Bangor & Aroostook Railroad
The Bangor & Aroostook Railroad extended its line from Old Town to Houlton in 1893, passing near what would soon become the town of Millinocket. In February of 1899, F. W. Cram, vice-president and general manager of the B & A confirmed with Garret Schenck a verbal understanding regarding the railroad and what would become GNP. The Company would give the railroad “land for a station, freight house, roundhouse and turntable, yard space and other right of way; that the railroad would build the spur track from the main line to the mill yard boundary, and the Company would do the grading and lay the ties on the mill property.”
The cost of transportation was a concern for the new paper company due to the distance from its future markets and the large volume of materials and people both in and out. A quote in the McLeod book from Cram to Schenck years later said, “You made a devil of a fuss over the difference between paying $3.40 per ton paper Millinocket to New York, the rate we wanted; and $3.00, the rate you got: you said: “”no three dollars, no mill.’”
By June of 1899, 500 men were working on construction of the mill. The B & A planned an excursion train to the “magic city” so the curious could see what was being done. Three hundred folks came on the trip.
The first station was located near “the Pines” by a tote road and near the Rush sawmill. Later in the 1930’s, mill production was very high so changes were needed for the railroad to handle the traffic. The railroad yard was raised several feet and was surfaced. The station was moved across the main line and turned around. At the same time, the underpass was constructed to allow the continuation of Bates Street.
Daytime schedules later allowed for day trips to Bangor with a return home by evening. Some remember taking the “sleeper” to Bangor and on to Boston. It left in the evening for Bangor where the railroad switched the sleeping car to the Boston & Maine RR. This was good for businessmen, company officials as well as college students attending out-of-state schools. The Laverty book has this quote: “Does number 8 mean anything to you?” It was the night sleeper to Boston. By 1961, the Bangor & Aroostook RR ended its passenger trains. More people had cars and the roads were improving. A bus line run by the B & A existed for a few years.
The museum is looking for more railroad photos and memorabilia, especially photos of the roundhouse!