Casco Bay Northern Railroad

Serving Coastal Maine

Casco Bay Northern (CBN) History

CBN Map In May of 1955, an entrepreneur decided he would create a railroad empire by owning all of the railroads from New England to the Appalachian Mountains. This business venture was incorporated as the Blue Ridge and White Mountain Railroad (BRWM).

The BRWM bought the Portland Terminal railroad from the Boston & Maine (BM) and the Maine Central Railroads (MEC). They commenced operation at Rigby Yard in South Portland, and they also commenced serving the industrial areas of Portland, in the fall of 1955.

Business was good on the BRWM in 1956, and the owners decided that it was time to expand into Mid Coast Maine and establish a coastal route from Portland to Bangor. The BRWM bought the Rockland branch from the MEC in 1956, which included trackage rights from Portland to Brunswick. The BRWM followed this with the purchase of the Searsport Branch from the BAR and the MEC line to Bucksport, in early 1957. Construction was commenced on new track between Rockland and Searsport in 1957. This new track was finished in the summer of 1958. All of Mid Coast Maine now had rail service. The BRWM also commenced building a bridge over the Penobscot River, to connect Bucksport to Searsport in 1958. The BRWM followed this construction with the purchase of the Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad (BML) in late 1958, which connected Belfast to the MEC lower road at Burnham Jct. The BRWM’s next purchase was the MEC Bingham branch in the spring of 1959 and they now had a connection with the CPR’s International of Maine Division in Somerset. The bridge for Bucksport was completed in 1959.

The summer of 1959 brought changes in philosophy of the BRWM’s owners. The financing for the grand project to connect to the Appalachian Mountains would not obtained, so it was decided to concentrate all efforts in the State of Maine. A name change of the railroad was being considered, to reflect this new philosophy. It was eventually decided to rename the Railroad "The Casco Bay Northern Railroad (CBN).

The purchase of the Bingham branch turned out to be good fortune for the CBN, as the CPR mainline was severely damaged near Sebec Lake in the fall of 1959 and the CPR and CNR traffic had to be rerouted. This traffic was split along different routes, with the CBN, the BAR and the MEC picking up some of this traffic.

The CBN also resurrected the old Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington line by placing standard gauge track on the old right of way. This leads to the St. Albans & Northern Interchange.

The CBN is looking forward to becoming the major rail service in New England. They hope to merge and/or purchase as much of the MEC, BAR and the B&M as they can.

 

Updated April 17, 2017.