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Messages - Kevin Madore

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Work and Events / Re: Maine Two-footer Winter Photo Specials 2020
« on: January 16, 2020, 11:17:09 AM »
A good pair of wool socks and Mr Bean's boots should keep your feet warm - leather alone will not do it. IKFE
Tingly pull ons help allot.


The pair of conventional boots and socks that will keep my feet warm hasn't been invented yet.   I've tried Sorels and Columbia Bugaboots, and all manner of "nice, warm socks."   None of them do the job.   100% wool socks seem to be very irritating to wear and are not noticeably warmer than the synthetic, "high-tech" socks they sell these days.    The activated charcoal toe heaters are next to worthless.   They require oxygen to work, and when you seal them up in tight socks and boots, you deprive them of that.   So, you get about 10 minutes of heat, then your feet freeze.   And, every time you peel those adhesive pads off your socks, you peel off some of the fabric as well. 

A couple of days ago, I was having a conference call with my boss at work.   It turns out we're both going to be in Maine this weekend and we commiserated about how cold it was going to be.   She shared that when she was skiing, she used electrically-heated socks and that the effectiveness and endurance of those has gotten a lot better with the advent of Lithium-Ion batteries.   She highly recommended a particular product and said they worked all day for her.   So, last night, I hit a ski shop in Salem, NH and got myself a pair.   $269 for a pair of socks.   Batteries are already charged and I plan to use them tomorrow at the railroad.   We'll see how they work.      I have a bunch of photo trips planned in February (Niles Canyon, Carson City, V&T, Nevada Northern, C&TS Rotary), so if they work, they will be worth every penny.   It will be nice to be able to enjoy those events, vs. just trying to endure them.   

Work and Events / Re: Maine Two-footer Winter Photo Specials 2020
« on: January 15, 2020, 03:04:10 PM »
The level of interest in the upcoming Grand Reunion has been impressive. The WW&F, MNG and ML&MW bringing all 5 original Maine Two-Foot gauge locomotives together for the first time has been noticed by narrow gauge fans and historians across the US and around the world.  A good example is the response to the news post about B&SR #7 arriving at Sheepscot last week.  As of this morning the post has been viewed by over 24,500 people.     

This will be the first time I've seen the 7 or the 8 operate anywhere but Portland since the Edaville days.   I rode behind 8 in the 60s at Edaville, when she had a small diamond stack on her.  Never saw the 7 that day.  It will be nice to see the 7 running in an authentic environment, with freight cars.   I just wish it wasn't going to be in such extreme weather.   Keeping the fingers and toes from freezing is going to be a challenge, especially on Friday.   After work today, I'm going to head out looking for some electrically heated socks.   The good ones are apparently about $300 a pair....well worth it, if they work.   The activated charcoal toe heaters just don't work as well as the hand warmers.   You get about an hour of warmth.....and then you freeze.

Work and Events / Re: Maine Two-footer Winter Photo Specials 2020
« on: January 14, 2020, 10:21:25 AM »
Weather forecast for the first upcoming photo event looks interesting....and challenging.   Windy and COLD on Friday, but otherwise a nice, sunny day.   Saturday looks to start out sunny and cold (near zero), but with increasing cloudiness.  Snow will overspread the area in the late afternoon or evening.   Looks like snow could be plowable Saturday night into Sunday morning, with the storm wrapping up during the day.  Temps will be rising during the storm, but will never get much above freezing.

I'm staying in Brunswick, so my big concern will be getting to/from the hotel Saturday night and Sunday morning.   I'm thinking that by the time the event wraps up on Sunday, the roads should be in better shape for folks to depart for home.

Work and Events / Re: Maine Two-footer Winter Photo Specials 2020
« on: December 31, 2019, 12:29:51 AM »
I note that several posts mention they can't afford it. The price is pretty steep for young working people and retirees on fixed incomes.  Members, and especially Life Members, ought to be given a discount and first dibs on reservations.  Beyond that, perhaps a lottery system could have given away a limited number of tickets.
  Most attendees will need to stay overnight in a motel which will add greatly to the total. 
  Maybe change the name of the event to, "Maine Two-footer Money Specials"?

