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Author Topic: A few stories ...  (Read 103450 times)
Stephen Hussar
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« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2010, 08:30:20 AM »

Another EXCELLENT bit of history re-visited, Stewart! Thanks for the posting! Hey, the more that truck drives around, the better!

Stephen
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Wayne Laepple
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« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2010, 01:36:44 PM »

This is one of the most interesting threads on this site. Finding out about people who visit the museum and the behind the scenes things that go on is fascinating, particularly to those of us who only get to Maine a couple of times a year. Please keep it going, while at the same time keeping it from drifting off topic. 
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Kevin Madore
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« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2010, 09:54:35 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.

Hi James,

LOL!  Cool!   Was one of them a tall, middle-aged fellow with glasses and wearing a Nikon jacket?   If so, I spent quite a bit of time chatting with them about the WW&F during the Lerro Productions Charter at EBT on the 17-18th.   That tall fellow...I believe his name is Ferdinand.....actually works for Nikon.   They came over here primarily for the EBT Charter, but were hitting as many other railroad sites as they could during their trip.   Glad to hear they made it up to Alna.

The black WW&F hats definitely are good PR.   I get questions everywhere I go...Durango, Virginia City, Jamestown, Orbisona, Cumberland....   Grin

/Kevin   
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James Patten
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« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2010, 10:05:56 AM »

Kevin,

So YOU'RE the one they were talking about that convinced them to come up.  They described you (very generally) but I couldn't think of who it could have been.  I thought they were talking about being at EBT for the Fall Spectacular, not for a charter.  Yes one of them was named Ferdinand (he gave me his card, that's how I remember) and matches your description.  The other didn't give his name that I recall.
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Stewart "Start" Rhine
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« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2010, 08:48:06 AM »

Story #7

As James noted in his work review, yesterday the Sunbeam turbine/generator was cleaned, repaired and tested.  I was in the shop when the turbine was connected to the shop air and started.  Gordon connected a 32v headlight bulb for load testing and the air was turned on.  The turbine whirred away and the shop was filled with light from the test bulb.  The test light reminded me of a story Harry told.  

Harry often spoke of things he remembered as a kid in the 1930s. He told me that prior to WW II, much of rural Maine had no commercial power.  He had memories of a mill near Weeks Mills that had a small 32 volt generator connected to the mills water wheel.  It supplied electric power to the mill and the millers' home.  He recalled that there was a set of large storage batteries in the millers cellar that held reserve power when the mill race froze.  He said that the miller ran the generator every day in winter, when possible and every other day in summer.  The only electric appliance in the millers' home (other than lights) was a large table top radio set.  The miller told Harrys' father that the generator cost about $1,200 and allowed the employees to work later in the day when the sun sets early in winter.  I asked Harry why the system was 32 volt and he said that many local plants used 32 volt because the equipment was easy to get.  It was the same as the railroads used.  The miller bought his equipment through a company that supplied the Maine Central.  The generator and its' drive equipment were delivered by the WW&F some time in the mid-1920s.   Harry added that the radio was one of the few in town and at Christmas some of the local kids went to the millers' home to hear programs on the radio.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 06:47:54 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine » Logged
Stewart "Start" Rhine
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« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2010, 08:33:37 PM »

Story #8

As you read in other posts, Victorian Christmas was a record setter.  It certainly was a great day. I worked much of the event at AC tending the bonfire and protecting the crossing as the engine ran through.  With the horse drawn wagon, bonfire and Santa, the visitors had such a good time!  

Around noon there was a group of ladies standing by the fire, watching #10 make the run around move.  As the locomotive came through the south switch, backing towards the train, she blew smoke rings.  One of the ladies shouted "look at the smoke rings!" Everyone turned to watch as the rings drifted up in the clear sky. There were a number of audible "WOWs" from the crowd.

There were a lot of small kids laughing and running around.  For some, their favorite thing was playing on the rock pile.  One parent commented that his little son was more interested in being king of the hill than seeing Santa.  At one point there was a group of teenage boys looking over the Model A truck.  I went over to talk to them and they asked to see the engine.   I opened the hood and they took turns looking and taking photos with their cell phone cameras.  Some of the adults came over and I answered a number of questions about the truck.  Everyone was surprised to hear that it's original, never been restored.  A bit later I was putting wood on the fire and a fellow got his iphone out and told me he wanted to shoot video of the bonfire.  As he positioned his phone someone said " hey, lets sing for the mans video".  The man said that would be great so we all sang Gingle Bells while he shot the scene.  He liked it so much he said he was going to post the video on his facebook page.    

