Author Topic: A few stories ...  (Read 278969 times)

Wayne Laepple

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #270 on: September 14, 2014, 11:32:16 AM »
My wife's grandfather, Harry Ray Kiner, was a Pennsylvania Railroad engineman who hired in 1916 and retired in 1958. Some 30 years ago or so, he gave me a book he had picked up somewhere, "The Engineer's Encyclopedia," published in 1892. I was browsing through it recently, looking for information on vacuum brakes, when I found the following, which made me chuckle.

"The cowcatcher takes the place of the rail guard on British locomotives, but it is more formidable in its character, as it can remove quadrupeds straying upon the line, and with the train going at 30 miles an hour it does so safely and with very little ceremony."

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #271 on: September 15, 2014, 09:21:42 AM »
Story #105   Uh-Oh -

Last weeks BikeMaine event brought a good number of visitors to the museum.  Quite a few rode the steam train and a number rode the railcar.  The Model T was over on the north yard spur and visitors boarded next to the coal pocket. I ran the railcar for a while that day and had about 30 riders during the event.  Late morning a man and woman came over for a ride and I invited them to have a seat.  I explained where we would be going (we operated to the mainline switch and back) and then cranked the engine.  As sometimes happens, it didn't start on the first try.  The lady said "uh-oh, looks like we're not going anywhere"  I laughed a bit and then replied "well, hold on a minute, there's more to starting older engines".  I explained that older engines won't start like todays electronic ignition equipped engines, some adjustments are needed.  I showed them the choke and fuel mixture knob, reset them a bit and cranked again.  The T roared to life and the lady applauded.  The fellow said "life must have been a bit slower back then".  I applied the clutch and the railcar started moving, clanking over the rail joints.  At that point I thought I did pretty well explaining antique machinery.  As we moved up towards the first curve, the lady looked over at #10 and asked "how long does it take to start that engine?"  
« Last Edit: July 21, 2016, 08:43:54 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine »

Stephen Piwowarski

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #272 on: September 16, 2014, 09:05:23 AM »
The Fiddler

A couple of weeks ago Annie and I made the hour and a half trek across the Green Mountains to Bethel, VT where I had to pick up a couple of instruments being repaired at the music store there. The whole route there was filled with construction so we decided to take another route home, going instead through Barnard, VT.
While at the general store there, we saw an ad up for a fiddle concert by the "Man from Vermont", Charles Ross Taggart, and best of all it was free.
Now those of you in the know about fiddle music are probably quite surprised because Taggart's been dead over 60 years! In fact he passed up in Kents Hill, just outside Augusta. Not to be dissuaded from a free concert by the performers unfortunate demise, we pushed on to the one room school house where the concert was to be held.
As we arrived we could see quite a crowd had already developed and we were in fact the last to come in before the concert began. The musical selections were entertaining and lively and the humor which interjected and sometimes was the musical numbers provided great entertainment. As it turned out Taggart hadn't come back from the dead. Rather he was being impersonated by a historian and fiddler named Adam Boyce who has written an excellent book about him.
In talking to Boyce after the concert it turns out he has been up to the Alna because the area is, as he described it, "a hotbed of Taggart information". He has been to the railway and asked if the railcar was ready to go. I explained that it was. I also mused that Taggart may have ridden the WW&F at some point in his career to get to an event. I thought it would be neat if he came back to ride with us as Taggart!

Here is his page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Man-from-Vermont-Charles-Ross-Taggart-The-Old-Country-Fiddler/144535445755513?fref=ts
and a sample of "original" Taggart work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2PnbZi1KJ8

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #273 on: September 21, 2014, 07:14:48 PM »
Story #107   Spur of the Moment -

Steam powered the passenger trains last weekend and the railcar made a number of trips as the second section of the train.  The 12:30 train returned to Sheepscot and Gordon stopped #10 over the ash pit so the fire could be cleaned and the engine checked.  The stop allows time for the crew to check the engine and wait for the railcar to return.  The railcar operates over the same yard lead that #10 uses to run around the train so the locomotive has to wait for RC4 to get in the clear.  Well, the return of the railcar was later than normal that time.  #10 needed water but couldn't get to the tank because the railcar would be running past the tank when it arrived.  

I was operating the railcar and Brendan was riding with me.  Noting the time we decided to make a new move and divert into the north yard spur.  We stopped near the switch and signaled #10's crew that we were diverting into the spur.  Brendan lined the switch and we we ran in, stopping to throw the switch back to the main.  We explained to the passengers what we were doing and they were happy to ride on new track.   Gordon took #10 right out to the tank for a much needed drink while we ran down to the end of the spur.  The passengers detrained and thanked us for the ride.  We then did another new thing and turned the railcar at the end of the spur. The turning operation was interesting since the unballasted track sits higher than the older yard tracks so we had to push the car around, reaching higher in the air.  

