Author Topic: TOM Phase 1: Passenger Platforms and Hiking Trails - Official Work Thread  (Read 2553 times)

Paul Uhland

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How about a pic of the TOM platform?
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Bob Holmes

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You can see it off to the right side of Brendan's first pic of today's work on placing the culvert.

It's not intended to be a permanent solution, just a small first step in establishing TOM as a "destination".  Several volunteers have commented about how it makes it much easier to get off the train (not down in the ditch and up!).  And a small number of passengers have used it as well.

Fred L. Kuhns

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  Joe Fox, has a good idea in adding railings on the back side and along the sides of the ramp to the ground.  Could use some of the wooden guards post before they are cut into ties as post.

Paul Uhland

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Bob, yes saw the TOM platform, thanks. Nifty. Railings would be a good safety asset, and would make the stop look more authentic.
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Brendan Barry

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You can see the platform next to the main line.


Brendan Barry

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Another shot of the platform setup.


Alex Harvilchuck

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I'm going to play the Devil's Advocate, you can GoML if you wish:

My 2 cents as a parent of 2 year old (in addition to a pair of pre-teens). I can't wait 90 minutes for the next train to get to a bathroom with running water and flushing toilets. An outhouse just doesn't cut the mustard with most young ladies. It is the same reason why the public bathrooms were installed at Sheepscot. A longer walking trail and some picnic tables is going to compound the 90 minute problem. Let's then talk about the attention span of a 2-3 year old ...

Why put trails in at TOM when once the railhead reaches Rt 218 the Midcoast Conservancy trailhead will be next to the planned station? Anyone with spare time should be assisting Mike with washout repairs, time is ticking and the active permits will soon turn into pumpkins.

I thought there was enough problems getting assistance with mowing the ROW, replacing ties, installing joint bars, etc. without adding walking trail maintenance.

Weren't there complaints that the existing Head Tide Trail bridges were collapsing and they had to be replaced?

I have associates that are involved with an official Friends Group at a nearby PA State Park - the Friends Group has  enough issues with trail maintenance and that is their core mission.

What about the Shingle Mill and Saw Mill? I thought that was the main attraction for TOM? These is an untapped resource in support from vintage machinery enthusiasts (being one myself). This is a Target Market for more members and volunteers.

What would be the impact on the current Liability Insurance policy by adding walking trails?

Alex Harvilchuck

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At the TOM, I think we need a building first. When trains were one hour apart people didn't mind waiting between between trains. Now with only 4 trains a day not many people would stay that long. Not many have ever stayed at Alna Center where we have a table and building. There's no shelter at TOM in case of rain.

I second the motion from the wise gentleman from Maine.

A family picnic at TOM getting caught without shelter in a rainstorm for 45+ minutes with no museum assistance sounds like a flamingly negative social media review at best case.


Fred Morse

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We all talk about future plans that could be 5,10,15,20 years in advance.

Jason M Lamontagne

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The SVCA sought and received our permission to place a trail on our RoW.  We have kept up with their joining the Midcoast Conservancy, and have been in communication with them.  We do hope to further develop our relationship with them, and make the best use of the close proximity of the Trout Brook Preserve and our railroad.

Jason

Bob Holmes

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In response to Alex, here are a few thoughts to add to Jason's comment.

Steve P and I are compiling an extensive list of thoughts and ideas related to ToM as a destination.  Most of Alex's concerns are already reflected in the current document, and all new ideas from him will be added (thank you!).  Of course, any of this will take time and resources and integration into all other WW&F planning and operations, so it's not right around the corner.

We are quite aware of issues re trail development and maintenance.  That's why we believe that our partnership with MCC will bear fruit.  Their trail system already extends closely in proximity to the ROW (not just at 218), making further intersection and expansion something to consider.

Final note also:  Shingle Mill and Saw Mill are still the centerpieces of our ToM plan, and the Head Tide bridges got maintenance this summer.

Alex Harvilchuck

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... and the Head Tide bridges got maintenance this summer.

My point being museum resources (capital and volunteer effort) were expended. The Head Tide Trail does further the main purpose of the museum. It helps preserve ROW for future use.

The original comment is ... are Museum managed trails at TOM within the core mission?

If Midcoast wants to seek Museum permission to construct and manage trails at TOM, that is a completely different kettle of fish.

Stephen Piwowarski

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We've covered a lot of ground in these discussions and I'm glad to see it has been taking positive tack.

Alex, regarding your concerns:
To be specific, museum managed trails at TOM are certainly not stated explicitly within the core mission of the museum. This is one of the reasons they haven't been constructed yet. Generally speaking, we've been too busy with projects that directly support our mission to invest significant resources at this time to the development of things like a trail system at TOM.
However, brainstorming on subjects like activities at TOM is most healthy and welcome, and leads us to explore a multitude of possibilities.

Let's take a look at our mission statement. For the purposes of our conversation, I have removed the clause concerning a museum. We're left with "Restore the operation of narrow gauge railroads and equipment which operated in the Sheepscot Valley and on other roads  for enlightenment and education of the general public concerning the social and economic impact of railroads on the communities served." Simply rebuilding the railroad does only fulfills our mission in the narrowest sense. For the railroad to be truly "restored" not only in form but also in function it must provide meaningful transport between places. This is why Alna Center is so important today, and why Top of Mountain, and our eventual station stop at Route 218 will be so important. While it may seem counterintuitive, the destinations are of critical importance to our mission of restoring the Sheepscot Valley Narrow gauge to service. Having destinations gives the railroad purpose. Our goal is to "enlighten and educate" people by conveying people to those destinations by a a very special means- the WW&F. The more interesting destinations we provide (including special events, places, etc.) the more people we will reach, and the better we will accomplish our mission.

To be clear, one could posit that providing picnic tables, public restrooms, or constructing the sawmill and shingle mill are not directly related to our core mission. Yet these ancillary elements often prove to be key elements in attracting, and maintaining a public following. As such, our board makes decisions regarding which ancillary activities will best support the achievement of our mission.

Regarding the impact of all of this on accomplishing our other planned work, don't worry! As Fred pointed out, we all talk about things that will happen in the future. It's one of the things that keeps us motivated and growing in a positive direction. All of the ideas keep us excited about the possibilities the railway can lead to!

Take care,
Stephen

Bob Holmes

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To add a little to Steve's post, our discussions around ToM (including but not limited to trails) are how best to make ToM an interesting destination, not just a 12-minute locomotive runaround.  Understand that reaching 218 is several years away, so ToM will be the end of the line for the foreseeable future.

Also discussions are actively underway with MCC to further envision and develop a partnership relationship.  They are equally excited about the potential here.

John Kokas

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I would suggest that a covered picnic area be incorporated into the sawmill/shingle mill complex for the following:
1)  It would give people who want to stay over to watch operations a place to sit and relax - as well as mill workers
2)  In the off season it could then be used as covered storage for items needed at TOM or items not needed in Sheepscot
3)  It would provide a covered work area for crews working on/restoring mill machinery rather than having to transport back and forth between Sheepscot and TOM.
4) During Victorian Xmas and Easter it could house the concession area
 
As I think about it, maybe once a site plan is established and approved by the BOD,  the first thing constructed should be the covered picnic area as it could then double as the staging area for further construction.

Just my humble 2-cents worth.