ST. JOHN, New Brunswick – Eastern Maine Railway, a subsidiary of Canada’s J.D. Irving Ltd., has purchased 28 miles of ex-Bangor & Aroostook track from the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway. The track runs from Madawaska and Van Buren, Maine, and includes the international bridge that crosses the international border from Van Buren into St. Leonard. The deal closed June 17.
Eastern Maine Railway presently operates 200 miles of state-owned track, which Maine purchased in 2011 after MMA announced plans to abandon the lines. The latest acquisition will link Eastern Maine Railway’s operations and a Canadian National line on the Canadian side of the border. The 28 miles was not included in the original deal with the state. At the time of the original deal it was considered viable operation since it served the Twin Rivers paper mill in Madawaska, but since that time the mill has cut back on rail shipments. Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway announced a tentative deal to sell the line in late 2011.
“It has never stopped being in discussion,” Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway President Robert Grindrod tells the Bangor Daily News. “Any time a railroad changes hands it requires government approval. It’s taken us this long to get us through that process.”