• Bangor & Aroostook Passenger Trains

  • 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 BAR
Two questions about the Bangor & Aroostook when they operated The Potatoland Special (#1) through train from Boston to Van Buren. On the way north: (1) how was the train turned in Bangor and (2) where was the motive power changed from Maine Central to Bangor & Aroostook? Thanks.
  by Cowford
Don't know about equipment - I'd imagine equipment was turned at No. Me. Jct. if at all. As for power, B&A must have had running rights on passenger traffic No Me Jct - Bangor, as every pic I've seen shows B&A power in Bangor's Union Station.
  by BAR

Thanks for your input. The through trains from Portland north through Bangor had to be turned somewhere otherwise passengers would have had a long ride facing backward. Northbound they came through NMJ headed east on the MEC to Bangor and then returned west, again on the MEC, to NMJ before heading north on the BAR. Do you know if there was a Y in Bangor back in passenger train days? As to the BAR locomtives in Bangor they could have been on the southbound trains pending a locomotive change in NMJ. I will pose the same question on the MEC forum and see what responses I get there.

All the best.

Williamsburg, VA
  by Noel Weaver
I think the only through equipment was sleeper(s). I would have to check my old timetables to be sure of this one.
Noel Weaver
  by ferroequinarchaeologist
Noel is correct (an annoying habit of his) in that the only through equipment was a Boston-Van Buren sleeper transferred from the Gull. The Potatoland Special did not operate to Boston; its run ended/started at Bangor. This info is from a 1951 schedule. Also, see this:

http://www.streamlinerschedules.com/con ... 95407.html

I don't know whether there was a turntable available to passenger power in Bangor. I do know that the Flying Yankee/Unit 6000/Tin Fish was turned by backing up to Northern Maine Junction and running around the wye.

BAR had trackage rights on the Maine Central NMJ to Bangor since 1905 coincident with the opening of the route to Searsport (Angier & Cleaves).

  by BAR
I agree with Noel that the Potatoland Special BAR #1 northbound and # 8 southbound had a through sleeper from Boston to Van Buren and return which connected with the MEC. Even though it was a sleeper it still had to be turned somewhere near Bangor in order to have passengers facing forward for the balance of the trip. The fact that it was a sleeping car made it even more important to be turned because roomette seats cannot be reversed as they can in most coaches. The Official Guide of the Railways, May 1950 edition, also shows the Aroostook Flyer BAR #7 nortbound and #2 southbound having a through coach from Boston to Van Buren and return which also connected with the MEC. It would also have to be turned unless they just turned the seats in the coach (which I doubt was the procedure).

Thanks for the information on The Flying Yankee being turned on the wye at Northern Maine Junction. I was unaware of that procedure and it is very interesting. It indicates to me that there was no way to turn it at Bangor. Perhaps the BAR exercised its trackage rights on the MEC and backed its passenger trains to Bangor from NMJ so they would be facing in the correct direction for the trip north.

Thanks also for the link to "Streamliner Schedules" which I had not seen before.

I will be posting my inquiry on the B&M/MEC forum today to see if anyone has a definitive answer.
  by Noel Weaver
PLEASE accept my apology, the Aroostook Flyer did have a through coach between Boston and BAR points. I was checking
something on the Susquehanna for Otto and a bunch of BAR timetables were in the same box so I decided to research this
one too. I checked a 1948 timetable and that did not show any through equipment but on 10-1-51 the timetable showed a
through coach in each direction and apparently that continued at least through the timetable of 4-29-57. By 4-28-58 the
trains had come off and I don't know if the through coach continued all the way through until the train actually came out of
the timetable.
Even as late as April, 28, 1958 they put out an attractive 12 page folder and it only had the one through train plus the mixed
between Derby and Greenville plus the full bus schedules.
You have to give the Bangor and Aroostook a lot of credit, they tried to keep the passenger service on when no other
railroad in the area really cared.
Noel Weaver
  by jonnhrr
June 1951 Official Guide shows a sleeping car (10 section, drawing room, 2 compartment) between Boston and Van Buren, no through coaches. However trains 2 and 7 (Aroostook Flyer) had through coaches Boston - Van Buren.

  by ferroequinarchaeologist
I think I've figured it out, with an old timetable and dusty bifocals.

