Postcard depiction of the seasonal passenger train The East Wind. The train originated with the Pennsylvania Railroad, but traveled on both Boston & Maine and New Haven Railroad tracks for part of its journey between Maine and Washington, D.C. via New York and Philadelphia. Click to enlarge.

(Pennsylvania , New Haven and Boston & Maine Railroads, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)



The East Wind was a summer passenger train between Washington, D.C., and resorts along the southern Maine coast. Travel time was about 14 hours over the 700-mile (1,100 km) route to Portland, Maine. The route was over the Pennsylvania Railroad from Washington through Philadelphia to New York City, then the New Haven Railroad to Groton, Connecticut, where it left the Northeast Corridor to reach the Boston and Maine Railroad at Worcester, Massachusetts, whereby it continued northeastward, bypassing Boston. The train continued over the Boston & Maine to Portland, where a coach and diner continued to Bangor, Maine, on the connecting Pine Tree Limited. In contrast to the other Mid-Atlantic to Maine trains, it was the only day and evening train.


A New Haven poster for the East Wind.

(NYNH&H, W. Lenheim Collection)



Service started in June 1940 with two sets of pooled passenger cars painted yellow with a silver window band and pinstripes. Each train had an arch-roof baggage car, a dining car, and as many as eight lightweight coaches. The New Haven and Boston & Maine provided American Flyer coaches built in the 1930s by the Pullman Company's former Osgood Bradley Car Company plant in Worcester. The New Haven provided a similar grill car, while the Pennsylvania Railroad provided P-70 coaches and a lounge car.  The train did not run during the summers of 1943, 1944 and 1945.

Service resumed in the summer of 1946 without the distinctive paint scheme of the earlier years. Instead of turning north at Groton on the Norwich Branch, the train now passed through Providence, Rhode Island, and used the Providence and Worcester Railroad to reach Worcester. From 1953 to 1955, the train ran via Hartford, Willimantic, and Putnam. Dining cars were sometimes leased from the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, or Boston and Maine or New Haven heavyweight diners were used. The New Haven diners were sometimes painted silver. The train ran for the last time in the summer of 1955.

Guilford Rail System used the name East Wind in 1995 for a through piggyback service of semi-trailers on flatcars between Springfield, Massachusetts, and Bangor, Maine.



Service type: Inter-city rail
Status: Discontinued
First service: 1940
Last service: 1955
Former operators: Pennsylvania Railroad, New Haven Railroad, Boston and Maine Railroad
Route Termini: Washington, D.C. / Portland, Maine
Distance traveled: 700 miles (1,100 km)
Average journey time: 14 hours
Service frequency: Daily, summer only
Train numbers: 120 (northbound), 121 (southbound)
On-board services
Seating arrangements: air conditioned coaches
Catering facilities: Dining car and parlor car