Crazy Transit Pitches (Maine Edition)

GIL

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With a rail viaduct over Congress Street, plus an eventual new mixed-use station complex with connections to six or more local transit routes and a direct connection to the Portland Trail System, a vibrant, pedestrian-oriented shopping, dining, office and residential district would increase land values and revenues for landowners and the City alike. This has been proved many times over.

The higher cost of this site work could be greatly offset by increased tax revenue if a Station District TIF were adopted for the underdeveloped land in the immediate area — sure, Congress Street east and west of the tracks, but also the underdeveloped blocks along St John Street, between Park Avenue and D Street.

The City Council has been talking specifically about socio-economic equity lately and this TIF would help pay for a dramatic improvement to Libbytown, which was unfairly ripped apart and subsumed by the interstate highway and its overbuilt access ramps. This could help provide socio-economic restitution to residents and landowners still there.
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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Of note:

“There is no solid plan yet about what to do with the report,” said Patricia Quinn, executive director of the rail authority. “They have made their assessments, and we are going to take it to the next level and see what the alternatives are to move.”
The extra mealy-mouthedness of this statement by NNEPRA's Director-for-Life is enough to give pause, however. Worst-case scenario was always Captain Obvious putting a bullseye square on Union Station with "DUH!" scrawled in red pen and the alphabet-soup agencies blithely digging in their heels at Thompson's Point regardless because TOD Fairy, [voice trailing off] reasons, and general resistance to change. I get that things have to go through a defined process first...but the complete absence of so much as a "Yes! We are absolutely in proper due time going to craft a solid plan based on what's in the report, and are grateful for the opportunity to do so!" tick in the official messaging from the very top is just a little disconcerting. It means the PTC truthers are still a considerable bloc to be reckoned with within the Authority's leadership, which does not lend itself to smooth pivoting to the big challenge of exactly what kind of dynamic development should anchor the Union Station parcel. That...and well, Reason #47 why Quinn's seeming lifetime appointment at the top is probably starting to become a greater liability for keeping fresher voices with fresher ideas from being able to percolate up the chain.
 
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GIL

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Of note:



The extra mealy-mouthedness of this statement by NNEPRA's Director-for-Life is enough to give pause, however. Worst-case scenario was always Captain Obvious putting a bullseye square on Union Station with "DUH!" scrawled in red pen and the alphabet-soup agencies blithely digging in their heels at Thompson's Point regardless because TOD Fairy, [voice trailing off] reasons, and general resistance to change. I get that things have to go through a defined process first...but the complete absence of so much as a "Yes! We are absolutely in proper due time going to craft a solid plan based on what's in the report, and are grateful for the opportunity to do so!" tick in the official messaging from the very top is just a little disconcerting. It means the PTC truthers are still a considerable bloc to be reckoned with within the Authority's leadership, which does not lend itself to smooth pivoting to the big challenge of exactly what kind of dynamic development should anchor the Union Station parcel. That...and well, Reason #47 why Quinn's seeming lifetime appointment at the top is probably starting to become a greater liability for keeping fresher voices with fresher ideas from being able to percolate up the chain.
Agree and if there were ever a better administration to make a request for funding a rail initiative, I’ve never heard of them. This should be turned into a Request for Proposals immediately so as to qualify for funding while Collins is still a chair on the Senate Appropriations Committee —
 

markhb

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It may be worth pointing out the actual recommendations in the report ("Alternative 8" being Union Station in some form):

Major Recommendations.
As shown on page 72 of the draft PTC Report, the consultant made the following recommendations.

Starting now and within two years:
  • Create Existing PTC Plan. Create an investment, operation and maintenance plan for the existing PTC that focuses on enhancing both bus and rail ridership and maximizing benefit to both the customer and transportation system.
  • Further Evaluate Alternative 8. Conduct a more detailed evaluation of Alternative 8 including an analysis of creating connectivity between the bus and rail station and additional benefit cost analysis.
Thereafter, if the more detailed evaluation of Alternative 8 shows that benefits outweigh costs:
  • Fund and Develop Alternative 8. Identify sources and secure funding to implement Alternative 8 under the following conditions.
    • Continued partnership with MaineDOT and CCL for the necessary improvements to the existing PTC location for bus station passengers and operations.
    • Funding can be secured.
    • Landowner willingness to work in partnership towards a mixed-use development opportunity at this location that includes a rail station.
    • NNEPRA and City of Portland support.
    • Increased connectivity between the bus and rail stations can be accommodated through increased transit or implementation of a last mile shuttle.
 

