MRG, Inc. (Maine Rail Group) was founded in 1988 to help save the former Maine Central "Lower Road" main line between Brunswick and Augusta from abandonment. That effort was successful and the State of Maine leases sections.
Soon after the group's formation, it was given three passenger rail cars formerly owned by the Norfolk & Western Railroad. After retirement from N&W passenger service in the early 1970's those cars became part of an off-line restaurant in Sabbatus, Maine. The two coaches were restored for rail excursions and were used for a time by the former Maine Coast Railroad, later sold to Finger Lakes Railway in Geneva, NY for a new career in excursion service. The third car, a 1948 Pullman-Standard diner long used on N&W's "Powhatan Arrow", was sold to Conway Scenic Railroad and moved by rail from Newcastle, Maine to North Conway, NH in November, 2008. CSRR extensively remodelled it as a full service diner and it entered service in 2010 on their Crawford Notch Line as the "Hattie Evans", honoring an historical railroad family of the region.
Today the Maine Rail Group continues in its mission to protect and preserve rail service in the State of Maine.
Russell Barber, President
Russell grew up in Massachusetts getting interested in transit with a father who was an MBTA Planner. After attending Unity College, Russ has served on Lebanon, NH. and Belfast Maine Planning Boards and currently works as an Able Seaman at Maine State Ferry Service (North Haven Island ferry).
Rail-rambling and Photography Is a major Theme for Russ, He has travelled to China on seven trips and two trips to Cuba to document the last years of steam engines as locomotives. Often at home he travels by Train and Car to different regions of the US and Canada following rail lines as a theme to see what can be discovered. Russ is also a charter volunteer member of the Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad, (Brooks Preservation Society)
Russ has been a board member of Maine Rail Group since 2006 and president for the last 4 years.
Ed Hanscom, Treasurer, Director
Jack Sutton, Past President, Newsletter editor
A graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stevens University. Jack worked for Aluminum Company of America and Keyes Fibre Company (now Huhtamaki), Waterville, ME. Jack is now retired as VP Technical Services.
Jack served in the Town of Belgrade, Main as a selectman, a chair of the planning board, a member of the long-range planning committee and the recycling committee. Currently he is a member of Budget and Road Committees. Jack has also served as the Chair of Associated Industries of Maine (1981-1983), a board member of the Kennebec Valley Community College Foundation, the Belgrade Regional Health Center and the Maine Better Transportation Association.
Mike Byron, Director
Mike started his career as a Commercial Banker before moving into business consulting. Along the way he served as a town manager and in various boards and then as an Augusta City Council member. Upon retirement he substituted and now serves as an active board member of MRG.
Richard Rudolph, Ph.D.
Richard has a lifelong interest in passenger rail issues, but it was not until he retired in 1996 from being the academic dean at the University of Massachusetts, Boston that he has been able to focus his attention on railroads. He was a founding member of Amtrak's Customer Advisory Committee at the national level serving as Vice-Chair and Chair, 1997-2001, and currently serves as the Chairman of the Rail Users' Network. He is also a board member of the Maine Rail Group and serves on the board of directors of PTSI Transportation and is a Senior Advisor for Railway Customer Service. He also writes a column for Passenger Train Journal and is the producer / host of a half-hour public affairs program "Community Voices for Change"at WMPG, University of Southern Maine's community radio station. Richard earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of Connecticut.
Paul Weiss BS, MS
Paul has had years of experience in the environmental fields, working with several non-profits on transportation and energy policy. He has technical expertise in solar wind, energy, EV's and battery storage, and works professionally in these fields. He has written state and local legislation. He has years of experience in the Healthcare Field with expertise in Emergency Preparedness. Paul worked in the Biotechnology industry, in Research and Development. Paul has held many leadership positions including Directorships, Vice President, President and Board Chairs, and as a private consultant.
Mark Walker, Director
David Potter, Director
David served for 29 years in Naval Aviation, then went on to Emergency Management Communications and the VA. He also worked as a substitute teacher and Adult Education. He even worked as a Brakeman for the Maine Coast RR. David has served as MRG past president and director for 32 years.
Peter Cole, Director
Peter received his BA from Claremont McKenna College in Regional and Urban Economics. He received his MA from UCLA in Education and worked for 40 years in education, and while keeping his interest in railroading was only able to get involved upon retirement. He has served as a director since 2021.