• Montreal - Portland passenger service, past and future

  • 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 Ridgefielder
 
gokeefe wrote:
trainsinmaine wrote:Does anyone here think that the construction of the preclearance facility might possibly give a green light to the reinstitution of The Atlantic Limited between Montreal and Halifax? The several times I rode it in the '80s and '90s, it was nearly full, and there are many of us in Maine and the Maritimes who sorely miss it.
Setting aside the very practical and real reasons why this won't happen as things stand right now. If it were restored it would not have to be as a "sealed" train through Maine. Yes, the masses could travel by train to Jackman once again.
LOL. I spend a night in Jackman once-- we were on a family vacation, driving from Quebec City to Rockland to catch the Vinalhaven ferry. For New England, that town pretty much qualifies as the back of beyond.
  by gokeefe
 
Ridgefielder wrote:
gokeefe wrote:
trainsinmaine wrote:Does anyone here think that the construction of the preclearance facility might possibly give a green light to the reinstitution of The Atlantic Limited between Montreal and Halifax? The several times I rode it in the '80s and '90s, it was nearly full, and there are many of us in Maine and the Maritimes who sorely miss it.
Setting aside the very practical and real reasons why this won't happen as things stand right now. If it were restored it would not have to be as a "sealed" train through Maine. Yes, the masses could travel by train to Jackman once again.
LOL. I spend a night in Jackman once-- we were on a family vacation, driving from Quebec City to Rockland to catch the Vinalhaven ferry. For New England, that town pretty much qualifies as the back of beyond.
It is indeed very remote and very beautiful. And there are many up there who like it that way very much.

I can personally vouch that the ex-Canadian Pacific train station still stands and, incredibly the platform is still intact, to include the yellow striped safety line. I'm assuming that VIA at one time did some work in that area.
  by Ridgefielder
 
gokeefe wrote:It is indeed very remote and very beautiful. And there are many up there who like it that way very much.

I can personally vouch that the ex-Canadian Pacific train station still stands and, incredibly the platform is still intact, to include the yellow striped safety line. I'm assuming that VIA at one time did some work in that area.
I remember being in that station with my father- we walked over there from the motel. This was the summer of '89, I would have been 14. My dad had worked on the Soo Line once and was always curious about rail infrastructure. IIRC at that point the station was pretty much a time capsule from the late 1950's/early 1960's.
  by Highball
 
newpylong wrote: there arent many Canadians at all that go to SR, they mostly go up to Tremblant.
Just a " side note " to say from the main topic........actually Sunday River is a popular ski destination of Canadians, from The Maritime Provinces, especially in March during school breaks.
  by markhb
 
So... forget the Montreal service and bring back The Gull? :)

(At least, forget the Bethel-Montreal part; just bring back the Silver Bullet from somewhere in Portland to Bethel, now that there's an existing train service for it to draw pax from.)
  by NS VIA FAN
 
Highball wrote:
newpylong wrote: there arent many Canadians at all that go to SR, they mostly go up to Tremblant.
Just a " side note " to say from the main topic........actually Sunday River is a popular ski destination of Canadians, from The Maritime Provinces, especially in March during school breaks.
Speaking of us Canadians from the Maritimes and Sunday River……here’s a link to a post I made to this forum a couple of years ago (and it includes a “Silver Bullet” brochure)

http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... et#p617283

…….and we still do a trip to Sunday River from Halifax just about every year.

Also did ski trips on VIA’s Atlantic from Halifax to Greenville. VIA offered Package Deals...... rail, hotel and lifts at Squaw Mountain and the Atlantic had a great bar car!
Last edited by NS VIA FAN on Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by NS VIA FAN
 
trainsinmaine wrote:Does anyone here think that the construction of the preclearance facility might possibly give a green light to the reinstitution of The Atlantic Limited between Montreal and Halifax? The several times I rode it in the '80s and '90s, it was nearly full, and there are many of us in Maine and the Maritimes who sorely miss it.
The Pre-Clearance facility wouldn’t be practical for a train like the Atlantic just “passing thru”......not going to/from the US. It restricts where the train can stop so it can run “sealed” to the border. That’s why St. Lambert will be discontinued as an Adirondack stop.

Say that passengers were pre-cleared in Montreal to enter the US (and most wouldn’t be getting off in Maine anyway) the Atlantic could no longer stop in St. Hyacinthe, Richmond, Sherbrooke or Magantic but could stop in Jackman, Greenville or Brownville etc. The first Canadian stop would be in McAdam, New Brunswick.

And what would be done in the opposite direction? Pre-clear in Halifax, missing Moncton and Saint John or have everyone get off in McAdam to clear US CBP?
  by gokeefe
 
While doing some research I came across a very interesting history of passenger rail service in Bethel, ME written by The Bethel Journals.

It as the only photo I have ever seen of GT trains #16/17, after which this thread was originally named.

