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Expanded Rail Operations for Proposed Sea-3 Terminal Expansion

Sea-3, Inc., a division of Trammo (www.trammo.com) operates a propane terminal facility at 190 Shattuck Way in the town of Newington.Representatives fromthe Sea-3 facility have received site review approval with the Town of Newington Planning Board to modify the facility and operations. Up to the present, propane has been shipped to the facility by freighters and offloaded for distribution by truck. Due to changes in the industry, Sea-3 is planning toexpand its existing terminal to allow it to receive shipments by rail and then either distribute it regionally by truck or export it by ship.

The City of Portsmouth has created this web page to provide information about the proposed expansion project, to keep residents apprised of the status of the application, and to provide contact information for federal, state and local officials and others with an interest in the project. The City's primary concern with respect to this project relates to the increase in the volume of rail traffic carrying hazardous materials close to neighborhoods and business areas. For more information please contact Peter Britz, City of Portsmouth Environmental Planner plbritz@cityofportsmouth.com or call 610-7215.

Committee to Study the Safe Delivery of Oil and Gas
Established subsequent to passage of HB 1376 The newly established Committee to Study the Safe Delivery of Oil and Gas, Including Natural Gas and Propane, Throughout the of State of NH includes the following members:

Jacqueline Cali-Pitts - House
Laurence Rappaport - House
Marcia Hammon - House
Martha Fuller Clark - Senate

The Committee most recently met on Wednesday, October 1, 2014. NH State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan and the State Director of Aeronautics Rail and Transit Patrick C. Herlihy gave testimony to the Committee. The focus was on state preparedness regarding fire safety issues posed by the transport of hazardous material and rail safety. A list of documents provided to the committee can be found here: www.gencourt.state.nh.us/statstudycom/committees/2171/documents.aspx

For more information about the committee and its membership a link to the committee's webpage can be found here: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/statstudcomm/committees/2171/


MAP: Railroad Lines from Newfields to Newington (PDF)

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Impact on Rail Traffic | Permitting Process | Documentation | Contacts | Elected Officials


Impact on Rail Traffic

The rail lines used to transport the propane are owned and operated by Pan Am railways.  Those lines enter Portsmouth by crossing under Interstate 95 south of Exit 3. It then crosses under Route 33 west of Griffin Road and roughly parallels Borthwick Avenue before crossing over the Route 1 Bypass and following Islington Street to the downtown rail yard along North Mill Pond. From there, the rail line crosses Maplewood Avenue, Green Street and Market Street at grade, then curves to the west, passing under the approach to the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge and the I-95 bridge. Finally, the tracks pass under Kearsarge Way and between the Laurel Court and Spinnaker Way/Osprey Landing neighborhoods before exiting the City at the PSNH property.

The proposed Sea-3 expansion will result in an increase in rail traffic from Rockingham Junction in Newfields, through Stratham, Greenland, Portsmouth and Newington. Currently, Pan Am Railways operates two to three trains per week, each with 7 to 12 rail cars. With the expansion of the facility, service would increase to approximately 6 round trips per week, with up to 16 tank cars (in addition to the existing non Sea-3 related cars on the line).

Permitting Process History

On November 25, 2013, the Newington Zoning Board of Adjustment granted three variances for the proposed terminal expansion.

The Newington Planning Board approved the application under its Site Plan Review process. The Newington Planning Board approved this application at its May 19th meeting. Here are the minutes where Sea - 3 was on the agenda November 18, 2013, December 9, 2013, January 13, 2014, February 10, 2014, March 10, 2014, March 24, 2014, April 17, 2014, May 5, 2014, May 19, 2014.

An appeal to the Site Review approval from the City of Portsmouth was heard by the Newington Zoning Board of Adjustment on September 15, 2014. The appeal was denied.

At its meeting on November 18, 2013, the Planning Board voted to determine that the proposed expansion is a Development of Regional Impact and to notify the surrounding communities of Greenland, Portsmouth, Newfield and Stratham as well as the Rockingham Planning Commission. This action gives the affected communities the status of abutters for the purpose of Site Plan Review. On January 8, 2014, the RPC's Regional Impact Committee met to review the project and found four areas of concern: increased idling of trains near residential neighborhoods; fire safety at Rockingham Junction and at junction points along the line; the physical adequacy of the rail line; and ensuring that the Sea-3 site improvements are constructed in accordance with NFPA 58 (see letter here).

