Monday, May 20, 2013

Granite State Concrete Says Pan Am Rail Contract "Like Abandonment"

MILFORD – The only customer of Peter Leishman’s Milford-Bennington Railroad has told state officials that if Pan Am Railways takes over the operation, it would be tantamount to abandoning the line because there is no guarantee that service would continue for more than two years..........................  READ WHOLE ARTICLE:  Granite State Concrete owner says giving rail contract to Pan Am is like "abandonment of the line" (Kathy Cleveland)

Volunteer Brush Clearing Along B&M Railroad Line in Wayland MA

READ:  Volunteer brush clearing along railroad line in Wayland
** NOTE ** article includes photo of turntable pit unearthed by volunteers

Walther's New Haven Alco DL109 Released in HO & N Scale

Walther's New Haven Alco DL109 has been released in both HO and N scales.  According to their website, the units are of limited production.  The New Haven units are available in the green/gold and McGinnis paint schemes. 

Maine Northern RR to Run Two Passenger Excursions May 25, 2013

(via the NewsWire)

PREQUE ISLE, Maine – Two passenger excursions will operate over the Maine Northern Railway over Memorial Day Weekend from Presque Isle to Scopan Lake, Maine. The trips will raise funds for children’s healthcare in the area.

Maine Northern, health care provider TAMC, and WAGM-TV are partnering to offer the special excursions on May 25 to benefit children’s healthcare. Trains will depart Presque Isle at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Three passenger cars will be brought in for the event from Maine Northern’s sister company, New Brunswick Southern Railway, and can seat 200 passengers on each run.

Tickets for the excursions are $20 per person. They can be purchased online at or in person at TAMC’s A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital on Academy Street in Presque Isle in the gift shop.

“On behalf of the 42 men and women at the Maine Northern Railway we are very pleased to help out with this event,” Maine Northern General Manager Ian Simpson says. “It is a great way to give back and support the good work of TAMC in providing health care service to Northern Maine.”

The New Brunswick Railway Co., a holding company, owns Maine Northern Railway and is part of “Irving Transportation Services,” a division within industrial conglomerate J.D. Irving Limited.

Maine Northern operates over tracks that were originally owned by the Bangor & Aroostook but were most recently owned and operated by the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway. About 233 miles of the railroad’s route is owned by the state of Maine, while an additional 25 miles is owned by Maine Northern outright, including track in Canada.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

STOLEN: Leslie S3J Horns from Green Mountain Alco #405

(The following information was posted on the Pan Am Yahoo group, but should be shared with the whole community in an effort to help the Green Mountain Railroad recover their stolen property)

Green Mountain #405's Leslie S3J Horns
Sometime in the very recent past, quite possibly this past weekend, the horns off Green Mountain (former Rutland) locomotive 405 were stolen.

This was not a spur of the moment theft as the manner in which they were attached tells that whoever did this had to have a plan and the proper tools to do the job.

These horns are an extraordinarily rare set of Leslie S3J and quite possibly the last set in operation outside a private collection. They are very easy to identify and CANNOT be sold on the open market without attracting attention.

Monday, May 6, 2013

MBTA Launches Campaign to Protect MBTA Employees From Assaults

MBTA launches campaign to protect T employees from assaults

Grafton & Upton Railroad Gets Grant

(SOURCE:  Milford Daily News)

The Grafton & Upton Railroad will receive a $221,700 grant as part of a state effort to increase access to freight rail service.

The grant was announced Wednesday as part of a $2.85 million round of Industrial Rail Access Program (IRAP) grants. Nine grants were announced by the state, including five to railroads in central and western Massachusetts.

State Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki said in a statement that infrastructure, like railways, is a key element of economic development.

"By improving access to freight rail, we are creating opportunities to make it easier and more cost-effective for companies to do business throughout Massachusetts," he said.

Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray said in a statement that he hoped the improvements funded by the grants would both attract new customers to the state and increase efficiency.

