W.W.&F. Discussion Forum

WW&F Railway Museum Discussion => Volunteers => Topic started by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 23, 2010, 09:58:59 PM

Title: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 23, 2010, 09:58:59 PM
Story #1

Working at the railroad is a great experience, especially during the week when visitors show up and there's more time for one on one conversation.  Just this week I have met a number of interesting people.  

There was a fellow from Toronto who's father grew up near the WW&F in N. Whitefield.  He told me he was using Google Earth to look at what was left of the grade.  He panned South and was shocked to find track.  He was so curious that he searched out the museum on his next trip to Maine.  He was very happy to see engine 10 and took a bunch of pictures.  Later that same day there was a visitor from Florida who wanted to see our shop.  He had heard from a friend that we have some nice machines.  I could tell that he knew about shop work and I asked him what he does.  He told me that he has a foundry that makes replica cannons from the Revolutionary War era.  He was on his way to Fort Ticonderoga to meet with the curator.  He took photos of most of our shop machines and was very happy to have seen the place.  Another day brought more visitors, including a retired school teacher from Arizona.  He asked me if the museum was the place where engine 9 was kept.  I said yes and gave him a tour showing him all the parts of the locomotive.  He was very happy to hear that she will steam again.  He said that he had seen the engine once before (in CT) and that it didn't look like it would ever run again.  I asked him when that was, he replied that it was in 1950.

Good times...
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Dale Reynolds on July 24, 2010, 09:01:06 PM
hey stewart, you are lucky, when tim blanchard and i keep the place open on tuesdays in august we usually get loudmouth men with whining wives... maybe this year will be different. dale
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 14, 2010, 06:28:12 PM
Story #2

I stopped by the railroad today and was only going to be there for a few minutes...  when a car pulled in and a fellow and his wife got out.  The man had his camera and asked me if he could look around.  I could tell by his accent that he was from the UK.  I opened the shop building and toured them through.  When he saw #10 he asked how old she is.  I replied that she is 106.  He said that his home town railroad had a locomotive that is 145 years old.  I asked him where he was from and he replied that he lived in Towyn, Wales and worked as a guard and signal man on the Talyllyn Railway.  His wife added that he has been involved with the Talyllyn for 50 years.    I told him that I have the book "Railway Adventure" by L.T.C. Rolt about how the Talyllyn Railway was saved.  He said, "yes, the Talyllyn was the first historic line rescued in the UK in 1950 - 51".  Note: the Talyllyn is a narrow gauge line built to the unusual gauge of 2 ft. 3ins.  It served a quarry up in the mountains at Bryn Eglwys.  It is a very popular tourist operation today.  

I asked them if they had a half hour to spare.  The fellow said that their flight back to England was leaving Portland at 6 Pm so they had an hour or so before they had to head south.  I invited them to take a ride in the T Railcar.  After signing out - off we went.  I showed them some things along the line and opened AC station for them.  During the trip we discussed the Talyllyn and the fellow told me how to pronounce the name of their oldest locomotive, Dolgoch.  It sounds like "Dogoff"  

We got back to Sheepscot with time to spare so I gave them some back issues of the WW&F newsletter. They thanked me for the ride and newsletters and the fellow added that he was glad to have some narrow gauge material to read on the plane.  Well, I now have an invitation for a cab ride on the Talyllyn ... guess I'll have to book a trip with Patten Travel.  

I didn't expect to greet visitors in my torn jeans and paint splattered T shirt but I'm glad I did.  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Jason M Lamontagne on September 14, 2010, 06:40:31 PM
Great story and this shows one of the greatest values of our new railcar.  Thanks, Stewart!

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on September 14, 2010, 07:06:58 PM
Patten Travel would be happy to have you book a trip with us.  We have over 5 satisfied customers!
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 23, 2010, 04:45:59 AM
Story #3

Cindy and I went to New Hampshire last weekend and one of our stops was Clarks Trading Post.  The park had their annual Railroad Weekend where most of their equipment is operated.  I wanted to get a ride on their former RF&RL railbus since it is the only SR&RL/Phillips built bus that has the original REO engine and trans.  It was a great ride, especially when the driver was shifting gears in reverse!   We also rode behind the Porter on the river line which I had not been on.

The only negative thing about the visit was that their Climax locomotive was sitting cold on the station siding.  It is a beautiful engine and I was a bit disappointed that she was not in steam.  During the shop tour I noticed a 3X5 foot sign board with photos of the running gear and an explanation of the broken drive gear that took the engine out of service.  I think it was a good idea for the management to show visiting railfans what happened to the locomotive and I didn't hear anyone complain about the engine not running.  The sign was a good way for the public to see what is involved in maintaining a fleet of historic locomotives.  

Maybe the WW&F should have a descriptive sign board about #9's rebuild.  It would help explain what is happening with the various parts of the locomotive and the work required.  The sign could be by the boiler or in the shop.  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on October 06, 2010, 07:54:24 PM
Story #4

Yesterday, a camper with Iowa plates pulled into the Sheepscot station area.  The driver was a fellow on his way back from touring Nova Scotia.  He told me he wanted some photos of the railroad for a friend who volunteers at the Iowa Threshers museum.  He said his friend has not been to Maine but has been following the WW&F's progress on line and asked him to stop in Maine and get pictures of the buildings and rolling stock.  The visitor knew little about narrow gauge railroads so we had a conversation about the basics of the Maine Two Footers.  I showed him through the buildings giving brief explanations of the cars,etc.   He even helped me push the railcar outside for pictures.  He took about a dozen photos using Kodak slide film!  

The experience reminded me of how important the web site is.  Thanks James and Ed.  You never know who may show up at Sheepscot or who is visiting the web site or forum.  It also reminded me of how volunteers can help visitors understand what they are seeing.  

A while back I was watching the HBO series Band of Brothers with my father in law.  It is a well done series but there were a few things I didn't understand.  (I don't know much about aviation, especially during WWII).  My father in law had a long career in aviation and answered my questions about aircraft types and their markings.   The information gave me a better understanding of what was taking place and I enjoyed the production more because of it.   It reminded me of what it is like to look at an artifact and not fully understand what it is or what it was used for.  Some of our visitors are in that situation and the volunteers can make the difference.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stephen Hussar on October 18, 2010, 08:52:16 AM
This is a great thread. Those of us who have spent lots of time at the museum get quite used to the place -not in a bad way, because although being there never loses its magic, there's nothing like that first time you drive up to someplace, walk around and see it for the first time. So every once in a while it's nice when you happen to catch someone's reaction...and you get to see it through their eyes.  

That happened to me Saturday morning, October 9th. As we brought No 10 out of bay 1 into the morning sun, and as we pushed the nose of the engine past the wide open door on the east side, my focus shifted to several people standing on the platform watching us. I happened to look right at a woman who was caught completely off guard at the sight of this ancient looking piece of machinery, silently gliding into her view. At almost the exact instant I saw her, she said out loud and in absolute amazement, "look at THAT" to the few people nearest to her.

There's nothing like a child's reaction on a grownup's face.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on October 18, 2010, 07:55:57 PM
Stephen, You put it well!  The WOW effect to a new visitor is something special.  

Story #5

A recent experience reminds me of it ... Cindy and I drove up to Moosehead Lake last week.  The Fall colors were beautiful and the trip was a nice drive.  The reason for traveling to Maine's largest lake was to see Mt. Kineo.  I have a photo of the mountain taken by Wallace Nutting in 1923 and it looked like a facinating place.  We stopped in Greenville and had lunch by the steam boat dock where the Katadin is moored.  It's the last of the old steamers that plied the lake.  We then drove up to Rockwood and parked where the old Maine Central / boat transfer station was.  We walked out to the end of land and looked North across the vast lake.  There in the distance was Mt. Kineo, a solid rock mass rising nearly 2,000 feet out of the middle of Moosehead Lake.  The wind was kicking white caps up and it felt a lot colder than it did in Greenville but we didn't care.  What a view!

Now I know what Zack has been talking about all these years when he suggested that I go up there.  Yep there's nothing like seeing something special for the first time.  I won't soon forget my trip to see Mt. Kineo and I hope most first time visitors leave the museum with the same feeling of seeing something amazing.  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Glenn Byron on October 20, 2010, 11:01:17 AM
Just for those who cannot retrace Stewart's trip to Kineo and Moosehead, I just obtained a copy of a 2000 published book called "The Old Somerset Railroad- A lifeline for Northern Mainers" written in fine railroad lingo by Walter M. Macdougall.  This is a first hand collection of stories of the building and operation of the Somerset Railway before the purchase by Maine Central, as well as the ride to the end when the upper portion to Rockwood was abandoned. The soft bound book is very weak in the binding, but strong in content.  We had Mr. Macdougall give a talk in Norridgewock a couple months back, and what a thrill this man is to listen to.  No Matter what form of railroading you are into this little book will please your fancy, and don't miss him speaking if he's nearby.  Now, I haven't tried this, but for what it's worth:  Down East Books,  PO Box 679, Camden, Maine, 04843,  Book orders, 1-800-685-7962  is the information inside.  I got my used copy on line from Amazon.  I saw Stewart thumbing thru this book at my FS&K Railway display while we were at the Phillips Railfare last weekend.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John McNamara on October 20, 2010, 12:00:18 PM
I became interested in the Somerset Railroad when I saw a topo map location "Somerset Junction" on the CP line. My efforts to find the Somerset line on available topo maps were thwarted when it turned out the topo maps were only available for before and after the existence of this short-lived railroad. Mr. Macdougall's book was a great aid in learning about the line.

To put a WW&F connection to this post, I might add that the topo maps for Alna  (1893, 1944, 1957) do not include the railroad. The road from Alna Center to the WW&F station is interesting, however. On the 1893 map, it reaches the West Alna Road in two places; in 1944 it's only one place; in 1957 it's just a "jeep trail".
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on October 20, 2010, 06:58:23 PM
Glenn,  Thanks for letting me look through your Somerset Railroad book at Phillips.  Yep, the S. RR was an interesting line - the North end was mostly built to get passengers to the shore of Moosehead Lake so they could take the boat across to the Mt. Kineo House.  The Kineo House at one time was the largest hotel built on a fresh water lake in the Eastern U.S. even bigger than the Rangeley Lake House.  

John, There isn't much left from the Somerset RR but I was at the Cole Land Transportation Museum in Bangor yesterday and they have the old CP section house from Moosehead Lake siding which was near Somerset Jct.  The structure dates back to the era when the Somerset line was in service.  There is a Bangor & Aroostook velocipede on a short section of track in front of the shack.  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Eric Larsen on October 21, 2010, 07:47:17 PM
I've driven over much of the north end of the line.  (There is a short section that you can not drive on just north of Lake Moxie because the lake level has risen and it is no longer possible to drive from the end of the line to Bingham.  I do have two original Somerset switchlocks and one key.  Very interesting line.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on October 23, 2010, 08:31:42 PM
A couple of guys from Switzerland came to the museum today - they'd been told about us by people at the EBT!  We stopped the train in a couple of places in the sunlight so that they could get some good pictures.  They stuck around for a couple of hours and left us some Swiss chocolate.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on October 24, 2010, 08:04:58 AM
Story #6  

Yesterday the museum's truck was dispatched to Head Tide to pick up a load of fire wood.  The logs, left from when the grade was cleared were stacked where the railroad crossed Head Tide Road.  The wood was loaded and taken to Alna Center to be used for the Victorian Christmas bonfire.  Fred and I unloaded the wood at the lot across the tracks from the station.  The truck then returned to Sheepscot.  This was the first time the Model A has been to three consecutive stations along the WW&F doing work for the railroad.  

We also figured that - Since the side boards were lettered with the flatcar stencils, yesterday was the first time that a railroad owned vehicle appeared in Head Tide with W. W. & F. Ry lettering in about 75 years.  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stephen Hussar on October 24, 2010, 08:30:20 AM
Another EXCELLENT bit of history re-visited, Stewart! Thanks for the posting! Hey, the more that truck drives around, the better!

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Wayne Laepple on October 24, 2010, 01:36:44 PM
This is one of the most interesting threads on this site. Finding out about people who visit the museum and the behind the scenes things that go on is fascinating, particularly to those of us who only get to Maine a couple of times a year. Please keep it going, while at the same time keeping it from drifting off topic. 
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Kevin Madore on October 29, 2010, 09:54:35 AM
A couple of guys from Switzerland came to the museum today - they'd been told about us by people at the EBT!  We stopped the train in a couple of places in the sunlight so that they could get some good pictures.  They stuck around for a couple of hours and left us some Swiss chocolate.

Hi James,

LOL!  Cool!   Was one of them a tall, middle-aged fellow with glasses and wearing a Nikon jacket?   If so, I spent quite a bit of time chatting with them about the WW&F during the Lerro Productions Charter at EBT on the 17-18th.   That tall fellow...I believe his name is Ferdinand.....actually works for Nikon.   They came over here primarily for the EBT Charter, but were hitting as many other railroad sites as they could during their trip.   Glad to hear they made it up to Alna.

The black WW&F hats definitely are good PR.   I get questions everywhere I go...Durango, Virginia City, Jamestown, Orbisona, Cumberland....   ;D

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on October 29, 2010, 10:05:56 AM

So YOU'RE the one they were talking about that convinced them to come up.  They described you (very generally) but I couldn't think of who it could have been.  I thought they were talking about being at EBT for the Fall Spectacular, not for a charter.  Yes one of them was named Ferdinand (he gave me his card, that's how I remember) and matches your description.  The other didn't give his name that I recall.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on December 05, 2010, 09:48:06 AM
Story #7

As James noted in his work review, yesterday the Sunbeam turbine/generator was cleaned, repaired and tested.  I was in the shop when the turbine was connected to the shop air and started.  Gordon connected a 32v headlight bulb for load testing and the air was turned on.  The turbine whirred away and the shop was filled with light from the test bulb.  The test light reminded me of a story Harry told.  

Harry often spoke of things he remembered as a kid in the 1930s. He told me that prior to WW II, much of rural Maine had no commercial power.  He had memories of a mill near Weeks Mills that had a small 32 volt generator connected to the mills water wheel.  It supplied electric power to the mill and the millers' home.  He recalled that there was a set of large storage batteries in the millers cellar that held reserve power when the mill race froze.  He said that the miller ran the generator every day in winter, when possible and every other day in summer.  The only electric appliance in the millers' home (other than lights) was a large table top radio set.  The miller told Harrys' father that the generator cost about $1,200 and allowed the employees to work later in the day when the sun sets early in winter.  I asked Harry why the system was 32 volt and he said that many local plants used 32 volt because the equipment was easy to get.  It was the same as the railroads used.  The miller bought his equipment through a company that supplied the Maine Central.  The generator and its' drive equipment were delivered by the WW&F some time in the mid-1920s.   Harry added that the radio was one of the few in town and at Christmas some of the local kids went to the millers' home to hear programs on the radio.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on December 19, 2010, 09:33:37 PM
Story #8

As you read in other posts, Victorian Christmas was a record setter.  It certainly was a great day. I worked much of the event at AC tending the bonfire and protecting the crossing as the engine ran through.  With the horse drawn wagon, bonfire and Santa, the visitors had such a good time!  

Around noon there was a group of ladies standing by the fire, watching #10 make the run around move.  As the locomotive came through the south switch, backing towards the train, she blew smoke rings.  One of the ladies shouted "look at the smoke rings!" Everyone turned to watch as the rings drifted up in the clear sky. There were a number of audible "WOWs" from the crowd.

There were a lot of small kids laughing and running around.  For some, their favorite thing was playing on the rock pile.  One parent commented that his little son was more interested in being king of the hill than seeing Santa.  At one point there was a group of teenage boys looking over the Model A truck.  I went over to talk to them and they asked to see the engine.   I opened the hood and they took turns looking and taking photos with their cell phone cameras.  Some of the adults came over and I answered a number of questions about the truck.  Everyone was surprised to hear that it's original, never been restored.  A bit later I was putting wood on the fire and a fellow got his iphone out and told me he wanted to shoot video of the bonfire.  As he positioned his phone someone said " hey, lets sing for the mans video".  The man said that would be great so we all sang Gingle Bells while he shot the scene.  He liked it so much he said he was going to post the video on his facebook page.    

Zack, Marcel and I were around the fire and a man came over who works for one of the large railroads.  He told us how much he enjoyed riding the train and what a nice operation it is.   He said with a laugh that his company could learn a few things from the WW&F.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Tom Casper on December 20, 2010, 02:05:35 PM
Stewart,    Thanks for posting the notes about Victorian Christmas.  Makes a nice read.  Sounds like the crowd really was into it!

Tom C.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on January 16, 2011, 10:00:59 AM
Story #9

Few are the folks who remember the Maine two-footers in regular operation but last Fall the train ride provided a bit of nostalgia for one passenger.  I met the spry 94 year young visitor and her daughter on the 2 o'clock trip.  She told me how she rode the narrow gauge from Farmington to Phillips a couple of times in the 1930's.  She remembered that it was a "pretty ride" and that the scent of fresh-cut hay came in through the open coach windows.  I asked her if she had ridden the WW&F and she said "no, my family didn't get over this way until after the war" (WWII).  She asked me when the original WW&F stopped running and I told her 1933.  She told me she would have guessed 1936 and I asked why.  She said "Oh, the storm of course"  I told her that I had heard of the hurricane because it took out the WW&F's bridge at Whitefield.  She remembered the flooding and damage.  She told me she was staying at a relatives home in Keene, NH at the time.  She recalled being at the kitchen sink, looking out the window towards the farm buildings.  "The wind was growing stronger when all of the sudden the roof came off the barn...  I ran down in the cellar as fast as I could" she said.  Afterward she saw many damaged homes and her father had to take different roads because some were closed.  She told me "I'll never forget that storm."

The train crossed Humason Brook (southbound) and the ladys' daughter said "This is a nice ride, I'm glad we came".  I said that I was glad they did, and it was a real pleasure talking to them.    As the train pulled into Sheepscot, the lady remarked "Thanks for the ride, you just took me back 80 years".  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stephen Hussar on January 16, 2011, 12:26:21 PM
Awesome. Thanks, Stewart!
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ira Schreiber on January 16, 2011, 05:32:10 PM
This is a wonderful example of the heart of the WW&F.
We should all be proud when reading this.
This is our reward................

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Bill Reidy on January 16, 2011, 11:21:24 PM
It sounds like our 94 year young visitor was talking about the severe rain storm that struck New England in March 1936, following a severely cold winter.  The heavy rains, on top of the deep snow pack led to major ice jams and flooding throughout much of New England.  I understand it was this event that took out the Whitefield iron bridge, and I suspect it would have doomed the railroad if it hadn't already gone out by that point.  You can search the Maine Historical Society's Vintage Maine Images at http://www.vintagemaineimages.com/ for "1936 flood" to find several many images from this event, including many from Brunswick.

I believe the hurricane Stewart is referring to is the great New England Hurricane of 1938, which struck on September 21st.  This storm also created great damage in New England, although I understand most of the flooding damage was in southern New England.  There was some terrific wind damage up north, especially the timber land in northern New Hampshire.  Much of Jacob's Ladder on the Mount Washington cog was destroyed by this storm.

- Bill
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Hunt Dowse on January 17, 2011, 09:30:34 AM
The storm of 1936 was severe here in southwest NH and was the final blow to the standard gauge RR that ran from Nashua through Hancock's Elmwood Junction and over to Keene.  I live within about a mile of the old Elmwood Junction where the east-west Keene Branch intersected the north-south Winchendon MA to Concord NH Branch.  The flood took out several short bridges here in Hancock as well as others on the way to Keene.  That there was a standard gauge road here still boggles the mind  since the track layout could be described as tortuous at best.  It would have been much easier to do a 2 - footer here.  Like so many other short RRs of the era, the Keene Branch ceased operations after '36 although the Nashua trains were still running over the tracks to the Monadnock paper mill in Bennington up to about 10 years ago.  That rail is still there just in case the need arises ever again.  The remaining RR ROW east/west as well as north/south provides great running/walking and riding trails in all directions.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on January 17, 2011, 04:28:32 PM
This letter recently came into my hands.

Dear WW&F Rwy,
On Sunday, Sept 5 2010, my sister and her family and I visited the railway.  We arrived in time to take the 2nd train of the day.  While we were waiting to board, the conductor asked my 12-year old nephew, Josiah, and another boy if they would like to try out the handcar, which of course they did.

Then when we reached Alna Center, to our complete surprise, Josiah was invited to ride in the cab of #10 for part of the trip.  That made his day.  As he said to me afterwards, "That was cool".

This was also meaningful to us all in another way.  In the 1960's my father was an engineer on #10 (#5) at Pleasure Island in Mass.  It was wonderful to have Josiah ride in the locomotive that his grandfather operated almost 50 years ago.

I'm sorry I did not get the names of the crew members who worked on that trip, but on behalf of Josiah and his family, please thank the conductor and engine crew very much for making our visit so memorable.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on February 06, 2011, 10:16:01 AM
Story #12    Snow!

Six of us worked the plow extra yesterday.  Jason ran #52 and Ed G., James, Steve Z., J. B., and I took shovels, switch brooms and a pick.  The snow was 2-3 feet deep, mostly powder.  We ran 52 out of the shop and got it stuck in the low spot right outside the door.  Much shoveling freed the locomotive and we proceeded to run toward the mainline switch.  The next round of shoveling cleared the switch points and throw rod so we could line for the yard.  After getting some tools from the tool shed, we ran North clearing the line.  We stopped at Jaynes Way crossing and shoveled the South plow ridge.  We cleared a small amount of ice in the flangeways and Jason backed the locomotive about 4 car lengths.  We rode the running boards as the engine worked Northward through the crossing, breaking through the snow on the other side of the road.  Snow was flying in all directions, some up over the plow.  The engine shuddered a bit but moved right on through.  We couldn't see anything for a few seconds.  When the air cleared there was snow all over the engine and us.  Fortunately the day was sunny with temps in the 30s so it wasn't too bad.  We proceeded North working through some heavy drifts.  Snow was rolling off of the plow like ocean waves, it was pretty.  We stopped and shoveled Sutters and Sheepscot Mills.  Steve stayed at SM to clean out the road and the rest of us worked up to Trasks.  Plowing across the fills was interesting as the snow washed down the slopes over 20 feet.  It was about noon so we ran back, picked up Steve and went to lunch.  The kitchen crew had some great chow and it was hard to leave the warm house.  We collected ourselves and ran back to Trasks'.  There were two people on snow shoes at the crossing.  We chatted with them as we shoveled out the South plow ridge.  Fred showed up just in time to help pick-out the flangeways.  We made quick work of the snow and again got on the engine to run at the North side.  The folks at the crossing backed up to watch as we came through.  I looked back as we pulled away from the crossing and everyone was waving at us ... they must have enjoyed the show.  Alna Center had some snow mobile traces at the crossing but things were in good shape.  We ran all the way to the red flag then came back.  The rails were clear and drying off in the bright sunshine.  We cleaned a lot of snow off of #52 and put the engine back in the shop.  We were some tired but the line is clear ... it was a good experience.  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Gordon Cook on February 06, 2011, 03:26:53 PM
Bravo, Gentlemen!!! Thank you, thank you all.
An excellent idea to clear the line while the snow was still light and fluffy.

Down heah the rain yesterday has turned the snow into 2' of heavy, wet, crusted over mush. This morning ice skates could have been used out of my door. My kids' house had serious ice dams with water dripping down between the walls, and I spent some time on a 2 story high pitched roof trying to clear some of the snow from the eaves. I did live to tell the story, as you can tell.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John Kokas on February 06, 2011, 05:33:29 PM
I hope someone has some video of it!.........
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Glenn Byron on February 06, 2011, 08:34:37 PM
WHAT PLOW?  Must have missed something here.  Thought we didn't have a plow to clear the line for the March run.  Please post pictures and from where it came.  Sounds like the crew really "Made the Snow Fly" to use a slight modification of Leonard Atwood's words.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on February 06, 2011, 08:38:35 PM
We built a snowplow to fit on the end of the diesel engine some years ago.  However what would be really nice to have is a real snowplow car with a flanger.  And more power - #52 sometimes doesn't have enough oomph, and a doubleheading #52 and #10 is not twice the power of #52. 
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stephen Hussar on February 06, 2011, 09:06:21 PM
This photo is from last winter, but you get the idea...

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John McNamara on February 06, 2011, 09:24:33 PM

Recommended viewing from 2007: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KySu8wd5yTo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KySu8wd5yTo)
The excited cry, "I got it!" is Mike Fox celebrating the picture later seen on the front page of the Jan/Feb 2008 WW&F Newsletter and the January 2010 calendar page.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Mike Fox on February 06, 2011, 09:56:33 PM
And why a flanger would be usefull.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOyMCpppfC0&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOyMCpppfC0&feature=related)
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on February 07, 2011, 08:04:36 AM
This photo is from last winter

Now picture if you will snow up to the running boards.  That's what we've got right now at Sheepscot.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on February 25, 2011, 10:17:55 AM
Story #13   Harry's Snacks  -

Back before the Winter Work Weekend one of our great chefs, Brigid did some re-organizing of the kitchen cabinets.  She (and Linda) had cleaned the kitchen and moved some of the supplies around to get ready for feeding a larger crew.  A bunch of us were in the kitchen one Saturday and Brigid showed us the results of her work.  She opened the cabinet above the telephone and it was all cleaned out - except for the cookies on the bottom right shelf.  She said that she was asked not to move the cookies from that location but didn't know why.  She thought maybe it was to keep the cookie hunters happy.  I asked her if she knew why there were fig newtons in there and she said she didn't know.  She thought they were someones "private stock".  I told her that they were Harrys favorite cookies and that Clarissa always kept them in there.  John Bradbury and later Fred continued to purchase fig newtons for that cabinet after the railroad bought the house.  It's another one of those interesting things about the WW&F.  The fig newtons in the cabinet tradition has been kept even though Harry has been gone almost 10 years.    
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Mike Fox on February 25, 2011, 08:53:12 PM
Besides, if they moved the figs, we wouldn't know where to find them. I guess we could follow the oreo smell....
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on March 27, 2011, 09:38:37 PM
Story #14   Engine #9 work  -

I got the firewood in early and had some spare time so I decided to write a little regarding the work on #9's rear frame.  Our aim was to get everything assembled so we could mark the cross braces for drilling.  Zack had set the main rails in a gig so we could line and true the frame.  The rails are heavy but we had the overhead crane so I thought it wouldn't be too bad.  It turns out that setting, leveling and squaring the side rails and cross members was a lot harder than I thought.  Ed L. and I spent most of the morning getting the frame true but after we tightened the clamps on the cross braces we realized that the second (front bolster brace) was off by 1/16 of an inch on the west side.  The brace sisters with the bolster so this was a problem.  We re-measured everything and found (with Jason's help) that the cross brace had slipped because the tab was slightly bent and forced things out of true.  It was a bit frustrating after all the work.  The frame has to be spot on because it helps the locomotive tram properly.  At that point we stopped work to go to the rules class.   Jason told us that the cross members will be pulled out so the tabs can be welded and shaped.  Once the mill work is finished we will re-insert the cross braces and do everything over, then mark the brace tabs for drilling. The final bolting will not happen until after the boiler is set in.  This is because the boiler will be brought in from the rear and the firebox needs room to move through the frame rails.  

Anyway, working on the frame one part at a time reminded me of one of Harry's favorite stories.  I'm not sure why this came to mind, maybe because the frame looks like the stringers of a small bridge.

Harry was an Electrical Engineer by trade but he also had an interest in how things were built.  He told me that the great suspension bridge at Niagara Falls was started by a single thread.  When the wind was favorable, the engineers sent a kite across with a thread attached to the tail.  A team on the far side caught the thread and pulled the kite down. They pulled a bigger string over with the kite string and then a rope over with the string.  Smart work.  Eventually cables were strung and the bridge was built.  The story gives me the incentive to go back and work on the frame again ... of course the thought of #9 in steam is an even bigger incentive!!


Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 14, 2011, 07:49:54 AM
Story #15    The Lesson -

Last Saturday I took a group of visitors out on the railcar and there was an elderly couple seated behind me.  The front seat was empty so I invited Bryce Weeks to ride along.  We followed the steam train out by 10 minutes.  As we got to AC the train was just clearing the North switch on it's trip north to EoT.  We went into the siding to clear for #10 when it came through, working south.  I shut the T down and gave a brief talk on why railroads built gasoline powered railcars in the 1920's and into the Great Depression.  Bryce asked what the Depression was and I gave him the dates and short description.  When I finished, the fellow in the seat behind us began telling us what it was like.  He said "I Grew up in Rhode Island in the 1930's and my family didn't have much.  In the Summer I spent part of the week looking for bottles to trade in.  If I raised 10 cents I went to the movies Saturday afternoon".  He went on, "There was no television back then so the first thing you saw at the movies was a newsreel - then cartoons and the feature.  There used to be serial movies that you had to see each week to keep up with the story.  If you didn't have any money for the theater you had to ask your friends what happened that week".  His wife spoke up telling us that she didn't have money for the movies, that their family had a small farm and raised much of their food to live on.  She said "We went for years with very little and then things started to get better in 1936-'37".  She added "By 1939 my father had full time work and we had store bought goods, then along came the war and everything was rationed so we again had to do without".  The fellow then told us that he was drafted into the Army in 1943 and rode a troop train from Providence to Boston to go overseas by ship.  His wife told us about the ration books that her family had during the war.  The books had small coupons that the store clerk would tear out with each purchase.   She said that her fathers Model A had a (Ration A) sticker on the windshield that allowed her dad to buy gasoline just once a week.  She said he used to shut the car off going down long hills to save gas.

Bryce listened intently and I was mesmerized.  I could have listened to their stories for hours.  Number 10 crested the hill at the Yard Limit and the conversation ended.  I started the T and moved up to the North switch.  I got out and threw the switch to get us out on the main once the steam train passed AC station.  At Rosewood I cranked the T's lifting jack and turned the car.  This time it didn't seem as difficult.  We went back to Sheepscot and I thanked everyone for riding, shaking hands with the couple in the seat behind me.  They said they enjoyed the ride.   I think I got more out of that trip than they did.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Richard "Steam" Symmes on June 14, 2011, 10:38:58 AM
Great story!  Many people today have no idea what folks went through back in the 30s and 40s.  We're so used to having everything we want "right now", that it would be difficult to do without as people did then.  Growing up in the 40s and early 50s, I experienced some of what your riders described.  My dad still saved balls of string, foil wrappers from candy bars, and he even spent hours retrieving bent nails from a nearby construction project and straightening them with a hammer to use for himself. In a way, I think that simple life was better for people. It taught them self reliance, thrift, and the value of things. I'm glad I experienced it.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 22, 2011, 07:47:45 PM
Story #16   The Test -

Father's Day went well at Sheepcot.  There were many fathers and sons, quite a few Grandfathers and at least one Great Grandfather.  I had some time to speak to the Great Grandfather who is 93 years old and had come from Florida to visit relatives.  He told me that he grew up in Lincoln County and worked at a number of places in Whitefield and Wiscasset.  He remembered the WW&F because his Aunt used to take the train to school.  He rode the line a couple of times and remembers empty milk cans banging around.  He said that after the railroad shut down he would sometimes go to the Wiscasset upper yard to look around.   One day there was smoke coming from the large shop building and he went in to see what was going on.  He was surprised to see #3 with a fire in her firebox.  He said that a man there told him that a Mr. Moneypenny was there testing the engines.   (As we all know Mr. Moneypenny eventually purchased #9)  The day that occured was in 1936 and the fellow told it like it was yesterday.  He added with pride that he is a life member of the museum and that his story with a few photos are in the archives.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Pete "Cosmo" Barrington on July 09, 2011, 10:49:28 PM
Mine does too, but you have to look to see it.  ;)
Just do what I do: Tell yourself it makes you look more like Jeff Bridges!  ;D
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ed Deere on July 10, 2011, 06:57:33 AM
   Just a few years ago my wife and I had gotten married a few days earlier. Traveling through the Bangor area they had just painted a couple of the locomotives and I wanted to stop and get a photograph. Into the office of the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad we went to sign papers so that we could enter the property with permission. We were both in our twenties but I have always looked a little elder. Anyway the woman at the counter of whom had much more epoch then I, looked up over her glass, from her desk, and asked me if my daughter was going too. My new bride very swiftly resounded with a smile and said “Yes she is!”.
   So now with a solar panel on the top of my head, I keep a engineers cap on most of the time outside. And have done so for years. And the gray hairs that do go around the sides are very precious to some of us.  So those of you with a full head of hair and with few  or all gray —at least you have hair. And enjoy the benefits and the respect of growing mature. I for one have no intention of growing old because of the way I look, or for my age.
Ed Deere
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Craig "Red" Heun on July 10, 2011, 06:50:53 PM
At least you have hair to be gray!

