Rumford Branch, RUPO / PORU

Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.

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Rumford Branch, RUPO / PORU

Postby BM6569 » Mon Jan 22, 2007 9:21 pm

I was up in Rumford last week and was surprised to see activity up there. I didn't know how often the tracks were used since that article of the guy standing on the tracks claiming they were in bad shape.

Is the roundhouse/turntable still being used? How often to trains come and go? Also, the tracks used to go farther north from Rumford but is there any remains of the line?

By the way, I drove down to MA on Friday and saw 4 Guilford (PanAM) trains! Two in Maine and two in MA. All were mixed freight.

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Postby bar358 » Fri Jan 26, 2007 4:19 am

RUED (?) I think it is now and EDRU run everyday with 2 or 3 units as does two switcher jobs at the mill.
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Leeds Junction to Rumford Trip, Part 1 (07-23-2011)

Postby soday » Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:39 am

Leeds Junction to Rumford Maine July 23, 2011

Part One

By Shawn O'Day

Up to Leeds Junction from Freeport took about 45 minutes. Arrived at the junction to take a look and map the track configurations since I have only known this area from the Jeremy Plant book (Freeport library has many local railroad books on hand - lots of narrow gauge stuff "two") . This area is still signaled to my delight and there was plenty of evidence of how it used to look during the MEC days. The old ROW to Crowley's junction was still visible at the end of the old fertilizer company spur. It started to lightly rain and the flies were getting crazy swarmish. I spotted a strange fire pit adjacent to the north connector wye track - the surrounding stones were painted red. Primitive but effective sign boards for nighttime MOW/wreck work? After heading south on 202/100 to get some DEET I checked out the Maine Ornamental Dekorators facility located along the highway but the spur look unused but still in good shape.

The rain stopped and now I start to head north along 106 and stop at the old quarries at Plains road. The quarries are now unused and Cianbro now owns part of it for a laydown area. Pine Aggregates and New England Pipe were the old names. The railroad served both at one time but the spurs were torn out or buried. This area is called Highmoor in the SPV railroad atlas. It looks like there was some sort of landfill/scrap operation south of the road as there was lots of rubbery automotive fluff that is used for cover in landfills. (don't ask how I know this - landfills are disgusting ). One spur had a bridge over a ditch but only the abutments remain. Within the area an old rusted frame to some type of railroad car exists back there.

Continuing north on 106 and passing through nice rolling farm county I spot a huge chicken farm. That huge mill in Plant's MEC book better still be rail served . To my satisfaction I soon arrive at North Leeds and find the busy mill with many covered hoppers stuffed into it's two spur tracks. I would like to get the name of this for my notes as I did not see a sign. After turning left onto 133 and now following the Androscoggin River valley I spot smokestacks in the distance south of Livermore Falls - I take a road down to the end at a municipal recycling facility and spot a huge woodchip power plant. Looking at Google earth it looks as if this is not rail served but the aerial photos are not very clear here on GE. Heading into town I came across Isaacson Lumber's extensive facility. It looked rail served at one time but all evidence was long gone. On the east side of the highway was a huge log yard and pallet yard - I assume that is what is being made here? Livermore Falls downtown was pretty neat and compact and the MEC snaked its way through closely passing several buildings taking tight curves as well. It is here I noted that the dust in the road crossing flange ways was freshly cut by a passing train (I often have successfully used this train chasing technique in Maine). I scoped out the Otis Falls Mill and noted plenty of no trespassing signs so I did not check it out very much but all of the spurs on the south end have been removed and really no evidence of them remain. Google Earth shows active spurs on the north end and Plant's book showed plenty of spurs on the south end.

Next stop is Jay/Riley's area and an aromatic sense of jobs in the form of huge paper mill. I stopped at the little village at the north end which is called Riley's East on the railroad. The ROW and the mill looked rather inaccessible but I was wondering if a train was working the yard within the mill. After a few minutes loitering with a local dog barking I decide to head out but took the wrong road down to the river hydroelectric plant - being a fan of all things industrial that was not too bad and worth a photo anyways.

After doubling back and taking the gravel road south I start to follow the tracks and river noting a couple of scenic photo spots. Somehow I end up going too far south and end up on route 4 but that actually will take me to Canton. The old MEC crosses route 140 and the road then crosses the Androscoggin river on a new bridge. I forgot that this is the location of a junction with the old Ex Portland and Rumford Falls Railroad line down to Rumford Junction in Auburn. The wye tracks ROWs are visible on Google earth and there is an old depot located in Canton. Cruising north through Peru I happily spot a couple of Big "G"s pulling an EB train heading west to Rumford on the compass.

To be continued in Part 2.

photos to be uploaded to NERAIL once I recall my password
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Re: Rumford Operations

Postby gokeefe » Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:41 pm

I haven't said much about it as the story seems to be still developing but all indication are that the New Page mill in Rumford is in serious financial trouble. Some of this has been reported already in the media.

I have a very good friend of mine who has been through a series of mill closings and he told me a few weeks ago that all the signs he had seen at that mill were very bad.

He works at another mill in the area in a high skill trade and had some good perspective on it. Of particular note he indicated that when mills start selling off assets (as New Page has done with their hydro) its a sign of desperation.

