W.W.&F. Discussion Forum

The Maine Narrow Gauges (Historic & Preserved) => Bridgton & Saco River Railway => Topic started by: Mike Fox on August 02, 2008, 06:52:49 PM

Title: Field Trip
Post by: Mike Fox on August 02, 2008, 06:52:49 PM
Summer is almost over. Looking at my calendar, the next 4 weekends are occupied with various reunions/get togethers. How about trying something closer to fall?
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Bill Sample on August 06, 2008, 10:36:33 PM
Mike, Thanks for posting the photos of the flanger.  Sure is good to see some B&SR/B&HR equipment back in native territory after all these years.
Would it be possible to run a field trip like you did last year after the leaves are down? 
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Mike Fox on August 07, 2008, 06:51:05 PM
That's always a possibility. Dana missed that one. Hope we can get him to join us on this one.
Mike
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Duncan Mackiewicz on August 13, 2008, 01:43:17 PM
Mike,
For those of us who are from away, give a bit of lead time to a trip so we can make plans.  Any idea yet when you'd like to do another?  You mentioned the month of August looks to be a no go.  Some time in September maybe?
Duncan
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Mike Fox on August 13, 2008, 08:23:16 PM
I talked to Dana this past weekend and he and I thought a mid October would be ok. Not to cold, no bugs and some leaves should be off the trees by then. I will have to get back to you on the dates, as Albion Day and Fall track work weekend are also in that time frame.
Mike
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Bill Sample on August 28, 2008, 11:52:00 PM
Mid to late October would be good for me and Sue, except for Saturday 18th October when we will be working a Mass Bay RRE trip.
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Mike Fox on September 08, 2008, 09:46:41 PM
Ok. Write this in Pencil on your calendar. Sunday, October 26th. Comparing other Dates, this seems to be the most open for some of us. Now lets talk about meeting the location. Bridgton Chamber building?
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Bill Sample on September 11, 2008, 02:32:28 PM
Mike, that is a perfect date for Sue and me.  And being later I'm sure there will be less leaves and few leaf-peepers to fill up motel rooms.
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Bill Sample on September 12, 2008, 11:23:06 PM
Maybe we could meet with Bill Shelley at Bridgton before the field trip to get the latest info on the B&SR revival.
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Mike Fox on October 14, 2008, 06:33:17 PM
OK. I think I have a plan for the field trip. We meet in Bridgton as planned at the Flanger. If we have anyone who hasn't been to the Bridgton Yard, we will start there. Then South to Sandy Creek. Maybe a few places in between to look at a n abuttment or 2. Then we can take one or two vehicles south on the ROW to Willett Brook Bridge. Once we cross the bridge, we can head for South Bridgton.
  Someplace south of South Bridgton, There is a cold spring. Dana and I saw a film this was included in Saturday night so I have an idea where it is now. We must find it.
   After that, I'll leave it up to the group as to where we head.
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Dana Deering on October 20, 2008, 06:56:06 AM
I'm really looking forward to the Fall B&SR Field Trip!  As Mike said we watched some film footage shot in the late 30's of a B&SR fan trip and it showed a stop at Cold Spring and we now have an idea where to look and on which side of the tracks it was located.  I do want to find it!  Hey, is there a chance to purchase tee shirts that day?  I've go to have one.
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Bob Meckley on October 21, 2008, 01:36:29 PM
Mike:
  What time to you want to meet at the Chamber Building? I'm interested in driving over from N. Conway. I have driven my jeep through from Sandy Creek to Rankins Mill several years ago. I will bring my copy of Jone's book and a mileage chart of the distances between stations starting at Sandy Creek through to Rankins Mill.

