Maine Central Business Car #333

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Re: Maine Central Business Car #333

Postby Mikejf » Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:16 am

A donation of these cars would have been nice for the City of Waterville. Couple them to the 470 and have a nice display.
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Re: Maine Central Business Car #333

Postby MEC407 » Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:25 am

I would be hesitant to give PAR too much credit for "saving" these cars. My bet is that they have a specific price in mind, and are holding out until someone can come up with the cash.

As far as donating them is concerned, that will never happen. And considering the 470's sad state, the city of Waterville is probably the last entity I'd want them donated to!
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Re: Maine Central Business Car #333

Postby gokeefe » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:33 pm

MEC 470,

I would agree that the City of Waterville is a baaad option for the #470 or anything else. However, I think sometime GRS/PAR can sometimes be a little coy about pricing and selling some of their heritage equipment. Sometimes it seems like a case of not "the price is right" but "is the buyer right?". Some examples: MEC #573 to CSRR, selling ROW's to State of Maine, as opposed to small shortlines, MEC #391 at City Point (how'd it get there anyways and for what price???) B&M snowplows to the T.

They seem to focus on two things, leveraging the asset so that it contiues to produce some value in the short-term over and above the cash price, even after it is sold, and second, perhaps more importantly, making sure the sale of the asset can never be used to compete against them.

Some possbilities for how the above might work in their favor...

1. CSRR picks up the only steam generator equipped locomotive left on the GRS/PAR roster, however because it's still relatively close by in New England it could still be used by them in case they need it, AND, CSRR sends it to Waterville for regular repairs when needed, generating private business for the repair shops.

2. GRS/PAR sells operating assets to State of Maine, generating nice returns on investments that to any other short-line would hardly be worth it but because the State is looking at these as potential future 'passenger corridors' GRS/PAR gets a better price, furthermore, they keep portions on the northern end of the line in VT, thus preventing future through traffic from competition, FURTHERMORE, they keep a stub end in Westbrook, AND tear the tracks up for scrap, AFTER, Maine DOT has already bought the rest of the corridor. State of ME gets nervous and pays almost the same price for 7 miles of torn up ROW that they did for almost 4x more track when they purchased the ROW from Fryeburg to Westbrook, now the Mountain Division has paid off twice for GRS/PAR, it will probably pay off again when the State looks to make changes to the Portland Transportation Center as rail service to Maine continues to grow back.


3. MEC "#391", mysteriously appears at the new City Point Central Railroad museum in Waldo County, I don't know how long they've had it or how much they paid for it but I am amazed that a small operation like that would be able to afford a stainless coach/RPO that apparently is in pretty decent condition, cars of similar quality regularly go for 100k on the open market. Again, not only will City Point probably restore the car but if Guilford were to need it in the future its close by enough that they might be able to get at it.

4. B&M snowplows to the T, GRS/PAR sells surplus snow plows to the MBTA, then the MBTA has the plows restored, possibly at Lincoln, NH, who they occassionally use for repair work on their MOW equipment, now the MBTA has snow plows that they can use when needed, potentially on GRS/PAR rails if they decide they don't like the operating conditions etc., furthermore, shortlines like NECR can't get to these surplus plows which might help them operate better on lines they lease from GRS/PAR, again the equipment is kept close by in case it's ever needed.

This is strategic thinking on a grand and occasionally absurd scale, but then again why make it any easier for the competition to chew away at your business, as they have been doing now for years.

If the buyer is right the price will be right.

These people think about what they're doing because they've been in survival mode ever since they bought the company from US Filter and realized they had just bought a main line freight railroad in a market (Boston) where shipping volume was crashing.

Then instead of selling out and losing money they make changes that cause a lot of initial labor strife but in the end they win out and are able to destroy the old company (B&M) in favor of the wealthier and more successful cousin (MEC). At it's heart GRS/PAR is really MEC running the old B&M system. Maybe that's why they never really tried to dispose of #333. After all how could you throw away the symbol of the company that saved you? Maybe they would never admit to it but I think at least in part there are some covert history buffs among the railroad leadership there who care about and respect the better aspects of the MEC.
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Re: Maine Central Business Car #333

Postby YELLOWKNIFESTREETRAILWAY » Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:08 am

In the late 1990's I was in Worcester and noticed the Business car # 333 at the P&W depot. It was painted in P&W livery. I didn't see any comments on this subject but I wonder if this was the MEC car in question.
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Re: Maine Central Business Car #333

Postby gokeefe » Sun Jan 29, 2012 7:58 pm

YELLOWKNIFESTREETRAILWAY wrote:In the late 1990's I was in Worcester and noticed the Business car # 333 at the P&W depot. It was painted in P&W livery. I didn't see any comments on this subject but I wonder if this was the MEC car in question.


In short, no.
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Re: Maine Central Business Car #333

Postby gokeefe » Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:04 pm

New pictures of #333 in the MEC OCS consist have emerged on the rrpicturearchives.net website.

They were posted in December by user "Gil Ford". ;)

These are the only color photos of #333 I have ever seen on the Internet.
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Re: Maine Central Business Car #333

Postby jwhite07 » Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:01 am

A number of aerial photos from Steve Mayotte's website reveal Combine 322 to be stored outside in Waterville Yard. No sign of 333 can be seen, but it is rumored to also be in Waterville, stored indoors.
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Re: Maine Central Business Car #333

Postby CN9634 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:05 pm

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Re: Maine Central Business Car #333

Postby gokeefe » Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:16 pm

Stunning! Preserved after all these years.

