• Please Help - Back in NH/ME Area - Looking for Railfanning

  • Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.
Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.

Moderator: MEC407

  by MECJunkie
 
Hello all,

Well, I am finally back in the area after MANY years - as in about 25 - 30 and it seems a lot has changed....from B/M and MEC to Guilford and Pan Am.

So, here are my questions.....

1. Seems there's definitely some track that is long gone and now defunct.....so....where can I track down some good railfanning spots within about 1-2 hours drive
from the Portsmouth, NH area? Surely, there has to be some rail traffic out there ???

2. Believe it or not, I also used to be able to have a good grasp of what and when I might see something from the Mainline and/or Lower Main.
However, I'm not even sure what's out there anymore that worth tracking....pun intended.

3. Used to chase/photography Rigby Yard to Waterville. Does that happen anymore?

4. Used to follow some B&M into NH and then into South Berwick and/or trains into Wells, Kennebunk, Biddeford, Saco, etc....

5. Does any of that happen anymore? How often? Day/Evening?

Really missed training in this area, excited to be back, but hope there is still SOMETHING out there somewhere.....

Please help??

Thanks.
Mike
  by mec 381
 
"1. Seems there's definitely some track that is long gone and now defunct.....so....where can I track down some good railfanning spots within about 1-2 hours drive
from the Portsmouth, NH area? Surely, there has to be some rail traffic out there ???"
Hello to you too. Its nice that your back in the area, but a lot has changed in 25-30 years. There are some nice areas to watch trains in Wells, Kennebunk, Biddeford, Saco, etc....
Rigby might be a good place, but be sure to stay off RR property! That should help answer question four as well

"2. Believe it or not, I also used to be able to have a good grasp of what and when I might see something from the Mainline and/or Lower Main.
However, I'm not even sure what's out there anymore that worth tracking....pun intended."
The only trains on any kind of schedule is Amtrak's Downeaster. Pan Am trains pretty much run when ever, but you can see POSE/SEPO, POED/EDPO, DO1 local out of Dover, and oil trains MARJ/RJMA between Rigby and Lawrence, MA. DO1 runs to Portsmouth too, but how many days a week I don't know. This answer should also help with question five.

"3. Used to chase/photography Rigby Yard to Waterville. Does that happen anymore?"
Trains headed to Waterville use the back road only now. DO1 will run up the lower road to Brunswick to interchange with the Maine Eastern and the Downeaster also runs up there. Trains east of Rigby are POWA/WAPO, POSJ/SJPO, MARJ/RJMA (Oil Train), and PORU/RUPO. The last two use the Rumford branch. Waterville can be a good place to still watch trains too.

Downeaster schedule: http://www.amtrakdowneaster.com/schedule/full

Hopefully this helps you and don't be afraid to ask more. Others should be able to add what I'm missing.
  by MECJunkie
 
Thanks so much for the information.
I do appreciate it.

I will look into the strech between Dover and Wells to start and see what I can come up with.

In the meantime, any specific areas IN or AROUND Dover that are hot spots for watching/photographing: POSE/SEPO or POED/EDPO ??

I realize I can always go exploring, but why not ask you all first.....

Thanks again.
Mike
  by jbvb
 
There's still some switching and local work going on at Lawrence. Pan Am freights between Lowell Jct. and Portland usually move fairly fast between meets, so chasing isn't shooting fish in a barrel any more. Between LJ and Portland, the only places PA can let a crew die now are Lawrence, the easterly end of the Dover second track and Rigby. Freights often wait for MBTA and DE trains to clear between Plaistow and Haverhill, the 3rd track in Lawrence and at the LJ wye Locals are much less common, as the previous regime at PA chased a lot of carload traffic away.
  by KSmitty
 
Waterville is a great place to spend if you've got some time to just sit. The lot by the office, right by the road you can park out of the way, basically opposite the grain conveyor and just relax. If you have a few hours, or time it right, you should here the SAPPI local coming in, thats only another 20 minutes of driving north of the yard with some really nice spots to stop and shoot. And between locals there is a couple daytime switch crews. Its also a great place to meet other crazy people. Even just sitting there for 30 minutes you usually see 2 or 3 other people pull in and sit or do the obvious railfan drive by. Just be sure you're in before 4 in the afternoon, as that seems to be when the WA-1 crew goes off duty and things in the yard get real quiet. But Waterville is highly recommended if your looking for anything in central Maine.

The other good section to try is Leeds-Rigby as you get 3 daily freight each way (WAPO/POWA, POSJ/SJPO and PORU/RUPO) and there are some good shots. The bridge crossing the Androscoggin in Lewiston-Auburn, Merril Rd in Lewiston, the high bank by 202 in Greene, the across the lake shot in Winthrop and the crossing by what was New Gloucester East. The Rumford Branch also has a lot of really nice spots, but its 44 rail miles Leeds-Rumford and currently I think most of it is under 10mph speedos, so its slow going.

The thing to keep in mind, if you venture north of Yarmouth on the backroad is its slow. You said you've been away 30 years, these aren't the glory days of the Maine Central anymore, track speed is generally 10mph with a few "good" spots of 25. It makes for a SLOW day if you chase a single train Rigby-Waterville. Danville Junction to Leeds Junction, a distance of about 15 miles can take almost 2 hours. So you really do best, on D1 anyway to find a few good spots close together and pay attention to the radio. Grab the train here and there and there and then move on and otherwise stay close to the yards. Waterville, Danville Junction and Rigby all have dedicated day switchers, and Danville is only about 5 minutes by road from the SLR's Lewiston Junction which usually has 1, 2 or even 3 day switchers on duty.