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Thread: Moosehead Ski Area Proposal

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike P. View Post
    Well. if one business is in more dire straits than mid-size ski areas, it's passenger rail. It would be 100's of millions (I may be light in my estimate) to retrofit the existing East Coast line with true high speed rail, which is much faster than Acela.

    If you can convince Disney or Universal or someone to build a theme for year round visits and have skiing as an add-on. (or a large water park with indoor and outdoor attractions but people with that kind of money to lend have more safe and lucrative places to deploy their cash.
    You are correct as far as commuter interest in most areas, but excursion train interest has been dramatically increasing over the past few years and are booked quickly and completely. Conway Scenic is offering a snow train to Attitash from N. Conway now; I know, more of an interesting quirk for a tourist to enjoy as opposed to efficient travel to a destination. Thinking more of a special with cars specifically designed to have features to cater to the specific journey and clientele.
    Would take a huge investment risk on someone's part, but you can't always predict a hot trend. But think of the advantages for many: No white knuckled drive through traffic, snowstorms, kids agitated and having to find bathroom breaks. Cars specific to families maybe with some type of play space for kids. Cars for the adults or revelers where you could spend your time on your device, or drink latte's, dine. Depending what state your in, smoking cars. We have seen it many times before where old is new. I'm sure the fine folks of Bethlehem, NH 100 years ago never thought their grand hotels would stop being the ultimate destination, as well as 15 years ago any renewed interest and tourist development we are seeing today. Or for that matter 10 years ago that Moose Brook State Park would be a popular place to camp again. We're looking to go to Glacier some day, but would only consider doing it by train and would never go by any other means.

    I was chatting with the Cog foreman on the phone the other day as he was telling me how busy they have been, we both thought it would be neat if standard trains ran to the Base Station again.

  2. #17
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    Sunday River made a go at ski trains from Portland and Lewiston when Les Otten owned it. The town put in a train station and a major development around it. It went from Portand to Bethel via the Saint Lawrence & Atlanitc (the original tourist train to the whites) The problem is the SLR was built before automobiles were as prevalent. There are lots of at grade crossings between Portland and Bethel which slowed down the ski trains and the tracks are maintained to freight standards which meant low speeds. Les tried hard to promote it and subsidized the tickets but my understanding from folks who tried it was it was real long day and lot quicker just driving up. It got a lot of train tourists, but it went away after a few years.

    Dear old Don Provencher the eternal optimist in Gorham for train resurgence passed a few years ago and no one has taken up his torch. He would host various developers wanting to bring back trains every few years. Of course with the proposed Pods in Berlin why have a train? https://www.conwaydailysun.com/berli...b504164cb.html

    The former owner of Storyland bought the Flying Yankee streamliner that ran as the original Conway ski train at an auction and was supporting its restoration.When he passed the project slowly stalled. It has been shuttled around Lincoln for a few years and was supposed to get mounted on a short stretch of track in Lincoln last year for static display. The engine apparently is beyond repair. https://flyingyankee.org/

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    As PB notes above, unless you remove grade crossings, train travel is a tough sell. One thing I have to laugh at is the fact that train travel and cargo movement is so more efficient than use of cars and trucks in terms of carbon foot print. But trains can't match the speed in terms of moving people and freight. Notwithstanding all the self-proclaimed environmentalists out there, if we really wanted to reduce carbon output, we'd learn to slow down and move people and freight by train. As PB states -- what's old could be new. But we are unwilling to give up the convenience of the auto and the speed of the truck. And even with electric vehicles and all the issues associated with batteries and rare earth metal mining, I don't think you match the efficiency of trains. Not to digress too far, but work from home -- to the extent workable for various industries (e.g., accounting, law, other service industries) -- would also substantially reduce the carbon output and strain on the roadway infrastructure. Will be interesting to see how much of the WFH paradigm survives the pandemic.

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    In full disclosure I'm currently modeling a similar scenario on a model railroad where there is a fictional National Forest entrance station that I had no room for a parking area. All visitors arrive by bike or train to the 'Vermont Piedmonts National Forest' near the tourist town; been trying to justify why the place is so popular so my wife will let me buy passenger equipment.

