Author Topic: Alna Station at Top of the Mountain????  (Read 5275 times)

John Kokas

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Alna Station at Top of the Mountain????
« on: January 11, 2016, 01:19:32 AM »
I hope we bring back the old Alna Center station name.  It's been missing from the timetable for far too long and it's almost in the right location.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2016, 07:39:23 PM by Ed Lecuyer »

James Patten

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Re: January 2016 Work Planning
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2016, 01:36:58 AM »
The question of the location of "Alna Center", and another stop "Alna" is indeed a good one.  Later time tables put it at MP 7 - which near what's now Rosewood Crossing, near the end of track.  Earlier timetables put it at 6.4, which is the current location.  I theorize that toward the end the timetable makers started getting lazy and rounded some of the smaller stations up to the nearest mile.

John Kokas

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Re: January 2016 Work Planning
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2016, 01:54:54 AM »
Oops!  I meant "Alna" not Alna Center.  From the looks of the pictures taken of the clearing, we're not too far off the Rosewood crossing.  We might just have the right spot - say MP 6.7  ;)

Stephen Piwowarski

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Re: January 2016 Work Planning
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2016, 02:59:58 AM »
If there are old Tax maps in the Alna town office they might be helpful for learning where the location of the "Alna" stop mentioned in early timetables was because they might give locations of ancient roads, properties, etc.

Another interesting fact related is that Alna once had 4 Railway stations: Sheepscot, Alna Center, Alna, and Head Tide. Based on the 1900 census, the first after the railways completion, the town had 444 residents. I think it is fascinating that such a small town was so extensively served by the railway. Can anyone think of any other town of it's size with that many railway stations?

At some point I would love to assemble an exhibit on the various stations of Alna with photography, models, maps, and artifacts to tell the story of this unique (as far as I can tell) situation.

Steve

Bill Baskerville

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Re: January 2016 Work Planning
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2016, 03:26:32 AM »
I had no idea that there was an Alna Station.  I, like Steve, would have thought the Alna Center was close enough to the village.  I do like the idea of 'slightly moving' the Alna Station to the Shingle Mill ( / Saw Mill? ).  That will give us a permanent stopping location for the Conductor to 'Announce "Alna Station" ' (think Bob C.).  It also gives us an opportunity to continue to recreate rural Maine history.

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: January 2016 Work Planning
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2016, 03:41:38 AM »
A few things I have learned in the last few years about Alna station:

There is an old road that crosses the mainline near the south TOM switch.  The road goes westward through the woods and there's a cut where the road dropped down to ford the brook.  We don't know how far it went off of 218, it may have been a farm lane or may have run all the way over to the West Alna Road (as the Averill Road did).  If it was a town road it may have been the "Alna" stop on the 1890's W&Q.  The road may have been abandoned in the early 1900's and that's why the Alna stop went away.  Alna Center / Averill Road lasted into the late 1930's before it stopped being a through road so Alna Center was always on the timetable.  Cross road is the only remaining town road that connects Alna Road/218 and the West Alna Road in the center of their parallel paths and it is Sheepscot Station.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 11:02:41 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine »

Stephen Piwowarski

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Re: January 2016 Work Planning
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2016, 03:59:28 AM »
Fascinating Stewart!

if you look at the way Alna is laid out (along with it's principal structures and industry) you can understand the reasoning behind all four stops.

Sheepscot was meant to serve the community that existed on each side of the Sheepscot River down east of the museum on Sheepcot Road. I've been told and seen some pictures of a mill that once stood by the reversing falls, so this may have been served by the Sheepcot stop as well. I'm not sure when a bridge was built at the location, but I think it must've been early.

Alna Center is located in a good position to serve both the meetinghouse and the school, both of which predated the railway. As has been said, there was once a road which went all the way across to the West Alna Road where Alna Center Station is, so it served other functions for the residents as well.

Alna would have served the part of Alna that is referred to as Puddledock, which you get to if you take the right turn at the fork by the Alna Store. There was a post office, store and church there among other things. Not sure when the bridge across the Sheepscot was built here either, but this would've given those traveling direct access to the station from town.

Lastly, Head Tide, which was the location of a mill, store, blackmith shop, school, and church. This stop was significant enough that it warranted a larger station and siding. Most of these buildings are still there, aside from the mill which burned and the blacksmith shop.

