The Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (MMA) is a Class II Regional railroad, which has only been in operation since 2003. The MM&A instantly became a large Class II carrier of over 700 miles when it took over the remains of the historic (and bankrupt) Bangor & Aroostook (BAR). The railroad also recognizes its heritage and uses a mirror Bangor & Aroostook logo. Today, the MM&A includes not only the former BAR lines but also operates former shortline trackage from three different companies also threatened with abandonment (three were located in Canada while the other was a U.S. system). In recent years the railroad has come under fire for its abandonment of more than 200 miles of former BAR trackage in Maine that the state has managed to save. Despite this setback the MM&A remains an important transportation artery for the region as it is the largest railroad, along with Pan Am Railways, serving Maine.
The majority of the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway system has a history that dates back to the aforementioned Bangor & Aroostook, one of Maine's two well known railroads (the other being the Maine Central). The BAR operated a system that served Bangor and Searsport in the south with towns in the north such as Oakfield, Caribou, and St. Francis. The railroad was always driven by natural resources, notably agriculture (potatoes in particular) and various timber products such as pulp and paper. The BAR was never much known for its passenger services although it did provide local trains to the general public until 1961.
The railroad sustained itself on the above mentioned freight traffic for decades, despite a major loss to its potato business in the late 1960s when its interchange partner, the Penn Central, lost an entire season's crop while en-route on its rails. As such, the BAR never recovered this traffic although its timber business kept it in operation for the next four decades. Finally, by the early 200s the railroad said it could no longer turn a profit on the remaining business along its system. As such, the historic Maine company closed down on January 9th, 2003 turning over operations to the new startup, Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway.
The MM&A itself is owned by Rail World, Inc., which at the same time took over three other railroads operated by the Iron Road Railways (at the time it owned the Bangor & Aroostook); the Canadian American Railroad (dates back to 1994 operating former Canadian Atlantic Railway trackage serving Maine as well as Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in Canada), Northern Vermont Railroad (now known as the Washington County Railroad it operates former trackage owned by the Boston & Maine and Canadian Pacific in Vermont), and Quebec Southern Railway (a former Canadian Pacific subsidiary that served Quebec).
When it first began operations in 2003 the MM&A held a system of 745 miles of what is left of the BAR system and dispatches about 25 trains a day out along the system. Today, the MM&A has been reduced to a system of just over 500 miles after its February 2010 announcement that it planned to abandon 233 miles of the original Bangor & Aroostook between Madawaska and Millinocket, which was once the extreme eastern section of the fallen flag's main line in northern Maine. Despite the fact that the line had just a handful of shippers remaining, realizing the importance the route to the state's infrastructure, Maine stepped in and purchased the rails on October 20, 2010. Today, the property is operated by the Eastern Maine Railway, which is owned by the New Brunswick Southern Railway.
Currently, the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway still operates the extreme northern tip of the former BAR between Madawaska, and St. Leonard, New Brunswick (to access the line they have trackage rights over their former line sold to Maine). Additionally, the railroad stretches westward into southern Quebec and extreme northern Vermont serving towns such as Montreal (via trackage rights), Brockport, and Newport (Vermont). Finally, the MM&A has connections with nine Class I, regional and shortline railroads which provide it with not only important outside connections but also interchange traffic for the areas it serves. For more information about the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway please click here (there you can also find a current system map of the railroad). Also, for a further history of the Bangor & Aroostook please click here.
Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway Roster
|Builder||Model Type||Road Number||Notes/Disposition||Quantity|
|GE||C30-7||3603, 3605, 3607, 3609, 3613-3614, 5016-5018, 5021, 5023, 5026, 5078||Ex-BN, Ex-AT&SF||13|
|GE||B39-8||8522, 8225, 8536, 8539, 8541, 8544, 8546, 8548, 8553, 8560-8561, 8569, 8578, 8583, 8592||Leased From LMX||15|
At this time the future of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic is precariously uncertain. On July 6, 2013 a horrific derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec saw more than 40 people killed after a train of crude oil exploded and destroyed much of the city's downtown area. Since then the MM&A has come under considerable scrutiny, which has forced the carrier into bankruptcy. With these considerable setbacks the railroad may or may not survive into the future. There has been talk that a larger corporation will purchase the system to keep its lines in operation and spare them from abandonment. In any event, as these developments play out the information here will be updated accordingly.