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Topics - Jason M Lamontagne

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Volunteers / Service Connection Rule and 52 Block Heater Reminder
« on: December 09, 2020, 08:21:28 AM »
Hello all,

A reminder that an orange or yellow flag displayed in the marker bracket of a piece of railroad equipment indicates a service connection to that piece of equipment.  Rule 24, page 15.

Anyone may inspect for and remove such service connections; it follows that after doing so you also remove the orange or yellow flag so as to not give a false indication.

Also: remember we prefer to keep 52’s block heater plugged in at all times in the winter, when parked outside. 

Punch line: if you use 52- and find it with an orange or yellow flag and disconnect the block heater for use, when you are done PLEASE plug the block heater back in and ensure the flag is back up.

We were frustrated yesterday to find the flag displayed but block heater not plugged in.  We didn’t use 52 yesterday as a result and altered our work plans accordingly.  It was probably just a matter of the last operator forgetting to do so, however I wanted to both post a reminder of the service connection flag concept and ask everyone to act with your best diligence for the sake of our other members.

Thank you,

Whimsical Weirdness and Foolery / A Fictional Day
« on: November 23, 2020, 02:59:57 PM »
I wrote this a couple of years ago, just for fun.  It's not meant as the "one" answer- it's just an exercise in thinking through one possible answer.  I never really knew what to do with it, but now as it becomes out of date, I figure I'll put it here before it's totally dated and irrelevant.  Happy reading...


Volunteers / WW&F Work Needs
« on: November 09, 2020, 01:54:08 PM »
Some general maintenance concerns for which we are looking for volunteers.  These are operating maintenance items which in most cases currently lack dedicated volunteers (except as noted).  Anyone interested should check in with the  department manager indicated, and if a sub-manager is indicated, also that person.

Buildings, Brendan: 
Window Glazing (THIS ONE IS DESPERATE).  We have dozens of windows which require complete reglazing and then sealing.  Many are right on the Sheepscot campus.
Window casing repair: the north window casing of Sheepscot Station needs a complete rebuild.  The last paint job required some innovative patchwork to make it through.
Chimney flashing repair: Shop bay 4 chimney flashing requires repair.
Painting.  Stewart.
AC Platform rod. 
Shingle new electrical building

RR Operating Department, Jason:
Sign maintenance.
Car/truck/brake inspection.
Car Bearing Service.  Phil B.
Magneto Telephone system.  John M. (more dedicated help please!)
Track/ switch inspection (and light repair): (Currently Steve L, Mark C, Dan M, more division of duty is required)
Vacuum brake system technicians.  Jonathan (again more needed)
Wooden Rolling Stock Repairs (Coach 8 is growing desperate- it's now kept inside!, caboose 320 needs more, etc)
Rolling stock paint.  Stewart. 
Station supply keeper.  (I'd REALLY like to see this filled).
Bookkeeper (tracking conductor's reports, dispatcher needs, other office related needs).  (Conceivably this could morph into a Chief Dispatcher position)
Mechanical maintenance/ overhaul (Brookville- Jay B, Fluids and light mechanics in 52, light steam maintenance)

Grounds, Mike.  (Note that Mike directly manages and/or performs all of these so these are listed mostly for general info)
Culvert inspection. 
RoW smoothing for improved mowing.
General mowing.  Randy.
RoW mowing.  Mike.

Off-rail equipment, Mike.
Overhaul: Trailer, Mitsubishi, Loader, tractor.  Brendan.
Overhaul: Kubota.  Mike
Overhaul needed: Forklift.
Running maintenance: fluids and light mechanics in all equipment.


Work and Events / 2019 FWW Operating Plan Notice
« on: October 04, 2019, 10:48:32 AM »
Hello all,

I want to highlight the fact that Ed and I are developing a very intricate and careful operating plan for 2019 FWW.  This involves a work train on the Mountain, with 6 individual support work crews, two passenger trains handling both SeaLyon pumpkin service AND material supply to the work activities.  Ed and I have it figured out (Ed has spent HOURS- last email came at 12:30AM), but I ask that everyone respect the plan and adhere to it as instructed.  Ed will be dispatching the entire Fall Work Weekend.  He will be drafting operating plans on Sunday; I'll review and we'll finalize them on Monday, with the intent to disseminate them to the crew by the end of the day Monday. 

