Saturday, December 7, 2013
(Continued from page 1)
Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad train engineer Peter Reny throttles an engine along the Passagassawakeag River in Belfast during a recent scenic ride.
Staff photo by Amy Calder
They also like to hear his train stories and all about the colorful characters he worked with as he moved up the ladder in the railroad, from laborer to car repairman, welder, air brakeman, car inspector, engineer and supervisor.
Reny worked mostly for Maine Central Railroad, but also for the Bangor & Aroostook, and St. Lawrence & Atlantic railroads. He retired in 2007 but continues to volunteer as an engineer on the Belfast & Moosehead. In addition to the scenic rides, he also takes passengers to and from the annual Common Ground Fair, an event hosted in Unity each fall by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.
The Belfast train, he said, was owned by Maine Central Railroad in the 1800s when it hauled freight, passengers and mail.
“I came here as an engineer in 1989 and hauled freight — mostly wood, oil pearlite and some coal.”
As we amble along the tracks on this last trip to the ocean, the car wheels squealing and scraping against the rail, Reny is uncharacteristically quiet.
I know he is committing every rock, tree, hill and turn to memory.
We enter the station at City Point and he rings the bell and blasts the whistle as he always does.
But this time, I detect a tear in his eye.
While the massive diesel engine continues to idle, it is clear that an era has ended.
Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 25 years. Her column is published every Monday. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.