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 » Fri Dec 13, 2013 12:46 pm

I found this excellent scan of an MEC 1931 timetable. I looked for this in answer to my own curiosity about the MEC's Long Distance Service. In particular I was wondering if there were any other trains of similar stature to The Gull. The answer was pretty clearly, "No", with the obvious exception of the seasonal only Bar Harbor Express. I did however encounter Train Nos. 43 and 44 Pine Tree Limited which appeared to be very well appointed day trains with parlor cars and lounges. Other than this example and the Flying Yankee there simply doesn't appear to have been a train of similar stature to The Gull. I did notice though that the Pine Tree Limited seemed better appointed than The Gull.

Is this correct? Was the Pine Tree Limited in fact MEC's "true" first class train? Perhaps a heavyweight peer to the lightweight Flying Yankee? At least from my read of the schedule The Gull didn't appear to be as well appointed.
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby jbvb » Fri Dec 13, 2013 4:29 pm

The customer base for the Pine Tree was daytime passengers between Boston and Maine points - it was an express and due to its schedule, it drew the business travelers, government figures etc. So over the years it got the best equipment the B&M and MEC had. And the joint management agreement minimized interline service glitches.

The Gull was overnight, on a much longer run, with much more rural & outright wild territory between the endpoints. Its customer base was not governmental, some business but more Atlantic Canadians and their relatives in the US going back and forth on personal business. So not much premium space, older cars, "stop for breakfast in McAdam" instead of a diner, etc.
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby eastwind » Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:11 pm

In the August 1, 1930, Maine Central timetable, a full page is devoted to listing all trains and their equipment.
Of the 62 trains listed, only three pairs had names: Nos. 8 & 71, The Gull, Nos. 43 & 44, Pine Tree Limited, and Nos. 203 & 204, The Rangeley. The latter train carried the summer-only through sleepers between New York/Washington and Kennebago, and had a dining car Portland-Rumford.

Curiously, Nos. 153 & 156, which carried the summer-only through sleepers between Washington/Philadelphia/New York and Mount Desert Ferry/Kineo, the famed Bar Harbor Express, had no name in this Maine Central timetable's equipment listing (although it was designated by name in the tables themselves).

Clearly, the Pine Tree Limited was the premier day train on the line.
No. 44 left Maine in the morning and arrived in Boston around lunchtime (10:20 am EST, 11:20 EDT). It carried a parlor car, Waterville via Portsmouth to Boston.
No. 43 left Boston at the end of the business day (3:30 pm EST, 4:30 EDT) with the following equipment: "Parlor Car (Broiler Buffet) and Coaches, Boston via Portsmouth to Bangor, and Broiler Buffet Parlor Car to Rockland. Dining Car Boston to Portland. Daily, except Saturday and Sunday, June 27 to September 5, inclusive, Sleeping Car Boston to Halifax, and Fridays only New York to St. John and Halifax. Coach Boston to St. John, except Saturdays."
The summer-Fridays-only sleepers from New York came up on the New York-Portland day train, the Down Easter (the predecessor to the East Wind) and were switched into the Pine Tree Limited at Portland. The summers-only St. John and Halifax sleepers in this train continued beyond Bangor in the Pine Tree Acadian several hours ahead of the Gull. There must have been a lot of patronage between New England and the Maritimes to have two overnight trains on this route in the summer.

In the post-war period, there were five named trains on the Boston-Bangor trunk:
To Boston, the morning Pine Tree, midday Kennebec, and afternoon Flying Yankee (via Lewiston), plus the overnight Penobscot and Gull.
From Boston, the morning Kennebec, noontime Flying Yankee (via Lewiston), and afternoon Pine Tree, plus the overnight Gull (via Lewiston) and Penobscot.
The Penobscot carried the through sleeper to/from Van Buren via the BAR.

The only two train names (and schedules) common to both the pre-war and post-war periods are the Gull and the Pine Tree (Limited).
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby gokeefe » Sat Dec 14, 2013 4:35 am

Did the Pine Tree continue to run with heavyweight equipment after the war or was it switched to the new stainless streamlined cars? I wonder about this as MEC never had streamlined parlor cars, therefore in order to maintain the same level of service they would have had to continue to use some of the heavyweight equipment.
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby ferroequinarchaeologist » Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:43 am

>>Did the Pine Tree continue to run with heavyweight equipment after the war or was it switched to the new stainless streamlined cars?

It was switched to stainless equipment. I could usually count on seeing the Kennebec, Flying Yankee, and Pine Tree running with stainless equipment, sometimes with one or two conventional extra cars during busy times.

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

Postby gokeefe » Sat Dec 14, 2013 11:38 am

My impression is that The Gull, and State of Maine were running with stainless equipment as well. Is this correct?
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby eastwind » Sat Dec 14, 2013 2:10 pm

The key is to look in the equipment listings for the words "Deluxe Streamline Coaches" or "Light weight sleeper." These indicated stainless steel cars.
If it just says "Coach" or "Heavy weight sleeper," these were older, heavy weight cars, and may or may not have been air-conditioned.

