W.W.&F. Discussion Forum

WW&F Railway Museum Discussion => Work and Events => Topic started by: Wayne Laepple on June 19, 2017, 05:10:42 PM

Title: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Wayne Laepple on June 19, 2017, 05:10:42 PM
Right now, we could be encouraging visitors who are interested to leave the train at Top of the Mountain and walk any of several trails in the area, then take a later train back to Sheepscot. The Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association has built trails, including one that touches the west side of our land at Top of the Mountain. Or a trail around the property could be developed, perhaps by a local youth seeking the Eagle Scout award.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Joe Fox on June 20, 2017, 08:34:10 AM
Wayne, I have often thought about having guided walking tours down the mountain between trips, explaining what the plans are, history, etc. However volunteer power tends to be skimpy many days.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: John Kokas on June 20, 2017, 09:14:47 AM
I wonder if a "feeling out" of the Conservation folks could draw some interest in providing volunteer guides on designated days - once or twice a month (and advertise it on facebook)
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Bob Holmes on June 20, 2017, 07:45:11 PM
Knowing the energy of the conservation/land preservation folks, I would think this would be a natural alliance, one that would be easy to make, and one we should explore right away.  Hikers will love it!

For example, I can easily see a marked trailhead at TOM where that trail abuts our property.  And we work with them on a joint map.

Are there any other nearby trails that are adjacent to our ROW (including all the way to Head Tide)?

Bob
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Jason M Lamontagne on June 20, 2017, 07:54:03 PM
I've only followed this thread on the periphery- but I want to point out that we have approached the conservation association about just such an alliance several times.  There was agreement in concept- but technical barriers.  The first is that their land doesn't abut ours at ToM- it only touches corner to corner.  For them, that corner is at the far reaches of their property, and their trail network doesn't come anywhere near our ToM property.  Then there's the additional detail that there is no trail network on our property. 

Both parties agreed in the potential mutual benefit- but had to acknowledge the tremendous volunteer effort it would take to build and maintain said trails.  Neither group currently has those volunteer resources.  So the entire idea got tabled, with hopes to revisit it.

Since then, the SVCA has merged into a larger group, with administration consolidated out of town.  We still have some contacts, but not nearly what we previously had.

So- there are viable ideas on the table- but execution is not as easy as it may appear.

See ya
Jason
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Ed Lecuyer on June 20, 2017, 07:57:21 PM
[I should probably split this topic.]

The current assessor's maps indicate that SVCA (or whoever they are now) do own the parcel to the west of the WW&F TOM property. It is a separate parcel, so it may have been acquired relatively recently.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Wayne Laepple on June 20, 2017, 08:21:13 PM
I believe we already have the skeleton of a trail system at Top of The Mountain. The road down to the Porcupine Palace is one leg, and there is an overgrown road on the south side of the property that drops down the hill to Trout Brook. I've not bushwhacked between them, so I don't know how difficult it would be to connect the two to make a loop. However, perhaps where the road reaches the stream, we could build a footbridge to connect to the SVCA land across the stream and to their trail system.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: James Patten on June 20, 2017, 09:08:28 PM
Mike and I bushwacked two winters ago down the old overgrown road to the stream.  Basically it's in a deep valley, and seemed to dead end.  The Palace sits on the top of the bluff, with almost no way on our land to get down to the water easily.  I walked the northern property line and it drops off very suddenly. 

Mike has found one of our corners, on the other side of the stream. 
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Jason M Lamontagne on June 20, 2017, 09:44:40 PM
I'll admit the last time I looked at the issue was probably 6 years ago, and the SVCA acquiring that piece rings a vague bell.  I suspect they haven't developed the piece much since they've gone through this merger in the interim, but perhaps they intend to.  I don't know. 

Fair point on the idea that we have the start of a trail system.  It would probably take some doing to extend it to our West line, but its got to be doable on some level. 

I'd like to see a x-country ski trail network out there as well, and offer a ski train service, someday. 