  5. #20
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NHClimber View Post
    As PB notes above, unless you remove grade crossings, train travel is a tough sell. One thing I have to laugh at is the fact that train travel and cargo movement is so more efficient than use of cars and trucks in terms of carbon foot print. But trains can't match the speed in terms of moving people and freight. Notwithstanding all the self-proclaimed environmentalists out there, if we really wanted to reduce carbon output, we'd learn to slow down and move people and freight by train. As PB states -- what's old could be new. But we are unwilling to give up the convenience of the auto and the speed of the truck. And even with electric vehicles and all the issues associated with batteries and rare earth metal mining, I don't think you match the efficiency of trains. Not to digress too far, but work from home -- to the extent workable for various industries (e.g., accounting, law, other service industries) -- would also substantially reduce the carbon output and strain on the roadway infrastructure. Will be interesting to see how much of the WFH paradigm survives the pandemic.
    With the exception I wouldn't want to put a dime into a Trillionaire's pockets, If freight went to enough (new) amazing warehouses (in all the malls they would put out of business) and they had an all electric fleet (power generated mostly from solar and wind on their huge rooftops), you could eliminate the need to shop for anything you would buy at a mall. Running rail or building these huge warehouses near freight lines (they do) would eliminate new business. (I have no idea who is using the large JC Penney Warehouse in Manchester CT these days) No solar on that roof either. Covid-19 almost made this happen.

    OTOH, Is Greenville on an existing rail line? Maybe freight for wood and potatoes from the day before trucks could haul the weight at the speeds they haul it now.
    Have fun & be safe
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    Yes Greenville has the former Canadian National running through it, its now owned by CMQR https://www.cmqrailway.com/about/history/. Its part of the convoluted rail network that connects the Atlantic Provinces of Canada to the rest of Canada. Its shorter to cut through Maine than it is go up and around it. It was used to ship tar sands oil to Atlantic Canada for several years until a very high profile accident just west of Maine border where a loaded train rolled into the town of Lac Meganitic Quebec and burned most of the town. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lac-M%..._rail_disaster. It took a few years and lots of litigation to sort it out and I think that particular trade is now restricted but it still gives a freight connection to Searsport Maine ( a deep water port) and Atlantic Canada from Quebec. It runs roughly parallel to the AT through the western end of the 100 miles wilderness and when it runs through late at night it can be heard for miles.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 01-23-2021 at 12:48 PM.

  7. #22
    Senior Member jniehof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    its now owned by CMQR https://www.cmqrailway.com/about/history/. Its part of the convoluted rail network that connects the Atlantic Provinces of Canada to the rest of Canada.
    They've been pushing ads into my Facebook feed for months advertising "direct access to Maine ports!" (Searsport) and showing a line directly east from south-central New Hampshire to Maine. I'm pretty sure they have no track in NH (all PanAm/Guilford, now CSX) and any route that touches their system would be wildly indirect.

    Lac-Mégantic was Bakken shale crude from North Dakota, not WCS synthetic crude from the tar sands, if you believe Wikipedia. There's very little hydrocarbon transport between western and eastern Canada, for some reason--Alberta has been looking to export either to the Pacific ports or to the US (and Gulf ports ultimately), thus Keystone XL and Trans-Mountain as the alternative. I'm not sure of the underlying reason for this. Thunder Bay may not be equipped to load oil from rail or pipeline to tankers, building a pipeline across the prairies and Canadian Shield would be technically difficult, and there may be restrictions on crude shipping in the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence system. Transportation links east would have to compete with the grain from the prairies. The opposition to the Saguenay CNG pipeline (and liquefaction plant) also suggests there wouldn't be much appetite for an even longer pipeline carrying crude instead of CNG.

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    Senior Member jniehof's Avatar
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    While I'm wearing my pedantic Canadian rail geek hat, I should also note MMA/CMQR is former CP not former CN, and now reacquired by CP.

  9. #24
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
    In full disclosure I'm currently modeling a similar scenario on a model railroad where there is a fictional National Forest entrance station that I had no room for a parking area. All visitors arrive by bike or train to the 'Vermont Piedmonts National Forest' near the tourist town; been trying to justify why the place is so popular so my wife will let me buy passenger equipment.
    Cool! What scale?