Thank you all, we're in for a historic weekend in many ways!

Volunteers / September 2019 Track Construction
« on: September 10, 2019, 12:31:05 PM »
Hello all,

We plan to lay one crane cycle of track on the Mountain next Tuesday and Wednesday, September 17/18.  Tuesday will be load out and ferry move, possibly followed by a soft start.  Wednesday will be production track laying.

There is a major spiking effort planned for that weekend, September 21/22, led by Dana Deering.

Please consider this a crew call for both work events!


Hello all,

If you are planning on attending this year’s (2019) FWW as a general track crew aid, and are able and willing to spike, please let us know here.

We have a hefty track laying goal this fall, with spiking being the major crew need.  The full intention is to retain hand spiking, for the community it builds amongst our volunteers, a demonstration and means of preserving this part of railroading’s past, and for improved quality.

There was mention made of not spiking all weekend.  A request: if you’re physically able but lack stamina for constant spiking, spend your days on the spiking crew anyway.  Rotation is critical.  Spend your off-spiking time on a nipping bar, or getting a drink.  Pick someone who is spiking and cheer them on!  The camaraderie is the source of the fun- it takes a village to make it happen.

Ive been meaning to post this- but Dana’s valid concerns are a timely kick in the butt.  Spiking this much track won’t just happen.  We can’t collectively leave it to “the spikers” and assume all will be well.

Friday, in particular, followed by Sunday, Monday and Saturday are the spiking crew pinch needs.  Please consider this the priority.

We’d like to address the concern with 3 concise efforts: preplanning, largely on this forum, so we can come to understand how many folks are coming with different work disciplines, including spiking, in mind.  Second we plan to have a coordinator stationed such that incoming volunteers can be directed.  Lastly we plan to make a concerted effort to keep the shop crew minimized.

In particular, the tank car project, if it proceeds will likely be carried out by four or so specific volunteers by invite.  In this way, other volunteers can feel welcome to peak in to see the progress, but can clearly understand that the work need is not in the shop.  This isn’t meant to keep it exclusive- simply efficient, and a way of keeping the focus where the greatest crew need is.

If this goes as planned- we may well be blowing No 9’s whistle by the shoulder of Rt 218 by the end of the weekend...

Ed, feel free to reposition this post as appropriate.

Thanks Dana, and thank you crew,

Museum Discussion / Google Maps
« on: August 03, 2018, 01:25:15 PM »
August 3, 2018

New Google Maps satellite view shows the turntable, bridge under construction in lot, new track on Davis Grade (albeit a little wiggly), and a steam train just north of Sheepscot Mills Crossing.,+Waterville+and+Farmington+Railway+Museum/@44.0616691,-69.623761,661m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x4caded372f244245:0x99e60ff947391b9f!8m2!3d44.060622!4d-69.623688

Volunteers / July 2018 Work Planning
« on: July 01, 2018, 07:24:43 AM »
Starting this thread in order to highlight that our planned summer work to install the bridge is getting underway and will be very intense at times.  Here’s a general request for any extra help we can get- we’ll put out specific calls for help on a day by day basis, as they’re needed.

I’ll put out a full task list and rough schedule under the bridge thread- so it’s a linear discussion over the next 3 months.  To foreshadow this week: heavy work days are planned for Tuesday and Thursday, with a lighter work day on Friday.  We plan to prep the stringers for the bridge approach spans (20 beams).  On Thursday or Friday morning we expect our large timber shipment to arrive: 22 pilings, and dozens of timbers.  We may start sorting those out.

Also this week- we will complete 309’s truck, as well as a repair on coach 3’s brake system.  There’ll be some prep for the upcoming ice cream social too.

Joe will continue trying to sprinkle in track work throughout the bridge project.  Initially, he’s hoping for some very limited help (1 or 2) this coming Monday (tomorrow).

