• Saturday VB-2/211s Now Operating

  • 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 ShortlinesUSA
Very nice, thank you for the links. The shot of 2006 coming across School Sheet is great. I enjoyed them all, but that one in particular caught my eye.
  by necr3849
There is something about the Cape Jellison area that makes the Searsport Branch special. The mix of railroad and ocean is pretty sweet, along with those types of rail crossings like School Street. Glad you like the pics Mike! You should have seen the sun down that way today, and we even had 2000 back in the good weather for once! We chose Middle Street for the Cape Jellison spot. Some more of the "usual" locations, but another successful day nonetheless.

The overall run today included 2000 leading VB-3 and 8583. They had nine cars when it left Hermon (2 Spragues+5 GACs+2 Dead Rivers in that order.) The train had been staged already by the last crew. After dropping the two DRs without taking any additional empties, a whopping seven went down to Searsport. 8541 remained at LMS in Hermon along with the normal VB-2. It was kind of weird but cool to see that much stuff there at one time.

On the PAR side, SJWA and WASJ were to meet at Northern Maine Junction sometime after 2pm.

  by necr3849
With the normal engineer not on today's #211, it was in the area of Winterport nearly three hours ahead of the norm this morning. The power was 8525+VB-2+8583. This was the same engineer we saw can in Prospect a few weeks back while returning to NMJ on a Sunday. Nineteen cars continued from here and hit Searsport by noon. Here was where a funny thing happened. A second crewman arrived just before the train did. He took to the power as the southbound came into the yard. Eventually returning north, the second crewman controlled the train as the day's first engineer took the vehicle back to NMJ. There would be no canning on the line today!

  by necr3849
What has been strange the past couple of Saturdays is that #211 has been working with a 2-man crew. Last week, the second crewman met the train in Searsport, switched together and then relieved the first engineer for the trip back to Hermon. Yesterday, it was an official 2-man job all the way down and return. The jobs have been going on duty fairly early with the normal weekend engineer not being around. The past two weeks have had the trains out of Hermon not much after 9am. Yesterday's power was 8541s+VB-2+8553n. The trains were puny with less than ten cars both ways, but three customers(D.R.,GAC, and Sprague) were still represented.
  by necr3849
The usual Brownville engineer was back for the Saturday #211 yesterday, September 3rd. He had some work ahead at Hermon putting away a recent Brownville turn, then left town for Searsport around 4:00p with a healthy 25-car train. However, only three customers(Lane, GAC and Sprague) were represented.
The nice thing for me was that I finally got the 2003 leading a southbound for the first time since 2008. Along for the ride were VB-2 and 2000. We chased him all the way down to the ocean with little light to spare at the end. Can't believe it's September already!
  by necr3849
It's been quite a while since I posted on this topic. I've been watching things on the Branch for the early part of this year after rumors started swirling back in January about the demise of weekend #211s. This being the third Saturday in a row of seeing the evidence, I hate to say the talk appears to be fact. With employee numbers so small, some guys were really getting overworked while jumping between jobs and covering on others that had been stopped short. Today at Northern Maine Junction, a train was staged for Brownville for the third time in four consecutive Saturdays. Last week, a Friday night Searsport job had canned in Searsport and sat all day Saturday. So, things appear to be true about remaining #211s running at night as well.. Supposedly, the existing engineer has been relegated to switching the NMJ area while a second shift does nocturnal runs to Brownville and Searsport. All I can say is I am DAMN glad I got out all those weekends in 2011!
  by JB283
Im glad you got out too! You took some really nice pictures!
  by necr3849
On a brighter note, #211 has been run down the Branch during the past two Tuesdays on the old daylight schedule. There was no mistaking the MMA engineer's long drawn out horn sequences this afternoon on his return through lower Waldo County. Nobody on PAR does it like that! I haven't been around enough in the area on Thurdsdays to find out if that run is happening still. Saturdays, on the other hand, have definitely been dropped for a while.
  by necr3849
As of mid-April, #211 seems to be back into its pre-2011 routine with Tuesdays and Thursdays having a fairly ealry run down to Searsport between 8-9am many times. I'm guessing they're able to stage most of their stuff on Mondays and Wednesdays to make these early times possible. I've been in ear shot and walking distance a lot, but haven't been lucky enough to bag any on the digtal for most of 2012 unfortunately. From what I've seen of the power at LMS on weekends, I haven't missed a lot. However, with a vacation becoming priority fairly soon, I'll have to set aside a day or two for a reunion.
  by necr3849
I'm glad to say that a weekend #211 ran south out of NMJ this morning. Power was 2002 and the remote 8546. It seems like the remote cabooses are a thing of the past. They've been doing the remote 8546 and 8578 down this way for much of the year. I have a feeling today's run to Searsport was more of an as-needed fluke than a common thing to come.
  by KSmitty
Reports I've seen say MMA has been hiring crews and has had 2 people on most trains, a regular and a new recruit in training. With new people, maybe they have the manpower to make a Searsport trip 3 times/week again? I'm sure GAC/Sprague and others on the branch would appreciate it!
  by necr3849
The most reliable day of the week has been Wednesday. Working in the same area of Hancock county at least, it's pretty easy to be in hearing range most of the time. The past few trains I've seen, only one person has been working the Branch. I don't know if he's the permanent replacement for Jim Young, but the "new" guy had been a common fill-in even before his current streak down here.

On a separate note....A funny thing happened a few weeks back when a 2-man crew canned down in Stockton Springs on their way back north. A cab had been sent to pick them up, and we saw him go by us as we waited on the north end of Muskrat Farm Road near the UPPER crossing in Prospect. About 15-20 minutes went by and they never came back north. So, we headed down Muskrat to find the cab waiting at the MIDDLE crossing in Stockton. Now the train had canned at the LOWER crossing about 3/4 of a mile south. So, there they had been waiting on each other all that time without a clue of the other being that close. Needless to say both parties eventually came together, but some of us now have a good story to tell about it!