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Topics - Richard "Steam" Symmes

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At the northern tip of Cape Cod on Sunday evening, lifesaver John Johnston was scouring the edge of the surf when he found several empty 40-quart cans from Turner Center Creamery in Maine and a cork-filled life jacket with the words "Str. Portland." Battered pieces of wreckage followed. Overnight, bodies started to wash ashore — 21 in the first few days, a total of 40 within weeks

________________

From a history of the PORTLAND sinking in 1898.
  Richard W. Symmes

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General Discussion / 60th anniversary of the B&M wreck at Swampscott, Mass.
« on: February 28, 2016, 08:58:29 PM »
Today marks the 60th anniversary of the crash of two commuter trains in a blinding snow storm at Swampscott, Mass., which killed 13 and injured hundreds more.  We created a 30 minute documentary commemorating the event. It is being broadcast on BevCam, a community access station in Beverly, and it also is available as a YouTube video online.
   Richard

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Now that we are nearing the completion of the rebuild of #9, what are the chances of it making a visit to the SR&RL at Phillips for an opportunity to run on its home rails once more?  It could temporarily be renumbered SR&RL 6 and have the initials on the side of the fuel bunker. Imagine the photo ops.  A similar event was held several years ago when locomotive #10 became Pleasure Island & Western RR #5 for a brief period to recognize its 9 year long career at that park in Wakefield, Mass.  I would think that a visit by #9 to Phillips would help pump some enthusiasm into that group.  It surely would be worth a visit up there for most of us.  What's the concensus?

Richard Symmes

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General Discussion / Union Pacific "Big Boy" restoration
« on: July 25, 2013, 06:44:05 PM »
Bravo to Union Pacific for undertaking the operational restoration of their former 4-8-8-4 #4014, as announced the other day.

So many railfans have wished for this for such a long while.  Now the wait is nearly over.

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Museum Discussion / Food Service at Sheepscot
« on: June 23, 2013, 02:23:13 PM »
Speaking of lunch, are there sufficient picnic tables around the grounds to encourage visitors to bring a lunch with them to enjoy?   

Are there any plans down the road to have a small "eatery" at the museum for regular open days?  You know, sandwiches, drinks, snack type things. . . not a kitchen?

Most museums have minimal facilities of this type to keep their guests satisfied between meals.

Just a thought.  Could it be a part of the Percival House?  A room with AC to have a sandwich and cool off on hot days, or a place to warm up with hot chocolate / cider on cool fall days?

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Museum Discussion / Turner Center Dairy Car
« on: June 21, 2013, 10:14:07 PM »
Is the Turner Center Dairy Car open yet for the season in downtown Wiscasset?  What other material is available there to direct folks out Route 218 to Sheepscot?

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It's been quite some time since we last heard about the status of #3 locomotive at Phillips. Is there anything new to report?

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Museum Discussion / Will the SR&RL #6 briefly run on the WW&F?
« on: May 02, 2013, 01:06:46 AM »
A few years ago, Pleasure Island & Western RR #5 operated on the WW&F for a brief period in celebration of its Massachusetts heritage.

Once WW&F #9 becomes operational, will we be treated to a brief appearance of SR&RL #6?   I think that lots of Two Footer fans would love to see and photograph that.  I certainly would.

Stretching it a bit, perhaps even Sandy River RR #5 might appear?   

What say the powers that be?

Richard

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Volunteers / Inviting Younger People to get Involved
« on: April 28, 2013, 03:20:16 PM »
Where are the "young folks" (20s and 30s)?

The pictures make it look like "duffer land".  Another ten years will make a huge difference in what can be done as far as "grunt work" goes.

This is the same problem that is spreading through all the hobbies, museums, and whatnot.  Our live steam club members average about 70 years old.  There are only one or two people younger than that and they have families to raise, so their time is limited.  The kids. . . all into virtual reality and social media, with rare exceptions.  This fact of life is going to impact all museums big time in the coming years.  

Party on!