With the railcar safely turned and #10 filled and dropping down to get the train, we were happy to have solved a problem.   Standing there looking at the railcar we thought "use of the roundhouse spur can only get better!"  
« Last Edit: July 21, 2016, 08:51:54 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine »

Philip Marshall

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #274 on: September 22, 2014, 02:25:50 AM »
Great story, Stewart! It's an exciting time on the WW&F.

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #275 on: October 22, 2014, 09:32:14 PM »
Story #108   DEM & REP -

With another election season upon us I'm reminded of something Harry said years ago.  He was talking to some visitors and one of them asked about making donations to the museum.  The question was along the lines of how funds are used.  Harry in his interesting way said "Well, it's like DEM and REP"  then he paused and kicked the dirt as he did sometimes during conversation.  He continued "It's not political parties ... but how we use donations".  He went on to explain that at the museum we operate with DEM: Depression Era Mentality which means we save anything we may use in the next 10+ years.  We also take care of what we have, making it last as long as possible.  He added that REP stands for repairing what we can so we won't spend money on something new.  One of the guests gave Harry a donation and said "That's one of the best explanations I've ever heard!"

Today, most museum volunteers don't remember the Great Depression like Harry did but we still live by his creed of DEM and REP.    
« Last Edit: July 21, 2016, 08:53:51 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine »

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #276 on: November 26, 2014, 07:36:00 PM »
Story #109   Phenomenal -

This weeks steam test on locomotive 9 caused quite a stir.  The work of our restoration crew is making news with good reason.  With Jasons' careful planning and the dedicated shop crew, the test went well.  Nowhere is the attention paid to the progress more apparent than on line.  The facebook chatter has been amazing and the steam test post has gotten a record number of views. There were a couple hundred comments made by viewers on the main page and all through the photo pages.  Here are a few that represent the thoughts expressed by  WW&F fans the world over:

* Congratulations on a major accomplishment from all of us at the Puffing Billy RR in Belgrave, Austrailia.

* Hats off to the crew for bringing her back to life! Well done.

* She lives!  A great day for the WW&F!

* Looking forward to making a trip to Maine once it's running again.  I love Forneys.

* Fantastic news!

* Congratulations from the Sumpter Valley!

* What an historic event, you guys are top shelf!

* Just incredible.  All of this dedicated talent.  Not because they have to but because they want to. Nothing short of amazing. How fortunate we are, Thank you gentlemen ... all!

* Awesome!!!!!!

* Absolutely amazing.  Very nice to see such beautiful pictures.

* This is a beautiful set of photos of a great event.  I see more details every time I page through them!  Thanks for all your hard work.

* Marvelous news!

* I like the idea of a foot pedal blow down valve ...

* Well done gentlemen.  Welcome to a very rare group.

* Congratulations!  Amazing amount of work to get to this point.  You all must be so proud.

* Miss Alice Ramsdell is smiling down on this project.  Thanks to the entire team for all of your hard work and making her dream of seeing this engine run again one step closer to reality.

* Jason's comment:  "Thanks to a great crew, not only today but throughout this project ... this project defines group effort! We've got a little way to go but we are getting close."
« Last Edit: July 21, 2016, 09:01:58 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine »

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #277 on: December 21, 2014, 09:18:13 AM »
Story #110   High and Low Tech -

Yesterday a couple was warming themselves by the bonfire at Alna Center.  The lady commented on how nice the event was and the fellow mentioned that he wished that there was more snow.  I replied that a week earlier there had been a snow storm on Saturday but the rain washed it away.  The lady said "I bet that made for some nice pictures".  I said "yes, there are some on our facebook page".  The fellow got out his iphone and pulled up the museums fb page to see the mixed train post from last Saturday.  He smiled and said "looks a bit colder!"  and showed the photos to his wife.  The couple next to them heard his comments and asked to see the photos too.  The second lady said "pretty but I'll take today" which brought laughter from all of us.

Around lunch time a family came to Sheepscot to ride the train.  They entered the gift shop and spoke to Cindy who was working behind the counter.  The lady handed a Cindy a wax paper bundle and said "here's a batch of cookies for you"  Cindy thanked the lady for the gift and the lady replied "Oh they're not from us, we were at the Alna Store and store owner Amy heard that we were coming here so she gave us the cookies to deliver".  Cindy thanked the visitors for bringing the cookies and then telephoned the store to thank Amy for baking them.  

Narrow Gauge life in a small town ...  
« Last Edit: July 21, 2016, 09:03:55 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine »

Richard "Steam" Symmes

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #278 on: December 21, 2014, 09:10:37 PM »
We just happened to be in the gift shop as those cookies arrived. They were still warm from the oven! Needless to say, they went very fast.

