In an effort to create greater efficiency in its repair and maintenance, the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad will consolidate those operations at Derby near Milo in 2000.
Gary Dunham, chief mechanical officer for the railroad, said Wednesday that the diesel repair shops at Northern Maine Junction in Hermon and Millinocket and the maintenance-of-way facility at Houlton will be closed.
Operations at Houlton will shut down by March 10, he said, but no dates have been set for closing the Hermon and Millinocket shops.
The consolidation will affect about 40 people, Dunham said, but all of those people have been offered their jobs at Derby. “Nobody is being sent home because of the consolidation,” he said.
Dunham said the bulk of the railroad’s traffic is along an east-west corridor, with the main intersection at Brownville Junction.
The B&A line meets at that point with the Canadian American Railroad, which runs west to Sherbrooke, Quebec. Both railroads are subsidiaries of Iron Road Railways Inc.
The Eastern Maine Railway, an Irving subsidiary, runs east from Brownville Junction to McAdam, New Brunswick.
Locomotives and crew changes are made at Brownville Junction, and Dunham said it only makes sense to have repair facilities centrally located close by. Derby is just eight miles from Brownville Junction.
“Northern Maine Junction is basically out of the way,” he said, adding that having to ferry engines to Hermon or Millinocket, then back to Brownville Junction is costly.
“When you’re leasing equipment, it costs extra time,” he said, referring to the added distance that engines have to be moved to shops in those towns. “It was not productive. It cost us time every day.”
B&A facilities at Derby are used for car repair and a machine shop.
Dunham said a fueling facility is being built there, and additional space will be constructed to handle the locomotive maintenance operations.
In Houlton, the large repair shop that has been used to fix track maintenance equipment will be turned over to Logistics Management Systems, another Iron Road Railways subsidiary.
LMS is a transloading company that reloads lumber and other products brought in by truck onto railroad cars for points south. The operation is already located at the B&A yard adjacent to the maintenance shop on Florence Avenue in Houlton.
Dunham said the maintenance building will be used by LMS as a warehouse.
The company anticipates that the extra available space will generate new business.