 I still go by Red and I can't find a Red hair among the remaining few!   Take the discount and run with it!  ;D
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 12, 2011, 07:55:01 PM
Story #18   Southern Broadgage -

We've had a number of visitors to Sheepscot this week.  People from Kansas, Pittsburg, and Atlanta have gotten tours and/or a train ride.  The fellow from GA told us that he was one of the first people to see the old Southern Ry shop complex at Spencer when the museum was being planned.  He went in to do an evaluation of the site.  He described the shop, crew quarters and roundhouse and said it was like a time machine.  He added that the Southern left things in good shape.  The roundhouse is the largest poured concrete railroad structure in the US and is now the center of the museum.  (I have visited the Spencer, NC shop and it's a great facility.  There's a steam powered train that tours the yard area.  The tour train is needed because the yard is hugh.)  The Spencer Shop Museum restores steam and diesel locomotives as well as rolling stock.  Each Memorial Day a special exhibit is set up featuring a WW II camp with one of the few surviving Army hospital cars.  

Some of our guests were thrilled to see #10 and the railcar.  The GA family said that they would come back Saturday to see #10 in steam.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Wayne Laepple on July 12, 2011, 08:38:04 PM
An update to Stewart's comments about Spencer. Unfortunately, there has been little steam operation at Spencer in the last several years. Both the big 2-8-0 No. 4 and the Graham County RR Shay are out of service indefinitely. The only steam at Spencer has been a few visits by Flagg Coal No. 75, a 40-ton 0-4-0T. The trains are handled by an ex-Southern Railway GP-30 most of the time.

In 1981, I wandered around the Spencer complex. It had only recently been designated as a museum, there was no staff on hand, and only a few items on display. But I could see the potential of the site.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Duncan Mackiewicz on July 14, 2011, 11:54:26 AM
I suspect most of us who have seen pictures of the various 2 footers being scrapped and have felt a certain sadness watching rails being taken up. Where I work in Massachusetts there has been recent activity involving full size rail removal. Holyoke is an old mill town that had much train activity years ago. Most of that is gone now but there still is a substantial amount of rail in sidings that have long since been discontinued. This week a group workers from a local contractor began removing the rail. It creates a certain sadness to watch an excavator crawl down the track simply pulling the rail free. Another group follows with torches and a Lull cutting the rail and plcing it into dumpsters. I feel like I'm watching a modern version of the 2 footers' demise since many sidings pass thru deep vegitation. Just like with the 2 footers, this removal is just a job for these guys.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Richard "Steam" Symmes on July 14, 2011, 01:57:45 PM
The company known as "Iron Horse Preservation" has been taking up rail in the greater Boston area to make way for rail trails. The last couple of years they worked in downtown Topsfield, Mass., and progressed down to Wenham and Danvers. They sell the rail and ties and in return they compact the right of way and put down stone dust at no cost to the towns.  I watched them cutting up and removing rail all along the way. And yes, it was sad. The trackage was once part of the "inland route" of the B&M from Wakefield Jct. to Newburyport. Service was abandoned north of Topsfield in 1941 and the rails torn up, but from Topsfield on down the rails remained after service on that end stopped about 1978. I've actually ridden to Topsfield on the local freight that went up there a couple of times a week in the 60s and 70s.  So it's especially sad to see it go.  Rail trails are nice, but I'd much rather see the trains running!

Richard Symmes
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Mike Fox on July 14, 2011, 08:22:51 PM
Hey Richard, any 60# there?
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Richard "Steam" Symmes on July 14, 2011, 09:18:56 PM
Ahhh.... dream on!  No, it was all 85# stuff. And, guess where it ends up?  They sell it to the folks who are building the wall between the U.S. and Mexico.  Gotta love that! 

Believe me, I was on the lookout for 60# rail, but no dice.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 23, 2011, 08:54:31 PM
Story #19   The Good Friend -

Today I had the pleasure of giving Adrian and Barbara Shooter a ride in the Model T railcar.  If the name Adrian Shooter sounds familiar, it should.  Adrian is the owner of the The Beeches Light Railway in the UK. I had a nice conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Shooter at AC as we waited for the s/b steam train to work through.  Mr. Shooter is a fan of many narrow gauge railways including the 2 foot Darjeeling Himalayan Railway which he has visited many times.  He also likes the Maine 2 footers and has been to Portland, Phillips and the WW&F a couple of times.  He's collected or replicated a number of historic 2 foot pieces in the last few years.  His interest began when the Festiniog reopened in the mid 1950's.  He told me that he has been a volunteer on the FR for over 50 years, working as a fireman and at Boston Lodge Works.  

The conversation turned to the Maine 2 footers and Mr. Shooter told me that he came to see and ride the Model T railcar.  He was very impressed by Leon's work and took many photos of the underside of the car.  He talked of the replica of SR&RL railcar #1 (the Vose car) that he built for his railroad.  He stated that his car is built from a 1925 Model T and has a turntable lift that is worked by a hand pumped hydraulic unit hidden in the back tool box.  Clever!  We compared notes on a number of things on the WW&F railcar.  He then talked of the replica parlor car that he has.  Named Carrabasset, the car was built at Boston Lodge in 2004.  It features an electric kitchen and has a dining room that seats 8.  The other end of the car has the standard parlor/obs with seating for 8 guests.  The car, which is a bit smaller than the Rangeley ran on the Festiniog in 2005.  Mr. Shooter pulls his BLR train with a variety of motive power including restored Darjeeling engine #19.  The engine ran on the DHR until being sold to a fellow in Indiana in the early 1960's.  The engine then went to the Hesston Steam Museum where Mr. Shooter purchased the locomotive in 2003.  The engine went back to the UK in January of 2003, 113 years after it left.  A new tender was built for the locomotive and it has FR style couplers.  He told me that in October he is going to run engine 19 the full length of the Welsh Highland to Portmadoc then change to the Festiniog and run it's entire length.  Sounds like a great trip!

Our conversation ended as #10 crested the hill and we were off.  During the return trip I offered a shop tour and the couple accepted.  I later learned that Mr. Shooter joined the museum today.  It was great to have met someone who is so involved in 2 foot railroads in the UK.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John McNamara on July 23, 2011, 10:00:26 PM
Two things:

1. I am surprised that he would have a "electric kitchen." I thought most railroad diners used some sort of coal, or at least gas. It takes a lot of electricity to operate a kitchen.  Did he happen to mention why it was electric?

2. Due to a paid-for trip to Japan that I had to cancel due to the earthquake, tsunami, and radiation, I have a big travel credit that I need to use before 2/12. Any further word on this October extravaganza in Wales?

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Nick Griffiths on July 24, 2011, 04:30:13 AM
................ 2. Due to a paid-for trip to Japan that I had to cancel due to the earthquake, tsunami, and radiation, I have a big travel credit that I need to use before 2/12. Any further word on this October extravaganza in Wales?


It's "SuperPower" and is over the weekend of 10th/11th September. The details are being worked out and aren't (AFAIK) published, but have a look at: http://www.festrail.co.uk/content/publish/specialevents/Super_Power_2011.shtml  for more information. 

Ffestiniog Travel are arranging a weekend with accomodation and transfers, details here: http://www.festrail.co.uk/content/publish/whrnews/Ffestiniog_Travel_Welsh_Weekend.shtml


Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on July 24, 2011, 06:31:34 PM
Mr. Shooter also got a cab ride in #10 on the following steam train trip.  Later I talked a little bit with him about the Carrabasset.  It's 6' shorter length, 6" narrower, and 6" shorter height than the Rangeley (so it's proportional).  It fits the Festiniog's loading gauge, but just barely.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 24, 2011, 08:36:44 PM
John,  To answer your question about the kitchen in the Carrabasset, Mrs. Shooter described it a little.  She told me that the electric kitchen is safer and easier to use and that it is powered by a generator located in a small gondola car coupled to the parlor car.  She said that the generator car was used when the Carrabasset ran on the Festiniog.  Mr. Shooter added that when the Carrabasset runs on his railroad one of his diesel loco's has remote control so it can pull the Carrabasset and be controlled from the parlor car.  Fasinating stuff.  I wish he could have stayed at Sheepscot a bit longer.  Mr. Shooter is like a modern day Ellis Atwood.  He built a railroad on his own estate and brought in or built historic narrow gauge motive power and rolling stock to operate it.

Nick,  Thanks for the festrail links.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 01, 2011, 05:00:03 PM
Story #20   Across The Pond -

We had more visitors from England at Sheepscot on Sunday.  A couple (friends of our cook and gardner Brigid) toured the shops and rode the train.  The fellow was quite impressed by the machine shop.  He knew every machine and said that he used a number of them in the UK because the machines had been shipped to England to help with rebuilding after the war.  He told me that he worked in the Wilkinson Sword Works in the early 1960's and that most of their shop still had the line and shaft system.  He added that the flapping belts made the place the loudest shop he ever worked in.  He said that his first job was on a band saw about the size of the one in bay 2 and it was powered by a foot pedal.  He would pump the saw with his right foot then switch to his left.  He was some glad to be promoted to a belt driven lathe about 6 months later.  I told him that the WW&F's original shop was powered by the shaft system and showed him the portion of the drive line in the museum.  He was impressed that part of it survived.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 09, 2011, 11:01:50 PM
Story #21    Engine 52's first career -

Last weekend saw visitors from many places, including two different families from San Francisco who rode back-to-back trains but didn't know each other - small world!  We also had folks from Colorado, Germany and Norway.  One fellow was a bit more local, from Wilmington, Delaware.   He recognized #52 as soon as he boarded the train.  He pointed at the locomotive and told his wife, "that engine is from a large steel mill".  I was sitting across from them in coach 8 and overheard.  I commented on the history of the engine and he told me a bit more about the mill railroad where he worked 30 years ago.  He said that he was employed at a Pennsylvania steel mill that had about 6 miles of 2 foot track.  He went on to explain the "hot ingot cars" that the railroad used to pull between buildings.  He said that one of the engineers got an idea of how to cook breakfast while working.  The guy added a polished steel plate on the frame of one of the cars and would put eggs on the plate to fry as he went from the furnace to the casting shop.   The engineer had the portable "grill" for about 6 months until the car needed wheel work and the shop manager asked "what the heck is this palte for?" He then had one of the shop guys cut the plate off.  After that, the supervisor checked the cars more often.  The vistor got to laughing as he told me about the added "option" on the ingot car.

When the trip was done I had a hankering for some chow so I went over to the Percival house for lunch ... no eggs though.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Keith Taylor on August 26, 2011, 06:31:15 PM
Today (Friday Aug. 26, 2011) I had some friends visiting and I took them to see the WW&F. My guests were Dr. Tom Davis and his brother Joe Davis. Tom is the proprietor of The Station Inn in Cresson, PA. His Inn is a mecca for railroad enthusiasts as it faces the NS's former Pennsylvania RR mainline. Over 70 trains a day pass the Inn. Luckily for me, Zach. W. was there today and he kindly acted as a tour guide for Tom & Joe. I am still recovering from recent foot surgery and was very happy to turn over the tour guide duties to Zach! (Thanks Zach, both Tom and Joe asked me to pass along their thanks for your time and friendly tour)
P.S. You can read about The Station Inn here: http://stationinnpa.com/
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 28, 2011, 09:04:52 AM
Story #23   No Steering Wheel -

A couple of weeks ago I had the railcar on the Bay 1 lead getting ready for the next Saturday afternoon trip.  As I checked the gas tank, a lady and her grandson came over to look at the car.  I explained the basics of the Model T conversion and why the two-footers used them.  The grandson listened intently and said "Hey Gram ... let's get tickets to ride this car"   The grandmother looked everything over and said in a solid downeast accent,  "I'm not gettin in that cah - it doesn't have a steerin wheel".  

I explained how the flanged wheels keep the car on the track.  She listened for a minute but stuck with her decision not to ride.   She and her grandson walked over to the platform and took the 2 o'clock train.  A few minutes later we waved to the people on the train as it passed the railcar at Alna Center.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Craig "Red" Heun on August 28, 2011, 11:32:13 AM
Did you tell her that 10 doesn't have a steering wheel either? ;D
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Bill Fortier on August 28, 2011, 07:01:38 PM

The grandmother looked everything over and said in a solid downeast accent,  "I'm not gettin in that cah - it doesn't have a steering wheel". 

I explained how the flanged wheels keep the car on the track.  She listened for a minute but stuck with her decision not to ride.

Of course it has a steering wheel. It's underneath and that crank in the side turns it on. Superb turning radius, too, but it pulls to the left.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 30, 2011, 08:25:36 PM
Story #24   Smart Bird -

When I was a teenager I worked Summers on my neighbors farm.  One of my jobs was to cut a field that was up on a hill.  I used a tractor with a sickle bar side cutter.  The field was bordered by woods on the North side and each time I cut I noticed a hawk would fly out of the trees and follow me. Smart bird.  He knew that I would scare up mice so he would have an easy lunch.  

Yesterday I was on an inspection train that ran to EoT.  Steve and I took #52 out to check the line after the storm.  We ran light, going slowly watching for blow-downs.  The railroad had no damage in fact the only down tree of any size was across the Averill Road.  The interesting thing was that as we cleared the South Yard Limit at AC, a hawk flew over and followed us until we got up to the grade crossing.  He then turned and went over into the woods.  I watched his flight but didn't think anything more about it.  Today we had visitors from Maryland at the museum.  It was a picture perfect day so I took them out on the railcar.  We worked up to Rose Wood and turned for the trip back to Sheepscot.  As we passed the North Yard Limit sign, the hawk appeared from the woods.  He flew alongside of us, about 30 feet up.  He followed the Model T until we got to the station and veered off towards 218.  Beautiful sight.  

I figure that the hawk is either a railfan or he knows that a train can flush out prey.   At Alna Center he can have dinner and a show.  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Craig "Red" Heun on August 30, 2011, 08:39:54 PM
When I was learning to fly floats out at Twitchell's in Turner, on the Androscoggin, a Bald Eagle would fly right in front of the plane at a particular point in the take off run...Turns out there was a nest in a tree on a small island in the river that was by the take off area...someone told me that they try to lead you away from the nest....so maybe we have a nest nearby   ???
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Pete "Cosmo" Barrington on August 31, 2011, 11:22:50 PM
Well, even though it wasn't up theyah, I did get to see an Eagle the other day flying behind the riverboat down here at The Valley.
I've seen one perched in the trees along the CT Riverbank from the boat, (probably the same one) and though I've seen them closer in captivity, that's the closest I've seen them in the wild.
However (here's where I tie this into the WW&F) about 15 years ago (just about this time of year, actually,) I drove all the way down from Ellsworth to Sheepscott, spending a couple days there and making my way back north, following the line as far as Unity. This was when the "Sweedish Steamer" was running up there, so I was taking pics when I saw an Bald Eagle soaring high above. It was way up there, but I could tell it had the white head and neck.
Later, on the way back to Ellsworth, I grabbed a sandwich and found a spot along the road to stop and eat. It happened to be where the B&A (Later the MM&A) crossed the road.
As I sat on roof of my pickup, I noticed the "Indian Moon" rising in the east. As I watched it, a young eagle, too young to have the white head, flew directly into and across my field of vision!
To this day, I believe this was my closest encounter with an eagle.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 05, 2011, 08:05:42 AM
Story #26   The Old Way -   

Saturday we had a fellow from Canada visit the railroad.  I spoke to him on the station platform after he had done some shopping in the gift shop.  He told me that this was the first time he had been to Sheepscot and how nice the museum is.  He also commented on the period light fixtures on the buildings.  I told him that Josh, our talented electrician has an interest in old electrical technology did the install.  He told me that he is also an electrician and that he recently did a repair and re-wire of an old building near Quebec.  He said that the structure was wired in 1915 and that there were changes and additions made through the late 1960's.   He added that it was quite a job getting things straightened out so that the breakers weren't kicking all the time.  The funny thing was that the 1915 era knob and tube wiring was in good shape and caused no problems but the 1950's and 60's wiring was worn out and had shorts.  He said that he got the building rewired but saved some of the old knob and tube system because the owner wanted to keep it.   The fellow advised that - Canadian codes allow historic wiring to stay in service if it was installed new in the building and it is in good condition.  Smiling, he said "you gotta love 1915 technology".  I told him that I couldn't agree more ... sounds like a good motto for our museum.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 11, 2011, 10:09:08 PM
Story #27   Good Neighbors -

Two local young people were walking along the north end of the railroad today around noon.  The train crew consisting of Gordon, Steve Z., Fred and J.B. stopped the train and offered them a ride down to Sheepscot.  They accepted and climbed aboard.  At Sheepscot they thanked everyone as they detrained and headed towards 218.  We didn't think much more about them until 4 o'clock when the two young ladies showed up with a fresh plate of home made brownies.  They were so happy to have been given a train ride that they went to their home and baked enough brownies for everyone at Sheepscot, including other visitors.  They just missed the 4 pm train so we put them in the railcar and took them to AC where they handed the plate to the engine crew then boarded the train, walking through handing out treats.  Our last trip became a desert train.  Needless to say we gave them a free railcar trip to Eot and back.   I think we'll be seeing them again ...
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 19, 2011, 07:56:15 PM
Story #28   The WW&F's good name -

Cindy and I just got back from a trip to NH and VT.  Things got started on Friday when we met Joe Fox and his girlfriend Dawn at N. Conway and headed over to Clarks Trading Post in Lincoln.  (Friday was Joes first day off from rebuilding the Conway Scenic's track that was washed out by TS Irene).  Clarks railfan weekend was planned for Sat and Sun but Joe had to work the weekend CSRR trains so we went over on Friday.  Clarks was not open but there were 3 crews with 3 engines steamed up, preparing for the weekend.  My friend Leon was runnng the Climax and spotted Joe and I walking across the parking lot.  He waved to me so we walked over to say hello.  I introduced Leon to Joe and they got to talking.  Joe told Leon that he started at the WW&F and now also works on the CSRR.  Leon joked about two narrow gauge railroaders being lost in the NH woods and invited us into the cab.  We talked for a few minutes and Leon got orders to get four log bunk cars from the woods siding across the river.   We rode with him as he worked the engine up through the yard and around the curve towards the river.  I think we heard every sound the Climax makes as we ran through the old covered bridge.  We set out some passenger cars at the end of the main and then came back to get the log cars from the siding.  Joe and I took photos and helped with the "reach" which is the stiff-shackle from the locomotive to the log bunks.  We then ran back to the yard to switch the cars to another engine on the river track.  It was a great experience, especially going through the covered bridge.  After a while it was time for us to go and Leon told us that any time "us WW&F" guys were in the area we should stop by and see him.

On Saturday Cindy and I rode the Conway Scenic notch train.  It was a beautiful trip up through the White Mountains and Crawford Notch, past the Presidential Range.  Joe was working but stopped by our car from time to time to see how things were going.  I was wearing my WW&F hat and a number of people asked how things were going with #9.  One fellow said that Sheepscot was the best railroad museum he has been to.    

Sunday found Cindy and I touring Vermont, tracing the old St. J. & L.C. RR.  We saw the surviving covered bridge at Wolcott and then went back eastward.  We then drove down Vermont Rt 5 to see the famous round barn.  As we went past the Passumpsic Railroad we saw the Plymouth moving some cars.  We stopped in and found that a group from the NRHS was getting a tour.  We walked to the station and listened as the engineman was explaining the locomotive to the group.  He turned to say Hi to us and noticed Cindy's WW&F shirt and asked us if we were from Maine.   We said yes and a fellow in the group said "Oh, I've seen you at the WW&F" He was wearing a WW&F denim shirt.  We were invited to ride the train and got in the caboose where we met the Conductor, Kyle Stockman.  He knows the WW&F, in fact he knows Joe and Jason.  After the ride he gave us a tour of the enginehouse and showed us their beautiful Heisler.  It's the only operable steam locomotive in VT.  

Monday was supposed to be a non-railroad day (is there really any such thing??)  The weather was sunny in Jackson NH so Cindy and I drove up to Glen to see how Mt. Washington looked from the valley.  The summit was clear so we decided to drive up the auto road and get some photos.  First, we stopped in at the Glen House gift shop to look for 150th Anniversary Auto Road items.  I found a special commemorative 1861-2011 plate and took it to the cashier.  I mentioned how nice the gift shop is and that my wife works in a railroad gift shop in Maine.  The fellow behind the counter said "Oh, the WW&F?"  I said yes and he told me that he's a member of the Mystic Valley RR group and knows about the museum.  He said he plans to visit next year.  

We drove to the top of Mt Washington and the weather was great.   Conditions were clear with light wind and temps around 40.  This was the first time I've stood at the summit sign and didn't have to hold onto it.  We saw coal smoke drifting up from the western slope and walked over to see the first train backing down the mountain.  I got a few photos of the steam train and then went to the visitor center to look around.  A while later, two of the lines new bio-diesel powered engines brought a large school group up and I went over to photograph their arrival.  I took a few images of the trains and one of the crew noticed my WW&F hat and gave me a wave.  I waved back and thought "hmmm, the WW&F is well known ... even at 6,288 feet".  

Good vacation.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 26, 2011, 03:58:22 PM
Story #29   The Sutler -

A couple from Pennsylvania rode the railcar last month and I talked to them about the museum's Victorian Christmas trains while we waited at Alna Center for the SB train to clear.  When I mentioned the horse drawn sleigh they said that it sounded wonderful.  They told me that they have a horse farm and provide about a dozen horses for people who ride in a Civil War Cavalry unit.   The fellow put it this way, "We run a Sutler business for Civil War historians who are Cavalry men".  They explained that they have a number of clients who rent horses from them every year, and that the same people often rent the same horses.  They added that "the horse and rider build a working relationship over time".  Sutlers train horses to work around musket and cannon fire so they will be accustomed to battlefield operations.   Horses are trailered to the site by the farm's own trucks.

They also provide the correct 1861-1865 era military saddles, bridles, blankets and tack for the riders.  I have been to a number of Civil War events at Gettysburg, etc. but never thought about the Cavalry units horses.  I figured the officers and company had their own mounts but now know that a Sutler can furnish horses to a unit.  I told the couple that I grew up in Maryland and have been to a number of Civil War sites, starting in Pennsylvania when I attended the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1963.  The fellow, John was glad to hear that and said that he was at the 100th Anniversary as well.  He said that's what got him interested in Civil War history and going into the Sutler business.  He told me that he purchased the horse farm in 1978 and started renting horses in 1982 (it took a few years to train the horses).  He added that some of his horses were used in the filming of the movie Gettysburg.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Pete "Cosmo" Barrington on September 26, 2011, 10:31:01 PM
Wow.... great topic. I always loved that movie and that period in history.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on October 09, 2011, 08:29:33 PM
Story #30   A Backward Glance -

During this year's Fall Work Weekend, a special award ceremony was held on Saturday, October 8th.  The event honored the members who worked at the first Fall Work Weekend in 1997.  After the members received their 15th Work Weekend pins they spent a few moments remembering how things were in the 1990's.  

* Zack Wyllie remembered how bay 1 (the only bay there) looked the first time he came to Sheepscot about 1991.  "The building had no paint and there was no one around.  I thought there wasn't much happening so I didn't come back for a couple of months.  Later, I was working in the area and stopped by.  The shed was painted and I met Harry.  I started helping and one Saturday I came and waited for a long time.  Harry arrived and said that he only worked on the railroad every other weekend.  That soon changed to every Saturday and I've been here ever since"

* Fred Morse said that he heard about the railroad and stopped by one day to see what was happening.  He added that there was a small group building track so he jumped right in.  He's been having fun ever since!

* Dana Deering told us that Fred was the first person he met.  He said "I walked up to where the track crew was working and Fred handed me a shovel.  He told me to shovel stone between the ties and I thought ... I am home! During the 1997 track weekend, we built the first curve at Davis.  The neat thing was that we could finally run the train far enough that you didn't see it from the station.  That was a big accomplishment."

* Stewart Rhine recalled that the same "first day" thing happened to him.  Track work on Columbus Day weekend and Fred handed him a shovel.  Right then he was on the track crew.  Stewart said, "That first year, 1997 I came to Sheepscot for the railroad.  After that I came back to see the friends I made.  The October 1997 track weekend was the first time a goal was set, to finish the first curve and build the first crossing.  The work weekend went so well the Jason and others decided it should occur every year.  Everything that we have now has been built by those who were here before and everyone that is here tonight.   Sheepscot is a wonderful place."

* James Patten told us that he joined in 1994.  He remembered how flatcar 118 was the first car used to carry passengers.  A couple of years later we had box 309 and it was sometime used for passengers.  James has memories of building the yard and most of the mainline.

* Marcel spoke of rebuilding boxcar 309 with Zack and finding the names of the original WW&F employees who rebuilt the car before.  He added that the car was used for passengers for a while when the doors had not been installed.  He also mentioned getting engine 9 running on compressed air in 1996 and again in 1997.

It must have been good stuff since everyone sat quietly listening to the stories.  A number of newer members told me that we should have made a video while we were reminiscing.  Well we weren't that organized.  I can say that Steve Hussar has filmed interviews with a number of members who were involved in the early days of the museum, 1989-95.  The videos are in the archives and may be available at some point.

It was a nice time to share thoughts and memories with our WW&F family.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Mike Fox on October 10, 2011, 07:43:37 PM
Fred was my first encounter at the museum also. He stood at the end (then shorter) of the platform and said "Are you filks here to work or are you here to ride?". We rode that day. Very quick trip. Harry had the railcar there. I don't think I have been as fast on those rails since then.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Bill Reidy on October 10, 2011, 10:35:03 PM
Fred was also a very early encounter (if not first) for me when I made my first visit during the spring 2001 work weekend.  Fred made me feel very welcome, telling me "there's plenty to do" that weekend.  That was the weekend cockeye curve was completed, out to Sheepscot Mill.  Met several new friends at the museum that weekend, and many more since.

Come to think of it, every time I've stopped by the museum since, Fred always tells me "there's plenty to do" that day!

I really enjoyed hearing the stories Saturday evening from members involved with the work weekends from the beginning.  I agree, Stewart - it was great stuff.

The Saturday of Labor Day weekend, I had an opportunity to stop by the museum and help out a bit.  That was the day the oak near the end of track was taken down for timber for the dairy car to be built for display along the Wiscasset waterfront.

After we completed taking the tree down at the end of the line and brought the useful timber back to Sheepscot on a flat, I had some time to stop and watch the Saturday activities at the museum.  I saw families having a great time.  Many were taking the steam train out to the end of line and back.  Some were enjoying model T rail car rides with Stewart.  And youngsters were having a great time on hand car rides in the yard with Bob Cavanaugh.  All in all, just a great place to be on a summer weekend.  A big reason I enjoy being a small part of the museum.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on October 14, 2011, 08:25:48 AM
Story #33  Julius -

One of the best things about the work weekend is seeing members who come to Sheepscot for special events.  Julius Stuck, the museum's oldest active member comes up from the Cape a couple times a year.  He usually works as the station agent at AC.  Julius was born in 1917 and some of his earliest memories date from the early 1920's.  I spoke to him on the train one afternoon as he was going back to Sheepscot for supper.  He told me of how things were when he was a kid.  He said "I remember my family getting their first radio set.  It was a table top Atwater-Kent that took a while for the tubes to warm up.  My father had an antenna on the roof.  We used to tune across the dial listening for a signal.  When a station came in we listened for a while to see where the broadcast came from.  I remember hearing stations from Chicago and West Virginia.  We picked up stations from all over the eastern U.S. and Canada, there was no interference unless there was a storm."

The train rolled south, thumping across Humason Brook trestle and Julius told me another interesting memory.  "I used to play in the house and someone would call out - There's an airplane coming!" He noted that back then planes flew low and slow so you could see them for a while.  He added "We'd all run outside and watch it go over, seeing an airplane was a rare thing."

Thanks Julius for your wonderful stories.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on October 15, 2011, 08:08:30 PM
One couple showed up for a trip and they were the only people to go out, so we took out the railcar.  They thought it was pretty special.  Not surprisingly they'd never ridden a railcar like it before.  "Most railroads will only take you out on a full-sized train." 
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on October 17, 2011, 10:44:08 AM
Story #35   Alice's Party -

My father in law, Don Sanger has lived in CT all his life.  Around 1960 he started visiting Alice Ramsdell and locomotive 9 which was on her property.  He recently told me about one of his early visits.

"I went to see Alice and she showed me the locomotive.  After looking around a bit we walked back to the house and up onto the porch.  There was a nice B&M engine bell sitting there and I commented on it.   Alice said.  "Well, it's not supposed to be there.  It was swiped from the barn a couple of days ago by some Democrats for a rally, they brought it back last night.  I would not have loaned it to them, it's a Republican bell."   I decided not to say anything else about it."

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Wayne Laepple on October 23, 2011, 02:25:56 PM
This past Thursday, I was at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and the Strasburg Rail Road. While at the railroad, I spent a little time with Kelly Anderson and Rick Musser of the railroad's mechanical department. When I mentioned the WW&F, both commented on how much they have enjoyed visits to Sheepscot, how impressed they are with what we've accomplished, and the entire atmosphere that pervades this place. That's really very high praise for what we do from two of the top men in the professional side of steam railroading.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on October 30, 2011, 12:02:50 PM
Story #37   Stack Talk -

The snow storm that came through last night reminded me of something Harry once told me.  The storm brought high winds with gusts over 50 mph.  This morning I rebuilt the fire in my wood stove and cracked the dampers about 1/4 of the way open as I usually do.  Checking on the fire a few minutes later showed that the wood had caught but there was very little heat from the stove or stack.  Opening the door again I realized that the down-draft from the wind was squelching the fire.  I had to open the dampers more than twice as far to heat things up and compensate for the loss of draft.  The stove is in the cellar so there's over 30 feet of chimney but the wind was driving cold air down.

The railroad connection.  Harry once asked me if I knew why the stacks on the WW&F's shop building were so tall.  I responded that I thought it was for draft.  He said that was correct but that the stacks had changed through the years to allow for the strong winds that come up the river.   He said that at first the shop's boiler stack was shorter but was extended due to draft problems.  Eventually, there were two tall metal stacks for the shop building.  The stacks were on the back (North) end of the shop which was built during the Carson Peck era.  The taller stack was connected to the boiler of old #5 which became the shop boiler.  That stack came up through the roof of the lean-too addition.  The second stack was for the 25 horsepower Kendall & Roberts engine that was in the shop itself so the stack came up through the main part of the roof.  Guide wires kept the stacks in place.  I have been down along the waterfront in strong winds and can see why the shop crews needed tall stacks on the engines so they would have a good draft.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stephen Hussar on October 30, 2011, 12:33:21 PM
Fascinating stuff, Stewart! Thank you for that.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on November 13, 2011, 09:11:02 AM
Story #38  Rookie driver?

Yesterday the railroad's Model A truck was used to move railroad ties over to the "free" pile by the Cross Road.  I started the truck and backed it out of Bay 3 then sat in front of the shop for a minute as the battery charged.  Fred came over and asked if he could drive.  I said "sure, hop in"   I slid over to the passenger side and Fred got in.  He looked everything over and said "this is like the Model A truck that I used to drive around the farm."   I asked him when that was and he said "well the last time I drove it was before I went into the service so it would have been 1956"  He then backed up and drove the truck over to where the flatcars were tied down at the end of the mainline.  I got out to direct him while backing.  Fred drove the truck like he had been in it yesterday.  When the truck was in place he shut the engine off but he didn't get out.  I walked over to see what he was doing.  He said "I don't know how to get out of here"  I showed him the door handle and said "gee Fred, don't you remember how to open the door?"  He laughed and said "our truck didn't have doors!"
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Bill Sample on November 18, 2011, 11:50:33 AM
Rookie driver?

 He said "I don't know how to get out of here"  I showed him the door handle and said "gee Fred, don't you remember how to open the door?"  He laughed and said "our truck didn't have doors!"

