Author Topic: WW&F Boxcar 312 at Boothbay  (Read 3503 times)

Ed Lecuyer

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WW&F Boxcar 312 at Boothbay
« on: December 21, 2008, 11:31:31 PM »
MODERATORS NOTE:
WW&F Boxcar 312 at Boothbay has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
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Stephen Hussar wrote:
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Curious if anyone knows the history of this car, when and how it was acquired. How it survived, where it was prior to Boothbay, etc.
http://photos.nerail.org/showpic/?photo=2006033106364723908.jpg&byrail%3A1%3ABoothbay_Railway_Village

Stewart Rhine replied:
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Steve,  The car was purchased by a local farmer in the 1930's and used as a shed.  The trucks were removed and the car placed on blocking.  It sat near the railroad grade just south of the main road crossing at Coopers Mills.  Zack told me that at one time it was covered with some type of siding material.  This protected the car from the weather.  It sat there until the late 1960's or early 1970's and was taken to Boothbay.  It is one of the original 1894 W&Q cars that later had the roof raised.  The Boothbay shop removed the siding and found where the old W&Q lettering and number was.  They painted the car back into it's original W&Q lettering and "bulls eye" number hearald.
Boothbay has kept the old W&Q number 34 on the car although it would have carried the number 312 around the time the roof was raised by the WW&F.
Stewart

Stephen Hussar replied:
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Thanks, Stewart. Wonder if any others survive "in backyards" as chicken coops or sheds, etc.

James Patten replied:
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Carl Buitta at Albion "found" the flanger and another car in a farmer's field north of town.  I don't recall exactly what was left, but judging from the fact Carl's had to build the flanger from the ground up I'm guessing not much.

Stephen Hussar replied:
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Thanks, James. I only mention that because we still read about old ng boxcars being spotted in backyards and fields in Colorado. Of course those railroads were much larger in scale...being that they were that IMMENSE 3-foot gauge   

Stewart Rhine replied:
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Steve,  There are no other surviving WW&F cars that we know of.  Of course most of the box car fleet had tin roofs so there may still be one or two out there.  It sure would be great to find one.  As to James' post - here's a bit more.  As you know the museum decided to build caboose 320 when the original plans were discovered in 1997.  Around that same time Carl advised that he had a good stock of parts from flanger 202 and another box car.  The parts were recovered from a grown over field near Albion where a farmer had used the cars as sheds.  The cars had collapsed and the wood was mostly gone, but all the iron parts remained.  In 1995 or '96, Gary Kohler and Chris McChesney told Carl the location and he found (among other things) the couplers and iron railings from both ends of the flanger.  When construction started on the 320, Carl gave us the couplers, end railings, and brake parts.  The brake parts included hangers, brake wheels, stems and pawls.  Most of the parts were used on the caboose.

Chris McChesney replied:
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This is a great list.  I can shed a little more light on the flanger 202/box 82 story.  After the cars were tipped in Albion, the trucks and much of the larger metal work etc. were salvaged.  According to Carl, some (all?) of the truss rods were claimed by a local farmer and were used to shore up his barn.  They are apparently still there to this day!
The flanger and box were brought over to an Albion farm and set up side by side.  From what I recall of Carl's story, some locals remember seeing these cars from the road up into the 60s or 70s.  Eventually, they collapsed and were overgrown by a small cluster of trees.  I believe it was Phil Dow who knew of their location.  When Carl, Phil Dow and Phil's son went there, metal was sticking out of the ground here and there.  They started digging and found the flanger's outer sills remarkably solid with the larger stakepockets (for the outside braced car) still in place.  They found bolsters, railings, all sorts of castings and even a coupler!
If the Albion Historical Society wanted to, they could probably rebuild boxcar 82 as well.  Though there's not a whole lot left, it is a starting point.

Dave Crow replied:
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James, thank you for this list.  A lot of detail gets discussed without the hassle of modeling distracting the conversations.
To all:
Following on the topic of metal parts being found, have people looked for metal at the sites where other cars were left after the line was scrapped?
Also, I know that the Maine Historical Society has the Portland Company drawings for the cars.  Did any drawings for the patterns/castings or the forged parts survive?
Are there plans to rebuild more freight cars for the museum?  Or is there no need for additional cars for "photo freights"?
And, on a similar vein, is there still an idea to build a replica of Combine #6?
Dave Crow

Bruce Wilson replied:
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Dave,
Regarding sites where W.W. & F. Ry. equipment remains, the museum volunteers have visited several over the years. One such trip involved a morning in the Sheepscot River. Participants probed the river bottom searching for remains of an old flatcar that Linwood Moody had written about in his book, The Maine Two Footers. Many artifacts were retrieved that day and repose within the museum's collection. Another day was spent salvaging shingles from the Headtide water tank, These shingles were then used to create a display showing the paint schemes used by the railroad. This display is visible within the museum's freight shed building. Many other items have been brought in over the years from early expeditions from what I call "first generation" narrow gage enthusiasts. Men such as Lawrence Brown who saw the two footers in actual operation. "Brownie" brought in a large coffee can full of tie plates that he salvaged from the Whitefield iron bridge. He told our group that he believed the iron bridge was the only place that the W.W. & F. used tie plates. Just this past Spring, I found five castings from the remains of a flatcar. These castings were given to the museum and hopefully will find re-use on a future restoration project.
And then there was that nice Ford model T radiator grill shell that I removed from heavy brush along the old right of way in Palermo. It goes nicely with a mangled radiator cooling fan blade that I dug out of the mud south of Alna Center.
Every Spring the mud gives forth new (old) treasures. Happy hunting!

Joe Fox replied:
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Do you guys think we could get this car sometime in the future when we make a bigger yard?

Dave Crow replied:
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Bruce,
Thanks for your note.  I have a lot to learn.  Being relatively new to the "two foot bug", I'm behind the curve in knowing what has already been located and recovered from the sites where the cars had been scrapped after the railway was abandoned.
I figured that the old parts might - just might - be re-useable which would be less expensive that having patterns made and new parts cast.
Dave

Bruce Wilson replied:
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Dave,
Welcome aboard the two foot gage hobby!
Yes, I had hoped that the parts I found were re-usable. If not, they will make nice displays to add to the museum's collection of artifacts.
No doubt there is a lot more waiting to be unearthed...
Bruce

Joe Fox replied:
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When and where did you get some 2' gauge parts?

Stewart Rhine replied:
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Joe,  Another place we searched was at Headtide a few years ago.  As you know, the cars from the last wreck were tied down on that siding and remained until being tipped over for the scrap metal.  A bunch of us walked in to where the station and siding were located.  During the 1960's the grade was used as a road to access the gravel pit.  The car remains were bull dozed over the side of the fill.  We searched through the woods and found a number of car stringers which contained brake hangers, etc.  A number of parts were recovered and are upstairs in the engine house.  The main frame to car 7 (streetcar body) is still in the woods near the river.  It has a 12" tree growing through the middle of it.  The reason it remains is that the wooden frame was plated with 1/2 inch steel flat stock.  All is there except for a 5 foot section that was cut out with a torch years ago.  There are also rusted parts of the tin roofs that were on the box cars.
Stewart

Stephen Hussar replied:
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Sounds like a perfect place to bring a metal detector and a shovel...

Joe Fox replied:
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Yes, any spot on the line would be great for metal detectors. However, some spots would be better than others. For example, any spots where wrecks occured.

Stewart Rhine replied:
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Joe,  I'm not sure if you know - around 1999 a bunch of us hiked into the location where number 8 wrecked.  I found the iron bracket that attached the running board to the cab front.  I also got some coal that was spilled where the engine's tender had been.  The coal was used to fire up number 10 for the first passenger train of 2000 as a way to continue the tradition of steam powered passenger service of the WW&F.
A metal detector would go nuts down there with all the spikes, etc. but I'd like to try it anyway.
Stewart

Mike Fox replied:
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Probably no chance in talking Boothbay into a loan or lease of 312 so it can return to home rails, even if for a short time like the revival of #9?
Mike

James Patten replied:
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The issue of 312 returning to home rails has informally come up in the past (no surprise).
Boothbay Railway Village has no plans of disposing of it.  We should not even bring up the subject with them.

sgprailfan replied:
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Joe,  I'm not sure if you know - around 1999 a bunch of us hiked into the location where number 8 wrecked.  I found the iron bracket that attached the running board to the cab front.  I also got some coal that was spilled where the engine's tender had been.  The coal was used to fire up number 10 for the first passenger train of 2000 as a way to continue the tradition of steam powered passenger service of the WW&F.
A metal detector would go nuts down there with all the spikes, etc. but I'd like to try it anyway.
Stewart
Thats neat, useing the Coal from the engine that ended the WW&FRy and ussing it on the engine wich is giving it a new begining! Wouldint the coal be ful of dirt, ya would need a large smoke box for that I think. That WW&F Box car in Bothbay is not that great I would think moving it might damage it?

Mike Fox replied:
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I guess you never saw excursion 103 when it landed in Sheepscot. Talk about poor shape. And it had farther to go. Anything can be moved if done carefully.
Mike

Stewart Rhine replied:
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As James said,  There was some discussion with Boothbay about the 312 a few years ago.  They have no plans to sell any of their original two foot gauge rolling stock.  While I would like to see it come back, the 312 is under cover and has a good home.  As James said, do not ask anyone at Boothbay about getting cars from their collection.  As we all know, there are other things for us to deal with right now.
Stewart

Mike Fox replied:
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No plans on asking here. Just wondering if anyone had the thought before hand. And I got the answer I knew I would. And then some.
Mike

Bruce Wilson replied:
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James has raised an important point in regards to the Boothbay boxcar. He has said in response, "we should not even bring up the subject with them".
My own personal thoughts about the Boothbay boxcar aside, I would suggest that anyone interested in seeing the W.W. & F. Ry. Museum acquire the use of the boxcar at Boothbay, should indicate their interests to the W.W. & F. Ry. Museum (Board of Directors).
Members of the Board can then give this topic their attention and vote to either persue an arrangement with Boothbay Railway Village or to let the matter drop.
It is not my intention to be critical of anyones desire to see any project or arrangement begun, only to recall that such projects or arrangements need Board approval. Only the Board should then communicate the wishes of the Directors and Membership.
Members and friends should always feel free to present their ideas to the Board of Directors, that is why they are there serving...to represent you and to help the museum grow and manage that growth in a responsible manner.

Stewart Rhine replied:
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Mike,  You have a good idea about checking into getting 312 back.  Yes, it was discussed a few years ago as James said.  Sorry I didn't word my post very well.   Bruce stated the right approach.  WW&F members can ask our Board to look into getting the car.
My idea was to have the WW&F offer to build new trucks, brakes and couplers for the 312.  Boothbay would loan us the car but retain ownership.  Since the car is under cover, we would propose this once we can store the car inside.
Stewart

James Patten replied:
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Perhaps I should elaborate on my statement that we shouldn't even ask.
A few years ago someone, likely Jason, made some tentative inquiries.  We were told no, and that it was rather rude for one museum to ask another to give up a possession like that.  Our relationship with them are very good right now, thanks to Jason working there, Brian working there and soon living next to the railway, and their building #9's boiler, plus all the work they did for #10.
Maybe, possibly, some day they will look around and say that they don't need the boxcar and sell it to us.  But I (speaking as a board member) would reject any attempts to get Boothbay to give/sell/lease us the boxcar.  I suspect other board members would have a similar outlook.

Dana Deering replied:
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There are photos in Narrow Gauge in the Sheepscot Valley that show that there were 4 or 5 flatcars and a boxcar left on the Farmers Exchange siding at Palermo.  Has anybody been there to see if there are any parts lying around?
When Bob L. and I took the metal detector to the Top of the Mountain back in November there was metal everywhere.  I think there is a lot of "stuff" waiting to be discovered all along the WW&F.
Dana

James Patten replied:
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Dana, I thought most of the metal you found were the steel toed shoes you guys were wearing!   

Dana Deering replied:
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James,
That's why we're going to rename the Top of the Mountain and call it "Boot Hill".   

mikechoochoo replied:
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I would look for sheds about the size of two car bodies placed side by side with a space between them and a roof built over them. I"ve seen it done many times with standard gauge cars and often you can't tell there is two box cars there. I know its a long shot but who knows.
Ed Lecuyer
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Andy Small

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Re: WW&F Boxcar 312 at Boothbay
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2012, 06:57:04 PM »
Hi All,

While poking around the inside of #312 in order to gain info for an upcoming On2/On30 300 series boxcar kit we noticed upper wooden piece and lower metal pieces that look like they belong to an interior door and door track. The parallel the outer doors. Any thoughts on this? Did the potato cars have an interior door setup for the guy minding the stove? or was this a ventilation door or grain door, or something else? Thanks!

It was also great to see the stove opening and the faint "312" on the end closest the engine. The car is full of character!