• CMQ Operations

  • 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
 
Cowford wrote:
The one thing that has changed from the past 20 years is potential US Class 1 interest...
What exactly is "potential" interest?

CSX2039, give me five years and I'll put a sawbuck on that wager!
From what I heard there had been interest from CN in this line, (with NBSR too) as this shorter line would be a better route than the existing NTR line. More online traffic, more interchanges and a direct mainline route through Saint john may be beneficial to CN. The problem with the NTR line is the massive trestles that will require massive work at some point in the future. The tradeoff is the Moosehead needs a bit of work, longer sidings and has more grades/curves than the NTR line.
  by dnelson
 
CN9634 wrote:
Cowford wrote:
The one thing that has changed from the past 20 years is potential US Class 1 interest...
What exactly is "potential" interest?

CSX2039, give me five years and I'll put a sawbuck on that wager!
From what I heard there had been interest from CN in this line, (with NBSR too) as this shorter line would be a better route than the existing NTR line. More online traffic, more interchanges and a direct mainline route through Saint john may be beneficial to CN. The problem with the NTR line is the massive trestles that will require massive work at some point in the future. The tradeoff is the Moosehead needs a bit of work, longer sidings and has more grades/curves than the NTR line.
The NTR line was intentionally built to come within a few feet of Maine following the countries' border, but never actually leaving Canada. CP's line was shorter, but required crossing the border twice, and by the mid-80s was drastically less successful than CN's the point that CP formally abandoned it after the US Surface Transportation Board approved their filing in 1994. Remember, CP's tracks were maintained to passenger standards at the time; VIA was running across Maine on the Moosehead and Keag Subs until 1994 too. The bad old days for CP meant one train each direction, each day on very well maintained track.

Today, more than twenty years after the last CP train through Maine, and two failed railroads later, CMQ is running trains three days a week on the Moosehead on track in far worse condition than when CP left it. CN on the other hand has been making mad money running trains around the edge of Maine this whole time, with a 60MPH trackspeed for the majority of the time, while trains on the former CP are 25 at best, plus having to go through customs twice. Sure CP's route is shorter/more direct in milage, but far longer in hours/days.

The "more online traffic" argument baffles me, because the LACK of online traffic on the Moosehead Sub has always been considered among every railroad related person I've talked to in my life the most likely reason it would eventually go out of service for good.

Since we're so deep into rumorville/imaginationland with this stuff...... .....From what I've heard talking with employees of CMQ and EMR, CMQ is hoping to either sell the Canadian milage to a Canadian company, and the American milage to an American company, and get a "return on their investment" for the Wall St owners, or rip up the entire Moosehead for its scrap value. You're right when you say CN would need much longer sidings, especially since CMQ ripped up completely / shortened several sidings on the Moosehead already.
  by Cowford
 
The "CN is interested" theory has been brought up - and mythbusted - here before. If it had legs, CN would have shown interest when MMA was being auctioned off, or when CDAC was being auctioned off before that. About 9 months ago, CN committed to operating the Newcastle sub in NB for the next 15 years. They are in the province for the forseeable future, and it's pretty (very, extremely) unlikely that they have any any divestiture/service reduction plans for the NTR. That said, the NTR is underutilized. it's unrealistic to expect the CN to siphon volume off an existing line to an additional route to save a few incremental miles.
  by CN9634
 
Cowford wrote:The "CN is interested" theory has been brought up - and mythbusted - here before. If it had legs, CN would have shown interest when MMA was being auctioned off, or when CDAC was being auctioned off before that. About 9 months ago, CN committed to operating the Newcastle sub in NB for the next 15 years. They are in the province for the forseeable future, and it's pretty (very, extremely) unlikely that they have any any divestiture/service reduction plans for the NTR. That said, the NTR is underutilized. it's unrealistic to expect the CN to siphon volume off an existing line to an additional route to save a few incremental miles.
This was years ago, not anytime recent. CN repurchased the line north instead. You never know though anything can change in a second. On the extreme end for example, if CP/CSX merged the CMQ could be a prime line for repurchase or JV to join CSX's intermodal network bypassing Pan Am and having a direct NBSR/Saint John connection. Clearly a million things could happen but this wasn't a recent interest and has most likely since passed.

