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Author Topic: Rockport Railroad (3ft)  (Read 9500 times)
Ed Lecuyer
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« on: June 17, 2009, 03:11:07 AM »

MODERATORS NOTE:
Rockland 2 Footers has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
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Josh Botting wrote:
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I have noted recently, that there are pictures of narrow gauge lines to service the lime kilns and such in the area, I was wondering if anyone knows the history of that, it seems to be absent from most Maine 2 footer literature?

thanks
jkb

Mike Fox replied:
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Believe it or not, I have read something on that. And after a half hour of brain picking, I found it. I a book called "All Aboard for Yesterday! A Nostalgic History of Railroading in Maine", Linwood Moody wrote a story called The Rockport Railroad. Construction started in 1886 as a 3 foot gauge Railroad. It was abandoned in 1896. It is a short story that includes 4 pictures, which manages to show both of their locomotives.
Mike

MikeW replied:
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Rockland Maine hosted the Limerock Railroad.  It nearly encircled the southeast 1/3 of Rockland from the harborside to Old County Road.  There is an excellent book out now in the "Images of America" series.  It is titled Rockland Area Lime Industries, by Courtney C. MacLachlan, David R. Hoch, and Paul G. Merriam, Arcadia Publishing, 2006, ISBN 0-7385-4485-X.

I have a copy of a street map from 1916 depicting the Maine Central, Limerock RR, and the trolley line.  I have had it scanned, and can put it up on a website if anyone is interested.  Also, there are a few pictures in the Rockland City Hall on Pleasant Street.  I've been all over Rockland as part of my consulting business, and have seen hardly a trace of this line.

Steve Smith replied:
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Josh,

Page 27 of the book Rockland Area Lime Industries has the following information about a narrow gage lime hauling railroad: Rockport Railroad was a narrrow gage line laid out by the Rockport lime manufacturers Carleton, Norwood Company and Shepherd Company in 1886. It ran three miles from Simonton's Corner to the kilns at the Rockport waterfront. The railroad had two Vulcan locomotives, and 35 five-ton cars built by Knowlton Brothers in Camden. The line operated for 14 years, after which it was sold to the Rockland-Rockport Lime Company.

Page 41 has a picture of a Rockport Railroad train on a trestle crossing the Goose River. The locomotive appears to be a wood-burning 0-4-2 saddle tank type. The caption states that the line had short, steep grades and crossed the Goose River five times.

If you're ever up to Rockport you might want to see the narrow gage  saddle tank steam locomotive on display at the Marine Park at Rockport Harbor, near a part of the old lime kilns that operated there.

A sign on the locomotive states that it is similar to the ones that ran on the Rockport Railroad. Th locomotive looked to be in pretty good shape the last time I sawit, i.e., not vandalized. I didn't measure the gage but it's probably three feet.

Steve Smith

Bruce Wilson replied:
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Some may find it interesting to note that the locomotive in Rockport was purchased by Mary C. Cramer of Scottsdale, Arizona from Kovalchick Brothers of Pennsylvania back in the early 1970's. Linwood Moody assisted Mrs. Cramer in selecting this locomotive as a fitting tribute to the memory of her late husband (Ambrose Cramer) and his interest in the Lime Kiln Railroad. The Cramers were summer residents and members of the local historical society.

MikeW replied:
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I believe it is standard gauge.  Here are some photos I have taken of it:


The second picture was taken on Thursday when I was down there on business.  It looked like standard gauge to me, but I didn't have a tape measure.  I can check it next week when I am back down there.

sgprailfan replied:
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MikeW replied:
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Get a load of the original owner's name: "Queens Subway, Apartment & Loft Bldg. Corp.".  Now there's got to a be a story there!!!

MikeW replied:
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I was down in Rockport to work with the Harbormaster.  He is also in charge of the steam locomotive since it is outside of his office.  He asked for advice on repainting/preserving it.  I took a few minutes and looked it over more carefully.  The boiler jacket and lagging is still on it, and naturally the lagging is wet.  I recommended that they remove the saddle tank so that the lagging can be properly (and legally) removed.  I also suggested that they remove the fake-o diamond stack addition.  This was added by some well-meaning individual to make it resemble the engines that used to run there.  All in all, this piece is in excellent condition and should be preserved...
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« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2009, 02:36:35 PM »

The Rockport display locomotive is not standard gauge, contrary to what may be in print. It is three foot gauge and was built by the Vulcan Iron Works of Wilkes Barre, PA.
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« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2009, 01:11:58 AM »

Back in my original reply I had stated the Railroad was constructed 3 foot Gauge. 1886-1896. Wish I could remember what book I found it in.
  Anyhow, even though that particular locomotive never ran on that railroad, It's great someone took the time to find one the proper guage and put it on display.
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« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2009, 03:11:09 AM »

According to the second post in this thread, by some guy named Mike Fox, the book in question is called "All Aboard for Yesterday, a Nostalgic History of Railroading in Maine". Sure enough, on page 48 of the book there is an article by Linwood Moody on the Rockport Railroad. The article reports that the Rockport Railroad was chartered in 1886 and construction began that same year. The line was 3 miles long, used 25 pound to the yard rail, and had 11 bridges and trestles. The trestles ranged in length from 74 to 322 feet long; there were 7 grade crossings. The railroad was abandoned in 1896. The article alleges that the two engines stood in the engine house buried under thousands of tons of waste line for 30 years. Farmers hauling old lime to sweeten their  sour land unearthed them after a while. Then a junkman showed up one day in 1934 and cut them to pieces for scrap.

