sd40lover stated........" Does anyone know what CP's reasons were for getting out of Maine and New Brunswick? The Montreal Maine and Atlantic and New Brunswick southern railways seem to host decent sized freights to this day. I would presume that at the time CP Rail got out the region they had a larger traffic base than the present day carriers."
In September 1988, CP created the Canadian Atlantic Railway as a separate business unit to encompass all their trackage east of Megantic P.Q., including mainline through Maine / New Brunswick and extensive branches in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
In hindsight, I always felt CP had decided to divest themselves from their Eastern operations and CAR was formed to show itself as being a money loser, thus starting the process to abandon operations. I recall reading a comment from a former CP manager in the Eastern Quebec region, that stated despite a loyal customer base in the Maritimes, a corporate level decision was made to get out of the Eastern operations. The CAR manager was Mr. Fred Green, the current CP CEO.
By the early 1990's, the concept of Railway Short Line Operations in Canada had not established itself as in the U.S., which started such in 1980. Many branch lines in New Brunswick probably could have been saved if Short Line processes were in place. CAR Branches that still had decent traffic, were seemingly demarketed.
At the time, according to Federal Transportation rules, a railway had to show 3 consecutive years of loses to apply for cease of operation of a particular line..........easy to do........turn away customers, the ones you still have give them poor service , do some maintenance work to imbalance the books........bingo. Between CP and CN, New Brunswick lost about 700 miles of track by the mid 1990's.
By early January 1995, The N.B. Government quickly passed legislation that created a Short Line Railway Act, to allow the Irving Corp owned New Brunswick Southern Railway to operate. It, along with its sister operation, Maine Eastern Railway, operate from St. John N.B. to Brownville Jct Maine. Last year, The Irving Corp. began operation of the former BAR lines in Northern Maine, under the current name of The Maine Northern.
With increasing traffic levels, NBSR have added several SD-40's to their loco roster and are to receive shortly, several more in the form of GP-40's. NBSR has a healthy and growing traffic interchange at Mattawamkeag, Maine with PanAM Railways.