Now is the time to bounce ideas around.  Time will allow them to congeal, or get narrowed down as appropriate.

see ya
Jason
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: John McNamara on June 20, 2017, 11:20:55 PM
I'd like to see a x-country ski trail network out there as well, and offer a ski train service, someday. 

The new wide entrance door of coach 8 will make boarding and de-boarding with cross-country skis fairly easy. Add the traditional A-frame ski stand, and we're ready to go.
-John M
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Bill Baskerville on June 20, 2017, 11:30:40 PM
I believe we already have the skeleton of a trail system at Top of The Mountain. The road down to the Porcupine Palace is one leg, and there is an overgrown road on the south side of the property that drops down the hill to Trout Brook. I've not bushwhacked between them, so I don't know how difficult it would be to connect the two to make a loop. However, perhaps where the road reaches the stream, we could build a footbridge to connect to the SVCA land across the stream and to their trail system.

Wayne,

If memory serves me correctly, just East of the Porcupine Palace road there is an old road that cuts off at a diagonal to the South East and connects to the road that slabs down the embankment to Trout Brook, perhaps near the Southern property line, but I don't know where that line is.  I didn't cross the stream, but would suspect that at some time that road was a ford across the stream and it continued West on the other side.

Bill
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Stephen Piwowarski on June 20, 2017, 11:41:53 PM
When I was in touch with a SVCA representative several years ago they informed me that it was the SVCA's intention, at that time, to keep the development of the Trout Brook Preserve to the West side of Trout Brook. The East side would stay wild. I suppose there is also exploration that could be done into a trail system. As Wayne said- a very appropriate Eagle Scout project, Hornaday Award, or Gold Award project.

A technical issue with X/C ski trails is that many use a crude form of mechanized grooming- basically a roller which compacts the snow and puts 4 deep tracks into the snow for a 2-way trail. We might be better equipped to handle snowshoers than skiers, especially with the acreage at ToM. It's a short distance for skiing, but a decent length for some snowshoeing.

One of the "big ideas" in trail planning is to look at erosion issues and look at constructing trails which limit erosion problems. Another idea is timing- we can look at our service interval and plan trails which will, for the average visitor, consume about 75% of the time between trains. This gives visitors time for detraining, a short break, and being a bit early. Perhaps a nice idea to provide 2 loops- a short loop and a longer loop, share parts.

Here is a hiking time calculator that can help establish trail length/times http://www.douglastwitchell.com/hikingcalculator.php (http://www.douglastwitchell.com/hikingcalculator.php).

Steve
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Mike Fox on June 21, 2017, 06:36:19 AM
I believe we already have the skeleton of a trail system at Top of The Mountain. The road down to the Porcupine Palace is one leg, and there is an overgrown road on the south side of the property that drops down the hill to Trout Brook. I've not bushwhacked between them, so I don't know how difficult it would be to connect the two to make a loop. However, perhaps where the road reaches the stream, we could build a footbridge to connect to the SVCA land across the stream and to their trail system.

Wayne,

If memory serves me correctly, just East of the Porcupine Palace road there is an old road that cuts off at a diagonal to the South East and connects to the road that slabs down the embankment to Trout Brook, perhaps near the Southern property line, but I don't know where that line is.  I didn't cross the stream, but would suspect that at some time that road was a ford across the stream and it continued West on the other side.

Bill

The road down over the bank is about halfway between stump row and porcupine pallace. It is overgrown, and will probably stay that way.  Anything within the Alna Shore Land Zoning district will be left untouched, unless we carefully plan things out, and see what would be needed to have a trail system close to the brook. We don't want to do anything in the area that will cause any type of erosion.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Bob Holmes on June 21, 2017, 10:35:11 AM
From the web:

Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association updated: July 2016
On January 1, 2016 the Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association merged with Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association, Hidden Valley Nature Center and Sheepscot Wellspring Land Alliance to become Midcoast Conservancy.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Bob Holmes on June 21, 2017, 11:03:21 AM
Midcoast Conservancy is headquartered at 36 Water St in Wiscasset.

