• MEC passenger cars

  • 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 JKTRR
To commemorate a 1956 trip on the "State of Maine", I'm painting up an HO car in MEC colors. Research has showed/told of the transition from red window band to "dark" green w/ gold separator stripes. It also appears that not all the smooth-sided cars got the repaint job before leave Maine. Anyone know if this is true, and.........

....what color red is recommended to be used. (It looks close to Tuscan Red!)


  by jbvb
From discussion on the [email protected] (archives are open), it appears that only 1 or 2 MEC coaches ever got repainted. There's also been a recent rehash of the "B&M maroon" question. The color varied a good deal, due to different paint batches and fading. Accu-Flex is toward the dark side, Accu-Paint is hard to get, some people use E-L or Wisconsin Central maroon.

  by sjl
I had a friend recently paint some N scale passenger cars in MEC; she used Model-Flex Light Tuscan Oxide Red for the maroon window band. The finished cars turned out very nice.

  by gokeefe
Does anyone know if there are surviving MEC diners still in existence and if so what is their status? If not then what/where are the last surviving passenger cars from the MEC if any?
  by jbvb
Dredging for info for a web site update, I found that Railway Museum of New England has MEC heavyweight baggage 352 (built 1914 by Laconia as baggage/RPO 411). I don't know of any other ex-MEC cars except for #391 at City Point, which appears to have started life in the 1950s as a P-S sleeper-lounge or diner, almost certainly for some other road.
  by gokeefe
If that car started life another railroad then there is almost no way that it ever saw revenue passenger service on the Maine Central. I'm betting this car is ex-D&H, just like the PAR business train.
  by sandyriverman
Because of my modeling efforts I am looking for historical information on Maine Central Passenger cars. Specifically I am looking for info on the combines used on the mixed trains that operated on the Mountain Subdivision between Bartlett and Beecher Falls mostly. There were at least two that I am aware of numbers 501 and 502. Initially I thought these two were the same. In looking at more photos it is clear that they are not. #502 has 12 or 13 windows in the passenger compartment while 501 appears to have 8. Not even sure if they were the same length. They appear quite similar at first glance and only after you have looked at lots of pics do you see differences.

They were wood sided w/truss rods, oil lamps, and closed vestibules. They look enough alike to have been built by the same builder. My first guess, and its only that, is Laconia but that's just a guess. They are unusual as I cannot find much for other railroads that used this equipment. Most move from 1890 stuff right into heavyweight steel by 1920. These I am interested in I would guess were built around 1900-1910.

I cannot find anyone who makes a model of anything that is even close which is odd itself. In fact so far I haven't been able to find anything other than a Labelle kit, which could be suitably modified.

History to me is like solving a crime is to a detective. I want to find out more about these cars. I cannot find any roster of MEC cars that have any info about them. I found one listing of MEC Combines #501-#506. I have a picture of 506 and its steel. Obviously not the same.

I have made some progress on my research into the milk cars used in the area. But most folks seemed stumped by these combines.

Any info on them would be appreciated and welcomed.

I agree that there needs to be a place where all this information re MEC equipment is in one place.

  by sandyriverman
Further input on Maine Central Passenger cars and wood combines 501 and 502 in particular.

Here is a picture of MEC wood combine # 502 taken in June 1949 someplace on the Beecher Falls branch.
In researching I found a roster of MEC combines with numbers 501 throuogh 506. After extensive research of photographs I believe that #501 and #502 were near twins. I thought for months that they were different. #501 has 13 windows to a side. Another wood combine used in the area has 8 windows to a side. I just discovered that there was a third combine #505 that served in the area. These cars were the only passenger service between Beecher Falls and Bartlett and vice-versa for many years. #501 and #502 were wood cars with truss rods and oil lamps, dinosaurs in that era. They even lasted into the fifties and the diesel era before all passenger service in that area ended. I believe that these cars were truly unique. Wood cars with truss rods and oil lamps dated from 1890 or so. By 1920 everything was heavyweight and truss rods were gone. These combines were built this way in a time when few others were anyplace as far as I can see. I have searche extensively for anything built by a model railroad supplier that would work for these cars and have come up with exactly nothing. Labelle makes a 60 ft combine as built in 1905 and just bought one of them. The windows are wrong but fixable I think. No one else makes anything even close. I think any of these cars left, like 501, are likely truly rare pieces as very few were built to my knowledge.

