W.W.&F. Discussion Forum

The Maine Narrow Gauges (Historic & Preserved) => Bridgton & Saco River Railway => Topic started by: Dana Deering on May 14, 2009, 06:30:10 AM

Title: B&SR Handcars
Post by: Dana Deering on May 14, 2009, 06:30:10 AM
One more new question:  What happened to all of the B&SR handcars?  I haven't seen many photos of them and I'm not sure how many they owned.  I have photos of my great-great grandfather on a handcar in front of Joe Bennett's cottage at Hancock Pond and another of him on a four wheel velocipede-type car.  There is one other photo I've seen of that four wheel pump car with different wheelsets.  Ernest Ward tells about pumping a hand car down to Hiram one night and meeting up, on the way back, with a second handcar that was stolen by burglers who were using it to escape.  He got off the rails just in time to avoid a collision in the dark.  There were car houses all along the railroad so what happened to all of the handcars?  I don't recall reading about any of them going to Edaville.  Were they scrapped?  Might there be one hidden away in a barn somewhere?
Title: Re: B&SR Handcars
Post by: Bruce Wilson on May 29, 2009, 11:09:44 AM
Excellent question Dana. My speculation is that the Bridgton handcars were purchased by rail enthusiasts prior to the railroads abandonment.

Although Ellis D. Atwood purchased much of the former Bridgton equipment, it was said that the scrapper cut up some of what Mr. Atwood had planned to take with him to South Carver, MA.

I understand that a watchman was hired to keep an eye on the equipment until the loading and trucking could be completed.

It has always struck me odd that the body of Bridgton railcar no. 2 was left all these years to rot at the Junction. Supposedly the car was tipped over and the frame and running gear removed for scrap or other salvage.

Perhaps a handcar or two met similar fate, being plundered for the iron.

I'd be willing to bet that within old correspondence between such fans as Linwood Moody, Edgar Mead, Eric Sexton and others of the period who closely followed such things, is mention of those handcars, etc.

Title: Re: B&SR Handcars
Post by: Steve Klare on May 29, 2009, 11:03:37 PM
Did any two footers other than the Franklin County roads use the chain-drive rotary design for handcars?

Back in the 1980s and 1990s I used the rotary car at SR&RL as often as they'd let me (I never refused to run an errand to the other end when that was how I got there.). It could get going wickedly fast with a good sized guy on each crank and I'd choose it over any amusement park ride I've ever been on!

-shame that back in historical years they mangled more than a few guys between those flailing cranks and often unguarded chain on that big sprocket.
Title: Re: B&SR Handcars
Post by: Dana Deering on June 01, 2009, 06:28:57 AM
As far as I know the Sandy River was the only two footer with the crank cars.  I went back and read Ward's book again and he talks about there being a number of "those little three wheel" handcars on the B&SR  which were probably velocipedes.  Anyway, there are picture of a handcar at Bridgton with the abbreviations for all of the Maine two footers on it which I thought was the one Lawrence Brown rescued from the mudflats at Wiscasset.  I wondered why he would bring his handcar all the way to Bridgton for a railfan day if the B&H had their own?  Maybe as the money got tight and they converted to railbuses they scrapped some of the handcars for the metal.