Welcome to the Aroostook Valley Model Railroad.
A little history
The Aroostook Valley Model Railroad (AVMRR) is based on its namesake, Aroostook Valley Railroad (AVRR) that operated in Northern Maine from 1919 to 1996. The line was based in Presque Isle and ran northwest to Washburn, then turned northeast to Carson, where a branch line went north to New Sweden. At Carson, the main continued into West Caribou, for a total distance of 32 miles. It began as a passenger trolley line that had freight capabilities and operated “under wire” until 1946 when it was dieselized with two GE 44 tonners and became totally a freight line.
The era modeled.
It’s all the color of the Fall of 1967 in Presque Isle, Maine. The past couple of years have seen bumper potato harvests, the mainstay of the local mixed farms. As the potato crop goes, so goes the area. On good years like this; farm equipment dealers can’t keep up with the demand for new tractors; automobiles are shiny and new; banks have been paid for the seed & fertilizer loan; the fertilizer plant is in the black, the Sears and Roebuck store is planning on a busy Christmas and the railroad, well the AVRR will haul a record of 15,000 carloads of potatoes from the 80 potato sheds on the line. Also benefiting from the bumper crop is the starch plant that buys the culls of the crop. This is an immediate cash bonus as the farmers usually store most of their table crop until the price goes up in the New Year.
The city also had a good year, reflected by a new coat of chip seal on Parsons St.
I have built a “L” shelf layout 10 feet long on each side and 24” wide on one leg and 30” on the other. I have tried to represent the area of Northern Maine in the Presque Isle area in the fall of 1967. The town modeled reflects the mixture of business and industry with an underlying agricultural theme. This is shown with a farm located next to the AVRR engine house, while on the other side of the tracks, literally, is a general store next to St. Vitos, a Church of Scotland and its mance.
The main business area is a group of 2 story brick buildings with various retail outlets at street level and doctor, lawyer and business offices on the second floors. The local radio station, WAVR is located above a local watering hole, next to the town’s Fire Hall. The nearby industrial siding serves the Purina Feed dealer, Washburn Candy Company and a retread tire factory. The Hood Dairy plant is supplied milk daily from railroad pickups on the run from West Caribou. Fresh milk is still delivered to the door and both Hood ice cream and butter can be found in local stores. McKay’s Fuel is now selling more furnace oil than coal, a sign of the second half of the 60’s decade. The cattle pen is for the transport of livestock to the Cyr Brothers Meat plant in Caribou. The ice house is busy in the hot summer months cooling reefers of vegetables and meats headed for the Eastern seaboard. The potato sheds are seeing their first shipments of the new crop and the Maine Farm Supply’s yard is filling with new tractors and equipment. Finally, the starch plant is operating as usual with old reefers of culls coming in and bags of stiffener headed out.
On this site you will see 2 versions of the AVMRR, the first being a home layout and the second a 8 foot modular built to NMRA standards.
Enjoy your visit.
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