Wednesday, August 07, 2013

MM&A to cease crude-by-rail haulage

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The Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway will cease transporting oil by rail, Chairman Ed Burkhardt has announced, ending crude-by-rail transport over MM&A right-of-way from North Dakota's Bakken formation to a refinery in New Brunswick.

Burkhardt made the announcement Monday, Aug. 5, 2013, in an interview with the Montreal Gazette. "We don't plan to continue with oil transportation. That traffic is going to go other ways, not over our lines," he said.

MM&A's action follows the derailment and explosion July 6 of a train in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, devastating the town center and killing dozens of residents. The train was carrying roughly 50,000 barrels of crude product.

MM&A's decision has been anticipated by some, including Maine officials researching options for moving crude product if and when the railroad ceased such transport.

Though the railroad intends to resume service on the affected line, observers speculate that the short line will suffer extreme financial stress without the lucrative income crude-by-rail shipments, exacerbating litigation and cleanup costs the railroad currently faces.