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Messages - Fred M. Cain

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1
Group,

I guess the only thing I have left to say is that you guys have done a most outstanding job of saving and preserving a highly unique piece of Americana that was very nearly forever lost.

A big thank you to all of you guys for what you've done.

Best Regards,
Fred M. Cain,
Topeka, IN

2
Ed,

I think that was a good post.  I cannot disagree with what you're saying.  If I'm understanding you right, these other projects are of a higher priority than additional track expansion but neither do you want to see such expansion forgotten about, if I understand that right.

Once S.R. 218 is reached, plans to extend the line further can go on behind the scenes.  In fact, I suppose that can even be done now.  In the future I hope to be able to make more contributions to track expansion as funds become available.

Best Regards,
Fred M. Cain

3
Fred,
Don't worry. We never stop planning...we are already loosely discussing where we want to be 5 years from now..

Mike,

Thanks for your response.  This is reassuring.  As for Graham's contention that an aggressive expansion plan might cause real estate values to rise, well, sure it could.  I guess I didn't mean that such plans would need to be made public.  In fact, I like the way you've been doing this.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I really suspect that you've enjoyed good community support so far and that really is a blessing.  I also tend to suspect that most land owners who also happen to be supportive would be willing to sell or at least lease the right of way.

I can relate something from where I live in northern Indiana.  Right now a bicycle trail is being promoted over the roadbed of the Wabash railroad that was abandoned very nearly 35 years ago.  The railway (NS) has since sold some of (but not nearly all) of the right of way to adjacent land owners.  So, the bike trail people now need to negotiate with the land owners to reacquire the ROW. 

Much of our community supports the trail and that's a plus.  But the only reason I'm bringing this up is to point out that it CAN be done whether it's a bike trail or a two-foot narrow gauge rail line.   I hope and pray that the WW&F can one day reach Albion.  Or if not, maybe we can at least get close.

Best Regards,
Fred M. Cain,
Topeka, IN

4
Group,

I scanned through the messages in this rather fascinating thread and just wanted to put in my two cents here.
My two cents are actually this:  MAKE NO SMALL PLANS !

I would like to say that the ambitiousness and determination of you volunteers who chose to “take the bull by the horns” and actually attempt to rebuild a long abandoned rail line is what deeply inspired me and caught my interest in the first place!  I plan to make future contributions in your endeavor !

In my own honest, personal and humble opinion, the WW&F should just plain “shoot the moon” and make it a firm, long-term goal to rebuild the entire rail line as it existed when it shut down in 1933.  If we can firmly commit to such an ambitious goal, in the end we might not quite achieve all of it but we will get much further than if we merely make it a long-term goal to just build a couple of miles on the other side of State Route 218.

Reading through the thread, I was just a bit dismayed by the fact that there is not more consensus on how far to take this thing.  Based on some of the literature I’ve been sent (especially the last issue containing the history of the museum) it appears that you have generally good support in the local community.  That is very, very important.

One comment was made in this thread was that once State Route 218 is reached that that would be a long enough ride for the “average tourist”.  Maybe not.  After all, the Durango & Silverton is a pretty long ride and they have met with success.  C&TS is even longer and, as an all-day affair, that really does push the envelope just a bit.  But would the entire line as it existed in 1933 be too long a ride?  I don’t really know but I don’t think so.

One thought I had about crossing 218.  This is more a “paper barrier” than anything else.  The possibility should be explored to see if the MaineDOT would permit a grade crossing protected by crossbucks ONLY under the special condition that all movements would first stop and flag the crossing.  That would obviate the need for expensive lights and gates which could run up to around 200 grand.

I don’t know what to do about the dam, but hey!  The WW&F has some really good talent at figuring things out just like that bridge over the creek.
I would like to suggest that these issues are at least given some very serious thought even before the “Mountain Extension” is complete so that you don’t lose momentum once State Route 218 is reached.

Just my two cents. 

Keep on railroading !