While the Town of Newington has jurisdiction over the expansion of the Sea-3 terminal through its Site Plan Review regulations, neither Newington nor Portsmouth has any regulatory authority over the rail lines, which are governed instead by federal laws, specifically the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) with respect to safety matters, and the Interstate Commerce Act (ICA) with respect to operational and commercial matters. These federal laws preempt local and state regulations.

On May19th the Newington Planning Board voted to approve the Sea-3 application for site review (click here).


Description of the Project:

Regional Coordination:

Correspondence from Congressional Delegation

Newington Planning Board Minutes

Newington Planning Board Agenda and Packet

Newington Town Officials

Correspondence from the City of Portsmouth

Correspondence from the State of New Hampshire

Letter from residents in the region

Rockingham Planning Commission, Regional Impact Committee

Correspondence from Sea-3 and Pan Am Railways

Correspondence from the Federal Rail Administration

Technical Reports

Petition for Declaratory Order

Superior Court Decision

State of New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee



Paul Bogan
Vice President of Operation
Sea-3, Inc
190 Shattuck Way
Newington, NH 03801

Robert B. Culliford
Senior Vice President & General Counsel
Pan Am Railways
Iron Horse Park
North Billerica, MA 01862

Newington Planning Board
Newington Town Hall
205 Nimble Hill Road
Newington, NH 03801

Leslie Fiorenzo
Regional Administrator
Federal Railroad Administration - Region 1
55 Broadway, Room 1077
Cambridge , MA 02142

Mr. John H. Robinson
NH Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 483
7 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH  03302-0483

Elected Officials
NH State Government
Name Address Telephone Email address
GOVERNOR Hassen, Maggie 25 Capitol St, State House Concord, NH 03301 603-271-2121 governorhassan@nh.gov
EXECUTIVE COUNCIL District 3 Sununu, Christoper 71 Hemlock Court Newfields, NH 03856 603-658-1187 csununu@nh.gov
STATE SENATOR District 21 Clark, Martha Fuller 152 Middle Street Portsmouth, NH 03801 603-271-6933 martha.fullerclark@leg.state.nh.us
District 25 - Representing Portsmouth Ward 1 Pantelakos, Laura 528 Dennett Street Portsmouth, NH 03801 603-436-2148 lcpantelakos@comcast.net
District 26 - Representing Portsmouth Ward 2 Norelli, Terie 35 Middle Road Portsmouth, NH 03801 603-436-2108 terie.norelli@leg.state.nh.us
District 27 - Representing Portsmouth Ward 3 Emerson-Brown, Rebecca 34 Woodbury Avenue Portsmouth, NH 03801 603-436-9392 rebecca.emerson-brown@leg.state.nh
District 28 - Representing Portsmouth Ward 4 Ward, Gerry 16 Nixon Park Portsmouth, NH 03801 603-436-6142 ward4staterep@gmail.com
District 29 - Representing Portsmouth Ward 5 Wazlaw, Brian 89 Sagamore Avenue Portsmouth, NH 03801 603-436-2833 brian.wazlaw@leg.state.nh.us
District 30 - Representing Portsmouth Wards 1,2,4,5 Cali-Pitts, Jacqueline 40 Bedford Way, #112 Portsmouth, NH 03801 603-431-7657 cali0917@aol.com
District 31 Representing Portsmouth Ward 3, and
Greenland, Newington and North Hampton
Scarlotto, Joe 130 Oxford Avenue Portsmouth, NH 03801 603-501-1800 joe.scarlotto@leg.state.nh.us
UNITED STATES SENATOR Ayotte, Kelly 41 Hooksett Rd., Unit 2 Manchester, NH 03101 603-622-7979 jane_hirsch@ayotte.senate.gov
  Shaheen, Jeanne 1589 Elm St., Suite 3 Manchester, NH 03101 603-647-7500 jonathan_jarvis@shaheen.senate.gov
REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS District 1 Shea-Porter, Carol 33 Lowell Street Manchester, NH 03101 603-641-9536 josh.denton@mail.house.gov