Author Topic: Sale of the Portland Co. property.  (Read 1747 times)

Ed Lecuyer

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Sale of the Portland Co. property.
« on: January 22, 2009, 05:55:41 AM »
MODERATORS NOTE:
Sale of the Portland Co. property. has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
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Ira Schreiber wrote:
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Check this out in the Portland Press-Herald.

http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/story.php?id=156181&ac=PHnws

Mike Fox replied:
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Wow. Never a dull momen for MNGRR, is there.
Mike

James Patten replied:
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According to the Maine Two Foot Quarterly discussion email group, a proposal being seriously looked at is to move MNG, lock stock and barrel, to Kingfield.  Apparently Kingfield isn't as isolated as you might think, with Rt 27 to Canada, and some major ski areas nearby.

There are other options on the table which have not been revealed.  But the Sharps of Train & Trooper are spearheading this effort.

Seems to me the Matt and Martha were one of the spearheaders for moving the equipment to Maine in the first place.

Ira Schreiber replied:
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Note that Susan Davis, Executive Director of MNGM, is a native of Kingfield and formerly with the Stanley Museum there. It may not be that far fetched a rumor, IMHO.
Ira

Stewart Rhine replied:
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Well, Kingfield had the SR&RL station, round house, car shed and yard.  Only the car shed remains, in altered form.  It would be interesting if the line was built on the original grade.  Too bad the station was torn down recently. If MNG does move to Kingfield the line may have to be located outside of the town center area because of smoke and noise.  The grade north of town has been preserved as a bike hike trail.  Maybe part of that could be used.  Not sure who owns it but it would be a pretty ride.

In the back of my mind I'd still like to see Number 7 back on the B&SR/B&HR.  Trips out of Hiram would be great.  If the station and yard were restored, standard gauge rides could be offered as well.  It would be the only place in North America with an across-the-platform transfer to a narrow gauge train.  Of course neither of these places has the population level and draw of the Portland water front but it would be more authentic.

Glenn Christensen replied:
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Hi Folks,

I spoke with Susan Davis the other day for my next Backshop column in Maine Two Foot Quarterly.  MNG is currently looking at multiple options at the present time.  These include both staying where they are and potentially moving to Kingfield.  As you would imagine, they'll have to look at all variables before making any decision.

As I'm sure you agree, the Kingfield option is certainly exciting.  But I'll be happy whatever they choose as long as the museum is properous and the collection is safeguarded.

Best Regards,
Glenn

Ira Schreiber replied:
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Stewart, be careful when you make statements as some wise a** will correct you.
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railway (3'gauge) and the San Luis & Rio Grande (Std. gauge) have a cross platform interchange of passengers in Antonito, CO.
Hiram would be the second spot.

BM1455 replied:
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I'd love to see it go to an authentic B&SR location but from all that I have ever heard about Bridgton and Hirem, there would not be much support of such a project.  However, there would be a lot of opposition.  There are too many summer camps that use the ROW and good luck fighting them.  Then there is the issue of groups in the town who kicked the original RR out of town.  Beleive it or not, there is still some of that sentimant around today!
Kingfield on the other hand seems eager to look into the whole afair and more interested in adding an attraction like this.   The location in question is the old shop area, and then on south westward.  The bonus is that the land is currently for sale and is reasonable.  There are also not a lot of obsticles in the way and the ROW is not being used for other purposes.

Wayne Laepple replied:
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Although I admit I've never ventured up to Sandy River country, I have to question whether Franklin County can support two two-foot gauge railway museums. And I also have to wonder how many of the current volunteers in Portland would drive to Kingfield on a regular basis.

BM1455 replied:
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I think that an opperation in Kingfield could be successful in conjunction with Phillips.  They are different comunities all together.  I think they would compliment each other more than they would compete.
The Kingfield property is very close to the down town area and has the advantage of having the junction of several route numbers coming together within a short distance of the site.  Also, there are other museums that may be able to be combined into one bigger facility.  Some of the big mills next to the site are un-occupied.  It may be possible to use these facilities as a combined location for MNG and other local museums.  ..ie Stanley Steamer?
As for the trip for volunteers, the distance could be an issue.  However, by the sound of the way things are really looking for a succesful long term location in Portland, the only alternative to driving to some other location could end up being to stay at home and watch train videos...  If they don't seriously consider another place there may be no place at all.  Then what happens to the collection?
Portland real estate is too valuable to "give away" to a musem.  Any purchase of land would cost more than the original mortgage that MNG took out for the equipment, and which took so may years to repay.  I just don't see them being able to do all of that again.
As much as I would like to see them be suceesful in Portland, I just don't see a real resolution to the land issue that will not keep popping up all the time to haunt them.  Without the security of land ownership, donatoins will continue to be dissapointing.  Who wants to give lots of money to a tenuous organization that can be kicked out of it's home on the wim of the owner?  Lets lern the lessons of Edaville and the current stuation in Portland and correct underlying the situation so that the rug can not be pulled out from underneath them again.  Own the property you live on.
The Kingfield property is afordabel!!!  There may be grants and other doners that are willing to hepl out.
I have heard of other possible locations but none with as much NG historical appeal or with as good a location as the one in Kingfield.  Also, I think that the initial reaction from the town has been verry posative, which is not to be discounted.  Community supprt is a major thing to consider.  This type of support is somewhat absent in Portland on several key levels.  It is also questionable in the Bridgeton area.  I think the best thing MNG can do is to find a place that wants them there and that they can affordably own.  These are the key underlying things that have made the WW&F museum successful.

