Author Topic: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*  (Read 93511 times)

Mike Fox

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #60 on: February 20, 2011, 10:16:17 PM »
Here are some Photos Glenn shared with me. Taken this winter.



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Richard "Steam" Symmes

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #61 on: February 26, 2011, 12:41:19 PM »
Terry Harper, it's been a long while since we talked about the EL&WB.  I would dearly love a print of engine #2 standing by the well on the wye track which you posted here.  That's only the second photo of one of the engines in operation there that I've ever seen.

Please let me know how to arrange to get a print of that.  My snail mail address is:
Richard W. Symmes
16 Frankwood Ave.
Beverly, MA 01915

email me at:   ellis1947@comcast.net

Thanks for sharing all this terrific material.

Richard Symmes

Terry Harper

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #62 on: March 03, 2011, 07:55:20 PM »
Mike,

Here is a vintage photo taken from the north west. You can clearly see the double doors. There is only one set. No.1 was positioned tight to the south walls of the shed. There is no way both engine could have used the same door.

If you look carefully you can see No. 1 sitting behind the shed.

The building to the left housed the steam donkey engine they used to shift the cars beneath the conveyors via a cable and pulley setup. This saved fuel and the clutch on the Plymouth.



Here is the complete photo - note the conveyors etc.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2011, 08:04:12 PM by Terry Harper »

Ed Deere

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #63 on: March 04, 2011, 06:21:45 AM »
     Very interesting photo. This is an angle I have not seen before, nor have I ever seen the shed. It clearly does not have a door on the right hand side were number 1 sits today. Also the shed looks to be the same age as the other structures in the photo. Ruling out the fact that perhaps #1 was boxed in at a later date from this end.  And looks like operations are still going on. On my computer I am hard put to see much more than silhouette of a locomotive behind the shed.

Ed

Mike Fox

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #64 on: March 04, 2011, 06:05:00 PM »
Thanks Terry. Great shots. Now I am still curious as to when the shed was boarded in. I have seen photos where the end wall is missing and you can see both locomotives (long after abandonment). I don't recall if there was a post in between the bays or even how the wall was built. I will have to dig and report my findings.

Thanks for keeping this going. A very interesting and facinating piece of Maine history.
Mike
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Terry Harper

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #65 on: March 05, 2011, 09:05:34 AM »
Here is another photo tken just before abandonment (Sept. 1933) During that last season only 24 trains were hauled to Umbazooksus.

This is looking directly south from the lake. Note the two conveyors middle as well as the shelter for the donkey engine. (far right) Also notice the third conveyor (far left) has been removed - only the shelter for its Fairbanks-Morse diesel remains. Two of these diesels survive at Churchill.

Also, again looking closely - No. 1 sitting behind the shed.

« Last Edit: March 05, 2011, 09:43:50 AM by Terry Harper »

Richard "Steam" Symmes

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #66 on: March 07, 2011, 11:15:45 AM »
So, short of levitation by space aliens in the Allagash woods, how did #1 end up where it is if there were no doors on the enginehouse on that side?  What are the most popular theories?  Enquiring minds want to know!

Richard Symmes

Terry Harper

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #67 on: March 07, 2011, 01:18:12 PM »
Richard,

No. 1 was a problem child. In fact there is correspondence between Lacroix and the General Equipment Company, from whom they purchased the locomotive, accusing them of purchasing the locomotive from its previous owner (Grasse River) for scrap value and palming it onto Lacroix for a nice profit. They of course denied it

Pipes were clogged, flues leaked, linkages were rusted solid, tires were flat spotted, (we found a tubular ring used with acetylene to heat tires for expanding and fitting) and one manifold pipe to the steam chest leaked badly. (at least one of these pipes is still on-site) In fact there is some doubt as to wether the Grasse River even ran this locomotive after they purchased it from the Potato Creek. Again, Lacroix's men were not railroad men. The price was right so Lacroix bought it. Sort of like me buying a used nuclear reactor. In fact, the records show that over 60% of the total lost time due to locomotive malfunction from August 1927 through Sept. 1933 was tallied-up by No. 1 in that first brief 1927 season! :o

One source states that Lacroix was offered two MEC locomotives used on the Kineo branch (formally Someset railroad) However, I have doubts about this. I do have a letter from the MEC comparing two Kineo branch locomotives to Lacroix's and listing fuel consumption. - Lacroix was obsessed with fuel consumption. In fact there is a letter where he complained about one engineer using 16 gallons per trip more than another! Eventually the MEC sent an engineer with oil burner experience to the EL&WB to teach them how to be more fuel efficent. He in fact burned more oil than Lacroix's worst engineer.

