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Topics - Jason M Lamontagne

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Work and Events / Spring 2018 Work Weekend
« on: January 25, 2018, 09:44:38 PM »
Also, any particular ROW work planned for SWW?

SWW major projects:

1.  Rebuilding track on Davis Grade
2.  Building 2 story external staircase for north end of Percival House.

The next several (probably at least 6) work weekends will be devoted to new construction on the Mountain Extension, so we wanted to make a big maintenance but this spring as it’ll be our last chance for while.  Davis grade needs a lot of ties changed.  We’re going to take an aggressive tact.

See ya

Work and Events / Mountain Extension Tree Clearing
« on: December 28, 2017, 03:42:36 PM »

We will be clearing trees from the right of way on the Mountain over the winter, as this work is permitted contingent on the ground being frozen.

Mike plans to begin at the bridge site this Saturday.

We will also be clearing next Tuesday, January 2.  Details on Tuesday's work TBD after this Saturday.


Museum Discussion / Seeking pledges for lubricator for No 10
« on: June 23, 2017, 10:43:45 AM »

There is a lubricator on eBay we'd like to get for No 10.  We are seeking pledges to cover its cost, up to $1000. We have a bid in now at $500- the bidding ends next Friday, June 30, 2017.

This is hoped to be a replay of a lube system we put on 9.  It's an improved lubrication system for some remote parts of the running gear.  Normally these areas are oiled by hand, with great difficulty.  Because of that, they are often poorly oiled (or not at all), and when they do get oil, the tip of the oil can introduces contaminates to the bearing area.  Everyone loves the improvement on 9 (compared to the old way on 10 before removal from service), and have been asking the shop to do the same on 10.

I'll pledge $100.

Please let us know if you can help!


Original Railway / Fred Fogg
« on: March 17, 2017, 05:13:53 PM »
What was up with Fred Fogg????

I've been re-reading the common Maine two foot books, or more so, reading between the lines.  Bob Jones' books, Crittenden's book, etc.  There are subtle lines of potential connection that are not directly called out in the books.  Note that as of now, I've not done any original research, though I've talked to Linda and she plans to do some, as she's interested in the topic.

Fred Fogg shows up many times thoughout a certain period of Maine two foot history.  Though each is handled as stand-alone occurrences by our go-to books, there may be a theme to this man when one considers his interaction linearly.  I have some reason to think he may be the man who actually got the W&Q built.

Mr. Fogg showed up as a principal player in the Franklin & Megantic Railroad in the 1880's.  Clerk, passenger and freight agent, conductor, etc.  He was credited as a lawyer, partnering with Phillip Stubbs out of Strong.  Fair enough.

Next, in the early 1890's, he is practicing out of Waterville and is George Crosby's lawyer.  He helps make the connection between Crosby and the W&Q principals at the time, when Crosby subscribes to $100K of stock.   Many of Crosby's associates are apparently talked into subscribing, maybe as much as an additional $50k or so.  As one of Crosby's associates, he subscribes to $5K worth of W&Q stock.  Fogg is also heavily promoting the Farmington connection, even before the W&Q is built. 

Crosby is relieved of his subscription liability on the basis that he was owed substantial wages for his activities in promoting and managing the railroad for a brief period of time.  Following this- Fogg does the same thing for his $5K.   

Next:  In an 1896 director's meeting, Fred Fogg, as general counsel, forces then-president Rundlett (an old Wiscasset head), as well as a general management shakeup, on account of the poor financial condition.  We're led to believe he felt the financial problems were the root cause of Fogg's concern, and he squarely blamed mismanagement on the part of Rundlett (and a few others, including treasurer Patterson) for these problems.  Fogg got his way, and ended up as General Manager.

All of that is straight out of Bob Jones' books.  Crittenden's "The Maine Scenic Route" tells us that the F&M was a financial failure, on account of over-ambitious expectations of its promoters. 

Now- between the lines. 

Fogg was a promoter of the F&M.  Right around when things weren't looking good, he bailed.

Fogg plainly was interested, and believed in the two foot gauge concept.  He plainly had thought of joining the Franklin County system to the Wiscasset effort even before the W&Q got built, likely with Phillip Stubbs and others.  It seems likely that it was Fogg who suggested and pushed the use of two foot gauge, first to George Crosby, and ultimately to the W&Q directors.  Crosby is credited with estimating the cost of the W&Q to Burnham at $300K.  How would he know?  With Fogg's experience at the F&M, was that Fogg's estimate? 

The choice of two foot gauge made the project reachable, when combined with Crosby's $100k.  Fogg was in the right place, with the right background, to realize that and weave a web that made it happen.  Thus- Fogg may really be the man who got the W&Q built (as opposed to Crosby).  In such a case, Crosby certainly would get credit for being receptive; this is consistent with Boston "money" being receptive to the narrow gauge concept in general.

