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Author Topic: Interior photos of Maine NG yard offices  (Read 7195 times)
Donovan Gray
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« on: March 29, 2012, 03:07:24 PM »

Does anyone have photos or know of sources for same for interior photos of Maine narrow gauge yard offices?  We have a display at the Museum here in Portland we're trying to tweak to make more authentic.  Response directly to polardog@comcast.net would be appreciated.
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John McNamara
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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2012, 03:27:12 PM »

Does anyone have photos or know of sources for same for interior photos of Maine narrow gauge yard offices?  We have a display at the Museum here in Portland we're trying to tweak to make more authentic.  Response directly to polardog@comcast.net would be appreciated.
I vaguely recall seeing pictures of railroad presidents in their offices, but not pictures of a yard office. I think of a roll-top desk, a candlestick telephone, a large wall calendar, and a couple of well-stuffed clipboards hanging on nails. In fact, for a NG yard office, the roll-top desk and the telephone may be too much.

-John
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Stewart "Start" Rhine
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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2012, 03:53:56 PM »

Donovan,

     The Maine 2 footers didn't have Yard Offices like the MCRR or BAR.  For one thing they had smaller yards and switch moves were often dispatched from the depot.  There were yard/shop offices at Wiscasset, Phillips and Bridgton but we don't know how much control of the yard each one had.  I know of no interior photos except the Phillips shop pictures in Two Feet Between The Rails and the WW&F shop views in Two Feet To Tidewater.  As John noted, a roll top desk may be a bit much for a shop office.   If you want more you could broaden (tough word for us two footers) the scope of your display to include the type of things found in the agents office.  Consider that the SR&RL main office was right there in Phillips and controlled mainline and yard moves and the WW&F dispatched from it's Wiscasset station.  This means the "Yard Office" was actually the dispatcher/main office.  With that in mind you could have the roll top desk, candlestick phone, a nice wall regulator clock, track/yard map, red and clear hand lanterns, etc.

Stewart
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 04:22:17 PM by Stewart Rhine » Logged
Stewart "Start" Rhine
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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2012, 04:21:00 PM »

Forgot to mention -

If you visit the WW&F, please let me know and I can show you the interior of Sheepscot station.  It has a small roll top desk, 1912 vintage typewriter, framed 1920's timetable on the wall, crank telephone, weight driven wall clock, wall bracket oil lamp and lots of period railroad/steam era books.

Stewart
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Keith Taylor
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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2012, 02:11:31 AM »

Did any of the Maine narrow gauge lines use Morse telegraph equipment?

Keith
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Joe Fox
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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2012, 01:02:35 PM »

I don't believe any of the two footers used telegraphs. Many of them relied on timetable. If any used the telegraph, I'm going to guess maybe the SR&RL, but I don't think they used them either.
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Stewart "Start" Rhine
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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2012, 01:35:37 PM »

Keith,

I think Joe is correct.  As far as I know, the two footers did not use telegraph equipment.  There are photos showing poles in some places along the right-of-way of the SR&RL and B&SR but I believe their larger depots had telephone lines.  We know from letters sent from the SR&RL in Phillips that the town phone number is listed.  The equipment was probably installed sometime after the MEC took control.  By WWI, most major towns had telephone service so it makes sense that the railroad offices had lines.  The WW&F's Wiscasset station had a town telephone line and I've always wondered if the pair of wires running across the trestle to the upper yard shop was an extension of the telephone circuit.  The other possibility is that the pair was for an intercom loop between the station and shop.  They would have had a crank telephone at each end with storage batteries providing talk voltage.  This is just a guess as there is no documentation of such a system.  

The mag phone system at the museum works with vintage equipment and batteries at each phone.  I like to think that we are using equipment just like the original two-footers did in the 1920's and 30's.

Stewart
« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 01:41:07 PM by Stewart Rhine » Logged
Keith Taylor
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2012, 02:09:35 PM »

Thanks Joe and Stewart;
I know on the railroad where I started (The Lehigh Valley) there were magneto block lines that the train crews used to communicate with the operators at the towers, but the dispatcher used a Morse telegraph to talk to the block operators. Most of the branches didn't require even a block line as they were operated under time table train order authority.
It is always interesting to learn about the different methods of dispatching trains back in the day. No GPS back then!
Keith
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Eric Bolton
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2012, 06:33:57 PM »

"No GPS back then!" AMEN!!
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« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2012, 01:01:53 AM »

Glad there wasn't GPS back then, the trains would have kept taking the wrong tracks.
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Mike
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Philip Marshall
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« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2014, 04:55:19 AM »

Did any of the Maine narrow gauge lines use Morse telegraph equipment?

Keith

Actually, several of the Two-Footers did have telegraph, though the lines were under the formal control of outside vendors such as Western Union rather than the railroads themselves.

According to the Railroad Commissioners' Report for 1910, the SR&RL had 47 miles of telegraph line owned by Western Union, the B&SR had 16 miles of telegraph owned by the Bridgton Telegraph Co., and even the Monson reported 6 miles of telegraph line owned by the Northern Telegraph Co. The WW&F and Kennebec Central on the other hand did not have telegraph lines in 1910 -- and probably not in later years either.
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Stewart "Start" Rhine
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« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2014, 01:27:18 PM »

Thanks for reporting this Philip.  It was fairly common for telegraph companies to run a pole line along the tracks and in some cases the railroad had a wire for their own use on the cross arm.  The railroad circuit would be a type of payment for allowing Western Union, etc. to use the R-O-W.  There are photos of the SR&RL showing the lines but as far as I know it was a commercial circuit. From what I've seen, the break iron at the stations was for telephone pairs. Most of the photos showing a com line were taken post 1915 when a number of towns had telephone switchboards and the railroad had a circuit.  If anyone knows of telegraph dispatching in Franklin County let me know.
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Pete "Cosmo" Barrington
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« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2014, 05:44:26 AM »

It is a shame my uncle Craig Starbird can no longer ask his father Virgil as the Sr. Starbird passed some time ago. As I recall, he was quite a fountain of knowledge about all things Franklin Co. during and after the railway.
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Philip Marshall
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« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2014, 10:37:06 AM »

Crittenden's Maine Scenic Route includes a reproduction of the 1908 SR&RL rule book in the appendix.

Here is Rule No. 11: "Signals will not be carried by any engine for trains, except by order of the Superintendent. Orders to carry signals for trains must be given by regular telegraphic order, same to be given by telephone for all points not reached by telegraph."

And Rule 27: "A Red Flag or a Red Light shown at telegraph stations signifies that orders are awaiting the train, and Conductors and Enginemen will go to telegraph office immediately and sign for such order."

There is also Rule 23 requiring log trains coming off the Eustis to contact the dispatcher in Phillips for clearance before entering the main at Eustis Junction, but it doesn't say how this communication was to be made. (Rule 24 imposed a similar requirement on log trains coming off the Mt Abram branch, but specified that contact be made by telephone.)
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Stewart "Start" Rhine
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« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2014, 09:01:22 PM »

Good information Philip.  What remains to be answered is whether the SR&RL had their own dedicated com line on the pole or did they just use the commercial telegraph circuit.  Does anyone know what company provided telegraph service to Franklin County?  There may have been an agreement with that company for the railroad to message at no charge or a reduced rate.  Did the SR&RL switch to telephone dispatching in later years?  We know that telephone service was used by the SR&RL for contact to the outside world as I have company letters with a phone connection listed.

Stewart
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