Downeast Scenic Railroad (DSRX) Discussion

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Re: Downeast Scenic Railroad (DSRX) Discussion

Postby jwhite07 » Tue May 10, 2016 7:07 pm

I was up in DSRX territory last Saturday and swung by Washington Junction very briefly to see if 470's new home had been set up yet - did not see that it had, but I was pleased to see that #53 has sometime recently received a repaint and lettering.

My in-laws belong to the same church as the DSRX volunteer responsible for the paint job, so the next day I was able to comment on seeing it and congratulate her on a nice job! Didn't get around to asking her how long ago #53 was repainted, but it sure looks good! Also noted another car under wraps in the yard and was told it was a combine which hopefully soon will receive some work.

Quite a few folks with visi-vests and hard hats looking like they were getting close to wrapping it up for the day; my apologies for not saying howdy but I had places to go and looks like you guys did too!

Hope to get up this summer and take a ride again.
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Re: Downeast Scenic Railroad (DSRX) Discussion

Postby Watchman318 » Wed May 18, 2016 10:30 pm

jwhite07 wrote: . . . I was pleased to see that #53 has sometime recently received a repaint and lettering.
Okay, i thought I had read somewhere that there was no prototype for an Athearn "Hustler," but that sure looks like one to me. :-D
The paint job and lettering look great.
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Re: Downeast Scenic Railroad (DSRX) Discussion

Postby RRFAN » Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:25 pm

I am near the downeast scenic railroad and I wanted to catch one of there trains this weekend. Which way do they depart from Ellsworth?
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Re: Downeast Scenic Railroad (DSRX) Discussion

Postby Cosmo » Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:52 pm

FWIU, they go BOTH directions from the old station. They "back" down to the Falls, then go back North.
I'm not certain, but I believe they run around the train at the Falls and wye it at the North end (Wash. Jct.)
"It belongs in a MUSEUM!"
-Indiana Jones
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Re: Downeast Scenic Railroad (DSRX) Discussion

Postby RRFAN » Thu Jun 30, 2016 7:21 pm

Cosmo wrote:FWIU, they go BOTH directions from the old station. They "back" down to the Falls, then go back North.
I'm not certain, but I believe they run around the train at the Falls and wye it at the North end (Wash. Jct.)


Thanks!
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Re: Downeast Scenic Railroad (DSRX) Discussion

Postby Mikejf » Thu Jun 30, 2016 7:32 pm

Cosmo has it correct
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Re: Downeast Scenic Railroad (DSRX) Discussion

Postby rr503 » Sat Aug 06, 2016 7:35 pm

I might be visiting the area later this month, and was curious about the status of the line.
How far have they repaired the track going towards Bangor?
Is there any timeline for doing so?
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Re: Downeast Scenic Railroad (DSRX) Discussion

Postby jwhite07 » Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:14 am

Maine DOT needs to perform work on the Union River railroad bridge at Ellsworth Falls before westward expansion can occur. This bridge work may be significant - I hope I'm wrong, but I think I read somewhere the word "replacement" being used! The concrete piers and abutments certainly need a lot of work, at the very least. I haven't seen any official timeline, but I understand it's somewhere in the DOT's pipe.

Just west of where DSRX currently runs around their train to head back east, work has been started to relocate the intersection of Route 1A and Route 179 and reconfigure it from a Y intersection in front of the Sunrise Glass building (I remember when it was Dick's Corner Store) to a T intersection located behind the store. That will require installation of a new grade crossing and removing the old one... and will also hopefully make it a lot easier and safer for both vehicles, and in the future trains, traversing through there. It has always been kind of kamikaze through there, especially trying to come off 179 onto 1A East as the intersection was never signaled for either traffic or railroad, not even a blinking light. Many times I had to wait a long time and then "lay a patch" across the railroad tracks to come off 179 and merge onto 1A amid all the summertime traffic.
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Re: Downeast Scenic Railroad (DSRX) Discussion

Postby douellet » Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:51 am

image.jpeg
Yesterday was a very busy day at Washington Junction. The frame and drivers and the tender of the 470 were lifted onto the rails of the DSRX. All those involved with this restoration project have done an amazing job!
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Re: Downeast Scenic Railroad (DSRX) Discussion

Postby jwhite07 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:59 am

Took another ride (my third) on DSRX on August 21 while visiting family in the area. 54 was the able, if a bit smoky, power, as 1055 was out for 92-day inspection. The crew has predictably added newly-arrived 470 in their list of things to look out for during the trip. I noticed there is a collection of neat looking vintage railroad photos from the Ellsworth area hung inside coach 155, reprints of which are available for sale at a local antique shop. Went looking and found they are not necessarily "stock" items, but the shop owner called up the collector and she dropped by with a portfolio so that I could order a few and pick them up later in the week. Another fine day for a train ride through Ellsworth as usual!
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Re: Downeast Scenic Railroad (DSRX) Discussion

Postby jwhite07 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:10 am

Other observations from my recent trip up in DSRX land:

The reconstruction of the 1A/179 intersection in Ellsworth Falls is well underway. Route 1A is a pothole-ridden dirt road through the work area now, right during peak tourist season! A temporary casualty of the work is the rail line, which has been severed from just west of the runaround siding DSRX uses to "change ends", to a couple hundred feet before the Union River Bridge. Rails and ties are gone through that stretch during the road work and grade crossing relocation, but it does appear that the project includes putting the railroad back in place. Project is expected to be complete by June 2017.

