CP: First Unit Train Over EX-CMQ

Port of Montreal Strike Provides Early Unit Train Test for CP’s New Atlantic Reach. Ten Thousand-Footer Runs St. Luc - St. John Without a Glitch.

08.August, St. John NB — Since announcing its acquisition of the former Central Maine & Quebec Railway in November.2019, and consummating the deal on 04.June, Canadian Pacific has been touting the CND$90 million it will spend over the next three years to upgrade the line. The stated objective was to run daily unit trains at 40 mph to Port of St. John and to Searsport ME, promising 24-hour St. John – Montreal service.

Instead of taking three years to shape up that move, CP got to try it two months after slapping its badge on the CMQ, in response to the diversion from Montreal to St. John of the Hapag-Lloyd DETROIT EXPRESS container vessel.

Bury QC

train pulling freight through countryside
CP 250-07 pulling 140 double-stacked wells soon after being helped out of Sherbrooke. {Frank Jolin}

Short-scheduled run comes off well

The DETROIT EXPRESS diversion was called on Tues.04.Aug, ahead of the formal Mon.10.Aug start of the strike. The 140-well, 10,200-ft CP #F91-06 pulled out of St. Luc QC at 2325 hrs on Thurs.06.Aug, behind CP 8561/9823, arriving Farnham at 0135 hrs on Fri.07.Aug., taking on a new crew on the run, and rebadged #250-07. Stalling east of Sherbrooke, #250 received a push from the F20 local’s two GP38s. The train hit the U.S. border at 1320 hrs, changed crew at Jackman ME, and arrived Brownville Jct. at 2030 hrs, where CP decided to hand over to NBSR.

(Note: CP utilized the local symbol, F91-06, from St. Luc to Farnham and the 250-07 symbol from Farnham to Brownville Jct., as no symbols have been profiled on the computer system yet to operate from St. Luc to Brownville Jct.)

NBSR crew and locomotives 6319/6315 pulled the 51-car consist out of BRV at 2100, arriving St. John NB at 0830 hrs on Sat.08.Aug., less than four hours after DETROIT EXPRESS tied up in port.

The 473-mile trip took 33 hrs 05 min, for an average speed of 14.33 mph, including three crew changes, a power change, and a stall. Presumably much was learned that might be applied immediately upon the Fri.14.Aug arrival in St. John of the Maersk PATRAS.

Saint John NB

container ship in port
Hapag-Lloyd DETROIT EXPRESS arrived in Port St. John on 08.Aug, diverted from Montreal. {Port St. John}