It is a very interesting book; if one can find it on eBay or in a used bookstore, it is well worth having.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2009, 03:49:08 AM by John McNamara » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2009, 12:26:12 AM »

You know if that guy would slow down a little and read the whole post, he might have caught on to that. Oh well. That is a very nice book.
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« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2013, 03:09:26 AM »

Well, after the program today at Owls Head, Ed asked about locating the locomotive in Rockport. So we headed. Once we found it, then it became an afternoon of grading. Ed thought he spotted the grade by the kilns in Rockport, which he did. So we set out trying to find and follow it. Some research by Ed on his phone found out the line was only 3 miles long. So we continued grading. The snow was right for the chase, and Ed kept a keene eye out. We found the grade running along side a brook. It went out of sight as we climbed High Street. Right turn onto Route 1 and Ed could see nothing. So we speculated as I drove. Took the first left in Camden, and then another left at the 4 way stop, heading toward Rockport. We went past a golf course and came to another 4 way stop. I proceded straight and crossed the brook and then the roadbed. We had found it again. I turned around, went back to the 4 way, and turned left. We went about 1/4 to 1/2 mile and there was the quarry.

We looked the quarry over, Ed compared a photo he found online to the quarry as we were looking at it. Satisfied the quarry was the one in the photo, we followed the grade back to Rockport. About 1/2 mile of it has been erased near Route 1, but we had a rough idea where it went, and were happy to have found both ends.

On the way back to Alna, Ed said he wouldn't mind seeing some of the WW&F grade, so I headed for Coopers Mills and showed him where it was there. Then we headed south, doing more grading along the way. The snow really makes things stand out better, and in about a week, there may be less of it to highlight the grades with.
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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2013, 06:29:06 AM »

Good sleuthing, you guys! You confirmed what I've thought likely but have been too lazy to confirm, namely, that the RR pretty much followed the Goose River from Rockport Harbor to the quarry. The Goose River flows out of Hosmer Pond, just southeast of Camden Snow Bowl. It  eventually flows down to the vicinity of the quarry. On the topo map I have, the stream looks as though "brook" would be a more accurate name than "river," until it gets close to the harbor.
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« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2013, 02:05:50 PM »

Here is my best guess as to the ROW of the Rockport Railroad, as evidenced by our expeditition on 3-9-2013. Remarkably, for a line that has been gone for well over 100 years, it was not hard to find the grade.




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Ed Lecuyer
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« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2013, 02:12:47 PM »

Also, it should be noted that the locomotive in Rockport *may* be an odd 38" gauge. However, we did not have an accurate measuring device with us, and the rails are not well spiked - so they may have spread a bit. Until someone has definitive answers, I think it can be listed as a 3ft gauge locomotive.

We can confirm that the locomotive on display does appear to be in fair condition. The cab appliances, builders plate, jewelery, etc., are gone, but the tank, boiler, and running gear all appear Ok. The smokebox door is cracked in several places. As was stated earlier, the boiler insulation is still there, and should be abated.
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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2013, 01:35:34 AM »

I concur with your map Ed. Nice.
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Mike
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« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2013, 03:53:35 PM »

Also, it should be noted that the locomotive in Rockport *may* be an odd 38" gauge. However, we did not have an accurate measuring device with us, and the rails are not well spiked - so they may have spread a bit. Until someone has definitive answers, I think it can be listed as a 3ft gauge locomotive.

We can confirm that the locomotive on display does appear to be in fair condition. The cab appliances, builders plate, jewelery, etc., are gone, but the tank, boiler, and running gear all appear Ok. The smokebox door is cracked in several places. As was stated earlier, the boiler insulation is still there, and should be abated.

Ed, I have measured the gauge with a tape measure and it is 36" gauge. The track they laid may not be to 36" gauge, but the locomotive is 36" gauge.
Here is the information on the locomotive and its sisters at its original owners location in Queens, NY.

Queens Subway Apartment & Loft Building Corp Steam Locomotive Roster

number /
name
builder
c/n build
date gauge wheel
arrangement wheel
dia cylinders acquired disposition  notes ref
#1 VIW 3340 8/1923 36” 0-4-0T 30 ½ 9x14 new to: Chase Metal Works;
sold: 1/27/31 to Grey Steel Products;
sold: 3/24/32 to Cheney Lime & Cement #1, Allgood, AL (in storage) 29000 lbs [8]
#2 VIW 3374 8/1923 36” 0-4-0T 30 ½ 9x14 new to: American Clay Products;
then unknown 29000 lbs [8]
#3 VIW 3380 9/1923 36” 0-4-0T 30 ½ 9x14 new to: John S. Lane & Sons;
Basalt Trap Rock Co., Alexandria, PA;
rebuilt in 4/1948 by Madden Boiler Works of Hollidaysburg, PA;
Kovalchick Salvage, Sykesville, PA;
currently on display at Camden - Rockport Historical Society, Rockport, ME 29000 lbs [8]

Keith
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 03:55:19 PM by Keith Taylor » Logged
Steve Smith
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« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2013, 04:06:06 PM »

Looks like the data sequence includes driver diameter, then cylinder dia & stroke.
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Keith Taylor
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« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2013, 04:29:30 PM »

Steve;
Date includes: VIW (Vulcan Iron Works),then construction number, date of build, track gauge, wheel arrangement,
driver diameter and fianlly cylinder dimensions.

Keith
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Steve Smith
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« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2013, 08:50:58 PM »

Yup...."date gauge wheel" should have clued me that not every individual data item is flush left.  Huh
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