Must've been a bit chilly in that truck during the winter!
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Wayne Laepple on November 18, 2011, 01:04:27 PM
At the farm owned by my uncles, they had an AA truck that had no cab at all. There was a seat from a long-gone spring wagon on a flat platform. That was it. We used it for haying, and we'd stack bales all over it, just leaving a little space so somebody could drive. There would be bales on both sides of the driver, so he had to climb over the hood to get off the thing. It had no muffler or exhaust manifold, so it was one noisy truck! Solid tires, too.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on November 18, 2011, 05:46:09 PM

     I wonder if your uncle's truck was a Model A (AA).  I've never seen solid rubber tires on a Model A truck because solid tires were discontinued long before the Model A came out in 1928.  Maybe it was a Model TT?  Of course your uncle may have put old wheels and tires on a "newer" truck.  Good story.  It's amazing the critters that roamed around farms ... and shortline railroads.  With the 1930 AA truck, the Brookville and the Model T railcar,  the WW&F is a perfect example.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Wayne Laepple on November 18, 2011, 06:11:48 PM
It was definitely a Model AA. I used to drive it, though never with a load on it. I would have remembered the TT transmission, I'm sure. It had solid tires on both front and back wheels. The front ones were about 4 inches square, and the back ones were single tires about 6 or 8 inches wide and two inches thick. As I remember, the front wheels were solid rims, and the back ones were spoked with big heavy spokes. They didn't look like any wheels I saw on any other Model AA's.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Keith Taylor on November 18, 2011, 06:29:24 PM
Hi Wayne and Stewart,
Putting solid tires on an AA is fairly common, especially the ones that have been cut down to make woods vehicles. I have also seen AA's where the tires have been filled with cement! No flats....but I suspect the ride was less than elegant.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Steve Smith on November 19, 2011, 01:16:45 PM
Keith, can you tell us how the tires were filled with cement? I don't think they could pump it in through the valve. Maybe lay the wheel on its side, cut a hole in the casing and pour in the cement? I guess once the cement hardened, a hole in the casing wouldn't matter.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Keith Taylor on November 19, 2011, 02:15:23 PM
The ones I saw they just chopped a hole in the sidewall and poured it in. Once you fill them with cement they don't need to hold air anymore...
What they were looking for was the added weight.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Bill Fortier on November 20, 2011, 03:11:57 PM
Recently, a Lull construction forklift (http://interstateheavyrentals.com/cgi-bin/details.asp?ID=155&MainType=2) was in the shop for service. In the cab was a label reminding that the tires be filled with calcium chloride. "Odd tire filling," I thought, "Must be for ballast." Sure enough, it was, but  it has its drawbacks (http://www.ehow.com/list_6832750_problems-calcium_loaded-tractor-tires.html). Of course, someone has a solution (http://www.rimguard.biz/Products.html"). No sidewall holes needed.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on November 20, 2011, 05:26:36 PM
Who doesn't remember putting fire wood or cinder blocks in the back of an old 2 wheel drive pickup truck or rear wheel drive station wagon to get better traction in a snow storm.  Just like time zones and traffic signal colors, the idea of getting better vehicle weight on the driving wheels started on the railroads.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Wayne Laepple on November 20, 2011, 06:06:14 PM
Not a good idea unless the ballast is secured. I covered a traffic accident where a guy ran off the road, and a piece of 130-pound rail he had in the box smashed through the rear window of the cab and killed him.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Keith Taylor on November 20, 2011, 08:04:42 PM
Not a good idea unless the ballast is secured. I covered a traffic accident where a guy ran off the road, and a piece of 130-pound rail he had in the box smashed through the rear window of the cab and killed him.
Good job we secure the rail in the back of our pick up truck!
I have several lengths of 150 lb rail cropped from rail on the Bel - Del, when they welded that rail. (My chunks are the ends cut off due to being drilled for joint bars) We throw a few joint bars from that 150 lb. rail back there too.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Mike Fox on November 20, 2011, 08:34:19 PM
Liquid calcium is used in a lot of equipment tires. They call them loaded tires. It also helps take some of the bounce out of the larger tires.You need to know this is in the tire before checking the tire pressure. That is some nasty stuff and will ruin a gauge in a hurry. The tire would need to be turned to get the valve stem to top.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Allan Fisher on November 20, 2011, 11:36:38 PM
Of course , you all know that the two large tires on our front end loader at Alna Center are filled with Calcium Chloride.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on November 26, 2011, 10:27:39 AM
Story #40   Case of interest -

Speaking of the loader, I had a passenger on the railcar last Summer who was glad to find it at AC.  The fellow looked around when we stopped on the siding and saw the N5 sitting over by the trees.  He said "wow - look at the old Case!"  He walked over and looked it over, taking photos of it from a number of angles.  I told him that the loader came from Edaville.  He said that it was a fairly rare model with few examples left in service.  

It just goes to show you that the antique equipment at the museum is appreciated, even the non railroad/unusual stuff.  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on December 11, 2011, 06:46:45 PM
Story #41   The narrowgauge railroader in Maine -

Puts on his vest, hat and overcoat but stays inside for a few minutes to let the warmth build up before going out in sub-zero weather.  He walks through the yard on granite chips and cinders as the last rays of sun hit the top of the towering pines.  He can tell how the engine will run tonight by how long his breath lingers in the air.  

The time before Christmas is good because even though the sun goes down early, there will be plenty of moonlight to run by.  A light dusting of snow will help guide the way.  Setting his engine right he takes the train up the main watching for ice on the grade crossings.  He feels the stiff journals resist movement but the engine picks up speed.  The exhaust gets louder and steam blows back through the cab.  It's not an easy job but there are rewards... his passengers get safely to their stations and the Mail he delivers will be filled with Christmas greetings from loved ones far away.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on December 18, 2011, 09:01:18 AM
Story #42   Coal fired diner -

Yesterday, the kitchen crew sent lunch up to the crew working the Victorian Christmas event at Alna Center.  The food arrived on the 11:30  train.  There was a nice pot of chicken noodle soup, grilled cheese sandwiches and warm buttered biscuits.  Fred put the soup on the station stove and the sandwiches next to it.  When the train left most of the visitors went over to see Santa and get a horse drawn wagon ride.  Zack stayed with the bon fire so Dwight, Fred and I could sit down for a couple of minutes.  There's something really good about soup warmed on a coal stove.  As we started lunch there was a knock at the door.  Dwight opened the door and a family was on the platform.  The mother asked if she could bring her children in to see the station.  She saw us having lunch and said "oh - sorry we'll come back later".  Fred said "that's ok come right in"  The family of four stepped inside and stood there looking around.  After a minute or so the mother said "this is amazing".  We were a bit surprised, after all we were just having lunch.  She continued "seeing you guys in here, sitting around the stove is really nice.  It's like walking into an old photograph."  Well, good way to put it.  We try to recreate the past - didn't think having lunch would be part of the story but we're glad it was.  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on January 16, 2012, 04:27:31 PM
Story #43   Harry's Gas Gauge -

I have related a number of questions that visitors ask about the Model T railcar.  Everyone knows the "where is the steering wheel" story, here's another.  Last Fall a visitor asked the question, "where are the gauges?"  The only gauge on the dashboard is the ameter so he wanted to know how I checked the speed and the amount of fuel in the tank.  I told him that I could tell the speed by the time between mile posts, then I showed him the gas gauge stick that I put in the tank.  He looked at it and commented "looks pretty old".  I told him that it is an original gauge from the Model T era, then put it back so we could start our northbound trip.

The story behind the gasoline gauge  -

Harry had the wooden gas gauge in his cellar.  It may have belonged to his father.  It came to the WW&F when the Percival home was purchased.  There are a number of things about the gauge that will sound familiar to two-foot fans and people who grew up in the 1930's.  The gauge was made by the Atwater Kent company.  It has 3 measure columns on the front. (1) Ford square tank measure to 10 gallons.  (2) Ford oval tank measure to 10 gallons - the one we use for the railcar.  And (3) a 15 inch ruler.   The back of the gauge stick has an advertisement for SOCONY, The STANDARD OIL COMPANY OF NEW YORK.  Yes - the same name that was on the B&SR tank cars.    

The interesting thing about the gauge is that it was made by the Atwater Kent Company.  The name is most famous for making quality radio sets, so why is it on an old wooden gas gauge?   A bit of background;  Arthur Atwater Kent was born in VT in 1873.  He grew up in Worcester Mass.  He was very good at math and figuring electric applications.  He started a company called Kent Electric that made electric motors, generators, fans and later, automobile ignition systems.  Kent was an inventor who started working with ignition systems for gasoline engines.  He discovered a good way to build induction and ignition coils used on Model T's and other automobiles and was granted a number of patents.  Some types of Kents coils are still in use today, the coil on the Brookville is one example.   The success in making auto ignition parts brought a nice income so the business started to make other products for the automotive industry.  It was during this time that Harry's gas gauge was made.  

Kents fortune grew and in 1921 he started a new business to pursue his real love - radio.  His first radio set was an open "bread board" type receiver that became popular.  This lead to other more advanced models and in 1925 Kent moved his plant to a new factory in North Philidelphia.  He built floor model and table top radios that received standard broadcast (am), medium wave (police band), and short wave.  By 1925 Atwater Kent was the largest maker of radios in the U.S.  The company sponsored the "Atwater Kent Hour" a top-rated concert music program heard on the NBC and CBS networks.  Radio cabinets for Atwater Kent were made by the Red Lion Cabinet Company in Red Lion, PA.  The cabinets were shipped on the Maryland & Penna Railroad and Pennsylvania Railroad to Phila.  By 1931 the company had produced over 3 million radio sets.   By 1936 the Great Depression and competitor Philco had eroded AK's market and the plant closed.  

Well, the old gasoline gauge has a number of ties to narrowgauge interests.  

* The gauge came from Harry Percival's family.
* The gauge serves the Model T railcar's gas tank.
* The Brookville's ignition system is the type made by Atwater Kent.
* Socony was a major shipper on the B&SR RR.  

Not bad for a piece of wood, eh?    

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John McNamara on January 16, 2012, 06:01:28 PM
Another wonderful story! One question: Where does "Atwater" fit in?

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Richard "Steam" Symmes on January 16, 2012, 06:17:32 PM
Back around 1980 we flew in one of the last Douglas DC3 airliners from Logan down to Hyannis, just to say we had done it.  When we arrived there, we got off, intending to take the Cape Cod & Hyannis RR back to Braintree, and then the rapid transit lines back to Logan.

We stood at the airport fence after getting off the plane. It was scheduled to fly on to Nantucket. But before leaving, a couple of new passengers scurried over to climb aboard. While they were doing that, a male flight attendant opened the little baggage door behind the main door. He reached in and pulled out a wooden stick. Then he got a running start and vaulted up onto the right wing.  Bending over he unscrewed a cap, stuck the stick down in, withdrew it and looked it over.  Then he raised his other hand and waved at someone behind us, while yelling, "Yup"!   We looked around and the airport fuel truck driver started up and drove over to the plane where they topped off the tank.

We thought that was pretty primitive and something you would have seen back in the 30s. Yet here was a regular commercial airline doing it in 1980. Wonder what the passengers thought as they watched the operation out of the windows?

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on January 16, 2012, 07:49:08 PM
Richard,  That's a wonderful story.

John,  Atwater Kent sounds like a partnership but Atwater is Mr. Kents middle name.  When he started his radio business he used his middle and last name (dropping his first name Arthur) so the company was known as Atwater Kent.  His radios were rated the best super-heterodyne receivers for 8 years, 1926 -1934 by the American Assoc of Broadcast Engineers.   I think that his art deco/gothic table top radios, known as "cathedral radios" are some of the best looking sets ever made.

The Maine connection... Mr. Kent had a home called "Sonogee" near Bar Harbor on Mt. Desert Island.  He also had a small Summer cabin at Kennebunkport called "At Waters Edge"  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John Kokas on January 16, 2012, 09:00:43 PM
Would anyone know if Sonogee still exists on Mt. Desert?
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on January 16, 2012, 09:20:18 PM

     Yes, The Sonogee still stands.  It's a good sized building - now used as a rehab center.  I may look for it next time I go up that way. 
It's interesting how many famous people had (and have) places in Maine. The Vanderbilts had homes near Bar Harbor back in the day.   

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on February 29, 2012, 09:04:28 AM
Story #45   Forty Years -

Back when we were building the caboose I was working with Harry when a visitor showed up.  The fellow was a railfan from out west.  Harry greeted him and gave a short history of the W&Q/WW&F.  They walked around the shop and then stood just outside bay 3 where I could hear the conversation.  The fellow said "I guess it's easy to re-create your railroad since it wasn't that long and only ran for forty years.  I follow the U.P. and there is 150 years of history".  I expected Harry to mention the various locomotive types, freight cars and passenger rolling stock but he surprised me with a two-part answer.  First he said "well, this railroad ran from a major tidewater town through some rural areas so the line operated in a varied landscape and conditions".  The next part of Harry's answer was facinating ... I stopped hammering and listened.   Harry started by saying "When this railroad was planned most people (unless they lived in a major town) traveled as they did in the time of Christ.  Walking or riding a horse was the only transportation with goods freighted over muddy or snow covered roads.  Most work was done by hand.  By the 1930s when the railroad stopped running, many things had changed.  The roads were improved and people were traveling in autos, hauling things with trucks and listening to news from all over the world by radio.  Power lines and telephone circuits spread out from the major population centers and even though some areas didn't have electric service until later, people had local DC power circuits (from mills) to power lights and radio sets.  The state went from the newspaper era into the electronic mass communication age and the WW&F played a part carrying some of the products that brought the transformation".

The fellow thanked Harry for his time and got back in his car.  Harry came in and asked me if I wanted to get some lunch.  I said yes and stood there for a moment thinking about what he said to the visitor.  I still think of Harry's story and give visitors the same information.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Wayne Laepple on February 29, 2012, 09:32:45 AM
And that statement by Harry is what we used to call the "nut graf" in the news business. It encapsulates the entire story of the WW&F in a few sentences. I have heard it suggested that the a good analogy is that the WW&F was the Internet of its day, in that it brought the world to the folks along its track. For visitors who never heard about wind-up phonographs (What's a phonograph, dad?), much less imagined traveling by horse-drawn buggy or life before television, those few sentences say it all. Thanks, Harry!
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on February 29, 2012, 02:20:51 PM
Good point Wayne.  I like how Harry put an interesting spin on the events of that time.  You could say that the WW&F was hurt by improved roads and private auto use but Harry chose to be positive and speak of the railroads contributions.  Yep, that new wind-up victorola was delivered on the narrow gauge.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Bill Reidy on February 29, 2012, 07:12:51 PM
My other major interest aside from the WW&F is the railroad history of Cape Cod.  I have spent hours searching through the Cape's newspapers of the mid to late 1800s.  They tell a very similar story.  In the mid-1840s, the quickest communication between the Cape and Boston was via packet ship or horseback and took most of a day.  In 1848, the railroad reached Sandwich, and Hyannis in 1854.  The telegraph arrived to the Cape in the early 1850s, the lines following much of the rail route.  Now one could travel to Boston, spend a few hours, and return back late the same day.  News which took a day to arrive was now nearly instantaneous!

The changes the Cape residents experienced then was no less revolutionary than the changes we've seen in our lives today.

Yes - thanks Harry - and Stewart for sharing this story.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Wayne Laepple on March 01, 2012, 10:06:10 AM
The story is the same wherever the railroad went. In a puff of steam, the horizon expanded exponentially, in exactly the same manner as the Internet 150 years later. Accounts exist of people fearful of trains because they went "so fast one's breath might be drawn out of the body." The same thing happened when automobiles and then airplanes first appeared. It's our job to tell this story to our visitors, to educate them in an interesting and engaging manner not obscured by jargon and technical terms.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Bill Sample on March 01, 2012, 12:52:37 PM
Stewart, reading about Harry's comments got me thinking about what a good resource the Alna Center Station is.  Here you are with a dirt road and no electricity - the way it was.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on March 01, 2012, 02:28:28 PM
Hi Bill,

     I agree, AC is a wonderful place.  The "WW&F in 1932" scenes we did at last years picnic is an example.  The stop also looked good at Victorian Christmas.  The steam train and the horses pulling a wagon blended right in with the station and dirt road.  That's why some of the best photo ops and shoots have taken place in and around the station.  It's timeless.  

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on March 01, 2012, 02:58:57 PM
Forgot to mention - Sheepscot station has had some recent attention to make it more authentic.  There is now an antique lamp hanging over the desk.  The lamp is an old MCRR agents desk fixture that came from a building in Waterville.  The lamp has a brass socket with a dark green glass shade.  Another addition is a small oak library type table that is next to the desk.  The table holds the ticket case, spare hand lanterns and a old time lunchbox.  The drawer holds WW&F timetables.

Take a look next time you get to Sheepscot.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Keith Taylor on March 01, 2012, 08:44:02 PM
Stewart, reading about Harry's comments got me thinking about what a good resource the Alna Center Station is.  Here you are with a dirt road and no electricity - the way it was.
This brings to mind an odd question.....did the W&Q or WW&F ever provide out houses for the passengers at the smaller depots?

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on March 01, 2012, 08:57:51 PM

     I guess you mean the flag stops since photos show privys at the agent stations like Weeks Mills.  The flag stops at Sheepscot, AC, Prebles, etc. did not have any facilities that I am aware of.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Keith Taylor on March 02, 2012, 08:09:01 AM
Stewart....yes, those were the stations I was thinking about.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on April 05, 2012, 09:26:29 PM
Story #46   Taking the T -

A retired couple stopped by the railroad today.  The fellow told me that he grew up in Palermo.  He said that he remembered the few remaining parts of the WW&F that were there in the mid to late 1930's and that his mother and father used the narrow gauge in the 1920's.  I gave the couple a shop tour and we eventually got over to bay 1 where they saw the railcar.  They were both impressed with Leon's work and said they would come back to ride it.  I opened the hood to show them the engine.  The fellow looked at everything for a minute and then said that he had a Model T when he was a teenager.  He told me "I had an old touring car that I fixed up and drove for a while.  That was during WW II when there were no new autos made".  He added "It was my fathers car.  He bought it around 1926 from someone in MA and had the parts shipped up by train.  He once told me that it came in 3 crates and that the narrow gauge delivered the crates to Palermo on two different days.  His father remembered this because he had to wait for the next crates to arrive so he would have enough parts to start building the car."   The fellow added that he kept his father's Model T until he went in the Service during the Korean War and that his father sold it for scrap while he was away.  He also related that his parents had friends in Camden and would often ride to Wiscasset to take the MCRR to Rockland then the trolley to Camden.

I told them that it was a pleasure speaking with them and that I learned something new about our railroad, that the WW&F hauled automobiles in parts ... interesting.


Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Richard "Steam" Symmes on April 06, 2012, 11:37:32 AM
A great story from a chance encounter at the right place and time.  Imagine, components for a used Model T Ford being brought to a waiting purchaser over a several day span, by train, including the WW&F. Now, could we someday "re-enact" such a partial delivery for Stephen's camera?

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on May 14, 2012, 07:35:20 PM
Story #47   Better Days Ahead?

During the Work Weekend a number of visitors came through the shop while I was working on the milk car.  On Saturday morning an elderly fellow walked over to the car and watched as I plotted and drew in the letters.  I greeted him and he asked a few questions such as "how far does the track go"  I answered his questions and asked if he had ever been to the museum.  He said no but he drives by once a year when he comes to visit his fathers grave site.  The fellow told me he used to live in Alna but moved away when he was a young man.  I asked him when that was and he said "1938".  He told me he lived on the West Alna Road and remembered seeing the track in places but never saw any trains running.  He remembered going to the grain warehouse in Wiscasset with his father around the time the WW&F shut down.  He said that his father saw a friend in the store who had worked for the railroad and the two started a conversation.  The subject of the narrow gauge came up and the fellows father asked railroad man if he had gotten another job.  The railroad man said something to the affect that he hoped the line would re-open so he could get his job back.  He told his father that the owner was waiting for the economy to get better so he could repair and re-open the railroad.  

That was all the fellow could tell me about his memories of the WW&F.  I asked him his name and he said "Norman" (not sure if it was his first or last name).  He said he had to get going and I thanked him for the information.  I wonder about what the out of work railroader said to Norman's father.  Did Mr. Winter keep the railroad "frozen" for a few years hoping the economy would improve so he could reopen it? Is that why things were allowed to just sit?  We'll probably never know but it's just one more possible reason Mr. Winter handled things the way he did.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on May 29, 2012, 07:27:13 PM
Story #48   The Tuesday Cruise Club -

A van arrived at the railroad today carrying 5 retired fellows from Augusta that have an interesting hobby.  Every other Tuesday they get together and pick a spot on the map that they've never been to and drive there.  Today was WW&F Museum day.  Brendan and I toured them through the shop.  They enjoyed seeing engine 9 in it's rebuild, engine 10 and the Model T railcar.  One of the fellows told me that he used to live in Coopers Mills.  He said his name is Bud Avery and he lived two houses from where the railroad crossed Main Street.  He remembered trains coming through because his bedroom was on the second floor and he could see the tracks from his window.  I asked Bud if he minded my asking how old he is and he replied "I was born in 1927"  I asked if he ever rode the train and he said "No ... well sort of".  He went on "There were not many trains in the 1930's so my friends and I would get the small hand car out of the shed and take it to Whitefield to see another friend"  Mr. Avery didn't know that the railroad closed in 1933 so he said "We took the car down and pulled it off the tracks.  We would stay for and hour or two and then come back.  Getting the car up Coopers Mills hill was some tough but we'd get it back in the shed".  I asked him what kind of car they used and he motioned back and forth with his arms to show how they worked it.  To be clear I asked him, don't you mean up and down?  "No",  he replied "you pushed the handle away and pulled it back towards you".  He said that 2 or 3 friends would go because the car sat 4.  He told me that he and his friends "borrowed" the car from time to time until the track was pulled up.          

I thanked Mr. Avery for his story and invited the group to come back on a weekend so they can ride the train.   They said they would like to and I gave them brochures.   After the group left I got to thinking about the handcar.  It didn't sound like a velocipede, seating four.  I suspect that the car was the unusual one the WW&F had with the verticle handle.  There is a photo of the car at the top of page 102 of Narrow Gauge in the Sheepscot Valley. Unlike the typical handcar, the riders are seated and work the lower half of the handle with their feet.  If the car Mr. Avery used is the one in the photo, he was a lucky kid.  It was the only one of it's kind on the WW&F.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Jeff Schumaker on June 07, 2012, 01:29:25 PM

When Mr. Avery stops by again, I hope he can relate more of his memories of the railroad.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Wayne Laepple on June 07, 2012, 08:53:40 PM
I recall seeing a standard gauge handcar such as the one described by Mr. Avery to Stewart. It was quite old and rather ornate, with turned spindles on the seat backs and decorative lining and striping on the paint. I am wracking my brain to recall exactly where it was displayed. I don't believe it was at a railroad museum or tourist operation, however. I remember being a bit surprised to find it mixed in with a bunch of other stuff, like farm machinery, antique automobiles and so forth. It certainly didn't fit the collection.

And when I was a kid, I had a four-wheeled vehicle that had the back and forth handle to propel it. It was steered with the feet, I remember, and I believe it was referred to as an "Irish mail." I have a scar on my chin that I received from the handle when I wasn't paying attention and it whacked me a good one. I bled pretty profusely for a while.. 
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 14, 2012, 08:36:30 PM
Story #50   Hands across the water -

While working on Car 65 in Wiscasset today I gave my first tour ... sort of.  I was under the north end of the car when I heard a mans voice say with a thick British accent "Hello, I see railway preservation is alive in the states".  I crawled out to find a tall thin fellow looking at the car.  I explained that the car is a replica and the fellow looked inside then underneath.  He said "Looks like original bogies" I told him that some of the truck parts are original 1894 Portland Company parts.  He told me that he works in railway preservation in England at the standard gauge Manchester (or Lancaster) and something railway.  I had a bit of trouble understanding with his accent.  He added that in February he had gone to South Africa to purchase steam locomotive parts from a scrap yard.   He said that some engines were junked about 15 years ago but the scrap man had saved some of the parts that were in good condition.  He mentioned purchasing pony truck wheels, a sand dome, whistles and bells.  

He was impressed with the milk car and spent most of the time looking underneath at the truss rods and trucks.  He knew about the Maine two footers and asked what was preserved.  I told him about the museum and he wrote down the web address.  I started to tell him about the rebuild of engine 9 when his wife (in line at Red's) called over to him.  He thanked me and went back across Rt 1.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stephen Hussar on June 15, 2012, 06:02:23 AM
There's no telling the impact car 65 is going to have...but if a picture is worth 1000 words, how many words is actually seeing it (and walking inside it) worth?? Thanks, Stewart!  :)

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 28, 2012, 02:37:52 PM
Story #51   Small Town -

There were visitors from Denver at Sheepscot this week and they enjoyed looking through the shop building.  During the conversation they mentioned how they liked touring small New England towns.  I mentioned that with about 700 residents, Alna fits their interest.  They asked where the "town" part of the town is and I gave them a brief description, telling them how to get to Sheepscot Village and Head Tide.  Then I joked ... "the real center of town is the Alna Store".  I added "it's a good place for lunch and there's a map inside with the historic buildings marked"  They thanked me and went on their way.  

The conversation reminded me of a story Harry once told me.  As most of you know, he loved speaking of how things were when he was growing up in the 1930's in Weeks Mills.   He once told me that his father never locked the doors.  The reason was that the door locks were worth more than anything inside.  He added "of course there was never a problem - everyone left their doors unlocked.  If you went to a neighbors house you opened the door and called.  That was the doorbell".  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John McNamara on June 28, 2012, 03:17:02 PM
He added "of course there was never a problem - everyone left their doors unlocked.  If you went to a neighbors house you opened the door and called.  That was the doorbell. 

I grew up in the 1940s-1950s in Claremont, NH. It was the largest place for 40 miles around at 12,000 residents. We locked the doors if we were away. Somehow we discovered that an elderly neighbor's front door key and our back door key were the same, so if either us needed a key, one need only visit the other. Failing that, anyone could go to the local hardware and buy a "skeleton key" that opened most doors.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 28, 2012, 03:43:12 PM
Good story John,  I wouldn't say that today's Alna is like Mayberry or Walton's Mountain but some of the folks around here make it feel a little like it.  I had lunch one day at the Alna Store last Fall.  I paid for my meal and got some change back.   I looked through the quarters and Amy (the owner) asked me if I was looking for a particular quarter.  I told her I was collecting State Park quarters in a book for my nephew.  A week or so later I was in the store when Amy handed me a plastic bag with my name on it.  Inside were some of the newest state park quarters.  She had looked through the cash drawer and sellected coins for me to look through.  

Just last week Cindy was in the store for milk and a few sundries.  Amy knew that we had been away for a week due to the passing of a family member.  When Cindy wasn't looking Amy put two free desert items in the bag which we found when Cindy got home.  

Yes, Alna is a good place to live thanks to some of our neighbors ... and it's got a narrow gauge railroad.    
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Wayne Laepple on June 28, 2012, 05:03:13 PM
When Kitty and I were first married, we lived in a second floor apartment and we rarely locked our door. When we bought our house a few years later, we usually locked the front door if we were leaving town, but the back door was only locked if we were leaving the country.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 04, 2012, 07:25:15 PM
Story #52   Triple Play -

A good many of the stories posted here are about museum visitors and their tales.  Some remember the original WW&F, the Great Depression, WW II or have an amusing event at the museum.  It's not often that the museum itself is the big story.

Today, the WW&F Railway Museum pulled off what would have been impossible a few years ago.  Two big events have been held on the same day before but never three.  A LOT of planning went into each event and they all came off well.  

* First was the Wiscasset Independence Day Parade.  A new idea was tried - holding a mock town meeting in the back of the railroad's Model A truck, complete with signs stating "TOWN MEETING TODAY"  The exhibit included President Steve at a podium, and Fred and a friend of Steves seated on chairs in the audience.  Steve would make a pronouncement and bang the gavel ... it was great! I drove the truck and heard people along the route shout, "Look it's a town meeting!"  Many applauded.  

* The next event was the Mystic Valley RR Club charter.  About 35 people arrived by bus, lead from the old Wiscasset jail (which they had toured earlier) by Jason.  Linda prepared a nice lunch in a dining area set up in bay 3.  Next, Bob L. and Jonathan ran #10 with James conducting a special train with run-bys.  Much advance planning by Jason and Linda helped everything run on schedule.  Following the train a special railcar trip went out, meeting the rowmow extra at AC.  

* OK - two down, one to go.  We had about 45 minutes to put things away and head to Wiscasset for the next event, the dedication of milk car 65.  The car was opened prior to the ribbon cutting so people could look through.  At a little past 5pm, town officials, railroad president Steve Zuppa and State Rep Les Fossel gathered on the pier in front of the car.  Steve gave a brief speech and the ribbon was cut.  A big round of applause went up. Even the ladies in the kitchen at Spragues Lobster shack (across the pier from the car) applauded.  The dedication of the car is the culmination of about 1,200 hours of hard work by many volunteers and it shows.  Town sellectmen, Chamber of Commerce members, Wiscasset town planners and visitors alike toured the car and many stayed a good while, looking at the exhibits.  A number of times I heard "wow, look at this!" from the attendees.  

One volunteer who was involved in all three events is Stephen Hussar.  Stephen was along the parade route in Wiscasset this morning to record the museums "float" going by.  Later he rode the charter special, getting images of the visitors enjoying the train and photo run-bys.  He then returned to Wiscasset to get photographs of the dedication ceremony.  Thanks Stephen!  Cindy got video of the event and may post it at some point.

At the end of the day a bunch of us sat on the pier and talked about how well things went ... then we went right into planning and kicking more ideas around.   The railroad may be narrow but the mind power in our group sure is broad.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Bill Reidy on July 04, 2012, 09:31:14 PM
Very, very nice Stewart -- thanks for sharing today's events.  I wish I could have been there today to see and help out. 

This is a real testament to everyone who keeps the museum going on a day-to-day basis.  Congratulations!

- Bill
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 08, 2012, 07:02:29 PM
Story #53   Train man -

As most of you have read, the WW&F hosted an evening wedding and reception at Alna Center on Saturday, July 7th.  The couple, Charity and Les have been to the railroad a number of times and became friends with the crews so they decided to get married at the WW&F.    This is the first time a wedding has been performed at the railroad.  A large tent for the guests was set up in the field at Alna Center, west of the track.  A smaller tent was set up next to it for the ceremony.  The officiating fellow is a ship captain who knows our own Capt J.B. Smith.  Special trains took the guests to Alna Center and the train stood by while the ceremony took place.  When the couple was pronounced husband and wife, #10's crew of Bob Longo and Roger Whitney gave them a whistle salute.  

During the ceremony the rest of the crew, Conductor John McNamara, Brakeman Steve Zuppa and Railcar operator Stewart Rhine stood on coach 3's platform.  A young lad of about 7 came over and asked if he could stay with us.  We said "sure" and invited him up on the platform.  He walked through the coaches looking at the kerosene markers, lanterns and flags.  He returned, looked up at us and exclaimed "I want to be a train man!"  I asked him his name and he replied "Sean"  so I told him he can come back to ride the regular train sometime.  He ran back to talk to his father and then returned a couple minutes later.  He told us "my father says you may go have some food"  We thanked him and he walked down to the locomotive where Bob invited him into the cab.  From what I heard he really liked seeing everything in the cab.  

All in all it was a real nice event, as much fun for us as it was for Charity and Les.  Everything went off without with just one hitch.  We wish the newly weds all the best and hope to see them again.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John McNamara on July 08, 2012, 09:51:34 PM
I second Stewart's report on what great fun the wedding was. Railroad-wise everything went exactly as planned; the only surprise was that while the first train was at capacity {30 in coach 3 and 32 in coach 8}, the second train had only 8 guests aboard. The initial projection of the number of guests would have filled two trains. There were no "stragglers," although they may have driven directly to Alna Center, as there about ten cars there, including a red truck belonging to the presiding captain, Aaron Lincoln. As we expected, the event ran longer than scheduled, and full night operation with headlights and lanterns was required.

The unsung heroines of the evening were Linda Zollers and Cindy Sanger Rhine, who stayed at Sheepscot to greet late arrivals and coordinate train movements. Linda was somewhat busy as dispatcher, as the railcar made some runs to return guests who wanted to come south before the departure of the southbound train. Not only did they miss the ceremony and miss chatting with Sean, they also missed homemade food and ice cream. Yes, it was tough duty for those of us waiting with the train at Alna Center :P

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Mike Fox on July 22, 2012, 08:18:49 PM
Never know what your going to find.

As you all know, I have been working in my spare time on the crane car. I have been cutting and welding and drilling homes getting things from the broad gauge of 56 1/2 inches down to 24 inch gauge.

I have also been removing the old cracked paint by sanding, getting it ready for a new coat of yellow. Somethings are expected and other things come as a surprise. One day while sanding, the words INLAND STEEL USA appeared, preceded by the emblem. It was raised in the steel, so the sander made them show up easily. This is in all the 3 inch channel.

So it wasn't much of a surprise a couple weeks ago when I was removing the paint from the 4 inch channel and the words BETHLEHEM STEEL appeared. I started thinking about which company made what.

But it wasn't until yesterday when I really got to wondering what the crane car looked like in the assembly area at Fairmont. While sanding off the yellow paint, I found "4th" written in grease pencil on the primer. I could see other markings written before the "4th" but the sander had distorted and erased enough of it I could not make out what it was. This was located on the inside end of a main frame member.

Just goes to show that even restoring something as little as the crane, there is a story in there someplace.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 26, 2012, 08:33:00 AM
Story #55   Good Days -

Monday I went to the post office to mail some gift shop orders for Cindy.  On the way back I stopped at the Alna Store.  There was a touring family inside, talking to Amy.  I parked my Model B truck in front of the store and went inside.  The fellow noticed the truck and said "Oh, a Model B, I used to have a Model T that I tinkered with".  Before I could say anything Amy said "This is Stewart from the train museum.  They have a Model T down there that runs on the track".  Darci chimed in "Yep, it's really pretty"  Well, I spoke to the fellow for a few minutes and he and his wife decided to follow me to Sheepscot so their two daughters could see the railcar.  

Back at Sheepscot Jason and Jonathan were working on the leaking down pipe from #10's tender.  I greeted them and toured the visitors through, showing them #9, #10 and coach 3.  We went into the machine shop and the girls both said "WOW" when they saw the railcar.  The 11 year old sat in front and didn't want to get out.  I decided to give them a ride so I signed out and off we went.  During the stop at AC I found out that the family is from Mobile, AL and the father has been to many tourist railroads in the South.  They really enjoyed the ride and said they wanted to come back to ride behind steam.

Tuesday  I was dropping off some bottles at the railroad when a man and his wife stopped in.  He is a retired Fire Chief from NJ and was on his way to see someone in Palermo.  I showed them around and the fellow liked the railroad's Model AA truck.  I showed him the engine and he took a bunch of pictures.  He told me that he has a 1945 Ford pickup.  I was surprised to hear that since regular production of cars and trucks didn't start until 1946.  He said his truck is a true 1945 model that was special ordered by the local power company, which got a waiver from the War Production Board to get the truck.  This was rare since most new vehicles made from 1942 thru 1945 went into military service.    

Wednesday I was painting the safety lines around the inspection pit when a man walked in with a camera.  I climbed out of the pit and showed him around. He told me he's from Florida but his wife is from MA and has family in Maine.  He said that he and his Mrs. met at a baseball game on the Cape a few years ago and he wanted to come to Maine for his second anniversary.  I showed him #9 and he said that it reminded him of what his father did.  He said that his father worked for the GM&O RR during the war.  He added that he had heard of the Maine two-footers back when he was a kid and Sheepscot was the first place he has seen one.  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ira Schreiber on July 26, 2012, 12:42:02 PM
It is becoming more and more apparent that we could use a docent/operator on a daily basis during the peak season.
This would be a giant leap forward for our museum.
Tasks could include site tours, gift shop sales, Model T rides and general guidance.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 02, 2012, 01:58:27 PM
Story #56   Reverse Tourist -

This week a family from Ohio came to Sheepscot.  I toured them through the buildings showing them motive power and rolling stock.  We were in Bay 1 and the mother looked inside of boxcar 309.  She saw some milk cans inside and said "Oh - look at those cans.  They are like the ones we had on our farm when I was growing up. We used to ship them on the train".  She added "I don't know if you are aware but there were train cars used specifically for shipping milk."  She explained how they used to take cans to the station early in the morning and pick them up the next day. I smiled and asked them which way they were going when they left the museum.  She told me towards Wiscasset.  I said "funny you mention milk cars, there's something you should see by the creamery pier down there".

I told her about Car 65 and she said she would like to see it and get pictures for her father.  They thanked me and jumped in their camper headed for Wiscasset.  That's the first time I've had someone leave the museum when I told them about the Turner Centre Dairy Car.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Bernie Perch on August 02, 2012, 02:10:12 PM

I absolutely enjoy your stories.  I read and re-read the story about the Model T and the family from down South about 10 times.  It was like I was there taking the tour and ride with them. 

Keep it up.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stephen Hussar on August 02, 2012, 06:33:47 PM

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Mike Fox on August 02, 2012, 09:19:42 PM
I keep thinking he is getting them from a book. Well written. Almost every story makes me picture what you are saying. Maybe John M should think about a new newsletter section.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John McNamara on August 02, 2012, 10:41:50 PM
I have used a few of them. Can always use more  ;)

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 03, 2012, 07:40:14 AM
Thanks guys.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 17, 2012, 09:10:45 AM
Story #57   Extra,  Extra!

There were many new faces at the Annual Picnic last weekend.  Saturday I noticed two ladies walking around with cameras on tripods.  They were looking closely at a number of things in the shop, setting up and photographing them.  After a while I went into Sheepscot station and found them inside taking pictures of the desk and station items.  I said hello and they greeted me.  I described a few things such as the crank telephone, wall clock and century-old Underwood typewriter.  They were happy to see the antique equipment.  One lady said "this place is wonderful, there are so many interesting things here"  I thanked them and explained that much of what they see is still in use and that some of our equipment dates from the 1890's to the 1930's.  I complimented them on their cameras and the other lady explained. "We're photo journalists.  We were in a class in Rockland and a friend in the group told us to visit Sheepscot.  He said there would be some good photo opportunities here."  I spoke to them for a few minutes, explaining the museum's mission and how the WW&F is the longest U.S. two footer rebuilt on it's original grade.  

It was after 11:00 o'clock and I asked if they had tried the food and they said "not yet but we're having a good time so we'll stay for lunch"  I found out that they both lived in Maryland so we had a short chat about things in my old home state.  They said "Maine is a beautiful state, I can see why you moved up here"  One lady added, "you must be all volunteers"  I said "that's correct - how did you know?" She replied "Well, I didn't think you were employees ... the way everyone is working together, this is like a family reunion".

I thanked them and left, later I saw them on the train.


Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Dave Buczkowski on August 17, 2012, 10:04:47 AM
I wonder if those two nice ladies were attending Bob Krist's seminar. You may remember him as the "talent" in the Restoration Stories shot at the Museum by our own Steve Hussar many years ago. I know Bob was leading a seminar somewhere in Maine this month but I don't remember when or where.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stephen Hussar on August 17, 2012, 11:34:27 AM
Bob will be teaching a workshop up in Rockport next week...

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on August 17, 2012, 12:07:41 PM
Here's a story of my own.

I think this was from Saturday of the picnic.  I was operating a railcar trip.  One of the riders was a kid dressed up in a conductor uniform.  We were waiting at Alna Center and I heard the phone ring.  I jumped up in and the kid and his father were in there.  They thought it was a prop, so they cranked it and were surprised when a voice answered on the other end!  I explained it was an operational phone line.

After we got back to Sheepscot, I later saw them walking on the platform.  The father saw me and told me that they had found the other end of the magneto phone (in the station building).
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Richard "Steam" Symmes on August 17, 2012, 12:40:04 PM
A good lesson for the kid, who probably knows only "smartphones". 

I keep my own rotary dial Western Electric phone here at home, simply because I enjoy using it. People think it's not operational, so I let them try it.

I also have a "touchtone" phone which I use if I have to deal with a company which has no live person on the other end. 

And I have the most simple basic cell phone which I carry with me and only use if my car (or I) breaks down on the road.  Phones are often, at best, a nuisance, and at worst an invasion of privacy.  I use them all as little as possible. 

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John McNamara on August 17, 2012, 12:52:57 PM
This is the point where I always like to tell my story about being at the Tech Model Railroad Club of MIT, which had a home-built telephone system in the clubrooms. It was strictly electromechanical and accepted only dial pulses. One of the new students (in a management course, not technical) was completely befuddled by the rotary dials. In response we got a couple of new button-style phones with a tone/dial switch in the base. We set them to pulse; the student was happy, and the phone system was happy.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 19, 2012, 08:20:28 PM
Story #59   A date with a nail -

A couple visited the railroad today and the lady had an interesting request.  She told us that she was born in 1933 and her husband Henry was born in 1932.  She said that she was looking for railroad tie date nails, especially from the year of her birth.  She told us that she had one from 1932 for her husband but had never seen a '33.  The conversation took place in the yard just outside bay one.  I told them that I would look around while they were there.  Steve Z. was within ear shot and joined the search.  We had about 15 minutes until train time so I went inside to look through a can of nails that's in the shop. The lady went into the gift shop and looked through a cup of nails, finding a 1931.  She purchased the nail from Linda and brought it out to show me. I didn't find a '33 and told her that I was sorry.  At the same time I looked down at the ties we were standing on and there it was ... a 1933 nail.  Steve pulled it out and handed it to the guest who was very pleased to get it.  She gave Steve the 1931 she had purchased and he hammered it in where the '33 had been.  Well, the couple was so happy that they took a train ride and railcar ride.  

As an aside -  I checked the railcar's gas tank with Harry's old gas gauge and the fellow, Henry said "I remember those sticks"  He added that he was named for Henry Ford.  I told him that was interesting and showed him the gauge, noting that it was made by the Atwater Kent Company.  He smiled and said "boy they made good radio's"   I laughed and agreed thinking, wow - it sure is nice to talk to people who remember the 1930's.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on August 19, 2012, 08:38:37 PM
...at the ties we were standing on and there it was ... a 1933 nail.  Steve pulled it out ... and he hammered it in where the '33 had been.

Great, now our tie dating system is all out of whack!  We'll pull out that tie two years earlier than we'd planned...  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 19, 2012, 08:45:38 PM
Hi James, gotta keep the track crew on their toes ... he he he,

For those who don't know, I should mention that the date nails are there because Harry used to find old nails and hammer them into ties.  There are quite a few date nails in the yard and mainline ties.  Of course the ties are not that old.   Most were set "way back in the 1990's" as Joe would say!

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Wayne Laepple on August 20, 2012, 09:01:51 AM
When I began working for a short line railroad here in central Pennsylvania in 1984, there were lots of date nails in the ties. The oldest I ever found was a lone 01. Most of them were from the late 20's and early 30's. I always wondered about that, since it seems the Lackawanna RR did lots of tie work in the midst of the Depression. The other thing I was always interested in finding was hand-hewn ties, identifiable by the adze marks. These hewn ties were often wider than a standard tie and sometimes had interesting angles rather than being perfectly straight and square as ties made in a sawmill would be.  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 06, 2012, 05:48:42 PM
Story #60   Down and in -

A fellow stopped by the museum this week and told us "This is my first visit to Maine.  I've heard about the museum and I'd like to look around."  Zack and I started showing him the shop area.  The visiter added "Ive been interested in two foot railroads for years. My uncle worked for a two footer."  We asked him what line and he said "the Chicago tunnel railroad."  He told us that he's from Chicago and is a member of a group who model the tunnel railroad.  I asked him how you model a tunnel operation and he said, "well, you build the floor, one wall and a ceiling.  Then you support the ceiling and it's overhead wire.  The model is set so you can look in from the side."  His club has a number of sections that resemble the original railroad.  He told us that he has been inside a short section of the original tunnel and it is real interesting.  I told him that I remember when the tunnel flooded and had heard that there were still some cars and engines down there.  He said "that's true but some things have been saved.  The Illinois Railroad Museum has one of the electric locomotives from the operation."

We finished the shop tour and we walked outside.  The fellow looked across the yard and commented "I like the tunnel railroad but must admit - it's nice to see two foot track with the sun shining on it."

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 13, 2012, 07:31:48 AM
Story #61   An Open Letter -

In this age of email, texts and tweets, the museum still receives letters from members and visitors.  First time visitors often write to us after they have returned home and have time to look at their photos and think about their tour of the railroad.  The following letter is like many that come in through the year.  It is addressed to the members of the WW&F Railway Museum - whether they work on the railroad every week, a couple times a year or have never been to Alna but support the museum with their membership and gifts.

To the members of the WW&F with many thanks from Barbara and me.

Thank you for the hospitality offered my wife and I on a Wednesday 2 weeks ago.  We were invited to join 6 people from Augusta that had come for a ride up the line and back.  Afterward, two volunteers gave my wife and I a tour of your engine house and shop.  Even though I have severe eye problems, we could see the energy and caring that goes into the restoration of the incredible equipment.  I have for years visited museums in this country, Great Britan and the Continent.  You rank up with the best!

I wish to join the museum and have included more than the membership fee.  Would you send me a pin?

Again, many thanks

Greg and Barbara Gordon

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 23, 2012, 08:45:00 AM
Story #62   Reunion -

A British tour group came to Sheepscot yesterday morning.  I spoke to a few of them when they toured the shop and one or two mentioned that they came from the London area.  The group took the 10 o'clock train and WW&F volunteer Brigid took a break from kitchen work to ride with them.  (For those who don't know, Brigid is from England)  I didn't ride the train but was on the platform when the group returned.  A conversation between Brigid and another lady started on the train and continued back at Sheepscot.  They stood on the platform near where Fred and I were sitting so I heard part of the conversation.  Brigid mentioned how she had to leave London because of the air raids during the war.  The other lady had similar memories.  Brigid said "We got by on the farm but had very little.  I didn't know how bad it was because doing without was all I knew".  The lady replied that they had a tough time because of rationing.  I heard her say "I suppose it wasn't so bad for children but you would go for a year or two without a new toy".  She went on "One Christmas my aunt made a teddy bear for me.  She used part of an old jersey. It was my first new toy".  She said that their family had to leave their town along the coast and move inland.  Things got packed up in a hurry and some things got lost.  She continued "The teddy was gone so my mum made a dolly from an old shirt.  It was nice but I missed my teddy"  The lady then told Brigid "Last year my sister rang me up and said that she had some of my things. She said that she had gotten a box from my mothers home after she passed away. I didn't know what she had so I visited on my next trip to her town.  Well, there in an old box was was my teddy.  I thought it was lost since I hadn't seen it in nearly 70 years".      
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Steve Smith on September 23, 2012, 11:45:01 AM
Thanks, Stewart. Great story! Reminds me how much easier it was on this side of the Atlantic during WWII.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on October 11, 2012, 07:14:33 PM
Story #63   Ducks In A Row -

Monday afternoon Bruce, James, Dana, Bruce's friend Sy and I decided to take the railcar to EoT and back for an inspection. Two visitors, Gary & Kathy Bartholomas from NY were touring the yard and we asked them if they wanted to ride with us.  They said yes and climbed into the middle seat.  Sy and I were up front and Dana, James and Bruce were in back.   We signed out and worked up the mainline from Sheepscot Yard.  As we crossed Humason Brook trestle Gary leaned forward and asked me "how do you keep your track in such good shape?" I said well, our Road Foreman, Dana is in the back seat, you can ask him.  Dana explained how track is laid and maintained by our volunteers.  As we got to Alna Center Kathy leaned forward and asked "how is the museum funded?"  I said well, our Treasurer, James is in the back seat, he can explain it better than I.  James spoke to them about member donations, ticket sales, etc.  We stopped at AC station and I showed everyone the inside.  Gary, Kathy and Sy were impressed by the section of original wall on display.  As we got back on the railcar Kathy asked "is there a place for historic items like archives?"  At that point we laughed a bit and said "guess who the other fellow in the back seat is"  Bruce introduced himself and gave the couple a quick run down of our archives.  

We arrived at EoT and everyone got out so the car could be turned.  Kathy and Gary took photos of the jacking and turning operation .  They then asked us to pose next to the car for a photograph.  We lined up and photos were taken from a number of angles.  As we boarded the car, Kathy said "I've never seen anything like this car.  This ride is just wonderful.  May I send you all a copy of my photos?"  I replied "yes, that would be nice"  She asked me what email address to send the images to and I told her that she could send them to the web master at the museum's web site.  She said "oh, ok will you guys all get copies?"  I said yes, our web master is real good, infact he's in the car.  She laughed and said "is it you?"  I replied "no, he's in the back seat"  She laughed and turned around asking who does the web site.  James put his hand up and we all got a chuckle when Sy called the back row the "power seat".
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stephen Hussar on October 12, 2012, 06:21:34 AM
That's awesome! Thanks, Stewart.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on November 11, 2012, 09:52:17 AM
Story #64   Greetings from across the pond -

The following is a letter from member Chris Walker who lives in Stafford U.K.  Chris is working on a Maine Two-Footer article for the French history publication Voie Etroite and spent a few days touring the WW&F in September.

Dear Stewart,

Just a brief note to say thank you to yourself, Steve, Fred, James and everyone who made me very welcome on my visit.  I must not let such a long time pass before I visit again.

It was a pity that it rained so hard on the day you very kindly put steam on but I solved the problem of (sunny day) photos when I got back to Massachusetts.  In company with Mark Hall, with whom we were staying, I visited another friend, Peter Watson who had been to the WW&F in May when the weather was good.  He had about 50 photos which should be more than adequate for the article in Voie Etroite.

My interest in the Maine Two-Footers goes back more than 50 years.  I was at school with John Prideaux who became the Director of British Railways Intercity trains and then was responsible for building the high speed line from the Channel Tunnel to London.  In retirement he is now the Chairman of the Festiniog Railway Company.  One Saturday he was going out to buy a book so I went along with him.  The book proved to be Linwood Moody's Maine Two Footers.  I bought a copy for myself and was instantly hooked.  It has proved to be an expensive obsession but I have made many good friends along the way!

Regards to you all,

Chris Walker
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on November 29, 2012, 09:07:44 PM
Story #65   Telegraph -

Thanksgiving has long been one of my favorite Holidays.  I get a 4 day weekend, great food and time to visit with family members I don't see very often. This year Cindy and I went to CT to see her parents.  While there I did some fun stuff and some "work" stuff.  One of the fun things was checking over our Model A express truck that we store down there and getting it out of the garage.  We like driving it to the 200 year old Mill Pond Store in Stafford.  Another project was loading firewood and hauling it to Cindy's father's place.   My mother's cat lives at Don's place because he went there when my mom passed away.  I had not seen him for a long time so I looked around when I arrived.  I didn't see him so I called his name just like mom used to.  Well he came out of the woods and ran right over to me.  I picked him up and he purred away ... good reunion.  

Another enjoyable thing I did was on Saturday.  Don and I took a trip down to Essex to see the "New Haven" 2-8-2 at the Valley Railroad.  This is the former K&K locomotive that was damaged in the enginehouse fire.  A couple years ago I saw the damaged engine on the siding, south of the yard.  I had seen a few photographs of the restoration but it's nothing like seeing it in person. The VRR shop crews did an fantastic job restoring the engine.  Don and I got there about 12:40 and found the 3025 steaming at the head of the 1:00 Polar Express run.  We walked over and started looking around the locomotive when a voice said "hi Don, what brought you down here?"  The voice came from engineman, Bill who was leaning out of the cab window.  Don replied "we wanted to see this locomotive, she looks great".  Bill said "thanks, want to come up for a look?"  We agreed, trying not to smile too much.  Been a while since I've been in a standard gauge engine ... boy the ladder is long!  We entered the cab and I looked around.  It's just as beautiful inside as out.  Don and I wanted to ask them about the restoration but Bill and his fireman asked us about the progress on restoring WW&F engine 9.  They have been keeping track of the restoration and were interested to hear anything new.  We told them the latest and they replied that we were doing a first class restoration.  They added that they wanted to come up to see #9 in steam.   Don said "I hope you can come up to see her".  Then with a grin he added "less room in the cab though".  We all chuckled and Bill said "well about time to move" so we thanked him and climbed down from the cab.  We walked over on the grass to get photos of her working out of the station and crossing the road.  She sounded as good as she looks.  Another good reunion.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on December 06, 2012, 06:23:36 PM
Story #66   Something you can hang your hat on -

Back when we were building the milk car, Fred brought in some old coat hooks.  The hooks are cast iron and have two spikes on the back so you can nail them into the wall.  Fred thought it would be a nice to have a hook inside car 65.  He said "well, the attendant may have had a hook to hang his coat on while working inside"  The car crew agreed and a hook was added to the ice bin end of the car.  Some of us even used the hook while working on the car. The rest of the hooks sat on a shelf in the machine shop until last month.  In preparation for Victorian Christmas, some clean up - fix up was done to Alna Center Station.  The stove was cleaned and a load of kindling wood was brought in.  The rest of Fred's hooks were installed in the station so the crew will have places to hang coats when they have lunch.  Another improvement was the addition of fire tools.  There were no tools at AC and a bunch of extra tools in the shop, some were too short to work in a locomotive firebox.  It was decided to move a few tools to Alna Center so the crew could more easily tend the stove.  At first we were just going to sit them by the stove, then an idea hit.  Lets hang the fire tools on nails ... railroad tie date nails.  That's what the WW&F may have done so we put some date nails in the wall, the newest one being from 1933.    

Sam Sewall must be smiling.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on December 13, 2012, 10:08:13 AM
Story #67   Do You Hear What I Hear?

A family from Florida visited the railroad last month.  They arrived at train time and took the 11:00 trip behind #52.  When they returned they toured the shop which included looking at #9 and walking through the caboose.  I met them in bay 2 and asked if they wanted to see coach 3.  They did so we went through.  The teenage daughter found the flip-over seats interesting.  The mother asked me "what can we see next?"  I replied that I was going over to the station and they could see the inside.  At that point the daughter looked bored and said "I'm going to sit in the car".  Her mother and father walked over to the station and I opened the door.  The mother looked around and said "wow, this is neat".   They started looking at everything inside and the mother leaned out the door and called to her daughter who was sitting in the car, playing with her phone.  A second shout brought the daughter over and she came inside. The mother said "look at that typewriter" At first the daughter just looked, then she got her phone out.  She asked me "would you please type something on it?"  I got a piece of paper and typed a word or two.   The daughter then asked me to type a bit more while she shot video with her iphone.  She recorded the typewriter sights and sounds.  Her father was standing by the north window and asked "Hanna do you know how to use this?" He pointed to the rotary dial phone that is connected to the town line.  She said "yes, it's a round dial phone."  I picked up the handset and dialed my home number while she shot more video.  "That's cool" she said.  Then I opened the door on the station clock and cranked the weight up a bit.  Hanna got video of me winding the clock and the pendulum running.  Her mother then asked about the crank phone on the wall.  I explained that the system works and is used to call between stations.  I gave the set a test crank while Hanna shot more video.  

We talked for a few minutes about the museum and the era of steam railroading.  After a while, the father looked at the clock and said "Well we've got to get going but we really enjoyed the tour".   They thanked me and walked out of the station.  Hanna thanked me as well, she was the last one to leave.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Glenn Christensen on December 13, 2012, 01:16:55 PM
That's a GREAT story Stewart!

It just goes to prove, the WW&F is more than a railroad museum ... its a time capsule of life in the early 1900's.

What a tremendous validation of all the work you guys have been doing.

Merry Christmas,
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Steve Smith on December 13, 2012, 04:26:14 PM
Thanks, Stewart. I like these stories! It'd be great if Hanna used her footage to make a little show for her schoolmates, to show them a taste of what life was like in old times.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on December 13, 2012, 09:23:24 PM
Thanks Glenn and Steve.    

When you consider that we now have visitors who don't even remember the 1990's the museum's mission gets broader.  We enjoy showing guests an operating narrow gauge railroad.  (Most have never seen a steam locomotive and their parents probably haven't either).   The education continues with the other things that make Sheepscot a "time capsule" as Glenn put it.  From the crank phone system and historic light fixtures to using the 1930 Model A Ford as a coal truck, it's a well rounded example of life in the 1920's and '30's.  

Many people under 25 have never seen a rotary dial phone, weight driven clock or a typewriter so it's fun showing these things to our guests.

Have a Merry Christmas and a healty and happy New Year,
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Richard "Steam" Symmes on December 13, 2012, 09:30:50 PM
What "old times"?  I still have a rotary dial phone which I use every day.  I would not part with it.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on December 13, 2012, 09:47:06 PM
Hi Richard,

I know what you mean, I have 4 rotary dial phones in my house that I use quite a bit.  I like them because when I work in the cellar I can hear the ringer above the noise of the drill press.  The old bakelite handsets are easy to hold and the phones still work when the power goes out.    

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stephen Hussar on December 14, 2012, 10:13:10 AM
When you consider that we now have visitors who don't even remember the 1990's the museum's mission gets broader.
What a great point, Stewart.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on December 14, 2012, 11:05:22 AM
For her birthday, the daughter of some friends of ours got a full-sized telephone handset as a plug-in for her cell phone, as a replacement for the cheesy ear bud and microphone.  I want one.  :)
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Tom Casper on December 15, 2012, 09:17:39 PM
Me to and a few extra for my buddies.  A new store item in the making?

Tom C.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on December 15, 2012, 09:38:06 PM
Well, if the store is gonna carry handsets they would have to be classic Western Electric F1 handsets like the one on the station town phone.   They would look some interesting plugged into a droid phone  :o
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on December 30, 2012, 09:55:51 PM
Story #68   Feed Sack Weather -

I worked at Alna Center for Victorian Christmas this year.  The day was a real mixed bag of weather.  We had a bit of sun, then rain, snain and a solid snow squall. Temps never got past about 35.  I took my 1932 truck up because there was some dry kindling wood in back plus it gave the crew a place for our lunch basket to be kept since the station was once again being used as a public place.  Around mid day a fellow came over and asked me if the truck was mine.  I said that it was and he asked me if I minded him looking at it with his grandson.  He told me "my father had a '32 truck that we used on the farm.  It was like yours except a darker red".  I told him that he could open the doors and look all he wanted.  He walked over to the truck and I put more wood on the bonfire.  After a while the fellow came back and said "I see your truck is the Model B with the 4 cylinder.  Our's was too, it was a good truck but some cold to drive in winter.  That old flathead engine didn't like it below 20 so my father used to take a burlap feed sack and tie it across the front of the radiator.  She ran a bit warmer then and you could keep her in 3rd gear longer"  I smiled and he laughed.  He said that the old Ford lasted well into the 1960's.  He added that his mother used to say that the truck was "having its feed" when it had the sack tied on front.  At that point we heard the northbound train whistle for Trask's Crossing and I thanked him for the story.  I suggested that he take his grandson over to the east side of the tracks so they could board to go south.  He said " Been nice talkin to you - have a  Merry Christmas" and walked over to the road.  There were a number of good conversations with other passengers through the afternoon but none quite as interesting as the man with the feed sack story.  

When the last train left it was dark and snowing.  The rest of the AC crew members left by train or car and I stayed for a while to wrap things up.  The only light was the embers from the bonfire and the kerosene wall lamp in the station.  I lit my lantern and used it as I cleaned up the bonfire and put out the station lamp.  I closed the station door and locked it, holding the lantern so I could see what I was doing.  I picked my way back over to the gravel lot where the truck was parked and put the lantern on the floor of the cab so the heat would rise up to the windshield.  There is no heater in the truck but when the engine warms up, some heat comes through the firewall into the cab.  I ran the engine for a few minutes then turned the headlights on.  There is no temperature gauge but the engine smoothed out so I put the truck in 1st gear and drove over by the wood pile.  I put a few big pine logs in the bed for traction then crossed the tracks and made my way up the Averill Road.  When I reached Rt 218 I waited for a car to pass then pulled out on the hard road.  The snow was really coming down and the road was covered.  My vacuum windshield wiper wasn't working very well but at least I had the lantern.  I shifted into 2nd gear, then 3rd.  The old girl coughed a bit and I gripped the steering wheel a little tighter.  Wind was blowing the snow around in circles.  I thought "hmm, the fellow was right, this would be a great time to have an old feed bag strapped across the radiator".   I guess I'll have to scare one up for next Christmas.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Bill Sample on January 02, 2013, 02:16:57 PM
Stewart, keep these stories coming.  Years from now they will be even more enjoyable.  This continuing history of the WW&F will make a good sequel book to the Jones & Register publication and these stories are a good foundation for it.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on January 02, 2013, 05:29:56 PM
Thanks Bill,

I'm glad you enjoy the postings - although I don't think they compare to the history of the WW&F.  I just relate things that happen around the railroad. The stories show musuem members what visitors think of the operation they support.  Everything at Sheepscot and Alna Center shouts Maine Two-Foot railroading as it was around 1932 and it's fun seeing our guests reaction to it.  That's what started this thread two years ago.

Happy New Year to you and Sue.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Hansel Gordon on January 03, 2013, 10:06:25 PM
Stuart, you never mentioned a certain story (I don't know if they came back) so I'll tell it.

It was about this past August, I had finished a task on #9 and was waiting for Jason (he was on the pump car). A lady came up to me and was curious (she was in somewhat of a rush) so I gave a quick tour. Turns out her parents MET on a SB on the WW&F! They were on their way to school and then the boy pulled out his brass instrument (think she said saxophone) and I guess that's how you got the ladies back then.. I told coach 3's story, then said "they might have rode this very coach!". She got all excited and said she HAS to come back with her relatives. A relative that was with her even asked her "is his (some kind of brass instrument) still around?" And she said "probably"
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on January 06, 2013, 09:08:58 AM
Hi Hansel,

Thanks for posting the story.  I spoke to the lady that day and she told me the same thing.  Her parents met when they were riding to school on the WW&F.  She quipped "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for this train"   She said that she wanted to bring more of her family back to see coach 3.  I gave her my phone number so she can let me know when they come back.  I'd like to do an interview with her and get photos of the family that traces its' start back to the narrow gauge.  I hope it's this Summer.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stephen Hussar on January 06, 2013, 11:39:46 AM
An interview is a great idea. Let's see if we can coordinate and do it in a style that would be suitable for future broadcast...

Title: Stories
Post by: Steve Smith on March 06, 2013, 12:51:44 AM
This post has been moved here, quite properly, by Ed Lecuyer. It was originally in the thread re progress on restoration of No. 9, and it followed a post from Wayne Laepple about joining locomotive frame and driving wheels. My post read as follows:

"This reminds me of my job in the summer of 1948 as a mechanic's helper at the C & O RR's big back shops in Huntington W Virginia. I was in the wheeling gang. We took rods and other things off incoming engines and pried off the pedestal binders with sledge hammer and wedge bar, and then a huge traveling crane lifted the boiler and frame up high under the ceiling and took it down the line to a waiting work space.

When an engine was overhauled we did the reverse operations. The crane would come rumbling along slowly with an engine up under the high ceiling till it was over our pit.

I can still hear our foreman shouting to the crane operator way up there, "Commin' daown, Walleh!" Lowering boiler and frame took a good five minutes maybe longer till the frame was near the wheels. Then we climbed down into the pit in teams of two, between sets of wheels, to coax the pedestals down over the driving boxes. Lots of groaning noises from rubbing surfaces, whanging of hammers, clattering of tools various naughty words, and hollered commands from foreman Woodie Woodruff. Exciting stuff for a college kid!

That summer our gang handled one or more of just about every class of steam engine the C&O had, including one Allegheny 2-6-6-6 articulated. I was on the swing shift and mealtime was 8 to 8:30 PM. I’d wolf down my packed lunch in ten minutes so I had 20 to climb up in engine cabs, study the controls, fantasize running them out on the road, etc. The regulars of course were convinced I was "teched in the hay-ed."

I learned West Virginian, such as "mee-ilk" for milk, "He dee-id?" for He did? and "arn" for iron.

So much of what I learned about locos has long since leaked away. Shouldera took notes & made sketches And pictures if they'd have let me. Didn't think to ask. Dumb!

Just remembered one scary moment. I was done with my shift and waiting for a bus when a shop steward came out of a bar, headed my way and lit into me about "taking a job away from a union member," which was BS because the supt. of motive power had created the spot for me (I suppose to size me up for possible employment after college). The steward was a bit tipsy, and was working himself into high dudgeon as I wondered, "Will I duck fast enough, or get my lights punched out?" Just than a great big shop foreman came along, balled him out and told him to skeedaddle…..and my bus came. Saved at the last second!"
Title: Stories
Post by: Stephen Hussar on March 06, 2013, 07:28:38 AM
Great story, Steve. Keep 'em coming!! Didn't you tell me you once road on the tender of a Rutland steamer?

Title: Stories
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on March 06, 2013, 08:31:44 AM
Hi Steve,

Good read.  Not often we get to hear stories from folks who worked in a steam backshop, especially in the 1940's when steam still ruled most mainlines.  I've always enjoyed your tales and seem to remember your telling me something about the Rutland.  Maybe your stories could go in the "stories" thread.  Your experiences on the C&O reflect what we are doing with #9 in a much smaller way of course.

Thanks for posting your wonderful memories!

Title: Stories
Post by: Wayne Laepple on March 06, 2013, 09:30:00 AM
That's a grand tale, Steve. Someone needs to sit you down and record such stories.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Steve Smith on March 08, 2013, 12:14:16 AM
Wayne, I don't think my recollections would fill much tape. I compare my memory to raisin bread, the raisins representing what I remember, the bread what I've forgotten. And the older I get, the worse IT gets. Pretty soon I'll need to switch the comparison to rye with caraway seeds.

Stephen, I didn't ride a Rutland tender, but one summer Sunday afternoon sometime in the late 1940s I did get to spend a couple of hours in the cab of an ancient Rutland 0-6-0 switcher in the yard at Bellows Falls ( a place name you never want to spoonerize in polite company). Like our numbers 9 and 19, it had Stephenson valve gear, slide valves and the square steam chests. The engineer earned his pay and then some, wrestling the big old Johnson bar back and forth for the many switching moves.

Among other chores that afternoon the switcher assembled a small block of cars for the Rutland's hot shot freight train, "The Whippet." It took cars from the Boston area handed off by the Boston and Maine and hauled them to Norwood in far northwestern New York State, where there was a connection with a New York Central line running southwest from Montreal, I think to Buffalo.

Only through the arcane workings of the ICC rate setters, I presume, could such a roundabout route compete with the Boston and Albany's much straighter line westward from Boston to Selkirk, NY. But according to the excellent book "The Rutland Road" by Harold Zenger and Jim Shaughnessy, the train did moderately well financially.

After the block of cars was assembled we waited for The Whippet to arrive. Our entertainment during that pause was the goings on in a cattle car alongside us on the next track. I suppose the bovines in it were headed for their doom somewhere, but there was a bull in with the cows, and he was quite intent on having one last fling with a certain cow before it was time to be "processed." He carried out his attempts to mount the object of his attention with such "vigah," as President Kennedy used to say, that the car rocked from side to side most wonderfully. Shades of harmonic rock!
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on March 08, 2013, 08:42:59 AM
Another great tale Steve.  I have that Rutland book and it's a good read. If that bull was on a narrow gauge stock car he wouldn't have a chance.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Steve Smith on March 08, 2013, 04:01:49 PM
Yeah, probably for all concerned it would be very upsetting. :D
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on March 08, 2013, 04:34:36 PM
Gee Steve, if you're gonna milk this story Ed may moove it over to the funny pages!  ;D
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Wayne Laepple on March 08, 2013, 04:44:07 PM
This story provides a whole new definition of the term "rock and roll."
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on March 31, 2013, 07:36:10 AM
Story #70   When the World Was Young -

It's nice to tour visitors who have never been to Sheepscot but when they are related to one of our best volunteers it gets even better.  This happened last week when Fred brought his cousin Virginia to the railroad for the first time.  A delightful lady, Virginia enjoyed seeing everything with Freds' narrative.  They ended up in the station where Fred showed her the clock, typewriter and crank telephone.  I came in while Fred was talking to her.  She looked at the phone told us that when she was a kid that some of her friends parents would not use the "new fangled" telephone.  They still sent post cards to people in town to see when they could get together.  Unheard of now.  She and Fred remembered growing up during WW II.  She spoke of how her father was the Air Raid Warden and that she got in trouble with him one night.  She explained "I was in the house with the lights off.  Dad was outside making sure no lights showed.  Well, I was listening to the Lone Ranger and the back of the radio faced the window.  The glow from the tubes made a light and my father came in telling me I had to turn it off. I pleaded that I wanted to hear how the show turned out".

