National News

Bankrupt railroad's locomotives auctioned off

By The Associated Press

MILO, Maine - Dozens of locomotives once owned by the railroad responsible for last year's deadly derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec have been sold at an auction in Maine.

Auctioneer Adam Jokisch says 35 locomotives sold for anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 to upward of $200,000 apiece on Tuesday.

Jokisch declined to provide an auction total.

All but seven locomotives were owned by Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railways, which went bankrupt after a runaway oil train exploded and killed 47 people in Lac-Megantic.

The auction will help pay back $3.7 million owed to Maine-based Bangor Savings Bank, which had liens on 24 of the locomotives.

The auction was supposed to include the lead locomotive from the train that derailed, but it was pulled from the auction at the request of Quebec Provincial Police.

Central Maine and Quebec Railway, which has assumed the bankrupt railroad's operations, plans to spend $10 million on rail improvements over the next two years.

CEO John Giles says the company is doing well as it attempts to lure back customers, and traffic levels are already at 40 per cent to 50 per cent of what they were a couple of years ago under Montreal, Maine & Atlantic.

"There are a lot of people who want us to succeed, and there are a lot of people whose businesses would be improved if they had reliable and economical rail transportation," he said.

Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railways and three of its employees are each charged with 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death, one for each victim of the crash.

If convicted, the men could face life sentences.

_ with files from The Associated Press

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