Author Topic: A few stories ...  (Read 127007 times)

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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A few stories ...
« on: July 24, 2010, 01:58:59 AM »
Story #1

Working at the railroad is a great experience, especially during the week when visitors show up and there's more time for one on one conversation.  Just this week I have met a number of interesting people.  

There was a fellow from Toronto who's father grew up near the WW&F in N. Whitefield.  He told me he was using Google Earth to look at what was left of the grade.  He panned South and was shocked to find track.  He was so curious that he searched out the museum on his next trip to Maine.  He was very happy to see engine 10 and took a bunch of pictures.  Later that same day there was a visitor from Florida who wanted to see our shop.  He had heard from a friend that we have some nice machines.  I could tell that he knew about shop work and I asked him what he does.  He told me that he has a foundry that makes replica cannons from the Revolutionary War era.  He was on his way to Fort Ticonderoga to meet with the curator.  He took photos of most of our shop machines and was very happy to have seen the place.  Another day brought more visitors, including a retired school teacher from Arizona.  He asked me if the museum was the place where engine 9 was kept.  I said yes and gave him a tour showing him all the parts of the locomotive.  He was very happy to hear that she will steam again.  He said that he had seen the engine once before (in CT) and that it didn't look like it would ever run again.  I asked him when that was, he replied that it was in 1950.


Good times...
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 10:43:49 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine »

Dale Reynolds

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2010, 01:01:06 AM »
hey stewart, you are lucky, when tim blanchard and i keep the place open on tuesdays in august we usually get loudmouth men with whining wives... maybe this year will be different. dale

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2010, 10:28:12 PM »
Story #2

I stopped by the railroad today and was only going to be there for a few minutes...  when a car pulled in and a fellow and his wife got out.  The man had his camera and asked me if he could look around.  I could tell by his accent that he was from the UK.  I opened the shop building and toured them through.  When he saw #10 he asked how old she is.  I replied that she is 106.  He said that his home town railroad had a locomotive that is 145 years old.  I asked him where he was from and he replied that he lived in Towyn, Wales and worked as a guard and signal man on the Talyllyn Railway.  His wife added that he has been involved with the Talyllyn for 50 years.    I told him that I have the book "Railway Adventure" by L.T.C. Rolt about how the Talyllyn Railway was saved.  He said, "yes, the Talyllyn was the first historic line rescued in the UK in 1950 - 51".  Note: the Talyllyn is a narrow gauge line built to the unusual gauge of 2 ft. 3ins.  It served a quarry up in the mountains at Bryn Eglwys.  It is a very popular tourist operation today.  

I asked them if they had a half hour to spare.  The fellow said that their flight back to England was leaving Portland at 6 Pm so they had an hour or so before they had to head south.  I invited them to take a ride in the T Railcar.  After signing out - off we went.  I showed them some things along the line and opened AC station for them.  During the trip we discussed the Talyllyn and the fellow told me how to pronounce the name of their oldest locomotive, Dolgoch.  It sounds like "Dogoff"  

We got back to Sheepscot with time to spare so I gave them some back issues of the WW&F newsletter. They thanked me for the ride and newsletters and the fellow added that he was glad to have some narrow gauge material to read on the plane.  Well, I now have an invitation for a cab ride on the Talyllyn ... guess I'll have to book a trip with Patten Travel.  

I didn't expect to greet visitors in my torn jeans and paint splattered T shirt but I'm glad I did.  
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 10:44:27 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine »

Jason M Lamontagne

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2010, 10:40:31 PM »
Great story and this shows one of the greatest values of our new railcar.  Thanks, Stewart!

Jason

James Patten

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2010, 11:06:58 PM »
Patten Travel would be happy to have you book a trip with us.  We have over 5 satisfied customers!

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2010, 08:45:59 AM »
Story #3

Cindy and I went to New Hampshire last weekend and one of our stops was Clarks Trading Post.  The park had their annual Railroad Weekend where most of their equipment is operated.  I wanted to get a ride on their former RF&RL railbus since it is the only SR&RL/Phillips built bus that has the original REO engine and trans.  It was a great ride, especially when the driver was shifting gears in reverse!   We also rode behind the Porter on the river line which I had not been on.

