Rail line at Lac Megantic updated

by MM&D Online Staff

FARNHAM, Quebec—Following months of work, a multitude of inspections, and an additional $10M investment, Central Maine & Quebec Railway got the go-ahead it had been looking for from Transport Canada.

On December 5, CMQ received the official revocation of a series of notices and orders, confirming immediate threats no longer exist on CMQ railway. The notices and orders were transferred to CMQ following its purchase of bankrupt Montreal Maine & Atlantic.

CMQ has spent the last four months installing more than 32,000 new crossties, 110,000 linear feet of rail, and 25,000 tons of ballast, upgrading bridges, culverts, and crossings, completing surfacing work, and removing more than 300 in-track rail defects from its main tracks and sidings. The Sherbrooke subdivision is the 125 mile backbone of CMQ’s Quebec rail line and stretches from Lac-Mégantic to Brookport just east of Farnham.

“We had to make this investment. The line was covered in snow last February and March when we were finally able to begin our diligence, but we made a commitment to Lac-Mégantic Mayor Laroche and citizens, as well as many regulators, that we would address the years of neglect,” said CMQ president and CEO John Giles.

Giles further commented, “It was an extremely tough undertaking. We had industry peers questioning the amount of work that we signed up for with such a short construction season. I knew we were in good hands with Ron Marshall, general manager of engineering, leading this project with his team.”

Ron Marshall is the 30 year industry veteran hand picked by Giles to lead CMQ’s engineering team. When asked about the scope of project, Marshall commented, “This is one of the most challenging construction seasons I’ve ever been involved in. But I knew from my experience working with this team at RailAmerica that I would have the support I needed. This investment demonstrates our team’s commitment to operating the railway in a safe and responsible fashion.”

CMQ considers Phase I of its transformation now largely completed. “Not to say we don’t have a lot more track and infrastructure work to do next spring, but we have already started Phase II, which focuses on growth, customers, and interline partners,” added Giles. CMQ continues to strengthen its sales and marketing team, with a new commercial associate joining the company early in January. We have a lot to do telling the story of the new CMQ Railway and reconnecting with our existing and new shippers. Our sales and marketing associate will focus on Quebec and Vermont,” concluded Giles.