Bob Meckley
Glen NH
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Mike Fox on October 21, 2008, 07:05:09 PM
9AM at the Chamber building. They will not be open Sundays again until Memorial Day. So much for getting a shirt.
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Duncan Mackiewicz on October 21, 2008, 08:19:18 PM
Mike and Dana,
How long do these B&SR jaunts usually run for?  I still want to meet up for this latest hike but since I have about a 4 hour trip each way it would help me to plan my time if I knew when you usually call it quits. 
Duncan
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Mike Fox on October 21, 2008, 08:53:29 PM
It all depends. It was Mid afternoon one time. Dana and I would really like to find the spring, But I don't anticipate it taking all that long. A vehicle speeds things up a lot. The only thing I am worried about is weather. As of today, a high of 54 is predicted Sunday with partly cloudy skies and a chance of showers. Not a bad forcast as long as it stays that way.
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Duncan Mackiewicz on October 21, 2008, 09:10:53 PM
Will the hike still take place with rain?  I'd hate to make the trip and find it was cancelled due to rain.  I suspect if we can lay track in the rain we should be able to hike the B&SR ROW in the rain.
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: "Bridgton Bill" Shelley on October 22, 2008, 01:39:45 AM
To all that are coming to Bridgton on Sunday at 9am to meet Mike Fox, I would be more than happy to meet you there with t-shirts and a set of track diagrams if that would be of any help. Let me know if there is anything else you may need. Bill Shelley  Return of The Rails
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Dana Deering on October 22, 2008, 06:16:16 AM
That would be great, Bill.  Thanks!
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Mike Fox on October 22, 2008, 04:18:59 PM
Yes, that will be great. And track maps always help.
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Mike Fox on October 22, 2008, 04:26:17 PM
Duncan, Unless there is an absolute downpour, I think we should keep the trip as scheduled. You and Bill Sample are coming quite a distance and I am hoping for good weather, but one never knows.
Mike
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Duncan Mackiewicz on October 22, 2008, 09:48:03 PM
Mike,
It would be nice to be able to investigate the ROW without hard rain but the forecast does suggest "rain" rather than showers.  I will come prepared for either.  If there is a cancellation please do so Friday night early so those of us who are traveling a distance will have an opportunity to scan this forum before we call it a night.
Duncan
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Dana Deering on October 23, 2008, 06:21:58 AM
I think we're going to salvage most of the day weather-wise, according to the latest forecast.  Some showers in the morning and then sun by noon.  I'd say we're on.  I'm coming with my rain gear, regardless.
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Duncan Mackiewicz on October 23, 2008, 06:37:13 AM
Looks like somebody (me) is having a senior moment.  I wrote Friday night while thinking Saturday night. Oops.  I'm with Dana regardless: rain gear on board for the trip.  Actually, the latest weather here in western Mass is calling for the wet weather to abate at daybreak Sunday.  It would be nice if that happened in Bridgton also.
Duncan
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Mike Fox on October 23, 2008, 07:32:22 PM
My rain gear has been packed since before track laying. I'll keep it with me to keep the rain away.
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Duncan Mackiewicz on October 24, 2008, 11:26:15 AM
Since I was not able to make previous ROW visits I was wondering how lunch is handled.  Skip lunch? Bring lunch? Pick up lunch?  I'm pretty sure the WW&F lunch crew won't be attending.
Duncan
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Dave Buczkowski on October 24, 2008, 01:59:57 PM
Duncan;
   Always about the lunch! No wonder you're always first in line! And they give me grief! Just make a kielbasa sandwich with some sauerkraut.
Dave
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: "Bridgton Bill" Shelley on October 24, 2008, 05:42:40 PM
Guys  I have 10% off tickets for Beef & Ski diner right down the road from the Chamber. It's the offical resturant for the Return of the Rails crew. What till you see the tickets. See ya all on Sunday. Bill Shelley
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Mike Fox on October 24, 2008, 07:36:20 PM
Duncan,
  Past trips has been pack your own. But if we have some that want to take time to eat, go for it. We can always find time for food.
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Duncan Mackiewicz on October 24, 2008, 08:10:57 PM
Sheese! You guys are tough.  Especially my buddy Dave.  Kielbasa and saurkraut sandwich?  Whew. Okay, I got it.  Just wondering.  I didn't get this svelte shape from skipping lunch.  LOL  See you all on Sunday. 
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Mike Fox on October 26, 2008, 07:12:17 PM
Today was a sucess. I will leave the summary and comments to others but I would like to say Thanks to all that attended and Especially to Bill Shelley. Loaning the Maps helped a lot today. I was glad to hear your plans for the future of "The Bridgton". I am willing to help in any way I can.
     I hope everyone else enjoyed themselves and we will have to continue our adventures in the future.
   
