While switching a series of rail cars onto a different siding at Northern Maine Junction in Hermon, a Pan Am Railways locomotive backs across the Coldbrook Road crossing in this 2013 file photo. Credit: Brian Swartz / BDN

Pan Am Railways — Maine’s largest railroad — is planning to be acquired by CSX, which operates 21,000 miles of track covering the eastern U.S., Ontario and Quebec.

Nate Moulton, director of freight and passenger services for the state Transportation Department, said the sale could be good for Maine.

“On the surface it looks very good in that you now have got direct rail, you know, connections, without interchange to many locations up and down the eastern part of the country,” he said.

But Moulton said there are questions to be answered, including how CSX will handle the Amtrak Downeaster passenger trains that use private tracks from Brunswick to the New Hampshire-Massachusetts border.

“We have questions in that regard, making sure that service is protected and continues to run on time and efficiently. So, those are some of the things we need to talk to them about as we get into this process,” he said.

The acquisition will require the approval of the federal Surface Transportation Board.

In 2018, Amtrak put out a report card showing how well host railroads worked with the passenger service. CSX rated a B-, better than the C average.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.