As someone who participates in a lot of photo charters, I can offer the following background:

Generally speaking, most of the folks who attend photo charters are serious photography enthusiasts, who happen to specialize in rail opposed to railfans who happen to own cameras.    You're absolutely correct in your assertion that the cost of a typical photo charter these days has gone beyond the means of the average Joe.    It's not the actual charter fees that push it over the edge, but all of the travel and living expenses in addition to that.   The T&L typically more than doubles the cost of the trip.   It is not unusual for the total trip cost to exceed $2,000, and some can go way beyond that.   Most of us who do these deals are older folks, who don't have any kids left in the house.....or never had any in the first place.

Some charters, such as the ones at the WW&F are offered by the railroad itself, but more often than not, they are organized by an independent charter operator, who is usually a very accomplished professional photographer.   The most successful ones develop a reputation for putting their patrons in a position to get spectacular photos, and they deliver on that reputation most of the time.  That's why they get repeat business.

Here's are a few examples:

The charter operator will typically conceive an idea that involves a particular railroad and specifically lettered equipment.   He/she will negotiate with the railroad for a specific number of days/hours, including all of the extras.  The cost of a day of operation varies, depending on the number and size of the locomotives desired, and the number of hours of operation.   Many charters will operate from 6AM (before sunrise) to as late as midnight....then do it again the next day.   That often requires multiple railroad crews ($$$).   Just to give you an idea, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad typically charges $10,000 per day for one K-36 locomotive and one crew.  Their engines are a tad bigger than our 2-footers.   Want a 2-engine Cumbres Turn?   That's a $20,000 train. 

Once they arrive at a price the operator thinks he/she can sell, it is advertised, usually privately, to a known list of prior clients.   If the operator can't get a price that is saleable, the project will be abandoned.   Similarly, if the idea does not sell with the clients, the event will be canceled.   The group size is typically between 25 and 50 people, depending on what the railroad is charging, and the size of the run-by locations.   At a wide-open railroad like the C&TS, you can have larger groups without compromising the quality of the photo opportunities. Obviously, the cost per person drops if the group size is larger.   At typical New England railroads like the WW&F, the photo locations are much tighter, dictating smaller groups. 

If the event runs, the operator will coordinate closely with the railroad to create an operating plan that is doable, and which will hit locations with great scenery at the times of optimal sunlight for each location.  They also have back-up plans in case the weather is bad.   That's how you get shots like the ones I posted above.   Of course, each photographer still has to execute on the shot.    These things are definitely not for everyone.   They require a reasonable level of photographic skill, some degree of physical fitness (climbing and hiking involved), and the ability to go with minimal sleep for a few days.    They are photographic events, not railfan events. 

As you might expect, the market for these charters is not huge.   There are perhaps 200-300 people in the US who will do one of these per year.   Perhaps half that number will do 2-3.   Perhaps 75 will do as many as half a dozen.   It's basically the same folks on most of them....the social aspect is a big part of it.

Fortunately, many railroads also do railfan-type events, with much larger groups, shorter hours, and significantly lower prices.   For most people who are just looking for a fun railfan experience, that's a much more cost-effective approach.  :)

/Kevin Madore   

Museum Discussion / Victorian Christmas >>>The Photo Album<<<
« on: December 17, 2019, 11:43:27 PM »

Apologies for the delay in getting this posted.   I shot over 500 frames at the VC Event last weekend, so deciding what to edit and what to post was as much of a challenge as the weather was.   Amazingly, I did get some pretty nice stuff.   I also got pretty darn wet, despite wearing full-body rain gear.   This was my 12th VC, and probably THE rainiest I can remember.   Still, I was amazed at how many people turned out.   It was definitely a great success and at least through my lens, appeared to go off like clockwork.

