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Who Am I? or, Let's Introduce Ourselves

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Ed Lecuyer:
MODERATORS NOTE:
Who Am I? or, Let's Introduce Ourselves has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
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pockets wrote:

--- Quote ---I've been running my jaws, here, for a few days. I suppose that I ought to introduce myself
My name is Greg and I have been in railroading real and/or model since 1973. Always a scratchbuilder, I have gravitated to the narrow gauge end of whatever scale I happened to be working in. I currently work in 3-3/4" scale for 7-1/2" gauge track.
A number of years ago, a trip to England exposed me to the two foot gauge railroads of Wales. I've been hooked ever since.
I did volunteer work for the old Michigan Northern and six years as a locomotive electrician for Chessie System.
The WW&F has become my latest obsession.
Thanks for being here,
Greg B.
--- End quote ---

Jon Dandridge replied:

--- Quote ---By way of introduction also:
I became interested in railways / railroads particularly Steam, growing up in England in the 1950's in a house opposite the South Benfleet station of British Rail's London to Southend suburban line which was 100% steam in those days.
After we moved to the US my interested in steam RR receded until a trip to Edaville rekindled it and also an interest in narrow gauge. On later trips out West while in the service I got to ride the 3 footers and was interested in them for a while.
I also am active as a model railroader and a member of the Worcester Model Railroaders where I am club secretary and involved in the electrical committee.
More recently I had been modeling the "wide gauge" New Haven RR but several recent trips to Maine have got me interested in the 2 footers again. In particular the first time I saw the WW&F operation and the fact it has resurrected the original right of way using some of the original equipment really impressed me, plus the friendliness of the people and the ability to wander around and see everything.
Jon Dandridge
--- End quote ---

James Patten replied:

--- Quote ---"Pockets" had a good idea when he decided to introduce himself to the group.  So here's a thread where anybody who wants to can introduce themselves and give a little information and background about themselves.
--- End quote ---

Dave Crow replied:

--- Quote ---Hello,
My grandfather was a dispatcher for the Reading Company, so, as an infant, my parents took me to watch the Reading Rail Rambles in the early sixties.  Dad has been a member of the NRHS since the mid 60's; I can remember going on train trips with him and helping set up the PA system through the entire train.
The Baltimore Chapter of the NRHS has close links to the Baltimore Streetcar Museum; in 1975 or so, during the annual NRHS picnic, I was allowed to run a streetcar.  This converted me from small-scale models to 12" to the foot modeling.  I started at the BSM in 1976 when I was 15.  My main interests are overhead trolley wire work as well as wood carbody restoration.
Every summer we used to camp at Cass, WV so I grew up with the Shays at Cass.  As a teenager I used to help the night hostler with re-coaling the locomotives, punching flues, re-sanding, and refilling the oil cans.  What more could a teenager ask for?
A trip to Durango in 1992 got me interested in narrow gauge steam.  Over the years I have read Locomotive and Railway Preservation magazine and then when that stopped being published, I surfed the internet for railway preservation sites.  I got interested in WW&F through the RYPN web site and seeing Steve Hussar's awesome photos and videos of the WW&F.  My wife and I visited the museum September 2005; after that I told myself I had to come up for a work weekend!  Well, my dream came true when my wife gave me, and a friend, a trip to Wiscasset for the Fall 2006 work weekend.
Try and stop me from coming back!
Dave Crow
--- End quote ---

petecosmob replied:

--- Quote ---Well, where to start?
My name is Pete, but I go by Cosmo, ever since I joined the Navy 10 years ago.
My Dad was a train nut, so I am too.(And, now, my daughter, who you all may remember seeing back in April.)
My Dad and I walked the roadbeds around Strong, Farmington and Phillips ever since I could walk. He also took me to Edaville whenever he could, as we lived in Massachusetts, about an hour and a half from there.
So, naturally, I followed the progress of the Sandy River Park, the saga of #9 (which I remember seeing in Trains Mag. years ago,) andd the Edaville engines/collection when they returned to Maine.
One of the best "Pre-MNGRR" memories I have is of a bicycle trip I made from Westwood, MA to South Carver one summer in the mid-80's.  After all the time I spent around those engines, I feel the right to call them "old friends."
After living in Portland, (and independantly conceptualizing what would become MNGRR, this as I watched the rail recede from the Portland waterfront in the late 80's,) and then Ellsworth, ME for close to five years, I ammased a good mental familiarity of the two footers that I could only gain from living "close to the source."
Shortly before joining the Navy, I bought a red, FORD Ranger, and took a ride from Ellsworth down to Wiscassett to visit #9, and met Harry Percival for the first and likely last time as I do not specifically remember seeing hip again after that.
That visit was quite special. While only 100' or so of track had been laid, and the station was in skeletal form, the shed was well underway, and 9 and the boxcar tucked inside. The crew there that day allowed me to spend the night under the completed portion of the station and the next day, after riding the Maine Coast RR excursion out of Wiscassett, I traversed as much of the old roadbed as possible, with the help of a guide book purchased from the "Sheepscott 12"=1' Scale Modelers" (their own self-title.)
Over the next few years, when the Navy would allow me time off, I'd make it up as often as possible, oft with family in tow. Usually Thanksgiving weekend found me there. Other times I'd make a point of stopping by the NG tables at Springfield/Big E.
I was finaly able to make it up for the Spring work weekent this past April, and while I wasn't able to make it this fall, I plan to make it back next year, hopefully for both events.
When I'm not chasing, dreaming of, or looking on-line at trains, 2'ers especially, I continue to serve in the Navy as a seccond-class sonar technician, and reside in Norwich, CT with my family.
I am currently modeling the MEC Mtn. Div in G-scale in my backyard.
HOpe to see y'all sometime soon, before the rR closes this year!
Pete "Cosmo" Barrington
--- End quote ---

Bill Sample replied:

