- Maine Central Railroad
Infobox SG rail
railroad_name=Maine Central Railroad
Mainewith lines to New Brunswick, New Hampshire, Vermontand Quebec
end_year=1981 (subsumed by
Guilford Transportation Industries, continues as subsidiary in name only)
old_gauge=, converted from RailGauge|66 in 1871
The Maine Central Railroad reporting mark|MEC was a railroad in central and southern
Maine. It was chartered in 1856 and began operations in 1862. It operated between South Portland, Maine, east to the Canada-U.S. border with New Brunswick, west to Vermontand north to Quebec.
Charter and creation
The Maine Central was created initially through the merger of the
Androscoggin and Kennebec Railroadand the Penobscot and Kennebec Railroad, resulting in a line from Danville (now Auburn) to Bangor. The line connected with the Grand Trunk Railwayon its Portland-Chicago mainline at Danville and with the Bangor and Piscataquis Railroadin Bangor. As a result of its connection with the Grand Trunk, the Maine Central initially operated on a track gauge of RailGauge|66 known as "Canadian" or "Portland" gauge.
Maine Central purchased the Portland and Kennebec Railroad, which ran from Portland to Danville and was built to standard track gauge, since it connected with the
Boston and Maine Railroadat Portland. By 1871, the Maine Central completed its conversion to standard gauge to facilitate interchange of cars. [cite web| url=http://www.cprr.org/Museum/BMLRR/Single_Gauge.html| title=Excerpt from an article in the Portland (ME) Weekly Advertiser of January 28, 1870, relating to the Report of the Maine Railroad Commission for 1869| publisher=CPRR.org| accessdate=2007-07-13| ]
The MEC established rail service to the
Penobscot Bayin 1871 by leasing (for fifty years) the then just-completed convert|33|mi|km of track built by the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad(B&ML). The B&ML's grade ran the length of Waldo County from the port town of Belfast inland to Burnham Junction where its single track connected with the MEC's Portland to Bangor mainline. The Maine Central operated the road as its "Belfast Branch" for the next 55 years, but on June 30, 1925, MEC President Morris McDonald — after repeated public denialscite web| url=http://cprr.org/Museum/BMLRR/Losses.html| title=Report of False Abandonment of Belfast Branch| work=Railroad Photographic History Museum| accessdate=2007-07-13| ] — gave the B&ML (and the city of Belfast as its majority owner) the required six months notice that it would not renew its by then year-to-year lease when it expired on December 31, 1925. [cite web| url=http://cprr.org/Museum/BMLRR/MEC_Cancellation_Notice.htm| title=MEC cancellation notice| accessdate=2007-07-13| ] The reason eventually given was a net loss to the MEC on the Belfast Branch operations of $113,230 for the year 1924. The B&ML took over operation of its road on January 1, 1926. It continued to exchange passengers and mail with the MEC at their jointly owned station at Burnham Junction until 1960 and freight interchange traffic until 2002.
In 1882, Maine Central leased the
European and North American Railway(E&NA) between Bangor and Vanceboro.
In 1888, Maine Central purchased the
Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad, which ran from Portland, through the White Mountains of New Hampshirevia Crawford Notch, and into St. Johnsbury, Vermont, where it connected with the Southeastern Railway(owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway). The railroad also purchased several narrow gauge branch lines used for the logging industry, such as the Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railroadin 1911 and the Bridgton and Saco River Railroadin 1912.
In 1889, the
Canadian Pacific Railwaypurchased trackage rights from Maine Central on the portion of the former E&NA from Mattawamkeag to Vanceboro. This Maine Central trackage formed part of the CPR's Montreal-Saint John mainline, upon completion of the International Railway of Maine. This line was an important rail route for Canadian war material heading to the port of Saint John for shipment overseas to Europe. In the months before the United States entered the war, a German saboteur attempted to blow up the railway bridge which crossed the St. Croix River at the international boundary.
Maine Central was at its height by 1917 when it became
nationalizedduring World War Iunder the United States Railroad Administration, having trackage which extended over convert|1358|mi|km. It ran from Vanceboro, Calais and Eastport in the east, to Portland in the south, St. Johnsbury in the west, and to Lime Ridge, Quebecin the north. It also operated resorts and coastal steamships and ferries.
Following World War I, Maine Central began retracting. It sold or abandoned lines such as the narrow gauge logging systems, as well as its ferries and steamships. In the 1930s it began to change its locomotives from steam powered to diesel powered. Beginning in 1933, Maine Central entered into a "joint management" agreement with the
Boston and Maine Railroad, with which it shared the Portland Terminal Railroad (a switching railroad in Portland).
In 1955, Maine Central completed a purchase of the E&NA line from Bangor to Vanceboro which it had leased in 1882. The deal consisted of $125 per share or $3,114,500 payable in cash or bonds at the election of the E&NA shareholders.
Faced with increased competition from cars, trucks and buses, Maine Central operated its last passenger train on
September 5, 1960, and continued to reduce its freight business to reflect changing traffic. On December 17, 1974, Maine Central sold its trackage between Mattawamkeag and Vanceboro to Canadian Pacific for $5.4 million while retaining trackage rights from CPR over the section of line.
In 1980, the railroad was purchased by
U.S. Filter Corporationand was then sold in 1981 to Guilford Transportation Industries, which later purchased the Boston and Maine Railroadin 1983 and the Delaware and Hudson Railwayin 1984. Initially Guilford operated the system intact, although the system now permitted run-through traffic between central Maine and Boston. By the mid-1980s, Guilford began to rationalize its system and fully one-third of Maine Central's trackage was eliminated, including: the "Mountain Division" from Portland to St. Johnsbury, Vermont; the "Rockland Branch" from Brunswick to Rockland, the "Calais Branch" from Bangor to Calais, and the "Lower Road" from Augusta to Brunswick. Guilford also forced many management and salary changes, resulting in a major strike against the company in 1986.
