Author Topic: A Cab Ride to the Junction Part 1  (Read 1708 times)

Roger Whitney

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A Cab Ride to the Junction Part 1
« on: May 10, 2012, 04:24:04 PM »

   Many of us have been fortunate enough to have had a cab ride in either Monson 3 or 4 at sometime or another.  My first was at Edaville way back in the ‘60s when I was a kid.  Later I’ve had the experience of enjoying the Portland waterfront as viewed from a Monson cab.  Moody said that he didn’t ride the Monson cabs much because they were a “little too soon” and “cracking a skull and parting a man’s hair in the middle.” I never had much trouble with that and it was worth a little part in my hair anyway.
   Lets go into the station and get a ticket …maybe we can get a cab ride too! Harold Morrill is in the station office sitting at his desk.  As we come in, he comes to the ticket window.  He is a very polite man and we ask if we could ride the cab. We buy a ticket (40 cents each) and  Mr. Morrill said just ask the engine crew for the cab ride.
   Albin Johnson was firing and Elwin French were running No. 3 today with a light train.  We asked the crew if we could ride the cab. They said sure come up. It was only a few steps “up”. Albin politely asked us to stand behind the engineer so he would have room to swing the coal scoop.  Like everything else on this two-footer, the scoop was really pretty small com pared to the big B&A engines.
     Elwin was busy adjusting the Detroit lubricator while Albin put the finishing touches on his fire.  The low rumble of the injector indicated he was putting a little water in the boiler, probably to keep it from popping off.
   Elwin, who was running today, asked Albin who was firing if he was all set.
   Albin replied in the affirmitive, shutting off the injector and closing the blower valve. Elwin started the lubricator, shoved the Johnson bar full ahead and pulled out on the throttle a little.  He whistles off and is immediately on Water Street. 
   We cross Mill Brook which is really just on the south side of Water street.  Albin informs us that we have about half a mile to go to Stevens Crossing.  By now we’re rolling along nicely about 10 mph.  A few light shovels of coal go on the fire.  Albin explains that it will be an easy trip down as we have a light train and we will be dropping from about 800 feet in elevation to 422 feet at the junction. 
   Just before we get to Stevens Crossing, we roll along on a long narrow fill which seems to be heavily ballasted with waste slate. Elwin says that there was a long 645 foot trestle here built when the railroad was built. Somewhere around 1890 they filled it in with wasted slate from the quarries. It averaged about 15 feet in depth and took them about a year and a half to fill it all by hand labor!
   Elwin blew for Stevens crossing, and Albin started the injector.  Its about another half mile to the Portland Monson Slate Company siding and long shed. Albin said they used to haul a lot of slate from here, but business has dropped off for several years. You could tell, there were a lot of weeds growing up between the rails.
   Another half mile and we rumble over Hammond Brook trestle.  Albin opens the unique Franklin firedoors and puts a few scoops of coal on the fire. The grade then levels out a little and then drops down slightly as we cross over Pullen’s Cattle Pass and approach Day’s Crossing and the flag stop. 
   There’s a flag up at the shelter indicating someone wants to get on the train, so Elwin applies a little steam brake and comes to a smooth stop at Days.  Albin starts the injector again and cracks open the blower valve. We’re about half way, maybe a little more to the junction.
   The next blog will take us the rest of the way!