• What if no Guilford?

  • 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 gokeefe
I think the Maine Central would have merged with the Bangor & Aroostook. In this scenario there is a significant chance that Canadian Pacific would have abandoned the Moosehead Sub in favor of routing all traffic via St. Johnsbury for reasons of efficiency and convenience.

The Rockland Branch *might* have stayed under Maine Central ownership but it seems unlikely. The Lower Road between Brunswick and Augusta also *might* have stayed under Maine Central ownership but that too seems unlikely.

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  by Engineer Spike
Even with the deindustrialization of New England, B&M might have been able to make it. A friend grew up in Manchester, and he used to talk about riding around with crews back then. He mentioned how busy things were. I do think that many of these businesses would have gone away no matter what. There are other factors to consider.

One of these factors is that, as mentioned, Guilford jettisoned much of the service dependent traffic. Some of this was intentional, while other parts of it were not. During the strike, the service was basically limited to the major shippers. There were only so many scabs and managers to go around. Much of the smaller businesses got poor service. This forced many to move to trucks. Some came back, but others got a bd taste in their mouths. Without the strikes, it's hard to sy how much traffic could have been retained. Who also knows how much further Alan Dustin could have gone towards speeding up schedules to Maine. Maybe I90 and I95 trucking transit times could have been matched, especially with increased intermodal.

One thing that we can speculate all day about is mergers. Mellon bought my employer, the D&H for 500K. That's because their debt was deep and climbing. Who knows if the later 1980s would have brought more interest and investment form the black stalloin. If they didn't do anything, I think that we would have gone bankrupt. One would then wonder who would have stepped up? Would CPR have stepped into the game sooner? Did Walter Rich?DO have enough financing by that time to take over? Another scenario is the merger of BAR, MEC, B&M, and D&H, just as Buck Dumaine had connived the idea of.
  by S1f3432
Back at the time the N&W initially received approval to purchase Conrail, GTI worked out agreements
through a combination of track purchases and trackage rights to expand westward to Chicago and
St. Louis among other places in an attempt to provide the competition in a way Dereco was intended
to do. Analysts at the time doubted GTI had the financial wherewithal to pull it off and ultimately
opposition from CSX and other railroads derailed the sale to N&W which also ended GTI's grandiose
expansion plans west at least temporarily. GTI was further set back when the State of New York stepped in and stopped the Springfield Terminal-ification of the D&H effectively ending westward
expansion plans. GTI had closed MEC's Waterville shops, moving the work to East Deerfield and
Oneonta. Unable to have it's way with the D&H, GTI moved the work back to Waterville and cast
the D&H adrift. The rest of the GTI empire has been in a long slow slide downhill ever since,
occasionally buoyed by infusions of government cash for maintenance or improvements.
Fun question if the Mellons didn't want to railroad. We wouldn't have seen them plant Timmy in New England and they wouldn't have created Norfolk Southern.
Maine Central would have done just fine until 2012 when Maines mills died. The Mellons bought the MEC the dirty way, through other companies they owned to kick off ' the plan'. The RR was sound at the time of Purchase in 1981 and only served as a jumping on point to work west to L.A.

The B&M is a different story. Dustin fought like hell to pull the RR out of debt and held kff the courts from carving the RR up but realistically couldn't achieve freedom. As soon as the B&M showed any profit they had to pay their debts ASAP. Trying to pay off bonds, back taxes, overdue mortgages, rebuild a locomotive fleet, and fix a rotten mainline was too much. Had Mellon not come in you would have seen Conrail step in. Something the B&M refused 3 separate times. Fast forward today Rigby west would most likely be CSX depending how the Conrail split went.
  by MaineRailfan
My out look on the situation is as follows:

B&M was always going to go belly up and would end up apart of Conrail had Guilford not arrived. The low density lines would have been gone early on.

As for MEC, they would have continued on with the massive overhead they had collected until the paper industry started to crumble in the 90's. The failure to cut the fat in the 80's and pressure from the BOD to continue to move low revenue freight for the paper mills, would have put the railroad on the brink in the 90's. Once cuts began to be made, there likely still would have been a strike, probably not on the scale of the Guilford ones, but there would still be one. By the 2000-2010's MEC would be broke, with crumbling infrastructure. Once the second round of mill closures happened, the railroad would likely dissolve and end up under the Maine DOT. Given that during this era Irving Pulp & Paper was actively looking at Lincoln and possibly other mills in the area, its not too much of a reach to say they would throw a bid out for the lines. Not to mention that Irving sawmills used rail service on some of the MEC lines.

The BAR-MEC concept wouldn't really work. Buck Dumaine tried that, and Spencer Miller fought it tooth and nail, which I think caused it to go to court. The courts sided with MEC and Dumaine had to sell his shares off. Its just my personal belief, but I always thought the move to sell MEC off to US Filter was done because Dumaine had a 20+ year outlook on things. Knowing that US Filter would either pick apart the railroad, or leach off of it for a while before throwing it to the vultures. Which in the end, could have meant more traffic for the Bangor and Aroostook which had preexisting agreements with CP. Iron Road would have still come around once Dumaine retired, which would have still paved the way for MMA which who knows what could have happened in that timeline.
  by Who
I think the Mt. Division would've lasted another 10 years before freight declined to a point that it no longer became feasible to keep open. Eventually they would've done what Guilford ended up doing and rerouting the traffic.
  by MaineRailfan
I can see where they might have kept Hazens-Saint Johnsbury since they still had some online traffic there, and worked out a haulage agreement with B&M and GT to send stuff to Danville Jct, but the Mountain Division was a big money pit. Between the sand ballast and the rail the Maine portion was pretty well shot.