It appears to be a much larger organization than before with several full-time staff.  Maybe they have expanded resources now as well...

Their Trout Brook Preserve has a trail that appears to be located in part on our ROW (just beyond the Trout Brook crossing).  The preserve map has a paragraph on the WW&F.

Their web site:

https://www.midcoastconservancy.org/  (https://www.midcoastconservancy.org/)
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Wayne Laepple on June 21, 2017, 12:28:01 PM
I may be off base here, but I believe that one of the trails built by the SVCA comes close to the northwest corner of our property. And it occurs to me that if the old road mentioned above goes down to Trout Brook, it's probable that it forded the stream and went up the other side. Obviously, someone needs to get out there and follow the road to its end. Since the SVCA trail is at least partially on logging roads, it follows logically that there may be some connecting pathway. If we decided to try to develop a trail, it would not require a lot of new construction or clearing, more like getting rid of some saplings and small trees, maybe cutting up a few that have fallen, to be followed by paint "blazes" on trees every 100 feet or so to delineate the trail.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Mike Fox on June 21, 2017, 02:40:53 PM
I walked the other side last spring, looking at our property and checking for corners. No road coming up. I suspect some logging took place on the plain by the brook and they used the gentle slope to haul up over, or a farmer had the road to get to the brook.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Philip Marshall on June 21, 2017, 04:27:33 PM
Their Trout Brook Preserve has a trail that appears to be located in part on our ROW (just beyond the Trout Brook crossing).  

Will this be a problem as we build northward?
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Mike Fox on June 21, 2017, 09:15:13 PM
We own the land the trail is on. We can simply relocate the trail to run beside the track, keeping it on our land.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Wayne Laepple on July 14, 2017, 07:48:11 AM
So we need to come up with some ideas of what visitors can do at Top of the Mountain. If a trackside area was mowed and maintained, perhaps with a bench or two, people could get off and a trainman could describe our plans for the sawmill/shingle mill complex. If an information board was installed showing the proposed track layout there, with the inclusion of the track going down the mountain, commentary could be offered explaining the location's original use and our plans for the future. As has been mentioned previously, a loop walking path could be built and maintained so that people could take a short walk around the property. Even smoothing and clearing the road to the Porcupine Palace would provide a place for folks to stretch their legs.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Joe Fox on July 14, 2017, 07:23:22 PM
We currently tell everyone about the future plans at ToM, the goals with future track laying and the purpose of the original siding on board the train during the layover at ToM.

Maybe another idea would be to print off some replicated waybills or car reports so people can see how things were kept on record?
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Bob Holmes on July 14, 2017, 07:26:14 PM
I really resonate with Wayne's ideas for TOM.  Make it a fascinating destination, not just a static turnaround.  And it wouldn't be that hard to do.  We would need one of Joe's platforms for detraining, and the rest would be a series of small projects to capture attention.

I also support Steve's ideas for running mixed trains on a regular basis.  Not eveyone who rides the train is an avid railfan looking for the best pictures from the open car.  Most could probably not care less if there were a boxcar in the consist.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Bob Holmes on July 17, 2017, 06:59:32 PM
Steve, I've sent you my contact information.

Joe, the best way you help us get started is to begin to figure out how best to provide a detraining/boarding "method" at TOM.  I say method, because I don't really know the real estate that well.  Not sure what structures might be required, how to work with train movements, etc., etc.

But we can't do anything up there unless we figure out a way to get passengers safely and smoothly onto the TOM grounds.

P.S.  I know you're really good at this.