Once No. 2 arrived in March of 1928 the incidences of locomotive malfunctions decreased dramaticly. Admittedly in 1928 Lacroix cut back from a 24 hour schedule (General Equipment cited over-use and lack of maintence to blame for the breakdowns) to insisting on a minimum of 5 trains per day wether it took 8 hours or 15. This of course colors the data.

Does this mean No. 1 was never used again? No. According to Edwin Robichaud (former employee) No. 1 became the spare. Unfortunatly the records do not distinquish between the locomotives so we don't know how often it was called back into service.  We know it was still in use in 1928 because there is a letter stating that they changed-out the burner unit for the same type used in No. 2.

I think at the close of the operation No. 1 was pretty much dead. However they still considered it valuable enough to move into the shed. I suspect they installed a temporary switch behind No. 2 and removed it afterwords. Again, this is speculation with no hard proof.

To add more confusion, the engine house shown in the previously posted photos from 1933 is not the original. Photo's from 1927 and the March, 1927 alignment drawing (see below) shows it located on the other side of the Tramway with only one lead track. This provides support for my theory that No. 2 was an emergency purchase and that Lacroix's original, albiet, nieve plan was to have only one locomotive - No. 1

Best regards,

Terry Harper







« Last Edit: March 07, 2011, 02:23:52 PM by Terry Harper »

Mike Fox

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #68 on: March 07, 2011, 03:48:16 PM »
Very nice stuff Terry. Interesting as well. Plenty of questions as to why they did what they did. You seem to have a lot of answers to a lot of the puzzling questions. Thanks again for keeping this thread going.
Mike
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Richard "Steam" Symmes

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #69 on: March 08, 2011, 08:36:09 AM »
Thanks Terry,

I guess we may never know all the answers to these mysteries. But you sure have more of them than anyone else I've known.  Have you considered publishing a book on the EL&WB? If not, I wish you would, as I'm sure do many other people.

Thanks for sharing all your knowledge.

Richard Symmes

Stephen Hussar

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #70 on: March 09, 2011, 08:08:40 AM »
I proposed a documentary about this to PBS in 1983, which obviously never got off the ground. But I didn't know Terry then! Maybe now is the time?

Terry Harper

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #71 on: March 09, 2011, 10:07:27 AM »
Hello Stephen,

Back during the stabilization project I did a segment for MPBN 's "True North" It was a short interview mostly concerned with the project. I also did one for WBLZ(?) out of Boston. The "Oh my gosh!!" (caught on tape) from the camera crew and host as we rounded the corner and they saw the locomotives for the first time was worth the effort.

It would make an intersting documentary - not only in regards to the railroad etc. but to the culture and people that surrounded it. Here, isolated from the rest of the state, and all but forgotten, a small community with family's, a school, etc grew, thrived and died. It was indeed like a Quebec village dropped in middle of the Maine woods. It is Maine's version of a ghost town.

When the operation shut-down some drifted back to Quebec many filtered to places such as Lewiston, Waterville etc. with strong Franco-American comunities.

While most if not all the parents who lived and worked there are gone - many of the children who grew up there are indeed still alive and have interesting family stories to tell.










John McNamara

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #72 on: March 09, 2011, 08:37:24 PM »
Some friends of mine and I visited the locomotives a few years ago. Although we were on a canoe trip, we approached from the west (land) side. While seeing some rails here and there suggests what's coming, it is still a thrilling "oh my gosh" moment to come upon the locomotives! I won't forget it!

-John

Mike Fox

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #73 on: March 09, 2011, 09:12:21 PM »
Look at this angle. May need to zoom out once to see them.

http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=h&ll=46.322245,-69.376109&spn=0.002608,0.007328&z=17
« Last Edit: March 09, 2011, 09:16:43 PM by Mike Fox »
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Duncan Mackiewicz

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Re: Eagle Lake & West Branch *PICS*
« Reply #74 on: March 10, 2011, 04:09:55 PM »
A fellow I have worked with for many years routinely hikes the back woods of Maine. He approached me a few years back with a tale of two locomotives leaning heavily in a clearing he came across while paddling and hiking in that area. Please undestand he has no interest in trains but he said pretty much the same thing John said. He approached from the water side and was initially interested (what?, why?)in the remains of the log-dump trestle. After he put in, he found the locos and was dumb-struck seeing them there in the middle of nowhere. He then found the remains of the tramway and other odds and ends of equipment. However, he was ever the good friend and took a number of pics of the assortment of train-related relics so that he could share it all with me. Through my due diligence and my many friends at the WW&F I was able to enlighten my friend with the details he was missing. He still has no interest in trains though.