TC_zoid

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Yeah, I think the best bet is to transfer the station at a baseline with supporting infrastructure and then build around that. I wasn't suggesting they wait until the dream development emerges to do anything. That dream development will require private partnership, though. Portland won't get into the development game again. TIF could be arranged to support building the dream train hall in conjunction with whatever gets developed on the property.

And just for hypotheticals, since this is a crazy pitch thread...

View attachment 10589

Can you imagine how much demand there would be for luxury upper level condos with westward sunset views, direct access to the Downeaster to Boston or Freeport, walking distance to Hadlock Field/Portland Expo, walking distance to Thompsons Point, easy access to the highway if needed, easy access to the Fore River Parkway walking trails, two nearby hospitals, etc.? If I was a developer, I'd be salivating at the idea of putting something grand on this spot with a partnership with Portland to build a train station.
I like your spirit here. However, multiple reasons why a hi-rise building is impossible. "It blocks my view of the oil tank farm, the freeway, and the planes landing!" (West End residents) Next, it's too close to the landing pattern of the jets coming into the Jetport. In Boston, the entire Seaport District is regulated to no more than 200 or so feet (18-20) stories because of this.
 

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Honestly, even 5-10 stories would be better than a one-story strip mall. I'm pretty sure it's only zoned for up to 65 feet anyway, contract zone notwithstanding.
 

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Mentioned in the NE Freight thread, but worth simulcasting here. . .

As part of CSX's now-official STB filing for acquiring Pan Am, the Downeaster will be getting Positive Train Control installed over its entire length. CSX is required by law to have some form of PTC (either the signal system overlay the T has, or some sort of wireless/GPS relay for lines without a signal system) by virtue of it being a Class I national freight carrier. The Downeaster was capped at no more than 5 round-trips daily so long as it lacked Positive Train Control, because that's the most passenger train movements you can cram into an FRA exemption for it.

With CSX having to install the added layer of protection by-law (and likely being given a no more than 2-year window to get it done after the officially-blessed sale dale), 6 or more DE round-trips now becomes possible. It won't be a zero-cost item to NNEPRA. CSX's default freight PTC system (called "I-ETMS") is different from the Amtrak-flavor one (called "ACSES") that the NEC and all Northeastern commuter rail agencies including the T use (though all Amtrak diesels and cab cars are dual-equipped for either system out-of-box). So for ops & dispatching simplicity/continuity they'll have to partner up on installing cab signals + ACSES from Plaistow Interlocking past the MA/NH state line (ops-official end of T territory and T-installed PTC) to Brunswick. But CSX will be required to pick up at least 50% of the cost, and there will now be generous fed grant funding streams available to offset the public-paid portion.

6+ round-trips just became a much more realistic, less costly, and way sooner outcome than it was 24 hours ago...thanks to CSX making the official Fed filing for the sale go live and seemingly smoothing out most major competitive opposition to it. (y)
 
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PWMFlyer

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Per the sale, CSW will have G&W operate PanAm Southern via Ayer to satisfy NS. They are going to abandon the madison line as well. They are also looking at double stacking on the line.
 