    Your concept sounds a bit like the High Line in MT where is passes Glacier Park. When I rode it there were lots of hikers and bicyclists getting on and off in West Glacier.

    Amtrak must yield to freight traffic unfortunately, so don't get hung up on scheduled arrival / departure times.
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  10. #25
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jniehof View Post
    They've been pushing ads into my Facebook feed for months advertising "direct access to Maine ports!" (Searsport) and showing a line directly east from south-central New Hampshire to Maine. I'm pretty sure they have no track in NH (all PanAm/Guilford, now CSX) and any route that touches their system would be wildly indirect.

    Lac-Mégantic was Bakken shale crude from North Dakota, not WCS synthetic crude from the tar sands, if you believe Wikipedia. There's very little hydrocarbon transport between western and eastern Canada, for some reason--Alberta has been looking to export either to the Pacific ports or to the US (and Gulf ports ultimately), thus Keystone XL and Trans-Mountain as the alternative. I'm not sure of the underlying reason for this. Thunder Bay may not be equipped to load oil from rail or pipeline to tankers, building a pipeline across the prairies and Canadian Shield would be technically difficult, and there may be restrictions on crude shipping in the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence system. Transportation links east would have to compete with the grain from the prairies. The opposition to the Saguenay CNG pipeline (and liquefaction plant) also suggests there wouldn't be much appetite for an even longer pipeline carrying crude instead of CNG.
    The same reason for not going across Canada with dangerous cargo would be that they foresaw an accident like Lac Meganitic in Quebec happening and said NIMBY. Usually, that's our line when we do something in a poor neighborhood or another country. In this case it was through our yard and the accident was close to our backyard.

    At the time of the derailment I was in the reinsurance business so I remember it well. A derailment that burns a town or explosions like what happened in TX is what reinsurance is for. (TX's business climate is so pro-business, the business that was hoarding the same chemical fertilizer used in OKC only had a 1M policy. The company wrote the check and the business filed Chapter 11)
    Last edited by Mike P.; 01-24-2021 at 07:08 PM.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    Cool! What scale?

    Your concept sounds a bit like the High Line in MT where is passes Glacier Park. When I rode it there were lots of hikers and bicyclists getting on and off in West Glacier.

    Amtrak must yield to freight traffic unfortunately, so don't get hung up on scheduled arrival / departure times.
    It's N scale Chris. All started from my son & wife getting the US Forest Service - Smokey Bear collectible trains for Christmas a few years back.

    I started to wonder yesterday if any abandoned rails existed out of or nearby Greenville for something like this: https://hoborr.com/rail-bike-adventures/ (I was looking for another outfit and just found this closer to home!).

    After we discovered this activity 2 years ago we did this trip: https://wildernesswebb.com/2019/09/1...ets-the-ocean/

    When I got back to work in the Berlin/Gorham area I teased every chamber/tourism related official I ran into to tell them they could try something like this, except they ripped all their rails up. There are a lot of new and exciting outdoor recreation ideas out there, and the more diverse and interesting things for people to do may lead to better success.

  12. #27
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    When I was much younger, our Parks and Rec Director (originally from somewhere in New England) would organize a ski trip to Greenville from our town in Nova Scotia. We used the passenger rail service that was mentioned earlier in this thread.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
    It's N scale Chris. All started from my son & wife getting the US Forest Service - Smokey Bear collectible trains for Christmas a few years back.

    I started to wonder yesterday if any abandoned rails existed out of or nearby Greenville for something like this: https://hoborr.com/rail-bike-adventures/ (I was looking for another outfit and just found this closer to home!).

    After we discovered this activity 2 years ago we did this trip: https://wildernesswebb.com/2019/09/1...ets-the-ocean/

