• MEC Lower Road in danger

  • Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.
Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.

Moderator: MEC407

  by backroadrails
 
It was recently announced on a bike forum, that a new rail trail which would remove rail between Gardiner and Topsham. The bill which is in the legislature is LD 1141, and would remove 25 miles of rail. This would effectively end any possibility of reactivation of the lower road. Here is the link: https://www.pedal2page.com/post/build-i ... o2Kuzg29VM
  by Rockingham Racer
 
George O'Keefe: get right on this and put a stop to it! :P
  by NRGeep
 
Any potential on line business?
  by Cowford
 
Zero freight... and conversion to a bike trail would be millions cheaper than any pax rail boondoggle and it would definitely generate more "passenger miles" .
  by NRGeep
 
Like the Watertown Ma branch, might as well be utilized for some form of transit as it appears to have no rail potential ; unlike the soon to be rail trailed Eastern CM which could be used for revived commuter rail to Sudbury, but alas, not going to happen.
Last edited by MEC407 on Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total. Reason: unnecessary quoting
  by CN9634
 
Tough business case to say you need to continue putting dollars towards preserving a dormant line that is paralleled closely by another line of the same rail operator who is only running 2 trains a day between Waterville and Portland.... even still, service exists to Augusta and Brunswick via the branches on either end so again, why not make it a bike trail? At least people can use it then.
  by Cowford
 
IIRC, the line's rail is 115# and I'm guessing that the condition is ok... possibly put to good use elsewhere in the state as relay rail?
  by ericofmaine
 
Knowing this state, probably to close the gap on the Mountain Division...

Eric
  by gokeefe
 
Rockingham Racer wrote:George O'Keefe: get right on this and put a stop to it! :P
Too bad I don't read this forum often enough!

So ... Here are my thoughts on this ... without having read the rest of the thread ... I think the Lower Road is in fact toast already. I didn't think this was the case several years ago but I think we're there now. The rail trail being next to the tracks really has made passenger rail impossible (limited to 25 MPH). It just doesn't have a future. How do you find a way to serve Augusta in the future? ... Take a look at the ME-27 crossing on the Back Road in Belgrade. That's where you serve Augusta.

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Last edited by gokeefe on Sat Jun 20, 2020 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by gokeefe
 
Cowford wrote:IIRC, the line's rail is 115# and I'm guessing that the condition is ok... possibly put to good use elsewhere in the state as relay rail?
112# at most and that was relay CWR ... The rest is 110# stick or lighter. Rough hewn cedar ties in some places that are probably pre-WWII vintage ... I found a way to use it for some military training several years ago and got official permission from Maine DOT for access. Got a really good look at the line that day. The area I'm talking about was near Gardiner and Richmond.

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  by gokeefe
 
I would note that use by a scenic operator could work but not being able to have a direct connection at Brunswick would be a bummer to say the least. That is probably the only hope for the line.

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  by RGlueck
 
Rails to Trails is a sneaky and divisive bunch of [redacted]. Pulling up the Calais branch was a real blunder. The same can be said for the lower road. People in government lack vision. In twenty years they'll be screaming about no public rail transit in Maine.
Last edited by MEC407 on Mon Jun 22, 2020 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total. Reason: let's keep it civil, please
  by gokeefe
 
The trail interests have had their eyes on this segment for quite some time. I remain convinced that given known FRA restrictions and also neighborhood challenges in Hallowell that regular passenger service will never return. Scenic is a maybe ... Amtrak? No way. They simply cannot afford to run at 25 MPH for miles at a time.

Belgrade is actually a very good option for Augusta and it would allow Auburn, Lewiston, Winthrop, Augusta (Belgrade) and Waterville to all be served on the same route. That would be a very compelling transportation option for a lot of people. Very few would miss being able to travel to Brunswick or Freeport. Portland is the big draw.

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