CP (Soo Line): Files For Operating Control Of CMQ

Under SOO Line Entity, CP Files "Application for Minor Transaction" with STB for Control of CMQ. Implies Major Upgrades and Prospects for Prodigal Railroad.

17 December, Washington DC – The CMQR system is comprised of six rail lines comprising ~481 miles (Maine: 221 mi, Quebec: 237 mi, Vermont 23 mi.) of track, seven interchanges, and seven operating rail yards. This report concerns only the U.S. assets and facilities subject to STB jurisdiction. References to Canadian properties are for context.

Rail lines

(1) Bangor Subdivision between Searsport ME (BR MP 0.0) through Brownville Junction to Millinocket ME (MI MP 109.00) on the Millinocket Subdivision;

(2) East Millinocket Subdivision between Millinocket, ME (EM MP 0.0) and southeast to East Millinocket ME (EM MP 6.19);

(3) K.I. Subdivision within Brownville Junction ME (KI MP 0.0 to MP 4.0);

(4) Moosehead Subdivision between Brownville Junction ME (MH MP 0.0; EMRY interchange) and Skinner ME (MH MP 101.80; U.S./CAN border);

(5) Newport Subdivision: a) within Richford VT (NP MP 26.25 to MP 32.63; the line crosses the U.S./CAN border at both points), and continuing b) between North Troy VT (NP MP 43.32) and terminating in Newport VT (NP MP 60.4). The length of the Newport Subdivision line in the U.S. is approximately 23.47 miles; and

(6) Rockland Subdivision between Brunswick ME (RK MP 29.40) and Rockland ME (RK MP 86.65), a distance of approximately 57.25 miles. The RK Subdivision is leased from the Maine Department of Transportation.


(1) Derby Yard near Milo, ME: supports car and locomotive service activities at the facilities in that yard.

(2) Newport, VT: operational six-days-a-week to operate eastbound and westbound mainline trains, set-out and pick-up mainline train cars for Sherbrooke, deliver/pick-up SLR/SLQ interchange trains, and perform local train service and car switching for customers at or near Lac Megantic, QC.

(3) Brownville Junction, ME: operational seven-days-a-week to operate westbound mainline trains to Jackman, ME, build trains operating to/from Northern Main Junction, ME and Millinocket, ME, build haulage trains interchanged with NBSR, provide local train service for customers, provide service to Derby yard/shops, and switch cars in yard.

(4) North Maine Junction, ME: operational seven-days-a-week to operate trains to/from Brownville Junction, ME and Searsport, ME, interchange traffic with ST/PAR, provide local service for customers, provide service to Derby yard/shops, and switch cars in yard.

(5) Rockland, ME, (6) Searsport, ME, and (7) Millinocket, ME: support the operations of crew stationed at other CMQR US yards.


CMQR interchanges traffic with seven railroads:

  • Canadian National Railway (CN)
  • Canadian Pacific CP
  • Maine Northern Railroad (MNR)
  • New Brunswick Southern Railway Co. Ltd. (NBSR)/Eastern Maine Railway Company Limited (EMRY)
  • Lawrence & Atlantic Railway (SLR/SLQ)
  • Springfield Terminal/Pan Am Railways (ST/PAR)
  • Vermont Rail System (VTR).

There are seven designated interchange connections in the United States:

  • Derby, ME, with Katahdin Railcar Services (KRS)
  • Brownville Jct., with NBSR/EMRY
  • Brunswick, ME where the RK subdivision interchanges with ST/PAR
  • Millinocket ME (2) with MNR and CN (only the MNR connects physically to the CMQR)
  • Newport VT, with VTR
  • Northern Maine Jct., with ST/PAR


“The ultimate intent is to create faster and more economical service between CP’s St-Luc yard in the west and Atlantic port outlets in the east, including Searsport, ME on the CMQR and NBSR’s Saint John, NB yard. Generally, faster services will open up opportunities for growth of particular traffic that today does not operate on the CMQR.

“Among the expected operating changes are fewer train connections, pre-blocking traffic for distant nodes, reducing yard processes and optimizing connections between local jobs and interchanges … Similarly, opportunities to pre-block CP-originated traffic destined for CMQR will reduce the volume of switching currently performed at CMQR yards.

“CP plans to invest in CMQR’s infrastructure. CP’s preliminary estimate is that Applicants will spend as much as $75 million or more over the next three years as part of a capital plan to upgrade the condition of much of the CMQR system to FRA Class 3 standards (or Canadian equivalent standards on CMQR Canada).

“CP anticipates that this capital plan will include extensive tie replacement, rail replacement, joint elimination, shoulder cleaning, and switch and grade crossing upgrades.

“These investments will bring much of the CMQR system up to CP standards, allow Applicants to operate at speeds above 40 MPH and further improve safety.”

“CP currently physically interchanges with CMQR Canada at Iberville east of CP’s St-Luc Yard in Montreal. Currently, due to the length of the interchange tracks at Iberville, train length is limited to 4,500 feet. CP expects to modify operations at Iberville to enable longer trains to operate between Applicants.

“Modifying the physical interchange operations and/or infrastructure, will allow longer trains, and improve main line railcar transit times and reliability. This may in turn reduce the number of main line CMQR trains.”

Iberville PQ

The current interchange between CP and CMQ is just east of Iberville, and consists of only a 4500′ siding. One of CP’s first orders of business will be to expand Iberville operationally by instituting CP’s own well-established PSR techniques, including pre-blocking and streamlining yard processes. But the Application also implies that Iberville must be physically reconstituted to handle much longer trains. above is a rendering of a possible loop that could be added within the existing parcel that contains the siding {Google Earth; annotated by ANRP}.