Doug Pizzi, a spokesman for the railroad, said in an email the grant will be used to improve the Hopedale yard.

"The grant will be used to build a new switch and siding in the Hopedale yard, with the goal (of) being able to attract more business and, with it, more jobs to the yard," he said. "The new switch and sidings will allow more train traffic in and out of the yard, hence more transloading operations from train to truck, and vice-versa."

The Hopedale yard, according to a state release, is used to warehouse and distribute building materials.

Pizzi said, as the grant was just announced, he was unsure when the project would begin.

The state grant is a matching grant, requiring a match of $330,300 from the railroad itself. The total cost of the improvements is expected to be $552,000.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

NH Anthropology Class Discovers Fragments of Boston & Maine Train Station

READ:  Anthropology class discovers fragments of old train station - News - The New Hampshire - The University of New Hampshire's Student Newspaper

“A Day in the Life” National Train Day at Maine Narrow Gauge PORTLAND ME

“A Day in the Life” – National Train Day Celebration
Maine Narrow Gauge Museum
Portland, Maine

Celebrate your love of trains by joining us for “A Day in the Life” – A National Train Day Celebration.  The museum will be a hub of activity May 11th for a celebration of railroads and train personnel.  Activities include demonstrations on hand and whistle signals, coupling the train, and throwing switches.  As a special treat we are offering rides on the Pump Car.  Visitors can stop in the Engine House to glimpse restoration of Monson Steam Locomotive #4 in action!

The museum will offer activities for children and a view of some new exhibits on display.  Fun for the whole family!

Additionally, Maine Operation Lifesaver will be on hand at the museum to offer activities and videos that raise awareness about railroad safety.

Milford NH Rail Operator Braces For State Decision on Track

(SOURCE:  Mark Hayward at the NH Union Leader)

A small rail operator is poised to lose control of a railroad track in the Milford area today, when state transportation officials seek approval of a deal to give Pan Am Railways subsidiary rights to the 18-mile, state-owned track.

More than a year in the making, the deal would push Peter Leishman, a Democratic state representative from Peterborough and the owner of the Milford-Bennington Railroad Company, off the track he's used for some 20 years.

Leishman's company uses the track to transport crushed stone from a Wilton quarry to the Granite State Concrete processing plant in Milford. But in early 2012, the state asked bidders to submit proposals and a 2½-year deal, billed as a trial period for the new operator, goes to the Executive Council today for approval.

The Pan Am deal has drawn criticism.

The e-bulletin "Atlantic Northeast Rails & Ports" criticizes state officials for how they handled the bidding process, suggesting they cut corners to favor Pan Am Railways.

And in a letter to executive councilors, the chairman and chief executive of Monadnock Paper Mills said he believes Pan Am has a vendetta against Leishman and will stop at nothing to keep him from succeeding.

"This contract simply does not pass the smell test," Richard Verney wrote the Executive Council.

Leishman said he thinks Pan Am is obsessed with getting control of the line.

"I don't know. Nobody can make any sense of it," Leishman said.

John W. Schultz, the vice president of transportation for Pan Am subsidiary Springfield Terminal Railway Company, referred questions to company spokesman Cynthia Scarano. A telephone message left for her was not returned on Monday.

Last summer, a state official said Leishman failed to live up to a provision in his contract that establishes the minimum use for the track. But no one was available to speak Tuesday.

Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Boynton said Tuesday he doesn't know any details about the contract and can't comment.

"Transportation Commissioner Chris Clement will be present on Wednesday to answer questions from the Governor and (Executive) Council on this and any other agenda items," Boynton said in an e-mail.

Leishman said he is set to resume transporting stone for Granite State Concrete, and his employees recently participated in a training seminar. But if Pan Am gets the contract, he warns that the rail giant will have two years to negotiate a price with Granite State, meaning the company may not have access to the rail in the meantime.