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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

STB assesses proposed Maine line abandonment


On Friday, the Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) released a draft environmental assessment of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Ltd.’s proposed abandonment of 233 miles of track in northern Maine.

The SEA determined that the abandonment in Aroostook and Penobscot counties could divert as many as 73,344 truck trips annually to Maine’s highways, resulting in an additional 3.3 million gallons of fuel consumed each year. The agency estimated it would take four trucks to replace each rail car of freight.

However, the draft review found that the truck diversions would be within the level of traffic allowed by area roads, according to the STB.

Montreal, Maine & Atlantic is seeking STB approval for abandonment because the line doesn’t generate enough revenue, according to the railroad. The Maine Department of Transportation and state representatives, who are trying to preserve the line, have asked the STB to study the abandonment’s impacts and hear from local shippers and residents.

In that regard, the STB has scheduled a public hearing for May 10 in Presque Isle, Maine, to gather feedback on the proposed abandonment and projected truck traffic increase.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/12/2010