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Rail News: Labor

Montreal, Maine & Atlantic lays off 33 workers


U.S. employers eliminated 62,000 jobs in June — the sixth-straight month the nation's workforce has been trimmed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some of those job cuts occurred in the rail industry. On Friday, the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Inc. (MMA) announced it furloughed 33 operating, mechanical and engineering workers at the end of June.

The 745-mile regional has experienced a downturn in paper, lumber and other forest products business, and logged higher-than-usual snow removal and spring flooding expenses the past few months, said MMA President Bob Grindrod in a prepared statement. Paper and forest products customers generate about 60 percent of MMA's traffic volume. The regional handles about 40,000 carloads annually and serves 300 customers in Maine, Vermont, Quebec and New Brunswick.

In addition, key customer Katahdin Paper plans to close a Millinocket, Maine, mill on July 28, said Grindrod.

"Paper from the Millinocket mill and inbound raw materials account for about 12 percent of our total business," he said.

MMA also plans to reduce weekly train service from six to five days on its mainline between Millinocket and Montreal. Trains on most other main and secondary lines will operate three days a week.

In an effort to gain new business, MMA recently launched an initiative to increase international shipments via a Searsport, Maine, port. The facility offers a shorter sailing time between Europe and the East Coast, is less congested than other East Coast ports and provides larger clearances for oversize shipments, said Grindrod.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/7/2008