Old 03-30-2010, 01:44 AM   #1
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Default Bangor & Aroostook photos

As a younger fan, I mostly just cared about class 1 railroads. But even then, I knew the Bangor & Aroostook existed. Older friends who had visited talked tales of a friendly railroad with vintage power. Visiting Maine wasn't even a thought at the time. Fast forward about 15 years, and I was a young adult with the ability to travel at will, free airline tickets and all. As I began to take interest in shortlines, it didn't take me long to notice the BAR was in trouble. I had a brief encounter with the Searsport local on my honeymoon, and seeing those handsome blue and gray GP38s was just a tease. A couple of years later, it was becoming apparent if I ever wanted to photograph those units on their home railroad, a trip was in order. So, in February of 2001, I set out to photograph the BAR. I flew into Portland and drove to Northern Maine Jct. to spend the night, and hoped to catch the train from Brownville to NMJ in the morning, right after a heavy night's snow. He was pulling from Derby as soon as I got there, so I set up south of town. At the time, lease power was everywhere, so I figured the team of EMDs I heard was going to be a team of rent-a-wrecks creeping down bad track, so imagine my surprise when this team blasted around the curve doing close to 40 mph. After chasing them down to NMJ, I headed up to Millinocket to see what I could find there. Not knowing the layout of town, I missed the yard, but did continue on to E. Millinocket, where I found BAR 21, which is now MMA 21 that I just spent a great deal of time with in Maine, resting at the yard office. Rounding back down to NMJ after an unsuccessful run from Mattawamkeag to Bangor looking for Guilford action (I think that's actually an oxymoron), I happened upon the 225 local returning from Searsport in the face of another approaching winter storm. In hindsight, the day would have been better spent just focusing on the BAR trains I had, but being a relative youngster wanting to up the count of shortlines in my fold, I was all over the place sampling whatever little bits of shortline action I could get around the state. The quality time spent in Maine with the MMA was about as close to a redo as I could get.
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Mike Derrick

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