Boston & Maine Railroad (B&M) / a unit of Pan-Am Railways
The B&M Vermont operation consists of 6.28 miles of track slicing off the corner of Vermont through Pownal on a line that runs between Mechanicville, N.Y., Lowell, Mass., and Maine. In addition, occasional service is still run over the New England Central Railroad as far as White River Junction (this traffic will soon be taken over by the New England Central under a haulage contract). B&M is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pan Am Railways (PAR), formerly know as Guilford Rail System (GRS), now a part of Pan Am Systems. Actual train operations are by Springfield Terminal, another Pan Am subsidiary.
CN, Vermont’s only Class I railroad, owns three miles of track in Alburg connecting New England Central Railroad to its through line to Montreal and thereafter Canadian destinations. CN operates a daily train from Montreal as far as St. Albans, VT including trackage rights over the New England Central .
Part of the Vermont Rail System family, the CLP is a privately-owned and operated railroad with 18 miles of track, seven of which are in New York State. The CLP operates between Rutland and Whitehall, New York, acting as a “bridge line” carrier for commodities from Canadian Pacific Railway moving to and from Vermont Railway and Green Mountain Railroad. GMRC’s “Green Mountain Gateway” to Bellows Falls handles rail freight to and from the New England Central Railroad, Providence and Worcester Railroad Company (www.pwrr.com) and the Mass Central Railroad (www.masscentralrr.com). CLP also hosts Amtrak passenger service between Whitehall, New York and Rutland, and it directly serves Vermont’s largest rail shipper, OMYA, Inc., at Florence by a branch line.
The Claremont Concord Railroad and its predecessors have been providing transportation following its charter on June 24, 1848. Until recently it functioned primarily as a terminal railroad servicing a handful of customers. Recent investment in infrastructure, equipment, personnel and facilities now allow it to provide direct freight rail interchange services, loading, storage and offloading at three locations with connections to major rail carriers in New Hampshire and White River Jct. What was once a small, two mile long railroad, with minimal staff, was doubled in physical size when it was awarded the operating and yard rights on the former Northern Railroad in Lebanon New Hampshire.
Connecticut River Subdivision of the Washington County Railroad (WACR/CRS)
This railroad operates on a state-owned rail line with a short term lease for local and through service from White River Jct., to the southern limit of the Newport rail yard where it connects with the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic and in White River were it connects with the NECR, the Concord Claremont Railroad, and the Springfield Terminal Railroad.
Part of the Vermont Rail System family, this privately-owned railroad operates on a state-owned rail line in a long term lease partnership since 1964 with the State of Vermont. It provides freight services between Rutland and Bellows Falls over 50 miles of track. (Formerly the east-west portion of Rutland Railroad.)
Most traffic is overhead between customers along the Vermont Railway or interchange with the Canadian Pacific Railroad in Whitehall, NY and with the New England Central Railroad in Bellows Falls, VT, which provides haulage services for traffic interchanged with CSX and with their own customers in Massachusetts. Principal commodities are lumber and building products, steel, petroleum products, highway de-icing salt, talc products, calcium carbonate (limestone) products, cement, feed grain, and plastics. GMRC directly serves the Luzenac America, Inc. plant in Ludlow, which ships talc products throughout the United States and Canada.
GMRC started operations in 1965 and pays a percentage of its gross revenues to the state as do other railroad operating companies leasing state-owned rail lines. It provides excursion passenger services between Bellows Falls, Chester and Rutland.
The LVRR historically operated between Swanton and St. Johnsbury. The rail infrastructure has been removed and the right of way has become a multi-use trail with the property railbanked pursuant to federal and Vermont law, similar to the Mississquoi and Beebe Spur Rail Trails.
The Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway has 745 route miles of track and associated trackage rights formerly operated as the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad, Canadian American Railroad, Northern Vermont Railroad, Quebec Southern Railway, and Van Buren Bridge Company. It operates from the Newport rail yard through Troy, Vermont into Quebec and re-enters Vermont to serve Richford, the line continuing back into Quebec and points north.
New England Central Railroad (NECR)
NECR is a wholly owned subsidiary of RailAmerica, and is part of a international family of forty two short line and regional railroads, operating approximately 7,800 miles in 26 states and three Canadian provinces. In November 2006, RailAmerica, Inc., announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group, LLC.
NECR operates 325 miles from the Canadian border at East Alburg, Vermont to New London, Connecticut on Long Island Sound. Annual carloads handled by the NECR are in excess of 40,000, with a wide variety of products being handled. Much traffic moves through Vermont from the Canadian National to customers in Southern New England. In addition NECR brings Canadian petroleum and gas to Vermont, wood chips to Burlington Electric, grain to a number of Vermont feed distributors and interchange traffic to the Vermont Rail System and Claremont & Concord Railroads. Principal commodities hauled are forest products, paper, primary metal products, agricultural feed and feed ingredients, road salt, chemicals, and petroleum products. It employs approximately 104 people.
