Author Topic: Why weren't the 2-6-2's preseved?  (Read 32933 times)

Steve Klare

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Re: Why weren't the 2-6-2's preseved?
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2008, 10:33:08 PM »
It's true: all it would have taken was $250 a pop to save every one of the SR&RL Baldwins (an O-scale brass model of one cost more than that 50 years later...), but it's a sign of how tight money was that Linwood Moody (maybe the greatest Maine Narrow Gauge fan ever to live..) had to stand by and watch it happen without saving even one.

You have to think of it this way: Let's say you're a running-around kind of guy who gets a chance to buy SR&RL #24. OK, first you need the equivalent of many thousands of 2008 dollars even to start. Excellent! Now you own this machine that's over 40 feet long (including tender) and weighs over 50,000 Lbs. If you live anywhere but Phillips, you need to truck this immense thing to where you need it. OK, now you have your 50,000+ pound locomotive in your driveway, you have to park the DeSoto in the street because the tender is against the garage door and the pilot is hanging over the sidewalk, your neighbors are really cheezed at you...now what? You still have no railroad to run it on, and even if you do where are your shop facilities and undercover storage. Of course it would be nice to have some cars.

-no wonder there were no takers! (Imagine running this one past the wife?!!)

The best bet for saving any of these engines pre-Edaville were the other two foot gauge lines, but at the time the B&H and Monson were both strapped for cash and if anything needed lighter, more economical engines and not bigger ones.

Still: would have been nice if one of the Sandy River towns had bought one for a park engine, but then again the municipal governments were hurting for money too and worried about things like keeping the roads and buildings in shape on less money. Besides: steam and narrow gauge were still common and not so special yet.


« Last Edit: December 01, 2008, 11:05:15 PM by Steve Klare »

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: Why weren't the 2-6-2's preseved?
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2008, 03:54:16 PM »
Steve makes good points.  The key to why things happened as they did is the era of the Great Depression.  It had a drastic affect on people and businesses in the 1930's.   Many were out of work and banks and businesses failed.  My parents never got over what they went through during the Depression, it affected their financial decisions well into this century. 

It may help to study the Depression or watch re-runs of the Waltons TV show but it will never take the place of talking to those who lived through it.  The 1930's were especially hard on shortline and narrow gauge railroads.  The down turn in the  economy plus improvements in roads and motor trucks had an impact on the railroads ability to earn a living.  People invest money in railroads to get dividends back from the operation of the line.   When the railroad stops earning enough money to pay for it's operation it has to borrow money or stop running.  When it stops running the owners then ask for the railroad to be sold to get all or some of their money back.   Selling things to a scrap man is usually the best way to get money back.  Narrow gauge equipment had less of a market than standard gauge equipment so in some ways we are lucky to have 5 original Maine two foot locomotives.  Of course the B&SR and Monson ran into the 1940's but there were scrap drives during World War II. Thank goodness Mr Atwood purchased (directly or eventually) Monson 3 and 4 and B&H 7 and 8 and Miss Alice protected our engine 9 in CT for nearly 60 years.  These are unique cases.

It would have been great to have SR&RL 24 survive the Great Depression and WW II but only a wealthy person could have pulled it off.  Folks who had extra folding money between the two big wars were few and far between.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2008, 05:16:47 PM by Stewart Rhine »

Steve Klare

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Re: Why weren't the 2-6-2's preseved?
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2008, 10:58:03 PM »
I think if somebody wanted to build a hobby railroad around the time the SR&RL and the others were scrapped, they would be much more likely to go for a nice little Porter 0-4-0T or a Plymouth Switcher than the engines from the Maine Roads. For the gauge of track, these were big trains: they needed pretty heavy duty track and large radius curves. They were designed for hauling heavy trains for long distances at pretty decent speeds: way overkill for somebody wanting to have 2 or 300 feet of track out back.

-Fortunately Ellis Atwood was the exception to the rule in this case. 10 years later it could just have easily have been Walt Disney, but by then it was too late.

I don't think it was such a big deal that they were from the Maine Two Footers back before the scrappings either. The two footers became much more famous because of Edaville and that's why their stories were written down in the fifties and the sixties. Back in the day they were more a bunch of odd shortline railroads off in the woods. When Moody went looking for them, he heard about them by word of mouth: there was very little information available.

There was Federal Writers Project during the Depression where each State got it's own motor travel guide. If you look in the Maine guide under Redington, it says something like this: "At Redington we cross an old narrow gauge railroad, no longer in use. The railroad was used for hauling lumber, the small engine being capable of hauling 20 cars".  In our time: the famous Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes, back then, not even important enough to have a name. 


