• Bar Harbor Express: Question

  • Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.
Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.

Moderator: MEC407

  by trainsinmaine
The Bar Harbor Express was the crack train that used to run from Boston to Bangor to Hancock Point, Maine, until around 1930. At Hancock Point it met a ferry that transported passengers over to the resort community of Bar Harbor, where at one time the Maine Central Railroad owned a large hotel.

I am very familiar with the route this train took, and have traced the old roadbed from Washington Junction, near Ellsworth, all the way to Hancock Point. However: After two trips by car to Bar Harbor this past week, I'm left wondering (scratching head here) why the
railroad didn't just built a direct branch from Ellsworth to Bar Harbor, over roughly the route that Route 3 traverses today. The layout of the land between Ellsworth and Eden is quite flat; it would have been easy to build a causeway across to Mt. Desert Island from Trenton. (They almost connect.) Building an ROW from Eden into Bar Harbor village would have been somewhat more difficult, but certainly not impossible. Why wasn't it done, rather than pursuing the Ellsworth-to-Hancock Point-then-ferry route?
  by scottychaos
Last time I was in Bar Harbor, I was in a bookstore and found (and bought) this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Steam-Summit-Pete ... 0966483111


(great book!)
I asked the bookstore owner if there had ever been a railroad into Bar Harbor itself..he said no! never..
the reason? they purposely wanted the railroad kept out! and worked hard to keep it out..
no one wanted a noisy, smelly railroad in their town..and the tourist industry was already well served by boat and carriage.

And the cog railway to the top of the mountain was built up the opposite side of the mountain, away from Bar Harbor..
(although I think that was because of an easier route on that side..not because of specific opposition from Bar Harbor)
patrons of the cog railroad had to take a carriage and boat ride around the mountain before they could get on the train
to go up the mountain!

Later, the builders of the Cog railroad wanted to build a railroad from the base of the cog railway, into Bar Harbor,
and the town successfully fought it, and it was never built.

a rare example of a "resort town" keeping a railroad out, because they felt were already better off without it..
they felt the railroad would hurt business, not help it..

  by trainsinmaine
Geez, there were NIMBYs around way back then??
  by scottychaos
There have *always* been Nimbys! ;)

Rarely do I agree with the nimbys, but I do in this case..
Bar Harbor never needed a railroad..they did fine without one,
and I agree it could have potentially harmed the "vacation/resort" appeal of the town..
Then, and now, people enjoyed Bar Harbor as an escape, as "something different" than home..
something *better* than home..nicer, quieter, cleaner, more relaxing, etc..

and expecially back then, it was a destination for the wealthy, who had no problems getting there by carriage or boat.
a railroad would have only harmed the appeal, and harmed business..
99% of the time a railroad is a good thing for a community..but Bar Harbor was in the 1% where the railroad made no sense.

  by kilroy
I guess there were no commuters clamoring for a one seat ride then.