State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby gokeefe » Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:29 pm

So what is the message here re: The Gull? It was successful until the very end when it was terminated, not due to poor performance but due to the end of passenger service systemwide?

This seems a rather unusual conclusion.
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby eastwind » Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:16 am

Just thought of another reason The Gull might not have been on most people's radars. It came to me when I reached for a New Haven timetable to check on a State of Maine detail.

The Gull is not in the New Haven timetable.

East of the New York Central's line up the Hudson to Albany, and south of the Boston & Albany's main line between its namesake cities, was New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad territory. Aside from two lines—the NYCS's lightly used Harlem line from Grand Central through Brewster and the current end-of-line at Wassaic all the way up to Chatham, and the Central Vermont's line from New London to Palmer (and on up to Brattleboro and White River Junction)—every other rail line was the New Haven's. North of there, practically every rail line was the Boston & Maine's. No matter where you were headed in New England in those days, chances were about 97% that your trip involved either the New Haven or the B&M, or both, at some point.

It's easy to forget, when the only rail passenger timetable you've ever known is Amtrak's, that before NRPC each railroad issued its own system timetable. The Pennsylvania, the New York Central, the New Haven, the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Canadian Pacific each had one, detailing the services on their own lines and showing through schedules (sometimes condensed) and equipment for interline trains (of which, owing to the compactness of each railroad's territory, there were many). Each was the same dimensions as Amtrak's is today, designed to slip into a coat pocket for ready reference. And each (except for Maine Central's) was about as thick. There were that many trains in those days.

If you were a New Yorker then, planning a trip east/northeast of the city—to Boston, or Hartford, or Springfield, or Cape Cod, or Worcester, Portland, Bar Harbor, Manchester, Concord, Lake Winnipesaukee, Hanover, Bretton Woods, or Montréal (to name but a few)—you needed to consult only one timetable: the New Haven's Through trains to all those places ran from Grand Central and/or Penn Station, over the tracks of the NYNH&H for part or all of their itinerary. Full details were in the pages of its timetable. That there may have been other, connecting trains on some of those lines didn't concern you unless you needed to travel at a time when there was no through train. For example, New York to Concord NH in the afternoon, after the East Wind had left but before the State of Maine. Then you would need two timetables, or perhaps more. Just pick up a copy from the rack at your local station. But for the most part, one was enough.

For most people, then, their railroad world was in the pages of their local railroad's system timetable. In the case of the New Haven, that world stretched all the way to Montréal in Canada and Bar Harbor in Maine. The New Haven timetable had two full pages devoted to trains on the State of Maine Route, two for the Connecticut River Line, and another for International Service. New Yorkers could not help but be aware that there was train service to Canada and to northern New England. But they might not know about trains that did not originate on New Haven rails but rather in Boston on the B&M, listed only in a timetable they did not have occasion to consult frequently, or even possess. One of these trains was the Penobscot, which ran from Boston to Millinocket, Houlton, Presque Isle, Caribou, and Van Buren, with a through sleeper for Ellsworth, Machias, and Calais. Another was The Gull.

If you were a New Yorker headed to New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, which you knew were in Canada, you might think that the only way to get there was to go first to Montréal, which you knew you could get to, and then on from there. Bostonians (and Canadians), of course, would know about The Gull, but south of there people might not even know of its existence and think that a direct link simply wasn't available.

That's what I think, anyway.

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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby eastwind » Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:21 am

gokeefe wrote:So what is the message here re: The Gull? It was successful until the very end when it was terminated, not due to poor performance but due to the end of passenger service systemwide?

This seems a rather unusual conclusion.

I believe that is correct. It's my understanding that the Canadian Pacific wanted to continue the train, but the Maine Central wanted out of all passenger service in 1960, got permission from the Interstate Commerce Commission, and that was that.