Zack, Marcel and I were around the fire and a man came over who works for one of the large railroads.  He told us how much he enjoyed riding the train and what a nice operation it is.   He said with a laugh that his company could learn a few things from the WW&F.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 06:48:34 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine » Logged
Tom Casper
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« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2010, 01:05:35 PM »

Stewart,    Thanks for posting the notes about Victorian Christmas.  Makes a nice read.  Sounds like the crowd really was into it!

Tom C.
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Stewart "Start" Rhine
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« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2011, 09:00:59 AM »

Story #9

Few are the folks who remember the Maine two-footers in regular operation but last Fall the train ride provided a bit of nostalgia for one passenger.  I met the spry 94 year young visitor and her daughter on the 2 o'clock trip.  She told me how she rode the narrow gauge from Farmington to Phillips a couple of times in the 1930's.  She remembered that it was a "pretty ride" and that the scent of fresh-cut hay came in through the open coach windows.  I asked her if she had ridden the WW&F and she said "no, my family didn't get over this way until after the war" (WWII).  She asked me when the original WW&F stopped running and I told her 1933.  She told me she would have guessed 1936 and I asked why.  She said "Oh, the storm of course"  I told her that I had heard of the hurricane because it took out the WW&F's bridge at Whitefield.  She remembered the flooding and damage.  She told me she was staying at a relatives home in Keene, NH at the time.  She recalled being at the kitchen sink, looking out the window towards the farm buildings.  "The wind was growing stronger when all of the sudden the roof came off the barn...  I ran down in the cellar as fast as I could" she said.  Afterward she saw many damaged homes and her father had to take different roads because some were closed.  She told me "I'll never forget that storm."

The train crossed Humason Brook (southbound) and the ladys' daughter said "This is a nice ride, I'm glad we came".  I said that I was glad they did, and it was a real pleasure talking to them.    As the train pulled into Sheepscot, the lady remarked "Thanks for the ride, you just took me back 80 years".  
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 06:51:35 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine » Logged
Stephen Hussar
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« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2011, 11:26:21 AM »

Awesome. Thanks, Stewart!
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Ira Schreiber
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« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2011, 04:32:10 PM »

This is a wonderful example of the heart of the WW&F.
We should all be proud when reading this.
This is our reward................

Ira
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Bill Reidy
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« Reply #25 on: January 16, 2011, 10:21:24 PM »

It sounds like our 94 year young visitor was talking about the severe rain storm that struck New England in March 1936, following a severely cold winter.  The heavy rains, on top of the deep snow pack led to major ice jams and flooding throughout much of New England.  I understand it was this event that took out the Whitefield iron bridge, and I suspect it would have doomed the railroad if it hadn't already gone out by that point.  You can search the Maine Historical Society's Vintage Maine Images at http://www.vintagemaineimages.com/ for "1936 flood" to find several many images from this event, including many from Brunswick.

I believe the hurricane Stewart is referring to is the great New England Hurricane of 1938, which struck on September 21st.  This storm also created great damage in New England, although I understand most of the flooding damage was in southern New England.  There was some terrific wind damage up north, especially the timber land in northern New Hampshire.  Much of Jacob's Ladder on the Mount Washington cog was destroyed by this storm.

- Bill
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Hunt Dowse
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« Reply #26 on: January 17, 2011, 08:30:34 AM »

The storm of 1936 was severe here in southwest NH and was the final blow to the standard gauge RR that ran from Nashua through Hancock's Elmwood Junction and over to Keene.  I live within about a mile of the old Elmwood Junction where the east-west Keene Branch intersected the north-south Winchendon MA to Concord NH Branch.  The flood took out several short bridges here in Hancock as well as others on the way to Keene.  That there was a standard gauge road here still boggles the mind  since the track layout could be described as tortuous at best.  It would have been much easier to do a 2 - footer here.  Like so many other short RRs of the era, the Keene Branch ceased operations after '36 although the Nashua trains were still running over the tracks to the Monadnock paper mill in Bennington up to about 10 years ago.  That rail is still there just in case the need arises ever again.  The remaining RR ROW east/west as well as north/south provides great running/walking and riding trails in all directions.
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James Patten
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« Reply #27 on: January 17, 2011, 03:28:32 PM »

This letter recently came into my hands.

