BANGOR, Maine — The Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, the bankrupt railroad company responsible for the devastating train explosion in July that destroyed a Quebec town and killed dozens, could move a step closer to being sold this week, according to media reports.

Robert Keach, who was appointed as MMA’s trustee in August, said an agreement with what’s called a stalking horse bidder should be signed this week, in time for a Dec. 16 hearing during which the judge will be asked to approve auction and sale procedures, according to Bloomberg News.

In bankruptcy proceedings, a stalking horse bidder is the potential buyer chosen to make the initial bid in an auction.

A half dozen “really committed parties” have shown “considerable interest” in MMA, Keach told the media outlet. He would not disclose the identities of potential buyers or what the sales price may be. He told Bloomberg that the sale would be complete before the company was reorganized.

MMA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Bangor on Aug. 7, a month after one of its trains rolled driverless down a hill before derailing in the middle of the town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, and causing an explosion that killed 47 people.

Keach did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday from the Bangor Daily News.

Whit Richardson

Whit Richardson is Business Editor at the Bangor Daily News. He blogs about Maine business, entrepreneurs and the economy.