• Maine Central / Pulp and Paper Mills

  • 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 Highball
I was recently browsing through my rail book collection. In the publication " Northern Rails, 1978 Edition " ( by the 470 Club ), the MEC section states 17 pulp and paper mills are served by the railroad.

Starting with mill locations that are still in operation, to my knowledge........
Woodland ( on the now isolated former Calais Branch, traffic interchanged with New Brunswick Southern RR at Milltown Junction Me. / N.B. ), Lincoln, Old Town, Bucksport, Cumberland, Rumford, Rileys ( Jay ), Livermore Falls, Madison, Hinckley.

The following are locations whereby mills are closed......Brewer, Winslow, Pejepscot and Gardiner ( both on the Lewiston Lower Branch ), Augusta ( I believe a mill was located just north of the city ) and Gilman, N.H., on the former Mountain Sub.

So, I have complied 16 locations, one missing.......any corrections, additions, deletions ?
  by markhb
When you say Cumberland, I assume you mean the Sappi /former S.D. Warren mill in Westbrook (Cumberland Mills, I think the area's called)?

Was Statler Tissue north of Augusta, or south of it?

Also, I believe that the Gardiner mill, and probably the Pejepscot as well, would actually (and somewhat nitpickingly) have been on the Lower Road mainline, not the Lewiston Lower Branch which follows the northeast shore of the Androscoggin.
  by Highball
Markhb, I stand corrected on the Gardiner Mill, to being on The Lower Road Mainline.........and my reference to Cumberland would be actually as you stated, the former S.D. Warren Mill in Westbrook.

The Pejepscot Mill was on the Lewiston Lower Branch. A time ago, I followed the Lower Road Main on Google Maps and just beyond the north end of the rail bridge in Augusta, I noticed a closed mill complex. It was confirmed to me as being a papermill, on this forum, after I inquired.
  by Zog
The old mill at Livermore Falls is closed. Only the mill at Rileys is in operation.

MP. 29.5
Hudson Division
  by gokeefe
Statler Tissue was in Augusta on the EAST bank of the Kennebec River after the rail line crossed the Kennebec River. I did some training at the mill with my local Fire Department. As with many mill properties from that era this one was shut down intact. All equipment was left in place awaiting the restart that never came. It was impressively dangerous in many regards there were hazards everywhere from asbestos, collapsing underground tanks, industrial chemicals left in place and a whole host of vandalism and tresspassing issues. The City of Augusta did themselves a pretty big favor by taking over the facility for unpaid property taxes and scrapping the equipment. They will be doing environmental remediation on that site for years to come.

If I were going to take a shot in the dark I would guess something maybe along either the Farmington or Dover-Foxcraft branch lines. I think at least one of these may still have been in operation at the time of publication (1978).
  by bigfreight
Their used to be a Scott Paper mill in Winslow,Me. I use to load there back in the 80's and I remember seeing train tracks in the mill.
  by bubbytrains
How about Yorktowne Paper on the Cobosseecontee Branch? Or is that what was meant by the reference to the Gardiner Mill? --Alan S.
  by Highball
My reference for the Gardiner Mill was the Yorktown Paper Co.

In the book, " Meet The Maine Central....The Pine Tree Route 1960-1981" as published by the 470 Railroad Club, there is a photo taken ( by Ron Johnson ) on page 31, thus described.........

" Crossing water with a name as long as the branch itself, a MEC GP 7 pulls across the Cobbosseecontee Stream with several loads from Yorktown Paper Co. The distinctive feature of the two mile branch connecting with the Lower Road at Gardiner is the wood pile trestles of which there are three totaling 2000 feet in length. In 1940, GE tested the 44 ton demonstrator engine on this branch and MEC eventually ordered seven units ".

Cobbosseecontee...... Hey, Maine certainly has a number of rivers, streams etc. with unique names.
  by BR4
On a related note, reports from the Westbrook area indicate that PAR has been running to Cumberland Mills pretty much daily during the work week. Is Sappi shipping/receiving by rail again?
  by bubbytrains
Still one missing. How about Keyes Fiber in Shawmut (Fairfield)?
  by Highball
bubby trains wrote:Still one missing. How about Keyes Fiber in Shawmut (Fairfield)?
A short time ago, I was pondering again the missing pulp / paper mill from my original list of seventeen. It then occurred to me, that I have a collection of Maine Central Messengers from the 70's and 1980.

As notated inside the front cover ....." The Maine Central Messenger is published by the Maine Central Railroad Co. and Portland Terminal Company, circulated without charge to active and retired employees of these companies and to customers and other friends throughout the nation. Printed in Maine on Maine made paper. "

Bingo....the spring 1980 issue contained an article " of Paper Mills and Railroads "....essentially stating how important the Paper Industry was for the MEC, amounting for 60% of the carloads. It lists 17 locations where MEC serves mills.........Westbrook, Lisbon Falls, Augusta, Old Town, Bucksport, Skowhegan, Madison, Topsham, Jay, Livermore Falls, Gardiner, Rumford, Brewer, Woodland, Waterville, Winslow, and Lincoln.

So, browsing my original list of locations, what's different ? Lisbon Falls, Skowhegan, Topsham.... Topsham missing from my original list.........Lisbon Falls I had as Pejepscot and Skowhegan as Hinckley.

Again from the Maine Messenger, the Topsham and Lisbon Falls mills were owned by the Pejepscot Paper Division of the Hearst Corp. and the Skowhegan location would be the the present day Sappi Mill, just north of Hinckley. Speaking of rail to Skowhegan, MEC discontinued service in 1971, Shawmut to Skowhegan.
  by markhb
The other big difference between your original list and the one in the Messenger is that you included Gilman, NH; the MEC one omitted that but included, as bubbytrains caught, Keyes Fibre (now Huhtamaki), right next to the Waterville yard.
The Pulp mill in Woodland is without rail service since the big floods last month. The railroad from Calais to Woodland has large washouts that may or may not be repaired this spring. NBSR has one engine a dozen cars and a snow plow stranded at the mill in Woodland.
  by gokeefe
Is NBSR operating on some kind of trackage rights to Woodland?
Since the Mill reopened a couple of years ago NBSR has been operating the Calais to Woodland branch. They keep a engine at the mill for switching and runs to Calais. GRS is responsible for the upkeep and security of the ROW,and are paid by the mill for this service. This was part of the old agreement when GRS operated the trains.