Thursday, March 17, 2016

Ninety Communities in Maine had Electric Railway Service!

Porcelain advertising piece from a ticket booth of the Portland-Lewiston
Interurban. Electric railways advertising quite often promoted the
"clean and comfortable ride". This image is an original porcelain
advertising piece from the O. R. Cummings collection at

     I'm deep in researching materials involving electric streetcars, trolleys, and interurbans in Maine. The information will be used in part for a large grant application to help with the restoration of the 1912 Narcissus that operated on the Portland-Lewiston Interurban from 1914 till 1933. I'm feeling compelled to dig deep for the broader impact of electric railways' influences on Maine's economic growth and its implications on Maine's societal development. This blog post is the second that shares some of the early findings. The first post is titled, 57 Million Passengers Carried on Electric Railways in Maine in 1915!! The third post will speak more to the railways' recreation and commercial destinations and the handful of parlor cars in Maine.

     Please consider making a donation to the Narcissus Project. Funds are still needed to complete the restoration of the National Register of Historic Places member, Narcissus.  Scroll to the end of this post to find all donation options, including an online donation link. All donations are currently matched, dollar-for-dollar, as part of a $40,000 matching grant challenge, thanks to the generous offer from 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation! 
Thank You :)

     The vast majority of the materials I will share have come from a number of books released by Seashore Trolley Museum's long-time historian, O. R. Cummings. Also books by Charles D. Heseltine.

     In total, more than 90 cities, towns, and villages in Maine had electric railways servicing their communities. The total trackage of the electric railways in Maine extended nearly 520 miles. To put that in perspective, the length of trackage is about the same distance that one would travel by automobile today when taking U.S. Route One from Kittery, all the way to Fort Kent....527 miles.

Many of the Maine communities served by electric railways were in rural
areas. Dirt roads were the norm outside of the downtown areas of the cities.
Cities like Bangor, Lewiston, and Portland were "hubs" for the railways that
connected people and products to the outer communities. Above, Aroostook
Valley Railroad No. 70. AVR 70 is a combine car, which carries passengers
and light freight/express. AVR 70 is one of thirteen Maine electric railway
vehicles at Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, ME.
Image from postcard PWM

     Here is a list of communities throughout Maine served by electric railways during the era:
Alfred, Arundel, Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Bath, Benton, Biddeford, Brewer, Brunswick, Calais, Camden, Cape Elizabeth, Cape Porpoise, Caribou, Charleston, Chelsea, Corinth, Crouseville, Cumberland, East Vassalboro, Eliot, Fairfield, Falmouth, Farmingdale, Freeport, Gardiner, Glenburn, Gorham, Gray, Greene, Hampden, Hallowell, Kenduskeag, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Kittery, Lewiston, Lisbon Falls, Litchfield, Lyman, Madison, Manchester, Mechanic Falls, Minot, New Gloucester, New Sweden, North Vassalboro, Norway, Oakland, Ogunquit, Old Orchard Beach, Old Town, Orono, Owl's Head, Portland, Presque Isle, Rockland, Rockport, Sabattus, Saco, Sanford, Scarborough, Shawmut, Skowhegan, South Berwick, South Monmouth, South Paris, South Portland, South Thomaston, South Windham, Springvale, St. George, Thomaston, Topsham, Turner, Van Buren, Veazie, Wales, Warren, Washburn, Waterville, Webster, Wells, West Gardiner, Westbrook, West Kennebunk, Winslow, Winterport, Winthrop, Woodland, Yarmouth, York, and York Beach. Notes: Calais, ME to St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada - South Berwick, ME to Dover, New Hampshire - Kittery, ME to Portsmouth, New Hampshire via ASL ferry, Fryeburg Horse Railroad - Never Electrified

A typical image of service once outside of the downtown area. 
From postcard PWM

Dirt roads were the norm and difficult for wagons and horses and the early
automobiles to navigate in muddy conditions as well as in the snow during
the winter months. The electric railways were the most dependable form
of transportation. Image of River Road in Arundel, Maine approaching
Merrill's Farm on the far left. Image from the collection of
Seashore Trolley Museum

