With Mack Page in charge, you get a strong sense you've got a well-oiled machine. Which is just as it should be, given his stolid, green-and-red, 70-ton, 1946 diesel electric locomotive emblazoned with a moose head and 'B&ML' (Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad).
Mack, a fourth-generation B&ML railroader (his great-grandfather helped lay the line), is a primary force behind the City Point Central Railroad and Museum. His office is a relocated, two-room, memorabilia-filled station house from 1871 with a low platform alongside tracks on the outskirts of Belfast, Maine. Arrayed behind it is the rolling stock ready for the day: the engine hitched to an open-air car and a 1950s-style coach/cafe car, all ready to receive passengers.
There are other engines and cars too, serving other purposes, but today is the weekend one-hour roundtrip run between Belfast and Waldo. The route – a charmer for train buffs, kids and anyone traveling with them – trundled our chugging special through typical Midcoast Maine woods, broken by streams, hay fields, powerline clearings (with occupied poletop osprey nests) and unpaved backcountry roads revealing glimpses of homes and farms.
In 2013, regularly scheduled excursions ran twice a day on Saturday and Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Some proceeds from excursions help to sustain the railroad and cover preservation and restoration project costs. The B&ML Railroad is a division of the all-volunteer non-profit Brooks Preservation Society.