New England Southern Railroad
|New England Southern Railroad|
|Dates of operation||1982–|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Headquarters||Canterbury, New Hampshire|
The NEGS operates on several sections of track in central New Hampshire. The railroad initially started operations on a route, owned by the state, between Concord and Lincoln, New Hampshire. In 1985, it began operations from Concord south to Manchester and north to Penacook. Pan Am Railways has since retaken control of the line from Manchester to Concord, forcing NEGS to a new home in Canterbury and greatly diminishing their customers.
Before the discontinuance of the NEGS' lease by Pan Am, the railroad's traffic consisted largely of construction materials, grain, salt and LP gas. NEGS currently has one customer in Tilton who receives carloads of slurry monthly. The railroad's sole interchange point is with Pan Am Railways at Concord, from which loaded cars generally come inbound, with empties leaving the NEGS.
The NEGS operates a single locomotive, an EMD GP39-2 numbered 2370 and acquired from the Union Pacific Railroad. In the winter of 2011, 2370 derailed outside of Concord and sat inoperable underneath the I-393 bridge in Concord for some time. On July 20, 2011, 2370 was under repair at the Hobo Railroad engine shop in Lincoln, and was just days away from being started for the first time since the accident, according to Hobo staff.
Passenger train service
New England Southern operated tourist train passenger service over its White Mountain Branch between Concord and Tilton in the 1990s under its "Granite State Railroad" name. NEGS at various times operated the following passenger trains:
- Granite State Railroad — operated over the White Mountain Branch as tourist trains until the late 1990s.
- Caboose Train — operated jointly by the caboose owners at Caboose Village in Tilton. This train included about 25 private passenger cars and cabooses that travel as part of a group between Concord and Lincoln. According to the Hobo Railroad website, a diminishing number of participants resulted in the end of caboose train service in 2012, after about 15 years of annual excursions.
While NEGS had served customers on the leased line from Pan Am Railways for 22 years, the railroad was informed on April 27, 2007, that Pan Am would be terminating their operating lease and would begin serving customers currently under NEGS control on August 1, 2007. At this point NEGS refused to file the adverse discontinuance paperwork with the STB, and PAR responded by filing a Petition for Waiver on August 7, 2007. While the initial filing does not state the reason for PAR ending the contract with NEGS, an adverse discontinuance is generally done by the parent railroad because shippers are not happy with the service provided by a railroad. However, in this situation Atlantic Northeast Rails and Ports reported that shippers were actually siding with NEGS and the service the railroad provides.
Around August 8, 2007, PAR began to refuse payment to NEGS for cars hauled, retaining the 23% commission on cars owed to PAR under the NEGS/PAR contract, and the 77% owed per car to NEGS. NEGS continued to operate on a small base of customers whose contracts had been worked out where payment for service was paid directly to NEGS. At this time NEGS continued trying to work out receiving payments from PAR. On December 14, 2007, NEGS filed a federal lawsuit stating that PAR had owed the company more than $430,000 in back payment. NEGS based their sum on monthly billing statements received from PAR, stating, "Moreover, the defendants' conduct has been oppressive, vexatious, arbitrary, capricious, or in bad faith because New England Southern has been forced to institute this suit in response to the defendants' decision not to make payments due in amounts acknowledged by the defendants' own monthly accounting statements." As a result of the lawsuit, PAR notified NEGS that PAR crews would begin serving customers on January 2, 2008. However, PAR crews and equipment have yet to begin service.
While PAR still refused to issue payments to NEGS, on February 12, 2008, the STB issued their ruling on PAR's request on several adverse discontinuance procedures in order to terminate their contract with NEGS. The basis of the majority of the STB's rulings were that service was not being discontinued but transferred from one company to another and did not show a major effect on industry in the area and service provided. While several of PAR's requests were granted, PAR was ordered to serve notice to shippers of the change of service and also clarify the statement that PAR owned a section of the White Mountain Branch, which the New Hampshire Department of Transportation contests.
PAR had 30 days from date of service to respond to the federal lawsuit from NEGS, and did not respond until February 19, 2008, stating that the suit should be dismissed because it should have been filed state court.
PAR has since reclaimed its tracks between Manchester and Concord, evicting NEGS from the state capital. PAR has also absorbed a vast majority of NEGS customers.
- Confalone, Mike; Joe Posik (2005). Rails Across New England, Vol. 1. Railroad Explorer. ISBN 0-9725320-1-3.
- "Photo of NEGS SW1500 #2555". Retrieved 5 July 2012.
- "New England Southern Power (NEGS)". The Diesel Shop. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
- "B&M Corp - Petition for Waiver". Surface Transportation Board. 2007-08-07.
- Hardenberg, Chalmers (2008-01-01). "New England Southern". Atlantic Northeast Rails and Ports.
- Davidson, Kate (2008-01-13). "Changes on the Tracks". Concord Monitor.
- Decision STB Docket No. AB-32 "Decision STB Docket No. AB-32". Surface Transportation Board. 2008-02-12.
- State of New Hampshire (2007-08-27). "NHDOT Objection to Petition of Waiver". Surface Transportation Board.
- Davidson, Kate (2008-02-24). "End of the Line?". Concord Monitor.