But in the big picture, the Port Expansion at SJ is a big win for potential traffic across Maine again
  by CN9634
 
dnelson wrote:
CN9634 wrote:
Cowford wrote:
The one thing that has changed from the past 20 years is potential US Class 1 interest...
What exactly is "potential" interest?

CSX2039, give me five years and I'll put a sawbuck on that wager!
From what I heard there had been interest from CN in this line, (with NBSR too) as this shorter line would be a better route than the existing NTR line. More online traffic, more interchanges and a direct mainline route through Saint john may be beneficial to CN. The problem with the NTR line is the massive trestles that will require massive work at some point in the future. The tradeoff is the Moosehead needs a bit of work, longer sidings and has more grades/curves than the NTR line.
The NTR line was intentionally built to come within a few feet of Maine following the countries' border, but never actually leaving Canada. CP's line was shorter, but required crossing the border twice, and by the mid-80s was drastically less successful than CN's the point that CP formally abandoned it after the US Surface Transportation Board approved their filing in 1994. Remember, CP's tracks were maintained to passenger standards at the time; VIA was running across Maine on the Moosehead and Keag Subs until 1994 too. The bad old days for CP meant one train each direction, each day on very well maintained track.

Today, more than twenty years after the last CP train through Maine, and two failed railroads later, CMQ is running trains three days a week on the Moosehead on track in far worse condition than when CP left it. CN on the other hand has been making mad money running trains around the edge of Maine this whole time, with a 60MPH trackspeed for the majority of the time, while trains on the former CP are 25 at best, plus having to go through customs twice. Sure CP's route is shorter/more direct in milage, but far longer in hours/days.

The "more online traffic" argument baffles me, because the LACK of online traffic on the Moosehead Sub has always been considered among every railroad related person I've talked to in my life the most likely reason it would eventually go out of service for good.

Since we're so deep into rumorville/imaginationland with this stuff...... .....From what I've heard talking with employees of CMQ and EMR, CMQ is hoping to either sell the Canadian milage to a Canadian company, and the American milage to an American company, and get a "return on their investment" for the Wall St owners, or rip up the entire Moosehead for its scrap value. You're right when you say CN would need much longer sidings, especially since CMQ ripped up completely / shortened several sidings on the Moosehead already.
The combined NBSR-CMQ system which incorporates the B&A system could be a decent regional system with a western Gateway via its own line to Montreal or with Pan Am. A CN purchase would have to be of both lines allowing to pull natural resources out of Northern Maine, finished mill products, and Saint John traffic proper. So imagine the CN train already out of Saint John, plus the overhead from Halifax, Moncton, plus the existing traffic off CMQ/NBSR. Could probably see 8 - 10 daily trains on a shorter line across Maine. Clearly yes, the line would need upgrades to get up to CN spec, but the line is mostly 25MPH plus 40MPH in spots. Consider the CN NTR line is a longer bridge line than the CP line, you could argue more online traffic. CN could also continue to service St. Leonard area via the former B&A trackage. Also, CN would have direct connections with VRS and PAR. A bigger issue would be connecting to CN proper avoiding CP.

This is all fantasy of course.
  by CPF363
 
Cowford wrote:The "CN is interested" theory has been brought up - and mythbusted - here before. If it had legs, CN would have shown interest when MMA was being auctioned off, or when CDAC was being auctioned off before that. About 9 months ago, CN committed to operating the Newcastle sub in NB for the next 15 years. They are in the province for the forseeable future, and it's pretty (very, extremely) unlikely that they have any any divestiture/service reduction plans for the NTR. That said, the NTR is underutilized. it's unrealistic to expect the CN to siphon volume off an existing line to an additional route to save a few incremental miles.
CN is not interested in the CMQ line. The above poster posts the real questions: if CN wanted it, they would have posted a low ball bit for the entire line last year or purchased it after CDAC declared bankruptcy. CN 's line to the Maritime Provinces is functioning to their satisfaction even if it has to go up and around Maine on the NTR line. There is online business in Québec, they have a feeder line from Gaspé Region to the north, feeder traffic from the the top Maine at Saint-Leonard and their three lines that junction at Moncton from Nova Scotia, Saint John and their line from the east coast of New Brunswick. True, they have the long run from Saint Leonard to Moncton that functions largely as a bridge line, and going directly across Maine would shorten the run from Moncton to Montréal, however, they live with the NTR line such that it is. Even NBSR did not make a bid for the whole line when both the CDAC and MM&A systems fell apart for the same reasons that CP got out of the Maritime Provinces back in the 1990s; they simply could not make it work for them financially.
  by CN9634
 
