Author Topic: Maine 2-Foot Grand Reunion >>>Photo Album<<<  (Read 716 times)

Kevin Madore

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Maine 2-Foot Grand Reunion >>>Photo Album<<<
« on: January 29, 2020, 10:54:22 AM »
Folks,

On the weekend of January 17-19, I attended the first of the two, Maine 2-Foot Grand Reunion events held at the Wiscasset Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum in Alna, Maine. This event featured the first-ever gathering of all 5 surviving 24" gauge steam locomotives, from Maine's historic, 2-Foot common carrier lines. It also featured the rolling stock collections of both museums, allowing re-creations of trains from four historic narrow gauge lines, including the Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes, the Bridgton & Saco River, the Monson Railroad and of course, the WW&F.

If you could order a menu of perfect weather for a winter steam event, the conditions that we experienced this weekend were pretty close to perfection. About the only thing missing was a period of snow during daylight. A recent, 6" snowfall on Thursday left a fresh blanket over the railroad for Friday morning. The sky was completely clear, the temperature was about 9F, and the trees were all caked with snow. Saturday featured a blend of sun and clouds, with another 6" snowstorm after dark to cover all of our footprints. Sunday was once again mostly sunny and cold. The photo shoots featured a mix of yard servicing and switching scenes as well as operations out on the line. A formal night session had been planned for Saturday evening, but the incoming snowstorm prevented the crew that was to put on the event from reaching the museum. Fortunately, two of the paid attendees, Pete Lerro and John Craft had a bit of experience with night photography. Pete, who was returning from one of his Lighthouse Tours, happened to have a few lights with him, so an impromptu session was organized, to photograph some of the yard switching and put-away operations. That session concluded just in time for everyone to beat feet for their hotels before the roads got too bad.

For the benefit of those who could not be there.....or those who were working the event and had no time to take photos, have a look!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/112261457@N06/albums/72157712881210241/with/49456732431/

/Kevin Madore

Bob Springs

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Re: Maine 2-Foot Grand Reunion >>>Photo Album<<<
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2020, 11:38:34 AM »
WOW!!!  Just doesn't get better than this!

Mike the Choochoo Nix

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Re: Maine 2-Foot Grand Reunion >>>Photo Album<<<
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2020, 11:45:16 AM »
Thanks Kevin.
Mike Nix

Ed Lecuyer

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Re: Maine 2-Foot Grand Reunion >>>Photo Album<<<
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2020, 11:50:59 AM »
Absolutely fantastic! Seeing the photos made all the hard work worthwhile. Outstanding.

That said, inquiring minds want to know... how did the heated socks work out?

Ed Lecuyer
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Kevin Madore

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Re: Maine 2-Foot Grand Reunion >>>Photo Album<<<
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2020, 01:39:23 PM »

That said, inquiring minds want to know... how did the heated socks work out?

Hi Ed,

Well, let's say they were a definite improvement over the charcoal-based, toe heaters that one can buy in Walmart.   Those require a steady supply of oxygen to work, and when you seal them up in a boot with thick socks, they give about 10 minutes of heat and don't work again until you try to peel them off your socks at the end of the day.

The heated socks I purchased were called "Hotronics."    At about $270/pair, they are clearly the most expensive socks I've ever purchased.   Unlike older, battery-powered socks, these use Lithium-Ion batteries, and they last quite a bit longer.   They have 4 heat settings, which have trade-offs.   The more heat you ask for, the less time they'll work.   On Friday, which was very cold, I started out with Zone 1, and after about 2 hours, my feet felt cold (but not freezing), so I jacked them up to Zone 2.   My feet were then comfortable all day and right until the train returned at about 4 PM.   But then, after shooting around the yard for an hour, my feet started to freeze.   When I got back to the hotel, the batteries were exhausted.   So, for Saturday and Sunday, I left them in Zone 1 all day.   Yes, my feet did feel cold a times, but never freezing or numb.   Zone 1 was enough to take the edge off all day, and when I got back to the hotel, there was still some juice left in the batteries on both days. 