Bob
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Stephen Piwowarski on July 17, 2017, 08:43:50 PM
Bob, thanks! You also make a good point about loading and unloading. Joe, this would be a great place to step in and help us. Before we are to do any trail construction, I think we should focus a part of our energy on getting the Head Tide trail into fine fettle. Concurrently, though, if we could build a safe unloading area at ToM, that is important and relevant now. Today Jason mentioned using the unloading platforms Joe built as the basis for an unloading area at ToM. Joe, how do you feel about that? I'd like to get us a station set up at ToM.
The way I see it, these are our goals, in order:
1. Develop a safe passenger unloading area at ToM
2. Return the Head Tide Trail to a good state of maintainence
3. Survey possible routes and points of interest on a ToM Trail
4. Develop information and signage for ToM Trail
5. Attract additional volunteers whose interest would be the upkeep and maintainence of said trails (unless this is a core interest for several of us)
6. Lay out the ToM Trail during the Fall/Early winter
7. Continue a scheduled maintainence on the trail system.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Joe Fox on July 17, 2017, 08:49:05 PM
Lol. Well if desired, I am more than happy to relocate one of the four platforms I built and put it at ToM, and or build a larger one so that it can traverse the ditch more effectively. Actually a 8×8 platform would probably work better there, but will need to be in a location that is good as it will nit be able to be moved easily. Said platform could then be used as the unloading platform at the same location once the shingle mill is completed.

I don't mind using an already built platform, however I feel a specificly built 8x8 or 8x10 would work better.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Joe Fox on July 18, 2017, 05:41:06 AM
Joe, I am apt to agree with you on that. I feel something more in line with the size of the Alna Center Platform would be appropriate. I guess it would be helpful if it could move, but if we really put our thinking caps on and determine a final location, that would be great. I think your intention for the platforms was for them to be temporary and moveable, like for a special event, so maybe we could use one of those in the meantime.

It could be moved. But it will require the use of either the crane or 4 guys to move it.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Stephen Piwowarski on July 18, 2017, 07:30:40 AM
Ok, let's come up for some preliminary designs about what we want the station/platform area to look like. Meanwhile it has been mentioned that woodchips/mulch can be put down as a helpful weed block on the trail through the field to keep maintainence down. I hadn't though of that before.

Also, does anyone have experience building or installing 12V battery powered LED DC lighting systems? I'm looking for someone who has built one.

Steve
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Mike Fox on July 18, 2017, 08:12:22 AM
We are going to need a mower for TOM. So, this is and has been my thought. The little blue tractor (Mitsubishi) can be stored up there with a suitable mower. The trails can be mowed with the tractor as long as they are properly sloped. I have a couple of good starter trails up there now, out to stump row. Then the 4 wheeler trail to porcupine palace way. And back to TOM. 20 minute walk. I would like to see a spur off of the loop to the brook down the gentle sloping twitch road. A small loop could be cleared out along the brook, just by doing some limbing. Lots of work.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Bob Holmes on July 18, 2017, 08:18:01 AM
Could we use one of the small culvert sections (currently at the washout) as a permanent way of helping to bridge the ditch?
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Mike Fox on July 18, 2017, 11:03:36 AM
There are 3 short sections at TOM now, south side of the clearing.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Stephen Piwowarski on July 18, 2017, 02:20:10 PM
One possibility might be to install a culvert section and build an platform out of ties and fill that would be a high level platform like AC or Sheepscot, but have the added benefit of matching up to the existing grade of the land. Mike, is a culvert section up for grabs or are those earmarked?

This differs from our standard platform style but it might serve us well. I will broach the subject at the August board meeting. That will help to determine a course of action.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Jason M Lamontagne on July 18, 2017, 05:38:08 PM
Joe's platforms are a "now" idea.  If we want to improve the visitor experience this summer- July, August 2017, we could set up Joe's platforms at ToM in a couple of hours.  Not saying something purpose built wouldn't be better- that should be done, but to me it's a no brainer to make this happen now. 

see ya
Jason
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Wayne Laepple on July 18, 2017, 05:43:25 PM
How about putting two or even three of Joe's platforms side by side perpendicular to the track? They would bridge the ditch and offer access to the cleared area. Side by side they would be wide enough to accommodate two coaches. Might need to put a couple of ties parallel to the rails at the edge of the ballast to support the platforms at the right height..... Maybe dig the other end of the platforms into the embankment so there is no step off the ends.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Jason M Lamontagne on July 18, 2017, 06:00:20 PM
Very similar to my thoughts.  Next year could be better, if desired.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Stephen Piwowarski on July 18, 2017, 11:23:25 PM
What is outlined above will be our temporary solution. Hopefully, they can be set out tomorrow or Thursday and will be in use for the weekend. From there, we can make the suggested improvements- perhaps just north of the temporary platform structure built from Joe's platforms.

