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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Maine Potatoes move by rail for the first time in fourty years


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Date: 01/16/22 06:02
Maine Potatoes move by rail for the first time in fourty years
Author: choodude

The 2021 harvest made history for its size — a roughly 20 percent greater yield than normal, thanks to near-perfect growing conditions. But that led to a few problems along the way: What to do with all the extra spuds, and how to get them to market in the middle of a trucking shortage.

--------------

“The Maine Northern Railroad and Union Pacific Railway arranged for refrigerated rail cars to be sent to Van Buren,” the department said via Twitter. “Thirty-three refrigerated rail cars are now loaded with spuds and bound for Washington state.”

https://bangordailynews.com/2022/01/15/news/aroostook/maines-potato-crop-is-so-big-railroads-are-being-used-for-1st-time-in-40-years-to-transport-it-joam40zk0w/


Brian



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/16/22 06:02 by choodude.



Date: 01/16/22 06:38
Re: Maine Potatoes move by rail for the first time in fourty year
Author: colehour

choodude Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> “The Maine Northern Railroad and Union Pacific
> Railway arranged for refrigerated rail cars to be
> sent to Van Buren,” the department said via
> Twitter. “Thirty-three refrigerated rail cars
> are now loaded with spuds and bound for Washington
> state.”
>
Hmmm...wonder what "Famous Potatoes" Idaho folks think of their sister state "importing" potatoes from Maine!!



Date: 01/16/22 07:21
Re: Maine Potatoes move by rail for the first time in fourty year
Author: PlyWoody

I hope they don't rot on Gulford.  What is the routing?

The death of the potato rail movement to New York City Fresh Pond Market was because they arrived damaged and refused.  Then each railroad passed the damage claim up the line over and over.  NYNH&H said they did not damage them, B&M said they were not at fault, MEC said they did not rot on their short handle.  So BAR said they were okay when they shipped them.  There was no internal temperature monitoring back in those days.  And FGX said no one told them to check at each interchange.  Railroads just didn't want to handle perishable.  Same problem with Christmas trees on the rails.



Date: 01/16/22 07:42
Re: Maine Potatoes move by rail for the first time in fourty year
Author: OHRY

PlyWoody Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I hope they don't rot on Gulford.  What is the
> routing?
>
> The death of the potato rail movement to New York
> City Fresh Pond Market was because they arrived
> damaged and refused.  Then each railroad passed
> the damage claim up the line over and over. 
> NYNH&H said they did not damage them, B&M said
> they were not at fault, MEC said they did not rot
> on their short handle.  So BAR said they were
> okay when they shipped them.  There was no
> internal temperature monitoring back in those
> days.  And FGX said no one told them to check at
> each interchange.  Railroads just didn't want to
> handle perishable.  Same problem with Christmas
> trees on the rails.

The story of Maine potatoes rotting is supposedly much of the 1969 potato crop rotted at Selkirk due to the Penn Central's inability to move the cars in a timely manner. This is turn caused the potato farmers to turn to trucks and vow not to use rail anymore.

Today's reefers are a far cry from what those were shipped in. They all have satellite monitoring that triggers alerts for things like temperature, fuel, door open, reefer unit shut down.

The thing I would be more worried about is they may want some more of those inflatable load pillows! A trip over a hump or two or some flat switching and they may be picking up a lot of potatoes!

Posted from Android



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/16/22 08:05 by OHRY.



Date: 01/16/22 07:49
Re: Maine Potatoes move by rail for the first time in fourty year
Author: GPutz

Are refers necessary for pototo shipments at this time of year?  Gerry



Date: 01/16/22 07:54
Re: Maine Potatoes move by rail for the first time in fourty year
Author: dan

Was wondering that as well, Insulated box cars might do the trick just route them through Canada, The reason UP probably agreed Perhaps the cars were offloaded in New York City area with something else



Date: 01/16/22 07:57
Re: Maine Potatoes move by rail for the first time in fourty year
Author: WJEX

Do a Google search:   The state of Washington grows more potatoes than Idaho.



Date: 01/16/22 08:19
Re: Maine Potatoes move by rail for the first time in fourty year
Author: CPR_4000

Since they were sent to Van Buren I'd guess CN would have taken them west. Don't know where the CN/UP interchange would be; Eastport ID is a well-known UP/CP interchange. Maybe UP will get them in Chicago.

*Edit* Railfan mag says ". . . reefer cars are being loaded in Van Buren on the Maine Northern Railway and shipped south to Pan Am Railways. On Pan Am, they’ll move west to be interchanged with CSX Transportation and finally Union Pacific, which is moving them to Washington State."



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/16/22 08:25 by CPR_4000.



Date: 01/16/22 08:31
Re: Maine Potatoes move by rail for the first time in fourty year
Author: irhoghead

Hopefully, today's PSR doesn't stand for Potatoes Spoiled Rotten.