Another recently advertised DOT project will extend a local road (Forest Street) north of Route 1A and necessitate construction of a brand new railroad grade crossing equipped with warning flashers. This new grade crossing will be between Ellsworth High School and Ellsworth Builder's Supply, within the railroad's present operating territory. Going to bid later in September, so unknown work schedule or possible impact on 2017 season DSRX operations as yet. The existing High School crossing will also get flashers under a separate project, but it is slated to be restricted to pedestrians and emergency vehicles only after Forest Street Extension is opened.

Still nothing as far as I can find on any Union River Bridge rehab work which would allow DSRX to eventually expand west. I did learn recently that the existing bridge was installed after the original through-truss railroad bridge was swept away on May 3, 1923 during the Ellsworth Flood.

When Downeast Scenic first began operating in 2010, caboose 2608 was a regular part of the train consist (coach 155 was still undergoing restoration then). More recently, it seems the caboose is no longer operated in passenger service... or at least it wasn't on either of my subsequent rides (2012 and 2016) and the handful of times in between I've been passing through Ellsworth and happened to see the train. Does anyone know if 2608 is ever used any more in passenger service, now that there are three passenger cars available? Maybe for charter trips, special occasions, or expected high demand days only?

DSRX is beginning a fundraising campaign to restore a Combine that had last seen service on the Conway Scenic Railroad. I noted during my trip that if they increase train length much more, they will have to extend the tracks to make more room between the switches and the end of track bunters on the east and south legs of the Washington Junction wye, and maybe the Ellsworth Falls siding track too!
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Re: Downeast Scenic Railroad (DSRX) Discussion

Postby b&m 1566 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:39 am

My last ride on the railroad was in August of 2014 and I was told then, that they no longer use the caboose for regular service but still use it for crews working (volunteering) on the railroad. I'm glad I was fortunate to ride in the caboose when I did back in 2010 (the Sunday of the 1st full weekend open to public to be exact). It's my only ride in a caboose so far.
As for expanding the track to accommodate longer trains - didn't they shorten the siding near the school to avoid a grade crossing? Also, going by satellite imagery, it appears the rail ends at the bunters for each leg of the wye; rail would have to be installed again to make them longer.
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Re: Downeast Scenic Railroad (DSRX) Discussion

Postby jwhite07 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:38 pm

The Ellsworth Falls passing siding looks to be roughly-Google-measured 700 feet between fouling points, which would be enough for 8 85-foot units (none of DSRX's equipment is that long, I'm just making the math easy). Plenty of room. There is that Hannah Road crossing in the middle of the siding, but it's a dirt road, likely private, that leads to a small hay field north of the railroad and not a blessed thing else that I can see. They can probably keep clear of it with the train length they run today; I didn't take notice if it was blocked during my recent trip. I don't think it would be a huge deal anyway if they block it for a few minutes while running around their train, but if it is a big deal, then it's probably about 550 feet useable siding length, or a bit more than 6 85-foot lengths.

The tail tracks on the wye are a bit shorter... again roughly-Google-measured 430 feet on the Bar Harbor Branch leg (barely 5 85-foot units) and 470 feet on the Calais Branch leg. It appeared to me from the train that a 70-tonner with three 70-ish foot cars didn't have a heck of a lot of room to spare between switch and bunter, but maybe the eyes deceived me and there's more room than there looked to be - I was on the open air car in the middle, not on either end. Still, if the operation really takes off and they need longer trains (and I hope they will!) some day in the future, what's there now won't be enough.
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Re: Downeast Scenic Railroad (DSRX) Discussion

Postby b&m 1566 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:16 pm

Does the state plan to install lights, for the grade crossing on Main Street near the station? Main Street, out by Washington Junction has them.
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Re: Downeast Scenic Railroad (DSRX) Discussion

Postby jwhite07 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:06 pm

No upgrade for Main Street as far as I can tell from MaineDOT documentation on the web, at least in the immediate future. MaineDOT seems to spring for at least minimal automatic protection for new crossings but might be hesitant to upgrade legacy ones. Even busy Main Street didn't have lights when it was transferred from MEC to MaineDOT ownership, so it's apparently "legacy". I can't find my older ETTs at the moment but I know as far back as the 1978 ETT the crossing was flag protected. I do have a photograph and a postcard view from the 1920s-ish that show Main Street was even equipped with crossing gates way back then, but that was long before the Calais Branch had lost passenger service and dwindled to, at best, a few trains in each direction per week.

The EHS crossing doesn't really fit into the legacy category - the crossing didn't exist when the state acquired the line. True, it was there long before DSRX started operating (the new EHS - not the one I attended - opened in 1995, DSRX started up 15 years later). Maybe that's why it'll be getting lights soon, as will the new Forest Street Extension. All of the crossings which still had lights when MEC threw in the towel in 1985, such as your example of Main Street near Washington Junction and Thorsen roads, did have the protection restored to working order prior to DSRX beginning operations. I presume the new Route 179 crossing, as well as the slightly older but still new Route 180 crossing west of the Union River, will both get lights once it becomes necessary for them to be protected, i.e. once DSRX operations start running west of Lakes Lane.
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