Stewart Rhine replied:
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Ira,  You are correct.  I do know about Antonito but was referring to a standard gauge - two foot gauge connection.  I have gotten used to thinking 2-foot whenever I say narrow gauge!  Should have said 2 foot in my post.

As Glenn said, I hope MNG does well and the collection is safe, where ever they go.

o anderson replied:
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FYI, three foot gauge and standard gauge currently intermingle at Orbisonia, PA and Felton, CA. and other places.  There is a 2' gauge and standard gauge combination, perhaps interchange, at Fortuna, CA with the Alton and Pacific and the Northwestern Pacific.  Interestingly, both lines are intact but dormant.
harrymarnell . com / alton . htm
(remove spaces)
O. Anderson

tomc replied:
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Stewart, be careful when you make statements as some wise a** will correct you.
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railway (3'gauge) and the San Luis & Rio Grande (Std. gauge) have a cross platform interchange of passengers in Antonito, CO.
Hiram would be the second spot.

Ira,  There is no platform in Antonito to cross.  At least not yet.  The Std gauge can back down and let the passsengers out on their ROW and from there it is a short walk to the NG depot and their platform.

Tom C.
_________________
Later;
tom_srclry_com

Stewart Rhine replied:
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Mention of the EBT brings up the existance of dual-gauge trackage at Mt. Union.  In this application, one rail is common to both gauges.  There was no "across the platform" transfer because the trackage was dual gauged so both PRR and EBT trains stopped at the same place in front of the Mt. Union station.

Bridgton Jct was unique because it had the only dual gauge track connection of the Maine Two-Footers.  One track in the transfer yard was dual gauged and the common rail was (if I remember correctly) in front of the coal shed.  Mike or Dana is that right?  This allowed standard gauge cars to travel farther North and two foot cars to travel farther South on that lead.  The B&SR used it for end-to-end transfer of freight between cars of different sizes.  Of course all passengers transferred accross the platform at the station which sat next to the MCRR's Mt. Div. mainline.    It would be interesting if MNG relocated there - they could rebuild the yard with that rare track.

Dana Deering replied:
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You are right about the dual trackage in Hiram, Stewart.  As much as I would love to see the Bridgton equipment back on "home rails" I don't think it could happen.  There are too many fierce emotions and too many contrary Yankees (it takes one to know one!) to deal with up there in B&SR country.

Mike Fox replied:
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You are correct Stewart. This was in front of the coal shed at the junction which allowed unloading directly into the coal shed when they needed it. This was used solely for coaling the locomotives. If the coal was destined for Bridgton or someplace on the line, it was transfered between cars.
Mike

Stewart Rhine replied:
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Thanks Mike and Dana,  It makes sense that the dual gauge track was mainly set up to bring in standard gauge hoppers (or gondolas) for delivery to the  coal shed.  How was it transferred from the s.g. car?  They probably used the crane or shoveled as I don't think there was an auger pit.

That would be a neat operation if MNG moved there but I know it's really far fetched.

Phil Raynes replied:
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Stewart wrote:
"Mention of the EBT brings up the existance of dual-gauge trackage at Mt. Union. In this application, one rail is common to both gauges. There was no "across the platform" transfer because the trackage was dual gauged so both PRR and EBT trains stopped at the same place in front of the Mt. Union station."
Actually, the mainline PRR station was about a block away on the "new" alignment, while the EBT used the "old" PRR station, which did, indeed, have dual gauge track.  However, few (if any?) PRR passenger trains used the "old" station after the tracks were moved.  Connections were therefore made by walking the block from one station to the other.  It is my recollection that the last trains to use the standard gauge platforms were early Amtrak trains stopping there for people who were attending the old Trolley Museum sponsored "Winter Spectaculars" on the EBT!  I believe they had to arrange their own transportation to the EBT (other fans, perhaps?), but it is interesting to think that standard/narrow gauge connections were being made (of a sort) into the late 1970's!
Phil

Jon Dandridge replied:
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Don't forget that at Orbisonia one can also transfer betwen the EBT and the Shade Gap Electric Rwy trolleys which are standard gauge I believe (as opposed to the PA trolley gauge which was wide gauge). Does a trolley line count or does it have to be a "steam" RR?

