Rumbling through Bangor

 Its headlights glowing, Pam Am Railways Locomotive 503 pulls a long line of cars north through Bangor Waterfront Park in early afternoon on Feb. 10. The warning lights blink as the crossing arms drop where the railroad tracks cross Railroad Street.
Its headlights glowing, Pam Am Railways Locomotive 503 pulls a long line of cars north through Bangor Waterfront Park in early afternoon on Feb. 10. The warning lights blink as the crossing arms drop where the railroad tracks cross Railroad Street. Buy Photo
Posted Feb. 24, 2014, at 2:36 p.m.
A Pan Am Railways locomotive and two Guilford Rail System locomotives are at the head of a train heading northbound along the Bangor waterfront on Feb. 10
A Pan Am Railways locomotive and two Guilford Rail System locomotives are at the head of a train heading northbound along the Bangor waterfront on Feb. 10 Buy Photo
Part of a Pan Am Railways train headed north alongside Front Street in Bangor on Feb. 10, a TTX box car displays prime examples of railroad art.
Part of a Pan Am Railways train headed north alongside Front Street in Bangor on Feb. 10, a TTX box car displays prime examples of railroad art. Buy Photo
Liquefied petroleum gas tank cars are among the cars in a Pan Am Railways train headed north through Bangor on Feb. 10.
Liquefied petroleum gas tank cars are among the cars in a Pan Am Railways train headed north through Bangor on Feb. 10. Buy Photo
A rail car designed for carrying lumber products is the last car on a Pan Am Railways train moving north through Bangor on the afternoon of Feb. 10,
A rail car designed for carrying lumber products is the last car on a Pan Am Railways train moving north through Bangor on the afternoon of Feb. 10, Buy Photo

Headed either north or south, several Pan Am Railways trains rumble through Bangor daily. Except the few drivers caught at the rare street crossings in the Queen City and the lead locomotive’s horn blown at such crossings, most people would not know when a train passes by.

Each train comprises an eclectic mix of cars: Tank cars, lumber cars, and the ubiquitous box cars tag along behind the locomotive. Names painted on the cars often identify railroad ownership; reading those names can lead an onlooker to imagine far away places.

And some rail cars passing along the Bangor waterfront represent a rolling art museum. Today many cars display the creative (and not always creative) cartoons and imagery lumped under the category “railroad graffiti.” Throughout North America, experienced and aspiring graffiti artists have taken railroad “art” to such levels that three writers — Roger Gastman, Darin Rowland, and Ian Sattler — co-conspired to developed the book “Freight Train Graffiti.

On Monday, Feb. 10, a typical Pan Am Railways train traveled north through Bangor. Weekly editor Brian Swartz captured some images of the train, which included several representations of railroad graffiti.

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