The only negative thing about the visit was that their Climax locomotive was sitting cold on the station siding.  It is a beautiful engine and I was a bit disappointed that she was not in steam.  During the shop tour I noticed a 3X5 foot sign board with photos of the running gear and an explanation of the broken drive gear that took the engine out of service.  I think it was a good idea for the management to show visiting railfans what happened to the locomotive and I didn't hear anyone complain about the engine not running.  The sign was a good way for the public to see what is involved in maintaining a fleet of historic locomotives.  

Maybe the WW&F should have a descriptive sign board about #9's rebuild.  It would help explain what is happening with the various parts of the locomotive and the work required.  The sign could be by the boiler or in the shop.  
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 10:44:53 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine »

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2010, 11:54:24 PM »
Story #4

Yesterday, a camper with Iowa plates pulled into the Sheepscot station area.  The driver was a fellow on his way back from touring Nova Scotia.  He told me he wanted some photos of the railroad for a friend who volunteers at the Iowa Threshers museum.  He said his friend has not been to Maine but has been following the WW&F's progress on line and asked him to stop in Maine and get pictures of the buildings and rolling stock.  The visitor knew little about narrow gauge railroads so we had a conversation about the basics of the Maine Two Footers.  I showed him through the buildings giving brief explanations of the cars,etc.   He even helped me push the railcar outside for pictures.  He took about a dozen photos using Kodak slide film!  

The experience reminded me of how important the web site is.  Thanks James and Ed.  You never know who may show up at Sheepscot or who is visiting the web site or forum.  It also reminded me of how volunteers can help visitors understand what they are seeing.  

A while back I was watching the HBO series Band of Brothers with my father in law.  It is a well done series but there were a few things I didn't understand.  (I don't know much about aviation, especially during WWII).  My father in law had a long career in aviation and answered my questions about aircraft types and their markings.   The information gave me a better understanding of what was taking place and I enjoyed the production more because of it.   It reminded me of what it is like to look at an artifact and not fully understand what it is or what it was used for.  Some of our visitors are in that situation and the volunteers can make the difference.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 10:45:16 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine »

Stephen Hussar

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2010, 12:52:16 PM »
This is a great thread. Those of us who have spent lots of time at the museum get quite used to the place -not in a bad way, because although being there never loses its magic, there's nothing like that first time you drive up to someplace, walk around and see it for the first time. So every once in a while it's nice when you happen to catch someone's reaction...and you get to see it through their eyes.  

That happened to me Saturday morning, October 9th. As we brought No 10 out of bay 1 into the morning sun, and as we pushed the nose of the engine past the wide open door on the east side, my focus shifted to several people standing on the platform watching us. I happened to look right at a woman who was caught completely off guard at the sight of this ancient looking piece of machinery, silently gliding into her view. At almost the exact instant I saw her, she said out loud and in absolute amazement, "look at THAT" to the few people nearest to her.

There's nothing like a child's reaction on a grownup's face.



 
« Last Edit: October 19, 2010, 12:14:20 AM by Stephen Hussar »

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2010, 11:55:57 PM »
Stephen, You put it well!  The WOW effect to a new visitor is something special.  

Story #5

A recent experience reminds me of it ... Cindy and I drove up to Moosehead Lake last week.  The Fall colors were beautiful and the trip was a nice drive.  The reason for traveling to Maine's largest lake was to see Mt. Kineo.  I have a photo of the mountain taken by Wallace Nutting in 1923 and it looked like a facinating place.  We stopped in Greenville and had lunch by the steam boat dock where the Katadin is moored.  It's the last of the old steamers that plied the lake.  We then drove up to Rockwood and parked where the old Maine Central / boat transfer station was.  We walked out to the end of land and looked North across the vast lake.  There in the distance was Mt. Kineo, a solid rock mass rising nearly 2,000 feet out of the middle of Moosehead Lake.  The wind was kicking white caps up and it felt a lot colder than it did in Greenville but we didn't care.  What a view!

