Look Out New England We are Coming

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by TomPM, Jan 15, 2004.

  1. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

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    My clan is in the process of planning the Great 2004 Vacation and it looks like New England, Maine in particular is the winner. It looks like that taking the train from Philadelphia to Portland, Maine and renting a car there is our best transportation option. We have looked at renting a car here and driving but that has proven to uneconomical. Our vehicles are too worn for such a trip; my van has 92,000+ miles on it while my wife’s vehicle is approaching 60,000. Also taking the train will fulfill a promise we made to the kids about taking Amtrak for a vacation.

    Now for the questions:
    According to the Amtrak schedule the Northeast Corridor trains arrive in Boston at the Back Bay Station. The Downeaster leaves from North Station. How does one get from one station to the other? According to Amtrak’s website it is a “self transfer”.

    What railroad and model railroad things are there to do?
    So far I found:
    The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad
    Seashore Trolley Museum
    Boothsbay Railroad and Transportation Center (not totally sure about the name)
    Has anyone visited these? If so what is opinion? I have visited their websites and found the usual information.

    We plan to stay in the Portland area for a few days and then stay in Bangor and possibly Bar Harbor for a few more. We may also wander into New Hampshire for a day or two.

    What are the “don’t miss” things (not just railroad related)?
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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  3. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

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    Tom,

    Boston has a good subway system that will get you from South Station to North Station. I haven't been there in a few years but the signs used to be everywhere and I am sure that the station attendants can provide you with the information. I know the Orange and Green lines both go to North station but I am not sure whether there are changes at other terminals. Someone in the Boston area may be able to provide you with a more up-to-date picture.

    In NH try to get to the Kancamangus Highway that goes thru the White Mountains. It is a slow and pretty drive. A lot slower and more colorful in the Autumn but a great sight anytime. The Maple and birch forests along route 2 are nice also

    Enjoy your trip:) :)
  4. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

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    When in NH, Gotta check out Conway, there's a railroad there, and not too far away in Lincoln is the Hobo Trains ride.....Ahhhh! But the ultimate....Mt. Washington Cog RR....Check it out.

    Did stay in Portland for a week once, back in the late eighties...Back then mostly just ferrys and tour boats. But I heard they have added a 2' gauge along the pier.
  5. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

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    Tom - get hold of absnut - he lives in Maine. :) :)
  6. Navcad

    Navcad New Member

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    There is a tourist train in Wiscassett which is up Route 1 from Portland. Another is the Moosehead Railroad working out of Belfast further up Route 1 past Rockland on the way to Mt Dessert Island if you are going that far. Also there are trains running through Rockland delivering cement to the waterfront from a factory on Route 1 as well. As you enter Rockland there is a turntable and roundhouse both of which I believe are still used. Have fun on your trip but bring warm clothes.
    Dick
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    Tom:
    I always try to go to Seashore trolley museum. Just don't make the wrong turn and end up at the Bush private island.
    We went to Boothbay, but they were packed with a car rally that day.
    Wiscasset used to have the Musical Wonder House -- a music box museum. (I haven't been there for years.)
  8. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

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    Thanks everyone for the suggestions. More are welcomed.
  9. Peter Vengryn

    Peter Vengryn New Member

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    Hi Tom

    Don't know what dates you'll be up north, however the Amherst Railway Society is holding it's annual show Feb 7 & 8 in West Springfield Ma. Some claim it to be one of the biggest and best shows in the country. For more info try www.amherstrail.org.[
    However it might be too far out of your way. It's located about 90 miles west of Boston about 5 miles off interstate 90.

    pete
  10. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

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    Pete

    Thanks for the info.

    We are looking at the begining of July.

    One day I keep promising myself I will get to the Springfield Show.:D
  11. JeffGerow

    JeffGerow Member

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    When you get to Boston, due to the incredible lack of foresight of our government, you cannot easily pass between South and North Stations [the fact that they just put the "Big Dig" right between South Station and North Station doesn't mean that they could put the rails alongside...]
    To do it by the T - you'll need to take the Red Line "inbound" to the "Downtown Crossing" stop (1 stop) and change to the Orange Line, also going "inbound" to "North Station" (3 stops).
    You can also take a taxi, they are generally around South Station.
    Since you are planning on July, be advised that Route 1, along the coast North of Portland, gets pretty crowded, so don't plan on making "time"
    The narrow guage Museum in Portland is a "must visit", not only for their collection, but also for the ride along the waterfront. Boothbay is also a great visit.And I second the suggestion of a visit to the White Mountains, especially North Conway (also very crowded in July). Enjoy your visit!
  12. absnut

    absnut Member

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    Tom,

    I agree with all the above recommendations... I especially recommend the Narrow Gauge Museum on the Portland waterfront, which features a short ride along the water on genuine Maine 2' NG equipment, and the Seacoast Trolly Museum in Kennebunk (not close enough to the Bush compound to get you into trouble!:D ). This museum is about 30 miles south of Portland. If you manage to get to NH and the museum at North Conway, where you can also take a train ride, you can also drive about 5 miles north of No. Conway on Rte. 16 to Intervale where, on the right, you will see the Brass Caboose Train shop. They have a kiddie train ride and Hartmann's model railroad museum, with which I was quite impressed. I'm sure you and your family will enjoy your vacation in northern New England, especially Maine (no biase here!;) )... we don't call it "Vacationland" for nothing!!!

    Dick
  13. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

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    Thanks Dick for the information.

    Is there an admission to Hartman’s Railroad Museum and if so how much? We came across it in our search for things to do in New Hampshire. We checked their website and could not find out anything about admission prices.
  14. absnut

    absnut Member

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    Tom,

    I believe I paid $5 to get in. Memory says kids go in for less.

    Dick
  15. absnut

    absnut Member

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    Tom,

    I'll be in chat until about 4 pm if you have questions you think I might have answers to! LOL

    Dick
  16. Pete

    Pete Member

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    If you're going to be in the Bar Harbor (BaaHaaBaa to the locals), one place to go is Acadia National Park, up to a spot called Cadillac Mountain. The drive up is awesome - like an old narrow gauge railway, lots of twists and sharp turns; and then when you get to the top and park, get out and walk around...the views are spectacular. On a clear day, you can see for miles up and down the coast. You may even see the 'Cat' heading off to or returning from Yarmouth NS
    If you plan to stay there (Bar Harbor - or anywhere on Mount Desert Island, for that matter), you'll need to make your resrvations ASAP as it's a very popular vacation spot, but it's only about an hours' drive from Bangor, which might be better for a base for a few days.

    Pete
  17. absnut

    absnut Member

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    Pete says that with a Canadian accent!:D We actually say it correctly... Bah Hahbuh!;) :thumb:

    Dick