I'm assuming a total shutdown of the Rumford mill would be very bad for PAR as a substantial amount of their overhead paper traffic from Maine is generated there. Certainly it would seem very likely that they would survive and "soldier on" but I have to wonder how much this might affect them.
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Re: Rumford Operations

Postby roberttosh » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:06 pm

I've heard chapter 11 bankruptcy is a real possibility for them and they apparently announced just last week that they are closing their Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia paper mill. Hopefully the Rumford mill doesn't go down the same path as Great Northern...
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Re: Rumford Operations

Postby gokeefe » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:58 pm

roberttosh wrote:I've heard chapter 11 bankruptcy is a real possibility for them and they apparently announced just last week that they are closing their Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia paper mill. Hopefully the Rumford mill doesn't go down the same path as Great Northern...


I was really surprised to see a mill in Canada closed in favor of a mill in Maine. Normally the Candian government subsidies seem to trump any operating or productivity advantages in the U.S. For whatever reason this must not have been the case this time.
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Re: Rumford Operations

Postby Mikejf » Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:15 pm

BM6569 wrote:I was up in Rumford last week and was surprised to see activity up there. I didn't know how often the tracks were used since that article of the guy standing on the tracks claiming they were in bad shape.

Is the roundhouse/turntable still being used? How often to trains come and go? Also, the tracks used to go farther north from Rumford but is there any remains of the line?

By the way, I drove down to MA on Friday and saw 4 Guilford (PanAM) trains! Two in Maine and two in MA. All were mixed freight.

Warren



Warren, almost Daily freight trains depart Rumford. Picks up at Jay and occasionally Leeds at the Grain Silo.

North would have been through Coos Canyon. This ended in the thirties shortly after a flood that took out the bridge over the Androscoggin River. Remnants of the railbed can be found along Route 17.

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Re: Rumford Operations

Postby gokeefe » Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:34 pm

miketrainnut wrote:
BM6569 wrote:I was up in Rumford last week and was surprised to see activity up there. I didn't know how often the tracks were used since that article of the guy standing on the tracks claiming they were in bad shape.

Is the roundhouse/turntable still being used? How often to trains come and go? Also, the tracks used to go farther north from Rumford but is there any remains of the line?

By the way, I drove down to MA on Friday and saw 4 Guilford (PanAM) trains! Two in Maine and two in MA. All were mixed freight.

Warren



Warren, almost Daily freight trains depart Rumford. Picks up at Jay and occasionally Leeds at the Grain Silo.

North would have been through Coos Canyon. This ended in the thirties shortly after a flood that took out the bridge over the Androscoggin River. Remnants of the railbed can be found along Route 17.

Mike


The railroad went further north than Rumford???

Where did it terminate?
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Re: Rumford Operations

Postby S1f3432 » Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:56 pm

Rumford Falls and Rangeley Lakes Railroad was completed to Kennebago Lake in 1896
by way of Roxbury, Byron, Bemis and Oquossoc. MEC gave up on the 11 miles between
Oquossoc and Kennebago in 1933. The Kennebago Bus Co. was formed to operate a rail
bus between those two points as the track wasn't immediately dismantled. This bus was
at Clark's Trading Post in Lincoln, NH. Floods in 1936 did serious damage including taking
out the bridge between Rumford and Mexico. The scrapper bought MEC 0-6-0 #159 to haul
the scrap trains back to Rumford in 1937 and there is a well published series of photos
showing the engine being moved north through city streets in Rumford on panel track to
navigate around the washed out bridge. 159 was later cut up on the Mexico side of the
river.
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Re: Rumford Operations

Postby arcadia terminal » Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:01 pm

Gokeefe,
The line went up to Kennebago (lake) 46 more miles up the line. The line was abandoned in 1935 back 10.8 miles to Oquossoc and then to Rumford in 1936 the remainder 36 miles.

Hope this helps
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Re: Rumford Operations

Postby gokeefe » Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:34 pm

Thank you for the replies!

I had just recently heard that the MEC had in fact at one time gone to Rangeley (although I hadn't heard that it had gone through Rangeley!). Up until then I thought the SR&RL was the only railroad that had made it up into that area.
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Re: Rumford Operations

Postby doublebell » Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:32 pm

Oquossoc is part of Rangeley, although they don't like to admit it. They have their own Zip Code.

John, the guy in the white car with a wing on back
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Re: Rumford Operations

Postby BM6569 » Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:15 am

Just realized I started this thread back in 07! I know much more about the Rumford operations now. I usually hear (or sometimes see) RUPO or PORU while I'm at work in Auburn.

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Re: Rumford Operations

Postby roberttosh » Sat Sep 03, 2011 11:32 am

gokeefe wrote:
roberttosh wrote:I've heard chapter 11 bankruptcy is a real possibility for them and they apparently announced just last week that they are closing their Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia paper mill. Hopefully the Rumford mill doesn't go down the same path as Great Northern...


I was really surprised to see a mill in Canada closed in favor of a mill in Maine. Normally the Candian government subsidies seem to trump any operating or productivity advantages in the U.S. For whatever reason this must not have been the case this time.


I think the big issue was that the utility company was trying to ram a huge rate increase down their throats, so they said screw it, we'll just close the mill.
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Re: Rumford Operations

Postby gokeefe » Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:31 pm

doublebell wrote:Oquossoc is part of Rangeley, although they don't like to admit it. They have their own Zip Code.

John, the guy in the white car with a wing on back


When I was up in Rangeley late this past winter I was trying to understand why Oquossoc would even exist. I couldn't shake the feeling that for being so remote there seemed to be a lot of people there. Now I know why. The train went through there at one time. That's how it came to be so densely settled, so early on.

I was in Roxbury recently too and sort of had the same feeling. I was trying to put together a timeline in my head of how and why things got settled in that area as well and came to some sort of decision that executives from the paper mill had decided to build there. That was only part of the answer. The railroad went through and made it all possible.
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