Regards,
Fred M. Cain,
Topeka, IN

5
US Two Footers / Re: Two-Foot Gauge Electric Trolley Line
« on: March 18, 2019, 06:06:47 PM »
John,

Point taken.  I should've put "[SIC]" after "codeine" because, you see, I did not write this.  I was only quoting it.

Regards,
Fred M. Cain

6
US Two Footers / Re: Two-Foot Gauge Electric Trolley Line
« on: March 15, 2019, 02:16:13 PM »
Group,

There’s one more thing I’d like to say about this.  I first discovered this 24” gauge trolley back in 2012 on YouTube when I accidently stumbled upon it while searching for something else.  The first scene that I saw of a box motor coming at me fooled me and for a few seconds I thought it was a real interurban railway in a museum or something.

Well, after doing some more searching on YouTube back in 2012, I found an explanation and a brief history of the line (which I can no longer find on YouTube) but I had “copied and pasted” it to a light rail transit forum.  THAT I found again.  So, here it is, copied and pasted.  This guy Griffith was really creative and even found a way to get wheels and rails from abandoned mines.   Sadly, he passed away in 2013.

A short history of the RRVT, as everyone has been asking for: This railroad was started around 1950, by a Mr. S. Griffith. It started as a single short stretch of track, a flatcar with a motor on it and an extension cord for power. This flatcar actually provided the base of the Birney car, #656, still in operation today!

Mr. Griffith began building this railway because he was basically unsatisfied with the experience that model railroading provided and wanted to be able to ride on the train (as most of us do!) and being a trolley fan this type of setup made perfect sense.

A good friend of his was an electrical engineer for various electric railways around the Chicago area, which helped immensely in designing the power distribution system and acquisition of electrical equipment. He began acquiring rail, wheels, and misc RR parts from old mines, factories, and through trading with other people he knew in the railfan circles. Over the last 60 years and with the help of a few people the railroad has grown to almost a mile run through the woods.

Most of the cars on the line are very close to their original condition as when Mr. Griffith built them, although I have upgraded the control and drive systems to improve operation. All of the cars were built between 1956 and 2004. You could say that this line has outlived the lifespan of nearly all of the electric railways that once existed in the US! Everyone has been asking where the line is located, and while I would love to have the company and show off some of this wonderful equipment the exact location of the line will be kept private for the time being, due of course to insurance reasons.

30 years ago this was not a concern but everyone is so sue happy these days I cannot afford to risk it. I will tell you that we are located in northern Illinois, with a BNSF line to the north and a UP line to the south. The line is powered from 240V AC power, utilizing 3 substations strategically placed to ensure even power distribution.

The rail is used as "ground" and the overhead wire is energized at 240V potential. Most of the cars have now been changed over to DC motors, with a 36V golf cart motor being the most common traction motor. A power supply onboard the car converts the 240V AC power to the 40V DC needed by the motor or motors, the speed being controlled with home brew chopper type systems. Air brakes have also been added to nearly all of the cars as their traction systems were updated.

We work on the line one day a week, usually Sunday since the rest of the week is taken up with a paying job! Currently in the works is the replacement of the signal system, which I installed originally around 2001 but has been a problem due to the trees and branches constantly knocking down the codeine.

The new system is wireless which will allow for a CTC indicator panel to be installed in the carbarn with little work. The carbarn was recently expanded to include a lean-to building for storage of rolling stock, and a new 12' flat car was built this year for tie and rail hauling. Once things warm up again we will be spreading ballast along the line and upgrading the high speed straight sections of track, and one of our crew members has been very busy installing new ties along much of the line. I hope to get some videos of us making these improvements, although sometimes it is tough to run the camera and work at the same time! Thanks for all the comments and enjoy.



Regards,
Fred M. Cain

7
US Two Footers / Re: Two-Foot Gauge Electric Trolley Line
« on: March 14, 2019, 05:16:35 PM »
Better still, here's a link to the playlist of RRVT videos.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCFC53FF777C8520B

Jeff S.

Thanks for that Jeff !  The newest video on there is about five years old now but the guy I heard from from the RRVT told me that he is planning some new videos to be uploaded this spring.

