• 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 dnelson
 
Many rumors that CMQs investment plan is to sell the railroad off in pieces over time, but it won't happen for a while.
  by fogg1703
 
Townshipfarmer wrote:They just put a lot of money in the Newport sub over the summer and they finally got the trains running at a decent speed why would they be cutting back on service?
Was CMQ required in the terms of the deal with the bankruptcy court that they perform certain maintenance on all the lines? In hindsight it seems that the bankruptcy court's ruling to liquidate MMA as whole has devastated rail service in the Northeast Kingdom for the few remaining shippers, VRS and the State of Vermont's investment in the the WACR infrastructure.
  by GE45tonner
 
Are they using two man crews now?
Last edited by GE45tonner on Sat Jan 17, 2015 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by KSmitty
 
Yes.
  by csx2039
 
fogg1703 wrote:
Townshipfarmer wrote:They just put a lot of money in the Newport sub over the summer and they finally got the trains running at a decent speed why would they be cutting back on service?
Was CMQ required in the terms of the deal with the bankruptcy court that they perform certain maintenance on all the lines? In hindsight it seems that the bankruptcy court's ruling to liquidate MMA as whole has devastated rail service in the Northeast Kingdom for the few remaining shippers, VRS and the State of Vermont's investment in the the WACR infrastructure.


You hit the nail on the head, Newport to Brookport should have gone to VRS, This would have been best for customers. CMQ has done fairly well with upgrading track, Its their marketing and transportation departments that leave something to be desired. If your going to leave customers out in the cold, Its just going to make building business that much harder. Unless you just don't care. They can talk and have all the plans they want but the proof is in the pudding...
  by MEC407
 
Maybe these lines are just cursed.

Iron Road had all the flashy paint and marketing but couldn't make it work even when the economy was booming.

RailWorld was supposed to turn it into the next Wisconsin Central. Didn't happen.

RAH supporters say they'll turn it into the next Florida East Coast. Good luck with all that.
  by csx2039
 
MEC407 wrote:Maybe these lines are just cursed.

Iron Road had all the flashy paint and marketing but couldn't make it work even when the economy was booming.
It wasn't for very long but Iron Road did actually start making $ in the end while in Bankruptcy under the court appointed leadership of Ray Goss. Ray was born and raised in Newport Vermont and is one of the top dogs for G&W now.
  by csx2039
 
[quote="MEC407"]Maybe these lines are just cursed.


Agreed. One bad operator after another after another...
  by KSmitty
 
MEC407 wrote:Maybe these lines are just cursed.

Iron Road had all the flashy paint and marketing but couldn't make it work even when the economy was booming.

RailWorld was supposed to turn it into the next Wisconsin Central. Didn't happen.

RAH supporters say they'll turn it into the next Florida East Coast. Good luck with all that.
Well, honestly, we should be having this discussion in the "Irving System/NBSR/EMRY/MNR (Formerly MM&A/B&A)" forum right now. Saint John would serve as an anchor, traffic wise, east/west. Its this traffic that kept the pre-MNR NBSR system ticking. Searsport, where Irving has a terminal, would have given them options in Maine that they currently lack. Direct connection to CP would have opened up the potential for more overhead traffic. Potash could have come across Maine, rather than up and over. Would have been a great fit. I don't understand why they didn't bid on the whole thing.

I think the long term viability of the Moosehead sub involves tying it back together with the Mattawamkeag sub, and I think we'll see it happen sooner or later.
  by Townshipfarmer
 
Dose any body know what CMQ's plans are for the stanbridge sub and the St-Rosalie sub?
  by Cowford
 
Would have been a great fit. I don't understand why they didn't bid on the whole thing.
Because they realize you can't make a bad route good by painting the locomotives green. Up & over and down & around (in the case of PAR) are better options than being burdened with maintaining/operating hundreds of miles of main track.
  by fogg1703
 
Cowford wrote:Because they realize you can't make a bad route good by painting the locomotives green. Up & over and down & around (in the case of PAR) are better options than being burdened with maintaining/operating hundreds of miles of main track.
I disagree. Its not a "bad route" at all. With current traffic levels its an anchor bringing CMQ down. But add in CP oil trains in 2016 and it'll survive until the magic date of 2022 when the CN/Irving deal expires . Thats when Irving will pounce. Irving was smart to hold off and let someone else (RA) buy an unpopular fixer upper and allow them to try and make a go at it all along knowing that the majority of their Midwestern bound traffic was going "up and around" by contract with CN. When the CN contract expires they put 100% of their outbound traffic over the Mattawamkeag/Moosehead line to Montreal and it becomes another conveyor belt for them. Mix in any Potash CP might gain back, IM to Saint John and any Auto and/or RO/RO traffic they can keep and it becomes a 2-3 train each way line again. Lets not forget as well that their is some originating traffic in the Eastern Townships that can blunt the additional 290 miles of maintenance. Getting to greater Montreal allows them to play all four Class I's off each other either by direct connection (CP, CN) or connecting carriers (CSX, NS).