Also, are we putting the car a little bit before the horse- or should I say the platform a little bit before the station? I'm thinking if we build a temporary platform for unloading people, but there are no trails, signs, or things to do other than the discussion we've already been having with folks on the train the platforms won't get the use we anticipate.

What motivation will passengers have to detrain at ToM when their only option is to reboard the train 5-10 minutes later? To make the platform worthwhile and a true improvement for visitor experience, I believe it needs to be paired with a reason for being. We've had some good ideas discussed here and hopefully, in time, we can capitalize on them.

Steve
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Joe Fox on July 18, 2017, 11:43:58 PM
I'd like to point out that even though our railfan clientel don't pay the bills, they would appreciate anything done to look historic, or be able to be removed for such events.

And yes, I think putting two platforms side by side will work great up there for now and will allow our visitors a chance to explore the "pasture"
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Bob Holmes on July 19, 2017, 07:58:56 AM
Has there ever been discussion about a couple of picnic tables at TOM?  I don't know what our stance is on such an idea, but it would give another reason to go there between trains.  (And after all, many railroads had picnic/excursion trains back in those days...)
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: John Kokas on July 19, 2017, 08:45:57 AM
Having a picnic area would be a wonderful addition to either Alna Center or TOM.  It's cheap, easy, and adds another dimension for family time at the RR.  I remember EBT had a very nice picnic area that I and my family enjoyed over the years.  Only added work is trash can set-out in a.m. and pick-up in p.m.  That way you don't encourage critters to visit and hang out.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Stephen Piwowarski on July 19, 2017, 08:58:13 AM
Keep discussing these great ideas, however don't be dismayed if they don't happen immediately. We have lots of other projects happening, as outlined above, and only so many people to accomplish them. We'll take care of the important details first, then go back and catch the little ones. I do like the idea of picnic tables somewhere at ToM (or possibly A.C.) though!

I also agree with Joe that whatever we construct that is not temporary should be authentic or authentically-based. I'd say railfans would appreciate it, but the general public NEEDS it to provide the correct historical context. I once read a research paper on experience-based museums showing with each 'non-conforming' element visitors identify in a visit, the overall value of that experience decreased in that visitors mind. Its important stuff!

Steve
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Fred Morse on July 19, 2017, 09:26:56 AM
At the TOM, I think we need a building first. When trains were one hour apart people didn't mind waiting between between trains. Now with only 4 trains a day not many people would stay that long. Not many have ever stayed at Alna Center where we have a table and building. There's no shelter at TOM in case of rain.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Bob Holmes on July 19, 2017, 07:07:34 PM
Steve, great job today with you, Fred and Isaiah creating a really nice platform at TOM.  Post pic soonest.

As we discussed, I'll keep throwing out ideas as they occur, with the hope that some might even stick:

I do like the idea of Prebles as a near-term structure at TOM.  If on skids (like an ice house), it would be easier to move.  We could bring it back in the winter as ticket office for the Xmas trains.

In the long term, an Alna like station would be better, with the idea that it could then be moved to the end of the line at 218 (or Head Tide).

Since we're planning to put the shingle mill and sawmill toward the end of the spur, we would want to be sure any trail systems connects to them.  In the meantime, we could put up a couple of kiosks (a la National Park Service) that would feature articles and pics of those two mills.

I share Fred's concern of a 1 1/2 hour layover on the current train schedule.  We'd have to make sure there's enough to do to make the wait enjoyable (hence maybe picnic tables).