    When I got back to work in the Berlin/Gorham area I teased every chamber/tourism related official I ran into to tell them they could try something like this, except they ripped all their rails up. There are a lot of new and exciting outdoor recreation ideas out there, and the more diverse and interesting things for people to do may lead to better success.
    Funny, I've often thought that it would be fun to build a rail rider and take it up to Pondicherry. Of course, someone would probably tattle tail on me if I did given that technically the line is still in service. There's a NH speeder club that was running real speeders there a few years back when we were hiking to Pondicherry. Probably the same club that rides the Wolfeboro line from time to time. Portsmouth RI is a nice place and it's good to see that they didn't rip up the rails. There's a reasonably long rail path in Bristol too (no rails). I wonder how far one could travel on the mountain division starting in N. Conway and heading towards Portland. Apologies for thread hijack.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by NHClimber View Post
    Funny, I've often thought that it would be fun to build a rail rider and take it up to Pondicherry. Of course, someone would probably tattle tail on me if I did given that technically the line is still in service. There's a NH speeder club that was running real speeders there a few years back when we were hiking to Pondicherry. Probably the same club that rides the Wolfeboro line from time to time. Portsmouth RI is a nice place and it's good to see that they didn't rip up the rails. There's a reasonably long rail path in Bristol too (no rails). I wonder how far one could travel on the mountain division starting in N. Conway and heading towards Portland. Apologies for thread hijack.
    I'm continuing your hijack. Mountain division trail continues north of Fryeburg, but I think there is still rail on part of it. It mostly goes to Portland. There may be a stretch or two that's not official and just "planned". Former co-workers walk it in Windham several times a month. Being a rail trail, its good for bikes.

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    To extend your hijack.In concept you can go all the way to Portland and tracks are still in place with the exception of local washouts.

    The southern section of the Mountain division in Maine was scheduled to have all its rails removed 15 to 20 years ago for conversion to a rail trail. With a 50 foot right of way its far less costly to rip out the rails and grade the ballast and bring in stone dust. The Sebago to the Sea organization laid out their route assuming this would happen. You can get an idea of the status south of Sebago Lake on their site https://www.sebagotothesea.org/ A local politician got involved and forced the state to keep the rails from Portland up to South Windham and there were hopes that a large wood pellet plant would be built in Baldwin which would utilize the track (has not happened). Most of the rail trail to Sebago Lake is a "trail adjacent to track" similar to Fryeburg.https://www.google.com/search?q=rail...w=1680&bih=936 for images There was a washout under the tracks in the Hiram area at one point. At one point there were track cars using a section from Fryeburg south for some distance into Brownfield possibly farther to Hiram. My guess is they also go north to the rail and trail build in Fryeburg. I dont think there is any entity involved with keeping the right of way cleared north of Sebago lake to Fryeburg so eventually it will grow in to the point where its impassable. The section from Hiram to Fryeburg is partially elevated in the Saco River floodplain so floods and beavers may have knocked out sections. The only rail use is (or was) to bring in bulk chemicals to the Sappi Mill in Westbrook. That mill has been on its last legs for decades and recently closed their next to last paper machine. I am unsure if they are even using the track at this point as many suppliers have switched to truck delivery for small demands. No doubt at some point it will finally close and the rail siding will be used to haul the scrap out of site that has been in the paper business since the 1730s long before paper was made from trees.

    The route up from Portland is quite interesting as its routed adjacent to a coastal estuary called the Fore River, it then goes through Westbrook and then heads north on the East shore of the Presumpscot River. The section along the Presumpscot north of Westbrook is mostly wild as unlike many local rivers the two roads on either side of the river are set back a couple thousand feet from the river and the towns along it have zoned the frontage along the river as rural agricultural. That section of river down to Westbrook was previously dammed but the dam is either partially or entirely removed by now. There is an ongoing effort to remove dams or install fish ladders all the way to Sebago Lake but progress is measured in decades as hydro licenses get renewed. There signs of anadromous fish runs increasing every year. No doubt once a couple of hundred of years of sediments flush out upstream of the former dam in Westbrook the fish will be found up at Malison Falls in south Windham, the next dam in the chain. North of Sebago it transitions over to the Saco River watershed. I do not see the rural towns north of Windham having any interest in rail trails, they are mostly commuter towns to Portland fading into rural towns as the commute lengthens.

    If the 3.5 mile section from South Windham to Westbrook were converted to a rail and trail I would expect it would get a lot more use. Sebago to the Sea appears to have stalled on funding and no one organization seems to have a grand vision of what could be put in given the excellent access to mostly undeveloped wild lands directly from Portland. IMO its definitely "if you will build it they will come opportunity". Wild land in the Portland area is rapidly being chewed up and this would be an opportunity to keep a strip all the way to the Lake and beyond.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 01-25-2021 at 02:44 PM.

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