See ya

Volunteers / 2018 Rules Review
« on: April 23, 2018, 03:04:01 PM »
Operating Crew:

This year's principal rules review session will be during dinner on Saturday, April 28, 2018. 

We will hold a secondary session, depending upon attendance at this session.

Following this, individual reviews will need to be held.

Note: attendance at one of these options is required for all operating crew.


Work and Events / Spring 2018 Work Weekend
« on: January 25, 2018, 05:44:38 PM »
Also, any particular ROW work planned for SWW?

SWW major projects:

1.  Rebuilding track on Davis Grade
2.  Building 2 story external staircase for north end of Percival House.

The next several (probably at least 6) work weekends will be devoted to new construction on the Mountain Extension, so we wanted to make a big maintenance but this spring as it’ll be our last chance for while.  Davis grade needs a lot of ties changed.  We’re going to take an aggressive tact.

See ya

Museum Discussion / Seeking pledges for lubricator for No 10
« on: June 23, 2017, 06:43:45 AM »

There is a lubricator on eBay we'd like to get for No 10.  We are seeking pledges to cover its cost, up to $1000. We have a bid in now at $500- the bidding ends next Friday, June 30, 2017.

This is hoped to be a replay of a lube system we put on 9.  It's an improved lubrication system for some remote parts of the running gear.  Normally these areas are oiled by hand, with great difficulty.  Because of that, they are often poorly oiled (or not at all), and when they do get oil, the tip of the oil can introduces contaminates to the bearing area.  Everyone loves the improvement on 9 (compared to the old way on 10 before removal from service), and have been asking the shop to do the same on 10.

I'll pledge $100.

Please let us know if you can help!


The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 / Fred Fogg
« on: March 17, 2017, 01:13:53 PM »
What was up with Fred Fogg????

I've been re-reading the common Maine two foot books, or more so, reading between the lines.  Bob Jones' books, Crittenden's book, etc.  There are subtle lines of potential connection that are not directly called out in the books.  Note that as of now, I've not done any original research, though I've talked to Linda and she plans to do some, as she's interested in the topic.

Fred Fogg shows up many times thoughout a certain period of Maine two foot history.  Though each is handled as stand-alone occurrences by our go-to books, there may be a theme to this man when one considers his interaction linearly.  I have some reason to think he may be the man who actually got the W&Q built.

Mr. Fogg showed up as a principal player in the Franklin & Megantic Railroad in the 1880's.  Clerk, passenger and freight agent, conductor, etc.  He was credited as a lawyer, partnering with Phillip Stubbs out of Strong.  Fair enough.

Next, in the early 1890's, he is practicing out of Waterville and is George Crosby's lawyer.  He helps make the connection between Crosby and the W&Q principals at the time, when Crosby subscribes to $100K of stock.   Many of Crosby's associates are apparently talked into subscribing, maybe as much as an additional $50k or so.  As one of Crosby's associates, he subscribes to $5K worth of W&Q stock.  Fogg is also heavily promoting the Farmington connection, even before the W&Q is built. 

Crosby is relieved of his subscription liability on the basis that he was owed substantial wages for his activities in promoting and managing the railroad for a brief period of time.  Following this- Fogg does the same thing for his $5K.   

Next:  In an 1896 director's meeting, Fred Fogg, as general counsel, forces then-president Rundlett (an old Wiscasset head), as well as a general management shakeup, on account of the poor financial condition.  We're led to believe he felt the financial problems were the root cause of Fogg's concern, and he squarely blamed mismanagement on the part of Rundlett (and a few others, including treasurer Patterson) for these problems.  Fogg got his way, and ended up as General Manager.

All of that is straight out of Bob Jones' books.  Crittenden's "The Maine Scenic Route" tells us that the F&M was a financial failure, on account of over-ambitious expectations of its promoters. 

Now- between the lines. 

Fogg was a promoter of the F&M.  Right around when things weren't looking good, he bailed.

