Experience Ellsworth from a differ-ent viewpoint this fall by riding on the Downeast Scenic Railroad.
Based at Washington Junction in Hancock, the DSRR operates excursion trains at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays, from a boarding platform located behind Cadillac Mountain Sports at 32 High St., Ellsworth. Parking is available there and at the Maine Community Foundation on East Main Street.
Offering its train rides only since late July 2010, the Downeast Scenic Railroad operates restored locomotives and passenger cars similar to equipment used by the Maine Central Railroad, which once operated the Calais Branch Line from Brewer to Calais via Washington Junction. The state acquired the abandoned route in the mid-1980s; since passenger service from Ellsworth ended in the late 1950s, not many people remember “riding the rails” through Hancock County.
Now Mainers and leaf-peepers can view Ellsworth and Card Brook from an engineer’s vantage point as the DSRR transports passengers on a 10-mile, 1½-hour round trip that ex-tends from Lakes Lane in Ellsworth Falls to Washington Junction. The train travels behind Oak Street residences and State Street businesses, past Ellsworth High School, alongside High Street, and across the extensive wetland drained by Card Brook. Watch for beaver lodges and osprey nests (at least three are visible from the train); a conductor reports having seen deer and “the occasional moose” in the wetland, which actually extends across Route 1.
Along the way, passengers learn about the Calais Branch Line’s history as immaculately uniformed and im-peccably mannered railroad employees answer questions and offer snacks and refreshments. Passengers can also purchase Downeast Scenic Railroad clothing, such as baseball caps, T-shirts, and polo shirts.
Train rides will continue through Sunday, Oct. 17. Tickets are sold exclusively at Cadillac Mountain Sports. For ticket information, call (207) 667-7819. For other information, call (866) 449-7245 or log onto www.downeastscenicrail.org.