Welcome to the Downeast Scenic Railroad

Downeast Scenic Railroad Selected Down East Editors Pick for Best Day Trip


Ellsworth, Maine – 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.”


The Downeast Scenic Railroad is an all volunteer not-for-profit excursion railroad located in Ellsworth, Maine and a project of the Downeast Rail Heritage Preservation Trust .  They offer weekend 1 ½ hour excursions aboard vintage rail equipment traveling on the historic Maine Shore Line/Calais Branch  rail line.


The mission of the Downeast Rail Heritage Preservation Trust is to celebrate and preserve the railroad history of Downeast Maine for the education and enlightenment of future generations.


“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.”


The full list of “Best of Maine” winners appears in the July issue of Down East, on newsstands June 24.


 We hope everyone enjoyed their ride on the DOWNEAST SCENIC this year.  Our volunteers will be working on track maintenance now getting everything ready for next year.  We will begin operations on Memorial Day weekend 2014 and hope to see you all on the train this coming season.  Thanks for all your supp


 In July of 2012 we began operating through the newly rebuilt wye at our Washington Junction rail yard.  The wye was bult 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 will use the wye at Washington Junction to reverse directions.


Thanks to everyone who rode with us during the 2011 season.   We look forward to seeing you all back this year.  Service will resume with the Memorial Day weekend in 2012.

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 began excursions on July 31, 2010.

Fully refinished interior of the passenger car.

Fully refinished interior of the Downeast Scenic Rail passenger car.

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.

It is the first tourist-passenger rail to grace the historic Calais Branch Line in decades.

Our Mission:The Downeast Rail Heritage Preservation Trust was established out of a respect for the past and a vision for the future.

The mission of the Trust is to celebrate and preserve the railroad history of Downeast Maine. Our immediate and primary goal is to develop the Downeast Scenic Railroad for the education, enlightenment and enjoyment of future generations.

Vintage 1948 work engine.

Our vintage 1948 work engine rides the rails.

At the core of the Downeast Scenic Railroad Project is the rehabilitation of the Washington Junction/Ellsworth to Green Lake section of the Calais Branch Line to create a 24-mile round- trip excursion ride. This stretch of the Calais Branch Line provides exceptional views of wetland marshes, glacial erratica including massive boulders, river and stream crossings, Little Rocky Pond and Green Lake. While working on this stretch of the line we have observed many forms of wildlife including osprey, Blue herons, Bald Eagles, moose, deer, snapping turtles, beavers…and bears, just west of Green Lake Road!

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