Fogg plainly was interested, and believed in the two foot gauge concept.  He plainly had thought of joining the Franklin County system to the Wiscasset effort even before the W&Q got built, likely with Phillip Stubbs and others.  It seems likely that it was Fogg who suggested and pushed the use of two foot gauge, first to George Crosby, and ultimately to the W&Q directors.  Crosby is credited with estimating the cost of the W&Q to Burnham at $300K.  How would he know?  With Fogg's experience at the F&M, was that Fogg's estimate? 

The choice of two foot gauge made the project reachable, when combined with Crosby's $100k.  Fogg was in the right place, with the right background, to realize that and weave a web that made it happen.  Thus- Fogg may really be the man who got the W&Q built (as opposed to Crosby).  In such a case, Crosby certainly would get credit for being receptive; this is consistent with Boston "money" being receptive to the narrow gauge concept in general.

Next, Crosby, Fogg, and others don't pay their subscriptions, which in turn apparently sink the company.  As such, what business did Fogg have blaming Captain Rundlett for the mess, when Fogg was such a party to the loss of expected income?

Why did Crosby promise $100k, which has been calculated at half his net worth?

Another between the lines:  did Crosby and Fogg never plan to pay their subscription?  Did they promise to pay in order to get the railroad built, then knowing the lack of income would crash the company, plan to come in a pick up the pieces? This would amount to a free railroad, which if coupled with the planned connection to the Sandy River, would become a real money maker (or so they thought). 

I don't like to be this negative, and if Fred Fogg indeed put the pieces together to get the railroad built, I don't want to see him branded in a negative light.  I can't envision a happier explanation of his lack of paying his subscription, combined with forced near-complete takeover of the road's management.  Maybe he was just frustrated.

Anyway, if I've gotten some of the facts wrong, especially directly out of the books, I apologize and am open to correction.  I'm busy with plate flangers and boiler components and Easter ops and and and.  This is just a fascination I've gained lately; I've made a habit of staying up past bedtime, quietly so as to not wake anyone, re-reading these passages and trying to draw straight lines. 

Discussion is welcome!

A little conjecture, for the sake of discussion.  

Had the FS&K made the connection between the W&Q and the Sandy River, and we had our Two Foot Empire, just how successful would the venture have been?

Any railroad venture must connect produce to market.  Let's look at that potential connection offered by the FS&K.

Of course the entire idea was that Wiscasset provided a direct link to market via transshipment to commercial marine vessels.  In the early years of the Franklin County connection scheme, that would have been coastal schooners, connecting to Portland, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, etc.

There's my first question:  how easy was it to make said arrangements?  If you had a mill in Franklin County, and wanted to ship finished lumber to Baltimore via the narrow gauge and Wiscasset, was it a lot of trouble to arrange it?  Did a maritime connection at Wiscasset automatically mean you had a broader market for your product?

Next question: produce.  Presumably the principal haul for the two foot empire would have been based on the timber available in Franklin County.  Sure enough, there was plenty of other business, but it would seem lumber was backbone of the Sandy River's success.  It seems to me that the FS&K would not have increased the quantity of Franklin County's output or lengthened the use of the Sandy River system to move it.  Hence, the empire might have lasted about the same length of time as the SR&RL and WW&F actually did.

It's tantalizing to think that maybe a positive answer to the first question- that the maritime connection at Wiscasset opened new and expansive markets- would have led to a better answer for the second question- that the empire may have outlasted real history.  But then- if it were that successful, perhaps the empire would have been scooped up and swallowed by the corporate machine what was standard gauge railroading.

Maybe Maine Central sensed that potential success and felt thus compelled to stop it.

Enough rambling.  How long would the empire have lasted?

See ya

Work and Events / 2017 Spring Work Weekend
« on: February 25, 2017, 09:17:59 PM »

The board discussed a basic priority list for Spring Work Weekend in 2017.  

1.  Make main line extension down the mountain serviceable for work movements.  
2.  Repair sheepscot station platform
3.  Complete door project in coach 8.  (Edit)
4.  Humason trestle retaining wall (Edit)
5.  Possibly extend the mill siding.  
6.  Main line maintenance.  
7.  Possibly begin a spur into ML&M.

The lower numbers are more iron clad than the higher ones, though we still have time to optimize the list.


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