The teacher in me has taken note that each of these villages once had their own school. I believe all of the buildings still stand. Although none of theme see students anymore, the Alna Center school has been preserved by the town.

If you are interested in the history of Alna, I'd strongly recommend getting a copy of the film "Currents, Courses, and Streams, Alna, Maine: Histories of a Backwater Town". It is very well done and does a good job of expressing what life was like in Alna years ago. Plus, there is a small section on the railway and it's role in the community. I believe the film is available from the gift shop.

Steve




Philip Marshall

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Re: January 2016 Work Planning
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2016, 04:02:26 AM »
That's a really interesting question, Steve.

Speaking just about the Two-Footers, I suspect the town with the largest number of named timetable locations was probably Madrid on the SR&RL, but most of those were just sidings for loading logs or pulpwood (please don't ask me to name them all!), not passenger stations. I believe Madrid had just two bona fide passenger stations, Reeds and Sanders, plus maybe a third if you want to stretch the borders a little and include Madrid Station (which despite the name was technically in the Town of Phillips, not Madrid). Perham Junction was in Madrid too, but I'm not sure there was an actual station there (though it was shown on public timetables, so maybe there was). Either way, it's still not as many as Alna.

As to why Alna would be so well served, could it be partly a question of milk traffic, i.e. farmers asking for their milk cans (which are heavy!) to be picked up at the nearest crossing rather than at some distant station?  


Philip Marshall

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Re: January 2016 Work Planning
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2016, 04:12:09 AM »
If the old road that crosses at "Alna" station/TOM was indeed a town road it should be mentioned somewhere in the town records or shown on tax maps, and I would expect it also to have some of the physical characteristics of old town roads like a standard ROW width (usually at least two rods, and sometimes up to four rods wide to accommodate livestock drives) and stone walls and ditches along at least part of its length.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 04:19:23 AM by Philip Marshall »

Bill Baskerville

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Re: January 2016 Work Planning
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2016, 04:37:37 AM »
During my hiking of the Appalachian Trail I got fairly good at spotting old RR lines, old roads, old farm to market farmer roads and horse drawn skid tracks.  Like Stewart, I have also walked the old road that crosses the track near the TOM switch and cuts down to ford the brook.  It during it's descent it has remnants of significant grading and drainage ditches in the cut, more than one would expect for a farmers road.

John McNamara

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Re: January 2016 Work Planning
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2016, 05:15:49 AM »
I've read that many standard gauge station names were changed after mistakes in reading or writing train orders. Today's equivalent has been the changing of easily misread names to prevent errors in 911 response. We might not want to have both an Alna and an Alna Center.

-John

Mike Fox

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Re: January 2016 Work Planning
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2016, 02:25:02 PM »
There are old maps out there that must have that road on it. The road Stewart mentions I thought looked like it could be an old logging road or something unimproved with minimal ditches. But low maintenance roads were not uncommon.
Mike
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Steve Smith

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Alna Station at Top of the Mountain????
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2016, 04:04:23 AM »
John McNamara, a belated postscript to your post re mistakes involving station names. Years ago there was a wreck on the Boston and Maine branch to Northampton, Massachusetts that resulted from confusion on someone's part between the stations Amherst and South Amherst. As a result, South Amherst was changed to Norwottuc, named for a nearby mountain in the Holyoke Range. As a youngster I was told about this by my aunt, who worked for a time as a telegraph operator at Norwottuc and later at Waltham.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2016, 07:39:38 PM by Ed Lecuyer »

Paul Uhland

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Re: Alna Station at Top of the Mountain????
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2016, 04:30:28 AM »
Albuquerque,  quercus alba (white oak in Latin), but named for a Spanish duke and town,  is the mis-spelled name of New Mexico's largest city.
It seems when the expanding Santa Fe Railway built its depot there in 1880, the sign painter left off the first "r" in AlbuRquerque.

Looks like this happens more than we think.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2016, 05:34:08 AM by Paul Uhland »
Paul Uhland

Joe Fox

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Re: Alna Station at Top of the Mountain????
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2016, 05:07:46 AM »
I remember reading through the books and reading that Alna Center was once located near TOM, then later relocated.

Another potential for so many station stops is the railway was once the only reliable source of transportation into "town". In Two Feet to Tidewater I remember reading about all the school kids that once traversed the line and even helped keep the line open in the winter on occasion.