CPF363 wrote:
Cowford wrote:The "CN is interested" theory has been brought up - and mythbusted - here before. If it had legs, CN would have shown interest when MMA was being auctioned off, or when CDAC was being auctioned off before that. About 9 months ago, CN committed to operating the Newcastle sub in NB for the next 15 years. They are in the province for the forseeable future, and it's pretty (very, extremely) unlikely that they have any any divestiture/service reduction plans for the NTR. That said, the NTR is underutilized. it's unrealistic to expect the CN to siphon volume off an existing line to an additional route to save a few incremental miles.
CN is not interested in the CMQ line. The above poster posts the real questions: if CN wanted it, they would have posted a low ball bit for the entire line last year or purchased it after CDAC declared bankruptcy. CN 's line to the Maritime Provinces is functioning to their satisfaction even if it has to go up and around Maine on the NTR line. There is online business in Québec, they have a feeder line from Gaspé Region to the north, feeder traffic from the the top Maine at Saint-Leonard and their three lines that junction at Moncton from Nova Scotia, Saint John and their line from the east coast of New Brunswick. True, they have the long run from Saint Leonard to Moncton that functions largely as a bridge line, and going directly across Maine would shorten the run from Moncton to Montréal, however, they live with the NTR line such that it is. Even NBSR did not make a bid for the whole line when both the CDAC and MM&A systems fell apart for the same reasons that CP got out of the Maritime Provinces back in the 1990s; they simply could not make it work for them financially.
No to your most assumptions. Read my post where I said it was years ago (CN interest). Also, CN wanted to shed everything east of Quebec City a while ago but the situation changed (In regards to the 'functioning to their satisfaction", it is not). The 'feeder line from the Gaspe region is based on a gamble which may or may not pay off in the next few years.

NBSR not bidding on CDAC and MMA systems is politics related, at least for the latter.
  by Fritz
 
Hello,
Interesting observations along the Newport Subdivision over the past few days. The CMQ made four round-trips from Farnham to Newport in the past five days (Friday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday). Rumor is that one of the head honchos from CMQ told Farnham that they needed to start serving Newport five days per week. Let's hope this is the start of something permanent.
Cheers,
Fritz
  by CN9634
 
Fritz wrote:Hello,
Interesting observations along the Newport Subdivision over the past few days. The CMQ made four round-trips from Farnham to Newport in the past five days (Friday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday). Rumor is that one of the head honchos from CMQ told Farnham that they needed to start serving Newport five days per week. Let's hope this is the start of something permanent.
Cheers,
Fritz
Interesting that there isn't a meeting of the minds between the two divisions. One wonders how autonomous the Quebec side was under MMA, and how much of that carried over in the CMQ. Perhaps there is some animosity towards the management or US division... or maybe I'm reaching for an excuse to justify their recent poor service. Either way, a change like this is great if it lasts.
  by Cowford
 
CP went on strike last night; I imagine CMQ will be significantly impacted if it lasts more than a couple of days.
  by fogg1703
 
In some positive news, CMQ will see their first oil train movement in the next day or two as an Irving bound 60 car CBR train is currently traversing PAS/PAR. In fact the NMJ-BJCT routing has never seen a CBR train. A few questions come to mind, will the current BNSF power run through to Saint John and with the agreement between CMQ/PAR, how does that affect CMQ's share of the waybill?
  by oat324
 
I wonder if Pan Am would sell to NBSR the NMJ to Keag segment? I could see them investing heavy to get the line up to speed and cutting CMQ out of the shipment of the oil trains.
  by CN9634
 
If what I heard was true.... this will be an interesting move for sure....

In other news a windmill train off CP came onto CMQ in Quebec today and swapped power. I believe this is bound for Presque Isle/MNR as I was told almost a year ago one if not two were coming to the industrial park there
  by BandA
 
CN9634 wrote:If what I heard was true.... this will be an interesting move for sure....

In other news a windmill train off CP came onto CMQ in Quebec today and swapped power. I believe this is bound for Presque Isle/MNR as I was told almost a year ago one if not two were coming to the industrial park there
Is that a tilt train? I heard railcars sometimes tilt at windmills.
  by eustis22
 
Is CMQ running anything thru Greenville?
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