Maine Eastern Railroad receives regional recognition

Posted Aug. 23, 2011, at 9:07 p.m.

New England Travel Magazine has named Maine Eastern Railroad winner of Best of New England Travel 2011 – Attraction — Way to Beat Summer Traffic in its recent publication, “ The Best of New England Travel 2011,” according to a news release Tuesday from Maine Eastern Railroad.

The publication is described as the top-to-bottom guide to the region’s premiere offerings and is published annually. The 128-page book from the editors of Boston Magazine is filled with the top places to eat, shop, stay and play in all six New England states.

Only three other Maine attractions were winners, including Owls Head Transportation Museum, which coincidentally is featured by Maine Eastern Railroad as one of its many excursion packages.

In the Dining category, two Midcoast Maine restaurants also were winners: Primo in Rockland for Unexpected World-Class Meal; and Shepherd’s Pie in Rockport for Comfort Food. In the Lodging category, the Samoset Resort in Rockport and the Camden Harbor Inn in Camden were recognized.

Maine Eastern is a 57-mile short-line railroad that operates through four counties from Brunswick to Rockland.

The success of the seasonal excursion service is the result of the hard work and dedication of a team of Maine people who strive to do whatever is necessary to provide the best experience possible for its customers, according to a statement from a spokesman for the railroad.

A printed motto that hangs in several areas inside the passenger depot in Rockland states, “If we do this right, everyone is going to want to ride our train and everyone in the rail industry is going to want to work here.”

The spokesman said there was no advance notice given to the railroad about the article. The recognition was only discovered after the magazine had been on the newsstand for a few weeks. The railroad received word about the award when a letter and complimentary copy of the magazine was received at the administrative offices in Rockland.

Maine Eastern Railroad is a full-time, year-round freight rail operation and runs its seasonal passenger excursion service from May through October, with special holiday shopping and Christmas trains in November and December.

This year marks the eighth consecutive season of service for the railroad, which operates with fully restored vintage passenger equipment from the art-deco era. According to company statistics, the excursion service has accumulated nearly 6 million passenger miles from 2004 through 2010.

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