For the benefit of those who were working hard that day, I've put together a small album of representative shots from the various venues.

Thanks for looking and have a great Christmas!   We will see you all in January for the 2-Foot Reunion.

/Kevin Madore

Museum Discussion / Re: Sheepscot pictures for the away crowd.
« on: December 17, 2019, 05:22:25 PM »
The 7 and 8 are not just big, they are WIDE as well.


Museum Discussion / Building the WW&F Mountain Extension >>>Photo Essay<<<
« on: December 16, 2019, 10:13:44 PM »
Last week, I posted a series of photos on, depicting track-laying operations on the Mountain Extension, during the 2019 Fall Work Weekend.   Although the photos are documentary in nature and not particularly artistic, I thought the viewership on that site would find the series interesting.   I was pretty blown away by the response.   Each of the 10 images averaged about 4,000 views last week, which is amazing, especially since none of them were linked to Facebook or any social media sites.   Last week, I had more views on than any other photographer.   Railfans and history buffs just eat this stuff up.

This week, I posted a Flickr Album with those 10 images, and a few more.  I've linked it to the Narrow Gauge Forum and the RYPN.  I think both audiences will enjoy the show. 

For those who would like to take a look at the Flickr Album, here is the link:

For those who would like to see the RailPictures set, you can go to this link:

The images are the same, but you'll also get a sense for the view-counts on some of the photos.

People are fascinated by the stuff that goes on up here!

/Kevin Madore

Museum Discussion / Re: B&SR no. 8 arrives at Sheepscot
« on: December 12, 2019, 11:20:44 PM »
I'll bet it's been a while since the old girl last saw the sunshine.   I remember Russ Page giving me a cab ride in this engine way back in the early 2000s.    The king of the Maine 2-footers.   Should be quite a display for VC.    Wish it weren't going to rain.  :(

/Kevin Madore

Kevin, not sure who you don't know, so I'll guess.  The fellow with the beard and blue shirt is Dan Malkowski, and his companion with the light shirt and suspenders is James Noblini.  Dan's heading off to U-Maine this fall to study Mech-E, and James works with the MEC 470 group in Ellsworth.  #9's fireman for most of the day was Bill Baskerville. 

Great photos, as always Kevin.

Hi James,

I know most of the regulars.   I was just looking for some help with the images in which someone was prominently featured, but not identified in my caption.   Believe it or not, creating captions on these albums is one of the more time-consuming aspects of producing them.   Most of the folks on this forum know what they are looking at, but that’s not always the case with folks on other forums, or on Flickr in general.   I also like to make sure that people get credit for all they do for this museum.   I am amazed at the volunteer hours that some of you folks have racked up. 

Thanks all for the help in identifying the few folks I didn’t immediately recognize.  Many of the captions have been updated accordingly.

/Kevin Madore

Bill Piche was #3's engineer that day.  Bill's a volunteer at MNG and either a volunteer or employee (not sure which) at the Valley Railroad.

Yes, I see Bill quite often, at Sheepscot, Portland, Essex, North Conway.....surprised I haven’t seen him (yet) at The Cog.   :)

/Kevin Madore


Apologies for being late to the party with the photos from Annual Picnic.  I shot a lot of frames that day and it takes a while to go through them all.   I was amazed at how many "keepers" were in this shoot.   The variable weather and some of the unique train operations definitely produced a lot of great photo ops. 

Here's a Flickr Album with a selection of some of the day's most interesting scenes:

As always, if you find anything in the captions that's not accurate, feel free to PM me and I'll fix it.  Also, there are a few folks who appear in these images whose names are not yet known to me.   If you can help ID some of these people, I would love to put some names on the faces.

