Author Topic: Laurel River & Hot Springs 2-6-0  (Read 7406 times)

David Johnson

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Laurel River & Hot Springs 2-6-0
« on: March 03, 2009, 11:21:56 PM »
A year or so ago there was talk on the old forum that Dana was working on or had evidence that it was not the Wiscasset & Quebec that had the LR&HS 2-6-0 brought up the Wiscasset, but rather the Franklin, Sommerset, & Kennebec.  What did or has Dana found on this subject?  The other question I guess would be why did it arrive and sit at Wiscasset instead of Farmington where the FS&K was grading and building bridges.  I guess the simple answer is that it was brought north on board a ship and if the FS&K couldn't pay for it then why pay the extra to have it shipped to Farmington.  Can anyone provide information of this locomotive and the FS&K/W&Q?
Dave

Dana Deering

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Re: Laurel River & Hot Springs 2-6-0
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2009, 08:58:24 AM »
I have my research in raw written form and it is lengthy.  I have thought about submitting it as a multi part article for the newsletter.  Anyway, the reason why I think the locomotive went to Wiscasset is because Leonard Atwood was not on good terms with the MeC and the Sandy River due to the "connection" fight.  As there was no connection at the Farmington Yard there was no sensible, practical way to offload the loco and get it to the work site.  At least one of the LRHS flatcars WAS used on the construction.  I think Atwood was hoping to resolve the connection problem and then get the engine to Farmington or, failing that, he may have been thinking to work from the south once he had the bridge built over the Kennebec River.  It's all conjecture at this point but I found a lot of circumstantial evidence.  It's an interesting story.

David Johnson

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Re: Laurel River & Hot Springs 2-6-0
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2009, 07:37:06 PM »
Dana,
Thanks for the response.  I would certainly be interested in reading what you have come up with, whether it be in the newsletter or on the forum.  The failure of the F,S&K certainly caused the loss of what could have been another interesting chapter in the history of the Maine 2-footers.  I doubt that it would have been a financial success though as most of the pulpwood traffic as well as a lot of the other wood products from the Sandy River would have tended to go south of Farmington over the MEC.  It looks to me like the line would have had to exist with local farm produce and timber products.  I doubt there would have been much bridge traffic over the line but I do feel that it would have provided considerable boost to the WW&F traffic with lumber going to the ships and possibly coal that would have been going to points west of Waterville.  I really have to wonder what business the branch to Augusta would have brought to the F,S&K.  Perhaps if the F,S&K had been completed, the demise of the WW&F RR and the Peck purchase would not have happened and the 1908 Franklin County merger might have included a lot more miles.  That would have meant that the traffic would have been routed as far as possible on the narrow gauge and would have provided bridge traffic over the F,S&K mainline.  It all probably makes for some interesting what ifs on a cold winter evening.
Dave

Bill Sample

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Re: Laurel River & Hot Springs 2-6-0
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2009, 10:30:23 PM »
Dana,
I'd also be interested in reading your research. 

Dana Deering

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Re: Laurel River & Hot Springs 2-6-0
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2009, 09:47:09 AM »
Leonard Atwood, who was the power behind the FS&K was a very colorful character.  He invented the first oil pipeline and the first elevator, and even a fishing reel.  He bored easily and sold his rights to the pipeline patent to John D. Rockefeller and his elevator to Otis Elevator Company and thus lost the chance to make a huge fortune from his inventions.  He was wealthy nonetheless.  His home base was Farmington Falls, where he had a factory for producing elevators and he also set up a pulp mill there.  He wanted the FS&K for hauling pulp and paper to and from his mill and to service his other businesses.  That's why he acquired control of the WW&F: to connect the FS&K to the port of Wiscasset.  The fight with the MeC over the Farmington connection and the cost of bridging the river finally wore him down and he lost interest and went on to other things.  It was a loss for the two foot aficiandos for sure.  What a railroad that would have been!  The Sandy River connection would have made the FS&K an excellent bridge route with no transfer costs until offloading onto ships at Wiscasset or on the MeC cars there.  Of course the broad gauge wanted nothing to do with it.  They wanted the revenue and they had the Maine Railroad Commissioners in their pocket so the FS&K "almosted but not quited" as Moody once put it.

Dan Rowsell

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Re: Laurel River & Hot Springs 2-6-0
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2009, 02:38:15 PM »
Hi Dana
Thanks for the info. I would imagine if the railroad was completed joining the SR&RL and the WW&F that the WW&F would of been forced to change to air brakes to interchange with the SR&RL. Just a thought, what do you think?
Dan Rowsell
Victoria, BC

David Johnson

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Re: Laurel River & Hot Springs 2-6-0
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2009, 08:47:32 PM »
The Laurel River & Hot Springs mogul and their six flatcars had air brakes, but they were not used by the Sandy River.  The purchase of the SR&RL #23 in 1913 ushered in the age of air brakes on that line and it was not until the 1917 to 1920 period that all of the locomotives received air brake pumps.  If the F,S&K had been completed and had completed the purchase of the LR&HS 2-6-0, it would have been the F,S&K that might have pushed the air brake issue and that might have been a decade earlier than the SR&RL began their conversion.  I think if Atwood had completed the line he would have been inclined to use the more modern and up to date braking system.
Dave