Electric Railways of Maine - 1915
Click Here for the post: "Electric Railway King" of the Pine Tree State - Amos Fitz Gerald

Androscoggin Electric Company (Portland-Lewiston Interurban) - 29.80 Miles
(Portland, Falmouth, Cumberland, Gray, New Gloucester, Auburn, and Lewiston)

(Presque Isle, Van Buren, Washburn, New Sweden, Caribou, and Woodland)

Atlantic Shore Railway - 90.40 Miles
Biddeford, Kennebunkport (Arundel), Kennebunk, West Kennebunk, (Lyman), Cape Porpoise, Alfred, Sanford, Springvale, Wells, Ogunquit, York, York Beach, Kittery, Eliot, South Berwick, ME and Dover, NH)

Bangor Railway and Electric Company - 57.10 Miles
Bangor, Brewer, Old Town, Orono, Hampden, Charleston, Winterport, Kenduskeag, Glenburn, and Corinth.

Benton and Fairfield

Biddeford and Saco Railroad - 7.61 Miles
Biddeford, Saco, and Old Orchard Beach

Calais Street Railway - 7.00 Miles
Calais, ME and St. Stephen, N.B. Canada

Cumberland County Power and Light Company (Portland Railroad) - 82.88 Miles
Portland, South Portland, Scarborough, Old Orchard Beach, Saco, Westbrook, Gorham, South Windham, Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Cumberland, and Yarmouth

Fairfield Village to Shawmut

Fryeburg Horse Railroad (Abandoned 1914) - 3.00 Miles (Never Electrified)
Fryeburg Village to Chautauqua Grounds

Lewiston, Augusta, and Waterville Street Railway - 152.90 Miles
Lewiston, Auburn, Augusta, Waterville, Bath, Brunswick, Freeport, Yarmouth, Topsham, Lisbon, Minot, Mechanic Falls, Turner, Greene, Sabattus, Webster, Litchfield, Wales, South Monmouth, Gardiner, West Gardiner, Farmingdale, Hallowell, Manchester, Winthrop, Chelsea (Togus), Vassalboro, East and West Vassalboro, and Winslow

Norway, Paris,  and South Paris

Rockland, St. George, Thomaston, South Thomaston (Crescent Beach-Owls'Head)

Rockland, Rockport, Camden, Thomaston, and Warren

Skowhegan and Norridgewock Railway (Abd. 1904) - 5.75 Miles
Skowhegan and Norridgewock

Somerset Traction Company - 12.20 Miles
Skowhegan and Madison

Waterville, Fairfield, and Oakland Railway - 10.24 Miles
Waterville, Fairfield, and Oakland

Total Street Railway Mileage - 1915 - 518.63
Total Passengers Carried - 1915 - 57,422,739
Total Operating Revenue - 1915 - $3,066,924 (equivalent to about $70 million today)

Togus waiting station at Togus, Maine - Postcard from PWM

Click on the railways that have a hot link below for more on that particular line
Railways that operated in Maine during the Trolley Era
Atlantic Shore Line Railway (ASL)
Atlantic Shore Railway (ASL)
Auburn & Turner Railroad (LA&W)
Auburn, Mechanic Falls & Norway Street Railway
Augusta, Winthrop, & Gardiner Street Railway
Bangor & Northern Railway (BSR)
Bangor, Hampden, & Winterport Railway (BSR)
Bangor, Orono, & Old Town Railway (BSR)
Bangor Railway and Electric Company (BSR)
Bangor Street Railway (BSR)
Bath Street Railway 
Biddeford & Saco Railroad
Brunswick & Topsham Electric Railroad
Dover & Eliot Street Railway (ASL)
Fairfield & Oakland Street Railway (WF&O)
Fryeburg Horse Railroad - Never Electrified
Kittery & Eliot Street Railway (ASL)
Kittery & York Street Railway (ASL)
Lewiston, Brunswick, and Bath Street Railway (A&K)
Lewiston & Brunswick Electric Railway (A&K)
Mousam River Railroad (ASL)
Penobscot Central Railway
Portland & Yarmouth Electric Railway (PRR)
Portsmouth, Dover, & York Street Railway (ASL)
Portsmouth, Kittery, & York Street Railway (ASL)
Sanford & Cape Porpoise Railway (ASL)
York Utilities Company (ASL)

One of the interurbans of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban westbound on
the S-curve at Morrison Hill in Cumberland, Maine.
Image from Seashore Trolley Museum collection of O. R. Cummings

These were proposed-but-never-built trolley lines in Maine.
  • Auburn, Durham & Yarmouth Street Railway - 1907
  • Augusta, Oakland & Waterville Street Railway - 1906
  • Augusta & Togus Electric Railroad Company - 1900
  • Belfast Street Railway -1891
  • Biddeford Pool Electric Railroad -1902
  • Cherryfield and Milbridge Electric Railway - 1895
  • Eastern Traction Company - 1903
  • Kineo Street Railway - 1902
  • Lewiston, Winthrop & Augusta Street Railway - 1901
  • Lincoln County Street Railway - 1902
  • Lisbon, Durham & Freeport Street Railway - 1907
  • Maine and New Hampshire Railway - 1902
  • Mount Desert Transit Company - 1906
  • Oxford Central Electric Railroad - 1897
  • Peaks Island Electric Railway - 1900
  • Peaks Island Railroad - 1890
  • Portland & Brunswick Extension Railway - 1907(?)
  • Portland and Northern Railroad Company - 1907
  • Rumford Falls and Bethel Street Railway - 1907
  • Saco River Electric Railroad - 1897
  • York County Central Electric Railroad - 1900
  • York County Electric Railroad - 1899
  • York and Oxford Railway - 1907
  • Zig-Zag Railroad (Peaks Island) - 1891
Click on: "Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride," to learn about the young reader historical fiction chapter book due for release this fall. Proceeds will benefit the Narcissus Project :)

Please Consider a Donation to the Narcissus Project
to help us tell the incredible story of the Narcissus through the interpretation portion of the Narcissus Project.
Thank You

   Inside the Donald G. Curry Town House Restoration Shop, the Narcissus is in the midst of major work as we strive to complete its restoration. With our estimate to have the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Narcissus in the fall of 2021, we are now planning the interpretation portion of the Narcissus Project. Donations to the Narcissus Project may be used in the future to help tell the incredible 100-plus-year-old story of the Narcissus. Your donation to the Narcissus is helping to make the dream of the project's success, a reality.

The 2015 publication of, The Illustrated Atlas
of Maine's Street & Electric Railways
1863-1946, was published by the Library
at Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport.
Copies are available for purchase from the

Seashore Trolley Museum, - Museum of Mass Transit, is celebrating its 80th Birthday year in 2019! 
Special Events are scheduled  - Public operations start on May 4, 2019. 
Click Here for the 2019 Events & Special Activities for the 80th Anniversary Season, with hot links

Click Here for 2019 Special Events 

Click Here for 80th Anniversary Year - Seashore Trolley Museum 1939-2019 post
Click Here for the post - 80th Anniversary Year -A Look Back at the 50s - Seashore Trolley Mus.
Click Here for the post - 80th Anniversary Year - A Look Back at the 60s  - Seashore Trolley Mus.
Click Here for the post - 80th Anniversary Year -A Look Back at the '70s - Seashore Trolley Mus.
Click Here for The Birth of Seashore Trolley Museum Blog Post
Click Here for STM's Ten National Register of Historic Places Electric Railway Vehicles post
Click Here for 1901 Tower C Boston Elevated Railway to STM in 1975
Click Here for No. 38 - 1906 Manchester & Nashua Street Railway - Acquired March 21, 1940
Click Here for No. 60 - 1895 Manchester Street Railway - Acquired April 11, 1941
Click Here for No. 4387 - 1918 Eastern Mass. Street Railway - Acquired August 29, 1946
Click Here for No. 100 - 1906 Atlantic Shore Line Railway - Acquired 1949
Click Here for No. 108 - 1904 Portsmouth, Dover & York Street Railway - Acquired 1949
Click Here for No. 14 Narcissus 1912 Portland-Lewiston Interurban - Acquired 1969

See below for Donation options -

It starts with YOU
Your Donation Matters
Make a Donation TODAY

Please Help the Narcissus. 

