• The Maine Central Railroad Mountain Division

  • 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 gokeefe

Cowford wrote:Actually, that's not true. While you had Gilman Paper and SD Warren more or less bracketing the two ends of the line, the last remaining customers in ME and NH (if memory serves) were propane companies in Windham and N Conway, and a feed company in Steep Falls. I can't think of any others... maybe others here can.
Thank you for the correction and reminder on this. I completely forgot about the propane and grain mill.

Even more notable that as S1f mentions the grain mill was pretty steady. It is interesting to me to see the similarities between the Mountain Division and the Rumford Branch.

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  by bostontrainguy
S1f3432 wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 6:57 pm Online customers . . .
Are these companies still functioning?
  by b&m 1566
NHV 669 wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 3:44 pm PAR no longer owns the west end, but holds perpetual freight rights over the line.

How exactly would they "Co-OP" a deal with CP on the west end? CP doesnt own or operate the line through St. J, and what traffic would possibly go that route, given that they can already send cars from Maine completely around the rest of New England to Albany?
I think you have your info backwards. Pan Am does own the west end (unless they just recently sold it), it was Twin State, that had the operating lease, which expired at the end of 2018. From what I remember reading Pan Am, couldn't do anything with it, till that lease expired. I'm most certain Pan Am, retain freight rights on all of the Mountain Division but for bridge traffic only.
  by NHV 669
That info about them not owning it came from Scott Whitney if I'm not mistaken. There was a post about old structures in Gilman on the Woodsville-Berlin page mentioning it, I'll go digging.
  by S1f3432
"Are these companies still functioning?"
Gilman Paper and the feed mill at Steep Falls have been out of business for years although in both cases
some of the structures remain. The others are all still around- just not served by rail. As far as ownership
of the west end is concerned, GTI held onto it to protect it's paper barriers- same with the upper end of
the Lewiston Lower branch, otherwise they would have dumped the lines years ago. There was a long
discussion of this issue in this thread a year or so ago and I've never read anywhere where GTI had sold
it. Clyde Forbes attempted to abandon it and salvage the track material but GTI put a stop to it as they
were the owners at the time with Forbes only holding a lease, which has since expired.
  by NHV 669
Brian, it was Ian here on the board, not Scott. He mentioned VTrans owning state line to St. J, but the Twin State lease is apparently still an unknown.
  by CSRR573
gokeefe wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 12:26 pm
I think the real question we should be asking is whether or not there's business to be had for Conway Scenic is they setup an operation on other segments of the Mountain Division. I can tell you right now that if they could run Portland to Sebago Lake during the summer that they would have a winner. Obviously this creates FRA issues so perhaps that would have to be Amtrak. And you can bet your bottom dollar that Maine is not going to pay for a train that diverts shoppers from to North Conway who would otherwise go to Freeport.
Im still waiting for them to run shuttle service between Depot St and Fryburg during fair season which I think was one of the selling points of rehabbing the line when the Bypass was put in
  by b&m 1566
It was actually intended to be shuttle train in between Redstone and N. Conway, according to a Mass Bay Railroad Enthusiasts, booklet that was typed up for their first character on the Conway Scenic, in June 1997.
  by conductorchris
In the days before McGuiness got the the B&M, they managed the MEC and motive power did sometimes intermingle and I do recall a through train from Boston to the resorts along the Mountain Division.
  by MEC407
A timely bit of trivia about the Mountain Division:

As some of you already know, there are a couple of small towns in northern New Hampshire that have the distinction of being the first towns in the country to vote on Election Day, casting their votes at midnight. One of those towns is called Hart's Location.

What some of you may not know is that the midnight vote in Hart's Location was instituted in order to accommodate Maine Central Railroad employees who lived in the town (and apparently made up a significant portion of the town's population) whose schedules made it impossible to vote during normal voting hours.

Now you know!
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  by gokeefe
Thank you for the PSA ...

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  by NRGeep
I the event of derailments etc, did The The Grand Trunk ever use the Mountain line as a detour and vice versa with MC on GT?
  by S1f3432
Detours that I am aware of:
16 Nov 1973 MEC YR-1 derailed at Willey House. RY-2 that same day detoured Portland- GT-
Groveton- BM- Quebec Jct with 262-254-258-802 and 101 cars and return to Portland the same day.

2 Feb 1974 MEC derailed 13 cars at Cumberland Center. Trains detoured via GT and Commercial
Street to Portland from both the Back Road and Low Road mainlines thru Feb 6 during daylight
hours during wreck cleanup. A photo by Charles Merrill of BR-4 on Commercial St. was printed
in the Portland Press Herald and reprinted in the Mar 1974 issue of the 470 RR Club newsletter.

1 Mar 1974 MEC RY-2 dumped 22 cars at Hiram- Detour via GT- Groveton- BM- Quebec Jct
for several days.

25 Mar 1974 BM JU-1 derailed 25 cars between Gorham and Randolph NH- detour Berlin- GT-

8 May 1974 BM UJ-2 derailed 7 cars in Gotham, NH- detour Berlin- GT- Groveton.

This info mostly from 470 RR Club newsletters. I suspect this happened from time to time over
the years as most railroads had agreements with their connections to cover such contingencies.
In the early to mid 70’s it seemed as though the B&M and MEC were competing in the wreck of
the month club before both railroads started large tie and ballast renewal projects with Federal
money paying for material and the railroads paying for labor, with the projects being administered
by the New England Regional Commission.

I seem to recall a GT derailment that involved a B&M/ CP reroute but I can’t find the specifics.
  by gokeefe
I have come to see the early 1970s as a freight traffic peak for the Maine Central. Do you think traffic levels were also partially responsible for the string of wrecks?

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