Next, Crosby, Fogg, and others don't pay their subscriptions, which in turn apparently sink the company.  As such, what business did Fogg have blaming Captain Rundlett for the mess, when Fogg was such a party to the loss of expected income?

Why did Crosby promise $100k, which has been calculated at half his net worth?

Another between the lines:  did Crosby and Fogg never plan to pay their subscription?  Did they promise to pay in order to get the railroad built, then knowing the lack of income would crash the company, plan to come in a pick up the pieces? This would amount to a free railroad, which if coupled with the planned connection to the Sandy River, would become a real money maker (or so they thought). 

I don't like to be this negative, and if Fred Fogg indeed put the pieces together to get the railroad built, I don't want to see him branded in a negative light.  I can't envision a happier explanation of his lack of paying his subscription, combined with forced near-complete takeover of the road's management.  Maybe he was just frustrated.

Anyway, if I've gotten some of the facts wrong, especially directly out of the books, I apologize and am open to correction.  I'm busy with plate flangers and boiler components and Easter ops and and and.  This is just a fascination I've gained lately; I've made a habit of staying up past bedtime, quietly so as to not wake anyone, re-reading these passages and trying to draw straight lines. 

Discussion is welcome!

Original Railway / Supposed success of the FS&K connection
« on: March 14, 2017, 11:06:23 PM »
A little conjecture, for the sake of discussion.  

Had the FS&K made the connection between the W&Q and the Sandy River, and we had our Two Foot Empire, just how successful would the venture have been?

Any railroad venture must connect produce to market.  Let's look at that potential connection offered by the FS&K.

Of course the entire idea was that Wiscasset provided a direct link to market via transshipment to commercial marine vessels.  In the early years of the Franklin County connection scheme, that would have been coastal schooners, connecting to Portland, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, etc.

There's my first question:  how easy was it to make said arrangements?  If you had a mill in Franklin County, and wanted to ship finished lumber to Baltimore via the narrow gauge and Wiscasset, was it a lot of trouble to arrange it?  Did a maritime connection at Wiscasset automatically mean you had a broader market for your product?

Next question: produce.  Presumably the principal haul for the two foot empire would have been based on the timber available in Franklin County.  Sure enough, there was plenty of other business, but it would seem lumber was backbone of the Sandy River's success.  It seems to me that the FS&K would not have increased the quantity of Franklin County's output or lengthened the use of the Sandy River system to move it.  Hence, the empire might have lasted about the same length of time as the SR&RL and WW&F actually did.

It's tantalizing to think that maybe a positive answer to the first question- that the maritime connection at Wiscasset opened new and expansive markets- would have led to a better answer for the second question- that the empire may have outlasted real history.  But then- if it were that successful, perhaps the empire would have been scooped up and swallowed by the corporate machine what was standard gauge railroading.

Maybe Maine Central sensed that potential success and felt thus compelled to stop it.

Enough rambling.  How long would the empire have lasted?

See ya

Work and Events / 2017 Spring Work Weekend
« on: February 26, 2017, 01:17:59 AM »

The board discussed a basic priority list for Spring Work Weekend in 2017.  

1.  Make main line extension down the mountain serviceable for work movements.  
2.  Repair sheepscot station platform
3.  Complete door project in coach 8.  (Edit)
4.  Humason trestle retaining wall (Edit)
5.  Possibly extend the mill siding.  
6.  Main line maintenance.  
7.  Possibly begin a spur into ML&M.

The lower numbers are more iron clad than the higher ones, though we still have time to optimize the list.


Work and Events / Victorian Christmas 2017
« on: February 06, 2017, 03:52:16 PM »

We are considering a new format to Victorian Christmas this year:  running the event two consecutive Saturdays, with reduced hours each day (11AM till 3PM).

The reasoning is mainly to protect against a bad weather event, such as in 2016.  Secondly, if both days have good weather, a potentially large crowd would be dispersed over two days instead of one.

The reduced hours include what are normally the busiest hours of the current event.  The horse teams are only there during these hours (11-3), so this is one way to ensure all visitors get an equal experience.

A major concern is whether we can crew the event for two consecutive weeks; as such we have gotten some mixed reaction from the board and regular volunteers.  For this reason we are posing these questions to the general volunteer corps:

1.  Would you volunteer for one or both days of this event?
2.  Are you generally in favor of this move?

Feel free to answer here or at


Work and Events / Easter Eggspress 2017
« on: February 06, 2017, 03:46:16 PM »
Hello All,

This is a general call for help for Easter Eggspress, Saturday, April 15, 2017.  The Crew Calendar isn't quite up yet, but we want to get feelers out.

