Author Topic: Monson's Unique Train Makeup  (Read 9521 times)

Roger Whitney

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Monson's Unique Train Makeup
« on: September 22, 2011, 12:49:19 PM »
Monson’s Unique Train Makeup

        Have you ever noticed that there are a lot of pictures of the Monson engines in the middle of a string of cars?  Especially in the later years of the railroad?  I have always wondered why and I have a theory.
   It is well known that Superintendent Morrill was frequently badgered by the ICC to make modern improvements to the railroad.  Moody mentioned it several times in the chapters on the Monson. “The Monson trainmen seemed to be content no matter how their train was made up”.   However Moody may not have been aware of the ICC vs. Monson Railroad issues. The Monson trainmen may not have been too pleased! Morrill managed to stave off the ICC folks for years and made very few concessions, seemingly able to beat them at their own game.  Harold Morrill was a very smart and shrewd business man!
   As near as I can recall, ICC regulations at the time stated that two-track road crossings had to have either a signal man or some other device other than a sign for the double crossing, but not for one track.  I may be in error here.  I’m sure Allan Fisher could set us straight on that.  The Monson yard had a run-around siding.  But on pages 74, 92 and 125 of the Jones book there are pictures of the run-around cleanly cut to the north edge of Water Street.  I own another picture which verifies the same on the south side of Water Street effectively making two stub end sidings out of what was a run-around.
   My theory was that Morrill cut the siding (basically creating a one-track crossing) in order to beat the ICC….but it also meant that there was no way for the train crews to make up a train in the usual manner (locomotive in front) short of “poleing” especially if they had freight from the quarries.  But “the Monson trainmen seemed to be content” so they just ran to the Jct as is. 
   So back to the Monson yard siding which was cut.  Why else would they have disabled a operationally valuable section of track if it wasn’t for that?  Anyone want to chime in??

James Patten

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Re: Monson's Unique Train Makeup
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2011, 02:42:54 PM »
I've wondered why that the Monson would cut that siding into two separate sidings.  The ICC regs seem to be a good a reason as any.

Wayne Laepple

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Re: Monson's Unique Train Makeup
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2011, 04:15:27 PM »
I've never heard of a federal regulation like that, but there may be a state rule. Here in Pennsylvania, if there are multiple tracks crossing a public roadway, lights and gates are required. When I was railroading, in two different locations, we decided to end runaround tracks short of crossings, even though it would have been better operationally to have them longer, to avoid the requirement for lights and gates. I've also seen one place where the railroad removed the track across the road to avoid the same situation. So it certainly makes sense that Monson's manager would do the same thing.

Ed Lecuyer

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Re: Monson's Unique Train Makeup
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2011, 04:55:32 PM »
Hmm. Somehow I recall a conversation about this being the reason why the run-around at the museum could/should not be extended across Cross Road (in the event we build south towards Wiscaset.)
Ed Lecuyer
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Stewart "Start" Rhine

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Re: Monson's Unique Train Makeup
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2011, 05:05:39 PM »
I heard a reason years ago from someone (maybe Harry?) about the siding being cut at the crossing.  It was along the lines of the town taxing the railroad on the number of rails in town roads so the siding was cut to save money on the yearly tax bill.  Has anyone else heard this reason?  No way to prove unless the old town records exist to support it.

Stewart   

Wayne Laepple

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Re: Monson's Unique Train Makeup
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2011, 06:08:00 PM »
Harry's explanation makes sense. At least here in Pennsylvania, the railroad is responsible for maintaining the roadway from two feet outside the gauge on either side of the crossing. So if there are multiple tracks, that's more road to maintain.

James Patten

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Re: Monson's Unique Train Makeup
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2011, 07:48:48 PM »
Here in Pennsylvania, if there are multiple tracks crossing a public roadway, lights and gates are required.

So how is it that the EBT gets by with nothing guarding their 8? 9? track crossing at Rockhill Furnace in their yard?

Wayne Laepple

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Re: Monson's Unique Train Makeup
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2011, 08:21:47 PM »
James, I believe the East Broad Top's Meadow Street crossing was grandfathered.

John McNamara

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Re: Monson's Unique Train Makeup
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2011, 11:00:13 PM »
I also wonder if stop-and-proceed accompanied by a flagman would circumvent the rule. There is plainly a need to warn people of approaching trains, but the major problem at a multi-track crossing is to avoid the case where a person proceeds over the crossing immediately behind a passing train and into the path of a second train.

I realize that at a typical multi-track crossing protected with flashers (and sometimes gates), there is a sign saying "2 tracks" (or whatever the appropriate number is if greater than 1). For many years, I never understood the purpose of those signs, and I posit that many folks do not. I think there should be an additional sign right underneath that says "2 trains?" The question mark might get people to thinking about the "second train" problem.

-John

Dave Crow

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Re: Monson's Unique Train Makeup
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2011, 07:27:56 AM »
Some modern light-rail systems have a sign that lights up that says "SECOND TRAIN APPROACHING"; several months ago, a 15-year old girl was killed when she stepped out in front of a second train, just after the first one went by.  The lights were still flashing and the gates were still down.

Roger Whitney

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Re: Monson's Unique Train Makeup
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2011, 09:19:39 AM »
Hello Folks!  I was beginning to wonder where everyone was, even though I noticed that a lot of people were reading the blog.  This topic discussion is what I had in mind for this blog.  Topic suggestions, comments, and criticisms are welcome.  If you'd like to contact me privately, my e-mail is rwhitney@svrsu.org.  I'll try to post a new blog every Thursday.  I'm about 2 ahead right now.