Author Topic: B&SR Field Trip #2  (Read 1901 times)

Ed Lecuyer

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B&SR Field Trip #2
« on: September 15, 2010, 09:53:27 PM »
MODERATORS NOTE:
B&SR Field Trip #2 has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
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Information contained within this post may be superseded by more recent postings and conversations.

Mike Fox wrote:
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After discussing this a little this past weekend, I think it is time to start thinking about a date for the conclusion of our trip. Sundays are best for me starting on the 28th. By then the leaves should be off and visibility will be decent. I would like to think we could make it from Sandy Creek to Harrison but time will tell. Any thoughts or better dates?
Mike

Bill Sample replied:
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Mike, I'm signed up as engineer at the Naugy on the 27th (Oct) so the 28th would be a stretch, the first 3 Sundays of November would be better.
I'd better break out my B&SR books and start studying!
Any motel recommendations in the Bridgton area?
Bill

Mike Fox replied:
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Bill,
I can think of a couple of places to check. First and Last Resort Motel is one. I think this is the one coming into Bridgton from Naples on 302. Then there is Highland Lake Resort. This is the other side of town headed for Fryeburg. Still close to town. The phone book lists another one though I am not familiar with it. Grady's West Shore Motel. If you would like the number to any of these, let me know and I'll send them in a private message. Highland Lake has a web site and the others may too so that might be something to look at. Atleast you could see what you are looking for and getting.
Mike

Steve Gross replied:
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Right now I am open on the 28th or the first three Sundays of November.  Looking forward to re-tracing the rest of the B&SR.

Mike Fox replied:
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Why don't we try for the first Sunday in November. Still waiting to hear from Dana on his availability then. This would be the 4th. this ok with everyone?
Mike

John McNamara replied:
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Isn't November 3rd (Saturday) Albion Day?

Bruce Wilson replied:
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Yes, November 3rd is Albion Day:)

Bill Sample replied:
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Mike, the 4th of Nov would be good for me.  And thanks for the lodging info.
Bill

Steve Gross replied:
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Sunday, 4 Nov, works for me.  Where we going to meet?

Bruce Wilson replied:
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I can't make November 4th unfortunately. Maybe I will work on my pile of rusted and mangled Bridgton rail bus metal and at least try to be with you guys in spirit.

Good grief, I hope the big winged insects will leave Dana alone this trip...

Have fun and good luck on your searching.

Some of you guys might wish to check out Scribner's Mill as well. There is a short stretch of narrow gage rail laid there, up the hill from the mill. The mill restoration is well worth the visit too.

Mike Fox replied:
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I talked with Dana and he thinks a week later would be better so the ones going to Albion day could recover. So how does the 11th of November work everybody?
Mike

Steve Gross replied:
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11th works for me as well.  Best to do it when as many people can make it as possible.

Bruce Wilson replied:
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I can do it on November 11th as well...

Mike Fox replied:
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Glad to hear you guys can make it. I hope the weather cooperates with us.
Mike

Mike Fox replied:
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With Albion Day postponed for a week, What would everyone like to do. Should we postpone the trip until the 18th or would it be better to do it Sunday the 4th? Bill will be staying in a motel but this time of year, reservations should not be a problem.
Mike

Mike Fox replied:
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I guess we might as well plan for the 18th now to keep up with those (myself included now I think) who will be going to Albion. Is this ok with everyone??
Mike

Steve Gross replied:
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The 18th works for me.

Bill Sample replied:
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Just checked with the boss (Sue) and we're OK for the 18th.  Gives me an extra week to re-read the book.
Should we bring snow shoes?
Bill

Bill Sample replied:
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Looks like we are a "go" for next Sunday, November 18th?

Mike Fox replied:
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Yes. Dana and I talked a little about it yesterday. I was thinking of meeting at the Bridgton Information booth at 9. They have a big parking lot and we can carpool from there. And we can decide at that time which way to go from there. At some point, I would like to go to where the South Bridgton station was. Hoping Dana knows where that was. I have an idea but not an exact location.
I'll look through my books again to see about some pics to help us out again.
So bring a lunch and some warm clothes. We probably wont walk very far but if you are outside for a bit, you might want more than a t-shirt. Bridgton yard and the Pondicherry mill coal trestle on the Harrison branch will require about the longest walks.
Looking forward to seeing anyone who wants to join us.
Mike

Mike Fox replied:
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Went through my books tonight and picked out some good reference photos. Should help us in the yard. Could not find any pictures of South Bridgton or the Meadow Brook station in what is now the Campground.
Mike

Steve Gross replied:
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Looking forward to Sunday.  Is the information booth on 302?  Haven't been to Bridgton in a couple of years, and can't remember seeing the information booth when I did go more often.

