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Topics - Paul Levesque

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The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 / The Pittsfield Extension!!!
« on: June 03, 2018, 03:11:20 PM »
Found the following on Thursday
-Written Description of the W&Q Survey from Wiscasset to Burnham.
-Written Description of the W&Q Survey from Wiscasset to Burnham as Ammended. (I think this is the 'As-Built' description).
But most exciting of all...
-Written Description of the W&Q Survey from Burnham to Pittsfield!!!

I didn't get a complete group of images for the first one, I think I got all of the second one, but I have images of the entire Pittsfield extension. This is the official location and not a preliminary survey. There are some problems though that I haven't encountered in any significance in the other descriptions I have located. I may be able to find another description on Monday to resolve this though, so we will see where this goes.

But, you can follow the Pittsfield Survey roughly for now along the following points:
-Start at the third house east of the Sebasticook River on the north side of the Troy Road
-Head north across the island to the north shore of the river
-Continue north between the river and Route 11/100/ North Main Street
-The railroad appears to run north about halfway between the river and the road until you get to the house that is across the street from the long chicken barn
-Here I an pretty sure it swung west a little and that the power lines that are faintly visible follow the route roughly. (Portions of the Winslow Branch we later paralleled with pole lines.)
-So run north until you get to the dam. The dam wasn't built until 1929 so assume a straight line from where the power lines terminate across the impoundment to the opposite shore
-Still following road the grade would be running where there is now water, I think about two or three times the width of the road to the east.
-You'll eventually pick up a pole line again around where the impoundment widens significantly and Route 11/100 turns west, follow this
-When you get to Eel Weir Road the line would cross about two houses to the west of Route 11/100 and head north
-Now in the area to the east of the second curve in the reverse curve of Route 11/100 I get into a problem with the description, the described route, based on the headings given for the tangents, has the bed veering east, but the curves given have the bed going slightly west of north. There is a clear line to the south of this that runs SW to NE but I am confident that this isn't associated with the railroad but a gas/oil pipeline. So follow the clearing for the pole line again to Route 11/100 and cross the road about halfway between the Webb Road and the Sebasticook River.
-Go about to the MEC and veer east and parallel the tracks until you get to Raymond & Railroad Streets. This would be a logical end for a planned connection with the Sebasticook and Moosehead Lake RR to Hartland/Harmony as the wye is directly across the MEC from here.
And to support all of this there is mention that the sub-grade had been started and it is visible when studying a map with 2 foot contour intervals.

So, this is a long promised portion of the Franklin County Connection that I managed to uncover this spring.

The first piece here is the survey plan for the Waterville & Wiscasset Railroad, commonly referred to as the Winslow Branch.  This line took the railroad from China, in the village of Weeks Mills, to the village of South China, through Vassalboro and the villages of East Vassalboro and North Vassalboro, past the American Woolen Company's mills and the "Beanery" canning factory, and into Winslow.  The plan also will show you the planned route across the Kennebec River, through the lower end of "the plains" area of Waterville, across Summer and Silver Streets, across Messalonskee Stream and to the station grounds at Western Avenue and Cool Street.

The woolen mills in North Vassalboro were initially a tannery, the original buildings (wood frame) were taken down and the first of three primary buildings (brick) were built.  The oldest portion of the mill is the southeast building dating to the 1860's, then the center west building was built 1880's/90's and finally the southwest building was constructed in the 1900's/10's.  I am not sure of the exact dates and will check with Ray next time I pop in to visit.  The brick building on "the green" is where the company offices were located and now is occupied by a great store selling items from SEVERAL area artisans ranging from Rays own "Deadwood Designs" wood tables and crafts, to wrought iron fixtures, loads of jewelery, canned goods, soaps, and tons more.  Tell Linda that I sent you.

The Maine Central Station was located about 4/10 of a mile north of the WW&F station on the west side of the tracks near the current Winslow Automotive and Tire.  Until the Lockwood Mills were built in the beginning of the past century the industrial "heart" if you will was on Bay Street (RT 201) from the area of Fort Halifax (basically the whole green space) to the bridge to Waterville (I believe the eastbound side of the bridge was originally the trolley bridge and the westbound side was the former iron bridge for the roadway.