In particular- we are looking for non-train crew help to assist with executing the egg hunt at Alna Center.  Perhaps you have friends or family members, who have not or not often volunteered, who would help us provide direction to the kiddos who are coming to have fun in the field that day?

Let us know here or at


Museum Discussion / August 2016 WMTW TV piece
« on: August 14, 2016, 09:10:14 PM »
WMTW, the local ABC news affiliate, sent an associate today to do a piece on us.  It should appear in tonight's 6:00 news.

Thanks to Joe Fox for arranging it and Steve Z for hosting it. 


Museum Discussion / Hand Spiking vs. Power Spiking
« on: April 18, 2016, 11:00:02 AM »
Perhaps the next step is an attachment for a jack hammer to drive the spikes.  That would help those of us who are getting a little long in the tooth for swinging a spike maul.

Jack hammer to drive spikes-- ahhhhh!  

Way back when we always had the idea that we were rebuilding the railroad by hand, they way they used to.  One by one we made compromises- each for very specific reasons.  The obvious one is the tamper- the reasoning that the railroad was never burdened with hand tamping stone ballast in the first place.  

I always figured the last bastion would be hand spiking- the literal building of the railroad by hand.  It has come up before and I figured it'd come up again; someday we may even need to move on to power spiking if the majority of the crew is giving up on hand spiking.  Maybe that's sooner than later, I don't know.  But the above, and below, conversation should be had.

If power spiking is to be adopted, there are mechanical realities involved.  Jack hammers are not used; spiking hammers are specific devices that are enormously heavier than a tamping hammer (as a point of reference).  They are so heavy that unless you're built for this work, can't be effectively controlled.  Most of our current spikers wouldn't be spiking.  They're so hard to control that quality goes down the tubes.  They way one can start a spike tight and draw a rail by hand spiking- may be possible with someone with extreme skill on a power spiker, but I suspect not by any of us.  All in all its not a lot of fun; between the noise and the logistics of setting this thing(s) up and dragging it around, the dynamics of our volunteer force rebuilding the old railroad out in the Maine woods would completely change.  

Personally I group radio communication and power spiking in the same place, for us.

Just my opinion!  Figured the two sides deserve hearing out, as they have been in the past.

See ya

Museum Discussion / Number 9 Boiler Jacket Final Report to NRHS
« on: March 18, 2016, 02:18:27 PM »
We have written a final report in conclusion to our obligation to NRHS for their grant to recreate number 9's boiler jacket.  Thanks to Ed Lecuyer for leading this effort; he got substantial input from Steve Piwowarski and myself.

The report has been posted on our website.
It can be found here:

Happy Reading!

Work and Events / Victorian Christmas 2015
« on: December 19, 2015, 11:50:28 PM »
1558 riders.  18 round trips; 6 trips per engine.

All of our crew performed absolutely fabulously- thank you everyone!!!


Volunteers / November 2015 Work Planning
« on: November 03, 2015, 12:27:37 PM »
Been a while since I've posted on the weekday effort but I mean to do so more regularly.  So here's an attempt!

Yesterday, Monday, Nov 2, Jonathan finished making connections from the tank to the injectors.  Last week he finished the vacuum brake plumbing- this all major plumbing on no 9 is complete.  Some of it has been removed for paint access.  Brendan continues work on interior tank braces.

Today Josh is up to essentially complete no 9 electrical.  Tuesday Phil (Bleauvelt) will likely finish the steam line to the generator, while I'll make some slight mods to the frame casting to clear a washout plug and then work on vacuum brake and generator exhaust lines.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, we'll switch the yards out, do some minor inspection work at the bridge and make a repair to a ToM switch.  Starting Wednesday we're going back to very limited access inside the tent so Stewart and Marcel can work on finish application of wood cab components, paint, and varnish, without worrying about us marking up the paint job mid way through.

Thursday will likely see some coach brake mods as we give the paint crew space...   We'll also begin on a new plow mounting arrangement for 52 soon.

No 9 is nearing a test fire, as you may have guessed.  It won't be this month- as it looks now...

See ya

Volunteers / March 2015 Work Planning
« on: March 02, 2015, 10:09:01 PM »
First week of March:

Making swab cups for the piston rod packing glands.

Spring modification to allow more rocking.

Figuring and making main rod bearing shims to center left piston.

Prepping for ring installation.

Jacket polishing to continue Thursday.

A few other odds and ends.

See ya

Work and Events / Steam in September, 2014
« on: August 31, 2014, 11:51:50 AM »
General announcement,

We have revised our September 2014 operating plan to include steam motive power in all Saturday and Sunday trains.  Subject to the normal crew and equipment availability disclaimer- but we feel confident with both. 

Will try to arrange for similar postings and updates to facebook and the website.


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