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Topics - Wayne Laepple

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UK (Welsh, British) Two Footers / More Lyd vid
« on: September 13, 2010, 09:14:46 PM »
Sorry about the subject line. I just couldn't resist. But here are two nice clips of Lyd in action.

General Discussion / Where are they now?
« on: September 03, 2010, 06:24:05 PM »
Does anyone here know the ultimate disposition of the photograph and negative collections of Hugh G. Boutell and William Monypenny? Boutell was a pioneer railfan photographer, getting started before 1920. He specialized in narrow gauge and shortline subjects and was active up into the 1940's, I believe. He visited the WW&F in 1925 and took an iconic photo of no. 7 and train coming off the trestle into the yard at Wiscasset. Monypenny was also an early railfan photographer, visiting the various 2-foot gauge lines in Maine in the 1930's, and he was one of the men who purchased WW&F no. 9 and moved it to Connecticut in 1937.

Other Narrow Gauge / East Broad Top Saturday
« on: August 16, 2010, 10:49:31 AM »
While you all were enjoying the annual picnic at Sheepscot, I was at the East Broad Top, a somewhat wider narrow gauge. Aug. 14 marked the 50th anniversary of the reopening of the railroad for tourist service, and an old friend from Michigan whom I met up with on Saturday had attended that ceremony. Here's a photo:

No. 15 accelerating across Meadow Street and past the open trolley. The train is heading around the wye, and after the train clears, the trolley will proceed down the former Shade Gap Branch of the EBT, which includes dual gauge track to accommodate both trains and trolleys.

Whimsical Weirdness and Foolery / Next challenge for the shop gang
« on: August 02, 2010, 12:42:42 PM »
Here's the next thing the shop crew needs to get cracking on. Jason, Mike, Leon, Ed -- have at it!

General Discussion / Red's Eats in the New York Times
« on: August 01, 2010, 01:40:57 PM »
This was forwarded to me by a friend who saw it in yesterday's New York Times. Any comments? And what's up with the Wiscasset by-pass. In my opinion, many a small town has been killed by a by-pass.

In Maine Village, Lobster Goes Briskly; Traffic, No


WISCASSET, Me. — The summer traffic backups in this village of old sea captains’ homes are infamous in Maine, lines of inching cars and trucks that seem to extend all the way into autumn.

Some blame gawking drivers, or the short, tight curve of U.S. 1 heading into town, or the lower speed limits in the historic district.

Others say it’s the fat, buttery lobster rolls at Red’s Eats, a seafood shack with a fanatical following that sits hard along the highway here, just before the bridge out of town.

“I’ve seen people stop their cars and jump out just to take a picture,” said Frank Risell, who owns a bed-and-breakfast in Wiscasset. “Day and night, it’s a problem.”

For at least half a century, townspeople have fervently debated how to solve the traffic problem.

They have considered putting a pedestrian bridge over U.S. 1, removing the parking spots along it or even spending $100 million to build a bypass around the town, an option that gained momentum this spring when federal officials approved a route for it.

But Mr. Risell is among a handful of people circulating an even bolder idea: moving Red’s, which, in various incarnations, has drawn crowds to the corner of Main and Water Streets since the 1930s.

“My message to Red’s,” said Morrison Bonpasse, who lives in neighboring Newcastle and leads a community group opposed to the bypass option, “is, ‘You’re a wonderful business, you’re good people, but please, you have to move.’ ”

His group, Route One Alternative Decisions, dismisses the proposed bypass as a waste of money — and eventually of gas, since it would take drivers on a longer route. In addition to moving Red’s, they want a pedestrian bridge or tunnel, off-street parking and other less costly alternatives. “It just seems like an awful lot of money to waste on a seasonal issue,” Mr. Risell said of the bypass plan. “In the middle of winter, you could go out and sleep on Route 1.”

Others, including Sean Rafter, a ninth-generation Wiscassetite, want a bypass but not along the federally approved route, which the Army Corps of Engineers in May deemed the “least environmentally damaging” of three proposed corridors. Mr. Rafter — who, like Mr. Risell, lives near that route — said it would keep traffic too close to town, ruin the view of the tidal river that borders it and displace too many residents who would have to surrender their land.

