Canadian Pacific Lines in Maine

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Canadian Pacific Lines in Maine
Reporting mark CP
Locale Lowelltown, Maine, Vanceboro, Maine, Mattawamkeag, Maine, Fort Fairfield, Maine, Presque Isle, Maine
Dates of operation 1889–1988?
Predecessor European and North American Railway
Successor Canadian Pacific Railway
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge

The lines of the Canadian Pacific Railway operated in the State of Maine were set up as a separate company to comply with Interstate Commerce Commission regulations and were considered a Class I U.S. railroad (in 1950, railroads with operating revenues over $1 million). The company operated 234 miles in Maine.

Its primary route formed the Canadian Pacific line between Montreal, Quebec and St. John, New Brunswick. Part of the through route consisted of trackage rights over the Maine Central Railroad between Mattawamkeag and Vanceboro, Maine.


The Canadian Pacific Lines in Maine were a conglomeration of routes purchased or built by the Canadian Pacific prior to 1900. Its through route included trackage rights over a segment of line owned by the Maine Central Railroad, which was later purchased outright by the CP. Two major components of the route were:

The European and North American Railway, which formed the eastern-most connection from Vanceboro, Maine, with St. John, New Brunswick, in the 1850s. The Canadian portion of this line was absorbed by the New Brunswick Railway, which itself was purchased by the Canadian Pacific in 1890. The American portion of the line was purchased by the Maine Central Railroad and operated by that company. The CP exercised trackage rights over the MEC portion of the route, and purchased the line outright from the MEC in 1974. The non-operating portions of the New Brunswick Railway were sold to businessman K.C. Irving in 1941, who later turned it over to his forest operations subsidiary J.D. Irving Limited. In 1988, citing declining traffic, the CP set up a subsidiary to control its lines east of Montreal, the Canadian Atlantic Railway. Between 1988 and 1993, many CAR lines were abandoned. In 1994, all CAR operations were sold to shortline operators. During this handoff, some portions of the former New Brunswick Railway were purchased by J.D. Irving Limited, which continues to operate segments as the New Brunswick Southern Railway, the Eastern Maine Railway, and the Maine Northern Railway. Some former NBR trackage in Grand Falls is operated by the Canadian National Railway.

The International Railway of Maine was designed to connect the CP's lines in Canada with the European and North American railhead at Mattawamkeag. Planning for the line was begun in 1871 and the route was purchased by CP subsidiary Atlantic and Northwest in 1886. The CP finished various uncompleted portions of the Montreal-St. John through route under Chief Engineer James Ross in the late 1880s, opening the line in June, 1889.

In addition to the Montreal-St. John through route, the Canadian Pacific's lines also included the Aroostook River and Houlton Branch from Fort Fairfield, Maine, to Presque Isle, Maine (27 miles), and an additional branch to Houtlon, Maine (eight miles). In 1950, the freight income of the subsidiary was $4.3 million, with an additional $424,000 in passenger revenue. The operating ratio was 90.1 percent.

See also[edit]


  • Lewis, Robert G. The Handbook of American Railroads. New York: Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation, 1951, p. 34.