Fred said that he liked the Lone Ranger but couldn't listen that often since they didn't have electric and his father didn't want the batteries getting used up on their radio.  His father just turned it on to hear the news.  He added "I collected the Lone Ranger Village card board pieces that came in our cereal.  Well, I figured that if we went through a box faster I'd get more pieces so I put the cereal through the meat grinder.  My father was not pleased".
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on April 14, 2013, 09:30:21 PM
Story #71   Nobody's Perfect -

An older fellow stopped by the railroad with his two grandchildren so they could see the narrow gauge.  I showed them around and the man told me that his uncle used to ride the WW&F.  He said "my uncle, Clark Smith was born in 1905 and he lived in Wiscasset.  He got a job in Coopers Mills after he graduated from school and he used to take the train to work". (Note: this probably would have been in 1923 or 24).  "When I was a kid he told me of a train that was delayed one day because the locomotive ran out of coal".  He added that the train stopped and his uncle Clark helped gather wood to keep the engine going until they got up to the next station.  We all got a chuckle out of the tale and I was tempted to tell them that we had steamed up #10 on wood the day before.  

I showed them the railcar and the grandkids said they wanted to come back to ride the Model T and the train.  I said "please do" and I promised that if they decided to ride the steam train we wouldn't run out of coal.  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 06, 2013, 07:49:50 PM
Story #72   TTY  "HELLO - GA"

A visiter from KY toured the railroad this week.  She walked through the buildings and - (as many impromtu tours go) ended up in Sheepscot Station.  When she saw the rotary dial phone she said "that brings back memories"  I figured she would mention using them years ago but she told me that she is a retired audio technician that worked with equipment like that.  She went on, "I was in the Bell Lab that developed the TTY terminal"  (I remembered the units, TTY stands for teletypewriter).  She explained that in the early 1960's she worked with engineer Paul Taylor who took a Western Union teletype and adapted it for use with a Bell telephone so hearing impaired people could make and receive telephone calls.  The teletype portion of the unit allowed the user to type text into the machine which was translated into a signal to be sent to a TTY machine on the other end.  The reply would be printed out in text form on a roll of paper, just like a teletype.  I told her that we had a Western Union teletype in our fire station in Maryland back in the 1970's and the unit was indestructable.  She laughed and said "yes, those things weighed 40 - 50 lbs.  When we created the first TTY terminal it was even bigger because there was a telephone set on the side and modem unit on the back".  She added that they developed a number of special TTY signals such as GA for "GO AHEAD".  She said "we were way ahead of our time, this was way before cell phone texting came along".

I gave her one of our brochures and she thanked me for the tour.  I thanked her for the information on how TTY circuits began.  As a telephone tech it was very interesting!
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Wayne Laepple on June 06, 2013, 09:10:48 PM
Back in the days of Morse telegraphy, before telephones, Morse operators had a whole vocabulary of abbreviations to speed their sending and receiving of messages. I have seen a list of such abbreviations, though I don't have one at hand. The railroads and many other industries which depended on telegraphy for "instant communication" had lengthy lists of telegraphic abbreviations used, some of which were sort of proprietary since they were code for certain procedures or products. Messages transmitted using these abbreviations make text messaging look like child's play.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Richard "Steam" Symmes on June 06, 2013, 09:36:28 PM
My wife is deaf and we had one of the early Western Union teletypewriters (TTY) here in the house.  It had a separate phone line, and a modem as you described.  We hooked up lights in every room which would flash each time her phone rang.  She would pick up the handset, place it in the modem, and turn on the TTY.  They were very loud when operating, like an old electric typewriter, only more.  The whole house would vibrate once they really got going with a fast typist on the other end.  It sounded like an old fashioned radio or TV newsroom.

Later on, these clunky old machines were replaced with TDDs (Telecommunication Device for the Deaf), which were like little portable typewriters in size, with a built in modem for the handset. They even made portable ones that you could use in a phone booth. Big improvement. They had a "screen" which scrolled the message as it was typed. They also had a small roll of paper like an adding machine if you wanted a "hard copy" of the message.

Now all of that is history.  Today, my wife has a "Cap-Tel" phone which is about the size of a standard desk type phone. It has a 5x7 inch screen which shows the conversation. She can speak into the handset to hearing people, and their reply is translated by a computer voice recognition system into words which show up on the screen. So for the first time in her life she can now use the phone to call anyone. It is a great leap forward in technology.  She also has a video phone setup which allows her to call her deaf friends and see them on our living room TV set. There's a video camera just above the screen. They can sign and lipread with the other person. It's great. She also has Skype, but rarely uses it.

We kept the old teletypewriter as a piece of memorabilia in the basement, but finally it was just taking up space so we took it out and put it on the sidewalk with the trash. It took 3 people to get it (plus the stand it was bolted to) up the cellar stairs.  Once on the sidewalk, some trash pickers came by and grabbed it before the rubbish pickup guys got around to us. 

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on June 06, 2013, 09:42:42 PM
In our office there's a deaf fellow.  He's got a video telephone system.  Works really great for him.

One of his interpreters that often visits told us of another service, using smart phones.  The deaf person can sign into their smart phone, the person on the other end speaks into the phone.  When the hearing person speaks, the middle person signs.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 15, 2013, 07:31:13 PM
Story #74   Anniversary -

It happened almost without notice.  There were so many things happening today with the new restrooms, etc. that we nearly missed it ... 80 years ago today the last regular WW&F train ran.  It was June 15th, 1933 when engine #8 went off the rails near the Whitefield iron bridge.  Most folks thought the railroad would be running again in short time but it didn't happen.  When the rails were removed and rolling stock junked most folks thought the narrow gauge was gone forever.  Not so.  The 21st Century WW&F looks a lot like the 1930's operation and is a popular attraction for people from all over the world.

Today, Allan Socea brought a special artifact to Sheepscot.  The item was an arm rest/end frame from a seat in combine #7 which was in the consist of the last train.  Lawrence Brown saved the arm rest from the car when it sat at Head Tide in the 1930's.  Allen got the piece from Lawrence years ago.  The wooden arm rest is in good shape and has a picture frame inside of it with photos of #7.  It was restored to be hung on the wall as a display.  Allan showed us the arm rest and someone asked if he would take it on the train.  He replied "Well, I thought about it but things didn't go well for this piece the last time out".  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Richard "Steam" Symmes on June 15, 2013, 09:19:10 PM
Pictures of the armrest?
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 15, 2013, 09:32:21 PM
Not sure if anyone took any, maybe James or Mike.  I never take a camera or cell phone to the railroad, they don't mix well with mud, coal, paint, soot, dirt, grease, coal or water.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Mike Fox on June 15, 2013, 09:36:12 PM
I didn't even think of taking a picture. Very nice arm rest. All wood.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on June 16, 2013, 12:42:49 PM
Didn't think of it either.  My camera's usually in the bag in the house.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 20, 2013, 07:30:00 PM
Story #75   Been a while -

A 99 year young lady recently visited Sheepscot with her son.  She lives in Fla. but grew up in Maine.  Her son brought her a bit early for the first train which allowed time for a chat.  I greeted them and asked if they had ever been to the WW&F.  The son had not but he noted that his mother had ridden the train.  I asked when she rode and she replied "been a while, 1929".  This got my interest going so I asked what she remembered and she responded "not much".  She is a lady of few words so her son filled in the blanks.  He explained "in the 1920's my grandfather was roadway foreman for construction of new state roads.  The family lived in Kings Mills (Whitefield) and a big job came up in Coopers Mills.  My grandfather took the family up to a rented house in Coopers Mills for about a year".  He continued, "my mother wanted to continue attending the Kings Mills school with her friends so my grandfather agreed to have her ride the train to school.  That was the school year of 1928-'29".  I told them that it was real interesting and was glad she came back.  We heard #10's whistle and I said that they would be able to board soon and thanked them for telling me their story.

As the train pulled out I watched it, thinking about how one of the passengers had last ridden the train 84 years ago.  That's longer than anyone else on the train has been alive.    
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Richard "Steam" Symmes on June 20, 2013, 09:08:51 PM
The museum should keep a cheap camera in the station at Sheepscot to record people like this as they appear.  Now all you have is what they told you.  Even a couple of minutes of video of these folks could eventually be compiled into a record for the archives.

I can't believe nobody took a picture of the old coach armrest that the fellow brought in last week. Again, a cheap camera kept on the premises would have allowed a photo to be taken.  How many more such things are going to be missed?

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Bill Reidy on June 20, 2013, 10:26:26 PM
Thanks, Stewart. for the wonderful stories.  The spirit of this thread, evident throughout most everything the museum does, is one of the main reasons I try to get up to Sheepscot as often as possible.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 21, 2013, 07:11:43 AM
Thanks Bill.  I think most of us feel that way about Sheepscot. 

A few other members (Steve, J.B., etc.) talked to the lady and her son that morning.  The funny thing is that she didn't want us to make a big deal about her riding the train.  I think 84 years is pretty special but she, in true New England fashion didn't want us to make a fuss.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 27, 2013, 07:43:45 PM
Story #76   Good ... and Bad ??

Two recent happenings at the museum -

A group from Germany came to Sheepscot and rode the train.  When they returned I offered them a shop tour.  They went through the whole building, taking time to inspect each piece of rolling stock.  We finished in the machine shop and the lady, named Inga turned to me and said "this is a real gem."  I asked her if she meant the machine shop and she replied "It's nice but I mean the whole building." She continued,   "I'm an architect and this is a very nice building.  I've enjoyed looking at the structure as much as the historic contents".  I thanked her and explained that many people have worked on the building since the north end of bay one was built 24 years ago.

A family from Montana came to the museum last week.  Being from the west they have ridden other trains with a Wild West theme.  They purchased their tickets and then walked down to platform as they looked around.  They encountered Fred as they boarded coach 8 and the lady asked "Is there going to be a train robbery?".  Fred replied (without missing a beat) "No ma'am, you were robbed before you got on the train".
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ira Schreiber on June 27, 2013, 08:13:09 PM
Only Fred in his best Maine drawl............
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Dave Buczkowski on June 27, 2013, 09:26:51 PM
I laughed so hard I have tears in my eyes and lost my breath. Only Fred!
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 09, 2013, 11:04:21 AM
Story #77   Stop, Look and Remember -

Each Summer the museum gets a gift from the Percival's. There have been many changes around the house since Harry built it over 20 years ago, but a reminder of the original landscaping comes back each year.  Clarissa liked Day Lilies so she put them in the only two sunny spots on the property, along the road and at the north end of the driveway.  Each year, a crop of lilies comes up along the road, in fact they have spread.  The bunch at the end of the original driveway (the drive has been extended back to the upper yard) has not been so lucky.  They have been torn up and run over a number of times but some of them come back each year just as nice as ever.

The real surprise is the batch of sea roses in back of the house.  Originally planted on the edge of thick woods, the roses came back after a lot of cutting and grading.  You can still see them from the kitchen window but now they are at the edge of the parking lot.  

The flowers that show up each year are a small thing, but a nice reminder of Harry and Clarissa.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 11, 2013, 07:25:04 PM
Story #78   Peer Pressure -

A man and his son bought tickets for the railcar one afternoon.  The trip went as it often does, with discussion of museum events and train operations.  When we reached the end of track everyone got out and I asked the visitors if one of them wanted to try cranking the lift so the car could be turned.  The son said "I'll give it a try" so I set the crank handle and he started right in.  The father and I watched as the turntable dropped and the car began to rise.  The son started out cranking rapidly but slowed as the weight of the car was on the jacks.  After a minute he stopped cranking and looked over at us.  The father asked "what's wrong?"   The son replied "my arms are getting tired".  His father said with a smile "is that all you have?"  I noted that the car was only half way up and offered to finish the lift.  The father chuckled a bit and the son said "hey, I bet you don't have many 14 year old boys cranking this car up"  I replied "well ...actually, there's a 14 year old girl that does it every time she's here"  At that point the father laughed and I looked over at him and smiled.  The next thing I heard was the sound of the crank being turned rapidly.  I looked over and the son was full at it.  I didn't have to finish for him.  

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John McNamara on July 11, 2013, 07:38:46 PM
Near the end of the pictures that Andy Dolph posted on Facebook, the person doing the cranking looks suspiciously like Ryder.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 11, 2013, 08:38:08 PM
Yep, That's Ryder.  He's gotten good at cranking the railcar all the way up.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 14, 2013, 06:09:58 PM
Story #79   Rusticators -

We had a family on the railcar today that visited Sheepscot during the week and had gotten a tour.  They were so interested in the Model T railcar that they came back to ride it.  We boarded the railcar in front of the shop and followed the 12:30 train up to Alna Center.  At AC we took the siding after #10 had run around it's train.  Note: The T stays on the siding until the steam train runs to EoT and works back through going south, then the railcar goes to Eot and runs back to Sheepscot.  

As the railcar visitors waited for the train to leave they heard many sounds; #10 hissing steam, Roger working the fire and the crew talking.  Other sounds included laughter from the open car.  When the train started northward #10 provided a nice bit of stack talk along with whistle signals.  Everyone waved between the train and railcar.  When the train crested the height of land at the north yard limit one more signal was heard.  Then, all of the sudden it was quiet. A gentle breeze brought the sounds of the birds in the trees behind the station.  There were no trucks rumbling down 218 or aircraft overhead.  The mother said "wow, it's so quiet here".  One of the sons said "I like it".  The father said "it's a bit quieter than where I spend my days".  I asked where that was and he replied "my office looks out on Times Square".  He followed with "... it's a bit more rustic here".  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 26, 2013, 07:51:48 PM
Story #80   Toast -

A couple from Alaska stopped by the railroad one sunny day last week.  They came to Maine to visit friends in Brunswick who suggested that they drive up the coast.  They saw the signs on Rt. 1 and came to Sheepscot to see the railroad.  The fellow told us that he has ridden the White Pass line and enjoyed it.  We talked about two-foot railroads for a few minutes when the wife mentioned that they like Mid Coast Maine.  I suggested that they consider moving to Alna as there are a couple of houses for sale.  The fellow said "well, I'd consider moving here but your Summers are too darn hot".
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Keith Taylor on July 26, 2013, 07:59:16 PM
I suggested that they consider moving to Alna as there are a couple of houses for sale.  The fellow said "well, I'd consider moving here but your Summers are too darn hot".

That's not something we hear every day.
I don't know.....this summer has had some exceptionally hot weather. I moved here to escape the hot summers!
They appear to have followed me....

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 26, 2013, 08:23:09 PM

You've probably heard what is said about the weather this year;  "It's only rained twice this Summer ... once for 30 days and the other time for 47 days".  Of course when it's not raining, it's sunny and 90+
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 31, 2013, 09:56:16 PM
Story #81   Rare -

Last weekend a visitor toured the shop and saw the Model T railcar.  He told us that he's a member of the Antique Auto Club and had seen a lot of T's but nothing like RC4.  He said "that's got to be one of the rarest Model T's around."  We told him about the other two railcars, #1, Vose's car at Portland and #2 at Owls Head.  We also mentioned that the old WW&F had a T and that by the 1930's it had an unusual two door "center door" body.  The fellow replied that the center door model was the rarest of the closed cars, that it was Henry Ford's idea to offer autos that resembled a stage coach for people who used to ride in such vehicles.  The idea flopped and only a few were made.  Leave it to the WW&F to have one of the rarest type Model T bodies on their railcar. (Note: there is a photo of the center door bodied railcar on page 107 of Volume IV of Narrow Gauge in the Sheepscot Valley)

The tour continued and the fellow saw the 1930 AA truck.  He told us that he likes trucks and goes to the big meet in Hershey each year.  I said "speaking of trucks, have you ever seen a 1932 or '33 International panel truck?"  The fellow said that he didn't think International made them.  I replied "actually, the WW&F had one in 1933 for delivering the mail."  I got a copy of Clinton Thurlow's The WW&F Two-Footer, Hail and Farewell and showed him the photo of the truck on page 79 and all he said was "wow!"  He then shook his head and told us "gee, this railroad really had some rare old vehicles, that's the first 1930's era International panel truck I've ever seen.  Too bad you guys don't have it now."  I replied "true, but give us some time."  He laughed and said "with all the rare things around here, if a museum can come up with one I bet you guys can."  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Wayne Laepple on July 31, 2013, 10:37:17 PM
The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum near Washington, Pa. has a center-door Model T, donated to the museum by a member several years ago. It was in running order when received, but since then has deteriorated. The seats have been attacked by moths and other critters and are a mess.  Here's a photo of it.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 01, 2013, 06:31:22 AM
Thanks for the post Wayne.  The photo shows that entering the auto put you behind the drivers seat.  One had to fold the seat down and climb over to get in front.  That was one of the things that made this body style unpopular.  The WW&F may have gotten their center door body free from someone who changed their auto to a regular two door sedan. 

I have been going to antique auto shows for years and have only seen one or two center door T's.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Mark Hendrickson on August 01, 2013, 11:00:15 AM
Speaking of Model T's the latest issue of Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette features a 2 foot Vulcan with a Model T engine and hood, etc.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 11, 2013, 08:36:36 PM
Story #82   Scenes -

This morning a fellow was looking through the 2014 WW&F calendar as he waited for the next railcar ride.  He exclaimed "wow, this is such a nice calendar" as he flipped through the pages.  After a minute he stopped and turned the calendar around, showing me the page with Fred in Sheepscot station.  He said "the station looks so nice, may I have a look inside?"  I replied that the building was open and offered to walk over with him.  We walked over and went inside.  He got his camera out and took pictures of the east, south and north walls.  He also took close up images of the desk, typewriter, town phone and wall clock.  He said "this is great" and said "glad I got the calendar. I've been here before but didn't know how nice this building is."  I thanked him for the compliments went back to the railcar.  A few minutes later he came back telling me "after the station, I walked through the shop.  This is such a cool railroad."  I thanked him and he boarded the railcar with 4 other people.  During the trip he told the other visitors about the calendar and photographing the inside of the station.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 12, 2013, 11:53:19 AM
Story #83   Scene, take two -

A visitor came into the gift shop Sunday afternoon after having ridden the train.  The 2014 calendars were on the counter and she looked through the months.  She stopped at December and said "hey, there's our train crew.  This fellow let my son get into the engine cab."  At that point she looked at Cindy and said "I'll take one of these."
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Dave Buczkowski on August 12, 2013, 11:12:24 PM
I finally got one of these! Today as we left Davis Station on the MBTA Red Line I overheard a gentleman probably in his 60's tell a professionally dressed woman (who later turned out to be his daughter) about a railroad in Maine called the "Wiscasset, Waterville and W something" that was like Edaville. She was very curious about it. Seems a friend of his from Maryland has gotten him all excited about us. At first I thought it might be Stewart but, alas, it was some guy named Rod who volunteers at the railroad. Anyway, I felt compelled to speak up and correct  a few things. I had to be quick as we were coming into Alewife but I assured the woman that it was as great as her father excitedly was telling her. As we went through the gates the man asked me if he could shovel coal if he stopped by. I assured him the steam crew would make it happen for him. So, if a middle aged man with a butch haircut stops by and asks for a shovel... Hope they didn't think I was too forward or pushy.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Steve Smith on August 13, 2013, 09:29:00 PM
Great story, Dave! Wow, what must the odds be of something like happening in a big city? Guess it's a signal to all: Be prepared to boost the WW&F at a moment's notice.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 25, 2013, 07:07:33 PM
Story #85   Splash -

Some visitors from NJ rode the railcar today.  During the Alna Center layover the subject of Atlantic City came up.  One of the fellows told us that his parents worked on the Steel Pier back when he was a kid.  Someone asked about the novelty act where a horse used to dive into the ocean from the end of the pier.  This was in the 1940's and the man remembered the act, in fact his father was one of the riders.  He said "Pa used to wear an old suit and ride that horse right out to the end.  He didn't have to spur the horse as he liked diving and swimming.  He would jump off the pier and swim right back to the shore.  It was a pretty big draw for tourists".  I mentioned that my mother used to go to Atlantic City and remembered the diving horse.   I noted that she also went to a number of concerts on the Steel Pier.  The one she remembered best was Glenn Miller in 1942.  She and her cousin Sue went to the show and stood right at the edge of the stage, looking up at the band.  The fellow said "that's when Atlantic City was a real showplace, and the boardwalk or Steel Pier was the place to be".  He added that today's casino's are ok but it's not the same as it was back then.

Has anyone else ever heard of (or seen) the diving horse act?    
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Keith Taylor on August 25, 2013, 07:53:41 PM
Here is a link to an article about the diving horses.
The diving horses did not dive into the ocean, but rather into a pool on the Steel Pier....and with an attractive young lady in a bathing suit on its back! The attraction was ended during WW-2 and humane societies protested its return after the close of the war.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 25, 2013, 10:10:57 PM
Thanks for the info Keith,

The fellows father may have been a substitute rider when one of the young ladies was not available.  Anyway, this conversation proves that we don't always talk railroads with visitors. 

Speaking of non rr topics - my fire department nickname has finally followed me to Maine.  A fellow that I knew from the fire service in Maryland  was at Sheepscot today and called me by my fire house nickname.  I think some of the train crew heard it ... I guess I better be ready next time I get into trouble! 
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 30, 2013, 05:07:07 PM
Story #86   Slides -

This morning I called the insurance company that covers my old truck.  The agent asked what type of things I use the truck for and I replied that it goes to the general store, post office and town dump.  She asked if the truck ever gets a chance to "play" and I told her about taking it to the museum.  She asked what the museum was like so I gave her the web site.   I heard her type the web address on her keyboard then everything got quiet for a moment.  All of the sudden she said "wow, what a great slide show."  I took a minute to talk to her about the WW&F and Maine Two-Foot railroads as she watched Stephen's images. She commented on a few of the pictures, including the night shot of #10 on Humason Brook trestle.  There are over 36 beautiful photos in the show.  When she saw the Alna Center view with the evening freight and the old truck she asked me for a copy.  I gave her the link for the railpictures.net site and she pulled the photo up.  At that point she asked "would Mr. Hussar mind if I copy the photo into your customer file?"  I asked her what she would use the image for and she said that the agents like to see photos of customers autos and trucks at shows but this image was like nothing she had ever seen.  I said, "sure, you may copy it and show it to the other agents.  Please tell them where the photo was taken so they may come for a visit."  She thanked me and said the first person she would show the photo to is the owner of the company.  She said "he will really enjoy this photo!"      

We finished our business and I thanked her.  She thanked me for providing information on the museum and we said good-bye.  

When you call in, there is a disclaimer about recording customer calls for training purposes.  Since we spent more time talking about the WW&F than car insurance I'd call that real good "training".
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ira Schreiber on September 14, 2013, 11:28:23 PM
An amazing story.

Today I was one of thirty passengers on a chartered bus to the Colorado Rail Passenger Association meeting in Pueblo, CO.
Since I am a former tour bus driver and know the area, I teamed up with a former BNSF Vice-President who was describing the rail line we were following. I provided the "color" commentary of the rail sights.
On the return trip we started chatting and I found out he was from New Jersey as I am.
Further talk came to Maine and he related the following story.

It seems in his younger years he was a track worker for the Jersey Central Railroad.
He was smitten by Linwood Moody's book on Maine Two Footers.
He managed to go to Alice Ramsdell's farm where #9 was resting on ties so rotted the rails had sunk into the sand.
He used some of his CNJ track tooks and some used telephone poles that Alice had and formed new ties. He pinched #9 forward and back with crow bars to insert the ties.
The story was published by Trains magazine about twenty years ago.

The gentleman's name is Peter J. Rickershauser.
He now lives in Denver and I gave him the sales pitch to join the WW&F family.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 19, 2013, 07:21:25 PM
Story #88   Road Trip -

Cindy and I went to the White Mountains of NH last week.  Our trip was to see the mountains and visit the Conway Scenic RR and Clark's Trading Post for their railfan weekends.  As an aside, this was my first trip in an auto with satelite radio. They have music channels such as 60's on 6, 50's on 5 and 40's on 4.  We listened to the 40's on 4 channel part of the way.  Good music and lots of steam train sounds when they introduce the next segment.  Funny thing though... the channel cuts out sometimes when you drive under a bridge.  I remember that happening when we listened to music on AM radio in the car years ago. What's the saying; the more things change, the more they stay the same.  

While we're talking tech, we drove to the summit of Mt. Washington and Cindy took photos with her droid phone.  The phone kept beeping and asking if she wanted to swtich to the Canadian data connection.  Seems that Mt. Washington's summit is out of reach for New England cell towers and the phone was connecting to a tower in Canada.  The phone was indicating that we were not in the U.S. anymore.

To bring this back to railroads - We were at Clark's on Saturday and I was up by the covered bridge getting photos of the Baldwin and Climax locomotives as well as the old RF&RL railbus when they ran past.  While I stood there waiting for the next train, a man walked over and said "hi, you're the guy that ran the railcar when we visited the WW&F.  I was there last week and it was my first trip up to the narrow gauge.  It was great."  I thanked him and we struck up a conversation.  He got out his iphone and showed me the video shot from the front seat of the railcar.  As we watched the video, two fellows nearby came over to see.  They said that they were from PA and it was their first time at Clark's.  They asked about the video and the first man told them about going to the WW&F and how he enjoyed the visit.  The next train came along and we stopped talking to take more photos.  Afterward, the photo line broke up and we all went to other locations.

This week, the two men from PA that I met at Clark's came to see the WW&F.  I explained that the museum was not open but showed them around.  I had been working on the railcar so I gave them a short ride in the yard.  They said "wow, this is great".  I gave them museum brochures and they thanked me saying that they would be back with their families.    
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 29, 2013, 07:14:04 AM
Story #89   Turnout -

This years Fall Festival was a success with about 200 visitors for the day.  I worked at Alna Center, driving the hay ride truck and watching the crossing while the train was in.  Leon helped guests get up into the truck and directed the move as I backed to the portable steps at the end of the ride. He and I both enjoyed talking to the guests, it was one of the high points of the day.  Some people had been to the museum before but many were new.  One visitor came over to look at the truck and during the conversation noticed my fire company pager.  We talked FD for a few minutes and it turned out he is the Fire Chief for the city of Akron, Ohio.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on December 19, 2013, 10:37:06 PM
Story #90   Pie -

Have you ever noticed apple trees along the WW&F right-of-way and have you ever wondered how they got there?  Much of the restored line is bordered by woods and mixed in with the birch, oaks, maples, pines and firs are a few apple trees.  There are some near the track at Alna Center with the largest tree right on the edge of the clearing just south of the Yard Limit.  Harry once told me that he thought there were more apple trees along side the track because of the railroad.  He told me that the trees grew from the cores that passengers and train crew tossed out the window as the train passed through. He theorized that some passengers may have thrown the cores hard enough to clear the line fence so that the cows and horses could enjoy them. Back then, much of the land was in pasture with the woods growing back after WWII.  The seeds would fall to the ground - and you know the rest of the story.  

Of course there's no way to prove it but it's nice to think that the big apple tree at AC is from a core that someone threw from #6's cab window 85 years ago.  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Mike Fox on December 20, 2013, 08:49:46 PM
Stewart, when we cut the fill off at Head Tide, I said the exact same thing. I surmised that the crew had time enough to grab an apple and eat it while they were stopped and threw it out as they got underway.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on December 22, 2013, 06:49:06 PM
Story #91   Vroom!

Something new happened at Alna Center during Victorian Christmas. Around mid-morning, 5 or 6 members of the Alna Snowmobile Club came in from the west on the old Averill Road. The road is part of their trail system and is kept open by Jeff Verney and other members. They parked their sleds in the field and came over to the lot.  Some talked to Linda Verney (who has the horses and wagon that give rides) and the others came over by the bon fire.  I was pulling firewood out of the snow and stopped to greet them.  The lady said "wow, this is great." I thanked her and said "you know, you can go over and talk to Santa if you'd like ... maybe he'll bring you a new snowmobile" She laughed and I smiled back at her.  I then turned to speak to a fellow that had just come off of the train.  During the conversation I was facing the fire when I heard a noise behind me.  I turned to find the snowmobile lady up on top of the wood pile, kicking the snow off and pulling boards out. She tossed a few of them down next to the edge and I said "wow, that's real nice of you" she just smiled and kept at it until I had about a dozen more boards standing by.  When she climbed down I said "thanks, you picked some good pieces that I didn't know were under there!"  She laughed and walked back over towards the field.  

Well they didn't arrive by train but I was glad to meet them, Merry Christmas to the Alna snowmobilers!    
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on February 24, 2014, 04:00:13 PM
Story #92   Get A Horse!

Last week Cindy and I went to see the Disney movie Frozen.  The animated film has been out for months but is still filling theaters.  The movie is written along the lines of the traditional Disney animated features from the 1960's with a good story and an enjoyable soundtrack.  The thing we found interesting was the showing of a cartoon before the movie.  Remember when most movies had cartoons prior to the main feature?  

Well, we settled into our seats and the screen lit up with a Disney short called "Get A Horse!"  Right off I knew this was going to be good.  The black and white cartoon featured Mickey, Horace Horse Collar, Clarabelle Cow and Peg Leg Pete.  The first thing I noticed was that Mickey looked and sounded like the 1928 mouse.  The music was a 1920's tune and most of the characters were on a hay wagon while Peg Leg chased them in a Model T.  I wondered "is this a Disney short from 1928 that's been discovered after 80+ years?"  We watched the little story unfold and after a few minutes things changed as Mickey and Horace broke through the "screen" in 3D action and were in color, WOW!  That's when I realized that the short was a new film. Lots of great action followed. What a great cartoon.

Later research revealed that Get A Horse is a new (2013) cartoon that was drawn and recorded like the high contrast films of the 1920's.  The folks at Walt Disney Animation Studios back-dated Mickey and produced a short that looked like it was released in 1928. They even used Walt's voice for Mickey.  I thought, why would the Disney artists go to the trouble of hand-drawing all the cells to recreate a 1920's cartoon?, answer: they "get it" and they know what works.  They know that people like a classic movie experience and the Disney artists provided it by going back to their roots.  It's a great way to show how Disney began which is why the artists have work today, all the while giving the viewer an enjoyable film.

The reason I related our trip to the movies is that a modern production with 90 year old technology is similar to what we do at Sheepscot.  Seeing a production like Get A Horse gives some who are involved with the WW&F incentive to keep providing a "Classic Maine Experience".  People want to be entertained and enjoy their visit, whether to the movies or a museum.  If they ride the train and learn something about Maine life 90 years ago it's a bonus.  By sticking to the roots of the WW&F with volunteers dressing the part, running steam trains, offering handcar and railcar rides we can provide guests with a look at 1928 on the narrow gauge just like the WDAS artists gave us a look at the old Disney.  Our approach has worked for the last 25 years and I think 2014 will be the best year yet.  We hope our visitors will leave with a good idea of how things were,  driving home with smiles on their faces.  

A Classic Maine Experience ... not too crazy of an idea, eh?
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Hansel Gordon on February 24, 2014, 10:35:38 PM
The animated film has been out for months but is still filling theaters.

I guess they couldn't............... LET IT GO
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on March 03, 2014, 09:06:12 AM
Story #93   Time -

Last week a friend, John Paynter stopped by our house.  John does professional repair and restoration of antique clocks and he came over to fix the long case clock in our dining room which has not run since the 1950's.  John brought a number of tool boxes in and took the works out of the case for service.  I offered to help and mostly got in the way.  The work lasted for a number of hours so there was time to talk railroads (when isn't there time).  I mentioned the WW&F and John knew of the museum.  I offered to show him the shop, etc. if he had time after the repair.  When the clock was all back together, John started the pendulum and a wonderful tick-tock was heard ... the clock was running! When the clock struck the hour two of our cats came into the room looking around.  I think they were surprised to hear sound from the big cabinet that has always been silent.  Well, we loaded the tools, etc. into Johns car and headed down to the railroad.  

