W.W.&F. Discussion Forum

The Maine Narrow Gauges (Historic & Preserved) => The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 => Topic started by: Paul Levesque on September 07, 2017, 02:56:27 PM

Title: Burnham Overhead Crossing
Post by: Paul Levesque on September 07, 2017, 02:56:27 PM
I got lucky this weekend!
No, not that kind of lucky, the kind where you find something you thought didn't exist.
I think a more accurate term would be to say that I may have struct W&Q RR gold.

I discovered, then bought, an original, hand drawn, in color, plan for the W&Q crossing of the MEC at Burnham.  Now this is similar to the plan I had shared that I retrieved from the Maine State Archives, but that was a blueprint copy that was sent to the Railroad Commissioners.  What I managed to find is, I believe, the original drawing done by the Chief Engineers Office at the MEC.  This might be the only other copy of this document in existence (I am hoping anyway!).

I have pieced together a scan of the drawing (using a FlipPal portable scanner and image stitching software.)

Also...are 6 pages (one page of notes didn't scan well so I will add it later) of correspondence between the MEC and the W&Q!!!

I think this is a little unique!

And on the side, there are SEVERAL blueprints, linen, and other plans of other railroad related items.  Most of it is related to the Belfast and Moosehead Lake such as ROW maps (Burnham Jct. shows the location of the abandoned W&Q), Belfast track plan / yard layout, City point bridge drawings, as well as 2 out of what would probably be 3 plans for the Somerset Railways Kineo Extension (on linen) drawn to 1"=400', a plan and elevation profile of the North Anson & North New Portland RR (never constructed) also on linen, a plan of the European and North American RR, and quite a few more!!

To say this was an exciting find is an understatement!!!!

I haven't decided what to do exactly with everything at this point, I would appreciate any ideas of value though (PM me), such a unique item is tough to peg.  I will also consider reaching out to historical organizations to, at the very least, get a high quality copy to those that would like one, and I will be getting in touch with the archives to possibly consult with them on some of the material.

Enjoy!!

(https://i.imgur.com/KNz5cCZ.jpg?2)
https://i.imgur.com/KNz5cCZ.jpg?2

(https://i.imgur.com/RrIhvf6.jpg?1)
https://i.imgur.com/RrIhvf6.jpg?1


(https://i.imgur.com/Wg8G7to.jpg?1)
https://i.imgur.com/Wg8G7to.jpg?1

(https://i.imgur.com/JH79gi6.jpg?1)
https://i.imgur.com/JH79gi6.jpg?1

(https://i.imgur.com/I2woJKG.jpg?2)
https://i.imgur.com/I2woJKG.jpg?2

(https://i.imgur.com/JEvHq4p.jpg?1)
https://i.imgur.com/JEvHq4p.jpg?1

Title: Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
Post by: Ira Schreiber on September 07, 2017, 04:07:13 PM
Wow, what a find.
It is very interesting reading.
Title: Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
Post by: Alex Harvilchuck on September 07, 2017, 04:21:16 PM
It is a very cool find. Diamond crossing in Wiscasset and proposal of an overhead in Burnham.

I wonder if this might have been an option for the MEC crossing to connect to the SR&RL by the FS&K?

The could-have been Maine 2' Empire.

Too bad Burnham is physically so far away, creation of the proposed overhead narrow gauge crossing would probably be the only one in the US, possibly worldwide, but I'll let more knowledgeable confirm such a statement.

Very, very cool. It is a find of a lifetime of research and searching.
Title: Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
Post by: Joe Fox on September 07, 2017, 07:34:28 PM
The story behind the crossing is that the railroad first tried to build a diamond at the location, but the Maine Central put a switcher up there and ran back and forth over the track until the railway gave up with the idea. So they began building a grade for an overhead bridge. Funds started running dry, and they assessed other options. After talks with the SR&RL it was decided to build northwest towards Farmington. New routes were surveyed, and the line from Albion to Burnham Junction torn up and built from Weeks Mills to Windsor Winslow. Tracks ended where the line would need to build across the Maine Central and the river. Money ran dry once more, and this remained the end of the line even though most of the grading between Farmington and Windsor was complete, and some bridges were built.
Title: Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
Post by: Bob Holmes on September 07, 2017, 07:45:35 PM
Wow!  Last weekend, I rode the Belfast and Moosehead Lake, which I mistakenly thought had been totally abandoned.  I was amazed to learn that its western terminus was in fact Burnham, which would then have been a three-way meet with the Maine Central, the B&ML and the WW&F.  Wouldn't that have been a fascinating picture back then?

BTW, their trackage is in much worse shape than ours.  They are working hard in their preservation efforts, but they don't have near the volunteer force that we do.
Title: Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
Post by: Philip Marshall on September 07, 2017, 10:15:58 PM
What an incredible find! It's easy to assume that everything there is to know about the history of the Two-Footers is already known, but there is still new material out there just waiting to be discovered.
Title: Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
Post by: Jeff Schumaker on September 08, 2017, 09:29:53 AM
Excellent!