Dear WW&F Rwy,
On Sunday, Sept 5 2010, my sister and her family and I visited the railway.  We arrived in time to take the 2nd train of the day.  While we were waiting to board, the conductor asked my 12-year old nephew, Josiah, and another boy if they would like to try out the handcar, which of course they did.

Then when we reached Alna Center, to our complete surprise, Josiah was invited to ride in the cab of #10 for part of the trip.  That made his day.  As he said to me afterwards, "That was cool".

This was also meaningful to us all in another way.  In the 1960's my father was an engineer on #10 (#5) at Pleasure Island in Mass.  It was wonderful to have Josiah ride in the locomotive that his grandfather operated almost 50 years ago.

I'm sorry I did not get the names of the crew members who worked on that trip, but on behalf of Josiah and his family, please thank the conductor and engine crew very much for making our visit so memorable.
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Stewart "Start" Rhine
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« Reply #28 on: February 06, 2011, 09:16:01 AM »

Story #12    Snow!

Six of us worked the plow extra yesterday.  Jason ran #52 and Ed G., James, Steve Z., J. B., and I took shovels, switch brooms and a pick.  The snow was 2-3 feet deep, mostly powder.  We ran 52 out of the shop and got it stuck in the low spot right outside the door.  Much shoveling freed the locomotive and we proceeded to run toward the mainline switch.  The next round of shoveling cleared the switch points and throw rod so we could line for the yard.  After getting some tools from the tool shed, we ran North clearing the line.  We stopped at Jaynes Way crossing and shoveled the South plow ridge.  We cleared a small amount of ice in the flangeways and Jason backed the locomotive about 4 car lengths.  We rode the running boards as the engine worked Northward through the crossing, breaking through the snow on the other side of the road.  Snow was flying in all directions, some up over the plow.  The engine shuddered a bit but moved right on through.  We couldn't see anything for a few seconds.  When the air cleared there was snow all over the engine and us.  Fortunately the day was sunny with temps in the 30s so it wasn't too bad.  We proceeded North working through some heavy drifts.  Snow was rolling off of the plow like ocean waves, it was pretty.  We stopped and shoveled Sutters and Sheepscot Mills.  Steve stayed at SM to clean out the road and the rest of us worked up to Trasks.  Plowing across the fills was interesting as the snow washed down the slopes over 20 feet.  It was about noon so we ran back, picked up Steve and went to lunch.  The kitchen crew had some great chow and it was hard to leave the warm house.  We collected ourselves and ran back to Trasks'.  There were two people on snow shoes at the crossing.  We chatted with them as we shoveled out the South plow ridge.  Fred showed up just in time to help pick-out the flangeways.  We made quick work of the snow and again got on the engine to run at the North side.  The folks at the crossing backed up to watch as we came through.  I looked back as we pulled away from the crossing and everyone was waving at us ... they must have enjoyed the show.  Alna Center had some snow mobile traces at the crossing but things were in good shape.  We ran all the way to the red flag then came back.  The rails were clear and drying off in the bright sunshine.  We cleaned a lot of snow off of #52 and put the engine back in the shop.  We were some tired but the line is clear ... it was a good experience.  
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 06:54:48 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine » Logged
Gordon Cook
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« Reply #29 on: February 06, 2011, 02:26:53 PM »

Bravo, Gentlemen!!! Thank you, thank you all.
An excellent idea to clear the line while the snow was still light and fluffy.

Down heah the rain yesterday has turned the snow into 2' of heavy, wet, crusted over mush. This morning ice skates could have been used out of my door. My kids' house had serious ice dams with water dripping down between the walls, and I spent some time on a 2 story high pitched roof trying to clear some of the snow from the eaves. I did live to tell the story, as you can tell.
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