He, too, would like to see Red’s move. But state transportation officials, who have studied the traffic problem for decades, said the lobster shack was only a small piece of it.

“The vehicles are already pretty well stopped at that point,” said Kat Beaudoin, chief of planning for the Maine Department of Transportation. “So it’s hard for us to conceive that that is all of the problem.”

Debbie Cronk, who took over Red’s with her siblings after their father, Allen Gagnon, died in 2008, has refused to even respond to the idea.

“I don’t want to give them any ammunition,” she said minutes after Red’s opened on Thursday, a line of customers already snaking around the corner in sweaty pursuit of the $14.95 lobster roll. “It’s an institution. It’s an icon.”

Ms. Cronk said she would not reveal where she stood on the bypass issue because her customers were divided over it. She did, however, say that business has been “fabulous” this season, that Red’s was just written up in a Norwegian newspaper and that her new book, “Red’s Eats: World’s Best Lobster Shack,” written with Virginia Wright, was doing well.

Ms. Beaudoin said that some 25,000 vehicles passed through Wiscasset on peak summer days, compared with roughly 15,000 in the winter, and that the state hoped to move ahead with the bypass project.

“If we walk away today on the basis of Wiscasset’s dislike,” she said, “we are not coming back. We would have such a hard time reinitiating the process and getting through the environmental regulations. It’s not getting any easier, and the money is getting scarcer.”

Shopkeepers on Main Street, as U.S. 1 is known in town, are as divided as everyone else on the bypass. Some think it would hurt business to divert traffic around the town; others, like Robert Snyder, an owner of American Antiques & Folk Art, said it would save Wiscasset.

“We want people to come to town,” Mr. Snyder said, “but we also want the right kind of business. Nobody wants more and more and more tourists. Nobody would benefit from that — except maybe Red’s.”

Even Red’s customers, he posited, must not like “sitting there and getting truck exhaust blown in their face.” The shack is too tiny for indoor seating, so diners eat at picnic tables out back or stand on the street — a less attractive option not only because of traffic, but because precious bits of lobster might tumble to the ground.

Ms. Beaudoin said a completed bypass was 10 years away at the very least. Mr. Snyder said he no longer expected to see it in his lifetime, and Mr. Rafter, whose mother asked that her ashes be driven across the bypass once it was built, has wondered whether his own children will have to do him the same favor.

Outside Red’s, some who waited in lines of up to an hour this week said they would keep coming regardless of whether a bypass someday diverts drivers around town. Patrick McMenemy of Saco, Me., said he could not help stopping every time he passed through.

“You figure if the lines are that long,” he said, “it has to be good.”

Other Narrow Gauge / South Africa steam derailment
« on: June 21, 2010, 10:44:21 AM »
Relayed from Australia this morning. A steam excursion train in South Africa was derailed, apparently by vandals, yesterday. No injuries to crew or passengers, but the photos are pretty scary. Here's a link: and

General Discussion / HIJACKED!!
« on: May 23, 2010, 07:43:40 AM »
Greetings to all --

My Hotmail e-mail address, K4s1361(at)hotmail(dot)com, was hijacked on Friday and is no longer under my control. If any of you receive messages from that address after Friday, immediately delete them as they are phishing expeditions. I am changing my profile to include a new and improved e-mail address, so if you need to reach me, send me a PM here and I'll reply.

I apologize for any inconvenience.

Wayne Laepple

While in Maine for the Spring Track Meet, I purchased "Narrow Gauge in the Sheepscot Valley," Vol. 6, Passenger Cars. I have been studying the photos and drawings in this book, and last evening something suddenly struck me about the lovely little no. 6, "Taconnet," later renumbered 2. Several of the later pictures of this car, whether it's shown in the "grey primer" or boxcar red, seem to depict the windows in the passenger compartment with what appear to be horizontal boards nailed across the openings inside the car. Even the end door on that end received the slats across the glass.

