Meet the Maine Central: the Pine Tree Route 1960 - 1981 Soft Cover

Meet the Maine Central: the Pine Tree Route 1960 - 1981 Soft Cover

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Meet the Maine Central: the Pine Tree Route 1960 - 1981 Soft Cover
 
MEET THE MAINE CENTRAL THE PINE TREE ROUTE 1960 - 1981 Soft Cover 1981 64 pages Published by the 470 Railroad Club
SECOND PRINTING 1982
Foreword
The 470 Railroad Club of Portland, Maine is pleased to have produced this introductory soft cover book on the Maine Central Railroad Co. as one of its on-going projects to preserve and promote for educational purposes, all aspects of railroading; past, present, and future. The book is designed to introduce one to the present period of operations on the Maine Central. It is planned to follow this book with a several volume history, which will delve into all aspects to the system including ownership, steam, diesel and car rosters, with extensive photo coverage.
Contents
Rigby Yard
Mountain Subdivision
Mainline "Back Road"
Rumford and Farmington Branches
Mainline "Lower Road"
Brunswick
Waterville
Waterville Wayfreights
Bangor Mainline
Bangor Yard
Vanceboro Branch
Calais Branch

Introduction
ON THE MORNING of September 6, 1960, as dawn broke over the slumbering city of Portland, a few hardy souls gathered at St. John Street to witness a historic event. With the bell ringing, E7 705 pulling a CP express reefer, three baggage cars, and four standard steel coaches clattered over the cross-overs at Brighton Avenue's Tower 5 and entered Portland Union Station with the last regularly scheduled MEC passenger train. The time: 6:30 a.m. and the Maine Central entered a new era as a "freight only" railroad.
This unique and colorful road whose logo is the pine tree and colors, green and gold, bases its revenues primarily from the "green gold" of pulp and paper. Approximately 60% of its income is derived from this industry and has provided a sound economic base that has kept it one of the few profitable railroads in the Northeast.
On a normal weekday, some 30 freight trains and numerous yard switches are busy hauling and sorting carloads of oil and petroleum products, feed, lumber and wood products, canned food and chemicals.
The Maine Central operates 819 miles of rail over a widely diverse terrain where beautiful scenery abounds. To the west, the Mountain Subdivision's famed Crawford Notch in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and the rolling green hills of Vermont cradle the steel highway. The "Back Road" mainline traverses the beautiful "lakes region" of central Maine. Coastal inlets with charming towns along the Rockland branch, the gentle hills and farmlands of central Maine, with the mighty Kennebec River winding alongside the "Lower Road" mainline provides scenic photographic backdrops of many MEC trains. To the east, out of Bangor, the Vanceboro and Calais branches operate through the remote and dense forests of Penobscot and Washington counties.
One hundred and eighteen years of independent ownership came to an end on December 10, 1980 when U.S. Filter Corporation, a conglomerate with huge coal reserves in the south, purchased the railroad with plans to exploit the region's growing need for coal. Several days after buying the MEC, the U.S. Filter Corp. was taken over by the Ashland Oil Co., who apparently decided not to wait for the coal boom and sold the Maine Central in June, 1981 to Mr. Timothy Mellon, a 38-year-old member of the famous Pittsburgh banking family.
Mr. Mellon has also been quietly negotiating with other eastern railroads and seems to be on his way to unifying these lines. The Connecticut entrepreneur Mellon has signed an agreement to buy the B&M and has expressed an interest in purchasing the D&H.
Even without merging these lines, Mellon's Guildford Transportation Industries, which deals in heavy industry such as oil and aluminum, could coordinate schedules, economize in purchasing supplies, take advantage of growing coal traffic, and provide an alternative to Conrail.
A NERCOM (New England Regional Commission) study written in conjunction with the United States Railroad Association, released in 1980, concluded that only the Maine Central may be expected to be profitable in the years ahead with substantial increases in traffic levels pertaining to coal and forest products. The Maine Central has a new owner, a new vitality, and new plans.

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