|Reporting mark||CMQ, VB, BAR, MMA|
|Locale||Maine, Vermont, Quebec|
|Dates of operation||May 2014–June 4, 2020|
|Predecessor||Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway|
|Successor||Canadian Pacific Railway|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Length||481.01 miles (774.11 km)|
The Central Maine & Québec Railway (reporting mark CMQ) was a Class II freight railroad operating in the U.S. states of Maine and Vermont and the Canadian province of Quebec with headquarters in Bangor, Maine. It was owned by Railroad Acquisition Holdings, LLC, a subsidiary of Fortress Investment Group, LLC. It is now a subsidiary of Canadian Pacific Railway since June 2020.
Its United States operations were named the Central Maine & Québec Railway US Incorporated with offices in New York, NY, and were registered with the Surface Transportation Board on February 14, 2014.
The Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (reporting mark MMA), itself a product of the 2002 Iron Road Railways bankruptcy, filed for bankruptcy in the United States and Canada on August 7, 2013, following the fiery Lac-Mégantic rail disaster, in which a runaway crude oil train killed forty-seven people and caused an estimated $200 million in property damage to downtown Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. The company received protection under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code and under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act in Canada to oversee the sale of assets.
In December 2013, Fortress Investment Group, LLC, through its subsidiary Railroad Acquisition Holdings, LLC (RAH) placed a stalking horse bid on the operating rail lines, which was accepted by the bankruptcy trustee in January 2014. In February 2014 RAH announced that it had formed the CMQ to become the operating entity of the rail lines and that the sale would be concluded in March 2014. CM&Q received its certificate of fitness from the Canadian Transportation Agency on June 24, 2014.
In March 2014, John E. Giles of RAH drove the length of the line, visiting communities and industries served by the railway and inspecting the condition of tracks and installations. He estimated a $10–20 million investment would be needed over three years to repair the rail line, then in poor condition and not safe for the transport of oil or dangerous goods.
In the same year, the CMQR acquired 10 GMD SD40-2Fs from Canadian Pacific Railway.
In 2017, CMQ took over operations of the former NS Hannibal Subdivision in Ohio from Norfolk Southern. The line services several Fortress owned industries at the former Long Ridge Energy Generation Facility in Clarington, Ohio. CIT owned SD40-2's 3053 and 3082 were assigned to operate the line. Crews were sent from Maine for a week at a time to operate trains. After the CP takeover, this operation was retained by Fortress Investment under the former CMQ subsidiary Katahdin Railcar Services.
On November 20, 2019, it was announced that Canadian Pacific Railway would purchase CMQ. Canadian Pacific's CEO, Keith Creel remarked that the acquisition would give CP a true coast-to-coast network across Canada and an increased presence in New England. This would result in several former CP rail lines in Maine and Quebec, which were sold over the years to CM&Q's predecessor railroads, being reacquired by CP.
On June 4, 2020, CP officially finalized its acquisition of CMQ.
Rockland Branch Operation
In September 2015, CMQ was selected by the Maine Department of Transportation to operate the state-owned Rockland Branch rail line between Brunswick and Rockland, taking over the line from previous operator Maine Eastern Railroad on January 1, 2016. The CMQ proposal did not include the operation of passenger excursions that had been operated by Maine Eastern, ending 11 years of successful passenger rail operations along the Maine coast.
At the end of August 2021, it was announced Finger Lakes Railway would take over operation of the Rockland Branch. Soon after the STB approved the transfer of operation, Dragon Cement, the largest shipper on the line, announced they would no longer ship cement out of its Rockland facility by the end of the year, ending the rail shuttle operation that makes up most of the revenue for this line.
