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Maine reaches deal to buy imperiled rail lines

Published: October 20, 2010
AUGUSTA, Maine — The State of Maine has reached a deal to buy 233 miles of track from Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway to prevent their abandonment, Business Week has reported. The state has been fighting for more than a year to preserve rail service north of Millinocket, Maine, and the agreement apparently reaches that objective.

“Lifting this cloud of uncertainty not only helps stabilize these rail-dependent industries, but with improved services, lays the groundwork for future expansion and new business opportunities,” said David Cole, the state’s transportation commissioner. The line mostly serves lumber and paper-industry customers.

Under the agreement, the state will pay MM&A $20.1 million for the rail line. It’s received a $10.5 million federal grant to help fund repairs and maintenance on the line.

MM&A will continue operating the line until the state selects a new operator. The deal is to be completed within 90 days.

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5 stars
JAMES HOLLAND from NEW HAMPSHIRE said:
I used to cover this area of northern Maine for CP. There used to be quite a bit of traffic from Great Northern Paper, Millinocket and Fraser Paper, Madawaska, Maine alond with traffic from miscellaneous shipers and receivers. There was movements of oats and wallboard from the Aroostook County area. Glad to see rail has been protected thanks to the State of Maine.

5 stars
LAIRD C SHERWOOD said:
Congratulations to Mainers for keeping their railway. Our ancesters paid for it and no private company should be allowed to profit from its abandonment. These lines are going to become more useful in the future, particularly as the cost of fuel continues to increase and highways more and more expensive to build and maintain. This applies all over the world.
3 stars
GARY N STEVENS from ILLINOIS said:
If the train cannot run at a profit in Maine, then the cost of running trucks in Maine should be increased or the rails should be given credits to run trucks on them. This would lower the cost of roads in Maine and relieve the citizens of the state of added tax burdens to own and maintain the rail line. Somehow there needs to be a new balance economically so rail could sustain itself. Government run businesses never end up well.
4 stars
DONALD ARMSTRONG from NEW HAMPSHIRE said:
The troubles they have in Maine is a lack of business caused by a down turn in the wood products industry. The potato industry used to support the lines with potato houses all over the area. The trucking industry and refrigeration took out much of the industry. The end result is along with the long defered maintenance by the previous owner also contributed to the lines problems. If gas prices go up the shippers switch to rail because much of that area of Maine has no interstate highways. As soon as gas prices go down they switch right back.
ALLEN GRAETZ from MINNESOTA said:
Maybe you're thinking of the Wisconsin & Southern?
12
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