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Eastern Railroad Discussion > A Quick Visit to Maine

Date: 02/02/19 15:23
A Quick Visit to Maine
Author: cn6218

A friend and I, tired of the steady diet of GEVOs CN has been sending to Halifax this winter, decided to make a quick trip to Maine last week.  The objective was to see and photograph the Eastern Maine Rwy and Maine Northern Rwy., both affiliated roads of New Brunswick Southern.  Tuesday was our drive day, about 800 km (500 miles), over icy roads in New Brunswick and snow packed, but sanded ones in Maine.  At the Vanceboro border crossing, we caught up with "first 907" (there was a second 907 out of Saint John later in the day), led by SD40-2 6340, the only SD with Maine Northern lettering.  It was only 14:30 and we were hoping for another set of shots 20 miles west at the Eaton detector, but brake problems held the train up until after sunset, so we continued on to Lincoln, ME, our base of operations for the next 3 days.  To the casual observer, late January might seem like an odd time to visit Maine, but the chances of encountering blackflies and mosquitoes are just about zero, and there were only two other guests at the Lincoln House motel, so finding accommodations was not a problem either.

Tuesday's good weather did not last, with deep freeze temperatures and some snow overnight, which continued into the next day.  We discovered that there would be two southbound trains (both 910s) from Oakfield Wednesday, with the first crew on duty at 06:00.  We were up before dawn and on the road to Sherman Station on the old BAR to intercept the first 910 shortly after "daylight" (we didn't actually see the sun all day long).  Most of the former BAR north of Millinocket was purchased by the State of Maine from MM&A back in the early 2010s, and then leased to JD Irving owned Maine Northern Rwy.  Maine Northern also owns outright the track from Madawaska to Van Buren and across the Saint John River into St. Leonard, NB at the extreme northern end of the former BAR.  We got our first set at Sherman Sta. and then raced the train over snow packed roads to Staceyville, for the second image shown here, taken at 08:09.  911 was a bit of a disappointment to see on the point.  Although it has been purchased (from Helm) by NBSR, and has those reporting marks, it still hasn't made a visit to the paint shop in Saint John.

South of Staceyville, the line runs mostly through the woods before arriving in Millinocket, so we broke off at that point and headed north again to Oakfield, where 2nd 910 was getting ready to leave.  This train had an interesting combination on the point: former Devco GP38-2 2319, slug 001, and SD40-2 6319.  At 09:21 they were just leaving the south cautionary limits of Oakfield, crossing the East Branch Mattawamkeag River and about to start the climb to Dyer Brook.

I'll post some more pictures in the next few days of the rest of the trip.  The first part of Tuesday is recounted here:  https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?15,4724405


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/02/19 17:36 by cn6218.

Date: 02/02/19 17:58
Re: A Quick Visit to Maine
Author: krm152

Thanks for posting your very interesting photos.
Those maine Northern units sure look sharp.

Date: 02/02/19 18:54
Re: A Quick Visit to Maine
Author: cn6218

It turned out that 2319 and 6319 really had their work cut out for them this morning.  We had taken care to park on the south side of the crossing at Oakfield so we wouldn't have to wait for the whole train to pass before getting on the road, but we still had to wait more than 5 minutes for 2nd 910 to get to the top of the grade at Dyer Brook.  The potato sheds behind the train have been the backdrop for countless images of BL2s and F3s hauling southbound tonnage up the hill and then on to Millinocket and Northern Maine Jct.

We got another set of images at Island Falls, where the track once again crosses the Mattawamkeag River, and then set up again at Sherman Station for video of the train hauling past an old freight house and south siding switch.

(With a bit of luck, the video should be loaded now.)


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/03/19 04:16 by cn6218.

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Date: 02/02/19 19:09
Re: A Quick Visit to Maine
Author: cn6218

The 2nd 910 had more problems than the first.  Air brake trouble north of Sherman, and then slipped couplers just south of there.  I assume "slipped" means they came uncoupled but didn't break anything, because we could hear them on the radio backing up to make a joint.  Finally at 13:00 the two diesels and slug pulled past the Millinocket yard office where they would yard the train, and then continue on southbound as light engines.  I presume Central Maine & Quebec would handle this traffic west to Farnham or Northern Maine Jct. later in the day (CMQ seems to operate primarily at night, or so we were told).  We got one last scene with the light power at North Twin Lake as they crossed a man made stream that once supplied water to the Millinocket paper mills.

At this point we started to head back to Lincoln, but it was too early for supper, and there was still an eastbound on the old Canadian Pacific mainline somewhere.  We had heard them give an OS at Hardy Pond and figured we might be able to see them somewhere despite the fading light.  That "somewhere" turned out to be Seboeis Pit, roughly mile 83 of the Mattawamkeag Sub.  Train 908 turned out to have the same power we had seen in Saint John the previous day.  The ISO was really being pushed to try and salvage something for this shot at 16:30 in the afternoon.


Date: 02/02/19 21:56
Re: A Quick Visit to Maine
Author: inCHI

Excellent images! Interesting to see something so rarely shown and wow, that is a snowy environment.

Date: 02/03/19 08:26
Re: A Quick Visit to Maine
Author: Milwaukee

Nice video and thanks for sharing.   Your report here seems to reflect a healthy operation as that was a sizable train and was moving at a good pace with good looking power.  Hopefully this operation has a bright future.  

Date: 02/04/19 12:50
Re: A Quick Visit to Maine
Author: jmbreitigan

I really enjoyed your coverage. Nice video and good pictures in the rural winter atmosphere.. Brrrrrr.

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