One of the instigating factors which led to the labor strife at Guilford relates to a corporate reorganization at one of the company's former Maine Central properties. After the Calais Branch was abandoned, a small portion of trackage between Calais and Woodland remained in service to a pulp mill. It was joined to the rest of the North American rail network through a connection with the
Canadian Pacific Railwayat St. Stephen, New Brunswickand operated through New Brunswick territory for several miles between Calais and Woodland. In order to avoid union agreements that the rest of the rail system was forced to follow, Guilford leased this operation to an obscure B&M subsidiary known as Springfield Terminal Railway. Eventually, the corporate reorganization under Springfield Terminal would extend to the full extent of Guilford operations.
The former Maine Central locomotive shops in Waterville continue as Guilford's main repair shops.
In the early 1990s, Guilford ended its practice of putting the full "Maine Central" name on the long hoods of MEC locomotives. Instead, the locomotives would wear the "Guilford Rail System" moniker, with small "MEC"
reporting marks underneath the cab windows.
November 1, 2003, the Morristown and Erie Railway(M&E) took over the former Maine Central "Lower Road" (main line) and Rockland Branch routes (aided by significant public funding from the state Department of Transportation). M&E is operating these state-owned lines as the Maine Eastern Railroad. Prior to M&E, the Rockland Branch had been operated by Safe Handling, and before that, the Maine Coast Railroad. Several railroad preservation and promotion groups are seeking to have the state-owned Calais Branch and Mountain Division routes reactivated for use by short line or tourist rail operations.
In the first quarter of 2006, Guilford Transportation Industries officially changed its name to
Pan Am Systems, reflecting GTI's purchase of Pan American World Airwaysin 1998. The rail division of GTI changed its name from Guilford Rail System to Pan Am Railways(PAR). PAR began repainting locomotives in the sky-blue Pan Am colors shortly thereafter.
Pan Am Railways' Boston and Maine Railroad comes into the state of Maine in South Berwick, through the town's southwest corner, continuing northeast through North Berwick, Wells, Kennebunk, Arundel, Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach, and Scarborough before coming to Rigby Yard in South Portland. Rigby is the historic junction point for the end-to-end MEC and B&M systems.
The MEC main line's western terminus is at Rigby and runs northeast through Portland, Falmouth, Cumberland, and Royal Junction (in Yarmouth). The "Back Road" main line continues northeast through North Yarmouth, New Gloucester, Auburn, Danville Jct., Lewiston, Leeds Jct., Readfield, Belgrade, Waterville, Pittsfield, Hermon, Northern Maine Jct., Bangor, Orono, Old Town, and ends at its eastern terminus at Mattawamkeag.
PAR's Maine Central main line interchanges with the Eastern Maine Railway at Mattawamkeag, the
Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railwayat Northern Maine Jct., and the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroadat Danville Jct.
Maine Central under PAR still has several branch lines in operation.
;DefunctThe following MEC lines have been divested.
* [http://BMLRR.com BMLRR.com (An illustrated history of the Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad which was operated by the MEC from 1871 to 1926 as its Belfast Branch.)]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Maine Central Railroad — Logo der Maine Central Die Maine Central Railroad Company (MEC) war eine US amerikanische Eisenbahngesellschaft. Sie betrieb ca. 2200 km Eisenbahnstrecken sowie einige Fähren und Schiffslinien hauptsächlich in der südlichen Hälfte des US… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Maine Central Railroad Company — Maine Central Railroad Co. MEC system map, circa 1923 Reporting mark MEC … Wikipedia
Maine Central Railroad Mountain Division — The Mountain Division, later the Mountain Subdivision, was a railroad line operated by the Maine Central Railroad from the Atlantic Ocean through the White Mountains of Maine and New Hampshire into Vermont s Northeast Kingdom. The line stretched… … Wikipedia
Maine Central Railroad Brunswick Branch — The Brunswick Branch is a railroad line in Maine that was operated by the Maine Central Railroad. It is now part of the Pan Am Railways system.The Brunswick Branch junctions with the Maine Central s mainline at Royal Junction and continues… … Wikipedia
Maine Central Railroad Rumford Branch — The Rumford Branch is a railroad line in Maine that was operated by the Maine Central Railroad. It is now part of the Pan Am Railways system.The Rumford Branch junctions with the mainline at Leeds Junction and continues northwest up the… … Wikipedia
Maine Central Railroad Rockland Branch — The Rockland Branch is a railroad line in Maine which stretches from Brunswick, Maine to Rockland, Maine. It was formerly owned and operated by the Maine Central Railroad. It is now owned by the State of Maine and operated by the Maine Eastern… … Wikipedia
Maine Central Railroad Bucksport Branch — The Bucksport Branch is a railroad line in Maine that was operated by the Maine Central Railroad. It is now part of the Pan Am Railways system.The Bucksport Branch junctions with the mainline at Bangor and continues south down the Penobscot River … Wikipedia
Maine Central Railroad Calais Branch — The Calais Branch is a mothballed railroad line in Maine that was operated by the Maine Central Railroad.The Calais Branch is 127 miles and connects Brewer to Calais. It was constructed in 1898 and carried freight and passengers over the years.… … Wikipedia
Maine Coast Railroad — Reporting mark MC Locale Maine Dates of operation 1990–2000 Predecessor Maine Central Railroad Successor Safe Handling … Wikipedia
Maine Eastern Railroad — Reporting mark MERR Locale Maine Dates of operation 2004– … Wikipedia