Orchard Beach Railroad

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Orchard Beach Railroad train stopped at a station, with passengers posing for a photo.

The Orchard Beach Railroad was a small railroad line that brought passengers along the seaside from Old Orchard Beach to Camp Ellis in Saco.

History

The line operated for 43 years.[1]

It was chartered on 2/27/1876 and opened four years later on 6/26/1880.[1]

The line was constructed by J. M. Robins, of Lewiston.[2]

The last train on the line ran on 9/5/1923.[2]

The Dummy

While the line was in operation, it carried the nickname of The Dummy. Two theories exist as to how it received the name.

The locomotives used early in its history had small steam engines which burned coke and ran very quietly as compared to larger locomotives. These were often called "dummy" engines.

Another theory involves the lack of a roundhouse or turntable at the Camp Ellis station, which meant the train could not turn around and ran its return trip in reverse.[2]

Stations

Route of Orchard Beach Railroad as it appeared in 1884.

The line made stops at the following locations.

Old Orchard

The line began in Old Orchard at the Boston and Maine Railroad station on 1st street.[2]

Camp Ground

The Camp Ground station was located at the Union Avenue crossing, 0.6 miles down the line. Passengers traveling to and from camp meetings further up the hill would use this stop.[2]

Ocean Park

The train then stopped at what is now Furber Park in Ocean Park, 1.2 miles down the line. The station here was first erected in 1882 and rebuilt in 1898 by the Ocean Park Association.[2]

Kinney Shores

After passing over the Goosefare Brook trestle into Saco, the train would make a regular stop at Kinney Shores Station, located 1.7 miles down the line. At this point, the tracks would run between the seaside cottages and the high-water mark on the beach.[2]

The station building itself is located at 11 Shore Avenue, in Saco. As of 2019, it is listed as a summer rental cottage.[3]

Bay View House

The Bay View House in Saco was then serviced by the line, situated at the 2.3 mile point.[2]

Ferry Beach Park

The station at Ferry Beach was a small platform just outside The Quillen, 3.2 miles down the line.[2]

Grovemere

Just before the terminus of the line was a station at Grovemere, located 3.7 miles down the line. By 1973, the location of this station was underwater due to heavy coastal erosion.[2]

Camp Ellis

After passing a coal pocket, the line terminated at a station on the shore of the Saco river in Camp Ellis, 3.8 miles from its start. The station building was adjacent to a pier which received steamships. After service stopped on the line in 1923, the building was sold to John H. McSweeney. He operated a store from the location, above which he lived in a small apartment until his death. His second wife then sold the building to "a religious order from Biddeford". The building was demolished in 1960 and the lot paved over to be used for parking.[2]

Staff

The following staff roster is from 1882.[4]

Name Role Residence
J. T. Furber President Boston
J. T. Furber Director Boston
M. L. Williams Treasurer Portland
George F. Calef Clerk Saco
George F. Calef Director Saco
S. E. Spring Director Portland
M. G. Palmer Director Portland
Dr. J. R. Nichols Director Haverhill, Massachusetts
Amos Paul Director South Newmarket, New Hampshire
W. S. Dennett Director Saco

Accidents

In 1917 while trying to catch a connection to the Bar Harbor Express, the train struck a grocery delivery truck at the Atlantic Avenue crossing, killing the driver. The standard locomotive, 4-4-0 Number 672, had been in the shop for maintenance that day. A more powerful 4-4-0 numbered 945 was in use instead, which may have contributed to the crash.[2]

Maps

Photos

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Lindsell, Robert M, and Ronald D. Karr. The Rail Lines of Northern New England: A Handbook of Railroad History. Pepperell, Mass: Branch Line Press, 2000. Print.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Peverly, Elaine M, and William H. McLin. The Dummy. Wilson's Printers, 1973.
  3. Tamarack Realty. 511 Seaside Avenue. Kinney Shores, Saco, Maine. 207-934-5327. Accessed 7/21/2019 http://www.tamarack-realty.com/swartz.htm
  4. The Biddeford, Saco and Old Orchard Directory. Boston: Greenough & Co, 1875. Issue 6. Page 286.