• Rockland Branch Discussion

  • 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

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  by markhb
 
Thanks everyone for the milepost answers (particularly @cn9634 who seems to have the definitive word).
The Rockland service is actually included in the Amtrak ConnectsUS plan, so I'm hopeful that it will go forward in some fashion, and hopefully if FGLK winds up running a service they'll be able to be more accessible than ME's heritage cars were.
  by BandA
 
When they say seasonally extending the Downeaster to Rockland, are they talking through-trains Boston-Rockland? Then obviously you want Amtrak (or MBTA/Keolis) to run them. If connecting service in Brunswick (or maybe the break should be in Portland?), then FGLK can probably underbid Amtrak. Or you could try a hybrid such as Hoosier State equipment + Amtrak operating crew. I'm not fully up on whether the vestibules of "heritage" coaches are wide enough for wheelchairs and HP bathrooms. Assume they would use mini-high platforms rather than expensive full-high. But if I were a tourist taking a tourist train along the ocean coast of Maine I would want windows that open rather than sealed.
  by CN9634
 
My understanding, and maybe this is wrong, is that the CMQ lease was for freight rights only and that the passenger operation was basically shoe in for Amtrak. Since FGLK is taking over the existing agreement, I would assume the pretenses of the operational agreement are the same. I'm sure however, anything is possible with a conversation with MaineDOT if FGLK were so compelled to try their own excursion gig, which I would woefully buy several tickets to ride.
  by Cowford
 
When talking about Rockland branch mileage, you first need to ask the question: At what time period are you talking? See attached from the Official Railway Guide (1931, 1956) and MEC Employee Timetable (1979). At some time between 1956 and 1979, Rockland moved .54 miles further away from Brunswick. This predates global warming, so I'll posit the possibility of continental drift. More plausible: The intermediate MPs are essentially the same, indicating that at some point, the official mileage point for Brunswick was moved (possibly after the end of passenger service, with the new mileage point being the train order office?) Note that (a) the 1931 branch mileage denotes Brunswick as MP 0 and (b) MEC ETT mileage was in the hundredths - that's in increments of 53-ft!
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  by CN9634
 
Guess I can eat my words now... RDCs it is.... yuck
  by BandA
 
I haven't seen anything about what service will be offered in 2022, and it is pretty late to schedule fall foliage trips for this or next month. Could a polar express reach the North Pole or can you "not get there from Brunswick heyah?" Perhaps use natural icebergs as a carfloat from Brunswick to the North Pole.

Can RDC's be modified to accommodate wheelchairs? We know MBB's can be retrofitted with HP bathrooms...
Last edited by MEC407 on Wed Sep 01, 2021 6:36 am, edited 1 time in total. Reason: unnecessary quoting
  by markhb
 
BandA wrote: Sat Aug 28, 2021 2:48 pm When they say seasonally extending the Downeaster to Rockland, are they talking through-trains Boston-Rockland?
Yes, NNEPRA is proposing them as an extension of the Downeaster. They would be Amtrak trains.

CN9634, what's your source on the RDC's? Anything public?

Cowford, good to see you back!
  by CN9634
 
Nothing public.... not sure the plan either, doesn't sound at first to be a regular service but maybe for excursions. I do understand the allure however for any operator to keep a few passenger pieces around the Rockland Branch
  by NHV 669
 
Two of the AllEarth RDCs are sitting in St. Albans.
  by Arborwayfan
 
RDCs are interesting in their own right, though. I'd ride one just to ride one again, if I were anywhere near it.

Coordinated RDC service could possibly be a cheap but effective way to get DE passengers to and from Rockland and intermediates, especially if there aren't too many passengers. NNEPRA could even contract to subsidize tickets for people connecting from Amtrak trains and let the private operator charge full fare to local passengers (who would mostly be taking the train for fun), the way the Comm of Mass did with the CC&H trains from South Braintree to the Cape in the 80s. Could one RDC and a Downeaster platform at the same time in Brunswick, maybe by asking Brunswick passengers to sit in easternmost two cars of the DE? Too bad it's not an island platform, but an along-the-platform transfer is almost as good as a cross-platform one.

Interesting thing: I googled Rockland Amtrak Station by mistake when I meant to google Brunswick Amtrak Station, and it showed up on Amtrak's website: https://www.amtrak.com/stations/rod. Leftover from the plan for 2019? Planning ahead for future service?
  by JBlaisdell
 
The Rockland Station in that Amtrak link goes to the Maine State Ferry Terminal.

I don't think RDCs could meet Amtrak at Brunswick. The engines pull east past the end of the platform. Maybe if they lined up doors on the second track and bridged the gap with a plate of some sort, but I think the best option is simply running the Amtrak equipment on thru.
  by newpylong
 
How good of shape is that line still in? I keep reading about "passenger ready with rebuilt rail", but my recollection is that rail put in the better part of 20 years ago. Assumed it is still in great shape given the limited tonnage, but surely the rest of the roadbed has not been kept up? The videos I have watched of the CMQ and now CP running appear to be 25 MPH.
  by MEC407
 
I think the rail is perfectly fine due to how little traffic it has seen, but if Amtrak or FGLK wanted to go faster than 40 MPH I'm fairly certain there would need to be at least a partial tie job + ballast and possibly a few other odds and ends.

Even when the line was freshly rebuilt, I don't recall the Safe Handling or Maine Eastern freight trains going faster than 25. There probably wasn't any economic or operational reason for them to do so, considering all the extra fuel they would have consumed. Maine Eastern did run their passenger trains at 50 MPH on certain stretches of track, however. The theoretical maximum would be 60 due to the line being dark territory... but it's also pretty curvy, so putting in signals might not help much.
  by artman
 
Arborwayfan wrote:Interesting thing: I googled Rockland Amtrak Station by mistake when I meant to google Brunswick Amtrak Station, and it showed up on Amtrak's website: https://www.amtrak.com/stations/rod. Leftover from the plan for 2019? Planning ahead for future service?
There is service to Rockland (ROD) at present. It is Amtrak Thruway Connecting Service (likely via Concord Trailways)
  by CN9634
 
The rail is in great shape. The ties are not.
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