class DL10 #444 lettered for the B&Q

The Bangor & Quebec was chartered in 1874 (by the Le Coeur & Terrance Railroad) to connect to the timberlands in the interior of Maine and to a warm water port at Searsport. The railroad was finished in 1877, and soon thereafter was merged into the new Le Coeur, Terrance & Lynville Railway.

The port at Searsport was congested, so the LT&L extended the line south to Augusta in 1884. That branch saw a lot of local traffic and functioned as a feeder railroad to the PV&T and Maine Central in Augusta and to the Bangor and Aroostook in Bangor, but the line across Maine never developed any sort of bridge traffic and subsisted on a diet of lumber products from logging operations along the line.

For the first fifty years or so, this was a very rich diet indeed; there was (and still is) a lot of logging going on in Maine and the few railroads that operated through the center of the state pretty much had lumber thrown at them as fast as they could ship it. But in the late 1930s, traffic started to fall off as many of the loggers began to use trucks instead of the rails. The second world war provided a respite, but after that the traffic became very light indeed.

The LT&L made enough money on the mainline across the state to keep operating it as a connection between their system in Quebec and the healthy branch between Augusta and Bangor, but when it merged with the PV&T in 1961, the new owners abandoned the mainline as soon as they could get overhead wire up on the Augusta branch.

After abandonment, the line was left intact and the corporate carcass of the old B&Q was reactivated to hold the title and find buyers, but none were found and it slowly deteriorated for the next 30 years. The southern half of the line (from Brassua Junction (CPR’s international mainline between Quebec & New Brunswick)) was leased for ~a decade so a logging company could easily clear out some stands of timber they owned, and the very northern part (Lynville to the Canadian border) was transferred to the LT&L to connect a LT&L park/hunting camp to the rest of the LT&L, but the extremely scenic part of the line between the CPR & the Canadian border saw no traffic except an occasional work train piloted by DL2 #306 & DL10 #444.

In 1995, everything changed for the B&Q; the PV&T was expanding and bought the CPR’s international mainline from PQ to St Johns, so the line down from Canada to the CPR junction suddenly became useful again and was promptly unabandoned. Still no local traffic except the possibility of timber, but having this shortcut between the port at Québec & northern Maine meant that it was seeing 1-3 freights a day again.

The line from Brassua Junction to Bangor, on the other hand, stayed disused and with the general hollowing out of industry in the Northeast made it unfeasable to even railbank, so the rails were finally pulled and the roadbed was given to the state for trailbuilding.

The B&Q never had very many locomotives; a pair of unnumbered steam engines were purchased to help build the line, and DL10 #444 was transferred to the B&Q in the early 1980s to replace #306, but all of the freight and switching on the line was/is handled with locomotives from the LT&L (diesels) & PV&T (motors)

  • Copyright © 2023 by David Parsons ( unless otherwise noted
    Wed Jun 24 02:09:21 PDT 2009