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Topics - Philip Marshall

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The Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways have posted a video of their 2019 Victorian Vintage Weekend that I think is one of the best FR videos on Youtube I've ever seen. It includes a cab ride on Blanche as well as various vintage consists pulled by Prince, Palmerston, Taliesin, Merddin Emrys, and David Lloyd George, and not one but two gravity trains! The venerable Princess also makes an appearance in a photo lineup at Harbour Station, though not under steam.

The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 / Why Quebec?
« on: November 07, 2018, 05:54:07 PM »
I've been reading Edward E. Chase's book Maine Railroads: A History of the Development of the Maine Railroad System (1926), and he gives a lot of attention to what he calls "the Quebec railroad virus...that insidious and often fatal idea which has run through the record of Maine railroads from the the beginning".  :)

Chase gives the most succinct explanation I've seen in print of the reasoning behind this obsession. Yes, the idea was to link Maine's ice-free ports with Quebec, but what was the big deal about Quebec? In reality, it wasn't really about Quebec at all, but rather the Great Lakes and the Midwest:

"In 1845 the cheapest route from Ohio to England was by way of the St. Lawrence River. The only defect in this system was the impossibility of winter navigation. It was the plan of [John Alfred] Poor to tap this artery of commerce and to divert the flow of trade to the open winter harbors on the Maine coast." (p. 11)

(Remember that the original reason for what became the Boston & Albany RR was to connect Boston with the Erie Canal and divert some of its Midwest traffic away from the Hudson River and New York City, a pretty similar idea.)

Incidentally, Chase's book is an excellent read and deserves to be better known. With a 1926 publication date I think it should enter the public domain in 2021 (1926 + 95 years). It would be a worthwhile project to have it reprinted at that point.

Bridgton & Saco River Railway / Eric Sexton collection?
« on: January 03, 2017, 09:26:18 PM »
I was reading some back issues from 1941 of "Moody's Magazine" (a short-lived railfan publication edited by Linwood Moody himself) and came across a peculiar series of articles by Moody on the two-foot equipment collection of Eric Sexton of Belfast, Maine. Moody reported that Sexton had privately acquired the two B&SR tank cars as well as two SR&RL railcars (the Vose inspection car plus work car no. 2) and SR&RL combine no. 14, and was moving them all to his property in Belfast where he hoped to have some track laid soon.

My thought upon reading this was, Why haven't I heard of this person before?  :) I think we all owe him a debt of gratitude as a pioneer in two-foot preservation. Bear in mind that in the summer of 1941 when the articles on Sexton were published, the B&H was still running (barely) and Ellis Atwood had yet to make his appearance as its purchaser.

Did anyone here perhaps know Sexton personally? I'm curious to learn more about him and his early efforts.

-Philip Marshall

Monson Railroad / Unusual early Monson photo
« on: February 19, 2016, 01:52:04 AM »
I came across the following photo for sale on eBay:

It's clearly an early image of a mixed train at Monson, with an interesting lettering scheme on the combine and boxcar. But do you notice something unusual about the locomotive? It's facing north! This has to be the most unambiguous evidence I've seen that the Monson engines were indeed turned sometimes and that the turntables were not just for the snowplow, at least in the early years of the railroad. (The combine is also facing the "wrong" way, incidentally.)

I don't know if it has come to anyone's attention yet, but there is for sale on Ebay what purports to be an original handwritten copy of the WW&F 1921 annual report to the ICC, signed by Samuel J. Sewall:

The auction ends later today (Thursday 10/1), but there are currently 0 bids.

This seems like the kind of document the museum would want to try to acquire for the archives.

Museum Discussion / Some photos from 1990
« on: August 25, 2015, 04:12:56 PM »
I recently came across these pictures from the summer of 1990-- 25 years ago! That's 14-year old me in the blue shirt, my older brother Steve in white and green, and of course a cameo appearance by Harry himself. Also, a view of the Albion depot as it appeared the same weekend. All three were taken by my father, Frank Marshall

-Philip Marshall

The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 / Another Alna?
« on: July 01, 2015, 04:24:47 PM »
Today me and Stephen P. were looking through timetables and found out there was a flagstop between AC and Head Tide labeled "ALNA". The last record in the archives showing this stop was back in 1897. The next record is 1900. So somewhere between 1897 and 1900, this mysterious stop disappeared!

Could this be located at TOM? And could there have been a station similar to AC & Sheepscot?

I've heard this suggested before, somewhere.

Does the 1897 timetable give a milepost location for the Alna flagstop?

-Philip Marshall

Other Narrow Gauge / 30" gauge Hunslets in Sierra Leone
« on: May 25, 2015, 07:48:28 PM »
There is an interesting short news piece on the BBC website about a set of 30" gauge Hunslet locomotives in Sierra Leone in west Africa that are being preserved as the beginning of that country's first and only railroad museum:

"Sometimes with steam, the nicest things come in the smallest sizes."

(I find it odd that they never mention the name Hunslet, but there are several clear shots of builders plates so it's clear what locomotive builder they're referring to.)

-Philip Marshall

Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad / Ed West
« on: April 29, 2015, 03:36:26 PM »
A question for the Sandy River scholars in the group:

I had the good fortune recently to acquire a small stack of original SR&RL company paperwork, mostly from the offices of Roadmaster Walter Toothaker and the Motive Power Department in reference to hiring and pay for employees, circa 1912-1918. It's been fascinating to look through. One document in particular is a timesheet from October 1918 for one "Eddie West" who was employed as an engine wiper and roundhouse night watchman in Phillips. This can't possibly be *the* Ed West, can it? From my reading, Ed West was already working as an engineer on the P&R and the Eustis by 1905, so I can't imagine him moving down the ladder to engine wiper a decade later. Does anyone know if Ed West perhaps had a son by the same name who also worked for the railroad, an Ed West Jr?

The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 / W&Q No. 1's boiler
« on: March 26, 2014, 01:37:09 PM »
Forgive me if this topic has been discussed elsewhere on the board, but I'm curious about what became of the boiler of W&Q No. 1, ex Sandy River No. 3, "Butterfly".

Numerous authors, including Linwood Moody and Dick Andrews among others, have made the claim that after the engine was retired from service, its boiler was recycled as a culvert, and was still (as of the second half of the 20th century) in place as such somewhere along the right of way.

Has any attempt been made to locate and/or recover this artifact? If it still exists (and that's a *big* if, even considering the greater corrosion resistance of old wrought iron as compared to more modern steels), it might make an interesting display for the museum alongside the original boiler of No. 9.

(And it also might not be the only one out there, as Jones mentions in Two Feet to Tidewater that the WW&F was in the habit of buying old standard gauge boilers from the MeC to use as culverts. Could there be a whole roundhouse full of lost engines buried along the WW&F?)

Yours in late-winter daydreaming,
Philip Marshall

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