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Dana Deering on October 27, 2008, 06:45:33 AM
I had a great time on Sunday.  I learned a few things and that's always fun.  Cold Spring still eludes us but we'll find it, despite my feeling a bit like Ponce De Leon searching for the Fountain of Youth! 

I was impressed by the compactness of the Bridgton Yard area.  I'd never poked around there before and was struck by the small space it occupied.  Now I understand what Moody meant when he wrote bout being able to see the whole yard from his car when ne first drove in and how it felt like a let down after experienceing the Sandy River.

After we called it a day I went back to Perley's Mills and explored the old town road and found the mill dam, something else I had never seen, and the very cool stone bridge/culvert that carried the road over the brook.  If I can ever figure out how to post pictures from my new camera (that I am still figuring out) I'll post photos of them.  I was very impressed by all of the stone work we found yesterday:  the dams, the overpass, the mill foundations, all that evidence of a very active past.  I was not so thrilled with the beaver dams  ;)

Anyway, a great time.  Thanks everyone!
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Duncan Mackiewicz on October 27, 2008, 11:56:42 AM
I had a great time too.  Just listening to the others discussing previous finds and details of the B&SR that are not printed in any books (yet) was very interesting. Meeting Bill Shelly and having the opportunity to view the track plans was intersting.  The track plans seemed very helpful in locating exactly where we were along the ROW.  Thanks Bill.  Had a great time and would love to do more if the opportunity arises.
Duncan
PS: The t shirts Bill had are nicely printed with the "Return of the Rails" logo.
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Mike Fox on October 27, 2008, 07:18:33 PM
Thinking back, the only thing that could have made it better would have been a van so we could have all ridden and talked as we went.
 One thing you forgot to mention Dana, those beaver dams, they weren't lacking for water. I can only hope my pickup dries out before it freezes. That was one deep puddle.
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: "Bridgton Bill" Shelley on October 27, 2008, 09:08:37 PM
Hi All  It was really great meeting all of you and being able to put faces with the names. Really appreciate the t-shirt purchases. Every little bit helps as you well know. I have the crack research team working on the great mystery of life (Cold Spring location) I should have an answer for you soon. Let me know when you are headed this way again and we'll use the SuburbaTank (will hold ten) for the adventure. Damn the beavers,full speed ahead. What we cann't cross,we'll jump Dukes of Hazard style. Again Thanks for your imput.     TakeCare                       Bill Shelley   Return of the Rails
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Duncan Mackiewicz on October 28, 2008, 10:10:32 AM
Too bad we can't import those beavers to wiscasset and harness the little blighters to move rail and ties.  Those beavers were certainly industrious when they dammed-up that body of water.  There must have been nearly a foot of water standing higher than the roadbed on the east side of the ROW. I'll bet the openings that we made on the west side of the ROW are all filled in again. 
Duncan
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Bob Meckley on October 31, 2008, 09:55:53 AM
     I would like to thank Mike Fox for arranging this field trip. We had a great group of people along with a wealth of knowlege. Too bad we had a monsoon the night before. Not only had the beavers done their work before the Great Cut, but the ATV divots had filled with water. My jeep had no real problem but Mike's 2 wheel truck seemed a little low in the water at times. I was glad when we reached the working gravel pit before Pearly's and a good road. I did not want to backtrack.
    Thanks again Mike. How about a trip next spring?