Richard

James Patten

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #279 on: December 27, 2014, 07:35:27 PM »
A couple came to check us out this afternoon, and they had an English accent.  Turns out they were from Western Australia, and are spending the summer (the Australian summer) here in Maine.

When I asked why, they stated they had never really experienced cold weather before and wanted to do it.  Winter in WA rarely gets below freezing, and summer can get over 100 degrees.  They arrived in October, and have experienced the November storms and power outages.

The husband commented on the Central Maine Power ads that show trucks ready to roll when there's an outage, thinking that the power company would be better served by buried utilities.

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #280 on: December 28, 2014, 05:28:21 PM »
Story #112   Zoom Zoom -

Back on line after a week away, had some nice family time for Christmas.  I hope everyone had a good holiday and that Santa brought  some narrow gauge goodies.  Anyway, I was off the net for a week and I checked the museum's facebook page this afternoon for activity.  Back in April I designed a spread sheet to track hits/views of various posts so we can see what subjects and photos do best.  I fill in the reach numbers each day for posts and track the page likes which fb counts for us.  In going through the most recent posts I compared numbers from last Tuesday with today.  Everything looked normal as I started down the post column.  The Victorian Christmas posts had a couple hundred more views which is pretty good considering holiday travel, etc.  Then I check the MIXED TRAIN post, it had 6,000 additional  people reached.  Wait ... what???  Over 6,000 more views of one post since Tuesday?  I did some digging.  Manager mode on fb allows us to see what photos get the most attention and the people who shared a post or photo.   It also shows how many [liked] the shared post once it is placed on the other person's page.  (Hope this isn't too confusing.)  

In researching the MIXED TRAIN views and shares I found that most of the 6,000+ views were of the Model T railcar which is in the last 3 photos of the set.  Going a page further I saw that most views came from antique automobile club people.  It seems the antique auto folks discovered, liked and shared our railcar photos. It's funny, the RC photos were tacked on the end just for interest. The railcar had nothing to do with the mixed train, it was outside to run the engine (which keeps the bearings oiled) and charge the battery.

Here's a few of the groups that shared the photo(s) and posted comments:  

The Model T Ford Club
J&S Automotive
Texas Transportation Museum
Vintage Car Club of Holland
T Fords of Texas group
Model T Ford Register of Great Britain  

I don't know if anyone on the museum's fb team has thought much about reaching the antique auto clubs through our page but it looks like Leon's beautiful Model T Railcar has gotten a fan base on it's own.  Thanks Leon!    
« Last Edit: July 21, 2016, 09:07:33 AM by Stewart "Start" Rhine »

Stephen Piwowarski

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #281 on: December 31, 2014, 10:30:32 AM »
One of the event ideas I've had is a pre-1934 auto and truck show at the railway. Instead of having all of the cars at Sheepsot, have some at Sheepscot parked by the station and car shop, some at Alna Center, and, with landowner permission of course, some staged at the railway crossings. People could ride the train to see the cars. instead of the typical "walk through a sea of cars", this would be an opportunity to see these autos in their natural setting. Work with antique car clubs to get the word out and perhaps partner with a large one to organize and put on the event. If anything this proves there is a huge market for such an event. I'd be interested in working with someone to make an event like this happen.

Take care,
Steve

Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #282 on: December 31, 2014, 11:38:50 AM »
Hi Steve,

I think this is a good idea.  A solid contact with a Model A or Model T Ford group could give us an idea of how willing the owners would be to do a "scene set up'" along the railroad and how many may attend. They should know that they may be traveling and parking on dirt roads.  Land owner permission should be fairly easy to get for some of the crossings. 

Of course there are other groups of people who have pre 1932-'33 autos and trucks like the AACA but they often attend judged events.  The  Ford groups are a good place to start since they are the largest and we see them on Rt 1 in Wiscasset each year.  I have been involved in antique auto shows for decades and people who have antique vehicles like showing them but they need a good incentive to attend.  If the venue looks like fun and it's a safe, clean place they will show up. 

As an aside, recent facebook activity has brought a new group to our attention.  They are the "Model AA Ford Truck Lovers" group.  One of the WW&F facebook team members has joined and can make posts to the page.  We are planning a photo shoot with the railroads' 1930 AA truck and will post a photo essay on the Ford page soon.  There may be a photo or two of the Model T railcar and a shot of #10 thrown in.  This will bring the WW&F to the attention of the 1,500 members of the AA truck group.

Happy New Year everyone!

Ira Schreiber

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #283 on: December 31, 2014, 07:17:02 PM »
Now if the WW&F had owned a Studebaker.............

John Kokas

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Re: A few stories ...
« Reply #284 on: December 31, 2014, 07:27:36 PM »
A real eye catcher would be a Ford AA truck for 2ft, ala an RGS Galloping Goose !!  ;)
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