The ICC could (and did) deny discontinuance of domestic passenger services that it deemed were in the public interest, but it had no jurisdiction over international runs.
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby jbvb » Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:08 pm

I haven't had a chance to check either my old B&M Bulletins or the BM_RR@yahoogroups.com archives, but I believe that at the end, McGinnis and the B&M were instrumental in shutting down The Gull. I believe they made passengers switch to an RDC at Portland.
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby gokeefe » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:25 pm

jbvb wrote:I haven't had a chance to check either my old B&M Bulletins or the BM_RR@yahoogroups.com archives, but I believe that at the end, McGinnis and the B&M were instrumental in shutting down The Gull. I believe they made passengers switch to an RDC at Portland.


I have seen photos that purport to show the last arrival (or departure?) of The Gull at North Station. According to those photos standard North American long distance passenger equipment was in use to the end.
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:49 pm

jbvb wrote:I haven't had a chance to check either my old B&M Bulletins or the BM_RR@yahoogroups.com archives, but I believe that at the end, McGinnis and the B&M were instrumental in shutting down The Gull. I believe they made passengers switch to an RDC at Portland.

That's my recollection, although I don't have anything handy I can use to check. I know McGinnis was determined to (and did) get rid of all passenger equipment other than RDC, and requiring a change at Portland would certainly cut down on the demand enough to get approval to take the train off altogether.
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby edbear » Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:45 pm

The Gull was a dying duck before an RDC rolled into Portland. Most fans do not read vintage railroad annual reports and today's reports from Amtrak and commuter agencies do not readily provide the statistics like the reports did back when regulated railroads provided passenger service. I worked in the Boston & Maine Finance Department where this data was collected and reports prepared. The railroads' reports were shown in Moody's Transportation Manuals; I have 1954 and 1960 both of which have ten year summaries (I also have lots of railroad issued reports). In 1947, the first post World War II year where normal service was operated, the Maine Central carried 1.16 million passengers, about 3,200 a day. In 1957, when there was still a train on the Mountain Div., the Calais Branch and a pretty good Rockland schedule plus mainline service on both the Lower Road and Back Road, the MEC carried 303,496 passengers, about 831 a day. That was a loss of about 75% of the passenger business and each year shows a drop. During the same period the Boston and Maine carried 26.3 million passengers in 1947 about 72,000 a day, 12.0 million, 33,000 a day in 1957. This was before the big service cuts that took effect in the Spring of 1958. The B & M lost a bit more than 50% of its passengers in that period; again the decline was steady, year by year except 1952 on the B & M. The B & M attributed that to the RDC, but in reality, the Eastern Mass. Street Railway suffered a lengthy strike and there was no bus service from Salem and Lynn to Boston for months. So, it wasn't McGinnis and the RDC which made the Gull a dead duck, but the public's changing tastes in transportation.
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby eastwind » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:32 pm

Nova Scotia commits to reviving Canada-Maine ferry service

Interesting article in The Forecaster:
Bangor Daily News wrote:Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter on Friday said he would commit to finding a new operator and to providing $21 million over seven years to help subsidize ferry service across the Gulf of Maine, which was lost at the end of 2009 when Bay Ferries Ltd. shut down the service because of tough economic conditions. Dexter made the announcement after receiving the final report from an independent panel tasked with determining under what conditions a ferry service between Nova Scotia and Maine would be successful.

Bay Ferries Ltd. stopped operating The Cat between Nova Scotia, Portland and Bar Harbor at the end of 2009 after the Nova Scotia government said it no longer could subsidize the service, which it was doing at the time to the tune of nearly $7 million a year.

The loss of the ferry service has hurt southwestern Nova Scotia’s economy. Bringing the ferry service back, along with its resulting tourism dollars, became a political talking point in the province.
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby gokeefe » Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:17 pm

I have just written up a full report of my trip to the North Carolina Transportation Museum at the former Southern Railway Spencer Shops in Spencer, NC. Of note I was granted special access to the Pine Tree State, ex-NH 553 (PPCX 800236), a 6 DBR - Buffet - Lounge, Pullman Sleeper car that once was in full regular service on the State of Maine. It is not only the last existing piece of interchangeable rolling stock once owned by the NH but it is also the only known intact surviving sleeper car to have served in Maine.