That's it for now.  Thanks.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Roger Cole on July 22, 2017, 02:03:47 PM
The Strasburg Railroad has a picnic area with picnic tables, a hand pump for water and genuine outhouses (after all, it is in Amish country).  It is located at the half-way point where a passing siding was built several years ago.  It is quite popular and many folks get off to have a picnic and catch the next train back to Strasburg.  Of course, in the busy summer season, they have two trains running at half-hour intervals.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Bob Holmes on August 02, 2017, 07:32:16 PM
Steve, in thinking about our discussion today, I think an easy next step would be to designate a picnic area at TOM with a path from the new platforms.  It would require some mowing of a new picnic area and the path.  I'm thinking a bit to the left of the platforms and up on level ground but I could be just guessing.  If we dedicated an area maybe 2-300 sq ft (??).  I would be willing to find and donate two picnic tables to the project.  (That could also be the head of a new trail.)
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Paul Uhland on August 03, 2017, 05:15:04 PM
Picnic areas,  developed at TOM and at well-mowed  Alna Center sound perfect.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Joe Fox on August 05, 2017, 12:17:23 AM
I noticed the platform at ToM last weekend. They look nice, however I would put a railing up along the back side and maybe sides to prevent people from falling into the ditch. Theres quite a drop off there.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Paul Uhland on August 05, 2017, 02:05:34 PM
How about a pic of the TOM platform?
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Bob Holmes on August 05, 2017, 07:34:33 PM
You can see it off to the right side of Brendan's first pic of today's work on placing the culvert.

It's not intended to be a permanent solution, just a small first step in establishing TOM as a "destination".  Several volunteers have commented about how it makes it much easier to get off the train (not down in the ditch and up!).  And a small number of passengers have used it as well.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Fred L. Kuhns on August 05, 2017, 09:05:33 PM
  Joe Fox, has a good idea in adding railings on the back side and along the sides of the ramp to the ground.  Could use some of the wooden guards post before they are cut into ties as post.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Paul Uhland on August 05, 2017, 11:23:33 PM
Bob, yes saw the TOM platform, thanks. Nifty. Railings would be a good safety asset, and would make the stop look more authentic.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Brendan Barry on August 05, 2017, 11:38:47 PM
You can see the platform next to the main line.

(http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s5/bbarry74/bbarry74010/IMG_1270.jpg)
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Brendan Barry on August 06, 2017, 05:43:27 PM
Another shot of the platform setup.

(http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s5/bbarry74/bbarry74010/IMG_1456.jpg)
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Alex Harvilchuck on August 14, 2017, 04:44:51 PM
I'm going to play the Devil's Advocate, you can GoML if you wish:

My 2 cents as a parent of 2 year old (in addition to a pair of pre-teens). I can't wait 90 minutes for the next train to get to a bathroom with running water and flushing toilets. An outhouse just doesn't cut the mustard with most young ladies. It is the same reason why the public bathrooms were installed at Sheepscot. A longer walking trail and some picnic tables is going to compound the 90 minute problem. Let's then talk about the attention span of a 2-3 year old ...

Why put trails in at TOM when once the railhead reaches Rt 218 the Midcoast Conservancy trailhead will be next to the planned station? Anyone with spare time should be assisting Mike with washout repairs, time is ticking and the active permits will soon turn into pumpkins.

I thought there was enough problems getting assistance with mowing the ROW, replacing ties, installing joint bars, etc. without adding walking trail maintenance.

Weren't there complaints that the existing Head Tide Trail bridges were collapsing and they had to be replaced?

I have associates that are involved with an official Friends Group at a nearby PA State Park - the Friends Group has  enough issues with trail maintenance and that is their core mission.

What about the Shingle Mill and Saw Mill? I thought that was the main attraction for TOM? These is an untapped resource in support from vintage machinery enthusiasts (being one myself). This is a Target Market for more members and volunteers.

