Biddeford and Saco Railroad, The by OR Cummings ERHS Bulletin #19
Biddeford and Saco Railroad, The by OR Cummings ERHS Bulletin #19
Biddeford and Saco Railroad, The by OR Cummings ERHS Bulletin #19

Biddeford and Saco Railroad, The by OR Cummings ERHS Bulletin #19

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Biddeford and Saco Railroad, The by OR Cummings ERHS Bulletin #19
 
Biddeford and Saco Railroad, The by OR Cummings ERHS Bulletin #19
Electric Railway Historical Society
Soft Cover
Copyright1956
35 pages
INTRODUCTION
Small but important among the electric railways of Maine during the golden era of the trolley car was the Biddeford and Saco Railroad which motorized its seven mile system in 1939 after a half century of rail service in the twin cities of Biddeford and Saco and to the neighboring summer resort, Old Orchard Beach.
A busy and prosperous little road for many years, the Biddeford and Saco was a key segment in the continuous electric railway route from the New Hampshire state line to the heart of Central Maine, serving as the connecting link between the Atlantic Shore Railway and the Portland Railroad Company in addition to providing terminal trackage for the latter at Saco and Old Orchard Beach. As a matter of fact, for a time the Biddeford and Saco was controlled by the Portland system through stock ownership by Portland Railroad officials.
The Biddeford and Saco operated the last open cars in the Pine Tree State and was the last street railway in New England to run opens in regular scheduled service. It is one of the oldest New England transit properties still operating under its original corporate title but its greatest distinction lies in the fact that it continues to maintain the basic five cent fare-the same fare with which it began operation in 18881 In recent years, the B&S has been given nationwide publicity over this unusual state of affairs-unusual in that there are very few bus lines in this country where a nickel retains its old-time dignity as the price of a ride.
Before proceeding with the history of this interesting road, it might be well to mention that Biddeford and Saco are situated in the northeastern part of Maine's York County, on opposite banks of the Saco river about 15 miles south of Portland. They are united historically, industrially and socially and, as a unit, rank second to Lewiston and Auburn in manufacturing importance in the Pine Tree State. Biddeford is the industrial part of the union, Saco is primarily residential. The population, strongly Franco-American, is largely employed in three large textile and textile machinery mills and several smaller factories.
Old Orchard, with one of the longest beaches on the Atlantic coast, was officially dedicated to the resort business in 1840. There are many hotels, amusements and concessions he-e and at the end of a long pier extending out over the ocean, "name" bands play for dancing every summer night. Numerous conventions are held at this famous playground which is thronged with vacationers every year from early June until late September.
This narrative has been divided into four parts, the first dealing with the organization, construction and horsecar operation of the Biddeford and Saco; the second covering the period from the electrification in 1892 to 1900; the third describing the B&S' heyday from 1900 to 1930; and the fourth covering the final decade of the Biddeford and Saco as a trolley line. There are several pages of supplementary notes, followed by a complete and detailed roster of equipment-from the first horsecars to the last trolleys purchased.   
This history is respectfully dedicated to the memory of Eugene O. Hill, the capable and efficient superintendent of the Biddeford and Saco Railroad from 1920 until his death on July 11, 1941.
"Gene," as he was affectionately called by his friends and associates, came to the B&S about 1900 as a spare conductor while regularly employed at the York Manufacturing Company in Saco. He became a permanent conductor in 1902 and remained in that capacity until his promotion to superintendent 18 years later.
He was an ardent advocate of street railways and strongly, but unsuccessfully, opposed the motorization of the Biddeford and Saco. It was his desire to rehabilitate the railway and purchase new double truck passenger cars instead of making a change to bus service.
Mr. Hill was always very accommodating in arranging excursions for railfans and rauf an groups and whenever his duties permitted, he accompanied them on the trips to point out interesting features of the line. He was always ready to aid any of his fellow employees who might need assistance and was most considerate in the supervision of their daily labors. To many, Gene Hill was the Biddeford and Saco and he is fondly remembered today as a friend to all.
FOREWORD
Many sources of information have been drawn upon in the preparation of this history. Extensive use was made of the annual reports of the Maine Railroad Commissioners and Public Utilities Commission for the years 1891 through 1916 and other data have been taken from the American Street Railway Investments manuals of 1894 and 1899 and from the Street Railway Journal, the Electric Railway Journal and the Transit Journal.


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