I'll use the photo caption for the fair use quote.
Grand Trunk/Canadian National passenger train stops at Bethel Station in 1953. In addition to passengers,
trains carried mail and Railway Express Agency shipments. Trains 16 and 17 (east and west) passed through
Bethel daily stopping at each station on their way between Portland and Island Pond, VT.
  by gokeefe
 
Video of CN service into Portland in the 60's has been posted to YouTube.

I cannot tell if this is the summer weekend seasonal service that ran after Train 16/17 was cancelled or if it is the old regularly scheduled service.
  by joshg1
 
OK, not enough passengers for year round service to Montreal or the Atlantic. How about seasonal trains, weekend, holiday trains run by a tour operator? Organizing a coach trip is cheaper than driving, but driving is expensive and exhausting. Too many hurdles? Low track speeds, expensive crews and equipment, uncooperative RR owners, customs hell (because that's how terrorists sneak into the US. On a ski train from Moncton), anything I've left out?
  by gokeefe
 
A, B and C.

Coming from Montreal customs won't be an issue soon due to the impending construction of a pre-clearance facility that will end the need for a border stop for the Adirondack and the soon-to-be-extended Vermonter / resurrected Montrealer.

As far as the railroads go Pan Am has lately been quite cooperative with rail passenger initiatives to include their recent grant of permission for a private charter across their main line. St. Lawrence & Atlantic hosted the Sunday River Silver Bullet in the mid-1990s but I'm pretty sure that was under different ownership (both for the resort and the railroad). In general there's no reason to believe that they wouldn't be amenable to hosting such a service again.

Also I would note "A" (low track speeds) is likely to be the lesser of the issue here as SLR has put a lot of money into their track recently. They are without almost any doubt at all running close to the upper end of Class III speeds (59 MPH MAS, Passenger). Class III with a preclearance facility in Montreal is nearly certain to be time competitive or equivalent to driving. Class IV would be faster than driving.

In regards to "B" (expensive equipment) if NNEPRA were to charter Maine Eastern's equipment we might then have an answer to that problem, as opposed to running the charter using Amtrak rolling stock. The train itself would still be an Amtrak charter just using someone else's equipment and yes I have heard of this being done elsewhere but anyone who knows better feel free to correct the statement.

Finally, "C" (expensive crews) assuming "normal" fare per mile basis if the passenger counts were high enough (probably 150-200+) the crew costs wouldn't be an issue. Remember the Downeaster runs several empty trains a day for positioning and for service frequency. That ultimately means their costs are higher in large part due to the necessity of operating in the negative several times a day. Your trains would have to be full on both legs of the trip.
  by S1f3432
 
Gokeefe- neat video you posted- that's what I got to look at as a kid. The passenger train is definitely the Beach Train. From
1964 until 1967 it was scheduled to leave Montreal at 7:15 AM and arrive in Portland at 2:30 PM, with a quick turnaround leaving
Portland at 3:45 PM and arriving back at Montreal at 11:00 PM. Train 17 used to leave Portland at 8:00 AM well ahead of 393,
with train 16 arriving in Portland in the early evening. 16 and 17 were terminated in 1960. Two clues are visable to date the
film. MEC F3 684 was traded in to EMD for the GP38's in 1966. The other more defining clue is the GTW SW1500 working in the
yard at Portland- Three of them were used on the wayfreights for a few months in the summer of 1964. Engineer Eugene Heath
related to me that one of them was running cab first on 749 when in hit a pulp truck in Bethel: they weren't around long after
that. So that would put the film sometime in July or August of 1964.
  by gokeefe
 
S1f3432 wrote:Gokeefe- neat video you posted- that's what I got to look at as a kid. The passenger train is definitely the Beach Train.
Thanks! Any ideas about the identity of some of the rolling stock?
S1f3432 wrote:From 1964 until 1967 it was scheduled to leave Montreal at 7:15 AM and arrive in Portland at 2:30 PM, with a quick turnaround leaving Portland at 3:45 PM and arriving back at Montreal at 11:00 PM. Train 17 used to leave Portland at 8:00 AM well ahead of 393, with train 16 arriving in Portland in the early evening. 16 and 17 were terminated in 1960.
I'm curious about the rolling stock on #16/#17 as well....

What was the typical consist? Was there a dining car? Did they have any sleeper service? If so when were these services canceled? Thanks!
  by Noel Weaver
 
I rode the CN train from Portland to Montreal in the 60's, I have the date here somewhere, one way and returned probably via White River Junction on the CV. We had maybe five or six coaches and a dining car as well as I think a baggagre car too. The problem with this route today is no matter how much track work has been done you still have a considerable number of curves, crossings and other factors that would not permit 59 MPH running. When I rode it I think the top speed between Portland and the border was 40 MPH and the CN maintained the track to a high standard. It was just not a high speed railroad, not then and not now. As i have said previously I don't think even a bus on a regular schedule would cover its costs and certainally a train would not. Most folks just plain want their own automobiles when doing something of this nature.
Noel Weaver
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