Author Topic: Reflections on 30 Years of the WW&F  (Read 6610 times)

Dana Deering

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Re: Reflections on 30 Years of the WW&F
« Reply #30 on: August 20, 2019, 10:15:27 AM »
I think Steve Z.  made some good points and one that I think, based on the responses, was missed.  I want to respond but I want my response to be thoughtful so I won't continue right now as I haven't fully put my thoughts together. 

Jason M Lamontagne

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Re: Reflections on 30 Years of the WW&F
« Reply #31 on: August 20, 2019, 05:32:21 PM »
Aspiration is a funny thing.

When I joined our organization in 1992 at 14 years old, I was three years into a deep study of the Maine two foot railroads, developing a particular appreciation for the public service to which these lines committed. As a kid- it was a wonder of the image of a two foot gauge plow train, complete with a caboose full of high-school-kid-helpers, working their butts off two two days straight, all for this mysterious and vague but obviously high calling purpose.

I never put a finger on it as a 12 year old, but I knew it was worthy of living on. So, without knowledge of Harry’s Sheepscot Valley Railroaders in any way, I began writing my 12-year-old version of rebuilding the railway, beginning in Albion. It was an elaborate plan that was all designed from Webb’s Economics of Railroad Construction, 1906. It was childish silliness- complete with analysis of balancing directional freight traffic flows, designing passenger commuter services, and amortizing maintenance costs.

Finally, at 13, I convinced my father to bring me on a tour of the line, beginning of course in Albion. I’d memorized the route of the road from Big Dreams & Little Wheels and Two Feet to Tidewater, so we found many of the nooks and crannies which held evidence. Arriving in Alna, pulling down Cross Road, I expected to find what I’d found everywhere else- barely discernible abandoned right of way crossed by a modern road.

Instead- there was 1/3 of Harry’s train shed, complete with 60’ of two foot gauge track. A single information sheet presented the Sheepscot Valley Railroaders mission: Rebuild the Railway.

I have many memories of Harry Percival. Most of them are fabulous and treasured. Relaxing comfortably in an empty wheelbarrow as he chatted with my father and I the first time I met him. Making a wild concoction of a lunch in bay 1 cafe “hey let’s add an egg! Sure! Hey let’s add some bbq sauce! Sure!” Looking up at from the brookville at Harry’s broad, proud smile after he and I, alone, managed to dump it 8’ down the embankment just above Sheepscot station (on Monday, February 20, 1995). Seeing loco 9 for the first time in Alice’s barn on a private trip with Harry. On the return trip, seeing Harry’s wild eyes as they met mine-  he’d just got into the driver’s seat of the car adjacent his own while I waited in his passenger seat at the grocery store.

I got a great many things from Harry. Not the least of which was sharing a dream, separately born but grown together. What stands above all- the most important thing I learned from Harry has nothing to do with the railroad.  Value your dreams. He never said this to me. He never had to. It was an implicit part of our relationship.

My childhood fantasy was his when he was a child. At 14 years old, Harry “borrowed” his dad’s lumber and began rebuilding the railroad on the old grade behind their red cape in Head Tide (yes, THAT red cape).

Harry didn’t just teach me to dream and keep dreaming, he taught me to believe in dreams. Harry taught me to aspire. Without Harry- my childhood fantasy paper on how to rebuild the railroad would be left behind as just that- just as most others in my life have advised to let go of fantasy. Instead- that paper was a first draft.

As to the Museum- we advance on the shoulders of those who have given so much to support Harry’s aspirations.

Aspiration is a funny thing.  With support, it becomes a lifetime.

ALAIN DELASSUS

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Re: Reflections on 30 Years of the WW&F
« Reply #32 on: August 21, 2019, 01:28:12 PM »
 Thank you Jason for sharing your amazing and touching story. Living one's childhood dream is something priceless. Meeting Harry and being friendly welcoming by him althouh you were still almost a child was the paramount factor of your story. The first day I came in Pithiviers on the AMTP to  help out as a volunteer I was very kindly welcome by those ,much older than me, who were around.At the end of my first day I looked forwards to coming back because  I  was aware that I was about to make my dream come true.

Al Michelis

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Re: Reflections on 30 Years of the WW&F
« Reply #33 on: August 21, 2019, 02:03:43 PM »
Thanks for sharing that Jason.  Even at my age, I find your story inspiring.

Bill Baskerville

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Re: Reflections on 30 Years of the WW&F
« Reply #34 on: August 21, 2019, 04:03:15 PM »
Jason,

What a wonderful story of your childhood dream and of Harry. It helps clarify what each of us brings to our railroad museum.

Harry is smiling proudly on your reflections and your accomplishments.

Thank you for sharing your childhood memories.
~ B2 ~ Wascally Wabbit & Gofer ~

Bill Sample

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Re: Reflections on 30 Years of the WW&F
« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2019, 01:59:14 AM »
Jason, I thoroughly enjoyed your memories of your early days at the WW&F.  I didn't get there that often, but I seem to remember one time back before the turn of the century meeting you at the WW&F during the time I was learning a lot about the 2 footers.  I think you had ridden your bicycle to the WW&F that day and you were primarily working on track at this time and you said your goal was to have track to the same standards as Harlan White had on the Sandy River.  I must have just finished reading one of Jones's Sandy River books as I knew of Harlan White's work.  I remember thinking that if this young lad was that familiar and interested in the history of the 2-footers then there is a good future up here.  Since then I remember talking with other younger members such as Joe Fox and more recently Bryce Weeks, Dan Malkowski and James Noblini to name a few - yes, there is a lot of good youth around there. 
Now that I'm one of the old timers at my "home" railroad museum I try to spend extra time encouraging new and especially younger members there, usually adding "I started getting into rail preservation back in the 1960s when I was your age."

Ted Miles

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Re: Reflections on 30 Years of the WW&F
« Reply #36 on: August 31, 2019, 01:03:31 AM »
This Reply to #14 looks like the picture i saw in Locomotive & Railway Preservation that introduced me to the museum. I have been admiring it ever since! Ted Miles, WW&F Life Member

Graham Buxton

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Re: Reflections on 30 Years of the WW&F: Tracklaying in 2003
« Reply #37 on: November 01, 2019, 12:03:27 AM »
I was looking for something completely different and stumbled on this RYPN article from 2003 titled "WW&F Fall Track Meet 2003" (aka Fall Work Weekend 2003):

http://www.rypn.org/articles/single.php?filename=041114021315.txt

Of course, this was prior to Elmer Gantry being constructed, so things are a bit different ...



More photos at that link, along with some [16 years younger] familiar faces.  ;)


Worth a look at the linked article.






Graham

Bill Baskerville

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Re: Reflections on 30 Years of the WW&F: Tracklaying in 2003
« Reply #38 on: November 01, 2019, 03:09:58 AM »
I was looking for something completely different and stumbled on this RYPN article from 2003 titled "WW&F Fall Track Meet 2003" (aka Fall Work Weekend 2003):

http://www.rypn.org/articles/single.php?filename=041114021315.txt

 ...




Worth a look at the linked article.
When I was half way thru reading the article I looked for the author as I thought it read like Wayne's writing.  I had to go to the index to verify that our good friend and very dedicated volunteer Wayne Laepple wrote the article.

Wonderful reflection on a part of the history of the Museum.
~ B2 ~ Wascally Wabbit & Gofer ~