• Turners Island LLC (shortline RR in South Portland, ME)

  • 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 MEC407
The subject of Turners Island LLC (TI) has come up in various threads over the years, but I don't think it ever had a thread of its own, so here we go. :-)

I noticed today that TI has 9 B&M blue hoppers (5200 series) on the section of their line that runs parallel to Elm St. It also appears that Pan Am recently (within the past day or two) delivered another batch of blue B&M hoppers, presumably in the same number series. These are distantly visible from Broadway when you're going over the grade crossing, but they're mostly obscured by trees and homes so I couldn't see how many there were, although it would be easy to do so on foot or bicycle, since the South Portland Greenbelt Trail runs alongside the rail line. There were also a few TILX (Trinity Industries) tank cars on this section of the line; couldn't see the numbers while driving by.

The B&M hoppers look like this: http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=938602
  by MEC407
Those hoppers were probably painted in the late '70s or very early '80s, yes? I find it amusing and a little sad that there are Pan Am Boxcars painted within the last six years that are already more faded than those hoppers!

Back to TI, someone once asked if they have a locomotive. I'm fairly certain they don't, although I can't swear to it. If they do, I've never seen it on the parts of their line that are visible from public property. I assume they must have something that can move railcars... Trackmobile, perhaps? Does anyone know?
  by MEC407
I saw several more tank cars on the TI line a few days ago. I'd love to see PAR crossing Broadway to deliver/retrieve these cars, but in the six years I've lived here I've never been lucky enough to see anything go over that crossing. Maybe they only do it at night...?
  by BM6569
Good observation. I'd also like to catch some movements on that line. I always assumed it was inactive but they must be sending an engine down there. I remember driving around that area 5-6 years ago and it seemed dead. The website implies that it's an active facility.

A look at google maps aerial of the area shows a couple of tank cars on the main track. Then on the spur that goes off to the left, there is a white covered hopper and beyond that where the track ends, there is a long abandoned box car. There is a switch off the spur that goes back into a newly constructed small building and it looks like a tank car sticking out with maybe a yellow track car in front of it to move it around?

The image has to be somewhat recent as Bing maps shows no cars except the old boxcar. Bing maps also shows no building. Wonder when it was built? Seems that it's an active customer now to me.

What's the big warehouse on Pleasant St? Looks like they were once served by this line.
  by newpylong
They used to have a Facebook page, where they documented some of their operations. One set of pictures was them building that building over the tracks, where they could unload the cars inside. I seem to remember them unloading rebar and steel at the time, which would make sense considering they build barges there.
  by BM6569
Checked out the branch to Turners Island today. Exempt signs are still up at the Broadway crossing. Wonder if those will come down at some point? It's definitely not exempt.
Here's the tracks north of Broadway looking towards Rigby then the other way. It's (locked) fenced off at Broadway. The rail here actually looked newer and in great shape but the ties/ballast are in horrible shape. Farther down in the 2nd pic, there are a couple of blank tank cars on various tracks.

Looking towards Rigby. There was a lone tanker and several box cars here. Not sure which customer the box cars are for. The track that branches off to the right went to a gas terminal. Not sure if it is still open, I know PAR doesn't serve it. Looks like it was quite a facility in it's day capable of unloaded a bunch of tank cars at once with a long unloading rack next to the track. Would be cool to see it used again.

Turners Island is just ahead here:

And these three cars are sitting on the former branch over to where SMCC currently is. This small section of track is all that's left. The 2 MEC flat cars with rail on them are ancient!

  by bwparker1
I think the exempt signs just mean that certain vehicles that normally have to come to a complete stop don't have to do so. It doesn't mean that the tracks are abandoned or not active.

I think what governs this is that in the case of an exempt crossing, the train had to come to a complete stop, look for vehicular traffic, and the protect the crossing while the train moves through the crossing. This prevents accidents between school buses, heating oil trucks, etc.

In PA where I used to live, there was an active, albeit rarely used, cross that traversed US Route 322, a 4 lane highway. The crossing was also exempt, so that trucks and buses barreling down the hill at 60 mph did not have to come to a complete stop.

  by 690
It's definitely interesting looking at it using Google maps. I'm not sure how old the maps are, but there is a covered hopper, what appears to be a very rusty boxcar or covered hopper, and what looks like at least one tank car sticking out from under a shed, in addition to some tank cars on the main track, and a couple gondolas and flatcars at the very end. Following the line back to Rigby also shows a multitude of warehouses, and spurs that served them.
  by BM6569
Yes that shed was constructed in the past few years i believe. If you check out the line on bing maps, the area around that shed is more clear.
  by BM6569
The tank cars i saw a few weeks ago are gone. I saw at least three fuel trucks, 2 big rigs and one heating oil truck pull into area at the end of this trackage within a minute of each other. Maybe thats whats in those tank cars.
  by ronjenx
I was surprised to find a forum for Turners Island.
When I was a kid back in the early to mid '60s, I used to hop onto the switcher that happened to be crossing Broadway at Evans Street, and the nice engineer would let me do some switching, and take the consist back to Rigby... except for the crossing, of course. (That nice engineer was my dad.)

Back then, Turners Island was very busy with tank cars.

Now, one of the engines that I used to hop onto, Alco S4 1055, is in service at the Downeast Scenic in Ellsworth. I've been helping with the maintenance on it and the rest of their equipment for about a year now.

Has anyone seen any traffic on the line between Turners Island and Rigby?
  by MEC407
Welcome to the forum, ronjenx! Thanks for sharing your memories with us.

I've lived in the area for almost seven years and I still haven't seen any action on that line. I suspect they operate either late at night or very early in the morning.
  by ronjenx
Here are some pictures of the Turners Island area in May, 1965.

This one is taken from the cab, sitting near the intersection of Elm and Palmer Streets, out of view to the left.

A little closer to the terminal...

This truck is waiting to go to the terminal, sitting at the Elm Street crossing. The street seen above the truck cab is Atlantic Ave.

Some of the tank cars near the terminal.

Some track maintenance.
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