The full report can be read here: in the NH Maine Passenger Service (with B&M/MEC/PRR/NYC) thread.

An excerpt describing the tour of Pine Tree State is below.

And so the moment had arrived, the correct key was obtained and we walked out to Pine Tree State sitting alone on a siding. Not having seen any interior photos on the internet I wasn't really sure what to expect and whether or not the trip to the museum (for which Pine Tree State was definitely a motivating factor) was going to be "worth it" or not.

And so like literally thousands of Mainers before us we alighted onto Pine Tree State and found ourselves....in semi-darkness. And this was where things actually became more and not less interesting. The shades in the hallway going down the side of the car were pulled down and I could see what looked like some kind of blue hues coming from the hall, I figured those must have been some kind of 'service lights'. There were also one or two lights on right by the vestibule. I realized I was standing by the electrical cabinet and after asking permission opened it up to find.... completely intact electrical circuit breakers that I had very few doubts were original factory installation. I looked at the wiring chart and flipped everything which literally brought the car to life (it was plugged in to "shore power").

We then proceeded to the first open double bedroom to find .... darkness. Again. This time it was a little easier as I located some vintage toggle switches (right were they should be!) and flipped on the lights in the room to reveal .... a perfectly intact double bedroom with all amenities working, all light fixtures working and even the little fans close to the ceiling in place (maybe not working...couldn't tell for sure).

The carpet looked as if it had been replaced (which it probably had been). The partitions for use to convert the bedrooms to singles were in place as well and as far as I knew it seemed as if this was probably the case in the other bedrooms. We proceeded down the hallway, past the kitchen used for the buffet service (which apparently was either in your room or in the lounge and yes, then we came to the lounge. Probably original chairs in place and the beautiful effects of art-deco designed indirect lighting.

For all intents and purposes this car is completely and totally intact. That it is not just the last remaining sleeper car to service Maine but of course the last remaining piece of NH rolling stock still interchangeable on national railroads makes Pine Tree State a very special piece of history indeed.

This post wouldn't be complete without acknowledging the efforts of the Massachusetts Bay Rail Road Enthusiasts whose donations in the early aughts (2004/2005?) helped pay for restoration of the car to its present state. My profound thanks to the volunteers at the North Carolina Transportation Museum who took time out of their very long day to give me and my family this special tour.
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby edbear » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:32 pm

I am doing some rearranging of my collection and came across the Register slip for Train #2, the B & M State of Maine, arrival at Worcester, March 12, 1960. I think the March 12 is the date leaving Portland; #2 arrived Worcester after midnight. #2 left Portland on-time 8:45 pm with 14 Pullman passengers and 12 coach. Arrival at Worcester, 1:35 am, on-time, 18 Pullman passengers, 4 coach. Engines 3810/3809, 5 cars, conductor J J Keeley, engineer H Smith. March 12 was a Saturday so that might account for the very short train and light passenger load.
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby gokeefe » Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:32 pm

edbear wrote:I am doing some rearranging of my collection and came across the Register slip for Train #2, the B & M State of Maine, arrival at Worcester, March 12, 1960. I think the March 12 is the date leaving Portland; #2 arrived Worcester after midnight. #2 left Portland on-time 8:45 pm with 14 Pullman passengers and 12 coach. Arrival at Worcester, 1:35 am, on-time, 18 Pullman passengers, 4 coach. Engines 3810/3809, 5 cars, conductor J J Keeley, engineer H Smith. March 12 was a Saturday so that might account for the very short train and light passenger load.


Very interesting to hear what the ridership looked like in its last year of operation.
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby gokeefe » Sat Nov 30, 2013 8:09 am

eastwind wrote:If you were a New Yorker headed to New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, which you knew were in Canada, you might think that the only way to get there was to go first to Montréal, which you knew you could get to, and then on from there. Bostonians (and Canadians), of course, would know about The Gull, but south of there people might not even know of its existence and think that a direct link simply wasn't available.

