• Rockland Branch Discussion

  • 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 Cosakita18
 
Cowford wrote: Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:03 pm A new propane terminal on the Rockland branch would only serve to cannibalize traffic already being handled on SLR/CMQ/PAR. Ag/agg transload potential? Could you expand on that?
From what I recall the facility was intended to be a distribution point for local propane deliveries in the midcoast area.
  by QB 52.32
 
gokeefe wrote: Wed Apr 15, 2020 9:17 pm
Cowford wrote: Wed Apr 15, 2020 11:54 am If it's being trucked in from S Portland, then it's coming into S Portland by rail, no?
Yes almost certainly. I was figuring maybe a little more line haul for Pan Am and then interchange to CP.
PAR and CP are competitors in this market and as is the case most of the time, PAR would likely be in a lesser financial position interchanging to another carrier than consolidating larger volumes through a truck transload, especially if the interchange also involves movement through an alternate transload and not direct to a customer. Therefore, from PAR's perspective it would simply cannibalize their position.
  by Cowford
 
From what I recall the facility was intended to be a distribution point for local propane deliveries in the midcoast area.
Top
RE QB's response... exactly. It would not generate new rail business.

Cosakita, I get propane distribution, but the region is literally surrounded by rail transfer terminals and the industry has migrated to consolidated transload facilities due to economies of scale (switch, siding and unloading infrastructure install cost and maintenance, unloader labor and related safety and training, rail service options, etc). The days of the local gas depot that received 1-2 cars a month are long gone.

The details I was fishing for was related to your comments on ag or aggregate transloading opportunities.

If I recall, 5-10 years ago there was a siding rebuilt (likely with State of Maine funds) at a warehouse in Rockland for the purpose of bringing in frozen fish for lobstermen. It turned out to be another example of a... wait for it... bait-and-switch scheme that went nowhere.
  by gokeefe
 
Cowford wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:07 amIt turned out to be another example of a... wait for it... bait-and-switch scheme that went nowhere.
Bonus points for the double pun. :-D
  by KSmitty
 
Cowford wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:07 amIt turned out to be another example of a... wait for it... bait-and-switch scheme that went nowhere.
Every once in a while I see something on here that makes me wish the forums, like Facebook, had a "like" button. There's no real response to this, but it certainly is worth a little thumbs up!
  by BostonUrbEx
 
Would CP have the legal option to end the Rockland Branch lease that was originally negotiated between CMQ and the State of Maine? My assumption is that CP would want to dump that as soon as legally possible, which would be the next lease negotiation, and no sooner.
  by Cosakita18
 
When is the next negotiation? CP can probably hold on for a year or two, it's not like they have to do any work on the line itself, and the two customers are reliable and consistent. But you're right they'll absolutely want to ditch it when the time comes.
  by BandA
 
Is the Rockland branch unprofitable?
  by MEC407
 
I think it must be profitable, otherwise the state would not have received any bids to operate it.

How big the profit is, is anyone's guess.
  by MaineCentral252
 
My assumption has always been that the Rockland branch just "exists" as far as CP is concerned. Not a major money maker by any means, but not a money loser either. Of course, I doubt CP wants it in the long term for any reason, but for now it's just there not bothering anybody. Whoever operates it is of course at the mercy of everyone's favorite well-managed railroad for interchange, so that may be another factor at play in the coming months/years.
  by gokeefe
 
If Canadian National buys Pan Am Railways it will be interesting to see if CP bails out ... Fascinating to think of Brunswick as suddenly becoming an interchange point for not one but two (!!) Class I railroads. Probably the strangest possible outcome of them all.

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  by MERailFanJay
 
BandA wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 2:17 am Is the Rockland branch unprofitable?
Should be profitable since it was profitable enough for Maine Eastern since the freight line subsidized their passenger excursions for 10+ years.
  by gokeefe
 
I concur with that analysis as well. The cement runs and perlite definitely pay the bills and then some.

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  by Cosakita18
 
A related question: how many years of useful life does the Dragon plant and quarry have left? Those types of quarries run dry eventually and when that happens it's probably game over for freight service on the branch.
  by gokeefe
 
They have enough for at least 30-50 more years per a 2016 report.
With this positive outlook, Dragon is ready to expand. It recently received approval to extend its its active quarry north of Route 1 by 50 acres to the northeast, its first expansion since 1994. This will provide enough limestone of the quality needed for 20 years of cement production at the plant. The company plans to begin the expansion this year.

Plant Manager Ray Degrass projects the plant will continue operating for another 30 to 50 years.
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