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Rail News: Mechanical

Montreal, Maine & Atlantic preps for remote controls, winter weather


During the past few months, Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd. (MMA) has been in preparation mode on two counts: for upcoming winter weather and incoming remote-control locomotives (RCLs).

The 745-mile regional — which operates track in Maine, Vermont, New Brunswick and Quebec — plans to implement RCLs for yard operations and some industrial switching, according to the railroad's fall newsletter.

"The person on the ground can actually see the speed of cars coming together to be coupled and can control the speed right from the point of impact," said MMA Vice President of Transportation John Scott.

MMA officials believe the railroad will gain productivity and safety benefits from remote controls. To ensure safety, workers will be required to follow all existing rules when operating RCLs.

"If we have to go over a road crossing, we will have a person protecting traffic just as we do now," said Scott.

To prepare for winter, MMA recently spent $300,000 to obtain and improve equipment. The railroad purchased two self-powered snow fighters featuring a plow and 13-foot wings designed to clear snow, and an auger-type device to clean out switches.

The railroad also upgraded its fleet of nine snow plows and nine standby locomotives, and increased its supply of spare parts for snow-fighting equipment.

"We've gone completely through the equipment and rewired it for better reliability and smoother operation," said VP of Mechanical Mike McCluskey.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/13/2004