Downeaster host railroad for sale?

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John Santos

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Jun 24, 2018
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That would be great...even better if extended to Halifax.
Nowadays, (pre-pandemic), you can't even get from Maine to New Brunswick on a bus, without going all the way to Montreal first...
Really? About 10 years ago, my mom and her best friend (both in their mid 80's) took the bus from Boston to New Brunswick to visit friends. I don't know the route, but I'm sure they didn't go through Montreal! I think they changed buses in Portland.
(Everyone thought they were crazy, but they had a great time!)
 

railiner

Conductor
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Mar 20, 2009
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Really? About 10 years ago, my mom and her best friend (both in their mid 80's) took the bus from Boston to New Brunswick to visit friends. I don't know the route, but I'm sure they didn't go through Montreal! I think they changed buses in Portland.
(Everyone thought they were crazy, but they had a great time!)
That was then, this is now....
At one time, Greyhound ran two or three daily thru interline trips from New England to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, but that ended over a decade ago.
There is a local county bus still running in Maine, linking Bangor with Calais, right across the border from St. Stephen, A similar operation linked St. Stephen with Saint John, but has quit operating due to lack of patronage, about a year ago.
 

jiml

Conductor
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Feb 27, 2019
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Which probably explains why there's no market for a train either. :(
 

cocojacoby

Lead Service Attendant
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May 13, 2014
Messages
371
Seems unlikely but strong rumor mill reports has it going to CN! Just might be coupled with the purchase of the SLR which would make much more sense.

Interesting times ahead.
 

Seaboard92

Conductor
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Dec 31, 2014
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As almost all of you know I have a good memory about routes, and I keep an atlas of the 1952 passenger network on my hard drive so here is what remains of the route of the Gull.

Boston & Maine

Boston, MA (North Station)-Portland, ME: An active mainline for Pan Am (Currently for sale), and route of the Downeaster to Portland. Mostly a single track railroad.

Maine Central
Portland, ME-Waterville, ME via Lewiston, ME (Used by the Northbound Only): Still an active mainline for Pan Am World Railways or whomever replaces them.


Portland, ME-Waterville, ME via Augusta, ME (Used by the Southbound Only)
Portland, ME-Brunswick, ME: A Pan Am branch line with Amtrak's downeaster service.

Brunswick, ME-Augusta, ME: Owned by the State of Maine and operated by the Pan Am.

Augusta, ME-Waterville, ME: A branch line owned and operated by Pan Am.

Waterville, ME-Mattawamkeag, ME: A Pan Am line all the way up to the former interchange with Canadian Pacific.

Mattawamkeag, ME-Vanceboro, ME: Technically this was the Canadian Pacific eastern mainline however the guide lists this as a Maine Central train so I'll list it there. It is now the Eastern Maine Railway owned by JD Irving. I wouldn't be surprised to see Canadian Pacific buy this back.

Canadian Pacific
Vanceboro, ME-Saint John, NB: This line is another JD Irving line the New Brunswick Southern. They actually operate a few passenger excursions on their property as well. I wouldn't be surprised to see Canadian Pacific buy this property too.

Canadian National
Saint John, NB-Moncton, NB: An active branch line for Canadian National still to this day.

Moncton, NB-Halifax, NS: An active mainline for Canadian National that is also used by Via Rail Canada's Ocean.
 

NS VIA Fan

Conductor
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Sep 24, 2011
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Mattawamkeag, ME-Vanceboro, ME: Technically this was the Canadian Pacific eastern mainline however the guide lists this as a Maine Central train so I'll list it there. It is now the Eastern Maine Railway owned by JD Irving. I wouldn't be surprised to see Canadian Pacific buy this back.
A little history: Mattawamkeag, ME-Vanceboro, ME was Maine Central until 1974 so would have been Maine Central when the 'Gull' ran. CP always had running rights on this section of track but bought it outright in 1974....then Maine Central became the tenant.
 

railiner

Conductor
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Mar 20, 2009
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Nice. Since you did that one, how about the portion of the "State of Maine", that currently has no passenger service?
 

Palmetto

Conductor
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May 12, 2014
Messages
1,994
I watched the last run westbound to NYC on the night of October 30, 1960, run though Andover, MA. 'Twas a sad day.