Lithgow Street would have been what I would have called the business center of Winslow, with the industrial center to the north.  At one time there were buildings on both sides of the street and the portion of RT 201 between the two ends of the street wasn't planned until the 1930's.1

Summer Street and Silver Street are show at inverse angles to their actual position, the distance between the streets actually increases as they head south.
The spacing of Oakland Street and Western Avenue as a little off, they apparently are generalized and just sketched in.  From the best I can determine thus far the railroad would have crossed Messalonskee Stream on a tangent with the current Wilson Park, which was sub-divided circa 1920.

Silver Street is named as such because the three wealthiest residents of Waterville lived on the street in the early 1800's reportedly with more wealth between them than the whole of Waterville combined.2  Cool Street was named for one of the earliest settlers.2

Note that there are scant station marks (the numbers written as '000+00.0 beyond the Vassalboro / Winslow town line and there are hardly any indication as to the degrees of curvature.)  Also in Waterville at Cool Street is a compound curve, one of two or three I think between this plot and the one of the W&Q from Wiscasset to Albion and the second W&Q from Albion to Burnham.

Also note that the measurements begin at 0 in Waterville and not Weeks Mills.  The Waterville station grounds on this plan and those shown on the FS&K through Kennebec county don't line up very well, so clearly there was a lot of this that was still open ended.

I haven't come across any deed transfers or damage claims for the ROW west of the Kennebec, and despite the stated scale on the plans of 1"=400' the numbers don't match up, sometimes they are WAY off, the only thing that is consistently on point are the degrees of curvature, I will point out the discrepancies later.

The commissioners records for all three counties though do have the damage claims listed for the W&Q, W&W, and the FS&K.

The Kennebec County Commissioners records for railroad right of ways are missing!  They are in three volumes and were never transcribed for ease of reading.
 Kind of a big deal in regards to Maine record retention laws.  No one knows where they are and the people at the state archives are not too impressed with this.  But, they are supposed to be on microfilm, somewhere, and the original books are supposed to be retained, so I will keep looking.

Also, i haven't come across any road crossing filings with the railroad commissioners covering the road crossings from the Winslow station to the Waterville station, about 6 crossings.  I am hoping that the Kennebec Commissioners records can shed some light on this.

Neither Franklin or Somerset County have any knowledge of similar maps for the FS&K through their territories but, they do have the written surveys copied into the original books laying out the railroad with direction, distance, and curvature information and most of it lines up very well with what we know was built and when it is merged into the Kennebec County plot of the FS&K.

More of course is coming!

The below images are linked, so clicking on one should take you to my uploads on imgur.


The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 / Burnham Overhead Crossing
« 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.


The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 / FS&K Ry - A little teaser!
« on: March 08, 2017, 09:34:00 PM »
Looky what I uncovered!!!!!!!!!!!!

Two little comments,

I will post more later, but be patient please I have many irons in the fire.

The entirety will be put on google maps hopefully by the end of spring!!

The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 / Mapping the W&Q and the WW&F
« on: April 10, 2016, 10:35:19 PM »
A little big project I have been working on is converting any maps I can into drawing files that can be converted into files that can be viewed in google maps and google earth and can be modified using more advanced software.

The first map I want to present is that of the W&Q crossing of the Maine Central Railroad Belfast Branch.  The map is derived from a photo mosaic of the original plans dated November 1897.  I also have jpg and pdfs of these with more details that I can e-mail, so message me and they will come your way.  They are print quality and formatted to be printed on 36X48 and cropped to 24X48.  Bring it to Staples, the copyright release is on the plan because some stores make a big deal over having a release.  Get it in black and white and it will cost you about $5.  I plan on hand coloring some that are framing quality and making them available later this summer.

More maps are forthcoming including a map of the entire railroad as built (as closely as can be drawn using a variety of sources), and as proposed (this is drawn in in AutoCAD but needs adjusting to account for the earths curvature).

Enjoy, and let me know of any errors either loading the page or technical.

Work and Events / Spring Work Weekend 2001
« on: April 26, 2015, 02:58:01 PM »
So, it has been a few years since I have been down to volunteer!  School, work, and life have all crept up.  But going through some things at the house I have uncovered a few pictures from 2001, a month or so before high school graduation for me, of the spring work weekend.

These are all scans of B&W prints taken with my old AE1.  Let me know off list if you would like a higher resolution or larger format.

I hope there are some familiar faces in there.

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