Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes RR

128 Bridge Street
Phillips, ME 04966

Sandy River RailRoad


Sandy River RailRoad    Photo taken on 7/16/17


Old Home Days at Phillips on the Night Train

by: Roberta Record 

In the caboose, our conductor, set the tone by asking us to use our imagination as we gazed out the
back door into the inky, black darkness. He invited us to imagine the experience of a ride after dark on
our narrow gauge train a hundred years ago. The familiar nudge pushed our caboose down the tracks to
Phil-lips, Maine Station. The lantern lit the caboose and gave us an opportunity to imagine what
paperwork the conductor had to do after the people gathered on the train. Our volunteer talked about
the fold-up table and the paper rack used by the conductor, who served as freight agent for the flag stop
stations along the way from Farmington to Rangeley.
The rhythm of the wheels was loud and the romance of the train whistle echoed throughout the river
valley. In the dimly lit caboose there was enough time to learn about the history, commerce, economy
of the trains from the l880’s to the l930’s. As we rode back to Sanders Station my thoughts reflected on
the sapling trees now shading the tracks in the daytime and boulders sitting majestically in among the
moss, ferns and the little trees starting to grow.
In the early 1900’s the area was all fields filled with logs waiting to go to the Carriage factory in Ches-
terville, to the clothes pin–toothpick factory in Strong, and on to the big cities to build houses. From my
observations at Sanders Station, I gleaned that our visitors were eager to know about the railroad, its
equipment, and service of the little trains to the local communities. At the freight shed we have a note-
book in which people are invited to write the family stories of relatives who worked, and rode on the
Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes lilliput trains. They hope that the lives of their visitors are a little richer
because they have visited Sanders Station and the lilliput trains. I hear the voice of our conductor yell
out, “Next stop, Sanders Station, please exit to the rear.” As I walked down the steps of the caboose, I
am filled with happy memories of another Phillips Old Home Days, magical night train ride to
I had heard from a friend about the Sandy River and Rangeley lakes Narrow Gauge railroad on Bridge
Street Phillips, Maine. The night train is a romantic ride in old time. I wrote this story in the beginning,
seat-ed in the cupola of the caboose with three children. I reflected on another evening, another year of
riding the Sandy River Rangeley Lakes Lilliputs. Once again, this year they assigned two conductors on
the night train. Their volunteers gave old time talks about the trains and their history.
Roberta Record has published three books on topics of elder care and stories from her growing up in
Maine. This essay appears in her latest book: Living in a Maze with no Cheese ~Just a Lawn Chair. Her
stories tug at the heart in ways that will open your eyes to the on-going need to honor and care for our
elders. You can find them at Amazon or by writing to the author: