Author Topic: Burnham Overhead Crossing  (Read 193 times)

Paul Levesque

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Burnham Overhead Crossing
« on: September 07, 2017, 06:56:27 PM »
I got lucky this weekend!
No, not that kind of lucky, the kind where you find something you thought didn't exist.
I think a more accurate term would be to say that I may have struct W&Q RR gold.

I discovered, then bought, an original, hand drawn, in color, plan for the W&Q crossing of the MEC at Burnham.  Now this is similar to the plan I had shared that I retrieved from the Maine State Archives, but that was a blueprint copy that was sent to the Railroad Commissioners.  What I managed to find is, I believe, the original drawing done by the Chief Engineers Office at the MEC.  This might be the only other copy of this document in existence (I am hoping anyway!).

I have pieced together a scan of the drawing (using a FlipPal portable scanner and image stitching software.)

Also...are 6 pages (one page of notes didn't scan well so I will add it later) of correspondence between the MEC and the W&Q!!!

I think this is a little unique!

And on the side, there are SEVERAL blueprints, linen, and other plans of other railroad related items.  Most of it is related to the Belfast and Moosehead Lake such as ROW maps (Burnham Jct. shows the location of the abandoned W&Q), Belfast track plan / yard layout, City point bridge drawings, as well as 2 out of what would probably be 3 plans for the Somerset Railways Kineo Extension (on linen) drawn to 1"=400', a plan and elevation profile of the North Anson & North New Portland RR (never constructed) also on linen, a plan of the European and North American RR, and quite a few more!!

To say this was an exciting find is an understatement!!!!

I haven't decided what to do exactly with everything at this point, I would appreciate any ideas of value though (PM me), such a unique item is tough to peg.  I will also consider reaching out to historical organizations to, at the very least, get a high quality copy to those that would like one, and I will be getting in touch with the archives to possibly consult with them on some of the material.


P. Levesque
Fairfield, ME

Ira Schreiber

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Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2017, 08:07:13 PM »
Wow, what a find.
It is very interesting reading.

Alex Harvilchuck

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Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2017, 08:21:16 PM »
It is a very cool find. Diamond crossing in Wiscasset and proposal of an overhead in Burnham.

I wonder if this might have been an option for the MEC crossing to connect to the SR&RL by the FS&K?

The could-have been Maine 2' Empire.

Too bad Burnham is physically so far away, creation of the proposed overhead narrow gauge crossing would probably be the only one in the US, possibly worldwide, but I'll let more knowledgeable confirm such a statement.

Very, very cool. It is a find of a lifetime of research and searching.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2017, 08:26:54 PM by Alex Harvilchuck »

Joe Fox

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Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2017, 11:34:28 PM »
The story behind the crossing is that the railroad first tried to build a diamond at the location, but the Maine Central put a switcher up there and ran back and forth over the track until the railway gave up with the udea. So they began building a grade for an overhead bridge. Funds started running dry, and they assesed other options. After talks with the SR&RL it was decided to build northwest towards Farmington. New routes were surveyed, and the line from Albion to Burnham Junction torn up and built from Weeks Mills to Windsor. Tracks ended where the line would need to build across the Maine Central and the river. Money ran dry once more, and this remained the end of the line even though most of the grading between Farmington and Windsor was complete, and some bridges were built.

Bob Holmes

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Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2017, 11:45:35 PM »
Wow!  Last weekend, I rode the Belfast and Moosehead Lake, which I mistakenly thought had been totally abandoned.  I was amazed to learn that its western terminus was in fact Burnham, which would then have been a three-way meet with the Maine Central, the B&ML and the WW&F.  Wouldn't that have been a fascinating picture back then?

BTW, their trackage is in much worse shape than ours.  They are working hard in their preservation efforts, but they don't have near the volunteer force that we do.

Philip Marshall

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Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2017, 02:15:58 AM »
What an incredible find! It's easy to assume that everything there is to know about the history of the Two-Footers is already known, but there is still new material out there just waiting to be discovered.

Jeff Schumaker

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Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2017, 01:29:53 PM »

Jeff S.