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Grand Trunk Railway Steamship Offices / India Street Terminal (1903) – corner detail

Grand Trunk Railway Steamship Offices / India Street Terminal (1903) – corner detail
Mind Development
One India Street (@ Commercial), Portland, Maine USA • This is the surviving portion of the station. See the first comment, below for a look at it’s heyday. ∞ The railroad history of Portland, Maine, began in 1842 with the arrival of the Portland, Saco & Portsmouth Railway (PS&P). Most of the rail activity in Portland revolved around agricultural goods bound for export and import freight from Europe. Yet Maine’s largest city also enjoyed 125 years of continuous passenger rail service, from 1842 until 1967, and Amtrak began serving the city in 2001. For most of Portland’s history, passenger train schedules were designed with intercity travel rather than daily commuting in mind; passenger activities were mostly confined to intercity travel from Portland to Boston, Montreal, Nova Scotia, and points west. – From Wikipedia’s Railroad history of Portland, Maine.

The building you see is not in or near Detroit. It marks, however, the eastern terminus of a great rail network that linked Detroit and the entire Midwest to European commerce. …

Railroads played a key role in the development of the United States. However, they played an even greater role in the development and unification of Canada as a nation. The building you see, although in the United States, is mile point 0.0 on a tremendous rail system that eventually served almost all populated points in the world’s second largest country.

The Grand Trunk Railroad, similar to many other rail lines, faced bankruptcy a number of times. Confronting such difficulties after World War I, the Canadian government more or less nationalized many of its failing rail firms and created the Canadian National Railroad. That railroad continued to own and operate many lines in the United States, but those lines retained the name Grand Trunk Railroad. In 1993, the Canadian government privatized the Canadian National Railroad. It continues to operate most of the lines described above, although the section from Montréal to Portland is now the independent Atlantic and St. Lawrence Railroad. This is the name used back in 1851 when the firm was chartered to build a line from the Vermont border to Montréal. The Grand Trunk Railway, in 1906, built a huge passenger station next to the building pictured above. That impressive station was demolished in 1966 but the office building they constructed in 1901 to sell steamship tickets and process paper work remain near the Portland waterfront. – From a webpage on Detroit’s railroad history

• The postcard and many other historic photos may be viewed in a 107-page PDF document: A Look Back at Portland’s Eastern Waterfront and the Maine State Pier, a comprehensive history.

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