Having seen similar treatment to an old combine on a southern short line, modifications to which were made for use in express service, I now raise this question: by the time these pictures were taken, from about 1930 on, had no. 6/2 been relegated to express service only? Further proof is that the seatbacks are not visible in photos from outside the car, leading me to believe the seats may be gone. It also appears that the RPO compartment may gone as well, as the only interior photo includes the stove which was situated between the RPO and passenger compartments. Perhaps the grey primer in which it appears in a few photos was applied after the car was modified to carry something other than humans and before the final boxcar red paint. The only two in-service photos of the car both show it in the company of RPO/coach no. 7, which may add credence to my theory.

Anybody have any thoughts on this?

Museum Discussion / Clear Cutting for Parking Lot
« on: April 02, 2010, 02:19:04 PM »
[My March-April newsletter] arrived intact in central Pennsylvania today.

I must say Mike's photo of the clear-cut on the Boudin property is somewhat of a shock to the system!

Cheers -- Wayne

Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad / Stephen Hussar's latest work
« on: February 16, 2010, 10:48:36 PM »
Let me take this opportunity to plug the latest dvd produced by our own Stephen Hussar through his Preservation Media company. "The Sandy River Line" is a 50-minute program of wonderful views of the Sandy River Line filmed in the years prior to its abandonment by Newell Martin and Thomas T. Taber. These films are, for the most part, very sharp images, lovingly transfered to dvd format by Steve and his team, with very tasteful and perfectly synchronized sound effects added. I hasten to say the sound is very natural and does not in any way intrude upon one's enjoyment of the scenes.

In addition to scenes around Strong and Phillips, we visit Carabassett, Kingfield and Farmington, and even get to see the railroad in action during the winter. There are also scenes of the two home-built railbuses in service. Martin's thoughtful captioning of scenes is included. The Preservation Media folks even digitally manipulated some scenes that were out of whack due to a camera malfunction all those years ago so that we can enjoy them.
If you're at all interested in the Sandy River, you need to add this dvd to your library.   

General Discussion / steam machinery show
« on: January 21, 2010, 06:30:40 PM »
Here are some great photos of a steam show in Meridian, Mississippi, including some views of a great old "flapping belt factory" machine shop and foundry. Wouldn't it be cool to someday hold an event like this along the WW&F?

UK (Welsh, British) Two Footers / Coal Trouble for Brecon Mountan
« on: September 23, 2009, 05:14:11 PM »
Here's a link to another story concerning the Brecon Mountain Railway:

Incidentally, their very complete shop is now restoring an 1898 Baldwin 2-6-0 from Brazil and also building replicas of Sandy River no. 10 and no. 23.

Museum Discussion / preservation and hokum
« on: December 20, 2008, 12:42:19 PM »
I'm posting this commentary by the executive director of the Nevada Northern Railway Museum in Ely, Nevada. If you take the time to read and think about what he's got to say, I think you'll agree there are some ideas we might want to adopt for the WW&F. I'm not suggesting train robberies or Thomas events, but there are things we can do within the context of our little railroad to get more visitors and more of their money to support our primary interest in rebuilding and preserving the heritage of the WW&F.

I've got my asbestos suit ready. Here's the link:

Museum Discussion / Top of the Mountain
« on: December 15, 2008, 10:31:11 PM »
In the Department of For What It's Worth, I think when track reaches Top of the Mountain, we're at a logical stopping point, or at least a place where we can pause for a year or two. That hiatus will give us time to repair the landslide, figure out how to bridge Carlton Brook, what we're going to do when we reach Route 218, etc., etc. We'll also be able to turn our attention to development of the next phase of the Sheepscot terminal area.

The run to Top of the Mountain will be about 2.5 miles each way, a good trip for a one-hour turn, and there are ways to get an engine from the north end of the train to the south end using the single-end siding, without endangering life and limb.

US Two Footers / New Hampshire two-footer
« on: December 12, 2008, 06:47:18 PM »
What ever happened to the two-footer in New Hampshire that was a victim of a building collapse last winter? At one point the owner was trying to sell everything. And why can't I remember its name?

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