Regards,
Fred M. Cain

8
US Two Footers / Re: Two-Foot Gauge Electric Trolley Line
« on: March 14, 2019, 05:14:44 PM »
I wonder if this is a video of a run on the line?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bnt11a9OYBk

Jeff S.


Yes, most definitely.  They have almost ¾ of a mile of track but with some loops and duplications in it, the total ride is about a mile long.

Regards,

Fred M. Cain

9
US Two Footers / Re: Two-Foot Gauge Electric Trolley Line
« on: March 14, 2019, 12:38:17 PM »
I have been trying to contact the guys at the RRVT and finally got some good news back.  I also received some rather bad news.  The guy who started this project – from scratch – was one Stan Griffith who, sadly, passed away back in 2013.

The good news is that a couple of his “partners in crime” are still operating the line, adding track and building a new electric locomotive.  This almost sounds to me like the very early days of the WW&R R.R. group although it’s electric – not steam.  The WW&F was also once a real, for-profit railroad where this obviously is not.

Nevertheless, it is only about four hours from me so that it’d be easier for me to get there to help do track work than it would be for me to come to Maine although a trip to the WW&F is most certainly on my “must do” list – for someday.

Here is a system map of the RRVT:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3ywUal6flY

Regards,
Fred M. Cain

10
US Two Footers / Two-Foot Gauge Electric Trolley Line
« on: March 13, 2019, 11:31:41 AM »
Group,

I'd like to bring your attention to a home-built two foot gauge trolley line that was evidently scratch built by a guy named Stan Griffith somewhere in northern Illinois.  At times it almost looks like a realistic Midwestern interurban trolley line from the early 1900s.

Here is a video of the railroad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8ku8OLRBD8&feature=related

But if you click on the usercode of the guy who posted it, bring up his page then click on "VIDEOS" you will see that there are oodles and oodles of them on there the most recent one being about five years old.

I had asked some questions about this on the TRAINS Magazine forum 'cause it's kinda hard finding info on this little pike and someone shared this link with me that tells me a little bit more about Mr. Griffith's project:

https://web.archive.org/web/20110502075113/http://www.docstoc.com/docs/27431145/THE-TWO-FOOTERS

I was just wondering if anyone in Maine had heard about this.

Regards,
Fred M. Cain,
 Topeka, IN


11
Work and Events / Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« on: June 11, 2018, 11:41:27 AM »
So, is this slated to be the permanent end of the line or are there aspirations  of eventually crossing State Route 218?

Regards,
Fred M. Cain

12
Work and Events / Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« on: April 05, 2018, 06:13:17 PM »
James,

Congratulations on a job well done, first of all !

Reading through the online newspaper article I couldn't help but get the impression that you have good support from the surrounding community.  That is most certainly not a bad thing!

Regards,
Fred M. Cain

13
Original Railway / Re: Mapping the W&Q and the WW&F
« on: March 28, 2018, 05:10:26 PM »
Hi Bob,

The red line depicts the W&Q's proposed extension from the end-of-track in Albion north to Burnham.
The old right of way still survives, but I have not tracked if myself and can only assume that it has become badly impassible  in at least some few places. 

Perhaps someone else has more information on the current status of the old Burnham extension. 

Best Regards,
Glenn

Yes, indeed.  I am new at this, too.  What do the sections in red indicate?  The above explanation cannot be complete because there are several short sections indicated in red between downtown Wiscasset and State Route 32.  The Albion - Burnham section now appears to be indicated in white.  Do the red lines indicate sections where the ROW has been completely obliterated? 

This seems to be a really fascinating area.

Regards,
Fred M. Cain,
Topeka, IN

14
Can anybody update this thread from 2008?  Have they added any new track since then?

Regards,
Fred M. Cain

15
Can anybody update this thread for me?  I'm trying to find out how much track SR&RL has and what (if any) their expansion plans are.  I sent them an e-mail to their website online contact form but did not get a response.

Perhaps we have another active thread on this, I don't know.  Anybody have any info on this?

Regards,
Fred M. Cain,
Topeka, IN

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