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Per the sale, CSW will have G&W operate PanAm Southern via Ayer to satisfy NS. They are going to abandon the madison line as well. They are also looking at double stacking on the line.
Yeah. Northern Maine is still a world of uncertainty and potential world of hurt because:
  1. Maine Central Mainline state-of-repair Yarmouth-Mattawamkeag is so godawful from 40 years of PAR neglect that it's going to be a non-trivial slog for CSX to get it upgraded to minimally tolerable condition. They will need MEDOT to reel in every possible grant opportunity and be an active co-investor to make that work. See also: "Back Road" vs. "Lower Road" freight main routing pickle and value propositioning viz-a-viz Downeaster extensions north of Brunswick, and whether the alphebet-soup agencies are up to the coordination challenge.
  2. Waterville Shops are going to close ASAP after completion of the sale, with all that well-paying shop labor being shipped to Albany. Short-term body blow to the economy. And Waterville Yard is a jump-ball (see #1) on whether CSX re-invests in it as an intermodal yard of consequence or draws it down to the ops minimum as a crew-change point on what's now a 2-day trip between Portland & Bangor. The state will have a minefield to step through trying to carve a sustainability path here.
  3. J.D. Irving Lines (d.b.a. New Brunswick Southern) controls the route into the Canadian Maritimes ports that CSX is salivating over. They connect to Canadian Pacific @ Brownville via CP's newly-repurchased/newly-upgraded Moosehead Sub, Canadian National at the Madawaska border crossing at the northernmost tip of Maine, and now CSX at Mattawamkeag (with various overlapping co-rights from 'Keag or Brownville into Bangor @ Northern Maine Junction). Irving is the new kingmaker, and while CSX is best-positioned of the 3 Class I's (CN the worst, CP the wildcard...which is why they went gangbusters 2 years ago to buy-n'-upgrade the Moosehead) for getting the sweetest-deal into the Maritimes...they aren't the only behemoth gunning for it. If CP ends up usurping them for the best deal on Irving trackage into St. John & Halifax...you can pretty much start playing "Taps" for the Maine Central leg between Auburn & Bangor and hollow out Downtown Waterville to its bones because CSX will be writing off everything north of Portland/Auburn (save for the paper mill runs Portland-Rumford and Waterville-Skowhegan). Very high-stakes stuff that can tilt the whole outside-Portland economy, and MEDOT has to take an active role here in helping steer it to a favorable outcome. Don't count your Downeaster-to-Bangor chickens before they hatch; this will be a bumpy ride.
  4. The paper industry is not coming back. Jay & Rumford mills are metastable (though I would always keep head on a swivel about the machinations of the LBO-backed firms that own them)...SAPPI-Skowhegan, Millinocket, and Irving-Woodland (yes, the same RR-owning Irvings...they're *highly* vertically-integrated) mills are something better-than-stable. But that's pretty much the sum total of the pillars of what's left of Maine's forestry industry today countable on one hand. Westbrook pulp mill is teetering; Old Town has perenially transient tenancy. And the rest are just G-O-N-E. This is absolutely a pickle for maintaining the MEC Back Road, as the Madison Branch was never coming back after its anchor mill closed. It's going to mean the Bucksport Branch (wasteful MEDOT study navel-gazing aside) is just as D.O.A. an abandonment-in-wait, meaning Bangor has to walk a very thin line sans mill traffic for freight sustainability at the major Northern Maine Jct. crossroads of the 3 area RR's.

Western Route double-stacking has already been well-studied by the 3 state DOT's. NHDOT I know has an official list of offending bridges somewhere: only 9 total. MEDOT's list isn't much higher. MassDOT will have to spend more bucks than the other two states combined because of degree-of-difficulty for finding the clearances in Downtown Lawrence and (somewhat) Downtown Lowell on the small portion of NH Mainline shared by the freight main west of the passenger station. But MassDOT is way better-equipped to pay for it, has been planning it years further out, and has more funding sources to tap because of the high-density passenger (and passenger considerations re: Lowell-Nashua) co-mingling. Plus they just got a 2-decade reprieve on paying for any Patriot Corridor bridge & tunnel mods, so that piggybank gets transferred straight to the Western instead.

NNEPRA's got to be on its game here, because if grant money is going to be available for bridge raisings that are now five-alarm urgent in timeframe...money's also going to be available for *GENEROUS* additional double-tracking throughout NH & ME in the quest for more DE frequencies and fewer traffic conflicts. Put it this way: the seemingly ossified Patricia Quinn admin. at the agency is either going to get a whole lot more nimble at that whole "Walk and chew gum at the same time" thing in a hurry for the funding hustle they'll need to coordinate in short order, or it'll be painfully apparent in very short order that Quinn & her mgt. cohorts need to be imminently replaced by fresher faces more up to the task. Because this will be perhaps the biggest 2nd-generational challenge NNEPRA faces. They think it's all about service extensions...but it's actually about service throughput (see also: PTC vs. Union Station debate framing and internal focus not being where it should be).
 
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GIL

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With a rail viaduct over Congress Street, plus an eventual new mixed-use station complex with connections to six or more local transit routes and a direct connection to the Portland Trail System, a vibrant, pedestrian-oriented shopping, dining, office and residential district would increase land values and revenues for landowners and the City alike. This has been proved many times over.

The higher cost of this site work could be greatly offset by increased tax revenue if a Station District TIF were adopted for the underdeveloped land in the immediate area — sure, Congress Street east and west of the tracks, but also the underdeveloped blocks along St John Street, between Park Avenue and D Street.