Looking forward to FWW!! :)

/Kevin Madore

Other Narrow Gauge / Re: Flanging snow on the D&S
« on: February 19, 2019, 11:14:57 AM »
I think Jeff Taylor's post is correct.   I watched the video closely and nothing changed when the train passed through several grade crossings.   There are signs on the line that would indicate to the crew when to raise and lower the flanger blades, and I have personally ridden in the cupola of that caboose, so I know the controls are there.....but it appears that what we are really seeing these days are plow/spreader trains vs. flanger trains, at least on the D&S.    Back in 2016, I participated in a photo charter operated by the Friends of the C&TS on the eastern side of that railroad, in which Flanger OJ was operated.   On that trip, I believe we were actually flanging and the spreaders on OJ were also in use.   There, the blades were raised and lowered with controls on the locomotive.

Here's a shot looking down on OJ, from an open gondola immediately behind it:

The Friends attempted to run a similar trip this spring, which would have included both the flanger and the Jordan Spreader, but alas, with all of the charters and Last Spike anniversary events happening this spring, they just didn't get enough people to sign up.

/Kevin Madore

Other Narrow Gauge / Michigan's Huckleberry Railroad >>>Photos<<<
« on: February 12, 2019, 12:13:39 AM »

On January 14, 2019, Lerro Productions ran a photo charter on Michigan's Huckleberry Railroad, featuring Locomotive's US 152 and DRGW 464, along with a number of historic wooden coaches. The Huckleberry Railroad is a roughly 4-mile, 36" gauge tourist railroad, operating on former Pere Marquette right-of-way, just outside Flint, Michigan, in the township of Genesee. The line's passenger depot is located in the Crossroads Village attraction, which I believe is run by the Genesee County Parks & Recreation Commission. Like most tourist railroads, it doesn't typically operate in January, but an exception was made for this private charter. Although we had all been hoping for some snow, we were fortunate to have a nice, sunny, cold Michigan day, which provided dense, steamy exhaust plumes and great light for photography. Pete Lerro did a great job organizing the event, and the crews at the Huckleberry did the rest, putting on a great show with their beautifully maintained and very photogenic trains. I think that a number of more well-known narrow gauge lines would be most envious of the great string of historic wooden coaches these folks have. Narrow gauge equipment like that might have been very available on the market when this line was built in the 1970s, but certainly not today. The line is unique among tourist railroads in that it has balloon loops on both ends for turning. Laid out a bit like a great, big model railroad, the power is always facing forward, which makes the place even more fun to photograph.

I've put together a small Flickr album of images taken during this trip, as well as a few shots that I took during my last visit in 2009. It had definitely been too long between visits, but well worth the wait to see both of their steamers in action in great light. If you've never been there, take a look and see what you have been missing.

If you're considering places to vacation this summer, consider the Detroit area. There are a number of steam railroads in the region besides the Huckleberry that you can also visit. Among them, the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso, Greenfield Village in Dearborn, and the Little River Railroad in Coldwater.

/Kevin Madore

General Discussion / Re: National Geographic Film: The Railroader
« on: January 28, 2019, 04:54:58 PM »
The great thing about John is that he's not just an Administrator, he's also the place's biggest fan.   His enthusiasm has really done great things for that railroad.   When I first started going out there nearly a dozen years ago, most of the news I heard about the place was downbeat....revenues, ridership, etc.   I remember being there when they had 2 operable locomotives, one of which was limping along with leaking flues etc.   Since John has taken the reins, its the polar opposite.   The infrastructure, the rolling stock, the ridership, and the revenues have all been steadily improving.   Photographers now complain that the track looks too GOOD for re-enactment photos (you know, "through the weeds, not around them." :))   Although I suspect he could retire now, I really hope he sticks around a while longer.   The holy grail will be seeing OY clearing the pass again.   I know that's on his bucket list.

/Kevin Madore 

Museum Discussion / Re: Victorian Christmas Photos
« on: December 19, 2018, 10:25:50 PM »
Gee, Kevin, it's like the diesel train didn't exist for you! ;) ;)  :o  ;D
No love for the second class train.

I think I do have a frame or two of the just didn't look very "Victorian"  ;D


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