B&SR Railroad Structures

(This page is under construction. It is based on a clinic I presented at the National Narrow Gauge Convention in Augusta, Maine the first week of September 2016, and will have expanded content.)

The Bridgton & Saco River Railroad was established in 1881 and completed in 1883 to serve the Town of Bridgton Maine, located in the Lakes Region of central Maine. It covered about 16 miles of very hilly terrain between the junction with the standard gauge Portland & Ogdensburg Railroad in Hiram and downtown Bridgton.

In 1897 tracks were extended another five miles along the shore of Long Lake to Harrison. The rails were cut back to Bridgton in 1930, and the railroad was abandoned in 1941. Two of the locomotives and most of the passenger equipment, as well as a few freight cars and railcars, were salvaged and still exist.

Most photographs and historical accounts of the Bridgton line were made during the Great Depression when the road struggled to survive. One of the earliest histories is called “Busted & Still Running”. As a result, the railroad’s image today is one of a hapless little short line held together with baling wire and duct tape.

For the first 40 years, however, the Bridgton & Saco River Railroad was a busy, prosperous, and well-maintained operation. All of its rolling stock was painted every year, and new locomotives were purchased regularly until 1926. Its structures were similarly well cared for, although they too became very ragged looking toward the end.


This is what the Bridgton terminal area looked like upon opening in 1883. The station was built by Berry & Sons, who also built the stations at Sandy Creek, South Bridgton, and Perley’s Mills. They may have built other structures too. The station was initially 20′ x 60′ with an open baggage area in the north end.

First Bridgton Station North

Within only a few years, the Bridgton station was enlarged and substantially modified. A superintendent’s office was added to the south end, lengthening the structure by 12′ to 72′ The baggage area was closed in, and the roof replaced with broad overhangs and dormers. All of the windows and doors were also replaced.

BB Depot Rear

This sketch shows an outline of the original structure overlaid on a drawing of the revised building.

Bridgton Station Overlay

Here are drawings of the revised station as it appeared until torn down after the railroad was abandoned. A school now occupies the site.

Bridgton Station East C

Bridgton Station West B

Bridgton Station North B

Bridgton Station South B

The freight house was initially 18′ x 81′ but was soon enlarged to 136′. It was set on posts that raised the floor level to facilitate loading of rail cars on one side and wagons on the other. A shed on the north end sheltered the railroad’s horse wagon and later it’s truck.

frt hse

Bridgton Freight Shed

Possibly the most interesting structure in the Bridgton yard was the car shed. Originally built 145 feet long, with the south end open, doors were soon added to keep out the weather – and likely intruders. Around 1890 the three rear bays of the car shed were made into a car shop where the railroad built its first boxcars, 50 and 51. Windows and skylights were added, as well as a large wood stove made from an old water tank. The board and batten sheathing was covered with clapboards on the car shop section.


After the Maine Central bought the railroad in 1912, they added one more bay to the car shop and removed the rest of the building.

This interior view shows what appears to be a set of barn doors in the last bay, but no exterior photos showing these doors have appeared. I have also not been able to explain the terra cotta drain pipes stacked against the rear wall. Note the odd bracing in the ceiling and the interior sheathing boards, which would have provided some insulation.

Bridgton Car Shop Interior

The exterior of this building had buttresses bracing the east wall from the start, but not on the west wall. Toward the end, however, some makeshift bracing was added to keep the building from falling over. This photo also shows that the skylights on the west side had been removed at some point.

Bridgton Car Shop West Straight

Here are my drawings of this building toward the end of its life. Note that the skylights had only four panes, not the eight as I show them. I would have corrected the drawings but I lost the CAD program that I was using to a lightning strike that killed my computer, and was not able to replace the software.

B&SR Car Shop South

B&SR Car Shop East

B&SR Car Shop North

B&SR Car Shop West

Hidden behind the car shed in the 1883 photo above was a small two-stall engine house with a flat roof that burned in 1892. It was replaced with a larger three-stall building that was expanded twice and lasted until the last days of the railroad.

Brisgton Engine House South

Bridgton Engine House East

Bridgton Engine House North

Bridgton Engine House West

The northwest corner of this building was angled to clear an existing track. coal was hand shoveled from flat cars into the coal shed through the hole in the wall. This coal was for heating the building, not for fueling the locomotives. Note that the water tank enclosure on the roof should be four inches higher than shown.

The machine shop was located in a long building that was located between the turntable lead and the coaling track mentioned above. At some point it was enlarged, as shown in these drawings.

B&SR Machine Shop East

B&SR Machine Shop Ends

B&SR Machine Shop West

A substantial portion of the railroad’s income came from hauling coal from the junction in Hiram to Bridgton for heating most of the houses and businesses, and powering the several large mills in town. There were four coal sheds within the terminal area, but only one built solely for the fueling the railroad’s locomotives.

East Elevation

North Elevation

West Elevation

South Elevation

While you can still copy these drawings and photos by right clicking on them, WordPress no longer carries them at full size. If you would like to have higher resolution digital copies of up to four of these drawings, message me and I will email them to you. If you want more than four, let’s talk. Most of them were drawn in pen and ink on Bristol board at 3/8″ scale. If you want full size copies of the originals I can provide them for the cost of having them printed plus the cost of mailing, including a mailing tube. All drawings are copyrighted but may be used for personal purposes. Just don’t sell prints to others or publish them in any form without explicit permission.

(Still to come when I get around to it: drawings of the Sandy Creek station, and most of the buildings in Harrison. The South Bridgton and Perley’s Mills stations were built to the same design as Sandy Creek, but with minor variations.)

%d bloggers like this: