The Boston and Maine Railroad, The Route Of The Minute Man

The largest of the New England railroads, the Boston and Maine Railroad is synonymous with the region and for over 170 years now has served it well, albeit today the B&M survives as an affiliate of Pan Am Railways (which was previously known as the Guilford Rail System). Stretching throughout New England the B&M reached from Portland, Maine to Boston and Springfield, Massachusetts (and even Albany, New York). At one time the railroad reached almost 2,000 miles in length and connected to railroads such as the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad (NYNH&H), Maine Central Railroad (MEC) and New York Central (NYC). Today, over 1,000 miles of the B&M continues to carry on under the Pan Am Railways banner.

Two B&M GP9s and CP Rail RS10 #8570 have a clear signal as they power a northbound manifest freight through Deerfield, Massachusetts on June 24, 1978.

The B&M has its beginnings in the summer of 1835 and would connect its namesake city with Portland, Maine (thus where its name comes from). The formation of the railroad came about from the mergers of several smaller lines, which would assume the B&M banner. These included such names as the Maine, New Hampshire & Massachusetts Railroad; Boston & Lowell Railroad; Eastern Railroad; Worcester, Nashua & Portland Railroad, Northern Railroad; Connecticut Railroad; Concord & Montreal Railroad; and Fitchburg Railroad. Through these mergers, by the early years of the 20th century the B&M had grown to its largest length, over 2,000 miles, which reached the markets of (aside from Portland and Boston) northeastern Vermont and northern New Hampshire, most of Massachusetts and western New York (basically most of New England).

The growth of the B&M was a result of a heavily industrialized Northeast which existed for many years until following WWII when businesses slowly began to move away (most notably from the 1960s through the 1980s). During this time the B&M was a very profitable railroad and while never a large operator of passenger trains did run commuter services with its more well known named trains including the Ambassador (Concord, New Hampshire to White River Junction, Vermont), Alouette (Boston and Wells River, Vermont), Green Mountain Flyer (Bellow Falls, VT to Montreal via Canadian National Railway and the Rutland Railroad), and the lightweight streamliner Flying Yankee a near identical sister to the famous Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad's Zephyr 9900.

Like most Northeastern carriers, following WWII (and especially the latter 1950s) the railroad began to see profits drying up and it did not help any that during the late 1950s and early 1960s the railroad had a president unable to effectively manage the railroad (one problem of which was deferring maintenance and allowing the railroad to deteriorate to critical conditions). It was almost inevitable then that the B&M went bankrupt on February 1, 1970 (a time period when almost all of its surrounding competitors were throwing in the towel as well).

B&M GP40-2 #310 eases into the yard at East Deerfield, Massachusetts and under the signal tower on September 28, 1980.

Miraculously, however, it was able to avoid inclusion into the Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail), which began operations on April 1, 1976. A new president kept this from happening whose name was Alan G. Dustin. Dustin rescued the railroad from the brink and through aggressive management, marketing, and sound railroading the B&M began to once again see black (which, considering the Northeast rail grid during these years its amazing the railroad was able to accomplish such a feat).   Now a successful regional railroad operation it’s not surprising that someone would be interested in purchasing the B&M. 

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Diesel Locomotive Roster

The American Locomotive Company

Model Type Road Number Date Built Quantity
RS21501-1504, 1530-153419499
RS31505-1519, 1535-15451952-195426

The Electro-Motive Corporation/Electro-Motive Division

Model Type Road Number Date Built Quantity
F2A4250-4264, 4224A-4226A194618
"Flying Yankee" Trainset600019351

Fairbanks Morse

Model Type Road Number Date Built Quantity

General Electric

Model Type Road Number Date Built Quantity
U33B (Ex-Penn Central)190-19219683

Steam Locomotive Roster

Class Type Wheel Arrangement
A-13 Through A-47American4-4-0
B (Various)Mogul2-6-0
C-3 Through C-21Ten-Wheeler4-6-0
D-2Saddle Tank0-4-4T
E-1-a/bSaddle Tank2-6-4T
H-1 Through H-3Switcher0-8-0
P-1 Through P-5Pacific4-6-2

Notable Passenger Trains

Alouette/Red Wing: (Boston - Montreal)

Ambassador/New Englander:  (Boston - Montreal)

Bar Harbor Express: (Washington - Ellsworth, Maine)

Cheshire: (Boston - White River Junction)

Day White Mountains: (New York - Berlin, New Hampshire)

East Wind:  (Washington - Bangor, Maine)

Flying Yankee:  (Boston - Bangor)

Green Mountain Flyer: (Boston - Montreal)

The Gull: (Boston - Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Kennebec: (Boston - Portland - Bangor)

Minute Man: (Boston - Troy, New York)

Montrealer/Washingtonian: (Washington - New York - Montreal)

Mountaineer: (Boston - Littleton/Bethlehem, New Hampshire)

Pine Tree: (Boston - Portland - Bangor)

State of Maine: (New York - Portland)

A Boston & Maine SW8, #806, has yet to be repainted as it is still adorned in the road's original livery of maroon and gold on June 19, 1978 performing switching duties in the yard at East Deerfield.

After recently emerging from its 1970 bankruptcy, the B&M was purchased by Timothy Mellon, founder of Guilford Transportation Industries in 1983. Mellon’s new railroad system included a black livery with a bright orange trim and white lettering and sub-lettered his equipment to the owning railroad (such as the Maine Central, Boston & Maine, and Delaware & Hudson). Today the D&H is no longer part of the system and Guilford would later change its name to Guilford Rail System and even it no longer exists as its name was dissolved in 2006 in favor of parent Pan Am Systems’ Pan Am Railways. Today the Boston and Maine Railroad is still officially on the books although it survives now mostly in name only and it is unlikely the railroad will ever be spun off from the Pan Am system.

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