Sebago Lake Scenic Railroad?

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Re: Sebago Lake Scenic Railroad?

Postby festis » Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:43 pm

some thoughts:

Scenery: I have biked or walked the full length from Sebago lake to the end of the state ROW in Westbrook. Woods, rolling farmland, several river crossings. I would say at par with or slightly better than either of the valley train options at Conway Scenic.

Location: It was previously stated that you need to be where the people are...tourists, foot traffic. The line cuts right through the center of the new "Rock Row" development in Westbrook, and that would be the perfect starting point, but now you are mile into PAR territority, and they would probably want a small fortune and your first born child before they let anyone set up shop there. Portland Transportaion Center would also be a great launch point, but you just multiplied your PAR problem by another 5 miles.

not everyone wants to ride a train for trains sake....Essex Steam in Connecticut allows you to ride, get off and take the river cruise, or tour Gillette Castle. I think that draws a wider crowd than the "scenic train" alone. As mentioned before the line from Windham to Sebago has an adjacent trail. You could offer a bike rental: train one way and bike back. There are hiking trails on the Portland Water District reserve land in Sebago. One could envision a tourist boat ride from Sebago village out to Frye's island and back. If you could get clear of the Water district's no bodily contact zone on the lake, you could rent jet skis or boats.

Every tourist line has them. There is a trackside farm with a small market in Gorham that would make the perfect stop for your fall pumpkin patch train. The boat landing in Sebago offers the perfect spot to set your very own Santa's village for Polar Express type winter train. I'm guessing you are far enough separated from the other players that you could work "a Day with Thomas" into the plans. Beer /wine trains shouldn't require too much adaptation.

Costs: This is where it gets to be a hot mess. At least 1 million to get Windham to Sebago up to 5mph operations. That's not even counting the now famous "missing mile" from the prison to route 202. Rolling stock, infrastructure, insurance, track lease....have to be $3 million or more in the hole before passenger #1 rides.

I think it would be very workable with some big benefactor willing to fund the startup.

Just my opinion...worth at least what it cost you, possibly more.
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Re: Sebago Lake Scenic Railroad?

Postby John Smythe » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:47 pm

The " Boat Launch " location just off RT #114 allow people to put their boats into that part of Sebago Lake that falls within the Portland Water District. The fenced off area blocks access to being able to cross the MEC Causeway in the Richville area. The Sebago Lake Station area parking lot is of good size, has a passing track & what remains of a loading dock next to the tracks. It is quite overgrown with brush, trees and weeds. There are some very scenic points West of the Boat Launch area. I have read the complete Maine DOT Report on what it would entail to re-hab the line to Fryeburg. The State of Maine should spend some of their transportation money & finish the job they started in Windham several years ago. Build it and they will come use it.
Love me or hate me.....I've kept the " Flame of Hope " lit & burning for MEC #501 since 1995. J. Smythe... Former Master Mechanic MEC #501 Project 1995-2000.
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