Bob Meckley
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Mike Fox on November 09, 2008, 07:40:15 PM
I went through Bridgton today and there has been some changes since our visit. There is a building or something going in on the South side of Dunkin Donuts. This has revealed more of the right of way that wasn't visible from the road before.
  And progress is being made to lengthen out the display area. Some of the timbers that were getting treated while we were there have been installed. It's really going to look nice when complete.
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on November 10, 2008, 09:25:14 AM
Mike,  Thanks for the update.   Would you post some photos of the improved display area when it is done?
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Mike Fox on November 10, 2008, 08:04:34 PM
I will if I can ever remember to bring my camera.
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Bill Hanks on November 12, 2008, 05:57:22 AM
I was exploring the WW&F website and have just read about your recent field trip to the Bridgton area.  It sounds like it was a great trip and I would have enjoyed it myself.  At the moment I just happen to be reading Bob Jones book Two Feet to the Lakes.
We do similar field trips here in Australia and will this weekend be visiting an operating old style gold mine with rail mounted equipment, then a hydro power scheme that uses a 3ft gauge tramway to maintain the water race and other facilities.  Like much of the Maine Two Footers we too have many places were there was once some great light railway activity.
I encourage you to write up and publish your field reports as they can be very useful research tools.
Bill Hanks
President, Light Railway Research Society of Australia
website: - www.lrrsa.org.au
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Mike Fox on November 12, 2008, 07:20:08 PM
Pretty much everything we find has already been documented somewhere else. We are just exploring and discovering those same things for ourselves. Sometimes actually being there and get a picture going in my head is what brings it all together for me.
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Bill Hanks on November 13, 2008, 04:56:31 AM
Mike, you are quite right about being there to understand why some locations were the way there were. Also it is good to try and visualise the human effort that went into building and operating some of these long since closed operations. 
Title: Re: Field Trip 3: The Report
Post by: Bill Sample on November 13, 2008, 02:35:43 PM
Somewhere I misplaced my notes on the trip :(-  Anyway.....
After anxiously watching the weather forecasts for several days, Sue and I headed north to the Promised Land.
We again stayed at the Highland Lake Resort - one reason was that Sue likes the Maine Coon Cat in the office! 
It rained heavily that night - we hoped that it would be all "rained out" for the next day.
Dark and early (for Sue) the next morning we coffee-ed up and rolled on down to the Bridgton Chamber of Commerce building, an ideal point for starting a B&SR Field Trip.  For those who aren't familiar with it, the building has the look of a passenger station with its familiar roof ine and overhangs - I noticed this a number of years ago during my first visit to the area.  It is also a spike-throwing distance to the actual Bridgton & Saco River Railroad right of way.  And new this year is a genuine artifact from the BS&R - as many of you know, a display track has been built on the front lawn of the C of C property, and on it is the former B&SR flanger, on generously on loan from the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum in Portland.  Also in evidence was a display track expansion program - stay tuned for further information in this thread concerning future displays.
Our fearless leader for the Field Trip, Mike Fox, soon arrived, followed quickly by his son Joe.  Dana Deering, Duncan Mackiewicz and Bob Meckley also soon arrived.  As we begin to plan the day's events, none other than Bridgton Bill Shelley rolled in, with his Suburban advertising "Return of the Rails" on its rear side windows.  Bill gave the group an update on the project and then loaned Mike some track diagrams which were a nice addition to material we had to guide our tour.  Bill also opened up the portable B&SR Store, and a number of the "Return of the Rails" fund-raising t-shirts were quickly sold to the group. Although Bill could not join the day's tour, he tentatively reserved space on our next adventure, and his vehicle looked like it could conquer a good percentage of the right of way.
Our next activity was a repeat of the walk from the C of C site to the Bridgton station and shop site, repeated for the benefit of Bob, Dana, and Duncan.  A former school building has inhabited that property for over 50 years, and soon - in the "Return of the Rails" spirit a number of us cranked up our imaginations on how to convert the school building and grounds back to narrow gauge railroad use.  Mike guided us around the area, pointing out the site of various buildings and one of us rediscovered some old metal that Sue had found last year - most likely part of the old feed mill that stood close to the station area.  No new major discoveries were made in the area - it had been bulldozed very thoroughly before the school was built, and the town apparently has used the area south of the school for a storage area for surplus construction material and rubble.  Just a trace of the branch to Harrison remains - this was explored in detail on the previous field trip.