I showed John around the campus and we ended up in the depot.  He was impressed by the typewriter and crank telephone.  He looked at the station clock (which had wound down) and asked "has the clock been checked recently?"  I replied that I didn't know.  John said "I'll get my tool box" and went out to his car.  Within minutes John had the works out of the case and was cleaning.  He then oiled and tested the brass gears and put the works back in the case.  We both watched the clock run for a minute and John said "This place is pretty special, I'd like to join".  I gave him a membership application which he filled out at the station desk.  I told him that I would give the information to James on Saturday.   He smiled and said "I've heard about the WW&F for years and now I'll be a part of it".    I replied "with Spring coming, the timing couldn't be better".
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stephen Hussar on March 03, 2014, 09:56:16 AM
Where's the "Like" button?! That's great, Stewart.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Wayne Laepple on March 03, 2014, 10:11:05 AM
Excellent, Stewart. You really have the knack of getting a good story out of a lot of things.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Steve Smith on March 04, 2014, 08:34:38 PM
Thanks, Stewart, for another fine story. Welcome to the Museum, John, and thank you for servicing the station clock!
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Pete "Cosmo" Barrington on March 09, 2014, 01:24:26 AM
Right on, Stu! That's how it's done.  ;)
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on April 10, 2014, 07:16:07 PM
Story #94   Gravity -

Last Fall, a father brought his two sons to the railroad.  I toured them through the shop and they enjoyed seeing the rolling stock, especially coach 3.  When we entered the machine shop the father saw #10 and went over to get some photos.  The younger son, a boy of about 12 asked to see inside the cab so I invited him to climb up.  He looked at everything and then looked out the front door from the engineman's side.  He asked "will this do 70?" Before I could answer, the older son of about 15 said "It might do 70 if you drop it from high enough".    

Art Linkletter had it right - Kids say the darndest things.    
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on May 11, 2014, 07:00:17 PM
Story #95   Shhhh -

I stopped by the railroad for about an hour today.  The weather was clear and I wanted to get the AA truck out and park it in front of the shop building to take some photos for a facebook post.  While there, a fellow dropped in and started looking around. I waved and he walked over to chat.   I noticed that he had a nice professional grade camera.  I showed him around and we ended up in the machine shop looking at #10.  He told me that the locomotive reminded him of an engine that he saw years ago in the Soviet Union.  He told me that he is a retired photojournalist and that he spent some 20 years traveling the world for USA Today.  He went on to tell me about a trip to the USSR where he was traveling with a friend who was with the Russian news service (Pravda?).  He said that he did an assignment near Moscow and then traveled southeast, going through check points with his Russian friend.  He told me that he spoke enough Russian to get by but everyone knew he was an American.   His friend wanted to go into Romania but he didn't have any passport/papers and was worried about the trip.  His friend told him that he had a plan, he would come up with some basic ID for him but that he couldn't speak to anyone.  He wondered how they would pull it off but his friend got a paper that stated that he was a Russian citizen who was deaf and dumb.   Problem solved and they crossed the border.  He said that he was still a little nervous while touring Romania but got some great photos.  I told him that I enjoyed his story and gave him some museum info. I then invited him to come back on Saturday to ride the train.

He finished up by telling me that life is a bit quieter now ... he restores old copper and brass (soda/acid) fire extinguishers and sells them on ebay.  I hope he comes back sometime, I'd like to hear more of his stories!
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 01, 2014, 06:25:13 PM
Story #96   Gratitude -

A visitor for todays first train dropped his wallet in the parking lot.  Visitors for the next train found it and gave it to Cindy in the gift shop.  Cindy got info from the drivers license and did an on-line search for a phone number.  She called the man's home number and reached his wife who thanked her for calling.  She said she would call her husband to tell him where the wallet was.  About an hour later the man came back to Sheepscot and Cindy gave him his wallet.  He was so grateful that he joined the museum.  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Steve Smith on June 04, 2014, 11:10:44 PM
That's wonderful, Cindy. Congratulations! And thanks for the reporting, Stewart.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on June 05, 2014, 06:57:01 AM
This sounds like a great way to increase membership - "arrange" for a few wallet "accidents", then later we "find" the wallet, and hope that more join.  ;D

I am kidding, of course!
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: john d Stone on June 05, 2014, 11:55:42 AM
I think Mr. Patten is on to something. Perhaps the museum could have a Charles Dickens weekend with local youths dressed in ragged 19th century attire playing the part of pickpockets from Oliver Twist. This could attract fancy rich folks with fat wallets which could be skillfully lifted and returned as part of the gig! I know the time period is a little off, but the educational value can not be denied!
I have great expectations that this idea may go the way of gravity switching!

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Mike Fox on June 05, 2014, 06:35:37 PM
I don't want them to loose wallets, because the ending may not be the same. But they can lighten it a little while they are visiting.  :)
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: john d Stone on June 05, 2014, 09:56:39 PM
Agreed! I was just letting my imagination run wild, again. Besides, I don't think the Dickens thing would fly in two foot country. Rumor has it he was a Great Western man.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Hansel Gordon on June 05, 2014, 10:03:09 PM
What about THREE foot country? I heard those are EXTRA stinky!

Or maybe when four feet fly!
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: john d Stone on June 05, 2014, 10:23:51 PM
I don't know, Hansel. Four feet fly sounds like two ducks holding wings and that's covered over in the Whimsical, Weirdness & Foolery section!
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 17, 2014, 08:05:07 PM
Story #96   Kindness -

Today, a crew of three,  Steve Z., Stephen P. and I were working on car 65 in Wiscasset.  We finished the displays and set the glass in the ice bin end.  The last part of the job was cleaning up: sweeping the floor, cleaning the display glass and windows.  Even with a breeze outside it got hotter in the car.  We put the tools in the truck and walked over to Spragues Lobster shack for a cold drink.  Linda Sprague makes wicked good lemonade and we asked for 3 cups.  We got some $ out but Linda's grand daughter handed us the cups and said "you're all set".  How nice! We leaned in the window and thanked Linda and crew. Frank and Linda are the people who open and close the dairy car every day for us which is a big help.  They are good friends to the WW&F.  

We sat on the pier for a while and enjoyed a great cup of lemonade ... thinking of how many Alna and Wiscasset folks help the museum.

Thank You Frank and Linda for being so kind to us railroaders!  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Tom Casper on June 17, 2014, 10:26:00 PM

Tom C.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 26, 2014, 08:48:56 AM
Story #97   From Russia with Love for narrowgauge -

Earlier this week I was working at Alna Center when a fellow came walking along the track.  He greeted me and we struck up a conversation.  He had parked at Sheepscot and walked to the end of track and was on the way back.  I noticed his Russian accent and asked where he was from. He replied "Atlanta, but I grew up in Russia.  I came to America in 2000."  He asked me some questions about the WW&F and we talked two-foot for a few minutes.  This was the second time he had been to the museum, he visited the previous day and spoke with Dwight and Jason.  He told me that he loves narrow gauge because he worked on one when he was a kid.  He explained: "In Russia there are narrow gauge railways that were built to train children how to operate trains.  I learned how to run a diesel engine and make station stops.  It was an enjoyable job." .  

We finished our conversation and he thanked me for showing him the Alna Center station.  I thanked him for telling me something new, that there are narrow gauge schooling trains in Russia.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 26, 2014, 09:31:24 AM
Dwight sent a link to a photo of the Moscow Pioneer Railway that was mentioned in the previous story.  Thanks Dwight

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 26, 2014, 09:36:49 AM
One more;

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Craig "Red" Heun on July 02, 2014, 04:27:49 PM

Just wanted to thank you for showing James around today. I know it's not the proper forum but you gave James "A few stories" to take back to his home.

Thanks again

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 03, 2014, 08:51:22 AM
Hi Red,

It was good to see you.  I hope your work schedule eases up so you can come to Sheepscot on Saturdays.  I enjoyed meeting James, it's good to see younger folks get intested in narrow gauge steam railroads. 
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 08, 2014, 07:49:36 PM
Story #98   Color it Rare -

July and August are busy times at Sheepscot.  In the last month we have had visitors from China, England, Canada, Australia and a number of U.S. States.  A fellow from CA told us that he volunteers at the Orange Empire RR museum, taking care of Disney aminator Ward Kimbal's locomotive the Emma Nevada. That's the engine that ran on Ward's Grizzly Flats RR. The Australian visitor works at the Puffing Billy RR near Melbourne.  Both were interesting guests with lots of railroad stories.  

The main reason for this article was a visit from a family from Alna.  Yes, the museum's home town.  Liliana Thelander brought her entire family (children and in-laws) to Sheepscot to ride the train.  The interesting thing was that everyone rode but Mrs. Thelander.  She stayed back in order to take photographs in the shop.  She's not a railfan but she told us that there's so many rare and unusual things in the building that she wanted photos.  Liliana is a well known artist and does beautiful still life paintings.  Some may be seen on her web site,  www.lilianathelander.com  She told us that she would let us know if she does any railroad themed paintings.  We hope she does, it will be an different perspective on some of our old "stuff".
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Dwight Winkley on July 13, 2014, 09:22:36 PM
Here is a deferent kind of story. Some times while I am at the museum I borrow a Railroad Magazine to read. I just picked up the March 1943 issue. On page 120  in the magazine section,called "On The Spot" A section where readers write in to magazine was the following......."Another N & W item comes from Charles Davis, Portsmouth, Va. Although Charlie is only 17 he is second-trick operator and leverman at Norfolk, Va. This makes him  one of America's youngest "rail". It matches the statement of ELLIS WALKER (Jan issue) that at 17, he is employed by the Maine Central as spare man in the baggage-room at Augusta, Maine."

Have not found the January Issue.

For the newer viewers of this forum. Ellis writes "Two-Foot Musing" in the museum's Newsletter.

dwight winkley
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Philip Marshall on July 13, 2014, 11:01:47 PM
Hi Dwight,

I have the January 1943 issue of Railroad Magazine in my own collection. I just pulled it off the shelf and sure enough, at the bottom of page 11 in the "Setouts and Pickups" section is the following letter:

"Four generations employed at the same station -- who can tie that one? My great-grandfather began work in the Maine Central depot here in Augusta when it belonged to the old Portland & Kennebec. Later, Grandpa spent many years in the office here; my father is now a clerk, and I was recently hired, at age 16 as a spare man in the baggage room. Am now 17, which I believe makes me one of the youngest railroad employees in the country. -- ELLIS WALKER, JR., 271/2 Crosby St., Augusta, Maine."

-Philip Marshall
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 29, 2014, 01:49:34 PM
Story #101   Freight Extra -

The following email was sent to Conductor J.B. Smith from Rudiger Fach, leader of the German tour group that chartered a freight train last Thursday, July 24th.

Dear Mr. Smith,

Back in Germany we will still remember that magic, wonderful and incredible nice evening at your railroad which was worth every dollar!  Thank you to all the helping hands.  I will come back to my new favorite U.S. steam railway to see no. 9 in working order!


Rudiger Fach
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Glenn Christensen on July 29, 2014, 04:49:16 PM
That note is a keeper!  You guys should be very proud.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 29, 2014, 06:49:55 PM
Hi Glenn,
It was a good day on the railroad with 7 museum volunteers and visitors that appreciate narrow gauge.  Just before he left, Mr. Fach gave us a nice photo-guidebook that describes most of the German Railway museums.  There is a post on our museum's facebook page with a set of photographs from the charter.   

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Glenn Christensen on July 29, 2014, 07:31:02 PM
Hi Stuart,

Sounds like it was a really satisfying event!  To get a note like that from someone familiar with the German preserved lines is high praise indeed!  The quality of German trackwork is phenomenal.  You guys should be very proud.

There are lot of really great preserved railways in both Germany and Austria.  Maybe one of these days we can interest the good folks at Patten Travel to book a group visit. 

The book on the preserved German RR lines sounds interesting.  I'm always on the lookout for new titles.  Is it one of the books from the Middleton Press or is it from a different source?   

Best Regards,
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on July 29, 2014, 08:37:46 PM
Unfortunately the principal operator of Patten Travel now has extreme difficulty flying.  So until scientists develop a way to fly in a near comatose state, I doubt I'll be flying over seas again soon.  Time to build the railroad tunnel under the Bering Straight!
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John McNamara on July 29, 2014, 09:57:45 PM
Well, I had some concern that if Patten Travel Agency (PTA) really branched out into international travel, it would become Patten International Travel Agency (PITA), which would be an unfortunate acronym.

On a more serious note, I'm sorry to hear of your difficulty. We'll have to chat sometime.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Glenn Christensen on July 29, 2014, 11:29:20 PM
Hi James,

You can't fool me.  You just don't want to devalue your stock in ffestiniog Travel.

BTW - Is the new line under the Bering Strait going be two foot gauge?  (Hint ,,, Hint ,,,)

Best Regards and wishes,
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 16, 2014, 08:30:05 PM
Story #102   Vaudeville Railcar -

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting some visitors from Canada.  Two of them rode the 11:00 railcar trip.  We stopped at Alna Center to allow the steam train to work north then come back through on the way to Sheepscot.  During the layover there was a fellow who had detrained to take photos and didn't get back on the steam train.  He boarded the railcar to complete the trip and struck up a conversation with the Canadian couple.  The first passengers said "your accent sounds like you're from Canada"  The fellow replied that he was from Ottawa.  The couple laughed and said "we are too".  It turned out that they lived about 3 miles from each other but had not met until riding the railcar.

On another trip I was speaking with a fellow in the back seat.  The conversation continued while we traveled slowly through the Alna Center yard limit.  A horse fly came in and landed on the fellows' cheek but he didn't notice.  I turned and said "there's a fly on your left cheek"  and the other 3 people slapped their cheeks.

Good times.  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Tom Casper on August 16, 2014, 10:27:18 PM
Did anyone get the fly?

Tom C.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Pete "Cosmo" Barrington on August 17, 2014, 12:48:36 PM
I've never heard of a rail car taking orders on the fly before.  ;)
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John Kokas on August 17, 2014, 02:08:02 PM
Whimsical Alert !!!!  Whimsical Alert !!!!!    -    Great story by the way!
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on August 24, 2014, 05:57:29 PM
This isn't a story, per se.  Saturday there were two couples (a couple of couples?) from Alabama, in New England on a whirlwind, 10-railroad vacation: Maine Narrow Gauge, Conway Scenic, Clark's Trading Post, the other railroad out of Lincoln NH, Winnepsaukee Scenic, Cog Railway, the WW&F, Belfast & Moosehead Lake, and Downeast Scenic.  However for one of the couples it was part of a much longer trip:

Louisiana to Chicago on the City of New Orleans.
Chicago to Detroit, overnight in Detroit
Next day, go over to Canada and take VIA to Toronto, Montreal, then Quebec City, spend a couple of days in QC.
Catch the overnight Ocean to Halifax, NS, overnight in Halifax.
Take the bus to Yarmouth, NS.
Ferry to Portland, ME, where they met up with the other couple.

It exhausted me just hearing about it!
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John McNamara on August 24, 2014, 09:40:35 PM
Will this trip be offered in the next glossy brochure from PTA (Patten Travel)?
PTA Happy Customer #2
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 07, 2014, 07:51:48 PM
Story #103   Cherish -

There was a lone passenger on one of the railcar trips today so I took J.B. and his dog Milo along.  They were in the back and the guest was in the middle seat.  It was a quiet trip and when we stopped at Alna Center I asked the visitor if he had been to the museum before.  He replied "no, but my wife has been here twice with the grandkids".  He continued "she loved this railroad and I had promised her that I would come down and ride it with her this month".  Milo barked at something and the fellow said "seems like a good dog, how old is he?" J.B. said "he's 12"  and the fellow smiled a bit.  He then told us "my wife passed away in April and it took a while but I decided to fulfill her wish so I came to ride the train".   J.B. and I didn't know what to say so we sat quietly for a moment then I replied that we were sorry to hear of his loss and honored to have him with us.  The rest of the trip was quiet and the fellow thanked us when we returned to Sheepscot.   I replied that I hope he comes back again.  He gave Milo a pat and said "I think I will"      
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Mike Fox on September 07, 2014, 08:13:27 PM
Very nice Stewart. Thank you for telling this.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ira Schreiber on September 07, 2014, 08:25:28 PM
A wonderful story that should touch one and all. Thanks.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Wayne Laepple on September 14, 2014, 11:32:16 AM
My wife's grandfather, Harry Ray Kiner, was a Pennsylvania Railroad engineman who hired in 1916 and retired in 1958. Some 30 years ago or so, he gave me a book he had picked up somewhere, "The Engineer's Encyclopedia," published in 1892. I was browsing through it recently, looking for information on vacuum brakes, when I found the following, which made me chuckle.

"The cowcatcher takes the place of the rail guard on British locomotives, but it is more formidable in its character, as it can remove quadrupeds straying upon the line, and with the train going at 30 miles an hour it does so safely and with very little ceremony."
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 15, 2014, 09:21:42 AM
Story #105   Uh-Oh -

Last weeks BikeMaine event brought a good number of visitors to the museum.  Quite a few rode the steam train and a number rode the railcar.  The Model T was over on the north yard spur and visitors boarded next to the coal pocket. I ran the railcar for a while that day and had about 30 riders during the event.  Late morning a man and woman came over for a ride and I invited them to have a seat.  I explained where we would be going (we operated to the mainline switch and back) and then cranked the engine.  As sometimes happens, it didn't start on the first try.  The lady said "uh-oh, looks like we're not going anywhere"  I laughed a bit and then replied "well, hold on a minute, there's more to starting older engines".  I explained that older engines won't start like todays electronic ignition equipped engines, some adjustments are needed.  I showed them the choke and fuel mixture knob, reset them a bit and cranked again.  The T roared to life and the lady applauded.  The fellow said "life must have been a bit slower back then".  I applied the clutch and the railcar started moving, clanking over the rail joints.  At that point I thought I did pretty well explaining antique machinery.  As we moved up towards the first curve, the lady looked over at #10 and asked "how long does it take to start that engine?"  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stephen Piwowarski on September 16, 2014, 09:05:23 AM
The Fiddler

A couple of weeks ago Annie and I made the hour and a half trek across the Green Mountains to Bethel, VT where I had to pick up a couple of instruments being repaired at the music store there. The whole route there was filled with construction so we decided to take another route home, going instead through Barnard, VT.
While at the general store there, we saw an ad up for a fiddle concert by the "Man from Vermont", Charles Ross Taggart, and best of all it was free.
Now those of you in the know about fiddle music are probably quite surprised because Taggart's been dead over 60 years! In fact he passed up in Kents Hill, just outside Augusta. Not to be dissuaded from a free concert by the performers unfortunate demise, we pushed on to the one room school house where the concert was to be held.
As we arrived we could see quite a crowd had already developed and we were in fact the last to come in before the concert began. The musical selections were entertaining and lively and the humor which interjected and sometimes was the musical numbers provided great entertainment. As it turned out Taggart hadn't come back from the dead. Rather he was being impersonated by a historian and fiddler named Adam Boyce who has written an excellent book about him.
In talking to Boyce after the concert it turns out he has been up to the Alna because the area is, as he described it, "a hotbed of Taggart information". He has been to the railway and asked if the railcar was ready to go. I explained that it was. I also mused that Taggart may have ridden the WW&F at some point in his career to get to an event. I thought it would be neat if he came back to ride with us as Taggart!

Here is his page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Man-from-Vermont-Charles-Ross-Taggart-The-Old-Country-Fiddler/144535445755513?fref=ts
and a sample of "original" Taggart work:
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 21, 2014, 07:14:48 PM
Story #107   Spur of the Moment -

Steam powered the passenger trains last weekend and the railcar made a number of trips as the second section of the train.  The 12:30 train returned to Sheepscot and Gordon stopped #10 over the ash pit so the fire could be cleaned and the engine checked.  The stop allows time for the crew to check the engine and wait for the railcar to return.  The railcar operates over the same yard lead that #10 uses to run around the train so the locomotive has to wait for RC4 to get in the clear.  Well, the return of the railcar was later than normal that time.  #10 needed water but couldn't get to the tank because the railcar would be running past the tank when it arrived.  

I was operating the railcar and Brendan was riding with me.  Noting the time we decided to make a new move and divert into the north yard spur.  We stopped near the switch and signaled #10's crew that we were diverting into the spur.  Brendan lined the switch and we we ran in, stopping to throw the switch back to the main.  We explained to the passengers what we were doing and they were happy to ride on new track.   Gordon took #10 right out to the tank for a much needed drink while we ran down to the end of the spur.  The passengers detrained and thanked us for the ride.  We then did another new thing and turned the railcar at the end of the spur. The turning operation was interesting since the unballasted track sits higher than the older yard tracks so we had to push the car around, reaching higher in the air.  

With the railcar safely turned and #10 filled and dropping down to get the train, we were happy to have solved a problem.   Standing there looking at the railcar we thought "use of the roundhouse spur can only get better!"  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Philip Marshall on September 22, 2014, 02:25:50 AM
Great story, Stewart! It's an exciting time on the WW&F.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on October 22, 2014, 09:32:14 PM
Story #108   DEM & REP -

With another election season upon us I'm reminded of something Harry said years ago.  He was talking to some visitors and one of them asked about making donations to the museum.  The question was along the lines of how funds are used.  Harry in his interesting way said "Well, it's like DEM and REP"  then he paused and kicked the dirt as he did sometimes during conversation.  He continued "It's not political parties ... but how we use donations".  He went on to explain that at the museum we operate with DEM: Depression Era Mentality which means we save anything we may use in the next 10+ years.  We also take care of what we have, making it last as long as possible.  He added that REP stands for repairing what we can so we won't spend money on something new.  One of the guests gave Harry a donation and said "That's one of the best explanations I've ever heard!"

Today, most museum volunteers don't remember the Great Depression like Harry did but we still live by his creed of DEM and REP.    
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on November 26, 2014, 07:36:00 PM
Story #109   Phenomenal -

This weeks steam test on locomotive 9 caused quite a stir.  The work of our restoration crew is making news with good reason.  With Jasons' careful planning and the dedicated shop crew, the test went well.  Nowhere is the attention paid to the progress more apparent than on line.  The facebook chatter has been amazing and the steam test post has gotten a record number of views. There were a couple hundred comments made by viewers on the main page and all through the photo pages.  Here are a few that represent the thoughts expressed by  WW&F fans the world over:

* Congratulations on a major accomplishment from all of us at the Puffing Billy RR in Belgrave, Austrailia.

* Hats off to the crew for bringing her back to life! Well done.

* She lives!  A great day for the WW&F!

* Looking forward to making a trip to Maine once it's running again.  I love Forneys.

* Fantastic news!

* Congratulations from the Sumpter Valley!

* What an historic event, you guys are top shelf!

* Just incredible.  All of this dedicated talent.  Not because they have to but because they want to. Nothing short of amazing. How fortunate we are, Thank you gentlemen ... all!

* Awesome!!!!!!

* Absolutely amazing.  Very nice to see such beautiful pictures.

* This is a beautiful set of photos of a great event.  I see more details every time I page through them!  Thanks for all your hard work.

* Marvelous news!

* I like the idea of a foot pedal blow down valve ...

* Well done gentlemen.  Welcome to a very rare group.

* Congratulations!  Amazing amount of work to get to this point.  You all must be so proud.

* Miss Alice Ramsdell is smiling down on this project.  Thanks to the entire team for all of your hard work and making her dream of seeing this engine run again one step closer to reality.

* Jason's comment:  "Thanks to a great crew, not only today but throughout this project ... this project defines group effort! We've got a little way to go but we are getting close."
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on December 21, 2014, 09:18:13 AM
Story #110   High and Low Tech -

Yesterday a couple was warming themselves by the bonfire at Alna Center.  The lady commented on how nice the event was and the fellow mentioned that he wished that there was more snow.  I replied that a week earlier there had been a snow storm on Saturday but the rain washed it away.  The lady said "I bet that made for some nice pictures".  I said "yes, there are some on our facebook page".  The fellow got out his iphone and pulled up the museums fb page to see the mixed train post from last Saturday.  He smiled and said "looks a bit colder!"  and showed the photos to his wife.  The couple next to them heard his comments and asked to see the photos too.  The second lady said "pretty but I'll take today" which brought laughter from all of us.

Around lunch time a family came to Sheepscot to ride the train.  They entered the gift shop and spoke to Cindy who was working behind the counter.  The lady handed a Cindy a wax paper bundle and said "here's a batch of cookies for you"  Cindy thanked the lady for the gift and the lady replied "Oh they're not from us, we were at the Alna Store and store owner Amy heard that we were coming here so she gave us the cookies to deliver".  Cindy thanked the visitors for bringing the cookies and then telephoned the store to thank Amy for baking them.  

Narrow Gauge life in a small town ...  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Richard "Steam" Symmes on December 21, 2014, 09:10:37 PM
We just happened to be in the gift shop as those cookies arrived. They were still warm from the oven! Needless to say, they went very fast.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on December 27, 2014, 07:35:27 PM
A couple came to check us out this afternoon, and they had an English accent.  Turns out they were from Western Australia, and are spending the summer (the Australian summer) here in Maine.

When I asked why, they stated they had never really experienced cold weather before and wanted to do it.  Winter in WA rarely gets below freezing, and summer can get over 100 degrees.  They arrived in October, and have experienced the November storms and power outages.

The husband commented on the Central Maine Power ads that show trucks ready to roll when there's an outage, thinking that the power company would be better served by buried utilities.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on December 28, 2014, 05:28:21 PM
Story #112   Zoom Zoom -

Back on line after a week away, had some nice family time for Christmas.  I hope everyone had a good holiday and that Santa brought  some narrow gauge goodies.  Anyway, I was off the net for a week and I checked the museum's facebook page this afternoon for activity.  Back in April I designed a spread sheet to track hits/views of various posts so we can see what subjects and photos do best.  I fill in the reach numbers each day for posts and track the page likes which fb counts for us.  In going through the most recent posts I compared numbers from last Tuesday with today.  Everything looked normal as I started down the post column.  The Victorian Christmas posts had a couple hundred more views which is pretty good considering holiday travel, etc.  Then I check the MIXED TRAIN post, it had 6,000 additional  people reached.  Wait ... what???  Over 6,000 more views of one post since Tuesday?  I did some digging.  Manager mode on fb allows us to see what photos get the most attention and the people who shared a post or photo.   It also shows how many [liked] the shared post once it is placed on the other person's page.  (Hope this isn't too confusing.)  

In researching the MIXED TRAIN views and shares I found that most of the 6,000+ views were of the Model T railcar which is in the last 3 photos of the set.  Going a page further I saw that most views came from antique automobile club people.  It seems the antique auto folks discovered, liked and shared our railcar photos. It's funny, the RC photos were tacked on the end just for interest. The railcar had nothing to do with the mixed train, it was outside to run the engine (which keeps the bearings oiled) and charge the battery.

Here's a few of the groups that shared the photo(s) and posted comments:  

The Model T Ford Club
J&S Automotive
Texas Transportation Museum
Vintage Car Club of Holland
T Fords of Texas group
Model T Ford Register of Great Britain  

I don't know if anyone on the museum's fb team has thought much about reaching the antique auto clubs through our page but it looks like Leon's beautiful Model T Railcar has gotten a fan base on it's own.  Thanks Leon!    
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stephen Piwowarski on December 31, 2014, 10:30:32 AM
One of the event ideas I've had is a pre-1934 auto and truck show at the railway. Instead of having all of the cars at Sheepsot, have some at Sheepscot parked by the station and car shop, some at Alna Center, and, with landowner permission of course, some staged at the railway crossings. People could ride the train to see the cars. instead of the typical "walk through a sea of cars", this would be an opportunity to see these autos in their natural setting. Work with antique car clubs to get the word out and perhaps partner with a large one to organize and put on the event. If anything this proves there is a huge market for such an event. I'd be interested in working with someone to make an event like this happen.

Take care,
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on December 31, 2014, 11:38:50 AM
Hi Steve,

I think this is a good idea.  A solid contact with a Model A or Model T Ford group could give us an idea of how willing the owners would be to do a "scene set up'" along the railroad and how many may attend. They should know that they may be traveling and parking on dirt roads.  Land owner permission should be fairly easy to get for some of the crossings. 

Of course there are other groups of people who have pre 1932-'33 autos and trucks like the AACA but they often attend judged events.  The  Ford groups are a good place to start since they are the largest and we see them on Rt 1 in Wiscasset each year.  I have been involved in antique auto shows for decades and people who have antique vehicles like showing them but they need a good incentive to attend.  If the venue looks like fun and it's a safe, clean place they will show up. 

As an aside, recent facebook activity has brought a new group to our attention.  They are the "Model AA Ford Truck Lovers" group.  One of the WW&F facebook team members has joined and can make posts to the page.  We are planning a photo shoot with the railroads' 1930 AA truck and will post a photo essay on the Ford page soon.  There may be a photo or two of the Model T railcar and a shot of #10 thrown in.  This will bring the WW&F to the attention of the 1,500 members of the AA truck group.

Happy New Year everyone!
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ira Schreiber on December 31, 2014, 07:17:02 PM
Now if the WW&F had owned a Studebaker.............
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John Kokas on December 31, 2014, 07:27:36 PM
A real eye catcher would be a Ford AA truck for 2ft, ala an RGS Galloping Goose !!  ;)
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on December 31, 2014, 07:32:00 PM
Good thought Ira,

A Studebaker truck would be pretty cool.   I was thinking since the WW&F had some rare things like the International panel truck the Frank Winter purchased to keep the mail contract alive in 1933 ... how about something like a Hudson Terraplane pickup.  The era is a little late but Google a 1936 model to see how that would look, the ultimate in deco!

Happy New Year!

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stephen Piwowarski on December 31, 2014, 07:39:47 PM
Love those old International pickups... FYI, I started a thread on a car show in Work and Events so we can keep telling stories here.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Dave Buczkowski on January 01, 2015, 09:42:17 PM
There was a Hudson Terraplane pickup for sale last year at Maine Village across from the Motor Lodge. It needed a bit of work though.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Bill Sample on January 01, 2015, 10:30:13 PM
Ira - did you mean a Studebaker wagon or a motor vehicle?

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ira Schreiber on January 02, 2015, 03:43:22 PM
By the time the WW&F was constructed, Studebaker was starting in the automobile business and was phasing out horse drawn vehicles.
Their first horse drawn vehicles were built in 1852.

Either type would be period correct for the WW&F, however.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on January 27, 2015, 05:15:42 PM
Story #113   Chance -

The railcar crew had quite a time at the Amherst Railway Society "Big E" show in W. Springfield, MA.  Interest in the Model T Ford began on Thursday when we brought the large truck into the Mallary Building.  Mike Fox and crew had to build the display track and then a ramp track to roll the car down to it's home track.  It was my job to work the brakes as the car descended and Mike asked if I was all set to roll out of the truck.  I thought for a moment and told him "sure - but I've never run the car on a westbound track!"  We set the car out and got to cleaning the roof, sheet metal and glass.  The display got more attention each day: Friday was the second dealer/exhibitor set up day and many of the 3,800 exhibitors stopped by.  Snow on Saturday morning slowed the crowd of visitors but many came on Sunday.  

The most popular thing for railcar visitors was to sit in one of the seats and imagine going up through the Maine woods on narrow gauge track.  Many parents asked if they could take photos of their children in the car and we welcomed them to do so.  At one point there were about a dozen kids waiting their turn at sitting in the front seat.  We helped them in and out and answered questions about the car and the WW&F all the while handing out museum brochures to the parents.  Everyone was happy to see the railcar and most said they had never seen anything like it.  The most asked question was "where's the steering wheel?"

By Sunday afternoon we had seated over 250 children in the front seat.  There had been 3 sets of twin boys visit in about 90 minutes.  Around 2:30 a little boy asked to come up front from the operators side and we invited him in.  At the same time another boy stepped in from the passenger side.  They sat together and I noticed that they were the same size and had a strong resemblance.  I said "hey, our 4th set of twins today".  At that point I got a blank stare from them and I asked "are you two just brothers and not twins?"  The one boy laughed and then his father said that they were not related.  I said "oh, sorry".  The other father was behind me and he leaned over to look in the car and remarked that the two boys did look a lot alike.  We all got a good chuckle out of it and both fathers took photos of the boys with their new "brothers".  The boys and their dads went away in different directions smiling.  They probably won't forget the experience anytime soon and neither will we.  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on April 01, 2015, 09:41:26 AM
Story #114   Decade -

Historians have long stated that the Maine Two-Footers and railroads in general were affected by the Great Depression of the 1930's.  There is clear evidence that railroads took action to cut costs in that era and as we know some including the SR&RL and WW&F didn't survive.  I had always considered this to be fact and for the most part it is although a lunch time conversation with Harry Percival one day changed my perspective.  Harry was born in 1930 and was rather defensive of the time of his youth.  He told me that the two-footers were affected by what he called the "Roaring Twenties" just as much (if not more so) than the 1930-'40 era.  He said something along the lines of "Maine saw rapid improvement in many areas in the 1920's including roads and bridges as well as telephone and electric service expansion".  He noted that Henry Ford's Model T's started showing up all over the state, even in small towns.  History shows that the explosion of technology between the two big wars changed American lives.  The 1920's automobiles become the normal mode of transportation on improved roads.  Telephone grids were greatly expanded and radio (introduced in 1920) became a commercial enterprise.  Harry was quick to note that the jazz age with all it's improvements was the first decade of decline for rail traffic.

After that day, I've thought more about what changed the railroad's postion as a key mode of transportation.  I try not to say "oh, the Depression killed the railroad(s)" without considering what led up to that time.  Harry would be happy to know that we don't subscribe to the theory that every thing in the 1930's was bad.  After all, engine 9, flat 118 and boxcar 309 were saved in the 1930's and look at the reborn WW&F, built on what has survived for 80 years.          
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Philip Marshall on April 01, 2015, 02:57:54 PM
Hi Stewart,

Thanks for raising this topic. I think Harry's point was very valid. The SR&RL was already in trouble in the 1920s, and the KC of course never made it past 1929. The reduced availability of credit in the Great Depression pushed a lot of already-struggling railroads and other businesses over the edge, but the real problem was the automobile.