Would be interesting to get feedback on the consignee's experience with these shipments.



Date: 01/16/22 08:33
Re: Maine Potatoes move by rail for the first time in fourty year
Author: Theowhitey

R&R reports the routing [link] as Maine Northern > Pan Am > CSX > UP.
/Ted



Date: 01/16/22 08:35
Re: Maine Potatoes move by rail for the first time in fourty year
Author: JPB

Routing info from a knowledgeable source: From Maine Northern to Pan Am, to CSX across to Chicago, then CP from Chicago to the western US and over to UP/former SP territory in Washington State.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/16/22 12:49 by JPB.



Date: 01/16/22 08:40
Re: Maine Potatoes move by rail for the first time in fourty year
Author: irhoghead

Does anyone on here have the ability to track the progress on these cars? With many general manifest trains not exactly adhering to their schedules these days, would be interesting to see how many weeks they take to get to Washington.



Date: 01/16/22 08:55
Re: Maine Potatoes move by rail for the first time in fourty year
Author: Theowhitey

GPutz Wrote:
> Are refers necessary for pototo shipments at this
> time of year?  Gerry

Reefers aren't necessary, but insulation is (and maybe heat). It's freezing temperatures that will damage a potato shipment (at least that's my understanding).
/Ted



Date: 01/16/22 10:11
Re: Maine Potatoes move by rail for the first time in fourty year
Author: rev66vette

colehour Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> choodude Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
>
> > “The Maine Northern Railroad and Union
> Pacific
> > Railway arranged for refrigerated rail cars to
> be
> > sent to Van Buren,” the department said via
> > Twitter. “Thirty-three refrigerated rail cars
> > are now loaded with spuds and bound for
> Washington
> > state.”
> >
> Hmmm...wonder what "Famous Potatoes" Idaho folks
> think of their sister state "importing" potatoes
> from Maine!!

 The famous Idaho potato people are suffering from the same ills as their neighbors in Washingtons state. IT's been hot and dry, lack of rain and irrigation plus wildfires.have caused many issues and a 20% reduction in crops.



Date: 01/16/22 11:02
Re: Maine Potatoes move by rail for the first time in fourty year
Author: DevalDragon

Theowhitey Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> GPutz Wrote:
> > Are refers necessary for pototo shipments at
> this
> > time of year?  Gerry
>
> Reefers aren't necessary, but insulation is (and
> maybe heat). It's freezing temperatures that will
> damage a potato shipment (at least that's my
> understanding).

That's correct. The insulation and climate control in the reefer is to maintain a constant temperature. Most commodities shipped in reefers don't necessarily have to be kept cold but they are perishable and can't be subjected to temperature swings.



Date: 01/16/22 11:39
Re: Maine Potatoes move by rail for the first time in fourty year
Author: wcamp1472

I don't understand the economics of sending potatoes clear across
the continent.  It seems to me that the costs added to the potatoes
would be significant, in order to generate a net profit? 

They're going to be pretty-darned expensive French Fries...
How much will they be, by the time they're for sale on the retail
grocer's shelves?

Oh, well...the Maine potato growers are happy, that's for SURE!
Maybe twice as many carloads, next season?

W.



Date: 01/16/22 11:47
Re: Maine Potatoes move by rail for the first time in fourty year
Author: dan

must be thh processors needed more out west with smaller crop this year, and  the factories in east were booked with the abundant crop, or both



Date: 01/16/22 13:46
Re: Maine Potatoes move by rail for the first time in forty year
Author: Pork

Yes a reefer is required.  Two reasons, first the air temperature must be maintained or the potatoes will wake up.  Most loads are kept between 50-55 degrees.  Secondly there must be a constant air flow over the potatoes with the air discharged to the outside due to CO2 being discharged by the potatoes.  If you don't do either you will lose the load over a period of time.  The reefer units are run in continuous mode to provide this air flow.



Date: 01/16/22 14:33
Re: Maine Potatoes move by rail for the first time in forty year
Author: coach

There is a worldwide potato shortage right now, so these Maine growers are reaping a big benefit.  Plus, the UP reefer fleet gets a great long-haul load.

The added transportation cost per box via reefers is very small--imagine how many potatoes are in each car---so prices won't rise much due to this long haul.  Way cheaper than trucking.  And this happens sometimes, like when Martinelli Apple Juice in Watsonville, CA had to use CRYO-TRANS reefers to import apples from the upper NE USA to supplement a low crop locally.  Great for the producer, the railroad and customer.



Date: 01/16/22 17:37
Re: Maine Potatoes move by rail for the first time in forty year
Author: callum_out

Mind you they still move out of Colorado on the San Luis Central as well.

Out 



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