The City Council has been talking specifically about socio-economic equity lately and this TIF would help pay for a dramatic improvement to Libbytown, which was unfairly ripped apart and subsumed by the interstate highway and its overbuilt access ramps. This could help provide socio-economic restitution to residents and landowners still there.
A visual overview of how a new station district could emerge and be leveraged to fund construction of both a new station and an extension of the Park Avenue viaduct to safely cross Congress Street.
 

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GIL

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Would they need to sink Congress Street at all for the viaduct? I know Park Ave is lower in elevation compared to Congress, hence the flash flooding that damaged the La Quinta back in 2014 (https://www.pressherald.com/2014/08/14/storm-waters-flood-cars-in-portland-hotel-parking-lot/).
Good question and that shouldn’t be required given that there is just over a half mile to raise the tracks before crossing Congress Street. And if Park Avenue needed to be slightly raised to be more flood resistant, the viaduct project could extend over Park as well. The TIF district should be sized to address the full project scope.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Good question and that shouldn’t be required given that there is just over a half mile to raise the tracks before crossing Congress Street. And if Park Avenue needed to be slightly raised to be more flood resistant, the viaduct project could extend over Park as well. The TIF district should be sized to address the full project scope.
Max FRA grades for new construction are 1.5%, and default minimum state highway overclearances for new construction over ME 22 would be 16 ft. over pavement level (anything lower requires a posted height restriction sign). Add +2 ft. for decking/ballast/track and you net a practical 18 ft. elevation, which means up to 1200 ft. of runup space is needed. Union Station platforms would run 800 ft. (9 cars...MBTA standard), and if they have extra-special foresight they'll bank 1000 ft. of level space just in case the platforms someday in the distant future need to be extended to take a 12-car max-length Northeast Regional from Washington running through Boston's North-South Rail Link. So that's basically 2200 ft. of embankment you'd need to the south of the present-day Congress grade crossing to make it happen with century-level future-proofing.

You have 2800 ft. from the PAR Yard 8 wye switch to do it...considerably more than the minimum required. Assume that the Mountain Jct. switch (which is 2000 ft. south of the crossing) is no issue because you can always close or relocate the jail's rear service driveway crossing to raise the first several dozen feet of Mountain Branch a few feet higher to interface at altered elevation. There's already some minor elevation between Congress & Park Ave. from when Park was grade-separated a century ago so leveling out on that side is no problem (see behind McDonald's for how that's already on somewhat of an incline). If you look on Historic Aerials and vintage Union Station, this whole area used to be a 6-track complex on old 1940's topos and the 1956 aerial view. So all--4 tracks, island platform framing at least 2 of them, and retaining wall/embankments--should easily fit on the same footprint.


Really, really trivial job. You just need a tallish retaining wall behind the St. John St. backlots, and a dirt embankment on the jail side held back at the County Way pavement by a much shorter retaining wall in order to fit a 4-track embankment + Tks. 1-2 island platform bulb-out on top (12 ft. minimum width platform if you're going by MBTA accessibility specs for full-high platforms). Not megaproject expense in the slightest. Especially since the area is so wide you can snake a temp ground track at the property lines while building up one-half of the embankment...swap upstairs...then finish the other half sans any track outages.
 
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GIL

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Max FRA grades for new construction are 1.5%, and default minimum state highway overclearances for new construction over ME 22 would be 16 ft. over pavement level (anything lower requires a posted height restriction sign). Add +2 ft. for decking/ballast/track and you net a practical 18 ft. elevation, which means up to 1200 ft. of runup space is needed. Union Station platforms would run 800 ft. (9 cars...MBTA standard), and if they have extra-special foresight they'll bank 1000 ft. of level space just in case the platforms someday in the distant future need to be extended to take a 12-car max-length Northeast Regional from Washington running through Boston's North-South Rail Link. So that's basically 2200 ft. of embankment you'd need to the south of the present-day Congress grade crossing to make it happen with century-level future-proofing.

You have 2800 ft. from the PAR Yard 8 wye switch to do it...considerably more than the minimum required. Assume that the Mountain Jct. switch (which is 2000 ft. south of the crossing) is no issue because you can always close or relocate the jail's rear service driveway crossing to raise the first several dozen feet of Mountain Branch a few feet higher to interface at altered elevation. There's already some minor elevation between Congress & Park Ave. from when Park was grade-separated a century ago so leveling out on that side is no problem (see behind McDonald's for how that's already on somewhat of an incline). If you look on Historic Aerials and vintage Union Station, this whole area used to be a 6-track complex on old 1940's topos and the 1956 aerial view. So all--4 tracks, island platform framing at least 2 of them, and retaining wall/embankments--should easily fit on the same footprint.