--- Quote ---The Two-Footers entered into my life during the summer of 1958, when we stopped by Edaville during a trip to or from Cape Cod.  Being 8 years old, I didn't know too much about railroads but I did know there was something different about these Edaville trains...Guess the visit did really help me get interested in railroads by the following year.
Back I went to Edaville in the 60s, once again with my family around 1963 and then on my own later in the decade.  During this time I started to pick up the first morsels of knowledge on these unique Maine operations. A trip to Mt. Desert Island in 1965 via Wiscasset exposed me to the WW&F remnants for the first time, and I remember a clutter of weatherbeaten buildings around the US1 bridge at the time although I probably didn't actually know much about the WW&F then, including the tie with the scooners.  I really came down with two foot fever around Christmas of 1967 at Edaville, as I was lucky to get a cab ride in one of the Monson engines.  As we rattled through the darkness in the pine woods I imagined being up on the B&H in the 30s....
I remember reading some reports about putting some track back on the SR&RL right of way - think it was in Trains magazine - around the that time, and that was my first introduction to any 2 foot preservation in Maine.
As Edaville went into decline and the Maine Narrow Gauge project in Portland began, I started to become active in the movement, assisting at Edaville during one of the days equipment was loaded onto the antique trucks.
My sister lived near Union at the time, and I used visits there to expand my knowledge of the various 2 foot operations.  One late winter visit I decided to explore the WW&F, and happened upon the Sheepscot station site to find two silver lines painted across the road and a strange angular building frame of what appeared to be switch timbers.  The distance between the two silver stripes and some track inside the structure told me Something Was Happening there.  In the  saw a newsletter that refered to the "Sheepscot Valley Railroaders" and left a note wishing good luck to the project.  A year or so later I stopped by again, and out of nowhere Harry Percival appeared.  Those of you who had the pleasure of knowing Harry know what a nice reception I received - including the tour of the line via the W&Q color-coded track blueprints.  I soon joined the group, this was not too long after the WW&F Railway Museum name came into use.
I have been able to be a hands-on volunteer several times over the years, and have brought a few others with me from time to time, including my wife Sue.  Back in Connecticut we generally keep busy with the Railroad Museum of New England and its Naugatuck Railroad, where we both are qualified locomotive engineers etc., plus I'm on the board of trustees, secretary and newsletter editor.  (I was happy to see 5 other RMNE members on hand at the WW&F during the October session.)  Being in "management"  helps me appreciate the WW&F as an organization all the more, especially the planning and operation of the spring and fall work weekends.  And I always appreciate the fine welcome we get at the WW&F.
--- End quote ---

ETSRRCo replied:

--- Quote ---Hi all,
My name is Eric. I am 18 years old, a senior in high school and live in New Jersey. I have been a member of the New Jersey Museum of Transportation for the past six years and a member of the WW&F for three. I am also currently a student fireman for the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad in Pennsylvania on their Baldwin 2-8-0 #40. The first time I ever found out that two foot railroad even existed was in an old issue of model railroader where they were advertising a model of (I think) SR&RL #5 aka the #9. I loved the way the little engine looked but knew nothing about the two footers. A few years past and I discovered the web site of a small railroad museum in Maine with less then three quarters of a mile of track. This museum being the WW&F. I read their website and checked often for updates. There links led me to discover the other two footers. My interest in these little roads grew more and more with ever visit. I told myself that I would one day visit the railroad. Well five years ago my family decided to go on vacation in Damariscotta Me. Needless to say we paid the WW&F a visit. I bought "The Maine Two Footers", "Two Feet to Tidewater", and "Two Feet to Togus." I read the books cover to cover soaking up everything I could about the Two Footers. I have since visited every year and have been to one track meet to date. I purchased "Two Feet to the Quarries" but was very upset when I discovered that "Two Feet to the Lakes" and "Two Feet Between the Rails" was out of print. However Fred out at the WW&F heard me talking about the books and gave me his personal copy of "Two Feet to the Lakes" and then shortly after I found both volumes of "Two Feet Between the Rails" on eBay. The set was complete. I have done everything from draw for the museum, work on the 10, to doing track work. It is one of the only places that when I am riding the train I can forget that it is 2006 and its not 1906. What a great place.
-Eric Bolton
This is the 40.

--- End quote ---

Stewart Rhine replied:

--- Quote ---I grew up near the birthplace of American railroading - Baltimore, Maryland and the B&O Railroad.  My mother was raised in the home of her uncle, Carroll Mitchell who was the Freight Trainmaster for the Pennsylvania Railroad, Orangeville Division.  My dad's father worked for the Railway Express Company at the B&O's Camden Station.  My father went to the B&O's famous FAIR of the IRON HORSE which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the railroad in 1927.  I guess you can say I came from a railroading family.  My first train ride was a trip on the East Broad Top when it reopened in 1960.  I got a cab ride in Engine 15 that day.  I still remember the hiss of steam and the smell of hot valve oil.  I loved every minute of it!  That is what got me interested in steam powered narrow gauge railroads.  I also remember sitting in a wooden coach that creaked when it went around curves.  After that experience I wanted to ride as many trains as possible so each year I asked my father for a new train trip.  We started going to Strasburg, PA in 1962 and went just about every year afterward.  In 1963 my family took a B&O Budd car /RDC trip from Baltimore to Cumberland, Maryland.  That was a beautiful ride.
In 1965 I took a trip on a one of George Hart's Rail Tours excursions on the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad.  That was great!  We rode from York, PA down to Delta, PA behind the old 0-6-0 Reading shop switcher #1251.  I still think that that was the best standard gauge trip I have ever taken.   In 1985 I became a volunteer brakeman on the Stewartstown Railroad in Stewartstown, PA.  I was trained by two fellows with much experience.  One had been the Conductor on the Pennsy's Broadway Limited and the other worked for the B&O for 53 years.  In 1989 I went to the Maryland Midland Railway as a paid Conductor and stayed there until 1992.
I have always liked railroad history and joined the NRHS in 1986.  At about that same time, my cousin gave me a copy of the Maine Two Footers.  It was facinating.  I read it 3 or 4 times the first year.  I wanted to know more but didn't know of the other publications.   I didn't find out about the rebuilding of the SR&RL until the mid 1990's so until that time I thought everything two foot in Maine was gone.  I found out about the WW&F in 1996 and joined in the Spring of 1997.  I have been volunteering since October of 1997 and am totally hooked.
My main interest is in the tools of railroading.   I purchased my first railroad lantern, a brass top B&O in 1968 and still have it.  Ever since then I have collected switchlocks, lanterns and timetables from my favorite railroads.
My hometown railroad was the 1829 Northern Central which was later operated by the PRR.  It was washed out in 1972 by hurricane Agnes so thereafter I had no trains to watch.  I always wanted to rebuild the Northern Central or the "Ma&Pa" but could only hike the abandoned grade.  I like the WW&F because it's being rebuilt on the original grade.  I also get a kick out of restoring original rolling stock.  That fits my historical interests.  In addition, I have gotten a bunch of great friends.
--- End quote ---

Allan Fisher replied:

--- Quote ---Growing up in Rhode Island, I was taken to Edaville in the 50's to see the little trains that were sometimes run by one of my grandfather's Masonic buddies, Louis Gerald, who retired #1 on the New Haven Engineer roster. I can remember summer weekends when 20,000 people flooded into Edaville and a large part of the Grove behind the enginehouse was filled with barbeque pits for the Chicken dinners that Edaville served .
Christmas with all the lights also drew huge crowds.
Was given a copy of Linwood Moody's book when it was published and read every inch of it several times over, reliving a trip up Sluice Hill with Ferde Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite blaring from my victrola.
When I was 13 (1956) I almost died from Typhoid Fever, and when I had recovered my folks said they would take me on a one week vacation to any where I wanted. So of course we went to Farmington , where some of the diamond steel was steel in place and ties and spikes from the SR&RL where still in place everywhere. Then up to Strong and on to Phillips - where I went into the barbershop on Main Street and asked where some of the SR&RL employees lived. At about that time, former employee Joe Boston walked by the barber shop , and I went out and shock his hand. After talking a while, Joe went upstairs to his apartment and brought down a blueprint map of the SR&RL and gave it to me. He was cleaning out because he was leaving Phillips the next day to go live wirh one of his daughters. Next on to Dana Aldrich's daughter's house. Dana, 92 years old, was walking up the driveway carrying two buckets when we pulled in. Dana had been "sloppin the pigs", and invited me into the kitchen, where he has his daughter go up and get two or three photo albums of the railroad that various visitors had given him over the years. With tears in his eyes, he told me that he and the other employees had loved their little railroad , and still missed it very much.
Next we went down the road to Sonny Fairbank's house - which had close to 1000 feet of two foot rail laid into the woods. There were two or three handcars and MW flats that were run up and down. Sonny was a little gruff  with me at first - but smoothed right out when he saw my obvious love for his railroad.
Next we went to Kingfield where I met Herchel Boynton and got a tour of the station and enginehouse with him.
We also went to Bridgeton Jct that trip, but were shoed out by the farmer, whose house was up the road from the yard.
On the way home- having also stopped at Monson Jct when the Bangor and Aroostock passenger train stopped just as we got there, we crossed the bridge on Route One in Wiscasset and saw the remains of the Shop buildings. The trestle was still in amazingly good shape.
After college, I spent 6 months living on Main St in Phillips, and working at Starbird Lumber and Forster's mill in Strong. Bob Beal and I , with the help of Virgil Starbird, managed to buy trucks from the Whitin Machine Co and set a box car and snow plow up on a short section of track that we installed on the original right of way on Fred Toothakers farm in Avon.
After a tour in Vietnam and Graduate School at Northwestern, I signed on as an Operations Department Manager with Penn Central and Conrail, where I retired after 32 years as System Director of Operating Rules.
Since then, I retired to Nobleboro, Maine and have finally had time for my first love - helping to restore a real two-footer.
--- End quote ---

Ira Schreiber replied:

--- Quote ---I grew up in Haddon Heights, New Jersey. At a very early age, my aunt, the local Assistant Postmaster, would walk me to the railroad staion to oversee the mail transfer from the Pennsylvia-Reading Seashore Lines local.
I was bitten and smitten. I rode and worked many of the Philly area fan trips in the mid 1950's. After four years in the USAF and college, I settled in Lincoln, NE.
I knew a Burlington engineer, who had a copy of the Moody book. I was re-bitten after reading it. In 1967, I became involved in a 2', steam powered, amusement concession. I spent 7 summers with it, rising to engineer and later general manager.
I formed my own construction company and in the 1970-1985- period built or re-built 9 amusement park railroads.
After trips to Poland and Russia in the early 1990's I saw how 2' steam and diesel operated in Europe. I even got to operate a 2' 0-8-0 in Poland.
I spent one year as General Manager of Denver Railway Services, the contractor who maintained the American Orient Express equipment
After my first trip to the WW&F after my 50th high school reunion, I made it to Alna and that is "the rest of the story"
Ira(under 9" of snow yesterday)Schreiber
--- End quote ---

James Patten replied:

--- Quote ---I suppose that the moderator should introduce himself, for those that don't know me.
I grew up in Newcastle, Maine, just a couple of miles from the Maine Central's Rockland Branch.  On occasion my father would take me to catch the train rolling through town.  Probably because my father was a railroad enthusiast, I became one too.  I wanted to become a railroad engineer when I grew up.  My senior year in High School I sent a letter to the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad asking about employment.  I received a favorable reply, asking me to call to discuss further.  Unfortunately the gentleman that sent the letter was out on prolonged illness whenever I tried calling for the next few months.  I eventually gave up and turned my attention to computers, shelving any ideas I had of working on the railroad.
My interest from the WW&F was also generated from my father.  We had friends in Whitefield, and whenever we'd visit Dad would point where the railroad line crossed the highway.  Sometimes we'd take Rt 218 down river and that was a special treat for me.  There was also the pylons from NG trestle in Wiscasset.
I went off to Thomas College in Waterville and most of my attention turned to study, women, and music.  Occasionally I would go on a 470 club excursion with Dad on the Lower Road or the Rockland Branch.  However, aside from wondering where the WW&F would have crossed the Kennebec River (Thomas was on the river just south of town) my railroad interests were tucked away.
I graduated from college in 1994 and went back home to live until I found a real job.  I worked for the summer in Augusta at Key Bank.  In late June we found out Dad had a big brain tumor, which was operated on in July.  Before he was hospitalized I saw a newspaper article about an open house at the WW&F Railway Museum.  Intrigued, one day on my way home from work I tried to find the museum, but could not.  I brought Dad over hoping we both could find it.  We looked everywhere but down Cross Road.  Dad went into the hospital, came through the operation OK, but spent several months in rehab.  My summer job ended and I did not continue with Key Bank, thinking instead to stay home and help Mom with Dad around the house.
In September 1994 I saw another notice of track laying at the WW&F and this time managed to find the place.  I was greeted by Harry, who told me what was going on and when.  In October I started going and I was hooked.  The rest, as they say, is history, as I have been involved with the Museum since that time.  Because of the Museum my dreams of working on the railroad and being an engineer have been taken off the shelf and I am now living my dreams.
--- End quote ---

Dave Olszewski replied:

--- Quote ---I grew up in Indiana and Wisconsin. I  was travel alot. Now I live in Bristol Mills. I moved to  Rockland, Maine in 2003 because of schooners,  bay and mountain. It is almost like Washington.  I worked on schooners three Summer as cook and cook helper for about 5 months. Now I don't work there anymore so I move to Newcastle then to Bristol Mills. So I would forget about schooners. I have full time job all years at Renys Warehouse. I glad it is not far from WW&F Railway. Also I work part time at Wiscasset Community Center. I hope to live  to Wiscasset sometime and watch Maine Eastern RR there. I used to watch MERR come in and out of  Rockland.
I have rode on several steam trains and few trolley in Wisconsin, Arkansas, North Carolina and New Orleans. New Orleans was my longest steam train trip on Southern Steam Train in about 1980. I heard they are no longer in service there. They went at about 80 mph and have all day trip from about 8AM and return at night. I can't remember hour.
In 1980 I rode on C  & O Railroad carferries many times between Milwaukee, WI and Ludington, MI and between Ludington and Manitowic and Keewance, WI for about three years as guest all year.  They carried 24 frieght cars. 100 automobiles and 500 passengers aboard all year. It was fun to watch them load  and unload frieght cars there all year and in Winter with alot of snow. Now they don't carry frieght car there anymore. They only carry passengers, automobile and truck during Summer. They new company changed it so I don't go there anymore. Also one of three ships, SSCity of Midland was converted into barge about ten years ago. Other one, SS. Sparton was out of service since 1979 and still lay up there. Only S.S. Badger still run in Summer. I miss  them when old RR Company run them. 
Two years ago I took many high speed train trip at United Kingdom. It was great. I don't need to have car there. I wish USA would have it like them and have trip every 10 minutes. I hope they will bring trains to USA. Let hope new President of USA will bring funds to trains and build more tracks. I heard they will run train from Rockland to Portland. Right now MERR run train between Rockland and Brunwick.
So I like both trains and ships. I rode on several old steam boats that burn coal and oil.
I learned about WW&F from flyer and sign on Route 1. I rode on Maine Eastern RR about 7 times since last year. I decided to try to have trip on WW&F. I came there at 9AM. I met Steve Smith and Fred Morse. They showed me around the museum and have all day train trip. They explained me about museum. So I decided to be volunteer there. I love it. I rode at Boothbay Railway Museum once and look like train model there. I like WW&F because they are real train but not model train.
I am hearing impaired and do sign language. I hope some of you know sign language. Let work at WW&F RR and build longer track there.
Dave
--- End quote ---

MikeW replied:

--- Quote ---My name is Mike White.  I was born and grew up in Brunswick, not far from the Maine Central yard where I spent many an afternoon and Saturday during my high school years in the 70's.  When I was much younger though, I discovered my father's copy of Moody's "The Maine Two Footers" and couldn't put it down (and still haven't).  By High School, I was volunterring on a regular basis at the Sandy River Railroad Park in Phillips, usually riding up and back with Wes.  I also wrote and sent out the SRRR Park newsletter for the entire time.  I did that for four years - year round, until College took up too much of my time.
After earning my master's, I wound up working in Zurich, Switzerland for 2 years.  I especially enjoyed the Rhaetische Bahn which traverse the spine of the Alps.  It is meter gauge with many rack (cog) sections, and is a working railroad, not just a tourist operation.  For two years my wife and I never drove a car, but rode trains several times per week.
Since returning, I have worked in the mapping industry, specializing in Geographic Information Systems.  A couple times a year I am able to spend a whole day at Alna working (I've gotten much better at spiking!).  I also have worked on the Maine Coast Railroad as a brakeman, and have begun working on the Maine Eastern.  From time to time I get to do a little mapping or GIS for the a railroad customer too.  Whenever possible I take photos of railroads or railroad histioric sites, posting some of them on NERails.  I am also an active Operation Lifesaver Presenter (don't let me catch you trespassing or running a crossing!).
I'm a huge fan of the WW&F because of the quality of work performed by the talented and dedicated volunteers!
--- End quote ---

Steam replied:

--- Quote ---I guess most of us got hooked on the two-footers by reading Moody's book!
I got my copy back in 1959 and today it is pretty "used" looking. I still find myself going back to it again and again.  In 1962 I went with my parents on a vacation to Maine and we stopped at a few of the SR&RL towns to see what remained. I found most of the obvious places, but it wasn't until later trips with railfan friends that I found the more obscure places.  We still go up there when we can, and even though things are disappearing, there's still lots to see.  We recently "indoctrinated" a 13 year old friend into the "true two foot believers" fraternity by giving him a copy of Moody's book. He was enthralled. He now has been to 2 WW&F trackwork sessions, and has followed the SR&RL and Monson r.o.w.'s.
We all owe a huge debt to Linwood Moody and his way with words!
Richard Symmes
--- End quote ---

Josh Botting replied:

--- Quote ---I come from small town Maine, Alton, North of Old Town.  The long abandoned B&A line to Brownville, Schodic lake, ran across the street from me.  The ROW was intact for a long way, so I spent my youth walking, riding, and driving the ROW, as a side note the trestle is still intact, as a traffic road, its high and cool, but I digress.
Also my grandmothers second husband was an engineer for CP.  So I have many of the tools which I can recover are from the change over from steam from CP.  Anyway that also feuled the intrest (sickness)
Anyway, 6 yrs of engineering school and I finally have a real job at BIW.
I have a general interest in Maine History, and especally all that has been lost.  I have always had an intrest in RR especially steam power.  So due to the BIW job, and my hatred of driving the interstate, I made my trips between home and BIW, led me to drive 9-202 to 218.  to RT 1.  So I noted the road bed.  And having known Jason from school, I showed up and helped out almost 2 yrs ago.
--- End quote ---

Steve Klare replied:

--- Quote ---When I was little my parents took us on vacation in Rochester, Mass., near my Aunt and Uncle in New Bedford, While we were there my Aunt took the bunch of us over to Edaville to ride the little trains. My Dad commented that they were narrow gauge and later on when I was learning about railroading, I always assumed I'd been on a 3 foot gauge line.
Later on I had brief meddlings in both N gauge and HO, which lead me to HOn2 1/2. My research of prototypes lead me to Linwood Moody, a great love of the Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes and the realization that the first narrow gauge ride I'd ever had was in a genuine SR&RL long caboose. (Later on, disgust with 1970s N gauge mechanisms lead me to On2, but that's another story....)
Every Summer when I was a teenager, my parents let me pick a railroad destination for vacation. In 1982 it was Franklin County, Maine, and the SR&RL. I became really close with some of the people at the museum, and very often twice a year I'd take a few days and go up to shovel some dirt and pound some spikes.
After I got married, the time and money weren't as free as before, so I went less often. It did mean a lot to me when after I became a father I brought my own son to SR&RL for his first train ride. The year after that it was the WW&F as well. He didn't ride standard gauge until the next winter when we rode the LIRR into Madison Square Garden. (not a bad streak, though...)
The two footers are unique in the history of railroading. They were small enough to exist on a personal and human scale in the communities they served; by the same token they could be grand enough to be really wonderful: things like the tales of the fast runs of the Rangeley Express and the W&Q’s quest for Canada, for example. Maybe the fact that Linwood Moody loved them so much and brought that through in "The Maine Two Footers" is part of what makes them so enduring both as a legend and a reality. You just don't know about them, you feel about them  too.
I can't say for sure, but whatever it is I sure caught it!
The mundane stuff? I'm an Electrical Engineer working in high voltage power. I'm an amateur filmmaker and film collector (railroad films a specialty). I'm happily married and happily a Dad as well.
--- End quote ---

gordon cook replied:

--- Quote ---Train biography in some sort of chronological order:
Age 0+ -- Little Compton RI, no trains for 12 miles, grandfather patternmaker for Fall River Steamship Line, later part of NH.
Age 4-- New Bedford, saw NYNH&H diesel at station
Age 6-- Xmas, American Flyer train set, scared witless at Edaville
Age 12 -- Xmas, Revell HO train set, not so scared at Edaville
Teenager -- Several model railroads, visits to Steamtown, Linwood Moody's book, Heathkits, taking apart radios, .. oh yeah, girlfriend, sports.
Young adult-- Northeastern, BSEE, South Station before renovation, watch NH trains teeter by school, TurboTrain, wife,  759 out of N. Station, Edaville, Steamtown, vacation in Mt Desert, schooners at Wiscasset.
Middle years--kids! work! Occasional fantrip, visit Strasburg, Altoona, Orbisonia, Edaville at Xmas with kids: 4 trains, cold, snowy night, whistles all around the bogs, magic.
Later years --  work for myself, visit to WW&F, Hooked!!
Now -- Life Member WW&F, New friends; brakeman, fireman, engineer trainee, apprentice steam mechanic, machinist, trackman, coal hauler, tie carrier, spiker, ballast tamper.  Sometimes dreams do come true!
--- End quote ---

John McNamara replied:

--- Quote ---Although born near Buffalo, I grew up in Claremont, NH, which has an electric freight line and the Claremont (to Concord) branch of the B&M, as well as the Connecticut River main line of the B&M. The electric line had a steeple cab; the branch used Moguls; and the main line used diesels (including #6000) on passenger trains and steam on some freights. I remember four things about the station at Claremont Junction: 1) the block bell that announced an arriving main line train, 2) the nifty steps that unfolded out of 6000’s streamlined body, 3) the winter day when so many “snow-birds” in Florida shipped oranges to their snow-bound friends in Claremont that the entire station was filled with orange crates, and 4) the time that a Mogul released its cylinder cocks on me, scaring me to death. I’ve been frightened of steam engines ever since, although #10 is growing on me.
My mother was born in Brownville Junction, where her father was an engineer on the CPR line cross Maine, and his brother a conductor. My father was born in Gardiner and lived along the Maine Central line there. Thus, both were interested in trains, so there may be a genetic component to my interest. In my early teens, my parents and sister bought an American Flyer train set for me, and I built the traditional 4x8 layout. The engine was a beautiful PA-1 diesel. No steam locomotives for this kid.
In college, I had a student job working on a 2800-line telephone system that served the dormitories. It was my favorite job of all time, and certainly whetted my appetite for telephony. I have memorialized that job at http://mysite.verizon.net/vzeoclg3/. Thus, my work on the WWF magneto system is a return to my college days (although that system wasn't magneto).
In 1993 or 1994, a friend and I visited a “Railfair” held at Maine Narrow Gauge, where we met Harry and Jason at the WW&F table. Jason sold me a copy of “Big Dreams,” claiming it was “a pretty good book.” This was followed by a visit to the WW&F in 1994 when we both signed up. The next year, I dropped by to volunteer and found Harry and John Bradbury in Bay 1 labeling newsletters. Harry suggested that this was basically a two-person job, and that I should go into the next bay and see Jason, who would find something for me to do. Jason’s been finding something for me to do ever since.
--- End quote ---

Joe Fox replied:

--- Quote ---Hi Everbody,
My name is Joe.
I first became interested in trains when I was a little boy, and went into Dad's room and watched a three foot gauge train tape with him, and have been addicted to trains ever since. I fell in love with the two foot gauge railroads when I went down to Portland and saw B & H #8. We went down there a lot, then we started going to the W, W, & F once a year, and now it's one every other week. When I found out the history of #9, and things like that, I became interested to find out more about the engine, and the railroad. Then a community service project was due for Health class, and I told Dad that I wanted to go to the museum and help them lay some track down. What a blast that was. I was the only student in the class to put over the minimum 5 hours of service. The teacher told us that we could have a maximum of 10 hours of service, man was she surprised when I gave her my paper that said I had done 11 hours and 30 minutes of service in just one day. She told me that I was the only student that she had ever had out of 5+ years of giving out the assignment to do that much time, and all in one day. Ever since then, I have been going to the museum at least every other week, and working on track, or with the train crew. I hope to work on an employed railroad someday.
Joe
--- End quote ---

PCo622 replied:

--- Quote ---I began my interest in trains when I was six when I unwrapped my Marx train set for Cristmas.  Wow, could that thing take a beating and come back for more.  I spent many years after that building plastic models until I picked up my first issue of Model railroader magazine when I was twelve.  I became a die hard railroader.  I remember many MEC trains go by the house on their way to Lewiston and other points North.  I remember many visits to the Brunswick yards and watching Geep 7s, 9s, 35s, 38s and Uboats thunder by.  I was a true MEC HO and N scales diesel fan until my cousin introducted me to HO models that ran on N scale track, HOn30 and Lin's book, the bible on Maine narrow gauge.  I was hooked on two foot for good in 1976 on my first and many consecutive trips to Edaville during Railfan's weekends in June until 1991 and saw narrow gauge steam.  The HO and N scale diesels had to go.  I spent many years modelling the Maine two footers and many were surprised to hear that I had not visited the WW&F considering it was my favorite two footer.  After fielding many pangs of guilt for not visiting the Holy Land, I decided to stop by Sheepscot Station and check things out.  My models went into mothballs and I upgraded to bigger and better things.  My first day volunteering the mainline track was just begining to enter Davis Curve.  Things sure have changed.  The last ten years have been a fantastic ride going to many places, doing different things, learning ALOT and meeting many excellent and talented people, the heart and pulse of Sheepscot Station and Harry's dream.
--- End quote ---

VicH replied:

--- Quote ---I'll jump in here to introduce myself since I actually do make it over to work on the WW&F occasionally.
I live in Westborough Mass, and have a second home in Bristol Mills, about 11 miles to the museum, although who's counting?  We get to spend a few weeks and weekends a year up there and I try to make it over to the museum for annual meeting, work days, picnic and whenever else I can find time.
My family started coming to Bristol, Moxie Cove camps, in 1949, and we were annual regulars until the mid 1960's.  I came back a few times during the 70's and 80's, and in 2001 we decided to buy in Bristol.
When I became interested in trains in the late 50's, I knew the MEC crossed the road and water at Wiscasset, but I couldn't figure out what the rotting trestlework was from.  Buying Moody's book answered that question and in the mid 80's I went exploring the old ROW from there up to Albion, although I had far less references and knowledge of where the RR had been, so I missed a lot along the way!
In 93-94 I found the museum, met Harry, got to help him push the new flatcar out of the single bay enginehouse by hand, and was hooked! I threw my $10 dues at him that day, and haven't looked back, becoming a life member a few years later.
Have since become good friends with the guys at the museum and have almost exclusively turned to modelling in HOn30 with a couple of module groups. My work depicts Weeks Mills but other areas may be done in the future when/if I have time.
Vic H
--- End quote ---

Mike Fox replied:

--- Quote ---Well I guess it is my turn now. It all started when I was young. 6 maybe 7. My brother and I got an HO scale Chatanooga train set for Christmas. My father had set it up on our pool table (made for great green grass). I don't remember if I was interested before that about trains but after, it was everything. Everywhere we went, I was looking for trains. We rode Conway Scenic several times when it was still in it's early years. And I remember a trip to Boothbay. When I was about 12, I discovered Two Feet Between the Rails at a local Library. I somehow managed to get the book the 3 or 4 miles home on my bike. Then it was every other week back to the Library to renew it.
One Year we went to Canada. On the way back we came through Eustis. We spent the night at the campground there and I was looking all over for any signs of the old right of way. I found what I thought was tie impressions and was happy. Over the next several years, railroading was always present. While in the Army, I got to travel and see different parts of the country and world. Of course, looking for rail the whole time. I started collecting books about Narrow Guage. My collection stayed small and manageable until about 10 years ago.
With the invention of Ebay and other on line book sources, (Amazon, Barnes & Noble), my collection grew. And is still growing.
In the past 10 years, one of the trips to Maine Narrow Gauge, in 2000 or 2001, maybe earlier, One of the Vollunteers there asked if I had been to Alna to see what was going on there. I said no and by that afternoon, we were in Alna. Who should we see first, but Fred. He asked "Are you here to work, or are you here to ride?". We rode that day. The Railcar was there, on loan from Owls Head. I can't remember who was running it, perhaps Harry, but we had a nice trip to end of track. Somewhere near Halls or Phantom crossing if I remember right. We walked to the trestle. Steam was the following weekend so we returned and Joe talked his way into the cab. Jason was the Engineer that day. Next trip down, the trestle was in but not in service. And so started the every year cycle. Until Joe decided for his Community Service that he wanted to volunteer there. Track laying weekend. Spring of 2005. We have been going as often as possible since then.
Mike
--- End quote ---

elecuyer replied:

--- Quote ---Thought it was about time to introduce myself.
About 12 years ago, my wife and I were camping at Hermit Island. During our stay, I suggested that we take an excursion on the Maine Coast Railroad from Wiscasset. During the trip, I picked up a very informal flyer on the WW&F museum as well as a copy of  "Big Dreams, Little Wheels." After the ride, I convinced her to drive up the road to see the museum…
But no one was there. There was a boiler and frame from a relatively small steam locomotive (not 9 or 10) out front of a 3-bay engine house, an info kiosk with flyers, and the Sheepscot Station replica. I could see the north end of the track from the parking lot.  (My, how far we have come.)
While not overly impressed, I left still feeling that this was someplace very special. Someone obviously cared about the railroad, as evidenced by the shingling on the roof of the cottage next door. (I now regret not knocking on that cottage door, as I never did get to meet Harry or Clarrisa.)
Years passed with the birth and growth of my daughter, Emily. Meanwhile, I started following the progress of the WW&F via the web site, but I never became actively involved. My work (in a software company,) active involvement at my church (as music director,) and growing daughter kept me very occupied.
Many summers later, I convinced my wife to stop there again; this time on a Saturday that I knew steam would be running. That day, Dana provided my wife with her first "cab ride" in a steam locomotive, and she was hooked. Meanwhile, my now very outgoing and somewhat goofy 8-year old daughter, Emily, became instant friends with the equally outgoing and goofy Bob Cavanaugh. We had a great time and I signed up for a membership.
Since then, we've been back many times. Sometimes to work, sometimes just for a ride. The best part is that this is something Emily (now 11) also enjoys doing with me. Together, we've participated in 2 track weekends and one day of brush cutting.
Just yesterday, I was telling one of my co-workers about the WW&F. I described it as "my favorite place on Earth." While the history, the railroad, and the scenery are nice, it is the people we have met in Alna who make this statement true.
-Ed Lecuyer
Groton, MA
--- End quote ---

mwmoulison replied:

--- Quote ---I'm Mike Moulison, I'll turn 20 this month (thought I don't like my age to get out as passengers get nervous).  I'm from Peabody, MA and a student at UNH-Durham.
I work for Conway Scenic Railroad as Steam Fireman, Trainman, Track Crew, and as an asst. to our hallowed Roundhouse Rat.
I've been volunteering at MNGRR for 2 years where I serve as Steam Locomotive Hostler, Engineer, Conductor, mechanical dept., fundraiser, unofficial staff writer, and most recently as Asst. Track Foreman.
I'm also a WW&F member and cheerleader.
The first steam engine I ever saw was Edaville #8, and I will admit, saddened when they took the old style headlight and diamond stack off.  I have since been educated in the world of all things 2-foot and am okay with the more historically correct appearance.    Since I was about 4 years old when Edaville closed it took me several years to realize they were narrow gauge.  They seemed pretty big to me!!!
Anyway, my first passion is old-time railroading, whether it is early diesel, steam, Boston and Maine, SR&RL, or some obscure logging route.  Nothing beats the railroading done the "right way".
Professionally, I'm in school to become an english teacher and fiction writer.   Totally unrelated I know, but it just goes to show you how we are all brought together by this common passion.
Hope to get a chance to meet you folks out on the rails.  Don't forget the National Narrow Gauge Convention in Portland this year!
best,
-Mike
--- End quote ---

htbrandes replied:

--- Quote ---Josh,
You and I need to talk. I too work at BIW, having been there for over 20 years. You and I are in the same department and probably the same building. I am one of MNGRR's qualified steam engineers.
Hans Brandes
--- End quote ---

Mike Fairburn replied:

--- Quote ---Hi I'm Mike Fairburn,
It is interesting to read how others became involved in railway restoration, so here is my story for comparison.
My dad gave me his train set when I was 3 years old, and I have never been quite the same since.  Early interest developed through modelling, with first contact with the real think at the age of 13, when I spent a week helping on the Kent and Est Sussex Railway which at that time had not started public train operation. I became interested in the narrow gauge again through modelling, and this lead to involvement with the Welsh Highland Railway in North Wales.  I was on site when the first truck load of equipment arrived in October 1973 and helped lay the first track.
I have worked all my like in the rail industry, training initially at The Hunslet Engine Co in Leeds.  Over a period of 25 years as an active volunteer on the WHR I served as a director and as the chief mechanical engineer.  I was responsible for the restoration and return to service of the first steam engine in 1983, and for the iconic surviving Russell in 1986.  I 'retired' from active involvement in 1998 in order to complete a masters degree.
In 2002 having completed my degree, I wanted to get back into active work on steam locos and I bought two Manning wardle 0-6-0 locos and in 2003 a USATC S160, the master paln was to restore all three over a 10 year period, but my involvement with the running of the Great Central Railway (Nottingham) where the locos are based has meant that little progress has yet been made on the first.  The reasons for my purchases are that in the case of the Mannings, it was a Manning Wardle that I first worked on aged 13, The S160 is a fascinating engine, if it could tell stories it would im sure be gripping, from the hazards of shipment as deck cargo across the Atlantic, the preparation for invasion, the following of suppy lines, then a working life supporting re construction of europe.
--- End quote ---

Brian Murphy replied:

--- Quote ---damn, i might as well get in on the action too.
most of you know me, but for those of you who don't, i'm brian murphy. I'm from avon, mass (smallest town in the state). But ive been a rail fan for my entire life thanks to dad (patrick murphy, duh) It all statred with an LGB g-scale train set that i got for my first x-mas. Then various cape cod excursions and trips to edaville (only about 30 min. away from my house and ten from my dads office). Also mystic valley members. Started going to WWF  at age 6 (now currently 16, and a junior at coyle and cassidy high in taunton,mass.) Ever since then i was hooked, started with once a year trips, then twice, then like every 2-3 months. I belive that i can say i was the youngest certified brakeman at age 13. then for my 15 b-day i was asked by jason to start my firemans training. I have made many friends here and i consider these people like family to me (I think they know who they are). If you have never met me, dont be afraid to introduce your self, im not like the average teenager. Thats all for now.
brian
--- End quote ---

Ted Miles replied:

--- Quote ---I am Ted Miles and I am interested in two forms of historic railroad preservation. I grew up on Long Island,  New York where large parts of the LIRR are electric. so when I moved to California I let myself be recruited  into the Archives Department of the Western Railway Museum. Rio Vista CA. This year will make twenty years that I have been a member and Archives volunteer.
The other interest is of course narrow gauge steam. I found my first copy of the Moody book in a used book store for a quarter.  Later I gave it to another railfan and bought another copy with the dust jacket, this one cost a lot more than a quarter.
Later I bought the Jones book Two Foot To  at the WRM bookstore and followed it up with the new expanded edition which has a history of the WW&F museum.
I live too far away to take an active part at the museum. But I have a friend who lives in Boothbay and always stop into the museum when I get Down East to see him.
I was lucky enough to get to Edaville back in the 1980s. So I have seen the old Edaville and also the new Edaville, USA. With the now greatly shortened and mostly Diesel railroad I think it has lost most of the charm that it once had.
i have the Moody Edaville book and now I have been trying to find the Moody Edaville Blogger newsletters and if any of you have some that can be photocopied I would like to hear from you.
Thanks,
Ted Miles
--- End quote ---

Paul Levesque replied:

--- Quote ---Hey there, seeing as this is the place to do so I guess I wil introduce myself.  I have no idea how I first came into contact with the WW&F Ry. Museum, I think I just stumbled into it.  It had always been a great place to go being close to where I grew up in Farmingdale.
I frequented the museum while in my senior year of High School every couple of weekends usually moving brush in the winter and tamping ballast in the summer.  I haven't been back much since then for any considerable length of time.  I attended SMCC and earned my Associates in Fire Science, usually working my weekends.  I spent a considerable amount of time dispatching for the City of Gardiner while in school and afterwards until we were shut down.  Now I am living with family in Connecticut while I finish my Bachelors in Landscape Architecture (no its not a degree in mowing lawns!!) its more along the lines of long term planning and sound environmental design.  I do come home in the summer, but work keeps me busy.

--- End quote ---

Ed Lecuyer:
I had a special request to revive this topic. It would be great to see some of our newer Forum members add their introductions to this thread.

Matthew Gustafson:
Okay then, I will go first! As some of you guys already know that my name is Matthew Gustafson, aka (Matt3985 on youtube) and im a die hard railfan from Chicago! My love of trains started by watch Thomas The Tank Engine And Friends! It was only Thomas that Ive only watch but on Christmas day on 12/25/1998 I went downstairs in my basement and found a large L shape Lionel train layout that my uncle and grandpa have built for me and I was a crazy boy all day until morning! But my love of trains got even bigger when my grandpa took me to a trip to IRM and "well you get the picture" and thats how I got my love of trains! Plus im making a train series on youtube called TLRS (The Lionel Railroad Storys.) So look out for that to see my Lionel & MTH trains in action!   ::) ;) :) :D ;D

Matt Latham:
Howdy from Texas!

My name is Matthew Latham, but I go by Matt. I live just northwest of Dallas in Flower Mound, Texas. I have been a longtime rail fan and model railroader. I was born in Virginia in 1958, and grew up in Arlington, Texas near the Texas & Pacifc Mainline, then Maryland north of Baltimore near the Pennsylvinia mainline, then Williamsport, Pennsylvania, then Long Island, New York. After the Blizzard of 78, I went west, back to Texas where I have lived ever since 1978. Mom and Dad were moving to Boston and I had enough of the snow to last me the rest of my life!

I come from a long line of professional railroaders. My maternal Grandfather worked for the Texas & Pacific Railway in Fort Worth from the 1930's until the 1970's when he retired. He worked in Tower 55 in downtown Fort Worth, Texas. When I was a young boy living in Arlington, Texas my Dad used to take me with him to Tower 55 to pick up Grandpa on the occason when he needed a ride home in the afternoon. Grandpa would sit at his desk with a cigar in his mouth and his feet on the desk and tell me which lever to throw by the number associated to the switch that needed to the thrown or the signal that needed to be cleared. Then I would run to the window to watch the train go by. The only time I was scared was when the Katy trains went by. The autoracks would be swaying back and forth like mad, and at times I thought they would tip over and take out the tower. Never did happen, but boy was it fun up there. With the Katy being low on the priority list to pass through the Tower 55 interlock, they would sometimes couple three to four trains together and run them past as one LONG train. It would really irritate my Grandfather as he would cuss up a storm while a three mile long Katy trained passed by at only 5 miles an hour.

My paternal Great Grandfather was an Engineer on the New Haven, and my maternal Great Grandfather was a section forman on the Texas & Pacific Railway in Texas. There were also some uncles on my Mom's side of the family that worked for the Santa Fe in Texas.

I currently work for EMC Corporation in Hopkinton, MA, but work from my home office in Texas. I have worked on large scale mainframe computer systems since 1978 and have worked for IBM and Amdahl in the past.

I discovered the WW&F in 2005 when I was on a business trip to Boston, and flew up early to visit my Mom and Dad in Maine over a weekend. They used to spend the summer in Maine. I flew into Boston, then took the Downeaster to Portland, Maine where my Dad picked me up. On the way to the house they had rented in Camden, he took me to see the WW&F Museum and boy was I hooked. Later, I talked my wife and daughter into a Maine vacation in 2007 and managed to stop by the Museum for a ride. What fun!

So I went home and started to tear up my HO Scale layout based on the Texas and Pacific railway to start building an On2 Layout based on the WW&F in the 1920's. My wife and daughter think I am crazy. They may be on to something.

Progress on the new On2 layout has been slow due to work and health issues. I had hoped to fly up for the Spring or Fall track weekend this year, but I will be unable to make it this year. I am hoping to make it in 2010.

All the best,
Matt Latham

Vincent "Lightning" LeRow:
Me next, I guess....

Well, I don't have any great stories yet seeing as I just turned 19 but i've still got a whole lifetime to go.  So it all started with Thomas, go figure, and snowballed from there.  My dad's N-scale, the G-scale arround the tree, the train at the mall arround santa, it all fed the obsession.  Then came the trip to Strassebourg with a complementary cab tour! I was only 5 but i still harbour the dream of owning my own loco.  (Saddly borrowing the museams will have to do for now, she is such a nice little engine though!)  a year later I moved to Lowell MA and the trains continued to grow on me.  I visited Steamtown a few years later and rode thier train, verry nice ride. 

I Joined MNG nearly a year ago and have been working there for a while but I am currently looking into other 2ft. museams.  Just last year I finally recieved my Eagle Scout award; probably one of the biggest events of my life to date. 

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