The SR&RL offers a case in point. The MEC disposed of the SR&RL in 1923, and the railroad was pushed into receivership and a protracted period of service reductions. This was the beginning of the end, so to speak. I have a copy of the SR&RL's infamous employee timetable No. 63 of Dec. 15, 1924, which shows no service at all north of Phillips (though that was reinstated the following April), and just one mixed train a day each way between Phillips and Farmington, and Strong and Carrabassett. This level of regular service would have required no more than two train crews, so I'm sure there were many employees laid off as a result. Things were pretty grim, even at the height of the Roaring Twenties. The famous railbuses were a further attempt at cost-cutting. The SR&RL also started selling off surplus equipment, one piece of which was of course engine number 6, which became KC No. 4 and then WW&F No. 9!


Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on April 03, 2015, 07:36:45 AM
Hi Philip,

Thanks for the addtional information.  Harry's thoughts on the 1930's were partially driven by nostalgia but the facts show he was spot on.  I've always liked the technology of the '30's, wether steam power, telephones or other things that people used back then.  It was a tough decade but there were many advances made prior to WWII.  The nice thing about Sheepscot is that we try to stay with equipment, etc from 1933 or earlier to enhance the visitor's experience and that philosophy began with Harry Percival.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on May 10, 2015, 07:20:44 AM
Story #115   Surprise -

Yesterday, the away team spent about 5 hours in Westbrook sorting and rescuing things from the shingle mill.  Dana had us start along the right side removing wooden shingles from large stacks along the wall.  After about 20 minutes we started to see shiny metal under the shingles.  We discovered a large stack of never used corrugated metal roofing panels with a bundle of ridge caps.  Each piece was carefully removed and is now at Sheepscot.  Zack thinks we have enough to roof a new mill building (approx 20X36').  

As we worked back along the south wall Brendan started moving a stack of lumber by the side door.  After a few minutes he said "hey, look at this".  Emerging from the pile was the top of an old fashioned freight scale.  Brendan continued digging and out came a complete scale of the type used for checking freight and express on railroads.  Brendan and Dana brought the scale out into the sunlight (first time in many decades) and we looked it over.  It's in good condition and still works. Our "new" scale came back on one of the trucks and will be put on display after some cleaning.  It was a good day at the mill.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Bernie Perch on May 10, 2015, 10:51:06 AM
Is there any way the whole building could be brought back?

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on May 10, 2015, 11:35:32 AM
Hi Bernie,

The building is in bad shape except for a few parts like the floor.  Much of it has walls the wind blows through.  Zack says it would be better to build a new mill building that could be secured.  With everything that came out of the old mill, the new structure will have much of the flavor of the original.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Pete "Cosmo" Barrington on May 10, 2015, 07:11:27 PM
That's good to know, Stu, and thanks for all the info.  ;D
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on May 13, 2015, 04:49:48 PM
Story #116   Traveler -

This week a fellow named James stopped by the railroad to have a look around.  He was riding his bicycle on a long distance trip and seemed to enjoy resting for a few minutes.  We greeted him and noticed his British accent.  He told us that he tours by bike each Summer and has cycled across much of the UK. He added that he plans to cycle from Maine to California, arriving in Oakland by late Sept.  We showed him around and he enjoyed seeing #9 and the machine shop.  We asked him how he heard about the museum and he said that there's a narrow gauge railway being rebuilt near his home town and one of his friends volunteers there and mentioned the WW&F when he said he would be in Maine.  We asked what railroad he lived near and he replied "the L&B" (Lynton and Barnstaple) in western England.   For the next few minutes we told him about how the L&B started at Woody Bay with no track in place and have rebuilt a fine operation with steam motive power and restored coaches.  (We had to explain that coach in the U.S.=carriage in the UK.)  

We gave James a WW&F brochure and talked about rebuilding our line.   After staying about 30 minutes, he said "well, I should be on my way".  We thanked him for visiting and wished him a safe journey.  He smiled and said "I've really enjoyed this place.  Not only did I learn about Maine Two-Footers but I learned a lot more about my local narrow gauge back home!"  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John McNamara on May 13, 2015, 05:04:06 PM

Another great story - keep 'em coming ;D

-John M
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Bill Sample on May 13, 2015, 09:49:16 PM
After reading about the L&B over the past few years in "Heritage Railway" magazine I could definitely see some parallels between their operation and ours.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 28, 2015, 04:56:27 PM
Story #117   Salvage -

Yesterday the WW&F mill mice traveled to the old shingle mill to remove the large pieces of equipment from the building.  The mill, edger, cut off saw, generator, power plant and overhead line shaft were removed and hauled to Sheepscot.  Along with the main pieces, some smaller items were recovered such as the engine room door.  Fred saved a batch of nice old fruit crates and Stewart got some knob and tube electrical parts.  Marcel collected old window glass that was loose in the sash, it has the straw marks and bubbles found in hand made glass from 100+ years ago.  We asked what he wanted the glass for and he replied that he will have the pieces cut to fit the windows in #9's cab.  He explained "the original windows were broken out of the cab when the locomotive sat abandoned in the car shop building in Wiscasset and the current glass dates to the late 1930's when it was replaced in CT".  He added that "installing period glass in the locomotive's cab will enhance the restoration"  It's nice that the #9 team thinks of things like window glass, no detail is left out on returning this historic engine to service.    
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 04, 2015, 08:15:10 AM
Story #118   Martial Arts -

A visiting father and son rode the the railcar last weekend.  When we arrived at Top of The Mountain, I explained that we would be raising the car and turning it for the return trip.  Everyone got out and I asked if one of them wanted to try cranking the jack.  The son said he would.  I set the lift platform and crank handle and the son started right in.  I asked his age and replied "I'm 11".  I said "well, crank as much as you'd like and if you get tired I'll take over".  He said "ok" and kept on going.  As the car raised past the halfway point the crank resistance got harder and the boy changed his stance to compensate.  He then did something that surprised us.  He moved the crank swiftly from the top taking advantage of the the motion to follow through at the bottom.  When he had fully raised the car I complimented him on a job well done. I added that "few young people know how to lift this car because they haven't seen this type of equipment".   I asked if he worked with antique machinery and he replied "no".  We turned the car and he cranked it back down on the rails.  As we boarded I thanked him for helping and asked how he knew how to keep the crank going.   He replied with a smile "I take Karate" at that point we all smiled.    
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ed Lecuyer on August 04, 2015, 10:33:56 AM
Grit, grime, good food, and a gift....

Not too long ago I spent the weekend at the "Sheepscot Inn" - as I was needed as brakeman for both Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday morning I decided to wait until the Engineer and Fireman were all set (and #10 was out of the shed) before heading down to Ships' Chow Hall for breakfast. (I knew we were short handed and they would need help 0-5-0ing her from the shed.)

In the process of helping prep the engine and pushing her out of the shed, I ended up getting pretty grimy. I decided to go down to Ships' anyway, figuring no one would notice or care. What I didn't realize is that the clientele of Ships' is much different at 8am than at 6am - with the regular locals mostly gone, and the place packed with summer travellers and tourists.

Tina recognized me as part of the RR crew and we exchanged pleasantries. After I finished breakfast, I went up to pay; she tapped my hand and said "hon, it's all taken care of." Confused, she explained that someone (not her) had already paid my tab and all I had to do was say thanks. Somewhat embarrassed, I realized that some tourist probably saw me all grimy at 8:30am, and decided that I couldn't afford my breakfast.

I asked Tina if I could "pay it forward" to someone else. She took a quick glance around the room and not finding anyone to her liking, said that there was an elderly man who comes in every morning who always orders the same meager breakfast. Knowing that he could use it, I paid his next tab.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Craig "Red" Heun on August 04, 2015, 04:41:45 PM
That is great! Way to go
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Alan Downey on August 13, 2015, 02:42:59 AM
A nice reminder-

On the last day that my Dad and I were at the museum this summer, we were trying to wrap up a couple weeks of work by getting the second set of brakes working on coach 3 with Jason's help. We though it was going to be an easy couple of hours to get the last bits installed and tweaked before putting the coach in the consist for a shakedown run or two. But a couple of hours turned into 4, then 5... We were still chasing problems underneath the coach with no sign of an obvious solution, all while the last train loomed on the schedule. All this to say that it was pretty stressful and frustrating at times.

But at one point, Jason and I were standing to the side of the coach, when we overheard two young boys begging their dad to take another trip up the line. He went back and forth with them a couple of times, saying "We really need to get back home". But they asked one more time, "Can we please ride the train again?", and after a pause he happily relented and they went to buy their tickets. After they left, Jason remarked to me that it's nice to hear when people really enjoy the museum, and it was.

It's the little moments like that one, which really stick with me the other 50 weeks of the year.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ed Lecuyer on August 17, 2015, 11:11:58 AM
98 Years Young...

On Sunday, 8/16 we hosted the granddaughter of WW&F Engineer Everett Jackson. Now 98, she lived in Wiscasset and was in high school when the WW&F stopped operating in 1933.

While she has no recollection of riding the WW&F, she did recall that several of her friends did take unauthorized handcar excursions on the WW&F from time to time.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ed Lecuyer on August 31, 2015, 09:39:41 AM
And to you as well...

It's not uncommon to find me out and about wearing a WW&F baseball cap or tee shirt. Recently, while sporting a black WW&F cap, I was stopped at a rest area outside Boston. While waiting in the lobby for my daughter a man walked in off the street and took notice of me, including the hat.

After staring at me for a few moments, he said: "I'm going to take a wild guess..." and I braced myself for a round of discussion about the WW&F.

After a pause, he looked me straight in the eye and said:


Stunned, and trying not to laugh, I replied, "peace to you as well."
"So you're not Jewish?" he asked.
And he walked away.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on December 20, 2015, 06:48:10 PM
Story #123   Chirp chirp -

I always enjoy working at Alna Center for the Victorian Christmas event.  Seeing trainloads of visitors arrive with smiles on their faces is wonderful.  Children come off the train and hurry over to see Santa, ride the horse drawn wagons or warm by the bonfire.  It's nice to see families talking with each other instead of looking at their phones or tablets.  Some parents sang Christmas carols to their kids.  One family arrived with a large bag of popcorn and started a game of "catch one like a shark" while they waited to see Santa.  The uncle tossed pieces to various children and adults and there was much laughter as the kids easily won the contest.  One little boy noted the popcorn on the ground and thought it was a shame. The father quickly said "don't worry, tomorrow every bird in town will be here for a Christmas meal" which brought a smile to the youngster ... and everyone else that heard.

Merry Christmas to our friends both near and far.    

Cindy & Stewart
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ted Miles on January 05, 2016, 06:01:58 PM
Stewart and all,
                        At least you have hair to turn gray; I am 65 years old and mine has mostly fallen out! I started going to Friendly's when I was on ski trips to Massachusetts and Vermont in the 1960s. My most recent dinner was about a year ago. I am glad to hear they are out of bankruptcy and still going!

Now I work at the Western Railway Museum in California and I wanted to tell a story about how the two museums shared an interest. As we all know, Ellis Walker is a long time member and contributor to the museum.

He visited us out there and donated some railroad artifacts to that museum!

Happy New Year to all!

Ted Miles, Life Member
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on January 22, 2016, 03:18:38 PM
Story #124   Tales from Wistful Vista -

WW&F Mail orders have been busy the last couple of months and I've been helping Cindy with packaging the items.  Merchandise has gone to California, England and Australia which creates interesting conversation between Cindy and I ...

Cindy - Hey, Would you box up these books and make a shipping label?

Me - Ok, where's the order book?

Cindy - On the counter, the packing tape is there as well.

Me - Got it, I'll write the labels first.

Cindy - Sounds good.

Me - (A few minutes later) Labels are done, I may need help holding the box closed so I can tape it shut.

Cindy - Sure.

We get the box sealed up and a set the label on top.  The next step is to tape the address label on.

Me - I'll set this right in the middle, hand me the tape.

Cindy - Here, there's some pulled off already.

Me - Ok, one strip is on, I'll finish covering the label with tape so it stays put.


Me - One question ... there was cat hair on the tape and now it's taped to the label.  The cat hair is going to Sweden, is that a problem?

Cindy - No, that's how I keep the house clean.  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Steve Smith on January 22, 2016, 10:55:57 PM
Start and Cindy, that hair raising tale was the cat's meow!
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ira Schreiber on January 22, 2016, 11:51:39 PM
That is a purr-fect solution.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ted Miles on February 07, 2016, 06:56:32 PM
             My last trip to Maine was a couple of summers ago and I had to schedule my visit on a Monday; when things were quiet. you were kind enough to show my wife and I through the shop and see the progress on the #9 and other things.

We really like the work you have done inside the Sheepscot station building. I can remember when it was just a bare shell. Now it has been furnished with a beautiful wall clock and an antique telephone which works. The time is coming when the museum will need to have someone on duty on the week days for tours and security.

Ted and Arlene Miles, Life Members
San Francisco, CA
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on February 08, 2016, 09:54:51 AM
Hi Ted,

I remember your visit, it was nice to meet you and Arlene.  A few things have changed in the last two years, one of the best changes is having Jason on campus Monday - Thursday.  He, along with our dedicated shop crew including Jonathan, Randy, Leon and the two Phils give the museum a solid weekday work force.  I have gone to the railroad on Tuesday / Wednesday and there are up to six people working there.  This should continue right through the Spring and Summer.  As James noted in his 2015 stats, last year was a near record setter for having people at the railroad almost every day and this year should be the same (if not better).  It's a big help with projects as well as visitor access during the week especially with the National Narrow Gauge Convention coming to Maine this Summer.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on March 13, 2016, 07:22:36 PM
Story #125   Surprise -

The historian for Whitefield visited the railroad last week.  A retired school teacher, Dave told me that he knew Clinton Thurlow and had developed an interest in the WW&F from researching town history.  As we toured through the shop, Dave told me that Whitefield had more narrow gauge track than any other town with a total of 16 miles.  With stops such as Whitefield, N. Whitefield, Prebles and Coopers Mills he said that his town had 4 stations (although Prebles was a flag stop).  He had been to Sheepscot a few years ago and was happy to see #9 back in service, taking many photos of the engine.  As we walked out the back of the shop I decided to show him our new car storage building so we entered the south door to view coach 3.  After touring the car and discussing museum projects we walked out the north door into the north yard and Dave saw the Whitefield section house replica.  With a smile he said "well I recognize that building".  We walked up to the section house and I opened the door.  Dave stepped inside and looked at the handcars saying "this is really nice".  I told him that the building was a wedding present and he replied that it is a wonderful story.  After a few minutes we stepped back outside and Dave said that seeing a replica of his town's section house made his day.    
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stephen Piwowarski on March 14, 2016, 08:27:36 AM
It's good to hear this. I'm glad that you took him up there to see the WSH and that he recognized it. Stories like this definitely makes it all worthwhile.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on May 07, 2016, 06:03:03 PM
Story #126   Clapper caper -

Our #9 has been a reliable locomotive since entering service in December.  Things have gone well with operating and maintaining the engine with one small exception, last weekend the bell got quiet.  Upon checking things it was discovered that the clapper was missing.  We have looked along the R-O-W and around the shop but no clapper.  It's a bit of a mystery when it vanished and where it went.  Jason responded by getting a spare copper clapper from the closet so the bell would be functional.  We suspect that there's a kleptomaniac in the shop but we're not sure who it is, maybe Claude?  Anyway, if we find out who copped the clapper, Jason says he'll clobber him.  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John McNamara on May 07, 2016, 07:45:37 PM
Purloin more parts of this, and you'll possibly have to pay royalties.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjquGpmgwOo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjquGpmgwOo)
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Mike Fox on May 07, 2016, 08:02:55 PM
Perhaps it was the guy who scratched the jacked and is still in his pocket...
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on May 07, 2016, 08:17:22 PM
He escaped to Cleveland ...

The clapper story is true, (it really is missing).

Only the names were changed to protect the innocent.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ed Lecuyer on May 07, 2016, 08:20:50 PM
Its a complete calamity beyond comprehension.

Did anyone call the cops? Did anyone check Case-y or the Kabota?
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on May 07, 2016, 08:25:43 PM
Or, it may have been knocked loose by the clumsy clapper cleaners.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Dwight Winkley on May 07, 2016, 09:52:52 PM
any dents or marks on the boiler jacket?
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on May 07, 2016, 09:59:02 PM
Not that we saw, maybe it flew off when the bell was ringing. If so, it could be away from the tracks a bit.  Anyone that works around the museum in the next week or so (before the grass starts getting taller), please look for the clapper.  The temporary clapper is ok but doesn't sound quite right.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ed Lecuyer on May 08, 2016, 08:07:12 AM
Is the clapper coated in crimson coloring?
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John Kokas on May 08, 2016, 08:31:19 AM
And thus starts another chapter of "The Infamous Clapper Caper"  ;)
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Bill Reidy on May 08, 2016, 09:24:52 AM
Found a replacement on Amazon.  And it doesn't need a pull-cord.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on May 08, 2016, 09:28:57 AM
Clap on ... for crossings.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Mike Fox on May 08, 2016, 11:24:25 AM
Yet another version of ding dong ditch?
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Glenn Christensen on May 08, 2016, 12:28:51 PM
Purloin more parts of this, and you'll possibly have to pay royalties.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjquGpmgwOo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjquGpmgwOo)

Hi John!

I'd never seen that clip before.  I found it clever and creative and can't recall having more chuckles with the letter "C".

CU later,
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ira Schreiber on May 08, 2016, 01:16:21 PM
The Copper Clapper Caper Continues on, it was never solved. Along with the question of "For whom the bell tolls?"
Continuous clanging will not continue without the clapper.
To be continued.....
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John McNamara on May 08, 2016, 03:55:38 PM
Purloin more parts of this, and you'll possibly have to pay royalties.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjquGpmgwOo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjquGpmgwOo)

Hi John!

I'd never seen that clip before.  I found it clever and creative and can't recall having more chuckles with the letter "C".

CU later,
I was very impressed with Jack Webb's ability to keep a straight face - a fine actor!
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: john d Stone on May 08, 2016, 03:58:21 PM
Perhaps a clairvoyant should be consulted. Surely a clairvoyant could cleave the cloud cloaking the clapper caper.  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on May 08, 2016, 05:54:50 PM
That's a clear conclusion.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ken Fleming on May 08, 2016, 06:39:53 PM
Isn't the clapped bolt the same bolt that holds the bell to its frame?
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on May 08, 2016, 06:59:41 PM
Yes it is, so it could be that the eye on the bolt (or the eye at the top of the clapper) wore through or broke.  If we find the clapper the eye could be welded so it could go back on.  That would restore a better sound to the bell. 
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Bill Baskerville on May 08, 2016, 07:41:47 PM
Soooooo......... we should all keep an eye out for the clapper with the cracked eye that has flown the coop?  Perhaps it has crossed over to the other side of the tracks?
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ed Lecuyer on May 08, 2016, 07:58:23 PM
Caused by corrosion?
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Bill Reidy on May 08, 2016, 08:06:15 PM
Soooooo......... we should all keep an eye out for the clapper with the cracked eye that has flown the coop?  Perhaps it has crossed over to the other side of the tracks?

Or it fell off on cock-eye curve.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Philip Marshall on May 08, 2016, 08:17:44 PM
Well that's rather peculiar.

If a replacement clapper is needed I have one I'd be happy to make available. It's 13" long with a 3" ball and a hand-forged 3/4" eye on the top. I don't know for a fact that it's from a locomotive bell but the size is about right so that's always been my assumption.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on May 08, 2016, 08:34:28 PM
Caused by corrosion?

Could be the case.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: john d Stone on May 08, 2016, 10:41:44 PM
So, if we've come to the conclusion that the clapper calamity was not caused by common crookery, perhaps  I should conclude concentrating on the clothing of this clandestine criminal. Corduroy coveralls couldn't have clad this cad, as the cacophony of the colliding corduroy would create commotion leading to said crooks capture.

Corrosion? Ca rumba!  Could be! 
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ira Schreiber on May 08, 2016, 10:55:23 PM
Could the clapper caper come to a conclusion......
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: john d Stone on May 08, 2016, 10:58:36 PM
Could the clapper caper come to a conclusion......
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Paul Uhland on May 09, 2016, 12:41:21 AM
I remember seeing the original.
One take.
Not a slip of the tongue.
Jack Webb couldn't resist a tiny smile.

The audience went wild!
Excellent Classic TV.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on May 13, 2016, 09:45:52 PM
Story #127   On time delivery?

During the last photographers excursion the schedule called for an afternoon freight to TOM and return.  The Spring Work Weekend started the following day so the train crew decided to set a flatcar out at AC to have gravel loaded that would be used on the north yard.  Earlier, there were scenes at AC with #9 bringing the train through while Randy Beach's 1920 Dodge Brothers touring car and the railroad's 1930 Model AA truck were parked near the depot or driving on the Averill Road.  Museum members were in period dress so the scenes were authentic.  That afternoon the northbound train set the flatcar out for loading and then ran to TOM for a photo shoot.  

The AC crew started loading the flatcar as soon as the train pulled out.  No sooner had the train cleared the north yard limit when headlights were seen coming down the Averill Road.  I was on the tractor and Randy was standing next to his Dodge when we noticed the vehicle, a FedEx box truck driving slowly down the road.  The driver came down and stopped just short of the crossing.  He sat there for a moment with his flashers on, looking around at the narrow gauge track, Randy's automobile, the wooden flatcar, Model A truck and our period clothing.  Randy walked over and the driver asked "what is this place?" with obvious confusion.  Randy told him about the WW&F and invited him back for a train ride sometime.  He said thanks and drove back towards 218 and the 21st century ...  
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 07, 2016, 02:35:06 PM
Story #128

A while back we heard a story describing how fast the WW&F ran in the old days:

A newlywed couple boarded the narrow gauge in Wiscasset, by the time they reached Albion, their son helped carry their bags.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Keith Taylor on June 07, 2016, 02:50:45 PM
A while back we heard a story describing how fast the WW&F ran:

A newlywed couple boarded the narrow gauge in Wiscasset, by the time they reached Albion, their son helped carry their bags.
That reminds me of a story my father used to tell. He was stationed in Newfoundland for part of the Second World War. The local railroad was The Newfoundland Railway, a narrow gauge line. He told a story about the conductor on the train bringing his three legged dog to work with him. The dog, as the story goes, would get bored at the slow pace of progress and he would hop off the train and hobble on three legs to the next grade crossing where he would wait for the train to catch up with him!

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ira Schreiber on June 07, 2016, 03:30:05 PM
Everyone was amazed when the "Cannonball Express" arrived at the depot five minutes early as it was always notoriously late.

It was then discovered it was yesterdays train.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 07, 2016, 05:58:07 PM
The joke about the WW&F came from a long time Alna resident who heard it from his father.  It's the type of saying that followed shortlines and narrow gauge operations all over the country.  Posting it here reminds us of how important the railroad was to people 100 years ago, important enough to generate humor.

Here's one that I heard about the Maryland & Pennsylvania RR (Ma & Pa) years ago:

A very pregnant lady stops the conductor as he walks through the coach.   She asks "Sir, will this train ever get to York?"  He looks at her and says "Ma'am, why did you ride the train in your condition?"  She replies "I wasn't in this condition when I got on the train."  

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 22, 2016, 02:49:24 PM
Story #129   Honk -

Last Saturday the 1:30 train had just left Sheepscot and I staged the railcar at the south end of the main to run as the second section with two passengers.  The steam train had just rounded Davis curve when a car with PA plates pulled into the parking lot.  A fellow got out and walked over towards the depot.  I said "sorry, you just missed the train but there's time to get a ticket for the railcar"  He smiled and said "the railcar is why I stopped by".  He purchased his ticket and climbed into the front seat.  There were still a few minutes before our departure so I asked him where he lived in PA since I spent a lot of time there when I lived in northern Maryland.  He replied that he lives in King of Prussia.  I told him that our Executone voice mail training center was in that area and I had been there a number of times.  He said "it's a nice area, been there about 30 years but I'm not originally from Pennsylvania, I grew up in Colorado".  I asked if he had lived near any of the Colorado narrow gauge lines and he said he lived outside of Denver.  He added "I like the Colorado narrow gauge lines.  I especially like the galloping goose and have ridden one, that's why I wanted to see your railcar".  I smiled and said "well, the Model T is not as big" then I asked where he had taken a goose ride figuring that it was on the Cumbres & Toltec or at the Colorado Railroad Museum.  He said "it was a long trip, the trestles at Ophir were really high".  It took a second to sink in ... my passenger had ridden a Galloping Goose on the Rio Grande Southern.  I asked him when he rode the RGS and he said that his father had taken him in 1951.    
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Carl G. Soderstrom on July 08, 2016, 01:45:52 AM
Just wanted to say a friend was at the Museum June 25 with his grandkids

He was very impressed with the dedication of the volunteers and what has been accomplished.

The kids (beside the train) rode the hand car from the car barn to the shop - the girls were so
enthused it was a good thing there are brakes on the car or they would have gone through the shop.

Thanks to the crew from him (and me) for making it a memorable experience.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 08, 2016, 11:30:07 AM
Hi Carl,

 The weekend crew is happy to hear that your friend enjoyed his visit to Sheepscot.  Thanks for letting us know and for the kind words.


Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 28, 2016, 01:36:58 PM
Story #130   Vision -

Last weekend a visitor named Henry came to Sheepscot to fulfill an interest. Henry told us that he has lived out of state for decades but lived near Bridgton when he was a child.  He remembered a day when he was riding with his mother in the family auto as they were driving through town.  He described it this way: "Being small, I stood up on the seat for a look around.  I looked over and saw some railroad cars that got my attention.  I asked my mother if I could go play on them but she said no, it was not safe since the railroad had shut down.  I was some disappointed at not being able to go look at them and they were gone by the time we took our next trip to town."  He said that at the time he didn't know what narrow gauge was and found out later that it was the B&H.  He added "I never forgot seeing the cars and I've wanted to visit a Maine Two-Footer for years.  My son told me about this place last year and promised that we would visit on the next trip to Maine so here we are.  It's nice that this time I can ride the narrow gauge instead of just seeing it through the car window."   
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John McNamara on July 28, 2016, 03:46:06 PM
...and he will soon see a B&H car!
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Pete "Cosmo" Barrington on July 31, 2016, 08:33:51 PM
Technically, if he saw the visiting caboose he DID!  ;)
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 07, 2016, 08:35:39 PM
Story #131   The Saw Mill -

Note: The story was told by Tom Albee, grandson of Mr. Everett Albee.

In the early years of the 20th Century, Mr. Everett Albee owned a farm that was adjacent to the WW&F Railway's Alna Center station.  He had a good relationship with the railroad as he shipped milk on the line.  One day Mr. Albee was contacted by the railroads freight agent regarding a piece of equipment that was being shipped on the narrow gauge.  The agent advised that there was a saw mill rig on a flatcar in Wiscasset and the shipper wanted it unloaded at Alna Center but didn't have a crew to unload it.  Mr. Albee agreed to unload the mill and the agent advised that the flatcar would be in the next days northbound train.  Arranging the meet was important as the saw mill had to be unloaded on the mainline while the train waited because there was no siding for a set off.

The following morning Mr. Albee took his horse team down to the station to meet the train.  He set some blocking to pull the rig onto and had the crew spot the car north of the station.  Mr. Albee tied his team on and pulled the rig off the car in a few minutes.  With his task complete, he said goodbye to the train crew and took his team back to resume the farm work.

A few days passed and no one showed up to claim the saw mill.  One afternoon there was a knock at Mr. Albee's front door.  Upon answering, Mr. Albee was surprised to see the Sheriff on his front steps.  The Sheriff greeted him and asked if he had unloaded a saw mill from a flatcar.  He stated that he had and told him him where it was.  The Sheriff told him that the rig was stolen and that they traced it to Alna Center by the railroad way bills.  The two men went down to the field so the Sheriff could examine the mill and make a report.  After confirming that the mill was the stolen rig, the Sheriff made arrangements with the WW&F to have an empty flatcar on the next southbound train.  He asked Mr. Albee to bring his team down the following day to reload the saw mill.  Mr. Albee did as requested and loaded the mill back onto the car.  It is doubtful that Mr. Albee ever received any pay for his work but it is known that he was happy to have helped solve a crime.   
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Steve Smith on August 07, 2016, 11:03:50 PM
What a great story! Thank you Start and thank you Tom Albee.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Philip Marshall on August 07, 2016, 11:52:16 PM
That is a remarkable story. I wonder, where was it stolen from, and by whom? I'd imagine a stolen sawmill would be a difficult thing to hide, but shipping it to a rural flagstop would be a clever way to keep it hidden for a few days at least until the coast was clear.

It reminds me of those stories about freight agents intentionally routing carloads of lumber around the country by the most circuitous route possible in order to give the lumber company more time to find a buyer for it -- better to keep the wood in transit indefinitely (and hidden from the market) than to let it pile up unsold at the mill.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 08, 2016, 08:39:38 AM
Hi Steve and Philip, Thanks for the comments. 

We put the story up because there will be a special all original WW&F train operated during the Annual Picnic.  The mixed train will have box car 309, flatcar 118 and coach 3 as the consist.  Flat 118 will have the shingle mill machinery as a load.  This will be the first time in many decades that this type of freight has been carried on the WW&F.   
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Wayne Laepple on August 08, 2016, 10:22:36 AM
That's a great story, Stewart. If nothing else, it sets a precedent for unloading or loading freight from the main line. As for cars of lumber wandering around the country, that is still done to a certain extent today. Mills on the west coast load cars and bill them to a broker in Chicago. The hope is that by the time they reach there, a buyer will have been found and the car can be re-billed to the consignee. If not, the broker gets stuck paying daily demurrage or storage charges until a buyer is found. The system must work pretty well, as I haven't heard of many brokers paying for storage.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 08, 2016, 12:04:37 PM
Thanks Wayne,

As a post script,  I just saw Tom Albee at the Alna Store and told him about loading the shingle mill on the flatcar.  He  said "well, sounds like you're re-creating the story".  I told him that the story of his grandfather's adventure is one of the reasons we put the mill on the car.  Later he drove down to Sheepscot where I showed him flatcar 118 in the car barn.  He said "the mill looks good on there, can't wait to see it going along the edge of my field".  With a smile he added "I hope you're not going to unload it at Alna Center".
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Pete "Cosmo" Barrington on August 14, 2016, 01:12:15 AM
I do SO look forward to the day when you will be relating stories regarding the orchard I plan to start on up the line someplace.  ;)
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 15, 2016, 10:27:51 AM
Story #132   Hope -

I ran the railcar for a number of trips during the Annual Picnic last weekend.  For most of the runs, RC4 was staged at the south end of the mainline to be ready to follow the steam train by 5 minutes.  One trip last Saturday I had just backed down to the end of track when a family of 5 approached with tickets for a ride.  I invited them in and asked where they were from and the grandmother said they were up from Virginia.  The steam train left the yard and we sat there waiting while I gave the group a short history of Model T railcars in Maine.  As we neared our departure time, the band (Bitter Brew) who was in the south end of bay 1 started playing "I'll Fly Away".  We listened for a few seconds and then the grandmother started singing along and then her daughter joined in perfect harmony.  Before you knew it the whole car was singing which continued as we eased out of the station and up past the water tank.  Our song ended and I told the grandmother that I enjoyed hearing her voice.  I asked if she ever did any chorus or theater and she laughed a little.  She replied "I was in the USO years ago and sang with the troupe".  At that point I wanted to know more and asked where she traveled.  She said "back in the 1960's we toured through parts of Europe and Southeast Asia"  I replied that it must have been quite an experience and she said "it was demanding living out of a suitcase but wonderful seeing so many of our people serving in the armed services, they loved our shows". She added "one Summer we had a bigger show when I worked with Bob Hope".  She added "he was so nice to work with".
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Wayne Laepple on August 15, 2016, 10:55:34 AM
While doing a bunch of things in western Pennsylvania over the weekend, I dropped by the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum near Washington, Pa. I was wearing one of my WW&F T-shirts. At one point, a museum member noticed the shirt and said to me, "WW&F -- well, we could put two of your railroad inside ours with some room left over!" The PTM line is to "Pennsylvania Broad Gauge" which is 5 feet 2-1/2 inches, so he was correct.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Paul Uhland on August 15, 2016, 11:43:01 AM
Stewart...Love your RC4 story.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 15, 2016, 07:06:47 PM
Thanks Paul, 

It was an honor meeting someone who served with the USO and shared the stage with Bob Hope.  Just another example of some of the interesting people who visit the WW&F.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John Kokas on August 15, 2016, 07:20:22 PM
Bob Hope, now there was a CLASS ACT.........
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Craig "Red" Heun on August 15, 2016, 07:35:21 PM
Thanks for the memories :D
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 06, 2016, 09:11:09 AM
Story #134   Convention -

The National Narrow Gauge Convention is being held in Augusta this week and we have been busy at Sheepscot touring guests and running trains.  There were about 60 visitors yesterday (Labor Day), many with the convention but some not.  The convention attendees are interesting to meet and speak with as some have been to narrow gauge lines in other parts of the world.  A nice surprise came from two non-convention visitors.  The first fellow, a man by the name of Edwards came into the gift shop for train tickets and got to talking with our sales clerk Cindy.  He noted that he liked the Maine Two-Footers and had ridden the Bridgton line in 1940.  He added that it was his first visit to the WW&F and was looking forward to riding the train.  The second visitor was a quiet man who rode in the caboose of the freight train, enjoying the ride with his wife.  We were talking to two visitors from England and the subject of Edaville came up.  After a minute or two discussing the "old" Edaville and it's operation, the American visitor joined the conversation.  We noticed that he knew quite a bit about the Edaville of the 1940's and '50's and asked him if he had worked there or visited back then.  He said "no, we have only been there a couple of times but my father's cousin got it started."  We asked who his cousin was and he replied "Ellis Atwood".  Then he added "my last name is Atwood".
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 30, 2016, 04:18:11 PM
Story #135   Dividend -

Last Wednesday a group from the UK was scheduled to come for a tour of the Sheepscot shops at 3:00 PM.  Some volunteers worked on the turntable's spider wheel rail while we waited for the group to arrive.  Around 2:30 a sedan pulled in and one of the pasengers asked us if they could look around.  We heard what sounded like a British accent and asked "are you the people from the UK?"  One of the passengers laughed and replied "no, but would you mind touring a group from Australia?"  We said "oh, sorry.  We would be happy to show you around".  We gave them a tour and found out that they had heard about the WW&F through some friends who attended the Nation Narrow Gauge convention. 

