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Messages - Benjamin Campbell

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Work and Events / Re: Coach 9 - Official Work Thread
« on: April 19, 2017, 06:19:50 PM »
Will we replicate a working toilet despite the fact that we can’t use it? Will we include a coal stove? If so – do we know what model was original to the prototype?

Work and Events / Re: Boiler plate flanging machine
« on: April 19, 2017, 06:07:45 PM »
Looks perfect. Is it done cold or must the steel be heated?

Museum Discussion / Re: Are wood patterns obsolete?
« on: April 01, 2017, 10:19:09 PM »
As an antique dealer I have seen and owned many wood patterns which were in remarkably good condition. They tended to be painted black(varnish tinted with lamp black) so don’t appear dirty until handled. The damage generally appears to be from poor storage practices – probably after they have become obsolete. Some patterns can be slightly chewed up from having wood screws partly threaded into them to act as handles for removal from the sand molds. Wood patterns which were intended to be used repeatedly generally had several metal ‘rapping and drawing’ plates let in to them and flush with their surface. These served the dual purpose of providing a hard and durable surface to ‘rap’ on the pattern when molding it in the sand and their tapped holes where used to insert handles for pattern removal. Patterns were often made of cast iron, zinc, or other metals when many castings were expected to be made. An initial pattern was made of wood – cast in the metal of choice – often machined – and then good to go for multiple castings. The original pattern had to take into account two cycles of metal shrinkage – one for the metal pattern and one for the final product.

I was using a foundry in Nashua NH to have castings made in the 1990s. They had one old timer left who they could entrust with molding loose patterns.  The castings I was making were relatively simple and capable of being cast in two part molds. The foundry’s preference was for split patterns which could be mounted to boards with the addition of sprues – gates etc. I painted my patterns the traditional black but they were always returned in silver paint which I told was a special anti stick formula to facilitate withdrawal from the sand. They used a fairly coarse sand so the surface tended to be rough. It is my understanding that back in the hand molding days a smoother surface could be achieved by sifting fine sand over a pattern before adding the coarser.

The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 / Re: FS&K Ry - A little teaser!
« on: March 31, 2017, 06:25:27 AM »
Interesting that it shows the Rockland, Thomaston & Camden St Ry as well

The correspondence I have date April 11th 1912 to June 25th 1912. The pile driver was mounted on a “barge or flat boat” measuring about 20’ x 40’ long.

P. N Watson – superintendent of MCRR bridge & building department – wrote to the M of W engineer – “Replying to you letter of April 11th in relation to letting a pile driver outfit through our bridge at Wiscasset, Mr S. J. Sewell, manager of the W. W. & F. R. R. , thinks they would like to have this ‘skew’ put through about the first of May. I can arrange to remove a bent of piles in the bridge next east of Wiscasset station, (where we took out the iron girders), and let this skew through. We can do this at a small expense, and will arrange for it if you wish me to do so.”

The next correspondence was on June 25th and reads “The Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Company states it shall be ready to have its scow taken through or under the first bridge East of Wiscasset next Sunday, 30th inst, about noon. I know Superintendent Bridge & Buildings Watson arranged to let the boat through and understands just what is necessary to let it back.
I shall write A. J Sewell, Manager, that Mr Watson will have sufficient number of men on hand next Sunday to assist him to get his scow under the bridge.”

There are photographs in one or more of the books of a barge mounted pile driver working on the section of trestle in question

I have an original document in which the WW&F requests the Maine Central to remove one 'bent' of its trestle so they could get a pile driver in to work on the trestle connecting the shop and depot area. It does not state whether the WW&F owned the driver or not. I suspect that you are correct it that they subcontracted the work out.

Interesting - do we know when the previous highway bridge was built? There were many more piles remaining in the 1970s and 80s from the WW&F trestle. Did the town remove some of them when they were 'cleaning up' the remnants of the two schooners or did mother nature do it on her own?

European narrow gauge - urban street running - dual gauge yard - rail car on rail car piggyback. Plenty of the quirky funky I think we all enjoy in narrow gauge railroading. Sorry if this has already been posted.

The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 / Re: Sheepscot Details
« on: March 12, 2017, 09:05:42 PM »
We use it as a tool house today. Has it been suggested that it was used as one at Sheepscot? Section houses, shim shacks etc are usually closer to the tracks and again I ask whether the structure is even on railroad property?

The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 / Re: Sheepscot Details
« on: March 12, 2017, 06:35:10 PM »
Regarding the building to the right. How wide is the right of way here? I am guessing the building in question is on private land or possibly the town road right of way? I assume that Sheepscot station was locked when the part time agent was not at his post. I wonder whether this could have been a milk house or the like with dual locks so that local farmers could leave milk and or other commodities when the agent was absent? Or - assuming the railroad owned station was locked from time to time - did the town or a private individual build a secondary shelter which was open at all times?

I also like the outhouse Idea but I think it was more common for railroads to place them at the more remote - less used end of a depot and again - it appears to be on private or town property?

The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 / Re: Sheepscot Details
« on: March 12, 2017, 05:20:58 PM »
Definitely an American Express sign. I think there are several variants of this basic design. They are very attractive signs and would look great on our Sheepscot station although they represent a fairly specific date in history before the merger of several express companies into the American Railway Express Co. I don't usually think of flag stop stations as being agencies for the American Express Co and I doubt Sheepscot ever had a full time station agent. Is there any record of there being a part time agent? I follow auctions as part of my career in the antique trade and see several of these come up for sale each year in varying conditions. It shouldn't take long to find one should we decide to go that rout. There are also nice interior signs for American Express money orders etc etc

Volunteers / Re: February 2017 Work Planning
« on: February 11, 2017, 11:12:44 AM »
In flipping through the book I’m pretty sure that weathered flanger signs are visible in multiple photographs. In many cases it is tough to tell definitively as the dot matrix of the printing process does not show small and distant objects with much clarity. I would love to see the original image of Weeks Mills. The sign in question appears to have two light colored circles on a dark background mounted to several inches of thin rod or pipe of the same color which in turn is mounted to a wood post. If true, I would have to conclude that it is a railroad sign. The use of two dots for flanger signs was common if not universal among New England railroads and possibly beyond. Hard to imagine that a trackside civilian sign would share the same motif.

I would also love to know how and why a switch lamp came to be used at Weeks Mills? I imagine that it was originally used there on account of the two lines diverging?

Volunteers / Re: February 2017 Work Planning
« on: February 10, 2017, 11:49:42 PM »
I took a quick look through Two Feet to Tidewater in search of flanger signs. On page 168 there is a photo of Weeks Mills and in the distant left there may be a flanger sign with a dark background and two light colored circles. It would be nice to see the original photo for more clarity.

Volunteers / Re: February 2017 Work Planning
« on: February 10, 2017, 11:27:01 AM »
The B&MRR used the angled flanger signs in the latter 3/4 of the 20thc. Before that they used horizontally mounted rectangular boards with cut corners and two large black dots painted on a yellow background. The flanger signs on the local New Haven line are rectangular heavy sheet steel horizontally mounted to posts made of old rail or pipe which is flattened at the mounting point. I'm sure they were painted when section crews were still attentive to such things. I don't recall seeing flanger signs in vintage photos of the WW&F?

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