I believe these cars may be out due to roof work being done on the shops in Waterville.
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Re: Maine Central Business Car #333

Postby bmcdr » Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:49 pm

[quote="gokeefe"]

4. B&M snowplows to the T, GRS/PAR sells surplus snow plows to the MBTA, then the MBTA has the plows restored, possibly at Lincoln, NH, who they occassionally use for repair work on their MOW equipment, now the MBTA has snow plows that they can use when needed, potentially on GRS/PAR rails if they decide they don't like the operating conditions etc., furthermore, shortlines like NECR can't get to these surplus plows which might help them operate better on lines they lease from GRS/PAR, again the equipment is kept close by in case it's ever needed.

I can't comment on your other points, but the snowplows to the "T", plus rebuilding of three F-40's, and one GP-18, are because Guilford - Pan Am owes the "T" lots of money.
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Re: Maine Central Business Car #333

Postby gokeefe » Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:20 am

In the very twilight of his career with the Maine Central Railroad, former President and Chairman of the Board E. Spencer Miller was the guest of honor for the Newcomen Society in North America at a National Dinner held in Portland, Maine on July 18, 1979. Miller's speech addreses many of the very most popular topics in this forum in some detail while also making brief mention of much of the lesser known MEC history often discussed here as well. The address was printed in booklet format and copies are occassionally sold via Amazon. The publication Library of Congress Catalog Card Number is 79-89070. Copyright is reserved to Mr. Miller (and by implication his estate). The thread for discussion of the speech is in this same forum here.

Among the notable quotes from the speech was one in particular regarding Business Car #333 Lone Tree the setting was a discussion with Mr. Henry Wheelright of Columbia Securities in Bangor regarding the lease of the European & North American Railway property by the Maine Central which comprised the main line tracks between Vanceboro through Mattawamkeag and into Bangor.

Mr. Wheelright and I sat down to lunch in business car No. 333 on E&NA property adjacent to Union Station, Bangor. I recall his first three questions which with answers went like this:

1. "Will there be any mushrooms on the steak? I am allergic to them."
The negative answer was easy.

2. "Are you a friend of a certain prominent Bangor businessman? If so, the talks can end here."
I pawed around and finally said I knew him but only casually.

3. "What is the proposition?"
The answer was: "One so good that you can't refuse."
Mr. Wheelright's replication: "That's the kind of music I like to dance to."

Maine Central 5 1/8% bonds were selling several points above par and we offerred $125 par value of a first mortgage 5% bond maturing 1980 for each share of stock; or in the alternative $125 in cash with Coffin & Burr agreeing to underwrite the bonds not exchanged. The leased line was, therefore, purchased for $3,125,000.


I found the above quote interesting not merely for its mention of #333 but for the clear description by Chairman Miller of the serious nature of the business he conducted there. #333 was not merely a spectator to events but played host to some of the most significant moments in Maine Central's 20th century history. Meetings such as these were the very basis for Miller's most significant achievement, the unified ownership of the MEC of its entire system by the end of his tenure.
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Re: Maine Central Business Car #333

Postby gokeefe » Mon Apr 20, 2015 11:32 pm

When MEC #333 was originally ordered from Pullman in 1924 it was built for a R.T. Crane. Up until now I had never read anything about him (take careful note of the date of death....further investigation shows that naturally someone who died in 1910 couldn't have ordered a rail car built in 1924). Having made the error noted in the parenthetic here is a company history with a lengthy feature of R.T. Crane, Jr. who, naturally, is pictured standing on the steps of his railcar (a wood sided predecessor to Nituna).

As I have said before in similar topics the quality of information on the internet continues to improve every year. Here for the first time in this thread or anywhere in the railroad preservation community (online) that I have ever seen are two black and white photos of the interior of the car.

Another hit from the Bangor Daily News written during the transition period between U.S. Filter and Guilford Transportation. This article lists the build date as 1923.

Another post here gives specifications of length (83 feet) and weight (91 tons) which I don't ever recall seeing anywhere else.

This interesting blog indicates that Nituna was renamed as Lone Tree by R.T. Crane's widow after he died. This story is in fact impossible as Nituna had been sold to the Maine Central Railroad Company in 1929 and Richard T. Crane, Jr. died in 1931.

Proceeds from R.T. Crane, Jr.'s death are discussed in the Chicago Tribune in 1935 included among the household staff were "Henry Baismore, cook on Mr. Crane's private railroad car Nituna, $9,841; and George W. PIckett, porter on the car, $14,613."

Another detail possibly in dispute is the acquisition date which Mr. VanBokkelen gives as 1939 (not 1929 as originally quoted) meaning that the blog entry regarding renaming is in fact possible. I suspect the original article (about Eagle-Bay, ex-CR #4 America) quoted in this thread may have been incorrect.

Brief research regarding the car's original name, Nituna reveals a commonly held definition of a Native American use as "(my) daughter". At this point there does not appear to be any definitive tribal language of origin established for the word.
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Re: Maine Central Business Car #333

Postby gokeefe » Tue Apr 21, 2015 12:49 am

Finally, along one last line of research for the evening, having revisited some of my previous research and leveraging new resources found in the process of searching for other Maine Central cars I am quite intrigued by the fact that Nituna does not appear anywhere in the Master Car Name List of Pullman built cars I have on hand. If it was in fact built by Pullman it seems possible this car may not have been originally ordered for Mr. R.T. Crane, Jr. after all.
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Re: Maine Central Business Car #333

Postby MEC407 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:23 am

Wonderful research! Thanks so much for compiling and sharing it with us.
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Re: Maine Central Business Car #333

Postby jbvb » Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:55 am

I will look around for the source of my '1939' date, but it's likely either from Wayner or a typo.
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