« Last Edit: December 03, 2008, 11:04:39 PM by Steve Klare »

Wayne Laepple

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Re: Why weren't the 2-6-2's preseved?
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2008, 11:28:21 PM »
I believe it was economist and rail historian George W. Hilton who once remarked that "interest in railroads is inversely proportional to their importance." He could certainly have been speaking of the Maine two-footers.

Please note, too, that in the midst of the Great Depression, when old no. 24 was purchased from the scrapper for $250, many people were out of work and had no income at all. And many of those who were working were earning less than $10 a day. My father-in-law started working as a track laborer for the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1938 at 68.5 cents per hour! He would have had to work for nine weeks to earn enough to buy no. 24, providing he didn't spend a cent on anything else.

Steve Klare

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Re: Why weren't the 2-6-2's preseved?
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2008, 11:15:01 AM »
The pain of it all is that given the choice of making a couple of dollars in taxes on that shed or forcing Dr. Bell to scrap what was as far as they knew the last SR&RL locomotive they insisted on the tax, and as a result lost #24 and the tax....Suffice it to say there was no Phillips Historical Society in 1937.

Once again, back at the time the two footers weren't the big deal they were to us today, neither was any steam railroad. Probably if you asked most people about having steam engines vs. diesels in town, all they'd say is they hated the soot when they hung laundry outside.  Just as the same as people today romanticize having horse drawn wagons around, yet nobody thinks about the poop!

Matthew Gustafson

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Re: Why weren't the 2-6-2's preseved?
« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2008, 02:35:50 AM »
Does anyone have any photos of #24's state when it was purchase from the SR&RL from the railfan who purchase it? ??? ::) :D ;D
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Steve Klare

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Re: Why weren't the 2-6-2's preseved?
« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2008, 09:09:25 AM »
She was actually in pretty decent appearance when she was sold. She'd gotten a repaint in 1933 when the line came back from a couple of months of dormancy to take one last shot at it.

Mechanically? Probably the best possible given the circumstances....

I have her in brass in O-scale painted as delivered. She's such a beautiful engine I just couldn't have her painted weathered. I just pretended she'd been recently shopped.

Matthew Gustafson

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Re: Why weren't the 2-6-2's preseved?
« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2008, 03:11:11 PM »
If only the blueprints surived to we could have then tryed to replicate WW&F 2-6-2 #6 which is similar to SR&RL 2-6-2 #23 & #24!  :(
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Zak LaRoza

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Re: Why weren't the 2-6-2's preseved?
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2010, 04:23:31 PM »
If I had a time machine, I'd go back in time and buy #18, #17, and #9.

James Patten

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Re: Why weren't the 2-6-2's preseved?
« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2010, 07:38:54 PM »
I think if we had a time machine we'd all go back and preserve everything we could.

Wayne Laepple

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Re: Why weren't the 2-6-2's preseved?
« Reply #25 on: October 26, 2010, 08:21:40 PM »
The average annual salary in 1935 was $1,500. That's $30 a week. Not gonna buy too many locomotives at that rate, even those that sold for $350 for scrap! Unless we can figure out how to take 2010 cash back in the time machine.....

Zak LaRoza

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Re: Why weren't the 2-6-2's preseved?
« Reply #26 on: October 27, 2010, 09:42:09 AM »
I think if we had a time machine we'd all go back and preserve everything we could.

I said #18, #17, and #9 because if I had a time machine, I probably wouldn't be able to buy everything. Besides, those three would be really practical for a tourist railroad, (As great as #10 and #23 were, they're just too heavy for a upstart tourist line). Believe me, I'd love to buy all of them if I could.

Ed Lecuyer

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Re: Why weren't the 2-6-2's preseved?
« Reply #27 on: October 27, 2010, 09:54:05 AM »
Not to put too much of a damper on this thread...
But I'm not sure time machine travel has too much relevancy to the forum.

Besides, we all know that Sierra #3/Back to the Future locomotive was standard gauge.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2010, 10:32:19 AM by Ed Lecuyer »
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James Patten

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Re: Why weren't the 2-6-2's preseved?
« Reply #28 on: October 27, 2010, 10:25:06 AM »
Besides, we all know that Sierra #3/Back to the Future locomotive was standard gauge.

No problem - the Rockland Branch isn't too far away!   ;D

Zak LaRoza

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Re: Why weren't the 2-6-2's preseved?
« Reply #29 on: November 17, 2010, 11:49:54 AM »
I do think that there are blueprints for Sandy River #9, and I think there's a technical drawing (Not sure if it's a blueprint) of #24 in Maine Two-footers.