic. The railway did not disclose the derailment to town officials even though one of the derailed locomotives ended up adjacent one of the town’s main roads, Nantes’s Mayor Jacques Breton told the Canadian Press on Monday.
Read the rest of the article at: http://www.pressherald.com/news/Fortres ... tion_.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by rootsblown
 
So, is it possible that US district court could refuse to go on with the finalizing of this sale to Fortress?? or is it automatically a hands down win for Fortress just because they were the highest bidder for the MMA US and Can. company?? My own personal opinion is that between the other two company"s that had joined forces to bid, would most likely have run the MMA to its best possibilities.For the customers and the railroads employees sake. just my 2 cents anyways.
+++
  by Dick H
 
I believe the Thursday, January 23rd proceedings will be open to
the press. You can pretty near bet the farm that one of the first
questions will be whether crude oil will again be rolling through
Lac-Megantic.
  by MEC407
 
Just in case anyone hasn't seen it yet, we now have a new thread specifically for discussion of Fortress Investment / Railroad Acquisition Holdings, and their purchase of the former MMA properties:

http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=154633

For the sake of clarity and keeping the conversation organized, some posts from this thread have been moved to the Fortress/RAH thread.
  by MEC407
 
From the Bangor Daily News:
Bangor Daily News wrote:Sometimes current events mirror the past so closely it makes your jaw drop.

That happened to me today (I’m writing this on Thursday afternoon). Let me tell you about it.

This morning, Jan. 23, a federal bankruptcy judge in Bangor approved the sale of the bankrupt Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway to a New York investment firm. That news was followed a few hours later by an announcement from Great Northern Paper that it would shut down its paper mill in East Millinocket, a customer of MMA, for at least 16 weeks because of high production costs and falling market prices for its paper.

The two events, seemingly unrelated, are eerily similar to what happened almost exactly 11 years ago.

Rewind to January 2003.

On the morning of Jan. 9, 2003, the former Bangor & Aroostook Railroad was in bankruptcy. That day, at about noon, papers were signed transferring the bankrupt railroad’s assets to the new Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway. Just hours later, Great Northern Paper (the original GNP, unrelated to the current GNP) filed for bankruptcy. GNP’s two paper mills in Millinocket and East Millinocket were the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad’s largest customer at the time.
Read the rest of the article at: http://whitrichardson.bangordailynews.c ... a-and-gnp/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by rootsblown
 
I believe it was Iron Roads that went through bankruptcy at that time, not the B&A. Why is it that it is always mentioned as the Bankrupt B&A and not Iron Roads. Those were the people that run the old B&A 's name down and into the ground.
  by MEC407
 
rootsblown wrote:I believe it was Iron Roads that went through bankruptcy at that time, not the B&A. Why is it that it is always mentioned as the Bankrupt B&A and not Iron Roads. Those were the people that run the old B&A 's name down and into the ground.
Possibly because the operating arm of Iron Road Railways used "Bangor & Aroostook System" as its DBA (doing business as) name.
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