Richard

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Museum Discussion / Halloween Events
« on: April 05, 2013, 01:40:39 AM »
I remember that some years back, a Halloween celebration was tried a couple of times, but had some issues connected with it, and it was given up.  Since so many venues use Halloween as an annual event, I'd be curious to learn why it didn't work out at the WW&F. Any plans to try it again? If not, why?

A good friend of mine does an annual Halloween event on his backyard 1-1/2" scale live steam railroad. He has done it for 10 years now and it gets better every year, with dozens of families attending.  He places scary figures out in the woods near the track. Each has illumination when a relay is tripped by the wheels of a passing train.  The kids love it, and even the adults are impressed.  Refreshments are served and everyone has a lot of fun.  I would think that along with Christmas and Easter, this would be a natural "friend raiser" event for the railroad.

Richard

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Massachusetts' Two Footers / New steam locomotive at Edaville USA ?
« on: December 28, 2012, 01:24:37 AM »
Just saw a blurb on the Edaville USA website about a new steam locomotive which supposedly is to be running by June, 2013.

There were a couple of pictures of what seemed to be a new firebox, but no information.

Does anyone know anything about this?

I also heard rumors that the Edaville land owner (Della Priscoli?) was seeking to buy / lease B&H #8 from MNG, and return it to Edaville. With only 2 miles of track remaining, why would you need more trains? Another rumor has them rebuilding some of the original loop, bypassing the old Mt. Urann segment which I understand is now apartments or condos.

Who knows the straight scoop on all of this?

Richard

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Volunteers / ROW MOW 2 - Official Dream Thread
« on: August 08, 2012, 10:41:02 PM »
I know this has been mentioned before, but what about prisoners?  They use them around here all the time on the highways picking up trash, etc.  They come from the County Jail in Middleton and most are waiting trial, etc. Not violent criminals or anything like that.


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Work and Events / Public Restroom Project - Official Work Thread
« on: June 04, 2012, 03:10:54 PM »
I would suspect you don't want too many visitors until proper restrooms are in place.  Most real tourist sites do not expect their guests to use a Porta-Potty.  That's always been the Achilles heel of the WW&F.

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General Discussion / Wenham Museum Train Show and Open House
« on: January 12, 2012, 12:18:19 AM »
For anyone in the greater Boston area or southern NH and Maine, the Wenham Museum's annual train show will be this Saturday 1/14, from 10 til 4.   The show is at the Buker School and there will be an Open House at the nearby Wenham Museum during the same hours. Admission to the museum is half price with admission to the train show.  The museum has 7 major train layouts which can be operated by visitors. Local author Harold Boothroyd will be on hand to sign copies of his latest book, Getting Around.

The show itself will have nearly 140 dealers and there will be raffles, door prizes and refreshments all day. This is the local show everyone looks forward to each year.  Drive to Rte. 1-A in Wenham (close to I-95 and 128 exit)  or from I-95 and down Rte. 97 to Wenham. 

If undriveable snow, show will be the following day.

Richard Symmes

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Bridgton & Saco River Railway / B&SR mile post
« on: March 20, 2011, 11:05:57 PM »
Back in 1961, a friend of mine had a camp up near Bridgton which we used to visit in the summer. I was 20 at the time and had only recently discovered the Maine 2 Footers via Moody's book. So naturally we did some exploring in the area.  In spot south of Bridgton there was a stretch of old roadbed right next to the highway. It was sand ballast with nearly all the ties still in place. We got out and walked some of it. In doing so we discovered a wooden mile post still standing beside the roadbed.  The paint was gone but you could still make out letters/numbers "embossed" on the wood. One side had BJ 15 and the other had H 6. My friend had a pickup truck so we came back with it and dug out the post and loaded it in the truck. This was broad daylight, in plain view, no houses around but the highway only 20 feet away. 

I took the post home and "planted" it in my yard, painted it white with black letters, and there it stood for 20 years.  When we sold the property after my parents had passed on, I dug it up and cut off the bottom which had pretty serious rot issues.  Then I donated it to the Walker Transportation Collection at the Beverly Historical Society & Museum, where it remains today. 

They also have an SR&RL mile marker which is a square wooden post with a metal sign mounted on the top with the miles indicated from up around Dead River. It was picked up over 30 years ago and was badly deteriorated.

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