Now I know what Zack has been talking about all these years when he suggested that I go up there.  Yep there's nothing like seeing something special for the first time.  I won't soon forget my trip to see Mt. Kineo and I hope most first time visitors leave the museum with the same feeling of seeing something amazing.  
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 10:46:11 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine »

Glenn Byron

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2010, 03:01:17 PM »
Just for those who cannot retrace Stewart's trip to Kineo and Moosehead, I just obtained a copy of a 2000 published book called "The Old Somerset Railroad- A lifeline for Northern Mainers" written in fine railroad lingo by Walter M. Macdougall.  This is a first hand collection of stories of the building and operation of the Somerset Railway before the purchase by Maine Central, as well as the ride to the end when the upper portion to Rockwood was abandoned. The soft bound book is very weak in the binding, but strong in content.  We had Mr. Macdougall give a talk in Norridgewock a couple months back, and what a thrill this man is to listen to.  No Matter what form of railroading you are into this little book will please your fancy, and don't miss him speaking if he's nearby.  Now, I haven't tried this, but for what it's worth:  Down East Books,  PO Box 679, Camden, Maine, 04843,  Book orders, 1-800-685-7962  is the information inside.  I got my used copy on line from Amazon.  I saw Stewart thumbing thru this book at my FS&K Railway display while we were at the Phillips Railfare last weekend.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2010, 03:03:18 PM by Glenn Byron »

John McNamara

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2010, 04:00:18 PM »
I became interested in the Somerset Railroad when I saw a topo map location "Somerset Junction" on the CP line. My efforts to find the Somerset line on available topo maps were thwarted when it turned out the topo maps were only available for before and after the existence of this short-lived railroad. Mr. Macdougall's book was a great aid in learning about the line.

To put a WW&F connection to this post, I might add that the topo maps for Alna  (1893, 1944, 1957) do not include the railroad. The road from Alna Center to the WW&F station is interesting, however. On the 1893 map, it reaches the West Alna Road in two places; in 1944 it's only one place; in 1957 it's just a "jeep trail".

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2010, 10:58:23 PM »
Glenn,  Thanks for letting me look through your Somerset Railroad book at Phillips.  Yep, the S. RR was an interesting line - the North end was mostly built to get passengers to the shore of Moosehead Lake so they could take the boat across to the Mt. Kineo House.  The Kineo House at one time was the largest hotel built on a fresh water lake in the Eastern U.S. even bigger than the Rangeley Lake House.  

John, There isn't much left from the Somerset RR but I was at the Cole Land Transportation Museum in Bangor yesterday and they have the old CP section house from Moosehead Lake siding which was near Somerset Jct.  The structure dates back to the era when the Somerset line was in service.  There is a Bangor & Aroostook velocipede on a short section of track in front of the shack.  
« Last Edit: October 21, 2010, 08:08:06 PM by Stewart Rhine »

Eric Larsen

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2010, 11:47:17 PM »
I've driven over much of the north end of the line.  (There is a short section that you can not drive on just north of Lake Moxie because the lake level has risen and it is no longer possible to drive from the end of the line to Bingham.  I do have two original Somerset switchlocks and one key.  Very interesting line.

James Patten

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2010, 12:31:42 AM »
A couple of guys from Switzerland came to the museum today - they'd been told about us by people at the EBT!  We stopped the train in a couple of places in the sunlight so that they could get some good pictures.  They stuck around for a couple of hours and left us some Swiss chocolate.

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2010, 12:04:58 PM »
Story #6  

Yesterday the museum's truck was dispatched to Head Tide to pick up a load of fire wood.  The logs, left from when the grade was cleared were stacked where the railroad crossed Head Tide Road.  The wood was loaded and taken to Alna Center to be used for the Victorian Christmas bonfire.  Fred and I unloaded the wood at the lot across the tracks from the station.  The truck then returned to Sheepscot.  This was the first time the Model A has been to three consecutive stations along the WW&F doing work for the railroad.  

We also figured that - Since the side boards were lettered with the flatcar stencils, yesterday was the first time that a railroad owned vehicle appeared in Head Tide with W. W. & F. Ry lettering in about 75 years.  
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 10:46:57 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine »