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Discover the Charm of the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Portland, Maine

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum train in Portland, Maine
Discover the charm and history of the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Portland. Explore exhibits, ride the scenic train, and immerse yourself in Maine's rich railroading heritage.

Discover a Piece of Maine’s History at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum

Are you planning a trip to Portland, Maine? This vibrant coastal city offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Among the many attractions that make Portland a must-visit destination is the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum. This unique museum is dedicated to preserving the history of Maine’s narrow gauge railroads and offers visitors an unforgettable experience.

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum train in Portland, Maine

 

History of the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad

Narrow gauge railroads played a significant role in Maine’s history, particularly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These railroads, with their smaller track gauge, were better suited to navigate the state’s rugged terrain and tight curves. The Portland Company, a local manufacturer, was instrumental in producing narrow gauge railroad equipment for various lines across the state.

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum train in Portland, Maine

 

Visiting the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum

The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum is conveniently located at 58 Fore Street in Portland, just a short walk from the Old Port district. The museum is open seasonally from May through October, with varying hours depending on the month. Admission prices are reasonable, with options for adults, seniors, children, and families.

Entrance to the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Portland, Maine

 

Exhibits and Displays

Once inside the museum, you’ll be greeted by an impressive collection of restored narrow gauge locomotives and rail cars. These well-preserved pieces of history offer a glimpse into the golden age of rail travel in Maine. In addition to the rolling stock, the museum features an array of historical artifacts, memorabilia, and interactive exhibits that educate visitors about the importance of narrow gauge railroads in the state’s development.

Narrow Gauge Railroad train car exhibits at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum

Guided tours and demonstrations are available, providing a more in-depth understanding of the museum’s exhibits. Knowledgeable staff and volunteers are always on hand to answer questions and share their passion for narrow gauge railroading.

Narrow Gauge Railroad artifacts on exhibit at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum

 

Riding the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad

One of the highlights of visiting the museum is the opportunity to ride the scenic waterfront train. The train departs from the museum and travels along the Portland waterfront, offering unique views of the city’s skyline and Casco Bay. The ride lasts approximately 30 minutes and covers a distance of about 1.5 miles.

All Aboard the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad train in Portland, Maine

To make the most of your train ride, consider visiting during off-peak hours to avoid crowds. The late afternoon is an ideal time for photography enthusiasts, as the golden hour light enhances the already picturesque scenery.

Boarding the Narrow Gauge Railroad Train at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Portland, Maine

 

Special Events and Activities

Throughout the year, the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum hosts various seasonal events and activities. During the holiday season, the Polar Express train ride is a favorite among families, featuring hot cocoa, cookies, and a visit from Santa Claus. Other popular events include the Easter Eggspress and the Pumpkin Train.

Polar Express Christmas Train Ride at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Portland, Maine

The museum also offers educational programs and workshops for children and adults interested in learning more about narrow gauge railroads and their role in Maine’s history. Private events and rentals are available for those looking to host a unique gathering in a historical setting.

 

Nearby Attractions and Dining Options

After exploring the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum, be sure to visit some of the other nearby attractions in Portland. The Portland Museum of Art, the Portland Observatory, and Portland Head Light are all within easy reach. The Old Port district, with its cobblestone streets and historic buildings, offers a variety of boutiques, galleries, and restaurants.

Old Port in Portland, Maine

For a quick bite or a leisurely meal, there are plenty of dining options near the museum. Some popular choices include Becky’s Diner, a classic New England diner; Flatbread Company, known for its organic pizza; and DiMillo’s on the Water, a floating restaurant housed in a former car ferry.

 

Tips for Visiting

To make the most of your visit to the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum, consider the following tips:

  • Visit during off-peak hours to avoid crowds, especially during summer weekends.
  • Allow at least 1-2 hours to explore the museum and take the train ride.
  • Parking is available near the museum, but it can be limited during peak times. Consider using public transportation or walking from nearby areas.
  • The museum is wheelchair accessible, with ramps and accessible restrooms available.