Best wishes for the MNGR and hope their situation can be resolved satisfactorily.

Jon

Ira Schreiber replied:
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The following appeared in today's Portland paper....

http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/story.php?id=160269&ac=PHnws

Ira

Jon Dandridge replied:
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I'm not that familiar with Portland - where is Bayside in relation to the current MNGR location?

Jon

Ira Schreiber replied:
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Portland is on a peninsula with the MNGRR on the ocean side near water's edge. Bayside is the other side of the peninsula, about a mile from the ocean. It is a tidal bay and is bordered by I-295. The original standard gauge tracks circled Portland and though abandoned, the rails are mostly in place.
Others can expand on this.

John McNamara replied:
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I'm not that familiar with Portland - where is Bayside in relation to the current MNGR location?
Downtown Portland is basically a peninsula. Looking at your right hand, palm towards you, MNG is where your thumbnail is, and Bayside is where the thumbprint side of your thumb is. The airline distance through your thumb is about a mile,

James Patten replied:
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Also most of the peninsula is made up of Munjoy Hill, which is just that.  On the sheltered side of the peninsula it's pretty flat, which is probably from filled in cove.  So MNG tracks have to go around the whole peninsula.  Except that there's a multitude of I-295 and feeder road bridges to dodge, which makes it even more challenging.

I think Kingfield is much easier to move to.

John McNamara replied:
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In addition to the problems that James mentioned, Bayside has the problem that it seems to be next on the City of Portland's plans for gentrification.

Phil Raynes replied:
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On the RYPN discussion board, several people have broached the idea of combining the WW&F and the MNGR.  As an interested bystander with no feelings one way or the other, I can see advantages and disadvantages to such a union.  Not having been able to make the trip yet from Ohio, I am curious about the reaction to such a proposal from those of you who have been heavily involved in the restoration and maintenance of the WW&F Museum. Is that something do-able?

Or is this kind of discussion something that is outside the scope of this discussion board and up to the board only?

Phil

elecuyer replied:
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Let's tred very lightly (if at all) on the idea of any sort of union between the two organizations. It has already been mentioned on the 2ft Yahoo Discussion Group - and that topic quickly dissentegrated into all sorts of negativity towards our brothers and friends in Portland.

In my opinion, if our BOD wants to talk with their BOD - that should be up to them, exclusively.

Personally, I'm looking forward to the proposed visit by B&H #7 -  and then seeing where that train may take us.

Phil Raynes replied:
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I understand, and will wait and see how things develop.  I apologize if I seemed to be stepping out of line!  It bothers me when such discussions degenerate into negativity, and I wasn't aware of the other discussion group, or the discussion there.

I had no intention of stirring things up!

Phil

Ira Schreiber replied:
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As a member of both organizations, let me state, IMHO, that we need to drop this topic. Until something developes officially, discussion and opinions will do nothing but cause unfounded speculation. We do not need this.
Again, This is strictly my unofficial opinion.
Ira Schreiber

Bill Sample replied:
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Ira, I second your motion - also as a member of both organizations.

Mike Fox replied:
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Lets keep this discussion going about MNGRR.
One thing I thought of. If they can cross the trestle and swing bridge, there is an old roundhouse just up the tracks. A few stalls of that would be ideal for their operation. It has been used as an ambulance facility, or atleast part of it has. The Turntable was removed and the pit has been paved over. I believe the building is privately owned but by who, I don't know. Just a thought I had.
Mike

petecosmob replied:
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Y'know,...I thought about that too, and I do wonder if somebody closer to MNGRR musta thought that too. I wonder if anyone here knows what's up  with that building?
....anybody......Beuler?

Pete

htbrandes replied:
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Bill,

I agree with you as an MNGR BOD and a WW&F member we are looking at all our options for MNGR. Way too early to even speculate what may happen but I can tell you that we had a good, stable year financially last year. Lots of plans for this year including #7 coming back to life, putting our second runaround back in place and more car restoration. We have coach 22 being restored in the museum and another coach being restored in Rockport.

The cruise ship business looks good for this year and Ocean Gateway opens in May. Our track is back to Ocean Gateway so no more construction zone in that area. We also continue to book tours.

Our rail and tie supply is the largest it has been as we had a couple hundred relay ties (standard gauge) donated to us that we are taking the best 5 feet out of. These are currently being cut and stock piled for track work use.

We also took on a fresh load of 20 tons of coal that is now in the relocated coal bin right near the engine house. Much more convenient than where it used to be.

So we will take things as they come and look forward to a busy 2008.
Ed Lecuyer
Moderator, WW&F Forum