GU: Milford Secondary Traffic to Start

GRAFTON & UPTON RR STRETCHES OPERATIONS BETWEEN CSX B&A/MAIN AND FRANKLIN LINES, STARTING WITH TWO STRONG CUSTOMERS

27.January, Milford MA — Grafton & Upton Railroad will take control of the CSX Milford Secondary on Monday.01.February, with initial plans to operate two trains per week on the line, according to G&U President Michael Milanoski. The 8.35-mi line runs between Milford MA, where it connects with the G&U mainline, and Franklin MA, connecting with the MBTA-owned Franklin Line. MBTA Franklin Line commuter service terminates on the Milford Secondary at Forge Park station.

First moves will be “a handful or two” of hoppers, carrying plastic pellets to Garelick Farms’ bottle manufacturing facility, in Franklin. Lumber to the Blue Lynx distribution center will follow. 

G&U CSX Milford Secondary map
Milford – Franklin MA: The Milford Secondary line retains only two current customers, despite numerous opportunities. G&U specializes in bringing lapsed customers back to rail, and developing new customers. Most “rail-ready” are:
(#1) Franklin Agway and (#2) Franklin Paint Company, both former rail customers still in business, and with rail sidings but not currently rail served.
(#8) Northeast Energy, a 387-mw gas-fired peaking power plant, and (#17) Milford Power, another 210-mw gas-fired peaking power plant rely on gas pipelines that are increasingly at supply supply risk. These plants are able to burn oil or LNG delivered to Northeast’s existing 34-car siding; Milford Power does not have a siding.
Two food service distribution warehouses are adjacent to the tracks (without sidings): (#5) Panera Bread’s dough facility, and (#14) National DCP, a food service warehouse that serves Dunkin Doughnuts and Hood dairy. (#13) Best Buy warehouse is also alongside the track.
Two major cement plants located wide of the tracks, along with the town DPW, and two workshop clusters (finished stone products and metal fabrication shops) might be able to support a local transload. {Openrailway Maps, annotated by ANRP}

Slow start

Track speeds will be limited to about 10 mph between Milford and Bellingham, an area that has not seen rail traffic in several years, and where G&U doesn’t want to “shock” communities where, according to Milford Selectman Thomas O’Loughlin, “[N]ow you have trains going through people’s backyards where for many, many years, the people that lived there never expected it [again].” Though the company is not restricted to any particular hours, Milanoski said he expects trains to run during the day, and characterized the company as a “daytime railroad” in his letter to selectmen.

The G&U is no newcomer to the area, having been open and working since the 1800s, but the last loads to Milford were a couple of years ago, when the St. Gobain glass bottle plant on National Street was operational. Future activity on that site is in the works.

{Alison Bosma, Milford Daily News, 27.Jan.2021}