Author Topic: Electric Locomotives in the Monson Slate Quarries  (Read 2852 times)

Dylan Lambert

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Electric Locomotives in the Monson Slate Quarries
« on: July 07, 2012, 09:49:25 PM »
Reading through Moody's account of his two foot tomfoolery (as recorded in The Maine Two-Footers), he stated how the internal parts of the quarry (i.e the mines and tunnels) were home to two foot gauge electric locomotives. However, he didn't descend to the mines to document them, on part due to a rickety elevator. Were the locomotives ever documented in some form? What happened to this operation? Is there anything to suggest there is still something in the mines? Has any sort of exploration or mapping of the mine railway been done? Does anyone even know how much trackage was in the mine? And more importantly, how did they get the locomotives down there?

Cliff Olson

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Re: Electric Locomotives in the Monson Slate Quarries
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2012, 04:07:05 PM »
Except for a couple of casual references, I have seen no documentation of electric railways in the Monson slate quarries.  Whatever rolling stock existed presumably was removed at the time the quarry in which it was located was abandoned.  The electric locomotives probably were lowered into the quarries by the same derricks that hoisted blocks of slate (and lowered workers in the wooden boxes that Moody referred to as "elevators").

Cliff Olson

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Re: Electric Locomotives in the Monson Slate Quarries
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2012, 01:52:25 PM »
According to John Tatko, owner/manager of the Sheldon Slate Company's Monson operation (former Portland-Monson Slate Co.), the Portland-Monson did not use electric locomotives in its quarries.  Slate was moved from tunnels into the main shaft by means of winches.
John did think that electric locomotives had been used by the Monson Maine Slate Company in some of its tunnels.

I have also heard that MMSC sometimes used horses in its quarries to move slate from tunnels. The horses, wearing blinders, were lowered into the main quarry by derrick. One such horse, at the end of the work day, reportedly would go on its own to the daylight end of the tunnel and wait to be lifted to the surface.