Sunday, June 01, 2008

Vanceboro

Here are a few photos of Vanceboro from my little excursion there yesterday.
NB Southern at Vanceboro Maine
My first impression of Vanceboro was "small". It has the main line and two other tracks there, and that's it. In the above photograph you can see all the trackage, together with a storage shed and truck trailer to the right.

Vanceboro Maine
There is a little office building at Vanceboro. Shortly before the westbound NB Southern freight arrived, a woman drove up to the building and went in. I assume she was getting the customs papers ready for the train. When the train stopped, the conductor got the papers from her.

Vanceboro Maine
The big surprise at Vanceboro was this little "museum" from the Vanceboro Historical Society. I encourage you to go look at their web site, as there are a few photos of the railroad showing that it was a happening place in its time.

Peering in the windows of the building, I saw a rack of tourist paperwork and the rest appears to be under refurbishment.

There are some good photos in the excellent Canadian Pacific To The East by Omer Lavallee. There was a two-story wooden station in Vanceboro, built in 1906 and dismantled around 1960. The baggage room was retained and served as the station until it burned around 1990.

There is a George Melvin photo of Vanceboro from 1972 in the book, showing CP train 42 (soon to be the Atlantic) showing a turntable and some track behind the station. It appears the current office shack is on or near the site of the former station. Another photo in the book shows a four-stall roundhouse in Vanceboro. I should have looked for the foundation but I didn't think of it.

The chart on page 212 of Canadian Pacific To The East shows quite a substantial yard in 1926, featuring scales, freight and coal sheds, a station, an engine house, a 54,380 gallon water tank, and a U.S. Customs building.

The Maine Central railroad used to have a switcher in Vanceboro, but I don't know when that was ended. Perhaps it stopped when the Mattawamkeag-Vanceboro line was purchased from the Maine Central by Canadian Pacific in December 1974.

Of course, Vanceboro is most famous in railway circles for the failed World War I sabotage attempt on the bridge over the St. Croix river. German Oberleutenant Werner Horn was sent to destroy the bridge, but botched the job and only caused minor damage that was repaired within a few days.

More reading:

2 comments:

Brian B. said...

Hi Steve,

I recall seeing a Maine Central Geep parked by the Vanceboro Station in February 1981, as viewed from VIA Train # 11, the Westbound Atlantic. Pulpwood would have been the prime commodity carried by MEC from Vanceboro, at the time.

Guilford ( GTI ) bought the Maine Central in the latter part of 1981 and initiated many changes with their rail lines in Maine, either closing branches or altering various operations. I would surmise MEC service to Vanceboro would have ceased shortly after GTI'S takeover.

Train Geek said...

Thanks for the extra detail, Brian. That makes sense that the practice would have ended after the Guilford takeover.