Grand Trunk

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NRGeep
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Grand Trunk

Post by NRGeep » Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:07 pm

What are the steepest grades on the line between Maine and Vermont in the White Mountains terrain?

S1f3432
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Re: Grand Trunk

Post by S1f3432 » Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:19 pm

There is a grade profile of the entire Portland to Montreal route in Jeff Holt's book "The Grand Trunk in New
England". From Portland the railroad is generally uphill to Locke Mills, then a short downhill to the Androscoggin valley
at Bethel, then mostly uphill again to a summit of 1073' several miles west of Berlin. From there it is downgrade to the
Connecticut River valley with the low point about halfway between Groveton and North Stratford. From this point it is
again generally uphill again to Summit, Vermont 6.5 miles west of Island Pond at an elevation of 1377 feet. This is the
highest point between Portland and Montreal. Westbound the ruling grade is between West Paris (Bates) and Bryant
Pond- "Bacon's Grade" - about 1.1%. Employee Timetable 15, 10-31-1971 limits 4400-4500 series GP9's to 1610 tons
westbound and TT#38, 9-27-1953 limits the 3700 series USRA mikes to 1700 tons. Other significant westward grades
are Gorham to Berlin, North Stratford to Wenlock , and Island Pond to Summit. Eastward grades aren't as severe- the
climb from Groveton to west of Berlin and again from Bethel to Locke Mills the latter being the ruling eastbound
grade Island Pond to Portland. The 1971 ETT limits GP9's to 2030 tons and the 1953 ETT limits the USRA mikes to
2800 tons. There is a steeper grade in both directions over the hump between Richmond and Actionvale, PQ. Hope
this helps.

NRGeep
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Re: Grand Trunk

Post by NRGeep » Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:13 pm

Thanks. Were/are helper engines used on the line?

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NHV 669
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Location: Off the long abandoned BC&M to Bethlehem

Re: Grand Trunk

Post by NHV 669 » Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:12 pm

At present, Lewiston Jct. is the only US terminal with units on duty, as the locals are all based there. 393/4 generally use three or four GP40's with their lone QGRY SD40 making its appearances. Westbounds are usually at least 75% empties, but you can really hear them charging up west out of IP.
Casey

NHVT 669 sits at the south end of the "Pompy" line in White River Jct., VT on 4/29/1993. Photo by Richard Roberg.

S1f3432
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Re: Grand Trunk

Post by S1f3432 » Fri Dec 21, 2018 8:15 pm

Prior to the Great Depression there was an enginehouse at Bryant Pond with a helper engine working between
there and Bates. If I recall correctly the engine house was torn down in 1929 although I may be confusing the
date with another engine house at South Paris for the Norway Branch engine. Opposite the station at Bates was
a stub spur named "Cookson's" after an engineer on the helper.
In the early 70's while I was attending high school CN established a roadswitcher at South Paris, officially train
798/799 with working limits from Lewiston Jct. to Bethel, going on duty at 11 AM Mon-Sat. On days 393 was running
heavy it was common for the dispatcher to hold the switch crew on duty and push 393 to Bryant Pond. This saved
having 393's crew from having to pick up and cut in the unit and later having to swap it to 394 to be returned to
South Paris later that evening. Worked good for me- got out of school at 2, 393 usually hit town around 3 and
knowing many of the crew members I often could get a ride. This was when GP9's were the order of the day and
with 3 or 4 on the head pin and 1 pushing 80-90 cars we'd grind up the hill at ~12 mph.

NRGeep
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Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2004 9:33 pm

Re: Grand Trunk

Post by NRGeep » Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:17 pm

Great stories!

Was there an increase in tonnage on the line when the Mountain
Division ceased operations in mid 80's? Or did all MC freight just get moved
to other PAR routes?

roberttosh
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Re: Grand Trunk

Post by roberttosh » Sat Dec 22, 2018 4:15 pm

I think when the Mountain Division closed, GTI shifted the remaining CP interchange traffic to Keag and everything else ended up being routed over the former B&M. If the GT picked up any business it was minimal.

S1f3432
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Re: Grand Trunk

Post by S1f3432 » Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:21 pm

In addition to the agreements to reroute the traffic, there was an overall decrease in traffic. The paper
mills were in a general decline and with GTI's adversarial attitude towards customers and connections.
a lot of the remaining traffic went to the truckers and the highways.

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NHV 669
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Re: Grand Trunk

Post by NHV 669 » Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:11 am

Tonnage seems to go in big swings during the week these days, especially seasonal traffic like propane, but you've also got to consider that they lost two online mills at the beginning of the century, and then a complete loss of what slim intermodal traffic remained from CN just a few years ago. They're not much different from the Mountain Division, not much local business west of the Maine State line.
Casey

NHVT 669 sits at the south end of the "Pompy" line in White River Jct., VT on 4/29/1993. Photo by Richard Roberg.

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