Really, really trivial job. You just need a tallish retaining wall behind the St. John St. backlots, and a dirt embankment on the jail side held back at the County Way pavement by a much shorter retaining wall in order to fit a 4-track embankment + Tks. 1-2 island platform bulb-out on top (12 ft. minimum width platform if you're going by MBTA accessibility specs for full-high platforms). Not megaproject expense in the slightest. Especially since the area is so wide you can snake a temp ground track at the property lines while building up one-half of the embankment...swap upstairs...then finish the other half sans any track outages.
Agree, and it seems likely the plan would only need to carry two tracks over Congress Street, for through-service trains; two more tracks could terminate at the station for more-frequent service southbound, and for overnight train storage. Those terminating tracks wouldn't even need to be elevated.

So the program could be: One street-level platform with two tracks for terminating intercity runs between Portland and Boston; a two-track viaduct with one elevated platform at the station for through-service trains; all served by a station with a street-level waiting room, ticketing area, restrooms and a station office, with escalators and an elevator connecting to the upper-level platform; a single shed roof to cover over all platforms. Adjacent redevelopment of the retail plaza could attach directly to the waiting area in the station to offer café / take-out / shopping to a built-in customer base waiting for their trains or connections to METRO bus service after arriving by train.

Is Gendron still managing this property? Whoever is should be lobbying for this. There is so much potential with a return of service here.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Agree, and it seems likely the plan would only need to carry two tracks over Congress Street, for through-service trains; two more tracks could terminate at the station for more-frequent service southbound, and for overnight train storage. Those terminating tracks wouldn't even need to be elevated.

So the program could be: One street-level platform with two tracks for terminating intercity runs between Portland and Boston; a two-track viaduct with one elevated platform at the station for through-service trains; all served by a station with a street-level waiting room, ticketing area, restrooms and a station office, with escalators and an elevator connecting to the upper-level platform; a single shed roof to cover over all platforms. Adjacent redevelopment of the retail plaza could attach directly to the waiting area in the station to offer café / take-out / shopping to a built-in customer base waiting for their trains or connections to METRO bus service after arriving by train.

Is Gendron still managing this property? Whoever is should be lobbying for this. There is so much potential with a return of service here.
No...that's shorting capacity way too much in a way they'll immediately regret. The freights here are incompatible with full-highs, so it must be a passing track setup by requirement. 1 side platform for Amtrak also isn't nearly enough when at 6+ DE round-trips and northward expansion plans the odds increase sooner of opposite-direction meets needing to berth at Portland at the same time. You'd also want a Portland-terminating train to have the ability to idle on-platform between runs if necessary while allowing a thru slot to berth on the other track, because trips to the layover yard @ PTC (or elsewhere) are going to be cumbersome crossing over that many extra tracks. So that's going to mean templating something like Worcester Union Station's new upcoming track configuration as a functional minimum: one two-track island platform, possibly with Tk. 1 being framed by a dual side platform so all doors on the train can open at once for maximally efficient movements.

For the freights, that means at least one wholly separate passing track...but preferably 2 because this close in distance to big Rigby Yard they're going to be running extremely slow while still on the yard approach. With shorter/faster locals probably needing to do overtakes of slow/cumbersome long-distance IM trains, CSX--who let's not forget owns the ROW--is probably going to insist much like they do at Worcester in having no shorting of track capacity whatsoever and retain the two free-for-all tracks they currently have. So 4 thru tracks over Congress is probably going to be the result. Remember...this used to be 6-track until the 1960's straight through the Park overpass, and while bi-directional signaling can cram more into less than before you have a shitload of land available and a mandate to use it well to bank all manner of future growth. This is not the place to be going minimalist.


Anything else beyond the 2 x 2 setup they can definitely ramp into passenger stub-outs any way they please, because Old Union Station had several stub tracks. I doubt, however, that's ever going to be desireable because any future Portland commuter rail is going to be way more ops-efficient with run-thru operations linking some southern line on the Western Route with some northern line on the MEC. Or fileting routings like some of the 'circuit' schemes discussed earlier in this thread. Greater Portland really isn't big enough to sustain a T-like network of straight linear pokes & reverses from stubs; they're going to have to blend more creatively than that to achieve supportable cost/revenue ratios. And that's further reason not to short the width of that Congress overpass while they're planning ahead.
 
