Abandoned Eagle Lake Trains
The Eagle Lake and West Branch Railroad operated the two large engines from 1927-1933. On an average week, the engines and their 12 cars hauled more than 6,500 cords of pulpwood along the tracks to the West Branch watershed. The railroad was the brainchild of Edouard “King” LaCroix and brought wood for the paper-making industry from the region surrounding Eagle and Churchill Lakes over to Umbazooksus Lake, owned by Great Northern Paper. The steam locomotives and their tenders (name of the car that carried the fuel) were originally built in 1897 and 1901. LaCroix purchased them used (thrifty, thrifty!) before moving them to Maine. Once in Maine’s deep woods, they were converted from coal to oil to avoid forest fires caused by coal’s cinders.
History of the Eagle Lake Trains
Great Northern Paper Co trains operated from 1927-1933.
When the operations ended in 1933, both trains were pretty obsolete and it wasn’t worth the money to move them. They were retired to a shed at Eagle Lake. When the shed burned down in 1966, the trains were exposed to the elements and visitors. A few vandals, too, unfortunately. To prevent them from completely rusting away, the Maine Parks and Recreation Commission painted the trains in 1969. As you make your way through the woods to the two engines, keep your eyes peeled for remnants of the 1,500-foot trestle, which carried both the train and its heavy cargo across the north end of Chamberlain Lake where Allagash Stream enters the lake.
Snowmobile Touring Directions to the Trains
FROM ROCKWOOD-KINEO, MAINE:
Take the Moosehead Loop/Rt 66 Re-route to the Ragged Lake Trail. Head East 4.3 miles. Head north on the Maxfield Brook Trail. Cross over the Golden Road and head north on the Pine Stream Trail 14 miles to Chesuncook Village and the Chesuncook Lake House. Stop at the Lake House to fuel up and get the very latest trail instructions to avoid cutting operations in the area. The trains are 21 miles from the Lake House.
FROM GREENVILLE, MAINE:
Run up Moosehead Lake to Kineo or take the trail to Kokadjo. At Kokadjo take the Moosehead Loop/Rt66 Re-route to the Ragged Lake Trail. Head East 4.3 miles. Head north on the Maxfield Brook Trail. Cross over the Golden Road and head north on the Pine Stream Trail 14 miles to Chesuncook Village and the Chesuncook Lake House. Stop at the Lake House to fuel up and get the very latest trail instructions to avoid cutting operations in the area – but confirm they’re open first. The trains are 21 miles from the Lake House
- Mileage to the Trains from:
- Fort Kent 193
- Eagle Lake 163
- Portage Lake 120
- Oxbow 78
- Libby Camps 45
- Washburn Trailrunners Clubhouse 130
- Chesuncook Lake House 22
- Millinocket 80
- Pittston Farm 70
- Jackman 112
- Kokadjo 63
THANKS TO AMERICAN SNOWMOBILER, BANGOR NEWS & KEVIN BROWN & MAINE.GOV FOR THESE GREAT IMAGES. See their links above