Portland ME to Worcester MA on the Boston and Maine Railroad via
The Western Route Main Line = Portland to Lowell Jct.
The Lowell Branch-Lowell Jct. to Bleachery [South Lowell]
The New Hampshire Main Line - Lowell to N. Chelmsford
The Stoney Brook Branch - N. Chelmsford to Willows [East of Ayer]
The Fitchburg Division Main Line - Willows to Ayer
The Worcester Main Line - Ayer to Worcester

The New Haven Railroad - Worcester to New London [now the P&W] until 1952
The New Haven Railroad - Worcester to Providence [now the P&W 1952-1960
The New Haven Railroad - Shore Line New London / Providence to New Haven
The New Haven Railroad - New Haven Division - New Haven to Woodlawn Jct [the Bronx]
The New York Central Harlem Division - Woodlawn Jct. to Grand Central Terminal.

State of Maine
The State of Maine provided overnight service between Grand Central in New York and Portland, ME via Worcester, MA, Lowell and Dover, NH. When service began in 1913, it ran NH to Springfield, B&A to Worcester and then via Lowell and Lawrence. By the mid-1920s it had been re-routed to run via New London and Putnam on the old Norwich & Worcester. By 1952, it reached Worcester via Providence, RI, which continued until service ended in October 1960. It always carried GCT - Portland sleepers, and through 1958, a GCT - Concord or Plymouth NH car as well. At times, one of the sleepers continued on to Bangor, ME.

The July 1952 consist was:

  • New York (GCT) - Portland: 14R-4DB (NH lw); 12-1; 14-4 (NH lw); 1dr-2cpt-3sb-buffet-lounge (Shore Lark/Meadow Lark)
  • New York (GCT) - Portland: 10 sect-1DR-2CPT; 10 sect-1DR-2CPT (Eastbound Fri., Westbound Sun.)
  • New York (GCT) - Concord, NH: 8 section-5 single-bedroom (except Sat.)

From another source:
After the arrival of the last lightweight sleepers in 1955, the consist looked like this: the B&M supplied a 6-section, 4-double-bedroom, 6-roomette sleeper NYC - Concord via Lowell, and another for NYC - Portland, but the NY,NH&H handled the other side of those trips, and added its own 6-4-6s, 14-4s, and a 6db-buffet-lounge to the NYC - Portland service. Pictures from 1959 and 1960 show the NH supplying the coaches (from the 8600 stainless-sheathed lightweight series), and that most of the head-end equipment was also likely to be NH. The March 1985 Bulletin says that NH steam locomotives ran through to Portland, but the only photographic evidence I've seen dates to the early 1930s. However, MEC steam and diesel power often ran into Worcester, MA.
 
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NS VIA Fan

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After the arrival of the last lightweight sleepers in 1955, the consist looked like this: the B&M supplied a 6-section, 4-double-bedroom, 6-roomette sleeper ............
Here's some more info on the B&M Sleepers that saw service on the State of Maine and also on the Gull to Saint John.......and even made their way back to Saint John on the Atlantic 20 years later!

 

Palmetto

Conductor
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We are quite off topic, but the Salisbury Beach is still in PV service.
 

railiner

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I watched the last run westbound to NYC on the night of October 30, 1960, run though Andover, MA. 'Twas a sad day.

Portland ME to Worcester MA on the Boston and Maine Railroad via
The Western Route Main Line = Portland to Lowell Jct.
The Lowell Branch-Lowell Jct. to Bleachery [South Lowell]
The New Hampshire Main Line - Lowell to N. Chelmsford
The Stoney Brook Branch - N. Chelmsford to Willows [East of Ayer]
The Fitchburg Division Main Line - Willows to Ayer
The Worcester Main Line - Ayer to Worcester

The New Haven Railroad - Worcester to New London [now the P&W] until 1952
The New Haven Railroad - Worcester to Providence [now the P&W 1952-1960
The New Haven Railroad - Shore Line New London / Providence to New Haven
The New Haven Railroad - New Haven Division - New Haven to Woodlawn Jct [the Bronx]
The New York Central Harlem Division - Woodlawn Jct. to Grand Central Terminal.

State of Maine
The State of Maine provided overnight service between Grand Central in New York and Portland, ME via Worcester, MA, Lowell and Dover, NH. When service began in 1913, it ran NH to Springfield, B&A to Worcester and then via Lowell and Lawrence. By the mid-1920s it had been re-routed to run via New London and Putnam on the old Norwich & Worcester. By 1952, it reached Worcester via Providence, RI, which continued until service ended in October 1960. It always carried GCT - Portland sleepers, and through 1958, a GCT - Concord or Plymouth NH car as well. At times, one of the sleepers continued on to Bangor, ME.

The July 1952 consist was:

  • New York (GCT) - Portland: 14R-4DB (NH lw); 12-1; 14-4 (NH lw); 1dr-2cpt-3sb-buffet-lounge (Shore Lark/Meadow Lark)
  • New York (GCT) - Portland: 10 sect-1DR-2CPT; 10 sect-1DR-2CPT (Eastbound Fri., Westbound Sun.)
  • New York (GCT) - Concord, NH: 8 section-5 single-bedroom (except Sat.)