Here is a partial scan of the equipment listing from the B&M timetable from July 8, 1956.
Note that train Nos. 8 & 23, The Gull, alternated between Light weight and Heavy weight sleepers, probably due to differences between B&M and CP equipment.
Train Nos. 81-83 & 82, the State of Maine, are also listed as carrying Light weight sleepers and Deluxe Reclining Seat Coaches, most of them probably New Haven equipment.
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby gokeefe » Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:42 am

Interesting to note that post-war The Gull eventually becomes the only train running a Parlor car. I can't help but notice with the exception of the sleeper car on Penobscot that between Portland and Boston Kennebec, Pine Tree and Flying Yankee resemble little more than the service currently provided by the Downeaster.
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby eastwind » Sun Dec 15, 2013 8:32 pm

Bear in mind that 1956 was only four years before the end of all passenger service on the Maine Central, and the service was already beginning to show cutbacks in any first-class accommodations.
Compare this listing from April 25, 1954, just two years earlier (page one of two). There was still parlor service to Bangor, and sleeper service to Bangor and Calais. The East Wind and North Wind were still running, and the Bar Harbor was all-Pullman with through sleepers to Rockland and Plymouth, NH. This is more representative of the post-war service, before the drastic downgrades at the end of the decade.
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby gokeefe » Mon Dec 16, 2013 4:18 am

Very interesting.

I noticed that the PINE TREE STATE (4D BR, Buffet Lounge) doesn't seem to appear in the listing for the State of Maine.

I'm also curious about the "Car 900" listed for the East Wind. Does anyone know who that belonged to?
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby jbvb » Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:59 pm

The Pine Tree State and its three sisters were built as 6db buffet lounges, and usually appeared in post-1955 State of Maine consists. Some photos of the East Wind in that era show a New Haven post-WWII lightweight parlor-lounge. I have a little consist information here, more is available by dilligent web searching: http://www.faracresfarm.com/jbvb/rr/run_thru.html
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby gokeefe » Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:26 am

Sorry for the car configuration error. Yes PINE TREE STATE was a 6 DBR Buffet Lounge. Thank you for the clarification on its history in service on the State of Maine (which appears to have been quite late and relatively brief). Could we say that PINE TREE STATE and its peers were among the last if not the very last cars ordered new for passenger service to Maine?

In regards to the question regarding "Car 900" one possibility I was looking at was NH 900 JONATHAN EDWARDS but that car appears to have been a diner.
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby eastwind » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:11 am

gokeefe wrote:Sorry for the car configuration error. Yes PINE TREE STATE was a 6 DBR Buffet Lounge. Thank you for the clarification on its history in service on the State of Maine (which appears to have been quite late and relatively brief). Could we say that PINE TREE STATE and its peers were among the last if not the very last cars ordered new for passenger service to Maine?

In regards to the question regarding "Car 900" one possibility I was looking at was NH 900 JONATHAN EDWARDS but that car appears to have been a diner.

Car numbers were the numbers of the Pullman line used to identify accommodations and bore no relationship to the road number of any particular car. Car numbers were assigned at the time the train was made up and were usually displayed in the window at the vestibule end.

For example, the parlor lounge car that came up from New York as car 900 would return to New York the next day as car 1201. It could have been any parlor lounge car available in the required configuration, or a reasonable substitute.
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby gokeefe » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:16 am

eastwind wrote:
gokeefe wrote:Sorry for the car configuration error. Yes PINE TREE STATE was a 6 DBR Buffet Lounge. Thank you for the clarification on its history in service on the State of Maine (which appears to have been quite late and relatively brief). Could we say that PINE TREE STATE and its peers were among the last if not the very last cars ordered new for passenger service to Maine?

In regards to the question regarding "Car 900" one possibility I was looking at was NH 900 JONATHAN EDWARDS but that car appears to have been a diner.

Car numbers were the numbers of the Pullman line used to identify accommodations and bore no relationship to the road number of any particular car. Car numbers were assigned at the time the train was made up and were usually displayed in the window at the vestibule end.

For example, the parlor lounge car that came up from New York as car 900 would return to New York the next day as car 1201. It could have been any parlor lounge car available in the required configuration, or a reasonable substitute.


Thanks for the explanation. I had heard about Pullman line numbers before and wondered if this might be the case. One thing that threw me off was that the listing for the Minuteman used the Flying Yankee trainset's actual roster number (6000).
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Re: State of Maine - The Gull (B&M/MEC LD Passenger Service)

Postby eastwind » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:30 am

gokeefe wrote: One thing that threw me off was that the listing for the Minuteman used the Flying Yankee trainset's actual roster number (6000).

Which is why it's called "Unit 6000" and not "Car 6000." :-)
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