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Messages - Steve Klare

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I just got my Ledger, and I was pretty impressed with it: a lot of interesting content.

Some years (decades?...centuries?) ago when I was single, twenty something and more active there I was sitting behing the counter in Phillips station and I found a box of their earliest newsletters. They dated back to not too long after the first rails were spiked down there. Really interesting: wish I has copies of them now.

I've been curious for a long time about the SR&RL coat of arms, the one that has the motto "The Scenic Route" in it.

I don't recall ever seeing on a document that existed during the time the Sandy River was still in business, and a part of me wonders if HT Crittenden himself created it for "The Maine Scenic Route" when he first published it in the 1960s.

Can anyone here document it earlier?

Bridgton & Saco River Railway / Re: First Trip to Bridgton
« on: July 20, 2011, 01:30:10 PM »
Hi Duncan

We will be at Colonial Mast Campground arriving on the 13th. (This is south of Bridgton.)

If it is possible I'd be happy to hook up with somebody from WW&F!

The great part of it is this is the first "new" ROW I've explored in about 10 years.  I'll have along a solo canoe so I intend to find that masonry arch bridge by water. (or at least try...)

Bridgton & Saco River Railway / First Trip to Bridgton
« on: July 18, 2011, 03:13:02 PM »
After years of visying Phillips and Sheepscot I am a month away from my fist trip to B&SR country.

I have a couple of questions:

How accessible is Bridgton Junction? Is there a lot left to find there?

How is Hancock Pond?

Any really good spots along the ROW worth seeing?

We are camping on Long Lake and I already have an understanding with my wife that while I usually go along with her when she goes off shopping, this time is different.

If the timing is good, I will come over to WW&F too!


John Bull had been sitting in the Smithsonian since 1939, but they learned a great deal more about her when they temporarily restored her to operation. For example they never knew that the wheels on her front axle were capable of rotating independently from each other until they ran her.

I think if it's at all possible there should be operating museums for  things like shipping under sail, or operating a water powered sawmill or a steam powered railroad, because the best way of learning about something is by doing it.

When I was in college, I hung out with some history majors who were big into the History of Technology. (I was only a minor, but did my final research paper on the history of Diesel locomotion.) If I was one of them and I was interested in  researching short line railroading in the early 20th century, I'd do a summer volunteering at a place like WW&F and get to the point where I actually knew what I was talking about rather than just reading out of books.

It's true that all these old machines will have to get to the point where everything is too old and fatigued to be made operable again. What is encouraging there is that technology still exists to build historically accurate replicas so operation can continue even after the Five have gone on to static display. (The technology exists from restoring the old ones, and otherwise might be gone.)

So in the end they will be on display one way or another, in the years in between they get to do what they are famous for and we get to witness it happening.    

There is another factor at play here: this one is more than a little special.

It's one of the five remaining original Maine two foot gauge locomotives left in existence, and giving up on keeping it in operating condition would be a loss.

It's not  a rational argument, but then reactivating dead narrow gauge steam railroads is a labor of love and you can't rationalise that.

Two Footers outside of the US / Re: You've Got Mail!
« on: April 26, 2011, 12:04:20 AM »
I have a print of a British newsreel called "Under Your Feet" which shows all sorts of unseen things beneath the streets of London in the 1960s. It shows this line in operation in it's prime years.

Part of me really wishes I didn't see that!

Kind of a tough sell with the wife when we're turning down the thermostats to save money!

-Doesn't look impossible to make one...

US Two Footers / Re: 2ft Crown
« on: January 25, 2011, 02:27:16 PM »
Texas Gulf Coast in July....

-an entire ocean's worth of humidity and temperatures high enough to boil it too!

I was there one time and they rented me a car with a black interior. I had to start it up and run the AC for a couple of minutes to be able to sit on the seats and hold the wheel!

You'd take a shower, and literally as you were drying yourself you'd start to feel hot again!

I was working in a factory down there once at that time of the year and about half an hour before I was supposed to leave to catch my flight home my boss called and said "They'd like you to stay through next week"

I said "I'd rather you just fired me!"

