Author Topic: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*  (Read 94973 times)

Terry Harper

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2010, 08:41:26 PM »
Stephen,

Unfortunatly the story of the locomotives being hauled in over the lakes has been told so often and for so long its become fact to most folks. Its totally un-substantiated.

The first I heard of them being hauled overland (through the woods) was via Edwin Robichaud (deceased) Edwin's Great Uncle worked as camp cook at Tramway and Ed and his brother spent summer's there. His ealiest recollection is of carrying lunch to the crews swamping and grading the line. Later he went on the payroll. We had a long corrospondence until his death. Anyway - when I asked him about hauling the locomotives over the ice he was emphatic that they never traveled an inch over the lakes. In fact he drew a neat map showing the route.

Later we substantiated his claim both on the ground and with ancidotal evidence and photographs. In fact, today you can still walk and see traces of thier route. One of Edwins jobs was transfering oil from the tank sleds to the big storage tanks. He talked about the Lombards hauiling oil and how you could hear them as they rounded the corner at the outlet of Russell Brook. Again this serves as additional evidence that the route was overland.

One thing to remember is that all the rail, pulpcars, oil everything had to be hauled overland in the winter. Lacroix used this route to move everything. In fact Edwin talked of riding a big workhorse over the trail to Churchill on ocassion during the summer. So with this in mind one has to ask the question why construct an overland route if you can haul across the ice? Simple - a good haulroad will remain usable longer and is of course safer than a series of lakes with open water at the narrows. You also must remember that the big 2-8-0 didn't arrive at Tramway till late March. In fact the day after it arrived it began to rain and the roads became impassable.

Another myth is the passing siding at Ellis Brook. I have the orginal alignment plan/profiles (and original blueprints for the Allagash Stream trestle) - other than the two sidings at the top of the grade coming out of tramway there are none shown. In fact when we counted all the pulpcars we came up with 45. That means 15 being unloaded, 15 in transit and 15 being loaded. (average train was 12-15 cars) Needless to say that means only one locomotive at a time. In addition the production records bear this out as well.
Mr. Robichaud also refuted this claim and was insistent that the only thing at Ellis Brook was the trestle, a hovel and bunkhouse used when they built the line. Oh yes, and the Vikery family who lived down near the mouth of the brook.

The story of the Eagle Lake & West Branch railroad is absolutly fascinating. My first exposure to it was a story penned by Jim Shaugnessy. At the time I thought - Thats it? There's no more information? Little did I know the path that question would lead me down.

Terry Harper

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2010, 08:45:54 PM »

[/quote]
Ed, Eagle Lake No.1 was never a NYC engine, it was built in 1897 by the Schenectady Locomotive Works for the Chicago, Hammond and Western.
Keith
[/quote]

The Chicago, Hammond & Western became part of the Indiana Harbor Belt which was part of the NYC. In fact the flag holders on No. 1 (the 4-6-0) are marked as Mohawk and Hudson Railroad.

Terry Harper

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2010, 08:55:30 PM »
Very Grainy photo from a Quebec newspaper showing boiler of No. 2 in a compromising position during the move to Tramway.

Ed Deere

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2010, 07:23:33 PM »
Terry---

   With all the knowledge and information you have gathered, a book would be a wonderful thing for you to put together. Even if it mostly a picture book with captions explaining things like the road they made for bring in the equipment, fuel and other supplies. It would be too bad for this information not to be recorded and lost forever.
 

Ed Deere

Terry Harper

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2010, 08:12:23 PM »
Ed,

Belive me the thought has crossed my mind more than once. The problem is I keep finding new info!

Terry Harper

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2010, 08:29:32 PM »
If your interested in Lombards (the beasts used to haul the locomotives to tramway) here is a link to an article I wrote a while back.

http://oldsnowplowequipment.wetpaint.com/page/Lombard+Loghaulers+and+Tractors


Stephen Hussar

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #21 on: July 30, 2010, 07:09:04 AM »
Terry, thanks so much for posting here. Nothing beats being "on the ground" and doing your own research. And I agree, a book would be a very worthwhile endeavor.