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markhb

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Politicians writing letters is always expected :) . The objections are actually more in the form of wishlists TBH. I'm surprised that, to date, neither MaineDOT nor NNEPRA has filed comments or even a notice that they plan to comment. The STB site says it plans to issue a decision on the Minor/Significant status tomorrow (3/25).

If anyone is interested in viewing the original docs, go to https://prod.stb.gov/search-stb-records/ and search for Filings (it defaults to Decisions), then for Docket Number choose FD in the first dropdown and 36472 in the first text box on that row.
 

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Oh boy, yes if I could go back in time I would say 'are these valid comments' instead of 'was this expected'. Now backing slowly out of this thread...
 

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I go back and think about the current conditions at PanAm. So sad how a railroad could operate at a low standard level. Maine has been serviced for over 30+ years of subpar service by a group of idiots. For so many years, maine dot has never spoken up against the regime of Pan AM. it seemed for so many years Nate was afraid of speaking up against Gilford aka Pan AM or the flavor of the month. MA and VT don't know about sub par service. Maine Central and Boston & Maine in its heyday were the top run railroads in the region.
 

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The RR.net thread on this (157 pages strong) is top-heavy at the moment with industry insiders who know how to read Surf Board filings. It's not a definitive sample size by any stretch, but I can attest that there are a solid half-dozen folks active on that discussion who know what they're talking about (waaaaaaay more than I ever would about industry stuff) who are rarely flagrantly wrong and usually get on-base (if not always making home-run contact) with their takes.

General consensus seems to be that:
  • None of the adverse statements end up kicking much dirt. Vermont Rail System has the toothiest claim, albeit one easily settled with trackage rights concessions. But by not telegraphing what they want in concessions VRS bafflingly set themselves up to come up short.
  • VTrans had the toothiest state-level reply, but that was limited to their Conn River Line overlap of the PAS and G&W systems. Might succeed at opening up a little competition for customers to jump carriers, but doesn't fundamentally challenge the transaction.
  • Any NH/ME shippers who *may* have had cause to go fishing for a conflict of interest have pretty much been pre-mollified by CSX Customer Service being a billion times better out-of-box than PAR's. They are happy campers by and large.
  • Most of the adverse filings were not looking for anything specific...just for the transaction to be elevated to "major" review. As it's now been declared Major, that's probably close to the end of them...while the ones who did file--having no specific beefs--are content to Participate Without Comment now that they got their wish for it to be Major review.
  • Meanwhile...CSX is ratio'ing the field with big drops of new supporting customer statements, so momentum is in their favor.
  • Biden's new STB nominees & Chair have telegraphed in advance stricter definitions of what constitutes a "Major" transaction, so it's not surprising it went there. Since CSX held off on its own filing for the transaction until after Biden's new nominees were named to the Board, it's likely they anticipated this in advance.
  • The Canadian Pacific-Kansas City Southern megamerger also hits Maine bigly...and the first batch of Maine shippers are commenting on that one too. Hugely in favor so far. That may soften the ground for CSX to win over, since they stoke competition to the Maritime ports with CP.
  • The crackpots are coming out of the woodwork. Some Dude flim-flam artist well known for vaporware self-promotion in MA has piled onto VRS's challenge with an "alternate operator" proposal for the Conn River Line. This guy's antics are also being oversold by some industry reporters who may have some coin on the scam. If you see a "Kevin Burkholder" (lately of Atlantic Rails & Ports) byline being referenced that forecasts doom-and-gloom for CSX...be immediately suspicious (he gets reffed often on that RR.net thread as "World's Greatest Railfan" because of some obscure and surely inane moderator rule there about calling him by name). These hangers-on are unserious, but the STB is uniquely vulnerable to getting slowed down by persistent citizen scammers who jam up the works with nuisance paperwork. Don't be surprised if 1or 2 more of these unicorn chasers enters the mix.
  • This is not going to go fast by any means. With CP-KCS grabbing lion's share of attention and that one's cup of flim-flam filers sure to runneth over, the STB isn't in a position to expedite. Xmas 2021 sounds like a reasonable timeframe for a wrap, +/- couple months either direction.
 

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