The 470 Railroad Club traces its origin to a rainy Sunday in June of 1954 when the Maine Central Railroad scheduled the final run of a steam locomotive. It would seem that the date, June 13th, the event, the end of the steam era, and the rain could lead to anything but a lasting association.
|Portland's Union Station in 1959|
As the train left Portland with a sellout crowd of 700 people aboard and proceeded to Bangor via Lewiston and Waterville, many of the Portland area residents began to share their experiences. On the way back to Portland, via Brunswick this time, a nucleus of ten men decided to meet informally once a month at one of their houses.
From this beginning, the group known then as the 470 Club, named for the locomotive that pulled that last train, slowly grew to the point that it needed both a meeting place and a formal organization. In 1955 the 470 Club affiliated with the Railroad Enthusiasts, Inc., an affiliation which lasted until 1995. The first meeting place obtained was the waiting room at the Portland Terminal Company's Cumberland Mills station. Although this room had the proper railroad flavor, it lacked seats, which some of the members would have to bring from home.
|Engine 501 at Crawford Station. Purchased by The "470" Railroad Club on it's way to
The search for a meeting place ended when the Central Maine Power Company made available the auditorium in their new Canco Road building in Portland. The 470 Club met there until meetings were moved to the former Maine Central combine 501, which the club purchased in 1964. When the club bought car 501, it incorporated as a non-profit, educational organization in the State of Maine under the title of "The 470 Railroad Club." The club's meetings subsequently outgrew the capacity of car 501, thus the club met for several years at the Woodfords Congregational Church in Portland and most recently has met at the Prides Corner Congregational Church in Westbrook, Maine. Car 501 eventually found its way to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn Michigan.
The activities of The 470 Railroad Club follow many courses, including membership meetings, publication of a newsletter The 470, publication of railroad books, excursion trains and restoration of equipment. From the beginning the monthly membership meetings have featured guest speakers and photo shows produced by members and guests. The subjects have varied from the two foot narrow gauge railroads in the State of Maine to shows from all over the world.
Meetings: The third Wednesday of each month.
© 1999-2009 The 470 Railroad Club, Inc. all rights reserved.