The NECR was preceeded by the Central Vermont Railway, which was owned by Canadian National. New England Central took over in 1995.
NECR has nine interchange locations with both Class I and regional connecting carriers as follows: Canadian National at St. Albans, CSX Transportation at Palmer, Massachusetts, Green Mountain Railroad at Bellows Falls, Guilford Rail System and the Washington County Railroad Connecticut River Subdivision at White River Junction, Massachusetts Central Railroad at Palmer, Massachusetts, Providence and Worcester Railroad at New London and Willimantic, Conn. (early 2007), Vermont Railway at Burlington, Washington County Railroad at Montpelier Jct., and Claremont & Concord RR at Claremont Jct., New Hampshire and White River Jct.
Additionally the Bellows Falls interchange with the Green Mountain Railroad serves as a connection to the Norfolk Southern and Canadian Pacific railroads via a haulage agreement with the Green Mountain Railroad.
In addition to regular line haul moves to direct receivers, and bridge shipments between their connections, NECR also has several distribution and warehouse centers located on the line. These centers, located in Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut, handle lumber and other forest products, paper and paper products, plastic, steel, and steel products.
NECR has cleared their main line to handle double stack and trilevel automobile rack carriers to intermodal and automobile distribution facilities via its interchange connection with Providence and Worcester Railroad.
The NECR hosts a daily Amtrak service, The Vermonter, which provides passenger service parralleling I-91 and I-89 between St. Albans and New York City.
Pan-Am Railway (formerly Guilford Transportation; Boston & Maine Railroad)
Pan-Am's Vermont operation consists of 6.28 miles of track slicing off the corner of Vermont through Pownal on a line that runs between Mechanicville, N.Y., Lowell, Mass., and Maine. In addition, occasional service is still run over the New England Central Railroad as far as White River Junction (this traffic will soon be taken over by the New England Central under a haulage contract). Pan Am Railways (PAR), was formerly know as Guilford Rail System and is the succesor to the Boson & Maine Railroad. Actual train operations are by Springfield Terminal, another Pan Am subsidiary.
P&W is a regional freight railroad operating in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York. The Company is the only interstate freight carrier serving the State of Rhode Island and possesses the exclusive and perpetual right to conduct freight operations over the Northeast Corridor between New Haven, Conn. and the Massachusetts / Rhode Island border.
The Company began independent operations in 1973 and through a series of acquisitions of connecting lines, has grown from 45 miles of track to its current system of approximately 545 miles. The largest double stack intermodal facilities in New England are operated by the P&W in Worcester, Mass., a strategic location for regional transportation and distribution enterprises.
The Company transports a wide variety of commodities for its customers, including construction aggregate, iron, and steel products, lumber, coal, chemicals, scrap metals, plastic resins, cement, processed foods and edible food stuffs such as frozen foods, corn syrup and animal and vegetable oils. P&W's customers include The Dow Chemical Company, Northeast Utilities, Exxon/Mobil, Frito-Lay, Inc., General Dynamics Corporation, International Paper Company, Smurfit Stone Container Corp and Tilcon Connecticut, Inc.
Developments on P&W over the last two decades in both double stack container facilities and a public/private partnership to access a major auto import/export terminal now provide an historic opportunity to reestablish Vermont as an integral part of the North American Rail Network.
In Southern New England, P&W made investments in developing a double stack container facility in the early 1980’s to capitalize on then Conrail, clearing their line for the movement of enclosed automobile carriers in and out of New England. Since its beginning in 1986 when 6,000 intermodal containers were handled, this business has grown to 70,000 units per year. About 70% of these containers enter the U.S. west coast ports of Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and Tacoma. The balance are brought in through the Port of New York and move on an overnight train to Worcester. Upon arrival, containers are unloaded and delivered by truck to customers within a 100 mile radius.
With the growth in international trade and the advent of NAFTA significant cargoes now move through Canadian Ports, such as Halifax, N.S., Montreal, Que., and Vancouver, B.C., and by 2007 Prince Rupert, B.C. Due to the lack of double stack capable rail routes between New England and these points, containers move to and from the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railway ramps in Montreal, and the Port of Montreal, via I-91 and I-89 into southern New England; for example, nearly 30,000 containers per year move via the highway from P&W’s intermodal terminal and surrounding areas to Montreal. Truckers moving lumber and steel into New England via Vermont often handle the northbound containers on a back haul basis, further adding to truck congestion and highway degradation. Without a back haul, the inbound lumber and steel would most likely convert to a rail, carload movement, taking additional trucks off the road.