Following our return to the C of C site, we "mounted up" and drove to Sandy Creek, crossing the right of way near the former landfill.  After parking at the station site we again retraced a bit of the previous trip, walking back toward Bridgton, viewing the point where the main line bridged an old town road and the adjacent mill area.  Joe rediscovered the drainage system for the roadway that he had discovered on the earlier visit, and I continued an unsuccessful hunt for a souvenir track spike.  Although it had stopped raining for the most part, the substantial rain over the previous days did limit our walking in normally only marginally wet areas so we didn't crawl over much of the mill site.  And Sue never found the hat that she thought she had lost there on the earlier visit.
Next, it was time to begin the big adventure - a trip south on the old main line right of way.  Mike's Dodge Dakota pickup and Bob's Jeep Liberty were volunteered, and off we went, heading toward Hancock Lake.  I rode on Mike's "shotgun seat" and Dana, Joe, and Sue communed with nature a bit better in the observation area - the open truck bed (thankfully any leftover drizzle had ended).  Duncan rode with Bob.  Thanks to the local snowmobile association, almost all of the right of way was drivable by vehicles with good ground clearance.  I would not have wanted to try it in our Subaru Impreza.
The area that we traversed was definitely "out in the woods" with little sign of habitation. Evidence of various logging operations were seen at a number of points, including around station sites such as South Bridgton.  We would stop and explore any areas that looked interesting, and thanks to Mike's knowledge and the borrowed track maps we always knew where we were.  There were a couple of areas where the local beavers undertook some extensive water diversion projects, causing some concern about safe passage in a couple of areas, one where the "beaves" used the roadbed as part of their earthworks.  Several of us filled a particularly deep pot hole with rocks, and also we dug away at part of the dam to drop some of the water level on the roadbed.  Then it was time to continue - I went up ahead but not quick enough to get my camera out as Mike parted the seven seas with his front bumper.  Thankfully the beavers had not posted any "no wake" signs in the area!
We then headed into more hilly country.  Some of the backdrop of old photos "from the day" came to life, and by turning my imagination up all the way I could almost hear the exhaust beat of number 7 climbing the hill.  We continued to occasionally stop and explore certain areas on foot, and finally I "got a bite on my line" as my magnet-equipped poor-man's metal detector found my first of two spikes - think it was near Kennett's.  We made other stops as Dana thought he had "picked up the scent" of the mysterious cold spring - we did find an area that looked like it could have been the spot.  Somewhere near Ingalls Road, we stopped by what I guess was "the big notch" and here Sue hit the jackpot - finding a glass telegraph insulator in very good condition, along with part of a crossarm.  Told her that was good practice for digging our potatoes.  Although several of us throughly uprooted several square feet of the adjacent area, all that was found was an old pole guy wire.  From there we descended out of the hills, past an active gravel pit accessed by the right of way, to the site of Perley's Mills station, near a scenic pond.  Now back into civilization, we left the right of way for a somewhat parallel paved road, deep into Dana Country as we were now near Hancock Pond, where the Deering family has owned property for generations.  In fact one of his ancestors worked for the B&SR, a bond which few if any of the current generation of 2-foot aficiandos can match.  It was here along the shore of Hancock Pond where the Field Trip ended, after checking out the cottage that once belonged to B&HR superintendent Joe Bennett - building that is well documented in numerous still and moving pictures of the railroad's later days.  Also noted were the small structures that had once been part of the famous water tank at the site.  Dana's reflections of his time in the area added greatly to this part of the tour.
And so the latest B&SR Field Trip ended.  We're looking forward to the next edition!
I'd like to dedicate the writing of this account to the memory of my father, William C. Sample, 10Dec21-26Oct08, who first introduced me to the Maine 2-footers via Edaville in July 1957.         

   
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Duncan Mackiewicz on November 13, 2008, 04:17:34 PM
Bill,
For someone who claims to have lost his notes you surely nailed our trip with that write-up.  I had a great time and just reading your account brought it all back very vividly in my memory. Thanks.
Duncan
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on November 13, 2008, 05:15:57 PM
Bill,  Thanks for that wonderful recap.  Great stuff.  I have been on other B&SR trips but missed the latest one.  Your "notes" make me feel like I was on the trip!   I also appreciate your dedicating the post to your father.  I lost my dad a year ago next week.  He was the one who took me to the East Broad Top Railroad when it reopened in 1960.  That experience started my life long interest in narrow gauge steam railroads.

Stewart
Title: Re: Field Trip
Post by: Mike Fox on November 13, 2008, 07:23:04 PM
Awesome recollection Bill. You must wear a recorder of some type to remember that. Sue found her artifacts about halfway between Ingalls road and Perley's Mills. You found a spike in the area north of Deep Cut, on a fill, just above the first beaver crossing.
  Sorry to read about your Dad. I'm glad you honored him by blessing us with a great post, dedicated to him.