Author Topic: A few stories ...  (Read 161363 times)

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #60 on: August 28, 2011, 12:04:52 PM »
Story #23   No Steering Wheel -

A couple of weeks ago I had the railcar on the Bay 1 lead getting ready for the next Saturday afternoon trip.  As I checked the gas tank, a lady and her grandson came over to look at the car.  I explained the basics of the Model T conversion and why the two-footers used them.  The grandson listened intently and said "Hey Gram ... let's get tickets to ride this car"   The grandmother looked everything over and said in a solid downeast accent,  "I'm not gettin in that cah - it doesn't have a steerin wheel".  

I explained how the flanged wheels keep the car on the track.  She listened for a minute but stuck with her decision not to ride.   She and her grandson walked over to the platform and took the 2 o'clock train.  A few minutes later we waved to the people on the train as it passed the railcar at Alna Center.
  
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 10:26:48 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine »

Craig "Red" Heun

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #61 on: August 28, 2011, 02:32:13 PM »
Did you tell her that 10 doesn't have a steering wheel either? ;D

Bill Fortier

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #62 on: August 28, 2011, 10:01:38 PM »

The grandmother looked everything over and said in a solid downeast accent,  "I'm not gettin in that cah - it doesn't have a steering wheel". 

I explained how the flanged wheels keep the car on the track.  She listened for a minute but stuck with her decision not to ride.


Of course it has a steering wheel. It's underneath and that crank in the side turns it on. Superb turning radius, too, but it pulls to the left.

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #63 on: August 30, 2011, 11:25:36 PM »
Story #24   Smart Bird -

When I was a teenager I worked Summers on my neighbors farm.  One of my jobs was to cut a field that was up on a hill.  I used a tractor with a sickle bar side cutter.  The field was bordered by woods on the North side and each time I cut I noticed a hawk would fly out of the trees and follow me. Smart bird.  He knew that I would scare up mice so he would have an easy lunch.  

Yesterday I was on an inspection train that ran to EoT.  Steve and I took #52 out to check the line after the storm.  We ran light, going slowly watching for blow-downs.  The railroad had no damage in fact the only down tree of any size was across the Averill Road.  The interesting thing was that as we cleared the South Yard Limit at AC, a hawk flew over and followed us until we got up to the grade crossing.  He then turned and went over into the woods.  I watched his flight but didn't think anything more about it.  Today we had visitors from Maryland at the museum.  It was a picture perfect day so I took them out on the railcar.  We worked up to Rose Wood and turned for the trip back to Sheepscot.  As we passed the North Yard Limit sign, the hawk appeared from the woods.  He flew alongside of us, about 30 feet up.  He followed the Model T until we got to the station and veered off towards 218.  Beautiful sight.  

I figure that the hawk is either a railfan or he knows that a train can flush out prey.   At Alna Center he can have dinner and a show.  
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 10:31:36 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine »

Craig "Red" Heun

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #64 on: August 30, 2011, 11:39:54 PM »
When I was learning to fly floats out at Twitchell's in Turner, on the Androscoggin, a Bald Eagle would fly right in front of the plane at a particular point in the take off run...Turns out there was a nest in a tree on a small island in the river that was by the take off area...someone told me that they try to lead you away from the nest....so maybe we have a nest nearby   ???

Pete "Cosmo" Barrington

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #65 on: September 01, 2011, 02:22:50 AM »
Well, even though it wasn't up theyah, I did get to see an Eagle the other day flying behind the riverboat down here at The Valley.
I've seen one perched in the trees along the CT Riverbank from the boat, (probably the same one) and though I've seen them closer in captivity, that's the closest I've seen them in the wild.
However (here's where I tie this into the WW&F) about 15 years ago (just about this time of year, actually,) I drove all the way down from Ellsworth to Sheepscott, spending a couple days there and making my way back north, following the line as far as Unity. This was when the "Sweedish Steamer" was running up there, so I was taking pics when I saw an Bald Eagle soaring high above. It was way up there, but I could tell it had the white head and neck.
Later, on the way back to Ellsworth, I grabbed a sandwich and found a spot along the road to stop and eat. It happened to be where the B&A (Later the MM&A) crossed the road.
As I sat on roof of my pickup, I noticed the "Indian Moon" rising in the east. As I watched it, a young eagle, too young to have the white head, flew directly into and across my field of vision!
Wow!
To this day, I believe this was my closest encounter with an eagle.