What would be the impact on the current Liability Insurance policy by adding walking trails?
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Alex Harvilchuck on August 14, 2017, 04:59:31 PM
At the TOM, I think we need a building first. When trains were one hour apart people didn't mind waiting between between trains. Now with only 4 trains a day not many people would stay that long. Not many have ever stayed at Alna Center where we have a table and building. There's no shelter at TOM in case of rain.

I second the motion from the wise gentleman from Maine.

A family picnic at TOM getting caught without shelter in a rainstorm for 45+ minutes with no museum assistance sounds like a flamingly negative social media review at best case.

Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Fred Morse on August 14, 2017, 05:53:50 PM
We all talk about future plans that could be 5,10,15,20 years in advance.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Jason M Lamontagne on August 14, 2017, 09:34:58 PM
The SVCA sought and received our permission to place a trail on our RoW.  We have kept up with their joining the Midcoast Conservancy, and have been in communication with them.  We do hope to further develop our relationship with them, and make the best use of the close proximity of the Trout Brook Preserve and our railroad.

Jason
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Bob Holmes on August 15, 2017, 07:25:20 PM
In response to Alex, here are a few thoughts to add to Jason's comment.

Steve P and I are compiling an extensive list of thoughts and ideas related to ToM as a destination.  Most of Alex's concerns are already reflected in the current document, and all new ideas from him will be added (thank you!).  Of course, any of this will take time and resources and integration into all other WW&F planning and operations, so it's not right around the corner.

We are quite aware of issues re trail development and maintenance.  That's why we believe that our partnership with MCC will bear fruit.  Their trail system already extends closely in proximity to the ROW (not just at 218), making further intersection and expansion something to consider.

Final note also:  Shingle Mill and Saw Mill are still the centerpieces of our ToM plan, and the Head Tide bridges got maintenance this summer.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Alex Harvilchuck on August 16, 2017, 06:00:56 PM
... and the Head Tide bridges got maintenance this summer.

My point being museum resources (capital and volunteer effort) were expended. The Head Tide Trail does further the main purpose of the museum. It helps preserve ROW for future use.

The original comment is ... are Museum managed trails at TOM within the core mission?

If Midcoast wants to seek Museum permission to construct and manage trails at TOM, that is a completely different kettle of fish.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Stephen Piwowarski on August 16, 2017, 08:21:53 PM
We've covered a lot of ground in these discussions and I'm glad to see it has been taking positive tack.

Alex, regarding your concerns:
To be specific, museum managed trails at TOM are certainly not stated explicitly within the core mission of the museum. This is one of the reasons they haven't been constructed yet. Generally speaking, we've been too busy with projects that directly support our mission to invest significant resources at this time to the development of things like a trail system at TOM.
However, brainstorming on subjects like activities at TOM is most healthy and welcome, and leads us to explore a multitude of possibilities.

Let's take a look at our mission statement. For the purposes of our conversation, I have removed the clause concerning a museum. We're left with "Restore the operation of narrow gauge railroads and equipment which operated in the Sheepscot Valley and on other roads  for enlightenment and education of the general public concerning the social and economic impact of railroads on the communities served." Simply rebuilding the railroad does only fulfills our mission in the narrowest sense. For the railroad to be truly "restored" not only in form but also in function it must provide meaningful transport between places. This is why Alna Center is so important today, and why Top of Mountain, and our eventual station stop at Route 218 will be so important. While it may seem counterintuitive, the destinations are of critical importance to our mission of restoring the Sheepscot Valley Narrow gauge to service. Having destinations gives the railroad purpose. Our goal is to "enlighten and educate" people by conveying people to those destinations by a a very special means- the WW&F. The more interesting destinations we provide (including special events, places, etc.) the more people we will reach, and the better we will accomplish our mission.

To be clear, one could posit that providing picnic tables, public restrooms, or constructing the sawmill and shingle mill are not directly related to our core mission. Yet these ancillary elements often prove to be key elements in attracting, and maintaining a public following. As such, our board makes decisions regarding which ancillary activities will best support the achievement of our mission.