As the Aussies left they passed the four vehicles coming down Cross Road bringing the UK tour people.  We greeted the next group of 11 people and started another tour.  As we spoke with them we heard that some had seen photos and information about the WW&F in on-line posts about the NNGC and that one fellow was a WW&F member.   
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ed Lecuyer on October 11, 2016, 10:50:26 AM
With a tear in my eye, too...

I had the privilege of helping close out the convention week on train crew Friday-Sunday. What was unexpected on Sunday was not the number of visitors from the convention, but the number that had came back just to see and experience the railroad again. Of course, many were amazed by the progress on the turntable since their last visit, but most just wanted to have another look at/ride behind/picture of #9.

At the end of the day, I struck up a conversation with a visitor who had come from a long way. "I've waited my whole life to see this engine under steam" he said with a tear in his eye and a broad smile on his face. I replied that a lot of people, many who did not live to see this moment, made the restoration possible and that it was our honor to be the custodian of such a tangible piece of history.

As he departed, I walked back towards the station where #9 had dumped its fire after nine days of continuous service (something that she had not seen since the 1930s.) While I am keenly aware that #9 is an inanimate object, any railroader will tell you that every steam engine has a personality. It has also been said that the steam locomotive is the closest thing to a living creature that humans have ever created.

"Thanks #9", I said to myself as I walked by. "You made a lot of people very happy this week."

In my soul, I heard a distinct and very real reply:
"Thank you Alice, Harry, and so many others. You made a lot of people very happy this week."
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Paul Uhland on October 11, 2016, 12:47:36 PM
Superb.   :)
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Robert Hale on October 11, 2016, 01:10:05 PM
This is one of many reasons why the museum, this one in particular, entice me to want to do something better with my life rather than a 40 hour/week mundane job working for someone else with nothing really to show for it. I've done my duty to king and country, and it nearly cost me my life, I have seen and been to many different places, but the best times I have had in my life with the most personal satisfaction is volunteering for others (in my church growing up) and most recently at a different RR museum in Hawaii. I know that my time and mechanical talent can make someone else's trip to see living history, and I guess that is what I am really seeking, that smile on someone's face seeing something that they love working, breathing and moving. Trust me, if I could walk away from my job right now and move up there to give my time freely to a better cause supporting the museum, I would be there next week. I have 4.5 more years until I could do that, once my daughter graduates high school. That would be the ultimate 50th birthday gift to myself, live out my dream.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on October 21, 2016, 06:55:06 PM
This is from Alan Pease, the birthday boy on Saturday.  He sent us an email with some photos.  I thought that I would share.

I was the target of the surprise visit to the Museum last Saturday. My wife Marnie and I had a superb time at the Museum and riding the train. I grew up on Water Street in Wiscasset and became very familiar with the 2-footer rails and terminal with its Roundhouse, turntable, locomotives, and rail cars, the latter of which were housed in a falling down building of great length. I have only one recollection of seeing the train in operation as it crossed the trestle in front of our house. Never did I ride the train until last Saturday! What a thrill!

I did find a few photographs of the railroad bed, etc. If you do not have them already, I have attached them to this email.

Al Pease

This is an aerial photo of Wiscasset and it shows the WWFRy line from the docks to the Roundhouse, the latter of which is somehow blackened.
Note: I think that this was taken in the 60s or 70s.  Note the old road bridge.  And the water treatment plant hasn't been built yet.  James.

These are other views of the track crossing in Wiscasset, this time facing in a southerly direction. This photo shows a small red arrow pointing to the house in which I grew up.

Forgot to include this photo showing the railroad yard at Wiscasset (I haven't included it - it's the picture of the upper yard after abandonment from the south yard throat - James).  My Dad took me to this site several times. On one of our visits I remember seeing a locomotive in front of the roundhouse. The elementary school and academy were located just up the hill.

I wonder if there is any record of the sale of the locomotives, which must happened before the start of WW II. During WW II, it was rumored locally that at least one of the WWFRy locomotives was sold to the Japanese.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on October 21, 2016, 08:49:01 PM
We're glad Mr. Pease had a nice time at Sheepscot, the group seemed to enjoy the party in the caboose and train ride.  There were so many guests that we added coach 3 for their use.

Thanks for posting the photos James.  The aerial image was taken prior to 1966 when the Wiscasset Grain building burned.  It's the large red building on the far side of the Rt. 1 bridge that sits between the shore and WW&F trestlework.  My neighbor, Wayne Averill told me about the day the store burned.  Wiscasset Grain became Ames Supply and is still in business on Rt. 1 south of Wiscasset.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on October 21, 2016, 09:35:59 PM
Interesting to look at the road bridge - it rises up a bit to cross the swing bridge.  I don't recall Rt 1 doing that - I recall it being level all the way across.  Maybe the State rebuilt it between that picture and what I remember.

It sure was an adventure crossing that bridge.  There were no breakdown lanes, only two relatively narrow lanes.  I'm sure the guard rails wouldn't hold back much if there had been a crash into them.  There was only a couple of feet between you and the water.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Bill Sample on October 22, 2016, 12:23:59 PM
Very interesting photo.  As my first visit to the area (when I was 15) was during a family vacation drive from western Mass. to a campground near Somesville ME in 1965, this confirms my memories of the buildings on both sides of the Wiscasset end of the US 1 bridge and "that strange long abandoned pier" that I later found out was the WW&F trestle.  Little did I know then how familiar I'd get with the area 30 plus years later!
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on November 03, 2016, 08:14:02 AM
Story # 138 - Two Rivers Steam Special

Last Sunday Cindy and I rode the Mass. Bay RRE excursion that ran on the P&W and Valley Railroad.  The train left Worcester and ran down the P&W to Groton then traveled on the Amtrak line to Old Saybrook where we entered the wye for Valley line, changing the diesels for steam power.  We ran behind steam up through Essex past Goodspeeds where the locomotive ran around the train.  Before starting the return trip the engine pushed our train to the end of in-service track past milepost 13.  Much of the return trip was in darkness but the down train offered nice views of Auburn, Putnam, Plainfield, Norwich and the Submarine Base near Groton.  There were beautiful views of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy across the river.  The Valley crew took over at Old Saybrook and gave us a nice ride which included photo run-bys at Chester.  We rode in the parlor /obs car New Englander built by Pullman Standard in 1948.  When we boarded in Worcester we saw some familiar faces in our car, there were two WW&F members riding with us and a third member boarded at Putnam.  One of the Mass Bay car attendants noted our WW&F hats and jackets and stated that he had been following the turntable project on line and planned on riding next year.  There was conversation about the latest progress at Sheepscot during the trip and two people in our car were interested enough to sign up for our January steam trips.  Lunch was served on the train and afterward we reached the Valley Railroad.  The Valley crew came on and greeted passengers in each car.  When the conductor came back to the parlor car he welcomed us and and described our steam power "New Haven" 3025.  When he noticed our WW&F hats he said with a smile "Oh, some Maine Two-Foot people are here".   We asked if he had ever ridden the narrow gauge and he replied "a number of times, I'm a life member".
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ed Lecuyer on November 03, 2016, 09:59:16 AM
I was on the Saturday Mass Bay trip, also riding in the New Englander, and had similar experiences wearing my WW&F shirt. Was Dave your conductor, Stewart? I talked with him a few times but he never picked up on the WW&F. Dave was very proud of the Valley and all they have done - as well they should. They've come a long way since I last visited about 10 years ago.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Mike Fox on November 03, 2016, 10:28:00 AM
I visited the Valley about 5 or 6 years ago. That is where both the engineer duck and the idea for ROW MOW 1 came from. I thought it was a first class operation then.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Carl G. Soderstrom on November 04, 2016, 12:21:43 AM
I used to work in Putnam 40 YA and still have friends in Woodstock.
I wonder if the member that boarded there might have mutual friends?

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on December 11, 2016, 03:27:38 PM
Story #139 - Letters

Visitors often tell us what they think of the museum and train ride.   The train and gift shop crews are the ones who usually hear the comments but some people still write letters for the general membership to see.  The following letter arrived last month, it's a good example of what we hear on many weekends.

Dear W. W. & F,

     Thanks for an exciting first time visit the weekend of October 8th.  I enjoyed meeting so many volunteers including Dana, Susan and her son Rider, Don and several others.  Getting to photograph the building of the turntable and machine shop activities was awesome to say the least.  And thanks to the engine crew for giving me a cab ride.

Happy Rails,

Bonnie Adams
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Mike Fox on December 11, 2016, 07:26:14 PM
I often get these little notes on donation slips and included seperately (like this one) with the donations. I enjoy reading every one and like to bring them down to share. Maybe someday we could have a cork board in the house to collect these on.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Bill Baskerville on December 12, 2016, 12:38:36 AM
Perhaps after being posted for a month or two, they could be collected in a scrap book in the archive room.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Steve Zuppa on December 19, 2016, 11:46:55 AM
Last week, during our Victorian Christmas prep, our neighbor, W&Q Board Member and town selectman Doug Baston and his wife Barbara stopped by the Museum on their daily walk. After some chit-chat about our expectations for the event, Doug mentioned that he had received an email from a friend in St John, New Brunswick, bringing to his attention an article in the St John Telegraph-Journal. The author had apparently attended last year's VC and urged his readers to make the 500 mile round trip as our celebration would justify the effort required to attend.  We were quite flattered at the international publicity but thought no more of it.

When I saw them on Saturday, I mentioned the conversation to Santa and Mrs. Clause. During the course of the day, Mrs. Clause, as is her wont, would ask people where they were from. In the early afternoon, Santa heard one woman, there with her family, say that she was from St John,NB. He then asked her if she had seen the newspaper article and she affirmed that she had and that was what prompted her to make the trip. She assured Santa that it really is a wonderful event that the volunteers host.  

The weather may have brought down our numbers this year but for those who were there, including our new friends from St John, it was a magical day.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Dave Buczkowski on December 19, 2016, 01:50:03 PM
After the last train I was looking through the guest book and saw St. John, NB in the address column. I just figured they were visiting relatives locally. Wow! That was an expensive "free" train ride for those nice folks.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Benjamin Campbell on December 19, 2016, 07:15:27 PM
The aerial photo at the top of this page is fantastic. Am I seeing things or is there a small building just north of the WW&F MCRR diamond? Looks like the MCRR may have relocated their section house down there. If so - must have been fairly short lived.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 13, 2017, 04:49:14 PM
Story #141 - Reunion

During the World War I encampment this weekend, a special evening photo shoot was held on Saturday.  Dana Deering was on the train that traveled to Alna Center to assist with the photo shoot featuring the soldiers and their camp.  As the crew and soldiers gathered next to the train, conversations began as to the scenes to be set up including the roll call, presentation of the American flag to the unit commander and field packs and equipment being stowed in the boxcar.  I was watching all of this going on when I heard Dana say "Corey?" to one of the soldiers.  A tall soldier turned and replied "hey, Dana Deering"!  The two said "it's been a long time" and gave each other a hug.  It turns out that the two had known each other from a Civil War re-enactors group years ago.  Commemorating The Great War brought them back together after all that time.   
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ed Lecuyer on August 14, 2017, 09:19:15 AM
That's quite a reunion.
I suppose they hadn't seen each other in about 50 years.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Wayne Laepple on August 18, 2017, 05:23:05 PM
Yesterday I went to the Rough & Tumble Engineers annual reunion at Kinzer, Pa. I parked in the parking field and climbed aboard the shuttle wagon. A man and woman sat down next to me, and the guy noticed my WW&F T-shirt. "I was just there this past weekend," he said. "It's really a great place." I replied, "I was there, too, and i know it's a great place."

Later in the day, as I was walking around looking at the various interesting things there are to see, a woman tapped me on the shoulder. I stopped walking, and she came around in front of me to read my shirt. "Are you from Maine?" she asked. "I'm from Bristol." I told her I wasn't but that I am a regular visitor. She said she hadn't been "home" in a couple of years, but she really wanted to get back there. She went on to say that her folks had moved to New Jersey for work when she was a teenager, but they returned to Maine every year. After her dad retired, the family moved back to Maine, but after one winter, they decided to move back to New Jersey.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on August 24, 2017, 06:26:10 PM
Having been involved at the Museum for more than 20 years, I meet a lot of people, many more than once.  So whenever I go places, if I see someone that looks familiar I assume that I must have met them at the Museum at one point or another.

Today I took Amtrak Downeaster trains 682 and 683 to Boston and return, because the Amtrak Great Dome car is on for the next month.  I was wearing my (well-worn and faded, paint speckled) WW&F hat.  Waiting for the train to arrive at the Brunswick platform, I noticed a fellow who looked a little familiar.  He noticed my hat, and mentioned he had been at the picnic a couple of weeks ago.  We both sat for a time in the dome.  I don't think we've ever conversed before, so I don't have his name.

On the way back, the Train Riders Northeast train host saw my hat and asked if I was involved.  When I told him yes, he mentioned he had been there for the Mass Bay RRE February photo trains, and asked if I was there.  I said I was, but at that point couldn't recall what I had done.  Later I remembered I was conductor for one of the trains, so I mentioned it to him and he mentioned he had done the write up in their newsletter for it.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on August 28, 2017, 07:13:30 PM
Story #144 - Wisdom

This is the time of year when we see visitors that have been to the museum multiple times.  It's nice to see these families every Summer.  Showing them the latest projects and spending time talking with the parents and kids is a treat.  Sometimes the kids are much taller like one family that has been to Sheepscot each Summer for the last 16 years.  We recognized them as they walked over from the parking lot and the son who is 15 is almost 6' tall.  They took a train ride and then spent an hour looking around the Sheepscot campus.  A handcar ride was offered and the 13 year old daughter really enjoyed it.  Afterward we walked up to the car barn.  As we walked out the north door the son asked to see the wedding section house.  We walked up to the building and the daughter got there first so I handed her my keys and asked if she wanted to unlock the door.  She said "yes!" and she handled the switchlock like a boss.  We slid the door open and walked inside where I showed her the other handcar.  She said "you can't have too many handcars".  Her parents laughed a little at her comment and I replied " I like the way you think" she got a big smile on her face and came right back with "I like the way I think too".
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 12, 2017, 06:49:31 PM
Story #145 - "Bee"

Last Sunday a visitor came to ride the WW&F 87 years after her last trip.  Blanche "Bee" Plumstead-King came to ride the 3 o'clock train with 6 of her family members.  Bee, born in 1924, grew up in Wiscasset.  She told us of her one trip on the WW&F to visit her uncle in Palermo in the Summer of 1930.  She didn't recall much about the ride other than the smell of fresh cut hay as the train traveled through farm fields.  We interviewed Bee as she rode the train up to ToM and she noted that she started riding the Maine Central on a regular basis when she went to school at the Lincoln Academy in Newcastle.  She told us that the fare for a round trip in the mid 1930's was 15 cents.  After the ride she said that she enjoyed the trip and we asked to take photos of her.  She posed on the platform holding her ticket which she noted "it's the first WW&F ticket I've bought since my father purchased the last one in 1930".

The photo of Bee and her ticket is posted on the museum's Facebook page. 
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ted Miles on September 14, 2017, 08:23:05 PM
             I am as I mentioned up above, one of the many people you have shown around the museum on a weekday. Now I have read your stories about the interesting people you have shown around. Thank you so much!
      I work at the Western Railway Museum and do a lot of the same things. I also enjoy the British visitors who seem to have such a feel for heritage operations, including two-foot operations. I had a visitor come on my tour about a month ago wearing a WW&F hat; and asked if he worked at the museum, he said he had visited the museum. So I showed him through our shop with the broad gauge electrical equipment.

Ted Miles, WW&F Life Member
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 18, 2017, 11:47:15 AM
Story #146 - Spoof

Last week museum volunteers spent hours getting things ready for the new shop floor and the insulation of the freight house floor.  The freight house job required clearing out everything from underneath the building for the contractors to have full room to work.  As things were being pulled out into the sunlight a few unusual items were found.  One was a nearly full-sized coffin made of plywood.  The coffin was from a Halloween display some 15+ years ago and no one remembered when it was hidden under the freight house.  Close inspection revealed part of a plastic skeleton inside.  There was also a mouse nest and part of the bottom was rotten.  It was decided that the coffin should go to the dump with the other rotten wood that was removed. 

Well, everything was loaded into the railroad's pickup and the coffin was on top.  A certain volunteer ... we'll call him "Gus" took off with the junk wood and coffin in the back.  He had to watch the load in back as he drove on the rough part of the West Alna Road.  He was half way to the dump when he looked back to check the load.  He noticed a car following as he hit a bump and the coffin bounced.  Then he watched as the lid opened up a little and one of the plastic hands came out.  He slowed down a bit looked again and noticed that the driver was on her cell phone.  At that point he realized that the person following was the mother of one of the local newspaper reporters.  The road smoothed out and he hit the gas to get some distance from the following vehicle.  He made it to the dump and the coffin was the first thing into the wood bin.  Driving back out, he didn't see the car that followed him ... and he was some glad that the truck never got lettered "WW&F Railway".           
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John Kokas on December 16, 2017, 09:17:18 AM
I was out Christmas shopping a couple of days ago and wearing my WW&F hat.  In the mall a woman stopped me and asked if I was from Maine.  I told her that I was a native Pennsylvanian but lived in Maine for over a year and that I was a member of the rail museum.  She asked if this was the railroad that ran from Wiscasset which I replied that it was indeed.  Her eyes widened and told me her Grandparents spoke of riding the line back when they were children to go camping by a big lake.  She couldn't remember which lake but I will assume that it was China Lake.  I told her how we were rebuilding the line and how to find us on Facebook.  She was delighted and said the family goes to Maine every summer and will make a point of stopping by and riding.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on January 02, 2018, 09:26:31 PM
This afternoon I had to visit my doctor's office, and met with one I hadn't met yet.  He asked me what I did, so I told him about work and also that I volunteered for the WW&F.  He got mildly excited and jumped up and left the room, coming back with the current Downeast magazine.  I pointed out the picture that Matthew Malkiewicz took and told him that was us.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Jeff Schumaker on January 03, 2018, 11:23:29 AM
This afternoon I had to visit my doctor's office, and met with one I hadn't met yet.  He asked me what I did, so I told him about work and also that I volunteered for the WW&F.  He got mildly excited and jumped up and left the room, coming back with the current Downeast magazine.  I pointed out the picture that Matthew Malkiewicz took and told him that was us.

Has he visited the museum?

Jeff S.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on January 03, 2018, 12:58:54 PM
I don't believe so.  He mentioned his son was very much into trains when he was younger and now not so much, and had ridden plenty of trains when he was interested.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Joe Fox on June 18, 2018, 12:43:54 PM
Last week I met a lady who once rode the train to Wiscasset in 32 or 33 she said. Although she couldn't remember much of the ride, she was thrilled to be able to relive those days once more. She remembered family tales of her folks riding the train to go to make the connection to points south such as Portland and Boston. It is neat to hear of these visitors and get a chance to talk to them. Her and her family enjoyed the train, and she was truely thrilled she was able to share the experience with her great grandkids. It was her second time riding on the restored railway.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 28, 2018, 07:41:10 AM
Last Saturday a man brought his young daughter to the museum for a train ride.  They came into the gift shop and looked around but when they came to the counter to purchase tickets, the man realized that he didn't have his wallet.  He apologized and said "we will come back another day".  Not wanting to disappoint the daughter, the quick thinking gift shop crew told them "that's ok, we'll give you two tickets for a ride today and you can send us the fare when you get a chance".  Both father and daughter thanked the gift shop crew and boarded the train.  Upon their return to Sheepscot they told the train crew that it was a beautiful ride and they would tell their friends about the railroad.

Yesterday we received a thank you card from the fellow along with a check covering the fare plus a good sized donation.   
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Fred Morse on June 28, 2018, 09:15:02 AM
It always pays to be nice to people.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Benjamin Richards on September 17, 2018, 01:44:24 PM
Usually my family makes the annual "In-Laws World Tour of Mid-coast Maine" in August, but this year we came up in early June on account of our second child who was due in August. We rode one of the Sunday trains, in the coach with the bench seats. "A good time was had by all."

Fast-forward a month, to my annual birthday outing at Texas Roadhouse. As we waited for our table, my two-year-old exclaimed, "We're riding on the train!" After a few moments of puzzling (and a few more proclamations to the same effect), it hit me. The long, narrow waiting area, with its wooden bench seats along both walls and large windows down the entire length, looked an awful lot like the inside of the coach we had ridden a month before!

I tell ya, nothing gets past a toddler.  :o
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 23, 2018, 07:25:25 PM
An Alna resident who is a friend of the WW&F has a couple staying in her home this Fall.  The husband, Richard heard his host speak about the railroad and last week he saw a museum member in the Alna General Store wearing a WW&F shirt.  A question about the railroad turned into a friendly 15 minute conversation about the history and present day operation of the narrow gauge.  Richard said he would stop by sometime and this morning he brought his wife, Jill to Sheepscot for a train ride.  The couple boarded the train and was enjoying the scenery.  When it was time for their tickets to be punched …. it turned out that the Alna Store WW&F member was the train's conductor.  Well, the conversation picked right back up where it left off, this time with Jill asking the most questions.  When the train reached ToM, engineer "Bullet" Bob Longo came back to the coach and asked if anyone wanted to ride in the locomotive cab.  Jill spoke right up so she and Richard rode all the way back to Sheepscot with Bob and ashcat Dana Deering.  At Sheepscot hey thanked the engine crew and spent some time taking photos. 

During a later train, the couple showed up at Alna Center where they had driven to get photos of the train coming through.  When the southbound train stopped to call Sheepscot from the AC depot, Jill and Richard came over and once again told the crew how they enjoyed the cab ride commenting how friendly everyone is.  The train continued it's run back to Sheepscot and upon arrival the crew found a smiling Jill standing on the platform.  She had just purchased a museum membership and she brought a fresh baked carrot cake for the train crew to enjoy.  Nice surprise! 

Thank you Jill, it was nice to meet you and we appreciate your becoming a member.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Mike Fox on September 23, 2018, 07:47:21 PM
I am glad I had a piece of that cake. Yumm!!
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 27, 2018, 07:47:00 PM
Last month a fellow came to ride the train but missed the noon run by about 10 minutes.  He came over to look at the railcar while I was oiling the turntable and asked about the history of the Model T.  A conversation started and he told me that he grew up in Coopers Mills and that his family had lived there a long time.  I asked him if anyone in his family ever rode the WW&F and said "well, my father grew up in the 1950's and his father (my grandfather) used to ride the train to Wiscasset in the 1930's".  I asked if he knew any stories about the narrow gauge from his grandfather and he replied "only one".  He told me that when he was a kid his grandfather told him that he went to Albion one time to visit his cousin.  He said that when he got on the train to return, the cousin asked him to go to Wiscasset any buy some blueberries.  He replied "but they're not in season".  The cousin replied "by the time you get there …. they will be".   

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Dana Deering on September 28, 2018, 11:09:26 AM
Jill and Richard were great folks.  She was really into it.  The cake was delicious!

I hope the WW&F never loses that friendliness for which we're known.  I especially try to treat the kids the way I wish I had been treated when I stood trackside when I was their age.  It makes a big difference and you never know how many future volunteers we're inspiring.

I got a nice letter from a member in California whose granddaughter is, at age 12, a dedicated volunteer at a RR museum out there and one reason was the WW&F experience (including a cab ride ) she had three years before.  You just never know what a difference you make.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Joe Fox on September 28, 2018, 01:42:52 PM
Dana, you and Jason gave me my first cab ride. Now look where we are. ;)
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ed Lecuyer on October 23, 2018, 09:32:11 AM
Someday the robots will rule us all...

This morning, while I was typing an email to my employer regarding a chronic issue we are having with our network servers, my phone did something it has never done before. "Auto complete" of words and suggestions are nothing new when typing on a touchscreen, but I had never seen a complete phrase suggested.

In order to complete the sentence:
We should also have a

my phone suggested the phrase:
fireless cooker Jason.

Besides being very funny (especially considering a fireless cooker would not solve my server issues, nor our motive power issues at Sheepscot) it is a tad creepy that the phone came up with that suggestion - as I don't think I have ever suggested a fireless cooker to anyone for any reason.

Hmm... I wonder what happened to the Plymouth Cordage locomotives...
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: James Patten on January 20, 2019, 09:35:16 AM
Saturday Bill Reidy was conductor of the work train, traveling from ToM to the end of track down the hill, shuttling workers and explorers to the see the tree clearing efforts.  Bill wanted to get an early jump on his travel home to beat the storm, so Jason asked me to conduct the rest of the day, which consisted of a single trip down and back, then back to Sheepscot.

On this trip down and back was a couple who, it turned out, moved to Alna in November and lived on the house on 218 where West Alna Road junctions.  Their house looks over the roadbed, and they were wondering if/when we would be crossing the road and running below their house.  I told them not for a while.  So while their house was less than a half mile away from the cutting site they had driven to Sheepscot and taken the train.  The couple had brought clippers and a hand saw, but the cutting was done and the fires were being consolidated in preparation of leaving.

They may be back.  The husband seemed real interested.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on March 18, 2019, 05:22:21 PM
Some of our museum regulars are also members of the Alna Volunteer Fire Department including Roger who serves as Assistant Chief and Start who is a Captain. The AVFD does safety inspections on it's apparatus each month, usually conducted by an officer.  Everything is checked from air packs to windshield wiper blades, making sure that the piece is ready for calls.

Last week Capt. Start had some firefighters checking the one ton trucks, filling out the inspection report sheets and this conversation took place:

FF - "Ok Capt. Truck 1 is all set".

Capt. - "That's good, let me see the inspection sheet".

FF - Here ya go.

Capt. - Reviews the notations and says "good job but why is there a reference to the railroad on this report?"

FF - "Huh, what do you mean?"

Capt. - Hands the clipboard back and says "Look at the 12th line".

FF- Double checks, "That's right"

Capt. - "But you wrote WWF".

FF - "Right, Capt.  The truck needs windshield washer fluid".

Capt.- "Oh .... Ok, thanks".

Proof once again that narrow gauge railroading is not a hobby, it's a way of life.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on June 25, 2019, 08:38:24 PM
The Struggle Is Real -

A couple of weeks ago, some WW&F members rode a Mass Bay RRE excursion train out of White River Jct., Vermont. There was a fellow named Rob on the train who saw our WW&F shirts and asked how the railroad was doing.  After a few minutes the conversation turned to steam power and Rob said that he has worked on steam locomotives at a western railroad.  He offered this story: 

It seems that he had spent a day working in the smokebox of an engine and time got away from him.  Realizing the hour, Rob rushed out to his truck and headed towards where he was to meet some friends.  When a rest stop came into view he decided to stop and clean up a bit.  The facility was new and had the automatic water faucets. When Rob tried washing his hands, the water wouldn't come on.  His hands were so black that the sensor didn't see him.  He had a white button on his sleeve so he kept waving it around until the water flowed.  Once he got it going he was able to remove most of the soot.  Rob said that afterwards he cleaned up at the shop. 
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 03, 2021, 07:22:34 AM
Kindness -

A family from Maryland visited Sheepscot this week. While touring they noted that they have been following the railroad's progress on Facebook.  They stayed for about 45 minutes, completing the tour in the gift shop where they received back issues of the newsletter.  One of the sons noted how much he liked the Two-Footers and how he could "stay all day".  When asked how the family first heard of the museum the mother replied "Our cousin rode the train back in the Spring. When she returned to Massachusetts she realized her medical ID bracelet was missing.  She called the museum and the gift shop person said she would look for it. It was found in the train car and mailed back to her free of charge.  She told us about it and we decided to visit the WW&F on our vacation."   
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Brian Whitney on September 03, 2021, 08:03:23 AM
Is that the bracelet that we just found last week? I'm happy to see that it got back to the owner.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ed Lecuyer on September 03, 2021, 09:27:33 AM
No, that was a different bracelet. The one found in the Caboose on 8/28 is in-transit to its owner (it belonged to one of the members of the 1pm caboose charter of that day.)
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on September 03, 2021, 10:09:33 AM
At least 3 times this year lost items have been found and mailed back to people that live in other states or distant parts of Maine.  This is another example of the way we take care of people who visit the WW&F and I thought our members would like to hear about it.   
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Benjamin Richards on September 09, 2021, 11:31:59 AM
Story #145 - "Bee"

Last Sunday a visitor came to ride the WW&F 87 years after her last trip.  Blanche "Bee" Plumstead-King came to ride the 3 o'clock train with 6 of her family members.  Bee, born in 1924, grew up in Wiscasset.  She told us of her one trip on the WW&F to visit her uncle in Palermo in the Summer of 1930.  She didn't recall much about the ride other than the smell of fresh cut hay as the train traveled through farm fields.  We interviewed Bee as she rode the train up to ToM and she noted that she started riding the Maine Central on a regular basis when she went to school at the Lincoln Academy in Newcastle.  She told us that the fare for a round trip in the mid 1930's was 15 cents.  After the ride she said that she enjoyed the trip and we asked to take photos of her.  She posed on the platform holding her ticket which she noted "it's the first WW&F ticket I've bought since my father purchased the last one in 1930".

The photo of Bee and her ticket is posted on the museum's Facebook page.

Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ed Deere on August 14, 2022, 07:31:55 AM
I felt a bit like Peter Parks yesterday as I climbed up into the cab of old Engine Number Seven. You ask who is Peter Parks. Well Peter Parks is a fictional children’s story book character who stumbles upon a narrow gauge train by the lakes. The Forgotten Little Train is a Whitman Publishing Company with a copyright MCMLI (1951). I still have my copy from being a train loving kid. The book is loosely base on Mr. Attwood coming to Bridgton Maine and out bidding the junk men of the day. My copy is very well worn because the story just pulled on my heart strings. And I guess it still does. Who does not just love a good ending train story?

So yesterday was like being with an old childhood friend. I remember my Dad taking me over to Number 7, at Edaville, and showing me the old girl. But that day I think we rode behind Number 3 from Monson. I was disappointed that day about not meeting Peter and riding behind Number 7 but, the day is still very vivid in my mind with great memories.

My wife and I had a great time talking with our friend Bob who arrange my cab ride. Plus we enjoyed the gift shop with Cindy & Joan.  To the kitchen we went to find Nancy whom we shared a trip and escorted a group of folks to the forgotten trains of the Allagash (Eagle Lake and West Branch RR). Stuart and I chatted about trains and his old trucks. And what can you say about Brice and Dan. These two young men are a real treasure. Jason was so busy we really did not get to talk with him. However, we did speak and was glad to see him. Bill our engineer gave me the ride of a life time. Really enjoyed coming up the mountain from Trout Brook. Old Engine Number 7 did well with Bill and our fire man (sorry, cannot remember the name) making the grade with an extra load. From the cab I could see the smoke, steam and cinders skim low over head as the little engine labored up the long grade. My wife was cover with cinders from riding in the open car. But, she loving trains as much as I…. was still carrying a smile all the way home.

Thank you all for a wonderful day.
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: Ed Lecuyer on October 23, 2022, 10:05:09 PM

Today we hosted a "Halloween" photoshoot for a local professional photographer and her model. By advance permission, they took photos in the railyard when no trains were running (and no children present who might get frightened by a sinister looking clown.) During the session, the model became interested in the mag phone in Sheepscot station. JB immediately explained how it works and that she could try it if she liked - so she cranked the crank....

Her already white face turned a shade whiter and shrieked: "SOMEONE ANSWERED!!"

(It turns out Steve P. and Johnny weren't expecting a call while they were enjoying a picnic lunch at Alna Center, either.)
Title: Re: A few stories ...
Post by: John McNamara on October 23, 2022, 10:33:40 PM
I love it! :D :D :D :D :D :D