• Modern-Day Maine Central (What-if Scenario)

  • 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 MaineCentral252
So while thinking of ideas for my HO scale MEC, an idea popped into my head. Since I have a good bit of present-day rolling stock, I got the idea of modeling the MEC as it would be today had U.S. Filter/Ashland Oil had sold it to investors who would keep it as an independent railroad instead of to Guilford. Assuming that virtually nothing else happened differently railroad-wise (Guilford still gaining control of B&M/D&H, Pan Am Southern, the Ironroads/MMA saga, etc.), what would a still-independent Maine Central be like?

My thought is to keep things on the optimistic side of realistic (no double-stack trains running from Eastport, as cool as that would be :wink: ). I would probably have the Rockland Branch as still part of the system, as well as the Calais branch for serving the Woodland mill. The Mountain Division would also be valuable as a way to bypass an unreliable Guilford operation to the south, or as an alternative to the Moosehead, especially post-Lac Megantic disaster. The MEC might have even taken over the B&M north country branches to Berlin and Groveton (for the sake of the model I'd assume that the mills were still operating to some degree, possibly woodchip/biomass power generation). Traffic would still be primarily pulp and paper as it is today, though one has to think that they would have been more proactive towards maintaining and developing a more diversified traffic base.

What does everyone think? Ideas regarding a system map or locomotive roster? It would be pretty cool to see modern power in harvest gold :-D
  by MEC407
I've given this scenario a great deal of thought over the years. My picture isn't vastly different than yours, although I envisioned them being absorbed by a larger company like G&W. G&W orange is only a couple of shades darker than Harvest Gold, so all is not lost. :wink: And G&W keeps the names of their individual railroads, preventing the name and identity from being a fallen flag.

In my scenario, G&W's acquisition of MEC also included BAR and the CP lines. Hey, it's a fantasy after all, so I opted to skip all the Iron Road and RailWorld sadness.
  by MaineCentral252
Realistically, you may be right about MEC being part of G&W (And if/when Pan Am is sold off, that could very well even be reality, not to speculate too much :wink: ). Though on the other hand, any buyer deliberately purchasing the railroad out from under Guilford could be rather reluctant to sell it to G&W or a similar outfit. Then again, we're talking about 35 years of fictional history, a lot can happen in that time. Realistically, MEC could have gotten its paws on at least some of the BAR post-Ironroad or post-MMA. Not sure about the Moosehead though. My thought is that it would compete with the Mountain Division, so they could have at least one, but probably not both. One has to wonder though, if the Mountain Division was active, would the Moosehead even still exist, given the turmoil throughout its existence
  by Engineer Spike
I feel that MEC would be about where it is now, even if Guilford never happened. The mill closings are a fact, which would have happened, no matter who owned the company. Maybe better relations with customers might have kept the volumes higher, vs. what is shipped by road. Faster track speeds might have helped to capture more time sensitive traffic.

I don't know about the Mountain Div. There were definite detriments to it. The hills required extra power. It also had many weight restrictions. With the 263K, and now 268K car weights, bridge strengthening would have been required. Who would they connect to in St. J anyway? Maybe CPR wouldn't have pulled out if the volume had been there.

In short, my opinion is that MEC & B&M were mutually dependent on each other. This is what Buck Dumaine had been advocating for years. Do you think that MEC could have purchased B&M out of bankruptcy? When the plan to part out B&M was tossed out, the Portland Div., Lowell Branch, Stony Brook, and WN&P were what MEC expressed interest in, Would they later have wanted the whole thing, for a D&H connection? By this time the Fitchburg was in good shape, and the linehaul would have made it attractive.

Maybe the CP lines would have been attractive, if MEC had held out.
  by Engineer Spike
One point which I didn't bring up was on the B&M side, if MEC took the Portland Div. maybe CV would have taken the Conn River. With the Conrail split, the railroad which didn't get the B&A took the B&M. It turned out to be NS, but it could have been D&H/CPR looking to serve the New England market.

I am a modeler too, and grew up with the B&M. At first it was my goal to model, but was too impractical for me. It would have made me kitbash too much. The 300 class are later phase II, while Athearn had an early version. The bluebirds were a strange phase II/III combo. Besides, there were types of units, although fitting, B&M never had them.

I came up with the story that Guilford decided to exit the business. Most excess real estate was gone, and Mr. Mellon decided to reach for greener pastures. My plans are to do Hoosac Tunnel-Willows. This way there would be both rural scenes of the Mohawk Trail, big yard (E. Deerfield), and industry in Gardner-Ayer.