Thanks,
- Steve

Mike Fox replied:
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Yes Steve. If you are coming up from Portland, it will be on your left after the Hannaford store. Slightly resembles the Harrison Depot.
Mike

Steve Gross replied:
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Thanks Mike.  I'll actually be coming from the Fryeburg direction but I'll find it.

See you Sunday,
- Steve

Mike Fox replied:
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Go through town to the light. Turn right at the light to stay on 302. 1/2 mile on right just before the Hannaford.
Mike

John McNamara replied:
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Go through town to the light. Turn right at the light to stay on 302. 1/2 mile on right just before the Hannaford.
Mike

I might add that it is set away and down from the road. It is very, very close to the ROW at that point.

Mike Fox replied:
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The field trip today was a great time. Just a few of us but that made it enjoyable. We did note the coal trestle on the Harrison brach is deteriorating more all the time. Over the last 2 years, the end bents have fallen and more of the timbers have come apart. There is a new trail in the area, called the Stevens Brook Trail. If followed, passes by the abuttments to the dam and bridge that were on Stevens brook.
The North Bridgton Freight house was located. Stil near it's original location, only moved toward the water slightly. Modified to a camp. And a few "after" photos were taken. I will post them when I have a few minutes along with a book and page reference to NERAIL.
I spoke of it today and the more I think about it, I think a 3rd trip might be warranted. This will be mostly a visit to the Bridgton Historical Society to view the materials they have there. Especially the maps to answer some questions about building placement. The building is heated so this might be a winter visit.
Mike

Mike Fox replied:
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One more thing, the rails on the Harrison Branch bridge holding up the road are 45-50# rail.
Mike

Steve Gross replied:
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Today's field trip was great - a beautiful day and great company.

Definitely count me in on the trip to the Bridgton Historical Society.

- Steve

John McNamara replied:
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Ditto to Steve's comment. I learned a lot about the Bridgton yard area and corrected some misconceptions I had about it.

Bill Sample replied:
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On a seasonably cool Sunday, Mike and Joe Fox, Steve Gross, John McNamara, and Bill and Sue Sample met as prearranged at the Bridgton Information Center, a building that, as Mike earlier reported, bears a resemblance to the late Harrison station.  We began on tour with a walk on the right of way, handily located just behind the info center site.  We headed north to the former Bridgton terminal area, stopping along the way to locate the wye site where the line to Harrison diverged.  After beating around the underbrush for a time we managed to locate the remnants of both legs of the wye, although the area was heavily obliterated by several rounds of excavation.
Upon entering the terminal area, now the site of a small elementary school that dated from the 1950s, we again beat the brush to find some signs of the railroad's existence.  We came up with virtually nothing as the area was apparently swept clean during the school's construction.  We did find a few remnants of what problably was the old feed mill that once was located by the railroad property.  Mike said thought he remembered a building years ago next to the school site which was apparently the former feed mill, according to some of the research material that Mike had brought along.
We then returned to the info center, where John left the group, and began our motor tour, driving down to Sandy Creek.  The station area has been turned into a landscaped picnic area where we parked the vehicles.  We crossed the road and saw the former locating of a short siding, and took note of a large tree that had recently been felled.  I counted the growth rings and concluded the tree had witnessed the entire life of the railroad as it had seen around 150 seasons!  Mike then led us down the right of way to the site of an underpass and an old mill complex.  We checked out the area, and discovered a stone box culvert that had been located beneath the old county road that had passed beneath the railway.
After returning to the station area, we chatted with a neighbor who was well aware of the railroad's existence, and Joe spoke of the WW&F Museum  and it accomplishments over the years.
Next, we returned to Bridgton after stopping to view the right of way's passage though a swamp.  At Bridgton, we parked by the Citgo station and hiked down the Harrison Branch right of way, passing the crumbling remains of the Pondicherry Mill trestle.  We hen split up and went through the brush looking for any trace of the right of way, walking on various routes to the bridge, which was located near the site of a couple of mill foundations.  After finding our way back to the intact right of way we again jumped into our vehicles and began our trip to Harrison.
Mike lead us down a series of roads that ended up with one built on the right of way, now used as access to a number of camps along Long Lake.
There we inspected a short bridge that had been reinforced with the rails he described earlier.  Form here we traveled to a campground, where the right of way was quite visible and where one of the few remaining buildings  from the B&SR remained, a former flagstop whose name now escapes me.
Then on to North Bridgton, where the former freight house had apparently been built into a camp and moved closer to the water.  After viewing this area and a nearby railway bridge site, we traveled our last lap of the trip,    to the site of the Harrison terminal area.  Totally obliterated, the area today can only be determined by intense study of old maps as buildings have been builds on the site, many trees have matured, and the old Bridgton road was relocated.  Once again, Mike's preparedness paid off as he identified a couple of houses that had shown up in the backgrounds of  several photos taken during the active era.
Following a review of the trip and talk of a 3rd field trip, we bid farewell to each other and headed for our respective homes.
I would like to tip my hat to Mike for a job well done researching and leading our exploration.                -  Bill Sample

