I'm pretty late reporting this!
The Bangor Daily News reported on October 19 that the State of Maine purchased 233 miles of track (presumably including the land it is on) for $20.1 million dollars. They also received overhead traffic rights to allow a new operator to run traffic through. For example, an operator could have the MM&A carry traffic between Millinocket and Brownville Junction to interchange to NBSR.
The state is now shopping for an operator to run the line: "As the sale is finalized, MaineDOT will issue a Request for Proposals to solicit a private rail operator to provide service over the lines being purchased. MaineDOT has already received numerous expressions of interest from established railroads and expects lively competition for this franchise." Contenders could include the MM&A, NB Southern Railway, or the Pan Am Railway.
The track purchased runs "from Millinocket to Madawaska" and includes "branch lines to Caribou, Presque Isle, Easton, Houlton and Limestone."
The line has become very run down recently, with many portions down to a 10 MPH speed limit. The State of Maine recently received over $10 million in federal TIGER II funds for track improvements.
The MM&A will retain their southern lines, from St Jean., Quebec to Brownville Junction, ME and down to Northern Maine Junction, as well as the branch lines in Quebec and Vermont, and the Millinocket and Searsport, ME branches.
Governor's press release
Little red caboose
1 hour ago