During the "Winter"?: Sunny and 70 basically every day...

Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad / Re: Pony Plows on the SR&RL
« on: December 17, 2010, 11:52:01 AM »
Which edition?  What page?

I have the 1959 original edition and the later Jones re-edit.

I think it was Linwood Moody (maybe HT Crittenden) that wrote that the favored SR&RL consist for a plow train was a pony plow equipped engine up front with a wedge plow coupled onto the tank.

This placed the weight of the engine up front to keep the train on the track and then used the wedge behind to widen the cut. When you saw one of these trains coming out of the distance it made two waves of snow instead of just the usual one.

I guess living through a couple of episodes of the pushed wedge diving off the track at one angle and shoving the engine off at the opposite would make anybody a little wary.  Beyond the couple of seconds thinking you might (you know) die it was a major pain re-railing a train in a couple of feet of snow, especially while it was still blowing and drifting. Of course all the time you spend getting back on the iron the line isn’t being plowed and is getting that much deeper and icier, so it’s just more work for later.

-makes me appreciate working indoors a whole lot!

I have a film about a crew rescuing a British freight train stuck in the snow, and it's a messy job. One thing is while the boiler is still hot the snow that drifts around it melts and runs down around the running gear. After it re-freezes everything becomes encased in ice and locked solid. They had to pack every moving part they could in cotton waste, dowse it with kerosene and set it on fire and then hope that despite the near zero temperatures and high winds they could warm it up enough to free it up. When they coupled up the rescue engines they dragged it a couple of feet before the wheels began to turn at all.

Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad / Re: Pony Plows on the SR&RL
« on: November 17, 2010, 11:34:55 PM »
If I remember right they took all the pony plows off mid-April.

I also seem to recall a story about a May snowstorm catching 'em off guard one year as well!

Museum Discussion / Re: WW&F caboose 320
« on: November 09, 2010, 03:12:24 PM »
I accept that as a "yes".

The SR&RL's cabooses are the most famous of the bunch: there were many and so many have survived.

The rest of 'em aren't so famous.

I know the B&SR had at least one caboose because it still exists, but I have film of a late Bridgton freight and it's cabooseless.

I've been in #8s cab, so I can't imagine #7 being very roomy for the engine crew, a brakeman and a conductor. The next time I watch I'll have to see how many are in the cab.

I guess a 1930's EOT marker (kerosene lantern) would have been a little hazardous hanging from the rear coupler.

Museum Discussion / Re: WW&F caboose 320
« on: November 08, 2010, 09:01:43 PM »
Did the original WW&F ever own a caboose?

Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad / Re: SR&RL #9 and #21 photos?
« on: November 04, 2010, 11:34:43 AM »
True: What's in the appendix varies a lot with the edition.

I saw a copy of "The Maine Scenic Route"  in the Rangeley Public Library that didn't have the big appendix full of drawings.

Mine is a pretty late edition. I got it as a birthday gift when I was  16, which would be 1978.  The content sounds like Bill's copy.

Not too long after I got mine, it wasn't listed in the railroad magazines book sellers's ads anymore.

The advantage we have these days with drawings like these is once you scan them into a PC, you can make them full size for any scale you want.

What a pain it must have been for people in the 70's and earlier. I have a model car book from the 1950s with drawings. First step is to draw a grid across the page and use the coordinates to redraw the figures full size. The first time I built one of these models I cheated and made it the size in the book (I was 12). It was way too small to function very well.

-now I'm building a full sized one. (-Making up for the impatience of my youth!)

Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad / Re: SR&RL #9 and #21 photos?
« on: October 27, 2010, 09:53:35 AM »
The Maine Scenic Route is on E-bay quite a lot.

It's not as famous as The Maine Two Footers, so it's probably not as collectible (<<$$).

-it does have a lot of useful information in it. Henry Crittenden was a model builder, so he was very big on drawings.

I think the drawings are in the book are 1/8" scale. Double 'em in size and they are perfect for On2.

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