I have a picture of combine #506 which was used for many years in Maine on the Hartland branch. This car was steel. I have just found a pic today of #505 on the Mountain sub and its hard to tell but that looks like it has a steel underframe. So 501 and 502 are unique. I have absolutely no idea who built em. Laconia would be a wild guess as they built lots of wooden cars and clung to the technology long after others went to steel. I also do not know what happend to them, with one exception.

Here is #501 taken in Vermont in 1979. She looks great. Not sure if she is still around but suspect so as she looks good in this photo


I am a fan of history and I like a good detective mystery. finding out all I can about these cars has become a passion as I need to model a couple for my railroad. But more than that I want to know the history of them. Fill in the holes if you will.

I would be much appreciative of any info on the cars, any place that would have a roster of MEC passenger equipment, any MEC historical collections etc. I would be very interested in becoming part of any group who wanted to try and amass this information in one place.

Are there any other history nuts like me out there who might wonder the same thing. Wouldn't it be great to actually know just how many MEC passenger cars and special cars like RPO's, these combines and others there may be lurking around.
I think so.

Help the cause if you can.

  by sandyriverman
Just found pic of Combine #502


Not sure if still exists or not but I was right about one thing. It is a near twin to #501.

  by jbvb
The only published MEC passenger roster I'm aware of is in Liljestrand & Sweetland (Bob's Photo) Passenger Cars of Northern New England Vol 2. the color photo of #502 in Bangor is on its cover. Note that a lot of B&M equipment of similar vintage survived into the 1950s in commuter service, having been rebuilt before WWII with steel center sills (noted as SUF in rosters). They kept the truss rods to support the body, but the steel sill took the force from the couplers.

I put an MEC passenger roster up on my website (http://www.faracresfarm.com/jbvb/rr/index.html) a month ago, starting from the 1951 ORPTE, but I pay more attention to B&M. There are several fairly serious historians on the [email protected] list (which has open archives), but the focus there is B&M. I avoid lists with closed archives (what I type is intended to be shared), so I don't know much about lists that might focus more on the MEC.
  by sandyriverman
Thanks for the input. I have found more info on B & M cars than MEC too. Guess B & M has more followers maybe. I got interested in this as I am building a model of the MEC Mountain Sub mostly from Bartlett west. The Beecher Falls branch was a gem of rural railroading for years. The combines were the passenger accomodations for much of that time. They were a fixture on every mixed. So I thought I could find something to model them with. Not so. Can't find anything by any manufacturer thats even close other than a LaBelle kit for a 1905 combine. The windows are wrong but fixable.

So then I got looking around and found these cars must have been pretty rare as I can't fine evidence of their use anyplace else. Most RR's went right to heavyweight from the 19th century stuff. I saw a list of MEC combine numbers that went from 501 to 506. 506 was steel as I have a photo. I eventually figured out that 501 and 502 were virtual twins though it took me a while to figure that out. Ron Johnson's 470 RR club book on the Mountain Sub has a few photos of these cars and you can see that there were at least two differnt types. One pic shows (poorly) what I believe to be wood car with steel underfarme, no truss rods. That has 8 windows on a side. Cannot read the number though. 505 is mentioned in the text so that may be the number. It certainly is different from 501 and 502.

I have enough info to make a reasonable model of the cars but I am intrigued by the mystery now. I would like to find out more about them as they seem to have been very unique to the area.