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #66 on: September 05, 2011, 11:05:42 AM »
Story #26   The Old Way -   

Saturday we had a fellow from Canada visit the railroad.  I spoke to him on the station platform after he had done some shopping in the gift shop.  He told me that this was the first time he had been to Sheepscot and how nice the museum is.  He also commented on the period light fixtures on the buildings.  I told him that Josh, our talented electrician has an interest in old electrical technology did the install.  He told me that he is also an electrician and that he recently did a repair and re-wire of an old building near Quebec.  He said that the structure was wired in 1915 and that there were changes and additions made through the late 1960's.   He added that it was quite a job getting things straightened out so that the breakers weren't kicking all the time.  The funny thing was that the 1915 era knob and tube wiring was in good shape and caused no problems but the 1950's and 60's wiring was worn out and had shorts.  He said that he got the building rewired but saved some of the old knob and tube system because the owner wanted to keep it.   The fellow advised that - Canadian codes allow historic wiring to stay in service if it was installed new in the building and it is in good condition.  Smiling, he said "you gotta love 1915 technology".  I told him that I couldn't agree more ... sounds like a good motto for our museum.

   
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 10:35:01 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine »

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #67 on: September 12, 2011, 01:09:08 AM »
Story #27   Good Neighbors -

Two local young people were walking along the north end of the railroad today around noon.  The train crew consisting of Gordon, Steve Z., Fred and J.B. stopped the train and offered them a ride down to Sheepscot.  They accepted and climbed aboard.  At Sheepscot they thanked everyone as they detrained and headed towards 218.  We didn't think much more about them until 4 o'clock when the two young ladies showed up with a fresh plate of home made brownies.  They were so happy to have been given a train ride that they went to their home and baked enough brownies for everyone at Sheepscot, including other visitors.  They just missed the 4 pm train so we put them in the railcar and took them to AC where they handed the plate to the engine crew then boarded the train, walking through handing out treats.  Our last trip became a desert train.  Needless to say we gave them a free railcar trip to Eot and back.   I think we'll be seeing them again ...
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 10:37:50 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine »

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #68 on: September 19, 2011, 10:56:15 PM »
Story #28   The WW&F's good name -

Cindy and I just got back from a trip to NH and VT.  Things got started on Friday when we met Joe Fox and his girlfriend Dawn at N. Conway and headed over to Clarks Trading Post in Lincoln.  (Friday was Joes first day off from rebuilding the Conway Scenic's track that was washed out by TS Irene).  Clarks railfan weekend was planned for Sat and Sun but Joe had to work the weekend CSRR trains so we went over on Friday.  Clarks was not open but there were 3 crews with 3 engines steamed up, preparing for the weekend.  My friend Leon was runnng the Climax and spotted Joe and I walking across the parking lot.  He waved to me so we walked over to say hello.  I introduced Leon to Joe and they got to talking.  Joe told Leon that he started at the WW&F and now also works on the CSRR.  Leon joked about two narrow gauge railroaders being lost in the NH woods and invited us into the cab.  We talked for a few minutes and Leon got orders to get four log bunk cars from the woods siding across the river.   We rode with him as he worked the engine up through the yard and around the curve towards the river.  I think we heard every sound the Climax makes as we ran through the old covered bridge.  We set out some passenger cars at the end of the main and then came back to get the log cars from the siding.  Joe and I took photos and helped with the "reach" which is the stiff-shackle from the locomotive to the log bunks.  We then ran back to the yard to switch the cars to another engine on the river track.  It was a great experience, especially going through the covered bridge.  After a while it was time for us to go and Leon told us that any time "us WW&F" guys were in the area we should stop by and see him.

On Saturday Cindy and I rode the Conway Scenic notch train.  It was a beautiful trip up through the White Mountains and Crawford Notch, past the Presidential Range.  Joe was working but stopped by our car from time to time to see how things were going.  I was wearing my WW&F hat and a number of people asked how things were going with #9.  One fellow said that Sheepscot was the best railroad museum he has been to.    

Sunday found Cindy and I touring Vermont, tracing the old St. J. & L.C. RR.  We saw the surviving covered bridge at Wolcott and then went back eastward.  We then drove down Vermont Rt 5 to see the famous round barn.  As we went past the Passumpsic Railroad we saw the Plymouth moving some cars.  We stopped in and found that a group from the NRHS was getting a tour.  We walked to the station and listened as the engineman was explaining the locomotive to the group.  He turned to say Hi to us and noticed Cindy's WW&F shirt and asked us if we were from Maine.   We said yes and a fellow in the group said "Oh, I've seen you at the WW&F" He was wearing a WW&F denim shirt.  We were invited to ride the train and got in the caboose where we met the Conductor, Kyle Stockman.  He knows the WW&F, in fact he knows Joe and Jason.  After the ride he gave us a tour of the enginehouse and showed us their beautiful Heisler.  It's the only operable steam locomotive in VT.  