Railroad Car Interior at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Portland, Maine

 

A Few Interesting Facts about the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum

  • The museum is home to the only surviving locomotive from the Bridgton & Saco River Railroad, which operated from 1883 to 1941.
  • The museum’s collection includes the oldest known surviving narrow gauge locomotive in New England, built in 1871.
  • The train ride along the Portland waterfront passes by the historic Portland Company complex, where many of Maine’s narrow gauge locomotives were manufactured.
  • The museum hosts an annual Festival of Narrow Gauge Railroading, which attracts enthusiasts from across the country.
  • The Polar Express event, based on the popular children’s book and movie, sells out quickly each year.
  • The museum’s gift shop offers a variety of unique railroad-related items, including books, toys, and apparel.

Train conductor at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Portland, Maine

 

Add the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum to Your Portland Must-See List

The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Portland offers a fascinating glimpse into Maine’s rich railroading history. With its restored locomotives, scenic train rides, and engaging exhibits, the museum provides a unique and memorable experience for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re a railroad enthusiast or simply looking for an interesting addition to your Portland itinerary, the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum is well worth a visit. So, the next time you find yourself in Portland, be sure to step back in time and discover the charm of this one-of-a-kind attraction.

Ticket to ride aboard the Narrow Gauge Train at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Portland, Maine

 

Frequently Asked Questions about the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum

The following are answers to some common questions about the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Portland, Maine.

What are the museum’s operating hours?

The museum is open seasonally from May through October, with varying hours depending on the month. It’s best to check the museum’s website or call ahead for specific operating hours.

How much does it cost to visit the museum?

As of June 2024, Coach Class Fare admission prices are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors (65+), $10 for children (3-12), and free for children under 3. Family packages and group rates are also available. First Class Fare admission prices are $21 for adults, $19 for seniors (65+), $17 for children (3-12), and free for children under 3.

Is the train ride included in the admission price?

Yes, the scenic waterfront train ride is included in the price of admission. The train ride lasts approximately 30 minutes and covers a distance of about 1.5 miles.

Are the museum and train wheelchair accessible?

Yes, the museum is wheelchair accessible, with ramps and accessible restrooms available. However, due to the historical nature of the train cars, wheelchair accessibility on the train may be limited. It’s best to contact the museum directly to discuss specific accessibility needs.

Is photography allowed inside the museum and on the train?

Answer: Yes, photography is permitted inside the museum and on the train for personal, non-commercial use. However, flash photography may be restricted in certain areas to protect the exhibits.

Are there any dining options available at the museum?

The museum does not have an on-site restaurant, but there are several dining options nearby in Portland, Maine and in the Old Port district. Visitors are also welcome to bring their own snacks or picnic lunches to enjoy on the museum grounds.

 

Contact Information
Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum
49 Thames Street, Portland, ME 04101
207-828-0814
https://mainenarrowgauge.org/

 

Picture of Mark Beale - Author Bio

Mark Beale - Author Bio

Mark has an extensive background in the Maine Hospitality Industry, having owned the Ledges By The Bay, a boutique oceanfront hotel property, in Rockport Maine, for 40 years. He sold the property in 2016 but remains well-versed in the Maine Tourism industry and has written a number of Maine travel-related articles for various blogs and publications over the years.

Mark founded the TakeMe2 Travel Guides platform, an online travel guide initiative, designed to promote tourism in Maine, New England and in other key states – by providing in depth, unbiased information to potential tourists and travel consumers. TakeMe2 currently features the TM2Maine.com website.

Mark is also currently a stakeholder in VONT, a digital marketing agency in Westbrook, Maine, where he leads VONT's search engine optimization (SEO) practice.

Mark is versed in a number of digital information technologies including web design and development, digital video, electronic design and digital imaging technologies as well as internet marketing tactics such as blogs, web properties, and other smart media such as AI chatbots for content, image and video enhancement. One of his primary tasks at VONT is to find the successful application of these new information platforms in marketing and then teach VONT's marketers how to use them to create marketing campaigns more efficiently, creatively and cost effectively.

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