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August 2002 - Page 40

by Mark Sharp
Model photos by the author


or most of the first half of the 20th Century, the Maine Central Railroad was controlled by the Boston & Maine Railroad. The two shared a common management from the early years of the century until 1953 when the companies split apart. Although the arrangement was not technically a merger, it resulted in joint operations in a number of areas. For example, the Portland Terminal Company was formed by MEC and B&M to handle railroad operations in Portland, Maine. The MEC and B&M pooled power and passenger services, trackage rights and had similar color schemes. Starting with the delivery of FTs to the B&M

in 1943, that scheme consisted of a maroon carbody with gold striping and a black roof. The striping was more or less of a standard type shared by such other railroads as the Denver & Rio Grande Western and the Lehigh Valley. When the MEC and B&M split apart, the Maine Central changed the maroon to green, more in keeping with its operations in The Pine Tree State, but otherwise kept the attractive stripes and black roof.

RS3s on the MEC
During World War II, Americas War Production Board (WPB) controlled the number, types and distribution of equipment used by the countrys railroads. This was a somewhat better arrangement than the disastrous United States Railway Administration (USRA) which, in essence, confiscated Americas railroads during World War I. In

any event, the WPB assigned the task of producing switching locomotives to the American Locomotive Company (Alco). Alco had substantial experience with these, having produced a number of successful models before the United States entered the war in December of 1941. On the other hand, for example, the Electro Motive Corporation (EMC, later EMD), was designated for road-power production, which it delivered in the form of its FT. After World War II, Americas railroads began replacing their steam fleets and early diesels, which had taken a beating during the conflict. During the immediate post-war years, each of the railroad equipment manufacturers naturally had an advantage producing that type of power to which they had been limited during the war by the WPB. For Alco, this meant domination of the road switcher market until the early 1950s. Alco began production of its RS (road switcher) line of locomotives with the RS1 in 1941. It produced the RS3 from 1950 to 1956, with a total of 1,370 units sold. Alco introduced the next locomotive in the line,

MEC 556 sits in the snow (theres plenty for everyone in Maine) awaiting her next assignment. That appears to be maintenance-of-way equipment in the background. Date and photographer unknown. Courtesy of Bobs Photo



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