The Not-For-Profit, all volunteer Downeast Rail Heritage Preservation Trust, parent of the Downeast Scenic Railroad would like to announce the start of the rehabilitation of the Union River railroad bridge in Ellsworth Falls, Maine.
In cooperation with the Maine Department of Transportation the Downeast Scenic Railroad will begin an estimated 5 month refurbishment of the bridge. The work being performed will include the restoration and repointing of the bridge abutments, the reconditioning and recasting of the upper portions of the two support piers, the replacement of all bridge timbers and the installation of new cross ties on the both the East and West approaches to the bridge.
“We have been patiently waiting for the day when this work could be undertaken.”, said Downeast Rail President, Tom Testa. Testa continued, “We have had to wait to begin this work until the Ellsworth Falls section of Route 1A had been completed. The old North Street crossing had to be removed and the new Route 179 crossing built.” He further stated, “Being able to access the part of the rail line leading to the bridge by rail was imperative and with the new rail that was installed in 2017 through this area contractors can now move equipment in to begin the bridge work.”
Testa added, “The railroad was established to return the proceeds of its operation to the maintenance and upgrading of the rail line to further its use and historic preservation.”
The Lane Construction Corp. will be doing the concrete work on the piers and abutments and Maine Track Maintenance will perform the timber replacement and cross tie installation. Maine DOT is the bridge owner and will be overseeing and assisting the project.
Testa said the railroad is hoping to be able to put the bridge in service for train traffic later in the summer of 2018. “We are very grateful to all our paying passengers and generous donors who through their patronage have made this major capital improvement possible.”, said Testa.
The Downeast Scenic Railroad is pleased to announce that we have been awarded the 2018 H. Albert Webb Memorial Railroad Preservation Award by the Mass Bay Railroad Enthusiasts. The Downeast Scenic Railroad is the recipient of the $10,000 grant and it will allow us to continue our preservation of historic railroad equipment.
The announcement of the award was made recently by Leigh Webb the founder and donor of the award. The Mass Bay Railroad Enthusiasts is a non-profit group organized for the promotion of public interest and understanding of railroads.
The money will be used to finish restoration of Combine coach/baggage car #102. This car was built in the early 1900’s by the Delaware and Hudson Railroad in New York State. The Downeast Scenic received the car from the Conway Scenic Railroad in North Conway New Hampshire.
Volunteers from the Downeast Scenic railroad have spent hundreds of hours restoring this car. The money from the grant will allow for the installation of a restroom and electrical system.
The Downeast Scenic Railroad is please to announce that we have been awarded $5000 by the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation Community Matters More Grant Program. Thank you to Bangor Savings Bank and to all our Railroad friends that voted for us. The grant money will be used to help us continue our restoration program.
2016 Community Matters More Winners
The votes have been tallied for the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation 2016 Community Matters More grant program. During the month of February thousands of Mainers voted for their favorite nonprofit organizations, large and small, that make a difference in their communities.
Based on votes cast for more than 2,800 different Maine nonprofits, the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation will allocate $100,000 to 68 nonprofits. The top vote-getter in eight regions will each receive $5,000 from the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation. These winners are: Dover-Foxcroft Area Food Cupboard, Camp CaPella, Augusta Food Bank, Franklin County Children’s Task Force, Thompson Community Center, Downeast Scenic Railroad, Southern Maine Agency on Aging, and York County Shelter Programs, Inc.
Additionally, 60 other organizations will receive $1,000 each, including 20 nonprofits earning the most write-in votes from the public. For a complete listing of all the winning organizations by region, please click here.
In addition to our financial support, the organizations initially listed on the Community Matters More voting ballot received substantial exposure for their critical community missions thanks to major support by our partners WGAN 560 Newsradio, Blueberry Broadcasting, WLBZ-2 and WCSH-6.
Each year, we love seeing the variety of nonprofit organizations that receive support during the Community Matters More grant program. From small home-based entities to large organizations providing services to thousands, Maine has no shortage of nonprofits that play an essential role in their communities.
Downeast Scenic Railroad Selected Down East Editors Pick for Best Day Trip
The Downeast Scenic Railroad was named Best Day Trip in this year’s poll of Down East Magazine readers’ favorites. Thousands of Down East readers voted February through April for their statewide selections and the Downeast Scenic Railroad made the list. The full list of the Best Of honored businesses, places and more, appears in the July issue of Down East.
The “Best of Maine” awards occur annually and provide Down East readers the opportunity to nominate the Maine people, places and things that mean the most to them. Based solely on popular vote, the winners represent the best of Maine as identified by the people who know Maine the best: residents and repeat visitors.
This year thousands of readers nominated their favorites across Maine,” said Down East Editor in Chief Kathleen Fleury. “To be included in this list selected by the readers of Down East or the editorial team here means that you truly are part of what makes Maine so great. Our readers and team take the task of selecting the Best Of very seriously. It really is an honor.”
“We are certainly honored to be chosen as this years Best Day Trip by Down East Magazines readers.”, said Downeast Scenic Railroad/Downeast Rail Heritage Preservation Trust, Inc. President, Tom Testa. He added, “This is a huge acknowledgement to our board, generous supporters and especially our volunteers, all who have given in so many ways to help make the Downeast Scenic Railroad project the preservation and educational success it is today.”
Join us on the Downeast Scenic Railroad, the first tourist-passenger rail to grace the historic Calais Branch Line in decades, on an excursion ride this season!
The Downeast Scenic Railroad offers two trips per day Saturdays and Sundays through the season. Our round-trip tour travels from Ellsworth, Maine, on the historic Calais Branch Line to Ellsworth Falls and then to Washington Junction and back to Ellsworth. The ten-mile trip takes approximately 90 minutes.
In July of 2012 we began operating through the newly rebuilt wye at our Washington Junction rail yard. The wye was built by the Maine Central in 1931 when they discontinued service to McNeil Point on the old Maine Shore Line tracks. Trains like the Bar Harbor Express then ended their run in Ellsworth. The Maine Central used the wye to turn engines and coaches around so they could be ready to leave Ellsworth westbound. Come ride the Downeast Scenic Railroad now and travel over this historic section of track. All of our Saturday and Sunday departures now use the wye at Washington Junction to reverse directions.
For more information check our Schedules-Fares section.
For additional information or to purchase tickets please call 1-866-449-RAIL (7245) or continue to browse our website.
We are proud to announce that after years of hard work rebuilding the railway, restoring our 1948 diesel engine, vintage passenger car and caboose, we mark our second year of excursions.
The Downeast Scenic Railroad offers two trips per day on Saturdays and Sundays through the season. Our round-trip tour travels from Ellsworth, Maine, on the historic Calais Branch Line to Ellsworth Falls and then to Washington Junction and back to Ellsworth. The ten-mile trip takes approximately 90 minutes.
It is the first tourist-passenger rail to grace the historic Calais Branch Line in decades.
While traveling this stretch of the line we have observed many forms of wildlife including osprey, Blue herons, Bald Eagles, moose, deer, snapping turtles, fox, beavers…and bears!
Of course, any day on the rails is a good one, and we look forward to having you join us soon!
Call 1-866-449-RAIL (7245) and reserve your place today!