Steve Gross replied:
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Bill -

An excellent summation of our outing.  Thank you for writing it.  And a tip of the hat to Mike from me also, his research and the pictures and maps he brought brought the B&H to life for me.

- Steve

Mike Fox replied:
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Thanks guys. I enjoyed the day thoroughly and also learned a lot along the way too. It is amazing in 60 to 75 years, depending on where you are, how much has changed, and what hasn't.
Bill, you must have taken notes or had Sue doing it to write a summary like that. Fantastic. The name of the flag stop was Meadow Brook. Here is a photo copy of an unused Conductor's Memorandum of all the stops along the line, 1929-1931.
Mike

Steve Gross replied:
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A few "then and now" pictures from the field trip.  The "then" pictures are from the Bridgton Historical Society website.

The Wye



The Yard



Sandy Creek



North Bridgton



Harrison


Stephen Hussar replied:
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Thanks, Steve -- always love the then and now shots! Very cool.

tomc replied:
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WOW! Thanks.  Nice to see the old and new.  Thanks for finding and posting.  I like the B&H as i run a model of #7 in live steam.

Tom C.

Bill Sample replied:
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Great shots, Steve!  As we said on the trip Sue and I are both big "before and after" fans.  Thanks for sharing them with us.
I'll bet that tree next to the train in the Sandy Creek photo is now the stump that I was checking out.
Bill Sample

Mike Fox replied:
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Ok. Here are some of my before and After.
North Bridgton


Harrison Depot Area


Mike

James Patten replied:
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I'm guessing in the "after" shot of North Bridgton, the house was the freight shed?

Also in Harrison it was my impression that the station was on or very close to the waterfront.   Your after shot doesn't look anywhere near water, judging from the shadows from behind you.

Steve Gross replied:
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Mike provided me with two of the pictures he had brought on the field trip that I used to compose my "now" shots so I edited my previous post.  Since I really like the pictures of Sandy Creek and North Bridgton I found on the Bridgton Historical Society website, I am moving them here.  Yes, Bill, I'll bet that tree next to the train in the Sandy Creek picture is the one that is only a stump today, whose rings you counted.  Thanks Mike for the pictures, and I love your "before and afters" - I kind of like before and after shots, if you couldn't tell  

Sandy Creek

North Bridgton

Mike Fox replied:
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James, the water in Harrison isn't far away. There are a row of pine trees to my right that were planted some time ago and are in the yard area, perhaps even where the track is in the before photo. I should have taken a picture that way but did not. And the North Bridgton section house is presumably that camp. It is about the right size and in the same location.
Mike

John McNamara replied:
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I love the Harrison Depot shots. The large white house in the background is definitely the same house in both shots.

Mike Fox replied:
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For those who went on trip #2, I have located a photo for sale on Ebay. It is of a different angle of the Bridgton Yard from a postcard. It shows the flour mill clearly. This is where we found the metal remains from the auger and rods.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Bridgton-MAINE-Narrow-Gauge-Railroad-Depot-c1910-RPPC_W0QQitemZ180227191736QQihZ008QQcategoryZ922QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
Mike

htbrandes replied:
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Bill,

Great write up. I have been combing everything on this thread and reading Two Foot to the Lakes as we scout the Bridgton area for a posslble return of rail to the B&SR ROW.
Ed Lecuyer
Moderator, WW&F Forum