After some initial delays, a partial sale of the bankrupt Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway is scheduled to close next week, according to company officials.

The closing, scheduled for May 15, will be for MMA’s assets in the United States, but not for its Canadian assets, said Robert Keach, who has been MMA’s trustee during bankruptcy proceedings. The sale is divided because Canadian regulators have yet to approve a certificate of fitness for the new railroad company, which is required for operation in Canada. The buyer of MMA’s assets is an affiliate of New York-based Fortress Investment Group, and it will operate the railroad as the Central Maine and Quebec Railway.

MMA operates about 500 miles of railroad tracks that connect Searsport, Millinocket and Bangor with Montreal. The company filed for bankruptcy in early August, a month after one of its trains was involved in a deadly derailment in the Quebec town of Lac Megantic. The accident resulted in the deaths of 47 people and the destruction of most of the community’s downtown area.

After the May 15 closing, MMA will continue to operate the Canadian portion of the line until the proper regulatory approvals are received. There continues to be no east-west traffic over the international border, so the separate operation of the railroad is not expected to pose problems.

The sales agreement, which was signed in December, originally set the closing date for no later than March 14. However, that date was pushed back because of the delay with the Canadian certification. On March 24 , the Canadian Transportation Agency received the Central Maine and Quebec Railway’s application for a certificate of fitness and is still reviewing the file, said Chantal Laflamme, a spokeswoman for the agency. Laflamme would not say when a decision is expected.

The sale of MMA’s Canadian assets will close no later than five days after the Canadian regulators approve the paperwork, according to an amended asset purchase agreement filed with the bankruptcy court May 5.

Staff Writer Whit Richardson can be reached at 791-6463 or at:

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