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Topics - Jason M Lamontagne

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The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 / Fred Fogg
« on: March 17, 2017, 12:13:53 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!

Work and Events / 2017 Spring Work Weekend
« on: February 25, 2017, 08:17:59 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.


Work and Events / Victorian Christmas 2017
« on: February 06, 2017, 10:52:16 AM »

We are considering a new format to Victorian Christmas this year:  running the event two consecutive Saturdays, with reduced hours each day (11AM till 3PM).

The reasoning is mainly to protect against a bad weather event, such as in 2016.  Secondly, if both days have good weather, a potentially large crowd would be dispersed over two days instead of one.

The reduced hours include what are normally the busiest hours of the current event.  The horse teams are only there during these hours (11-3), so this is one way to ensure all visitors get an equal experience.

A major concern is whether we can crew the event for two consecutive weeks; as such we have gotten some mixed reaction from the board and regular volunteers.  For this reason we are posing these questions to the general volunteer corps:

1.  Would you volunteer for one or both days of this event?
2.  Are you generally in favor of this move?

Feel free to answer here or at


Work and Events / Easter Eggspress 2017
« on: February 06, 2017, 10:46:16 AM »
Hello All,

This is a general call for help for Easter Eggspress, Saturday, April 15, 2017.  The Crew Calendar isn't quite up yet, but we want to get feelers out.

In particular- we are looking for non-train crew help to assist with executing the egg hunt at Alna Center.  Perhaps you have friends or family members, who have not or not often volunteered, who would help us provide direction to the kiddos who are coming to have fun in the field that day?

Let us know here or at


Museum Discussion / August 2016 WMTW TV piece
« on: August 14, 2016, 04:10:14 PM »
WMTW, the local ABC news affiliate, sent an associate today to do a piece on us.  It should appear in tonight's 6:00 news.

Thanks to Joe Fox for arranging it and Steve Z for hosting it. 


Museum Discussion / Hand Spiking vs. Power Spiking
« on: April 18, 2016, 06:00:02 AM »
Perhaps the next step is an attachment for a jack hammer to drive the spikes.  That would help those of us who are getting a little long in the tooth for swinging a spike maul.

Jack hammer to drive spikes-- ahhhhh!  

Way back when we always had the idea that we were rebuilding the railroad by hand, they way they used to.  One by one we made compromises- each for very specific reasons.  The obvious one is the tamper- the reasoning that the railroad was never burdened with hand tamping stone ballast in the first place.  

I always figured the last bastion would be hand spiking- the literal building of the railroad by hand.  It has come up before and I figured it'd come up again; someday we may even need to move on to power spiking if the majority of the crew is giving up on hand spiking.  Maybe that's sooner than later, I don't know.  But the above, and below, conversation should be had.

If power spiking is to be adopted, there are mechanical realities involved.  Jack hammers are not used; spiking hammers are specific devices that are enormously heavier than a tamping hammer (as a point of reference).  They are so heavy that unless you're built for this work, can't be effectively controlled.  Most of our current spikers wouldn't be spiking.  They're so hard to control that quality goes down the tubes.  They way one can start a spike tight and draw a rail by hand spiking- may be possible with someone with extreme skill on a power spiker, but I suspect not by any of us.  All in all its not a lot of fun; between the noise and the logistics of setting this thing(s) up and dragging it around, the dynamics of our volunteer force rebuilding the old railroad out in the Maine woods would completely change.  

Personally I group radio communication and power spiking in the same place, for us.

Just my opinion!  Figured the two sides deserve hearing out, as they have been in the past.

See ya

Museum Discussion / Number 9 Boiler Jacket Final Report to NRHS
« on: March 18, 2016, 09:18:27 AM »
We have written a final report in conclusion to our obligation to NRHS for their grant to recreate number 9's boiler jacket.  Thanks to Ed Lecuyer for leading this effort; he got substantial input from Steve Piwowarski and myself.

The report has been posted on our website.
It can be found here:

Happy Reading!

Work and Events / Victorian Christmas 2015
« on: December 19, 2015, 06:50:28 PM »
1558 riders.  18 round trips; 6 trips per engine.

All of our crew performed absolutely fabulously- thank you everyone!!!


Volunteers / November 2015 Work Planning
« on: November 03, 2015, 07:27:37 AM »
Been a while since I've posted on the weekday effort but I mean to do so more regularly.  So here's an attempt!