Regarding the impact of all of this on accomplishing our other planned work, don't worry! As Fred pointed out, we all talk about things that will happen in the future. It's one of the things that keeps us motivated and growing in a positive direction. All of the ideas keep us excited about the possibilities the railway can lead to!

Take care,
Stephen
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Bob Holmes on August 17, 2017, 07:26:08 AM
To add a little to Steve's post, our discussions around ToM (including but not limited to trails) are how best to make ToM an interesting destination, not just a 12-minute locomotive runaround.  Understand that reaching 218 is several years away, so ToM will be the end of the line for the foreseeable future.

Also discussions are actively underway with MCC to further envision and develop a partnership relationship.  They are equally excited about the potential here.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: John Kokas on August 17, 2017, 10:07:06 AM
I would suggest that a covered picnic area be incorporated into the sawmill/shingle mill complex for the following:
1)  It would give people who want to stay over to watch operations a place to sit and relax - as well as mill workers
2)  In the off season it could then be used as covered storage for items needed at TOM or items not needed in Sheepscot
3)  It would provide a covered work area for crews working on/restoring mill machinery rather than having to transport back and forth between Sheepscot and TOM.
4) During Victorian Xmas and Easter it could house the concession area
 
As I think about it, maybe once a site plan is established and approved by the BOD,  the first thing constructed should be the covered picnic area as it could then double as the staging area for further construction.

Just my humble 2-cents worth.

Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: John McNamara on August 17, 2017, 11:16:27 AM
4) During Victorian Xmas and Easter it could house the concession area
I suspect that we should delete Victorian Christmas from this list because of the extra plowing and transit time required. There are a bunch of plowing photos available on YouTube to show how much work plowing involves, and it would be desirable to minimize that. Also, when moving 1500 people in a few hours, travel time needs to be minimized.  The present Santa Site at Alna Center offers reasonable plowing, rapid turnaround time, sleigh/wagon access and a heated building.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Joe Fox on August 17, 2017, 02:13:08 PM
I think all "busy" special events should stop at Alna Center like they do now. And any special event festivity that requires outside resources Alna Center is perfect for many many reasons.

ToM is isolated, no access road, no place large enough to handle crowds over 100 people.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Bob Holmes on August 17, 2017, 06:26:19 PM
Agree that Alna Center is the best and only place for special events.  This discussion is more about what we can do moving forward to make ToM a "destination" as described by Steve.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: John Kokas on August 17, 2017, 07:41:25 PM
OK, I see the reasons against V.C. & Easter at TOM.  I forgot about the lack of road access.  Please disregard my comment #4, but I think 1-3 are worth discussion.
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Alex Harvilchuck on August 18, 2017, 07:56:23 AM
Agree that Alna Center is the best and only place for special events.  This discussion is more about what we can do moving forward to make ToM a "destination" as described by Steve.

... Start working on Temm's Shingle Mill and the To-Be-Named / Morse Sawmill.

Like Jason and Steve are saying, having an interpreted, working shingle and saw mills operating at TOM are a destination unto themselves.

Getting the railhead back to RT 218 and putting an Alna Center-sized "Trout Brook" station there coupled with the Midcoast trails will provide another destination with a different theme.

Alna Center, in addition to "large", flexible event space, could be use to interpret how the local farms leveraged the existence of the railroad. Yet another thematic destination. The WW1 reenactment is a perfect example of the event space flexibility.

Finally Sheepscot, standing in for the Wiscasset yards, gives a railway-based thematic destination.

We use the railway as a method of transporting the visitor to the particular thematic area they are interested. Maybe a visitor getting on at Sheepscot Station and really wanting to go take a walk on the trails at Trout Brook Station, sees all the interesting stuff at TOM Station and spur-of-the-moment decides to get off and spend time there. 
Title: Re: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread
Post by: Wayne Laepple on August 18, 2017, 08:04:04 AM
But -- before we get too deeply into all the great things we could do at Alna Center, let's remember that except for our right-of-way and a half acre that we own, the rest of that land is private property.