Significant investment of public and private funds in developing a major import/export automobile facility beginning it 2005 will be completed in 2007. Currently 120,000 vehicles are imported through Davisville, R.I. Without rail access at the port, they were distributed locally via truck. Once clearances are completed it is anticipated that rail traffic will develop. To date P&W has invested 5.6 million in clearing its route to a connection at Worcester, Mass. Last year P&W was advised that a major manufacturer intended to shift its discharge of automobiles for the Canadian market from Halifax, N.S. to Davisville, R.I. Again, with a cleared route via Vermont this presents a significant opportunity. Many of the automobiles in question are destined for the Montreal and surrounding markets. Without a cleared route, these will more than likely move via the highway. Other traffic, although moving on rail, would also not traverse Vermont and the in-state railroads would not benefit from it.
For its part P&W has upgraded its connection to the Vermont railroads in terms of both track structure and clearances at an estimated expense of $1.4 million.
The St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad (SL&A) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Inc., a publicly-traded short line railroad holding company, headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut. SL&A consists of 165 miles of main line track in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Its affiliate, the St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad (Quebec) Inc., (SLQ), consists of 94 miles of track in Quebec, which connects with SL&A at Norton, Vermont. SL&A operates 32 miles from Norton, Vermont, to North Stratford, New Hampshire. It has a freight yard and office in Island Pond, Vermont. It is the only rail line in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine capable of moving hi-cube, double-stacked containers on freight cars the entire length of the railroad. SL&A’s corporate office is located in Auburn, Maine.
SL&A interchanges in Norton, Vermont, with SLQ, which interchanges traffic with Canadian National Railway at Richmond, Quebec; in North Stratford, New Hampshire, with New Hampshire Central Railroad; in Groveton, New Hampshire, with New Hampshire Vermont Railroad; and in Danville Junction, Maine, with Pan Am Railway (formerly Guilford Rail System’s Springfield Terminal). Approximately @26,000 annual carloads of SL&A traffic travel through Vermont, of which approximately @2,060 carloads of traffic originate or terminate in Vermont. Freight handled consists of carload and mixed intermodal shipments of paper, forest products, chemicals, grain, salt and various consumer goods.
SL&A employs 75; twelve of which are based in Vermont, many of whom live near Island Pond. Presently, there are no passenger operations on the line; however, the potential of passenger service exists between Montreal, Vermont, New Hampshire and Portland, Maine. Part of SL&A’s rail line between Portland and Auburn, Maine, has been designated as a high-speed corridor for passenger rail, and there is an initiative to extend that to Vermont and on to Montreal.
Springfield Terminal, a unit of Pan-Am Railway (formerly Guilford Transportation
Springfield Terminal began life as a short electrified branch to Springfield, VT that also operated trolleys. Owned by the Boston & Maine Railroad, it's role changed after Boston & Maine was purchased by Guilford Transportation who transferred opeating authority for it's network to Springfield Terminal in order to take advantage of a better labor contract. Guilford Transportation is now known as Pan-Am Railways after the company purchased naming rights from the remains of the airline. Pan-Am's Vermont operation consists of 6.28 miles of track slicing off the corner of Vermont through Pownal on a line that runs between Mechanicville, N.Y., Lowell, Mass., and Maine. In addition, occasional service is still run over the New England Central Railroad as far as White River Junction (this traffic will soon be taken over by the New England Central under a haulage contract).
Twin State (TSR)
The line runs 22 miles from St. Johnsbury to South Lunenburg connecting with the New Hampshire & Vermont Railroad extending to Whitefield and Littleton, New Hampshire. The State of New Hampshire previously purchased the six mile New Hampshire portion of the line up to a point near the Village of Gilman in the Town of Lunenburg where a paper mill reopened in 2004, and is seeking to obtain operating rights from the Twin State that would ultimately allow it to serve the Dirigo paper plant in Gilman.
The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) is cooperating with the Vermont Rail System (operator of the state-owned rail line between White River Junction and Newport) to discuss ways to expedite restoration of rail freight service along the line between St. Johnsbury and Whitefield, New Hampshire, which serves the Dirigo paper plant in Gilman. To date, efforts to revive the line have stalled because of an impasse between the line’s owners – the Maine Central Railroad Company (St. J. – Gilman) and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (Gilman – Whitefield) and the Twin State Railroad Company regarding the meaning of language in a 1984 lease. Twin State interprets this language as giving it the right to salvage the rails and other track materials in the event of abandonment, while Maine Central contends that Twin State only has to right to salvage the rails and other track materials in the ordinary course of business (as, for example, when a siding is deemed surplus). The State is exploring the feasibility of breaking the impasse by exercising its rights under a 1984 settlement agreement in a rail merger case. These rights allow Vermont to designate a new operator of the St. J. - Whitefield line if Twin State ceases to operate the line (which it hasn’t done since the late 1990s). Under this scenario, Vermont would designate the Vermont Rail System as the new operator. VTrans’ goal is to allow operation of the line to resume, even though the dispute between Maine Central and Twin State as to entitlement to the line’s eventual sale proceeds and might remain simmering in the background.