So, are they worth it?   Yes, I think so.   They are definitely coming with me to Nevada next week.   The one worry I did have was when we were tromping through all of the fresh snow on Sunday.   I was a bit concerned that if snow got into the battery connections at the top of my socks, I could end up with a Lithium Battery fire, which would not be good.   Fortunately, the socks have a flap over the batteries, and I also stretched 2 layers of long johns over them, and my snow pants have gators that cover them.   So, they stayed dry all the time. 

If you are someone who has issues with cold feet during prolonged exposure to low temperatures, they are definitely something to consider.   They seem pretty well-constructed and you can buy components, such as replacement battery packs and sock units.   The batteries are also alleged to be good for upwards of 5 years.

/Kevin Madore

Mike the Choochoo Nix

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Re: Maine 2-Foot Grand Reunion >>>Photo Album<<<
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2020, 04:48:13 PM »
Kevin, on lithium ion batteries, at the Narrow Gauge convention I went to a clinic on dead rail battery powered locomotive. The one thing that was stressed was that battery packs should have a controller circuit built into them to prevent rapid discharge and rapid recharge, the two things that cause fires. Check with the manufacturer to see if the batteries in  your socks have those. Some batteries are sold without those so buyer beware.
Mike N.
Mike Nix

Pete Leach

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Re: Maine 2-Foot Grand Reunion >>>Photo Album<<<
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2020, 02:19:27 PM »
Wow, Kevin. Fantastic photos! Thanks to all that helped with this event. I only wish I could have been there!
Pete

Gordon Cook

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Re: Maine 2-Foot Grand Reunion >>>Photo Album<<<
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2020, 05:23:12 PM »
Kevin, on lithium ion batteries, at the Narrow Gauge convention I went to a clinic on dead rail battery powered locomotive. The one thing that was stressed was that battery packs should have a controller circuit built into them to prevent rapid discharge and rapid recharge, the two things that cause fires. Check with the manufacturer to see if the batteries in  your socks have those. Some batteries are sold without those so buyer beware.
Mike N.

I would suggest you buy from a known brand and/or vendor, not from an unknown Ebay source, for example. The worst thing would be shorted wires in your socks or jacket. That could result in an overheated battery and wires, with potential for fire and burns.
Lithium Ion battery technology is well developed and shouldn't be a danger. It's in all portable electronics now, but the ingredients are potentially hazardous if punctured or overheated and the connections have to be reliable. That's a challenge in a garment with a long life expectancy and lots of wash cycles.
Gawdon

Kevin Madore

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Re: Maine 2-Foot Grand Reunion >>>Photo Album<<<
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2020, 06:03:10 PM »
Hi Gordon,

The socks that I purchased were from Hotronics.    These are several steps beyond the cheaper socks that you can get a Dick's Sporting Goods.   I bought them at a professional ski shop for about $270 a pair.   The Lithium-Ion battery packs are separate from the socks and are pretty sophisticated.  They have 4 heat zone settings and 4 LEDs on each unit, which indicate the heat zone in use. They mate to the sock units via snap-on couplings in a folded compartment at the top of the sock.   I'm told that the replacements for the battery packs are $80/each.   Replacement socks are also expensive.   Obviously, they are designed so that the batteries are removable at the end of each day for recharging, and of course, for laundering.

The Hotronics product appears very well-made.   There is also another brand called Lenz, which is even more sophisticated and expensive.   You can adjust the heat zones on those remotely with your cell phone.....no kidding!   That was a bit more functionality than I was willing to pay for.    Honestly, I was never worried about the product shorting out or burning up due to any defects.....as noted, they are pretty high quality.   I was concerned however, about what might happen if I started tromping through deep snow and some of it got into the contacts at the top of the sock.   Fortunately, I was able to pull 2 layers of long underwear down over them, as well as the gators inside my snow pants, so even though I DID tromp through some deep stuff up at the museum, no snow ever got into the batteries.   I am off to Nevada in a few days, and I will be taking them with me.   They are not perfect, but at least my feet did not freeze, and that is well worth $270!!!   :)

/Kevin Madore