Monday was supposed to be a non-railroad day (is there really any such thing??)  The weather was sunny in Jackson NH so Cindy and I drove up to Glen to see how Mt. Washington looked from the valley.  The summit was clear so we decided to drive up the auto road and get some photos.  First, we stopped in at the Glen House gift shop to look for 150th Anniversary Auto Road items.  I found a special commemorative 1861-2011 plate and took it to the cashier.  I mentioned how nice the gift shop is and that my wife works in a railroad gift shop in Maine.  The fellow behind the counter said "Oh, the WW&F?"  I said yes and he told me that he's a member of the Mystic Valley RR group and knows about the museum.  He said he plans to visit next year.  

We drove to the top of Mt Washington and the weather was great.   Conditions were clear with light wind and temps around 40.  This was the first time I've stood at the summit sign and didn't have to hold onto it.  We saw coal smoke drifting up from the western slope and walked over to see the first train backing down the mountain.  I got a few photos of the steam train and then went to the visitor center to look around.  A while later, two of the lines new bio-diesel powered engines brought a large school group up and I went over to photograph their arrival.  I took a few images of the trains and one of the crew noticed my WW&F hat and gave me a wave.  I waved back and thought "hmmm, the WW&F is well known ... even at 6,288 feet".  

Good vacation.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 10:44:15 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine »

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #69 on: September 26, 2011, 06:58:22 PM »
Story #29   The Sutler -

A couple from Pennsylvania rode the railcar last month and I talked to them about the museum's Victorian Christmas trains while we waited at Alna Center for the SB train to clear.  When I mentioned the horse drawn sleigh they said that it sounded wonderful.  They told me that they have a horse farm and provide about a dozen horses for people who ride in a Civil War Cavalry unit.   The fellow put it this way, "We run a Sutler business for Civil War historians who are Cavalry men".  They explained that they have a number of clients who rent horses from them every year, and that the same people often rent the same horses.  They added that "the horse and rider build a working relationship over time".  Sutlers train horses to work around musket and cannon fire so they will be accustomed to battlefield operations.   Horses are trailered to the site by the farm's own trucks.

They also provide the correct 1861-1865 era military saddles, bridles, blankets and tack for the riders.  I have been to a number of Civil War events at Gettysburg, etc. but never thought about the Cavalry units horses.  I figured the officers and company had their own mounts but now know that a Sutler can furnish horses to a unit.  I told the couple that I grew up in Maryland and have been to a number of Civil War sites, starting in Pennsylvania when I attended the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1963.  The fellow, John was glad to hear that and said that he was at the 100th Anniversary as well.  He said that's what got him interested in Civil War history and going into the Sutler business.  He told me that he purchased the horse farm in 1978 and started renting horses in 1982 (it took a few years to train the horses).  He added that some of his horses were used in the filming of the movie Gettysburg.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 10:50:03 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine »

Pete "Cosmo" Barrington

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #70 on: September 27, 2011, 01:31:01 AM »
Wow.... great topic. I always loved that movie and that period in history.

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #71 on: October 09, 2011, 11:29:33 PM »
Story #30   A Backward Glance -

During this year's Fall Work Weekend, a special award ceremony was held on Saturday, October 8th.  The event honored the members who worked at the first Fall Work Weekend in 1997.  After the members received their 15th Work Weekend pins they spent a few moments remembering how things were in the 1990's.  

* Zack Wyllie remembered how bay 1 (the only bay there) looked the first time he came to Sheepscot about 1991.  "The building had no paint and there was no one around.  I thought there wasn't much happening so I didn't come back for a couple of months.  Later, I was working in the area and stopped by.  The shed was painted and I met Harry.  I started helping and one Saturday I came and waited for a long time.  Harry arrived and said that he only worked on the railroad every other weekend.  That soon changed to every Saturday and I've been here ever since"

* Fred Morse said that he heard about the railroad and stopped by one day to see what was happening.  He added that there was a small group building track so he jumped right in.  He's been having fun ever since!

