Author Topic: SR&RL Railway Almost Went Full Gauge  (Read 3458 times)

Glenn Byron

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SR&RL Railway Almost Went Full Gauge
« on: March 05, 2010, 08:06:40 PM »
Interesting news items from The Farmington Chronicle 9/22/1898: " The president of the Sandy River R.R. Line, Weston Lewis of Gardiner, accompanied by Mr. Dennis, a civil engineer, was in town last week and went over the Sandy River line to Strong.  It was stated their visit was made in view of changing the gauge of that portion of the Sandy River Railroad lying between Farmington and Strong from two feet to standard measure.  About the same time a dispatch was sent out from Gardiner to the effect this change was likely to be made.  Better terminal facilities, it is said, can be had at Strong than at Farmington, but we think if one looks about a little, some unoccupied territory conveniently located might be adjoined here, and if the change is ever made it will not be for scarcity of land hereabouts.  Whether there are other reasons sufficently powerful remain to be seen.  The change means a large outlay of funds."  My copy of this article is of poor quality and may not be completely accurate as I was centering on a FS&K news item above.  This same day the Farmington Chronicle reported a death in the MCRR/ SR&RL yard last Saturday of a S.D. Warren paper worker crushed by a moving box car.  The very next week the Famington Chronicle reports the death of another S.D. Warren worker at the Carrabassett rail yard.  Transfering freight in these yards must have been very dangerous.

Mike Fox

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Re: SR&RL Railway Almost Went Full Gauge
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2010, 12:10:36 AM »
There are some published pictures of some Standard gauge ties being used on the SR&RL, with the thoughts they might be going Standard Gauge. In Robert Jones' book, Two Feet Between the Rails if I remember correctly.

Strong would have made the logical choice to end the Standard Gauge, leaving the lines to Phillips and Carrabassett as they were.

Things that make you wonder. How long would it have lasted? Would it have hung on until they abandoned the line to Farmington? Something we will never find out I guess.
Mike
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Steve Klare

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Re: SR&RL Railway Almost Went Full Gauge
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2010, 12:21:06 PM »
If the re-gauged line was part of the Sandy River it may have caused the collapse even earlier. The two foot gauge line from Strong to Farmington was never over capacity, so basically all this would have meant was more operating expenses and money borrowed to do the gauge shift.

If the standard gauge became part of the MEC, it may have outlasted the SR&RL and caused the Farmington branch to come up even sooner.

Probably the best solution was what really happened: two foot gauge with heavier rail and bigger engines (#23 in particular...)

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: SR&RL Railway Almost Went Full Gauge
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2010, 02:51:11 PM »
Lots of "what ifs" here.  If the line was converted to standard gauge from Farmington to Strong (and was not dual gauged), the transfer sidings would have to be relocated to Strong.  There would also have to be a second turntable and engine servicing facilities for the s.g. in Strong.  The existing narrow gauge turntable could have been dual gauged but with much rebuilding and track work.  The SR&RL would have purchased a standard gauge locomotive if the line to Farmington remained in their hands.  Otherwise the MEC could have switched the line under lease or taken control of it out right.  MEC ownership means the SR&RL would have lost the customers south of Strong.  The Strong yard was limited by roads and businesses on the north and east side.   Expansion would have to be on the west side or along the south end.  If the SR&RL didn't own the land to the west of the station and n.g. turntable additional expense would have been buying more property.  If the SR&RL operated both portions of the line, the crews would have to be qualified on the s.g. equipment.  The track work in Strong would have been interesting with a larger yard with dual gauge switches and diamonds.

If the Farmington to Strong line was dual gauged engines 23 and 24 could have pulled s.g. cars using an idler car with off set couplers.  If the narrow gauge power did not handle standard gauge cars the s.g. locomotive could have been equipped with extra couplers (like the EBT s.g. engines at Mt. Union) to couple to n.g. cars.  The n.g. couplers would have been set pretty low on the s.g. engine.  

It would have been a sight to see engine 23 pulling a cut of MEC and BAR cars up to Strong.  
« Last Edit: March 12, 2010, 02:57:16 PM by Stewart Rhine »

Steve Klare

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Re: SR&RL Railway Almost Went Full Gauge
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2010, 01:21:52 AM »
This is a model railroader's fantasy!

I love dual gauge, and have always regretted the idea that the only patch of it on the two footers was the two little segments down in Bridgton Junction.

I wonder how the severe Standard to 2 Foot Gauge centerline offset would have effected dual gauge operations within the same train. It probably would have been best left in the yards at low speeds.

(The idea of a standard gauge engine shoving on a wood frame SR&RL boxcar seems like a recipe for firewood!)

Back in dual gauge days on the Rio Grande, narrow gauge passenger trains handled most passenger operations between Alimosa and Antonito because they were more fuel efficient. I wonder if on a dual gauged SR&RL passengers still would have broken gauge at Farmington

Once the MEC took over the SR&RL, would the standard gauge segment to Strong stayed SR&RL or consolidated into the MEC?

Dual gauge North to Strong?....nah! Dual gauge South to Livermore Falls!
« Last Edit: March 13, 2010, 01:24:22 AM by Steve Klare »