Railfans in cars getting coffee

As the dates for the Convention grew closer, we started to second guess our hotel choice. On a hunch, we changed our reservation to the Knight’s Inn, in Brunswick. I’d driven past the place before but had never stopped in and, for the price, it would be a deal that would prove hard to beat. Furthermore, the property backs up against Amtrak’s new maintenance facility in Brunswick – the easternmost point on Amtrak’s directionless arrow and the end of the line for their Downeaster service.

If we timed it right we could catch several arrivals and departures for this train, bookending our day. The train alone would be a great catch but we were in luck and Amtrak’s lone dome car (#10031) was a part of the Downeaster’s consist. After breakfast on Thursday we watched it leave Brunswick. With no commitments in Augusta on Friday morning, our goal was clear: early breakfast in Brunswick and then hit the road for Portland. We made it into Portland ahead of schedule. Just in time to grab a quick coffee to enjoy while waiting along the Fore River bridge for our train.


Portland’s station is reached from one leg of a wye track. After a station stop, the train runs back through the wye and across the Fore River. The railroad bridge over the Fore River runs parallel to a highway bridge and alongside the road one, there’s a really nice pedestrian walkway with several places to stop and take in the view. We reasoned that we could catch a photo of the train into the station and then a quick jog through traffic, not at all un-Frogger-like, to watch it crossing the river. I grabbed the above photo as the train starting lifting out of the station. dsc03232

We’ve just finished crossing the road in time to see this neat truck in the oncoming traffic. I believe Bill has a photo of it. I thought it would be neat to try and photograph Bill photographing the truck but, too slow.


Each of the four of us had laid claim to a place on the bridge in the hopes of catching our respective photographs. Above is mine and I must say I feel pretty darned proud of it. Really proud.

Turning my camera a bit, I reasoned I might try and grab a roster shot of each car in the train. Leading the train was an Amtrak Cabbage; some Amfleets and then the 10031. Shoving hard from the tail end is an Amtrak P42. They’re accelerating now and heading for Boston.

The clouds were starting to break and the air smelled like the ocean. Finishing the last of my coffee it was time to get back to things that run on narrower tracks. Thank you David for insisting on this part of the trip.

I joke about crossing the road, at the bridge, in a Frogger-like fashion but, in all honesty, we were doing this on a busy morning during rush hour. The City of Portland have created some great paths and sidewalks for pedestrians. They’ve also provided some terrific and safe crosswalks. Thankfully these were so well located that we could use them to navigate traffic. Thank you Portland.

Frogger? Check out the Wiki here: wikipedia.org/wiki/Frogger

The Amtrak website has lots of neat articles promoting their dome car service. They’ve only got one and it appears across the system throughout the year. Check out this page for fall travel: http://www.amtrak.com/fall-travel-on-the-great-dome-car

Categories: How I think

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3 replies

  1. I love that short of the Downeaster on the bridge! Well done.

    Frogger.. heh, that takes me back.


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