Stephen

Keith Taylor

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #22 on: July 30, 2010, 01:50:20 PM »

Ed, Eagle Lake No.1 was never a NYC engine, it was built in 1897 by the Schenectady Locomotive Works for the Chicago, Hammond and Western.
Keith
[/quote]

The Chicago, Hammond & Western became part of the Indiana Harbor Belt which was part of the NYC. In fact the flag holders on No. 1 (the 4-6-0) are marked as Mohawk and Hudson Railroad.
[/quote]
Hi Terry,
The NYC was a majority stock holder in the IHB, but the IHB was not part of the New York Central System. It is still a seperate Class 3 railroad. I'm pretty sure that had the IHB been a part of the NYC, it would have been absorbed in either the Penn Central or Conrail mergers. It is not surprising to find NYC parts on the loco, as heavy repairs may well have been done at a NYC shop. Many shortlines farm out heavy repairs to Class 1 roads. There is a nice history of the IHB at this web page: http://www.dhke.com/ihbarchive/ihbhst.html



Glenn Byron

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2011, 02:48:58 PM »
And YES, I know it's been about six months since this discussion took place, BUT I happen to think it was one of the best posts of 2010.  Last week a few of my Smithfield coffee buddies took the 250+ mile snowmobile trip out of Jackman, Maine to view this FANTASTIC (Their Words) piece of Maine.  Maybe new members of the Discussion Forum did not catch this, others might like a review, and there is plenty of information hidden in the attached links to occupy several hours of winter doledrums. For many of us a trip like this can only be done thru other eyes.  Gosh, it's GREAT to know when we take a ride on the WW&F behind our own #10, we are riding on iron of The Eagle Lake & West Branch.  I've shared this Discussion frequently with folks never before acquainted with our WW&F Museum, and without fail I'm told they enjoyed the trip.  Discussions like this one are a reason our Museum has remained strong in an era when others are failing. And the story goes on: How did they get there?
« Last Edit: January 31, 2011, 09:31:32 AM by Glenn Byron »

Terry Harper

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2011, 08:09:47 AM »
Just an aside concerning the EL&WB rails.

Very, very few of Lacroix's men had ever built or even worked on a railroad before. This lead to a few problems. They purchased rail through the Quebec Central. In due course, in early 1927, five carloads of rail, joint bars, spikes etc. arrived at Lac Frontiere. The gentleman responsible for purchasing the rail noticed that there were three weights from three diffrent mills. Not knowing any better he accepted the order and it was moved by Lombard tractor to Tramway. With the rails loaded on sleds the joint bars ,spikes etc. were piled on the back deck of the tractors to add useful traction. A round trip to Tramway and back by tractor took about 20 hours and burned-up nearly 160 gallons of gasoline per tractor.

Later when rails were changed out (which was very often) it was a nightmare trying to match-up and keep on hand the appropriate joint bars. Rather than follow standard practice (i.e. light rail for sidings etc. and heavy for the mainline) they used alll three weights on the mainline!

The track was laid very hastly and not to a high standard - insufficent ballast, fill's where bridge work should have been, narrow crown. etc. This plus the initial 24 hour schedule led to lots of derailments etc. At one point to combat this Mr. Lessard the supt. shut down the operation for an entire week and placed all available manpower on track and rolling stock maintence.

In 1928 the schedule was altered to a 15 hour day or 5 trains per day minimum rather than the 24 hour schedule.

Your rails do indeed have a bit of history.

Best regards,

Terry Harper



« Last Edit: January 31, 2011, 05:15:48 PM by Terry Harper »

John McNamara

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2011, 10:47:56 AM »
Where on the WW&F was this rail used? I should know, but I've forgotten.

James Patten

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2011, 12:43:06 PM »
I believe the Crooker rail was used from Humason trestle to Trask Crossing.  Fred wrote an article about our rail some years ago.

Terry Harper

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2011, 12:56:22 PM »
I can see the sign now "Your are now riding the rails of the EL&WB" ;D

Mike Fox

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2011, 06:41:31 PM »
Glad to know the rails we aren't the first with the joint bar problem. Joint bars. We have a pile of joint bars. Don't fit anything we are using, but we have a pile of them.
Mike
Doing way too much to list...

Jason M Lamontagne

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2011, 06:48:28 PM »
I've had the idea for some time to create a map showing the lineage of the rail on our system-- there's a wide and interesting variation.  Through the southern 2/3 of cock-eye curve was guard-rail from the standard gauge trestle in Wiscasset- presumably (though not certainly) it was once main line rail on the Knox and Lincoln RR.  I've also thought the Eagle Lake and West Branch lineage was worth sharing with our visitors.  I wonder the lineage of our rail from Kovalchick Salvage (i.e.- where did he get it from?)...

Jason