• Any steep grades on MMA?

  • Discussion of present-day CM&Q operations, as well as discussion of predecessors Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) and Bangor & Aroostook Railroad (BAR).
Discussion of present-day CM&Q operations, as well as discussion of predecessors Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) and Bangor & Aroostook Railroad (BAR).

Moderator: MEC407

  by mbhoward
I'm curious if there any steep grades on the MMA and how long they might be. In looking over the route on a map it seems like there might be but it's hard to tell as there are no contour lines on the map I'm using. By steep I mean around 2% or so. The only book I have that talks about the line doesn't seem to reference any tough grades or other operational concerns other than the cold winters.
  by S1f3432
On the old CP mainline the grades didn't get to 2% but were enough to warrent double-headed
steam on many freights. Westbound from Brownville Jct to Boundary was mostly uphill with Brownville
about 390 ft. elevation and Boundary above 1100 ft. Steepest westbound pulls were Brownville Jct. to
Barnard, westward from Onawa to Summit and Holeb up to Boundary with was a rise of about 600 ft.
Eastward trains had to climb from Megantic up to Boundary.
  by BAR
I doubt that the grades were two percent or more and I don't know how frequently they were employed but helpers were used at two points on the Bangor and Aroostook. Southbound from Millinocket and southbound from Oakfield. There are photos of helpers on trains at those locations in the Angier and Cleaves and the Ron Johnson books on the Bangor and Aroostook. The photo at Millinocket shows them on the front of the train and at Oakfield they are shown pushing behind a troop sleeper caboose.

  by mbhoward
Thnks to both of you. I was reading about steep grades out west and was curious about what grades exist back here in the northeast. I was aware of the Crawford Notch from Conway to Whitefield and the short length from Montpelier and Wells River but no others. What reading I did was silent on the MMA so I thought this would be a good place to ask around.
  by RailNutNE
I think you'll find some heavy grades on the SLR - Portland-Montreal route.
  by mbhoward
I was wondering about the SLR but then I read the history of the line was an attempt to miss the heavy grades associated with going through the White mtns. I'll ask in that forum and see if anyone has any idea.
  by gpp111
The two steepest mainline grades (as far as I know) on the old B&A were southbound out of Oakfield and southbound out of Millinocket, as the previous writer said. They are not 2% but with a heavy
freight in tow, the engines have to run full out. I know, because I rode in trains on both of them.
  by rovetherr
The GMRC line from Rutland to Bellows Falls has some fairly steep sections, but nothing long enough to qualify as Heavy Grade Territory. There is a section just past Ludlow heading west that gets above 2%, and the westward climb out of the Cavendish Gulf is a pretty good one as well. The VTR has five sections that are pretty good hauls, heading south there is Shelburne Hill, about 2 miles of 1%+, Proctor Hill is the same, and Arlington Hill which is about 6 miles. Heading north there is Shaftsbury Hill, about 4 miles, and Thomsons Point, only a mile and a half or so but it is wily! It is short, and starts at the bottom of a sag so if you are a little off with your air application you can get caught and stall.

And on the WACR-Conn RIver, there is Willoughby, a good, long pull from either direction.