From the B&M public system timetable of April 29, 1951:

Table 19, Bangor & Aroostook Railroad
23 (Gull) ex Sat
Arr No Me Jct 4:25 pm
Ar Bangor (blank)
Lv Bangor (blank)
Lv No Me Jct 4:45 pm

Putting aside the fact that the service described was provided by the MEC and BAR although presented in a B&M timetable, it appears that the through sleeper and/or coaches to Van Buren simply never went to Bangor, but were dropped at NMJ to be picked up by the BAR Bangor-to-Van Buren train ten minutes later. Thus, no turning and no problem.

Jon, if your 1951 Guide shows (for example) the BAR train leaving Bangor for Van Buren around 4:00 pm, that would confirm this hypothesis.


  by jonnhrr
Jon, if your 1951 Guide shows (for example) the BAR train leaving Bangor for Van Buren around 4:00 pm, that would confirm this hypothesis.
The 1951 OG shows 2 connections: train #11 leaving Boston 9:45 AM connecting with #7 at Bangor, or train #15 leaving Boston 12 Noon connecting at No. Maine Jct.
#7 leaves Bangor at 5 PM, leaving NMJ at 5:25 PM.

The guide doesn't say which train carried the through coaches. I would guess #11 as they would be more likely to switch out the cars at Bangor than NMJ I would think.

  by BAR
After consulting several ETT's and Official Guides I have the through passenger car interchanges figured out. It pays to read all of the footnotes! Northbound the cars were interchanged from the MEC to the BAR at Northern Maine Junction while southbound they were interchanged at Bangor. Northbound the MEC trains stopped at NMJ but southbound they did not. The connecting trains in 1950 are as follows:

From MEC #23 The Gull to BAR #1 The Potatoland Special
From MEC #15 The Flying Yankee to BAR #7 The Aroostook Flyer

From BAR #2 The Aroostook Flyer to MEC #92/12 The Kennebec
From BAR #8 The Potatoland Special to MEC #22 The Penobscot

The question of how northbound BAR trains got to Bangor from NMJ still remains. They either reverse moved from NNJ to Bangor or were turned in Bangor.

Another question is where were the BAR passenger trains serviced? I don't ever recall reading anything about the location of BAR passenger car service facilities. Perhaps they were serviced at Bangor.
  by davidp
In 1959 - the final year of sleeper operation - it looks like the car was interchanged at Bangor in both directions. Northbound connection was with MEC #21 which arrived at 4:30am and did not stop at Northern Maine Jct. BAR #1 left 45 minutes later at 5:15am.

Southbound, the sleeper had considerably longer layover in Bangor between the arrival of BAR #2 at 10:00pm and the departure of MEC #8 (the Gull) at 3:30am. By 1959 the Gull's schedule had been pushed back about three hours from what was operated in the early fifties.

Was the sleeper turned at Van Buren, or did the whole consist simply reverse there?
Bangor & Aroostook sleepers returned to Maine for awhile in VIA Rail service on the Atlantic. I was riding between Montreal and Halifax on Nov 10, 1981 and had a Roomette in “Greenock” xBAR “South Twin Lake”. As we crossed the Bangor & Aroostook east of Brownville Jct. I remember thinking that 20+ years earlier this car would have been running on those tracks in the Potatoland Special between Boston and Van Buren.

VIA #12 Atlantic Nov 10, 1981
6787 FPA4
6871 FPB4
9611 Baggage
5603 Coach
5593 Coach
755 Café Lounge
5702 DayNiter
1367 Diner
Cape Brule Sleeper Lounge
Greenock xBAR South Twin Lake
Greendale x B&M Dartmouth College I

The Atlantic At Moncton, NB Nov, 11, 1981......
  by Otto Vondrak
Great photo, thanks for sharing!

I just picked up some late-era BAR passenger schedules at the Springfield train show... I'll scan them and post them. Interesting reading! Mostly buses...

  by davidp
There's a photo of BAR and B&M E-7s preparing to depart Bangor Union Station on the last page of the current issue Classic Trains magazine. There's also a geographic error in the caption - has anyone else spotted that?