As KSmitty points out, the line has value as a integrated conduit for maritime traffic. I see the line surviving and being maintained by RA until said time that Irving makes them an offer they can't refuse and makes the line whole again and runs it the way some here believe it will prosper.
  by CN9634
 
fogg1703 wrote:
Cowford wrote:Because they realize you can't make a bad route good by painting the locomotives green. Up & over and down & around (in the case of PAR) are better options than being burdened with maintaining/operating hundreds of miles of main track.
I disagree. Its not a "bad route" at all. With current traffic levels its an anchor bringing CMQ down. But add in CP oil trains in 2016 and it'll survive until the magic date of 2022 when the CN/Irving deal expires . Thats when Irving will pounce. Irving was smart to hold off and let someone else (RA) buy an unpopular fixer upper and allow them to try and make a go at it all along knowing that the majority of their Midwestern bound traffic was going "up and around" by contract with CN. When the CN contract expires they put 100% of their outbound traffic over the Mattawamkeag/Moosehead line to Montreal and it becomes another conveyor belt for them. Mix in any Potash CP might gain back, IM to Saint John and any Auto and/or RO/RO traffic they can keep and it becomes a 2-3 train each way line again. Lets not forget as well that their is some originating traffic in the Eastern Townships that can blunt the additional 290 miles of maintenance. Getting to greater Montreal allows them to play all four Class I's off each other either by direct connection (CP, CN) or connecting carriers (CSX, NS).

As KSmitty points out, the line has value as a integrated conduit for maritime traffic. I see the line surviving and being maintained by RA until said time that Irving makes them an offer they can't refuse and makes the line whole again and runs it the way some here believe it will prosper.

If we are talking rail politics, I agree with much of this. I think this line has viability but has not had a fair chance. Now there are a lot of things happening that might bring this line back to booming.

Two stand out to me

1.) The Saint John Container Port Expansion project ($205M upgrade or rail, port, and marine infrastructure)
This speaks for itself.... MSC is already having weekly calls to Saint John (sometimes more than 1 a week) and I expect MSC is the driving factor behind this (or someone else). Clearly they wouldn't put in this type of investment if they didn't have some sort of preliminary commitments for increased traffic.

2.) Norfolk Southern purchase of D&H (And investment in PAS)
In my mind, this is huge. Besides the fact that NBSR officials were hanging out with NS folks a month ago, NS having greater access to New England opens up a huge opportunity for oil intermodal and auto traffic to Saint John. NS doesn't have access to Buckeye, so they can route oil trains NS-PAS-VRS-CMQ-NBSR. In the coming years, we might see this skinny down to NS-VRS-CMQ-NBSR or even NS-VRS-NBSR. Also, you open up the connection to run intermodal to the southeast US via NS. Hopefully Pan Am can get their act together and work on a competitive CSX-PAR-NBSR routing that is faster than the existing service.

The CMQ era may be long or short lived, I really think it is 50/50. But I think it is a necessary transition since the MMA disaster. NBSR with the attached Irving name would not have been a good move with the whole Lac Megantic disaster. Now you have CMQ who is good at PR, and disaster recovery. They put in some of their own money (when is the last time someone did that?) to work through some of the deferred maintenance issues . The reunificaiton of the two halves, plus the former B&A system would no doubt make a powerhouse regional RR with Saint John, Bangor, Searsport, Northern Maine as a large anchor, and the east/west line as a competitive option to bring goods to market. Also, Sherbrooke to Montreal has a fair amount of customers, and even Greenville, Jackman and Brownville have some prospects for business (Jackman has a sawmil, Greenville looking at chip loading and Brownville pulp).
  by gpp111
 
Irving would never own the Brownville Junction-St Jeane line. It is a difficult and expensive line to operate and with little on line industry. However, they will feed just enough traffic over it to keep a second party operator in business so Irving can use the route to bargain for the best price to ship their products out of St. John. With CN, CM&Q, and Pan Am all bidding for traffic moving west and south, rates will be so low that the railroad that wins the traffic will probably wish they hadn't. The Irvings are tough negotiators and leave little on the table. CN needs that traffic and they will put up a big fight to keep it.
  by murray83
 
The last post hit the nail right on the head.

JDI wanted the northern Maine operations for access to forest products to help fuel its operations here in NB and keep its operations in Maine going nothing more nothing less any other traffic is the cherry on top

I'm interested what CP potash trains are you talking about?

CN you brought up 2 good points,the port of Saint John has boosted good numbers the past couple years in container traffic, the proposal includes new cranes,new rail access and work to the piers much of that should have been done 20 years ago. 2 factors in my mind will come into play here and that is PAR and CMQ's service on the western side of NBSR operations both will need to bring their A game after years of lackluster service I'm just not sure they both can do it.

The second comment of NS brings to light what I believe was the course of Irving's investment into railroading in 1995.

They are known to establish businesses grow them to the point of others interest and sell them at profit I think in time this will be true once again and I think NS is the perfect fit but what stands in their way is the outright sale of PAR to NS, I welcome opinions on this idea
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