• Good Books on Maine Central History?

  • 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 NellsChoo
Hello all

I have been wondering why it is I never see any books about Maine Central history. I don't mean photo books like the ones from Morning Sun, but a regular history book. Can anyone suggest one that may be out of print? I really don't know a whole lot about the road, but since it was so close to the B&M for so long, I figure there has to be SOME good reading out there!
  by BM50
While it won't cover the whole system, I would recommend Maine Central Mountain Division which was published by The 470 Railroad Club. As the name implies, it is only the history of one division of the road. However, it is one of the most detailed and well written books I've ever read on any railroad subject. Lots of photos, track diagrams, equipment rosters and operations among other info. Even if you find other books that cover the whole line, this one should be on the book shelf.

It is out of print although I've heard rumors about a reprint. I was fortunate to find a soft cover copy on ebay for $58. This amazed me, since I've tried bidding on other copies in the past, but backed off after the bidding got to high. I've seen some sell for $125 or more. Besides ebay, I would check with online book sellers who specialize in older railroad books. Sometimes Amazon or Barnes and Noble will have a dealer located through their search function.

Duane Goodman
  by TomNelligan
I'd recommend finding a copy of The Rail Lines of Northern New England by Robert M. Lindsell (Branch Line Press, 2000). It's a line-by-line history covering Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont rather than a specific MEC corporate history, but it covers the entire railroad and is quite detailed.

If you really want to dig deeply into regional rail history, look for a copy of the 1940s book Steelways of New England by Alvin Harlow. You might find one via a used book dealer. It was once considered a classic reference, and was written at a time when railroads were still a dominant form of transportation, thus it has a rather different perspective than what we read today after decades of abandonments and corporate changes.
  by ferroequinarchaeologist
Besides endorsing the previous recommendations, I suggest you search ebay or bookstores for a copy of Bulletin #152 of Railroad History from Spring 1985, the regular publication of The Railway & Locomotive Historical Society. It contains a 35-page article briefly summarizing the history, a listing and description of all the predecessor roads, and an all-time locomotive roster. As a bonus, it also contains a brief history of the Bangor and Aroostook by Jerry Angier, and a history of early Maine pioneer Bangor & Picataquis Canal and Rail-Road Company.

  by NellsChoo
TOM, I have both of those books. "Steelways" is quite a book, if sometimes too heavy with stock/corporation info. In fact, I am almost done reading it yet again!