The current operator of the Twin State Railroad has filed with the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) for abandonment of 20 of the 26 miles of track and has requested the removal of infrastructure once the discontinuance is issued. There has been no traffic on the line for more than three years. VTrans has notified the STB of Vermont’s intention to enter into the discontinuance process. The Maine Central Railroad is the underlying common carrier.
Whether these issues can be resolved by negotiation or proceedings before STB is yet to be known. The text of two STB Orders that clearly state the issues between the parties and the subsequent delay in reopening the line due to a proceeding in Federal District Court in Massachusetts.This privately-owned railroad has operated a state-owned rail line in a long term lease partnership with the State of Vermont since 1964. (No. Bennington-Burlington portion of the former Rutland Railroad.) It provides both freight and passenger services along its system route. VTR currently has freight interchanges with Canadian Pacific Railway (via CLP) at Whitehall, New York, offering service to New England Central Railroad at Burlington and Green Mountain Railroad at Rutland.
Commodities handled include calcium carbonate (limestone), petroleum products, feed grains, food products, plastics, lumber and building products, highway de-icing salt, cement, aggregates, talc products, LP gas and fertilizers. The two largest customers are Omya in Florence and Global, the oil terminal in Burlington which supplies the bulk of Northern Vermont's gasoline and heating oil.
VTR currently operates 127 miles of track within Vermont. It hosts Amtrak passenger service at Rutland and specialty excursion trains throughout the year.
The entire VTR has become known as the "Western Corridor," also known as ABRBE (for Albany-Bennington-Rutland-Burlington-Essex Jc). The State of Vermont is involved in a process of rebuilding the line to 59mph to allow Amtrak to run to Burlington.
This privately-owned railroad operates a state-owned rail line with a short term lease partnership with the State of Vermont in the Montpelier/Barre area. It currently has freight connections with NECR at Montpelier Junction and with Vermont Railway (through a haulage arrangement with NECR). Its primary commodities are now lumber, granite and silicon carbide since the Bombardier plant in Barre Town was closed in 2002. It also operates the Connecticut River Subdivision from White River Jct., to the southern limit of the Newport yard where it connects with the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic and in White River with the NECR, the Concord Claremont Railroad and Springfield Terminal Railroad.
2 Railroads are classified for federal regulatory purposes and by the two major railroad associations in the United States, the American Association of Railroads (AAR) and the American Short Line And Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA).
There is a precise revenue-based definition of categories of U.S. railroads found in the regulations of the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB). The STB's accounting regulations group rail carriers into three classes for purposes of accounting and reporting (49 CFR Part 1201 Subpart A):
Class I: Carriers with annual carrier operating revenues of $289.4 million or more.
Class II: Carriers with annual carrier operating revenues of less than $289.4 million but in excess of $40 million.
Class III: Carriers with annual carrier operating revenues of $40 million or less, and all switching and terminal companies regardless of operating revenues.
These threshold figures are adjusted annually for inflation using the base year of 1991.
The American Association of Railroads is a business association of Class I railroads. The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association is a business association serving Class II and III railroads. Regional railroads are line-haul railroads operating at least 350 miles of road and/or earning revenue between $40 million and the Class I revenue threshold. Short line railroads fall into two categories: Local railroads are line-haul railroads below the regional criteria, plus switching and terminal railroads. Switching & Terminal railroads are railroads that are either jointly owned by two railroads for the purpose of transferring cars between railroads or operate solely within a facility or group of facilities. Generally, Class III carriers are referred to as short lines, and Class II carriers are referred to as regional railroads.
3 Transport containers are designed and sized for carriage by truck and by rail in standardized dimensions. Double stack means that the two containers can be stacked on top of each other for shipment on a specially designed rail car. Tractor truck trailers can be shipped as well by rail on flat cars (TOFC).
4 It is the state rail policy that improvements to state-owned and private rail infrastructure should be constructed to a standard that will accommodate rail equipment at a laden weight of 315,000 pounds, except in those instances where the secretary determines that an improvement or maintenance to a lesser weight standard is appropriate for the uses of a particular rail line. 1999 Vt. Act No. 18, Sec.10