Downeast Scenic Railroad Tour
- Adult (Ages 13+)
- Seniors & Active Duty Military
- Child (Ages 3-12)
- Infant (2 & Under)
YOUR RIDE ON THE DOWNEAST SCENIC RAILROAD
Your ride on the Downeast Scenic is an adventure that takes you back to a time of elegant travel in lovingly restored one-hundred year old passenger coaches. For roughly an hour and 45 minutes you leisurely roll along 12 miles of well maintained tracks that were a huge part of Maine railroad history.
From lush forests where sunlight sparkles through the treetops, to open marshland, and across the recently restored Union River Bridge, this section of the Calais Branch of the former Maine Central Railroad provides views not seen since the wealthy “rusticators” traveled from the cities to their “summer cottages” on board the famous Bar Harbor Express.
You begin at the Hancock Station boarding platform that is located just outside Ellsworth, Maine on Washington Junction Road in Hancock. Here is where you pick up or purchase your tickets and souvenirs, take pictures of the train, and check out our beautifully refurbished passenger coaches.
“All Aboard!” …Your train rolls forward into the woods, then passes through a “wye” to turn around. Slowly it powers up through the railyard where you will see the maintenance-of-way and heavy equipment that our all-volunteer workers use to keep the railroad running and travels past our locomotives and cars being restored and maintained.
Your train trip will be professionally narrated by one of our volunteer members. Points of interest, such as a sawmill, wild blueberry facilities, nesting ospreys, beaver lodges, the old Ellsworth Train Station, as well as historical information are highlighted as you ride along.
You travel over bridges, roll past fields and houses, all the time hearing the “clickety-clack” rhythm of the wheels on the rails, and delight in the sound of the horn at the crossings. Watch and take photos as the locomotive uncouples from the train and passes by on a siding heading to the rear of the train. Once it has recoupled, you travel across the Union River, reverse directions, and begin your return trip to the boarding platform in Hancock.
Following your train ride, check with your conductor to see if railroad volunteers are available for a quick tour of the railyard or a visit to the former Maine Central #470 Steam Locomotive Restoration Project.
As you leave the train, don’t forget to take a “selfie” standing beside our powerful locomotive with the Conductor or Engineer!
- The Downeast Scenic Railroad operates on Saturdays and Sundays from Memorial Day weekend through the weekend after Columbus Day. Check the schedule for dates, number of trips per day, times, holidays, and specials.
- Water and light snacks are available for purchase on board the train. You are welcome to bring your own picnic lunch. Picnic table seating is available on our canopy covered open-air car and in our combination baggage/passenger car.
- Advance ticket purchase and confirmation of schedules are recommended.
- All fares listed are for round-trip transportation.
NOTICE: Days of operation, schedules, fares, locomotives, and cars are subject to change without notice.
Our regularly scheduled train rides incorporate two train maneuvers to reverse direction of travel.
After leaving the boarding platform, your train will descend into the woods, then push backwards through a “wye”. This track structure was built by the Maine Central Railroad in 1931 when passenger trains, like the Bar Harbor Express, no longer journeyed to the ferry terminal at McNeal Point. Passenger trains then ended their trip in Ellsworth and were turned on the “wye” in preparation for their return trip to the cities. Remember Driver Training? Passing through the “wye” is simply a “three-point-turn”.
The second procedure will take place in Ellsworth Falls. Your train will stop adjacent to a siding track where the locomotive will be uncoupled from the front of the train. It will pass by giving you a nice opportunity to take some great photos. The engine will recouple at the rear of the train, push you across the Union River Bridge, then reverse direction and return you to the boarding platform in Hancock.
The Downeast Scenic Railroad welcomes groups, charters, and buses!
- We offer group-rates for 40 or more people. Advance payment is required one week prior to the date of your train ride.
- Organizations may charter the entire train for larger groups or special events. All charters require two weeks’ advance notice.
- Buses are welcome and parking is available. Advance notice and reservations are required.
For more information, reservations, and fares:
Contact a railroad representative at 866-449-RAIL (7245) or [email protected]