* Dana Deering told us that Fred was the first person he met.  He said "I walked up to where the track crew was working and Fred handed me a shovel.  He told me to shovel stone between the ties and I thought ... I am home! During the 1997 track weekend, we built the first curve at Davis.  The neat thing was that we could finally run the train far enough that you didn't see it from the station.  That was a big accomplishment."

* Stewart Rhine recalled that the same "first day" thing happened to him.  Track work on Columbus Day weekend and Fred handed him a shovel.  Right then he was on the track crew.  Stewart said, "That first year, 1997 I came to Sheepscot for the railroad.  After that I came back to see the friends I made.  The October 1997 track weekend was the first time a goal was set, to finish the first curve and build the first crossing.  The work weekend went so well the Jason and others decided it should occur every year.  Everything that we have now has been built by those who were here before and everyone that is here tonight.   Sheepscot is a wonderful place."

* James Patten told us that he joined in 1994.  He remembered how flatcar 118 was the first car used to carry passengers.  A couple of years later we had box 309 and it was sometime used for passengers.  James has memories of building the yard and most of the mainline.

* Marcel spoke of rebuilding boxcar 309 with Zack and finding the names of the original WW&F employees who rebuilt the car before.  He added that the car was used for passengers for a while when the doors had not been installed.  He also mentioned getting engine 9 running on compressed air in 1996 and again in 1997.

It must have been good stuff since everyone sat quietly listening to the stories.  A number of newer members told me that we should have made a video while we were reminiscing.  Well we weren't that organized.  I can say that Steve Hussar has filmed interviews with a number of members who were involved in the early days of the museum, 1989-95.  The videos are in the archives and may be available at some point.

It was a nice time to share thoughts and memories with our WW&F family.

« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 11:09:24 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine »

Mike Fox

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #72 on: October 10, 2011, 10:43:37 PM »
Fred was my first encounter at the museum also. He stood at the end (then shorter) of the platform and said "Are you filks here to work or are you here to ride?". We rode that day. Very quick trip. Harry had the railcar there. I don't think I have been as fast on those rails since then.
Mike
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Bill Reidy

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #73 on: October 11, 2011, 01:35:03 AM »
Fred was also a very early encounter (if not first) for me when I made my first visit during the spring 2001 work weekend.  Fred made me feel very welcome, telling me "there's plenty to do" that weekend.  That was the weekend cockeye curve was completed, out to Sheepscot Mill.  Met several new friends at the museum that weekend, and many more since.

Come to think of it, every time I've stopped by the museum since, Fred always tells me "there's plenty to do" that day!

I really enjoyed hearing the stories Saturday evening from members involved with the work weekends from the beginning.  I agree, Stewart - it was great stuff.

The Saturday of Labor Day weekend, I had an opportunity to stop by the museum and help out a bit.  That was the day the oak near the end of track was taken down for timber for the dairy car to be built for display along the Wiscasset waterfront.

After we completed taking the tree down at the end of the line and brought the useful timber back to Sheepscot on a flat, I had some time to stop and watch the Saturday activities at the museum.  I saw families having a great time.  Many were taking the steam train out to the end of line and back.  Some were enjoying model T rail car rides with Stewart.  And youngsters were having a great time on hand car rides in the yard with Bob Cavanaugh.  All in all, just a great place to be on a summer weekend.  A big reason I enjoy being a small part of the museum.
What–me worry?

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #74 on: October 14, 2011, 11:25:48 AM »
Story #33  Julius -

One of the best things about the work weekend is seeing members who come to Sheepscot for special events.  Julius Stuck, the museum's oldest active member comes up from the Cape a couple times a year.  He usually works as the station agent at AC.  Julius was born in 1917 and some of his earliest memories date from the early 1920's.  I spoke to him on the train one afternoon as he was going back to Sheepscot for supper.  He told me of how things were when he was a kid.  He said "I remember my family getting their first radio set.  It was a table top Atwater-Kent that took a while for the tubes to warm up.  My father had an antenna on the roof.  We used to tune across the dial listening for a signal.  When a station came in we listened for a while to see where the broadcast came from.  I remember hearing stations from Chicago and West Virginia.  We picked up stations from all over the eastern U.S. and Canada, there was no interference unless there was a storm."

The train rolled south, thumping across Humason Brook trestle and Julius told me another interesting memory.  "I used to play in the house and someone would call out - There's an airplane coming!" He noted that back then planes flew low and slow so you could see them for a while.  He added "We'd all run outside and watch it go over, seeing an airplane was a rare thing."

Thanks Julius for your wonderful stories.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 11:12:02 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine »