"The B & A Railroad
Reprint of an article from the Aroostook Times
December 16, 1893:
1pm, on Saturday, the 16th, the track of the great Bangor and Aroostook
Railroad reached Houlton, and a locomotive in charge of General Manager
Cram entered the town in the midst of a blinding snow storm.
The occasion was one of great rejoicing, and notwithstanding the cold
and disagreeable weather, was celebrated by the ringing of church
bells, the firing of cannon and the blowing of steam whistles.
There was a large crowd of
persons assembled at the station to welcome the first train to arrive,
which was drawn by the new locomotive, No. 16. Houlton is now
connected with the rest of the country by the direct line over its own
soil, and our people have reason to rejoice at the railroad facilities
they are to have in the future, largely due to the persistent and
untiring labors of General Manager Cram and President Burleigh, who
have accomplished so much toward bringing the much desired railroad
into this country. Now, “On to Caribou,” is the watchword.
Cheer after cheer greeted the
new and long looked for arrival of the first train into Houlton of the
B & A Railroad. The shrill whistle of the locomotive
responded immediately, as though it were glad to meet so many of our
citizens on its first appearance in our town.
It was a fine spectacle to see
No. 16, the last engine received by the B & A Railway company,
standing there in front of the depot and the crowd surrounding it as
though it had performed some heroic deed, and to hear it puffing and
panting, as though to announce the fact that it had been triumphant in
overcoming all obstacles and had, at last, been successful in reaching
Everyone felt like shaking
hands with each of the workmen
and congratulating them upon the excellent progress made
during the past few months.
This road is being
built so that it will be perfect in every particular.
The passenger cars of this
line are fitted with all modern conveniences and all of the rolling
stock will be of the very best obtainable, while the rails
are the heaviest and best that have, as yet, been introduced into our
No expense has been spared in
the construction of the road, to make it perfectly safe and first class
in every respect, yet all attention has been directed towards obtaining
the greatest speed in transit.
The distance already covered
by the road from Brownville to Houlton is 94 1/2 miles, 144 from
Bangor. This will not only be a more pleasant but a far
shorter route for travel from Aroostook to the sister towns of our
State, than heretofore enjoyed.
It has been interesting to watch the proceedings of the track
layers. A crew first would clean the way for the sleepers,
then would follow a crew who would pick out and lay the sleepers, at
proper distances apart, while behind them and on either side of the
track would be the track layers, who would pick up rails, 30 feet long
and weighing 70 pounds to the yard, as though they were mere pieces of
wood and with a shout, rush forward with them dropping them into the
required place, when a few spikes would be driven just a sufficient to
hold the rail in place, and away they would go with the next one, which
would be disposed of in a similar manner, scarcely allowing time for
the spikers to complete their work, before the engine and cars would
run forward to supply more rails to the track layers leaving the
further completion of the work to the care of still another crew who
would bolt the rails together and drive more spikes rendering the road
comparatively safe for the loaded trains which would follow with still
more rails. Everything has been done with despatch, and yet
not the slightest necessity has been overlooked. The buildings
at the yards in this town, have been completed and ready for the
reception of the trains for sometime, and even the buildings show the
marked completeness which is distinguished in every portion of the work
by the B & A RR CCo.
The depot is a model of
neatness and convenience, being finished very attractively on the
inside entirely in native woods.
Of course, as in almost every
such great undertaking,
hindrances have been encountered, but, on the whole, the progress of
the work has been satisfactory and much credit is due to the
enterprising manner in which the officials of the road have entered
upon the construction of this “finest railroad in Maine.” Hurrah for
the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad!"
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Prairie Family Farm