Downeast Scenic RR
The Downeast Scenic RR is located in Ellsworth, ME, with its yard located just southeast of Ellsworth in Washington Jct. Established in 2005, the Downeast Scenic (reporting marks DSRX) began operations in July, 2010, using a portion of the former Maine Central RR's Calais Branch. Trains run four miles from Washington Jct to Ellsworth, with plans to extend the run six miles further northwest to Green Lake. We visited the Downeast Scenic in June 2016.
The Downeast Scenic's first locomotive was #54, acquired from the Belfast and Moosehead Lake RR. It's a 70-ton locmotive built by General Electric in 1948.
Ex-Portland Terminal #1055, an Alco S4 built in 1950, is now the primary locomotive. It was purchased from the Conway Scenic RR in 2010.
#53 is a 30-ton Davenport locomotive built in 1949. It was donated to the Downeast Scenic in 2009 by R&R Contracting after spending most of its life working the ore docks in Duluth, MN.
Coach #155, McNeil Point, was built by the Laconia Car Works in 1910 for the Maine Central. It was converted to a crew bunk car in 1947 and suffered two fires. Conway Scenic RR purchased the car in 1978 and turned it into an open-air excursion car. Conway Scenic donated the car to the Downeast Scenic in 2008.
Volunteers spent two years rebuilding the car into an 80-passenger enclosed coach.
Onion River, coach #123, is a 1917 product of the Pullman Company. In 1930 it bacame one of the first cars equipped with electric traction motors and its first run had Thomas Edison at its controls. It served for decades in New Jersey commuter service on the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western RR.
Retired in the 1980's, the car spent some time on Florida's Mt Dora tourist railroad and then went to Michigan. It was acquired by the Downeast Scenic in 2009 and was repainted and refurbished inside by volunteers.
I'd say it's time for a little ride. We were here on a weekday when trains normally do not run, but a special train had been chartered for a group of school children and we were invited along. Here the train is about to depart Washington Jct.
The railroad's little ticket office in Ellsworth.
Just north of Ellsworth is the present end of the line. #1055 has uncoupled from our train is running around it to pull us back to Washington Jct.
Engineer Bill Alexander invited us aboard #$1055 for a cab ride heading back to Washington Jct.
Back at the yard, we wandered around a bit checking out some of the old equipment, such as this hand derrick car.
This little shack would be a nice little project for a model railroad.
Shortly after our visit in June 2016, the Downeast Scenic became home to #470, a former Maine Central Pacific passenger locomotive. Here she is back in 1962 on display near the old Colby College campus in Waterville.
By June of 2016 she was in pretty sad shape. The New England Steam Corporation purchased the locomotive from the city of Waterville in 2015 and in August 2016 moved it to Washington Jct. The group plans to spend $1.3 million over the next ten years to completely restore the locomotive. With two months to go before the move, the group has been busy stripping the locomotive in preparation.