Jeff S.
Title: Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
Post by: Russ Nelson on October 11, 2017, 11:21:38 PM
Tracks ended where the line would need to build across the Maine Central and the river. Money ran dry once more, and this remained the end of the line even though most of the grading between Farmington and Windsor was complete, and some bridges were built.
Great discovery! I'll do some research on the location and add it to my Unfinished Railroads page at http://russnelson.com/unfinished-railroads.html . I'm a little confused, though. Joe says that the line from Albion to Burnham Junction was torn up and built from Weeks Mills to Windsor. I can see ripping up from Albion to Burham Junction if you can't cross the MEC there. But Weeks Mills and Windsor are on the way to Albion, so wouldn't that section have been built already?
Title: Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
Post by: Mike Fox on October 12, 2017, 06:28:31 AM
Weeks Mills had a Wye, and he should have said Weeks Mills to Winslow section was built with removed trackage.
Title: Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
Post by: Russ Nelson on October 12, 2017, 11:06:00 PM
Weeks Mills had a Wye, and he should have said Weeks Mills to Winslow section was built with removed trackage.
Aha! Gotcha.
Title: Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
Post by: Joe Fox on October 13, 2017, 12:53:02 PM
Ah, Windsor, Winslow same thing. Lol.
Title: Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
Post by: Russ Nelson on October 13, 2017, 01:22:38 PM
Ah, Windsor, Winslow same thing. Lol.
I'm a mere Engine Wiper (literally -- wiped #9 down on Sunday morning)! Don't confuse me!
Title: Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
Post by: Russ Nelson on October 13, 2017, 01:29:52 PM
Is there a listing of railroad customers? I'm curious what was in Albion to justify leaving the tracks down after pulling them back from Burnham Crossing. Just passenger service to Albion? Freight (probably). But any source of products going out? Or need for goods coming in? e.g. talc for high quality paper?
Title: Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
Post by: Mike Fox on October 13, 2017, 01:56:51 PM
Lets see. There was a potato house and a saw mill. There was also some kind of feed or flower mill, or both.
Title: Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
Post by: Marcel Levesque on October 13, 2017, 02:39:45 PM
There were two potato houses, an icehouse, Bessey tannery, Chalmers Mill and a canning factory.  All of these were at the Albion terminus but not all at the same time.
Title: Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
Post by: Paul Levesque on October 13, 2017, 07:14:07 PM
Add a grist mill (found on an 1879 map), and anything associated with agriculture.  Albion was, and still is, a largely agricultural community, hay, milk, grains, etc.  Being near Clinton it's possible that the dairy industry was significant, Clinton is the largest dairy town in the state (13%), and last I knew cattle out numbered people 2:1!
From a 1908 business directory there were the following,
Cyr Besse - Butcher
R P Clark - Bicycles
A M Stratton - Bicycles
Charles W Abbott - Blacksmith
L Wesley Drake - Blacksmith
John Hussey - Cattle Dealer
L Libbey & Sons - General Store
Drake & Crosby - General Store
A M Stratton - Horse Dealer
A W Abbott - Hotel
J C Chalmers - Saw Mill
R P Clark - Saw Mill
A M Stratton - Saw Mill
Everette G Wing - Undertaker
Harding Brothers - Wagon Maker
Title: Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
Post by: Russ Nelson on October 14, 2017, 07:50:12 PM
There were two potato houses, an icehouse, Bessey tannery, Chalmers Mill and a canning factory.  All of these were at the Albion terminus but not all at the same time.
So my guess is:
Outgoing cars: potato houses, ice house, finished tannery goods, finished mill products and canned goods.
Incoming cars: bark (possibly, but more likely from the Chalmers Mill), hides (more likely, coming from a slaughterhouse), tin for the cans.

Following up from Paul's post, there must have been a freight house to serve all those businesses. The bicycle makers would have needed steel tubing, tires, hubs, spokes, rims, seats. The agricultural customers would have needed grain coming in. The general store would have needed goods of all sorts, which probably came in barrels made in a cooperage (not here). Undertaker would have needed coffins. Might have made his own, or bought them locally, but I expect there are on-line coffin makers.

There were probably four or five spurs, and a run-around track because it was the end of the line.
Title: Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
Post by: Jeff Schumaker on October 15, 2017, 10:56:42 AM
I'm wondering if the bicycle businesses sold bicycles, rather than manufactured them.

Jeff S.
Title: Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
Post by: Pete Leach on October 16, 2017, 09:56:57 AM
The Turner Centre Dairying Association had a significant creamery along the waterfront in Wiscasset that was served by the WW&F.  The dairy had a ramp and employee house in Albion. The morning train left Albion with one of the employees aboard the dairy car to pick up the cans of milk along the 40ish mile trip to Wiscasset.  The employee would return later in the day, dropping off empty cans for the locals along the way. The run normally included the TCDA car No 65 (recreated by the museum and placed at the site of the original creamery in Wiscasset.) 
It is pretty safe to say that milk was an important commodity for the railroad.  It and the mail would have provided a small, but steady flow of cash to the railroad.
The Portland Cannery had a canning facility near the end of track on the far north end of Albion.  They canned the various vegetables as they came into season.
Much of this information in in the Gary Kohler/Chris McChesney book series on the Narrow Gauge in the Sheepscot Valley.  I am finding the whole this fascinating!
Pete Leach - Modeling a small version of the WW&F in On30 .
Title: Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
Post by: Bill Sample on October 18, 2017, 11:30:26 AM
Russ, Albion is an interesting place to visit for both the existing station and the remnants of what once was.