Yesterday, Monday, Nov 2, Jonathan finished making connections from the tank to the injectors.  Last week he finished the vacuum brake plumbing- this all major plumbing on no 9 is complete.  Some of it has been removed for paint access.  Brendan continues work on interior tank braces.

Today Josh is up to essentially complete no 9 electrical.  Tuesday Phil (Bleauvelt) will likely finish the steam line to the generator, while I'll make some slight mods to the frame casting to clear a washout plug and then work on vacuum brake and generator exhaust lines.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, we'll switch the yards out, do some minor inspection work at the bridge and make a repair to a ToM switch.  Starting Wednesday we're going back to very limited access inside the tent so Stewart and Marcel can work on finish application of wood cab components, paint, and varnish, without worrying about us marking up the paint job mid way through.

Thursday will likely see some coach brake mods as we give the paint crew space...   We'll also begin on a new plow mounting arrangement for 52 soon.

No 9 is nearing a test fire, as you may have guessed.  It won't be this month- as it looks now...

See ya

Volunteers / March 2015 Work Planning
« on: March 02, 2015, 05:09:01 PM »
First week of March:

Making swab cups for the piston rod packing glands.

Spring modification to allow more rocking.

Figuring and making main rod bearing shims to center left piston.

Prepping for ring installation.

Jacket polishing to continue Thursday.

A few other odds and ends.

See ya

Work and Events / Steam in September, 2014
« on: August 31, 2014, 06:51:50 AM »
General announcement,

We have revised our September 2014 operating plan to include steam motive power in all Saturday and Sunday trains.  Subject to the normal crew and equipment availability disclaimer- but we feel confident with both. 

Will try to arrange for similar postings and updates to facebook and the website.


Work and Events / New Whistles for 9 and 10
« on: August 16, 2014, 08:32:45 PM »
Jason and Bob had re-arranged the steam dome arrangements on Loco 10 earlier in the week, putting on a steam loco pop valve, putting the state-code pop valve elsewhere, and putting in a different, single chime whistle.  The new whistle was not popular, especially with me being right next to it - too high pitched and loud.  They will rethink their plans.


Aww- James, give it a chance!

The 'new whistle' is a single chime 4" bell locomotive whistle- which we got from Bernie several years ago in a trade.  It is very appropriate for this application.  It took a substantial rebuilding of the valve mechanism, and a new lever arrangement in the cab- to make it all work out.  Bill Baskerville helped us quite a lot.  I want to give more folks chance to hear it, and give it some fermentation time before pulling it.  Not quite fair to say we are rethinking it yet.

The whistle change was secondary- our primary objective was installation of a Kunkle locomotive pop valve.  The only opening large enough to mount this new, 'unofficial' pop was where Bernie's big whistle was mounted.  We've had increasing trouble with modern safety valves lately, so, with the state's blessing, we've serviced, mounted and set the old kunkle to pop about 5 psi lower than the new, official kunkle.  It works fabulously- I couldn't be more pleased with this old valve.

My apologies, Bernie, that you've learned of the unmounting of your whistle in this fashion.  I meant to have a conversation with you this coming week about it- after a weekend to see how the new pop would work.  

Regardless of the outcome of the loco single chimer, I'm afraid the large dome opening should remain dedicated to our loco pop valve.  But, please, give the hooter a fair chance.  It really is narrow gauge appropriate.  

There's also a 4" Crosby chime whistle upstairs- I'll take a look at it.  I think the mud wasps have taken it over at the moment...

See ya

(Some grammar edits...)

Volunteers / Easter Express a Success
« on: April 03, 2010, 06:37:13 PM »
The final count I heard was 247- the best yet for Easter trains.  We're getting into a steady format and date for this event- and it's working.  Huge credit goes to Jane Robertson, whose been doing local advertising for us lately- her efforts showed with today's turnout.  The photo freight in the morning is growing into a tradition as well.


Work and Events / Oct 2008
« on: September 24, 2008, 08:40:56 PM »
For those keeping count, below is the event outlook for the next month or so:

Sun. Sept. 28:  Septemberfest, joint event with Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association.

Fri. Oct. 3:  John Craft Photo Charter.

Fri- Mon, Oct 10-13: Work Weekend of course.

Fri Oct 17- Halloween, first night

Sat. Oct 18, AM, Trains Unlimited steam charter

Sat. oct 18- Halloween, second night.

Sure feels busy!  We could, as always, use help with any or all of these.  Let us know of interest!

see ya

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