• ALCO RS1 on old Loring AFB, Limestone, Maine

  • Discussion of products from the American Locomotive Company. A web site with current Alco 251 information can be found here: Fairbanks-Morse/Alco 251.
Discussion of products from the American Locomotive Company. A web site with current Alco 251 information can be found here: Fairbanks-Morse/Alco 251.

Moderator: Alcoman

  by RGlueck
A colleague recently reminded me of an RS1 kept in a building on the old Loring AFB, in Limestone, Maine. There is a snowplow sitting in front of the building containing the ALCO. Does anyone have information regarding the locomotive, its state of repair, and availability? The tracks are currently overgrown and disconnected. Also, is there, or was there, a Baldwin switcher at the same location?

Googleearth shows the plow and engine building in good definition.
  by AVR Mark
Is far as I remember, there have been three locomotives on the former Loring AFB., of which I have seen two (both at the same time). At the time, in the late 1960s or early 1970s the "old" (RSD-1) and the "new" (Alco MRS-1) were both there. The RSD-1 apparently had several defective traction motors and other mechanical problems and was replaced by the MRS-1. My brother took slides of both locomotives that day. We had to get permission to get on base and also to photograph the locos. Sorry but I don't know the numbers of either locomotive, but I might be able to find out from my brother. Apparently the MRS-1 had left the base sometime probably in the late 1980s, but I don't know when. For an unknown reason, shortly before the base shut down, a Baldwin S-12 was moved to the base and apparently is still there. It is supposed to be stored inside the same building where the previous locomotives were stored. I have not seen this locomotive, but read about it (including pictures) in a local news paper. I don't know the number of this locomotive. The tracks from Caribou to Limestone are intact as far as I know, but are overgrown with brush and small trees. The last maintenance on the Limestone tracks that I know of was about two years before the base closure was announced and included a trainload of ballast (which I saw). The last train that I saw on the Limestone tracks was a trainload of coal for the base power plant about a year before the base shut down.

  by MEC407
I'd like to view the building on Google Maps. Are either of you able to provide coordinates or perhaps a street address so that I can look it up? Thanks!
  by AVR Mark
Find the Runways. Look to the left (west). There is a road parallel to the runways called Arizona Road. At the north end of this road are two cross roads, Colorado and Georgia. The building is just south of Colorado Road. Find the Water Tower that is North of some buildings. Just to the right (east) of the water tower is the snow plow. The Snowplow is clearly visible just south of the building where the Locomotive is or was stored. Approximate coordinates are N46 52 21.9 W67 53 37.3

  by MEC407
Thank you!
  by oibu
The Baldwin was there as of about 5 years ago. Locked inside, can't see much. Loring also had a GE cenercab at one time (probably ca. 1950s or so), in addition to the 3 units already mentioned here.
  by Watchman318
AVR Mark wrote:Approximate coordinates are N46 52 21.9 W67 53 37.3
Not bad; those coordinates are just about 4.63 miles due south of the actual location, but it's a very straight line from the field where I first landed, up to the actual spot. (Lots and lots of territory up that way, so you were pretty close, all things considered.) Try 46°56'22.76"N, 67°53'37.94"W.
Colorado Rd. didn't show up until exactly the right zoom level; I kept seeing Florida Rd. and others, but not Colorado. Once the text for Colorado showed up, it got easier. The coordinates I came up with are from putting a placemark just to the right (east) of the plow.

I served at two of the other bases in the former 45th Air Division, but these satellite views are probably as close as I'll ever get to Loring. ;-)
  by RailVet
My notes indicate the last locomotive at the base was USAF 1863, a Baldwin S12 built in December 1952 and formerly USN 65-00373. Here's a picture of it at Hill AFB, UT, in bicentennial colors:

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Rail is 75 pounds, and the base railway has lacked an enginehouse since the fire of February 8, 1991, destroyed Building 7203.

Here's a recent article regarding a proposal to build railcars on the base:

President, CEO of Loring Development Authority says LePage’s trip to China advances talks to bring railcar manufacturer to Limestone
By Darren Fishell, BDN Staff
Posted July 03, 2014, at 5:48 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The head of the redevelopment effort at the former Loring Air Force Base said a state delegation’s recent trip to China advanced talks to bring a Beijing-based manufacturer to Limestone, but it did not result in any concrete details.

“It’s a developing process,” Carl Flora, president and CEO of the Loring Development Authority, said.

While Flora said the visit didn’t yield any timeline for China North Industries Group Corp., or Norinco, to consider expanding railcar manufacturing to Maine, he concluded the trip with greater hope for that possibility.

“I would say that the trip was a good opportunity to get to know each other better and build the relationship,” Flora said. “I felt better about the prospects after the trip was over.”

A deal with Norinco to build railcars in Limestone could benefit the Maine Military Authority, an equipment refurbishment company that laid off 140 employees last November because of contracts it lost with the National Guard Bureau.

The equipment refurbishment company is a potential contractor for the Chinese company, which is considering the move to target demand for railcars that meet new safety standards.

Norinco has been in talks for months with the Loring Development Authority, which in February approved a $40,000 option agreement with the company to pay for heating at the Blue Goose Building, which is occupied by Maine Military Authority.

The company was sanctioned by the U.S. government in 2003 for allegedly providing ballistic missile systems to Iran and again in the 1990s after being implicated in a sting operation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Flora said before the trip he asked the company about those past sanctions and didn’t see any connection between the company’s rail transportation division and the arms production division.

“The folks that we’re dealing with are in the transportation side of this very big company. So if there’s a connection, it’s very indirect. At least, it appears to be at this point,” Flora said.

Flora said Norinco is still interested in more information about the facilities at Loring. He said the entities haven’t discussed any state economic development incentives that might be available as part of a potential expansion.

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