That's what I think, anyway.

eastwind


I just reread this post and realized a) that I never responded to thank you for your thoughts and b) that it makes so much sense and in a way seems to explain the popularity of the Adirondack today. To wit, this train was and is successful because everyone has always thought of New York City have direct rail service to Montreal but few ever thought of Boston having direct rail service to the Maritimes. Thanks for a great read. I'll return to this one for years.
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby davidp » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:42 pm

eastwind wrote:

"All service to Canada from Boston originated at North Station, yes. One line to the Maritimes via Maine Central. Three lines to Montréal (and Québec City): (1) via Concord-Plymouth-Wells River and the CP through St. Johnsbury, (2) via Concord-White River Junction and CV-CN through St. Albans, and (3) via Fitchburg-Keene-Bellows Falls and the Rutland through Burlington.

There was no through service to Canada from South Station, on either the New Haven or the B&A (New York Central)."

Actually the NYC offered a through South Station - Toronto sleeper at least into 1960. The 10/25/59 NYC timetable lists it as a 10-6, carried on the New England States to/from Buffalo. However, pictures from earlier in the '50's show a streamlined CP 10-5 on the New England States.

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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby TomNelligan » Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:55 pm

In addition to the NYC's Boston-Toronto sleeper, there was also the B&A/NYC New England Wolverine, which ran between Boston and Detroit via the NYC's Canada Southern line on the north side of Lake Erie. It lasted into the 1950s. While I doubt that many Boston passengers were ever destined for St. Thomas or Windsor, the train's two stops in Ontario, that did technically count as another international service out of South Station.
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby eastwind » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:02 pm

eastwind wrote:There was no through service to Canada from South Station, on either the New Haven or the B&A (New York Central).
eastwind

davidp wrote:Actually the NYC offered a through South Station - Toronto sleeper at least into 1960. The 10/25/59 NYC timetable lists it as a 10-6, carried on the New England States to/from Buffalo. However, pictures from earlier in the '50's show a streamlined CP 10-5 on the New England States.

TomNelligan wrote:In addition to the NYC's Boston-Toronto sleeper, there was also the B&A/NYC New England Wolverine, which ran between Boston and Detroit via the NYC's Canada Southern line on the north side of Lake Erie. It lasted into the 1950s. While I doubt that many Boston passengers were ever destined for St. Thomas or Windsor, the train's two stops in Ontario, that did technically count as another international service out of South Station.

Tom and David, you're both right, of course. How could I have forgotten that? Simple. In context, my statement is correct. Here is the context:

eastwind wrote:
gokeefe wrote:It seems likely that most, if not all, of B&M's Canada service originated at North Station. While this seems natural "of course" to those who were there, its easy to forget that South Station and North Station were run by competing railroads when Amtrak is the only American passenger railroad you've ever known.

All service to Canada from Boston originated at North Station, yes. One line to the Maritimes via Maine Central. Three lines to Montréal (and Québec City): (1) via Concord-Plymouth-Wells River and the CP through St. Johnsbury, (2) via Concord-White River Junction and CV-CN through St. Albans, and (3) via Fitchburg-Keene-Bellows Falls and the Rutland through Burlington.

Don't forget, however, that through trains from New York to Montréal also operated over the B&M's other trunk line, the Conn River, from Springfield to White River Junction (CV-CN) and Wells River (CP).

There was no through service to Canada from South Station, on either the New Haven or the B&A (New York Central).

eastwind

The statement was made in answer to a question about B&M's Canada service. To be absolutely clear, then, what I should have said is, "There was no through service to Canada from South Station that involved a B&M routing, on either the New Haven or the B&A (New York Central)." I'm sometimes inattentive to how statements may read when taken out of context. You got me there. ;-)

Proposals for Amtrak Boston-Montreal service via Springfield/Palmer (former B&A) and the Vermonter route (former B&M) would run of course out of South Station, but such a routing was not in the timetable in the time period under discussion, for the simple reason that there were three other, shorter routings available, none of which even exist today.

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