• Activity on the Mountain Branch (Portland to Westbrook)

  • Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.
Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.

Moderator: MEC407

  by NHV 669
 
A couple big washouts between Whitefield and Gilman, and the whole thing would need a massive brush-cutting, as you can't find the tracks or RoW in spots. Certainly not worth the major rehab. Yes, the material was going to be locally sourced, within 30-50 miles was a number I'd heard thrown around. It's too bad they can't find a permanent solution for that building in such a small town, I work with a few of their old employees.
  by Mikejf
 
Repairing the washouts would be the least of the expense. Bringing the rail back to operating condition would be a lot more..
  by Dick H
 
It has been reported over the years that Clyde Forbes' (now deceased) NHVT still
had ownership of the rails between St. Johnsbury and Gilman and that he had
planned to lift the rails and pocket the proceeds, but was blocked by PAR, who
apparently still owns the right of way. Supposedly, any claim by Forbes estate
runs out on 12/31/18. The state of Vermont might be interested in at least
purchasing the right of way. There might be interest by the VTR/WACR in
routing traffic to and from Maine via the SLR at Groveton. However, I would
expect that PAR would have some sort of clause in the sale agreement to'
restrict such routing.
  by newpylong
 
The only substantial originating VRS to Maine traffic is slurry and again, rebuilding 20 rail miles for that makes no sense either. Especially after having to pay the middle man (SLR) to get it to Pan Am when they can just give it to Pan Am. The fact that rebuilding the VT end has not been included in any VT State rail plan shows it has little potential.
  by b&m 1566
 
My understanding:
Pan Am (MEC) owns everything on the Vermont side. Twin State's lease is up at the end of this year and if the estate doesn't opted for the 10 year extension, Pan Am will be free to do as they wish come January 1, 2019. There's no customers and the only thing of value is probably the rail which Twin State tried to pull up but Pan Am stopped them in court. Supposedly the state of Vermont as expressed interest in purchasing it but everything is in limbo till that lease expires.

Edit note: I just went back further in thread, and I pretty much just echoed what Dick H, stated.
Last edited by b&m 1566 on Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by gokeefe
 
I can just see the memo on Jan 2nd to the MoW Dept ...

I know Pan Am doesn't have reason to do anything at all but "stranger things have happened".
  by newpylong
 
And what would that memo say? Prepare to spend millions rebuilding 20 miles of line that has zero customers and btw we don't have ownership or rights at either end?

Remember this is the old Mt Division, which was part of the much larger North Country network that Guilford owned at that time. There was heavy traffic from Wells River to the mills in Berlin, Gorham, Gillmam, and Groveton and also with CP at St J and over to Portland. Those days are gone and the scene and players have changed. The freight network is as good as dead up there. That piece of the Mt. Division was retained purely as a blocking technique by the big G.
  by b&m 1566
 
They will probably just sell to the state "as is", I don't see a reason for them to retain it, I don't even know what it is that they would be "blocking". Couldn't they just put a clause in the sale agreement that allows them to retain all bridge traffic? They did that when they sold the NH portion to the state and I'm almost certain they did the same thing with the Conway Branch, when their remaining portions were sold to the state.
  by newpylong
 
I said "was" retained, not "is" retained. They can't sell a line with legal operating rights even if they aren't being exercised. When those rights expire, I think it is likely the line will be sold, maybe there will be covenants, maybe there won't be. There isn't really much traffic left to worry about having a monopoly on. Quite a bit different than 1999.
  by b&m 1566
 
Correct, that's why they've been stuck with this section, they are waiting for Twin State Railroad's operating agreement to expire, which is coming at the end of this year. Of course the estate could take the 10 year extension but I doubt that will happen (the railroad hasn't turned a wheel in 19 years) and who knows if the deadline for that extension has come and gone already.
  by Cosakita18
 
The developers behind the new mixed use "Rock Row / Dirigo Plaza" have expressed casual interest in using the Mountain Branch (which runs through the middle of their development) for commuter rail and transit to and from the development. I don't know how exactly that would work but it's interesting to see the idea of passenger rail on the branch popping up again.
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