AUGUSTA — The federal Surface Transportation Board has agreed to postpone action on a request to abandon 233 miles of railroad tracks in northern Maine to give the state and the railway time to reach a solution that could keep the line in operation.

The agency said today it will conduct mediation talks between the Maine Department of Transportation and the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway.

The railroad owns 774 miles of track that runs from Maine to Montreal. It is proposing to abandon only the stretch from Madawaska to Millinocket because it is losing money on it.

Maine legislators this month agreed to send a bond package to voters that includes money to buy the track and maintain it.

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