CMQ owned and operated the following rail lines:
- Searsport Subdivision (29 mi (47 km) Northern Maine Junction, ME to Searsport, ME)
- Millinocket Subdivision (78.5 mi (126.3 km) Northern Maine Junction, ME to Millinocket, ME)
- East Millinocket Subdivision (6.19 mi (9.96 km) Millinocket, ME to East Millinocket, ME)
- Madawaska Subdivision (1.5 mi (2.4 km) Millinocket, ME to start of Maine Northern Railway (reporting mark MNRY))
- K.I. Subdivision (3.74 mi (6.02 km) Brownville, ME to Brownville Junction, ME)
- Moosehead Subdivision (117.1 mi (188.5 km) Brownville Junction, ME to Lac-Mégantic, QC)
- Sherbrooke Subdivision (125.6 mi (202.1 km) Lac-Mégantic, QC to Brookport, QC)
- Adirondack Subdivision (20.0 mi (32.2 km) Brookport, QC to St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC)
- Newport Subdivision (60.4 mi (97.2 km) Brookport, QC to Newport, VT)
- Stanbridge Subdivision (12.57 mi (20.23 km) Farnham, QC to Stanbridge, QC)
- St-Guillaume Subdivision (26.4 mi (42.5 km) Farnham, QC to Sainte-Rosalie, QC)
- Maine DOT Rockland Branch (58.68 mi (94.44 km) Rockland, ME to Brunswick, ME)
- Maine DOT Atlantic Branch (1.1 mi (1.8 km) Rockland, ME to Rockland, ME)
- Hannibal Subdivision
CMQ owned a total of 481.01 mi (774.11 km) of rail line which are broken down by jurisdiction as follows:
- 220.73 mi (355.23 km) in Maine
- 236.81 mi (381.11 km) in Quebec
- 23.47 mi (37.77 km) in Vermont
- Canadian National Railway (reporting mark CN)
- Canadian Pacific Railway (reporting mark CP)
- Eastern Maine Railway (reporting mark EMRY)
- Maine Northern Railway (reporting mark MNRY)
- CSX Transportation (reporting mark CSXT)
- St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad (reporting mark SLR) / (reporting mark SLQ)
- Washington County Railroad (reporting mark WACR)
- When the Providence and Worcester Railroad (reporting mark PW, WRWK) was listed for sale in 2016, Fortress Investment attempted to purchase the P&W, but ultimately Genesse and Wyoming (reporting mark GNWR) was the high bidder. Based off first-hand information from former CMQ employees, had the P&W been purchased the railroad would have retained its original name, while being a subsidiary of the CMQ.
Notes and references
- "FindUs.Rail | Search MARKs". Railinc. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
- "FORTRESS INVESTMENT GROUP LLC -CONTINUANCE IN CONTROL EXEMPTION- FLORIDA EAST COAST RAILWAY, L.L.C. AND CENTRAL MAINE & QUEBEC RAIL WAY US INC" (PDF). Surface Transportation Board. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- "CENTRAL MAINE AND QUEBEC RAILWAY CANADA INC". Révenu Québec, Registraire des entreprises Québec. March 26, 2007. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- "Maine-based railway involved in Quebec crash that killed 47 files for bankruptcy". Bangor Daily News. August 7, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
- Kim Mackrael (August 7, 2013). "MM&A files for bankruptcy after Lac-Mégantic rail disaster". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on August 8, 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
- "Canadian regulators approve sale of bankrupt Maine railway - The Portland Press Herald". June 25, 2014.
- Le futur propriétaire de MMA veut maintenir un lien de confiance Archived March 12, 2019, at the Wayback Machine, Rémi Tremblay, L'Echo de Frontenac (March 20, 2014)
- Sharp, David (July 9, 2013). "Railroad hopes town where 47 died will allow oil trains". The Portland Press Herald. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
- "Lac-Mégantic new rail owner plans to restart oil shipments". CBC News. May 16, 2014. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
- "CP to acquire Central Maine & Quebec Railway from FTAI".
- "Canadian Pacific Acquires Central Maine & Quebec Railway". Transport Topics. January 6, 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
- "Central Maine & Quebec to take over route of Maine Eastern". Trains Magazine. September 3, 2015. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
- "STB Approves Finger Lakes Takeover of Maine's Rockland Branch". Railfan & Railroad Magazine. August 25, 2021. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
- "Finger Lakes Railway Puts the Brakes on Maine Expansion". Railfan & Railroad Magazine. September 8, 2021. Retrieved January 1, 2022.