Donation Options to Help the Narcissus Project:

The New England Electric Railway Historical Society (NEERHS)
is the 501c3 organization that owns and operates the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, ME and the National Streetcar
The NEERHS is registered with the IRS (EIN# 01-0244457) and was incorporated in Maine in 1941.

Check or Money Order ***** should be made payable to:
New England Electric Railway Historical Society (NEERHS)
In the memo please write: Narcissus Fund 816-A
Mail to: Seashore Trolley Museum
              P. O. Box A
              Kennebunkport, ME 04046

Credit Card ***** donations can be a one-time donation or you
may choose to have a specific amount charged to your card
automatically on a monthly basis. Please contact the Museum bookkeeper, Connie, via email at or by phone, 207-967-2712 ext. 5.

Online Donations - may be made by using a Credit Card: 
Click Here to make an online donation through the Museum's website - When at the Donation page: Fill in donor info, etc., when at "To which fund are you donating? Scroll down to "Other" and type in: 816-A Narcissus, then continue on filling in the required information.

Click Here for PayPal - to make an online donation: you can use email: and in the message box write:
For Narcissus fund 816-A

Donation of Securities ***** We also accept donations of
securities. You can contact the Museum bookkeeper, Connie, via email at or by phone, 207-967-2712 ext. 5,
for brokerage account information for accepting donated securities.

BONUS ***** If you work for a company/corporation that will
"match" an employee's donation to an approved 501c3 non-profit
educational organization, please be sure to complete the necessary paperwork with your employer so that your donation is matched :)

Questions? ***** Please contact Narcissus project manager:
Phil Morse, or call 207-985-9723 - cell.

Thank You :)

Thank You for our Current Funding Partners
20th Century Electric Railway Foundation - 2018 - Major Gift, 2017/2014 Matching Grants
Mass Bay RRE - 2018 Railroad Preservation Grant 
Thornton Academy (Saco, ME) - Staff & Alumni - Matching Grant Challenge 2014
New England Electric Railway Historical Society (Kennebunkport, ME) - Member Donations
Amherst Railway Society - 2015 Heritage Grant
National Railway Historical Society - 2016 & 2015 Heritage Preservation Grants
Enterprise Holding Foundation - 2015 Community Grant
Theodore Roosevelt Association - Member Donations
John Libby Family Association and Member Donations
* The Conley Family - In Memory of Scott Libbey 2018/2017/2016/2015
* The W. S. Libbey Family - Awalt, Conley, Graf, Holman, Libbey, McAvoy, McLaughlin, Meldrum, O'Halloran, Salto, - 2018/2017
* The Hughes Family 2017/2016/2010
New Gloucester Historical Society and Member Donations
Gray Historical Society and Member Donations
Gray Public Library Association - Pat Barter Speaker Series
* LogMein - Matching Employee Donation
* IBM - Matching Employee/Retiree Donations
* Fidelity Charitable Grant - Matching Employee Donations
* Richard E. Erwin Grant - 2017/2016

The Narcissus, with interior back-lit, stained glass windows are majestic.
Make a donation today to help restore the interior of this Maine gem.
Help Theodore Roosevelt's Maine Ride get back on track! Once restored,
you will be able to ride in luxury on this National Register Treasure at
Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.
PWM photo

Please Consider Making a Donation to the project of the National Register of Historic Places member, Narcissus. We are currently raising funds to tell the incredible story of this Maine gem.

Various News stories during the summer of 2015 about the
Narcissus and its connection to Theodore Roosevelt. TR
was a passenger on the Narcissus on August 18, 1914.

Click Here to See the list of All Previous Blog Posts - Index

The Narcissus - July 31, 2015. Make a donation today.
Help Theodore Roosevelt's Maine Ride get back on track!
Once restored, you will be able to ride in luxury on this
Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.

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