From another source:
After the arrival of the last lightweight sleepers in 1955, the consist looked like this: the B&M supplied a 6-section, 4-double-bedroom, 6-roomette sleeper NYC - Concord via Lowell, and another for NYC - Portland, but the NY,NH&H handled the other side of those trips, and added its own 6-4-6s, 14-4s, and a 6db-buffet-lounge to the NYC - Portland service. Pictures from 1959 and 1960 show the NH supplying the coaches (from the 8600 stainless-sheathed lightweight series), and that most of the head-end equipment was also likely to be NH. The March 1985 Bulletin says that NH steam locomotives ran through to Portland, but the only photographic evidence I've seen dates to the early 1930s. However, MEC steam and diesel power often ran into Worcester, MA.
Very nice...thanks for the research! How about the current status of the segments no longer having passenger service? Freight only? Who owns them? Abandoned portions? This info would be helpful in speculating about the route ever seeing thru service again....
 

Palmetto

Conductor
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May 12, 2014
Messages
1,994
Very nice...thanks for the research! How about the current status of the segments no longer having passenger service? Freight only? Who owns them? Abandoned portions? This info would be helpful in speculating about the route ever seeing thru service again....
Here are those segments:

Lowell Jct. to Worcester on the PAR Lowell Branch, New Hampshire Main Line, Stoney Brook Branch, and the Worcester Main Line.

Worcester to either Providence or New London on the Providence and Worcester RR.
 

NS VIA Fan

Conductor
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Sep 24, 2011
Messages
1,528
Some more Downeaster DNA from Summer 1931....

Besides the Gull.....there was also the Down Easter (spelling)....with a through sleeper between New York (GCT) and Halifax via Worcester on Fridays that was added to another Boston-Halifax service....the Pine Tree Acadian

 

railiner

Conductor
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Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,966
Here are those segments:

Lowell Jct. to Worcester on the PAR Lowell Branch, New Hampshire Main Line, Stoney Brook Branch, and the Worcester Main Line.

Worcester to either Providence or New London on the Providence and Worcester RR.
So, those are all intact, and could be used now for a thru train between New York City and Maine?
 

Seaboard92

Conductor
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Dec 31, 2014
Messages
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We are quite off topic, but the Salisbury Beach is still in PV service.
And currently it is for sale on Ozark Mountain Railcar for 150,000 dollars if you want it. A man named Bob Lowe owns it along with the Lamberts Point (EX N&W Office Car), and Colonial Crafts (EX Pennsy Sleeper Lounge)
 

jiml

Conductor
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Feb 27, 2019
Messages
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And currently it is for sale on Ozark Mountain Railcar for 150,000 dollars if you want it. A man named Bob Lowe owns it along with the Lamberts Point (EX N&W Office Car), and Colonial Crafts (EX Pennsy Sleeper Lounge)
Knowing you, you probably took a long look at it. ;)
 

NES28

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 18, 2019
Messages
24
The Maine Central timetable brings back a memory of my Dad taking me with him on a business trip from Worcester to DC by sleeping car. Apparently, it would have been on a Sunday night/Monday morning in the late 1950s when the State of Maine went thru to DC.

I knew that the train ran via Providence. A tidbit I picked up in this discussion is that it ran via the Norwich & Worcester until 1952. So I suppose that it was not a coincidence that the Worcester-New London RDC service started, as I remember reading somewhere, about 1953, initially with 3 daily round trips, but quickly reduced to the 2 that ran until the start of Amtrak.
 

Palmetto

Conductor
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May 12, 2014
Messages
1,994
So, those are all intact, and could be used now for a thru train between New York City and Maine?
Yes, but with lots of trackwork needed on the PAR pieces. I believe the P&W is in relatively good shape. The Worcester Main and the P&W are also "dark" pieces of railroad--no signals. 49 MPH max there.
 

Seaboard92

Conductor
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Dec 31, 2014
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Knowing you, you probably took a long look at it. ;)
Here comes a surprise for you then. No I haven't looked at that car at all. My best friend used to work on the car so I know all about that car and it's quirks.
 

jiml

Conductor
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Feb 27, 2019
Messages
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Here comes a surprise for you then. No I haven't looked at that car at all. My best friend used to work on the car so I know all about that car and it's quirks.
Sorry, I just assumed, but did add the "winky" face. I certainly knew you'd have studied the car in question, even if not specifically interested in acquiring.
 
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