• Portland Maine Passenger Stations

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

  by shadyjay
gokeefe wrote:As we all know in 1961 Union Station was torn down. However passenger service on the B&M to Portland was apparently not discontinued until 1965. My question then is where was the B&M station between 1961 and 1965?

This seems to me like a possible additional station that we have never previously discussed here in this thread and I would like to know more, especially if the station was anything more than just a step stool on the former Union Station site.

Maine Central in color, Volume 2, MSB, states:
"After Union Station closed, the RDC runs terminated at the B&M freight station on Congress Street, across the mainlines from Union Station. This service ended in 1965."
  by hh660
The station, if you can call it that, was across the tracks from the old union Station, near the old boiler house and close to Congress Street. It was an existing metal building that I believed was also used for storage and maintenance. I don't believe it had much of a waiting room, if at all.

  by gokeefe
Is it in this image? Click on it and you will be able to zoom in with controls in the top left corner (if your browser supports it ...).
  by hh660
Not quite. If I remember correctly, it was just out of the frame on the upper left hand side. (my office is, though:-))
  by gokeefe
Here is an alternate angle. Take a look at the extreme top left corner ... small white building across the tracks?
  by hh660
I believe that is the building-the white structure with the gable roof.
  by MEC407
Loosely related to the subject of former and future Portland passenger stations:
Portland Press Herald wrote:Maine Medical Center officials say they want to build a large parking garage for employees off St. John Street after plans for a smaller garage at Congress and Gilman streets ran into neighborhood opposition.

The new garage, with 2,222 spaces, would be on land that the hospital already leases for surface parking for employees.
. . .
The new location, behind 222 St. John St. . . .
Source: http://www.pressherald.com/2017/08/01/m ... t-john-st/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Translation: they want to build it behind the old MEC headquarters, next door to where Union Station once was.
  by BandA
Perhaps it was so depressing that people didn't want to take pictures.
  by gokeefe
BandA wrote:Perhaps it was so depressing that people didn't want to take pictures.
Apparently it was.
  by gokeefe
I think this is pretty close to a definitive view. White building across from the train shed. Looks like there may be a Railway Express sign on the end by Congress street.
  by markhb
In the realm of potential future stations, the Thompsons Point folks have finally started work on a new home for Suburban Propane off Riverside Street in Portland. While that is far from any tracks, it's the first step towards their move off of the Point, which will free up their land for the long planned parking garage, which is intended to serve Downeaster traffic as well as the Point itself.
  by MEC407
Cowford wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:15 pm I'll rely on my back-of-the-envelope skills here: Greyhound appears a bit player... only three RTs/day vs. Concord's 18. That would indicate they have about a ~15% bus market share. Now, if you assume each bus has about 45 seats and average a 60-65% load factor, that's ~400-450,000 one-way trips/yr, with Greyhound only 55-65K of that. Amtrak hosts 165,000, so that would indicate Amtrak has a market share of about 28% of the bus/train market, with Concord having 62% and Greyhound another 10%.
MEC407 wrote: Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:48 pm
Cowford wrote:Do you think the bus companies would want to abandon their current locations in favor of a Commercial Street location?
That's actually a great question. On one hand, why would Concord want to give up what they already own in favor of paying rent somewhere else and having less-convenient access to the highway? On the other hand, maybe Greyhound wouldn't mind having a bigger/better location and having easy access to Downeaster passengers.

I dug up those posts from 2011 to provide some forum context for these two Portland Press Herald articles, the first from December 17 2019 and the second from May 6 2020:
Portland Press Herald wrote:PORTLAND — The longtime home of the Greyhound Bus terminal is on the market, leaving the future of Greyhound operations in the city up in the air.
. . .
The station at 950 Congress St. provides bus service to Lewiston, Augusta, Waterville and the Bangor area to the north and Wells, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Boston, Massachusetts, to the south. It also provides package shipping services.

Crystal Booker, communication specialist for Greyhound Lines Inc., said it is premature to talk about Greyhound’s Portland operations after the building sells.

“As we continue service to Portland, it is too early to discuss any details regarding any changes in service locations at this time,” she said. “We serve approximately 10,000 customers from this location, incoming and departing, each year.”
(emphasis added)
Portland Press Herald wrote:PORTLAND — Maine Health, Maine Medical Center’s parent company, bought the Greyhound bus station at 950 Congress St. for $1.4 million last month. The property will continue to be used as a bus station for the time being.

“(Maine Medical Center) has no immediate plans for the property, and has leased it back to the longtime Greyhound manager, who plans to continue operating the bus service from that location,” said Matt Wickenheiser, the hospital’s senior manager for communications and public affairs.
. . .
“There was considerable interest in the listing, all local,” said Boulos Company partner/broker Nate Stevens, who represented Greyhound in the sale.

More than 32,000 vehicles each day pass the property, located at the busy intersection of St. John and Congress streets. Prospective buyers ranged from area developers looking to raze the building for redevelopment to smaller parties who wanted to repurpose the existing building, he said.
. . .
The 950 Congress St. site is on the very western edge of a city zone that Maine Medical Center indicated as a “potential future redevelopment” area in its 2017 Institutional Development Plan.

If redeveloped, allowed uses of the property under city zoning regulations include residences, retail or commercial offices, professional services, restaurants, hotels/motels, health facilities, bakeries or breweries, marijuana businesses and, by conditional use, drive-thous.
Links for both articles:

https://www.pressherald.com/2019/12/17/ ... -for-sale/

https://www.pressherald.com/2020/05/06/ ... -portland/

My comments:

1) 10K passengers to/from Portland every year is a lot less than I expected, and indeed a lot less than any of us estimated.

2) That run-down old station is not the highest and best use of that parcel. Not even close.

3) I don't think it's surprising to anyone in Maine that the parcel was purchased by MaineHealth. There's very little in that neighborhood that MaineHealth hasn't purchased at this point.

4) Greyhound could probably gain a lot of passengers—assuming they want to (?)—by relocating to a future consolidated transportation center. I don't think Concord Coach or Amtrak would lose any passengers to Greyhound; rather, Concord and Amtrak would gain new passengers coming from locations elsewhere on the Greyhound network who transfer to CC or AMTK to get to places on those networks. Plus, Greyhound would most likely gain all sorts of operational flexibility and service expansion potential that they don't currently have at 950 Congress due to the size limitations of the parcel.
  by gokeefe
I've thought about this a lot ... Greyhound has to make a decision in this case ... Do they gain by co-locating in a transportation center or do they loose sharing space with other lines that will poach their customers.

I think they have concluded that in most cases they will loose. Greyhound has chosen to operate their separate environment for many many years. I think there is an advantage to them in that they maximize passenger miles traveled on each route.

Its counterintuitive unless you assume a) no mortgage, b) low operating costs and c) long term proven ridership at the location. Portland likely has all of these. Intermodal hasn't mattered at that site since 1965 when the last B&M RDC went south never to return.

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  by Cowford
I was surprised to see how low the Greyhound numbers were, so looked at their schedule. Looks like they've reduced their ops to one trip to Bangor and one to Boston/NYC daily (I looked ahead to October to account for possible changes in current schedules). I'm surprised they can justify the space for less than 30 pax/day.
  by gokeefe
Even worse ... there are probably significant seasonal peaks.

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