Author Topic: Steam and Sleighs makes The Bangor Daily News  (Read 1202 times)

Ed Lecuyer

  • Administrator
  • Superintendent
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,874
    • View Profile
    • wwfry.org
Steam and Sleighs makes The Bangor Daily News
« on: February 10, 2022, 11:00:12 AM »
Ed Lecuyer
Moderator, WW&F Forum

Ed Lecuyer

  • Administrator
  • Superintendent
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,874
    • View Profile
    • wwfry.org
Re: Steam and Sleighs makes The Bangor Daily News
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2022, 11:10:49 AM »
And then this appeared in the Wiscasset Newspaper yesterday...
https://www.wiscassetnewspaper.com/article/wwf-rolls-winter/156726
Ed Lecuyer
Moderator, WW&F Forum

Wayne Laepple

  • Museum Member
  • Yardmaster
  • *******
  • Posts: 2,064
    • View Profile
Re: Steam and Sleighs makes The Bangor Daily News
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2022, 01:30:39 PM »
The Bangor Daily News story is great! Fabulous photos, too. This is the kind of publicity we need.

Thanks also to the Wiscasset Newspaper's coverage of the herculean efforts of our volunteers to keep the railroad open.

Gordon Cook

  • Museum Member
  • Fireman
  • ****
  • Posts: 466
  • Board Member 2009-2015
    • View Profile
Re: Steam and Sleighs makes The Bangor Daily News
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2022, 07:12:51 PM »
I was thinking that I should offer a description running the Snow and Steam trains from the perspective of 9's engine crew. I think it typifies winter railroading in Maine at the turn of the 19th century.

The temperature was in the single digits when we started at about 7 AM. The weather the night before had left a coating of ice and sleet and then snow. Fortunately the snow wasn't too deep but enough to require another plowing of the line as it was several inches over the rail in many places.

7 and 9 were hauled out and the fires started. Planning ahead, firewood had been brought inside the shop a couple of days before to thaw and dry out.
Consequently,  Dan made quick work of lighting the fire and after a while steam was raised. Also thankfully, Bryce had oiled around before 9 was brought outside.  Mike brought over a scoop of coal and we filled up the tender bunker. It was cold enough that I was grateful to be in the cab and wished I had added another layer of clothing. I imagined it must be pretty chilly out on the plow train.

Once we were ready to go, we had to go up to the north yard to pick up our train. With the grade and snow, I anticipated a fair amount of slipping to climb up to the barn, but with the track crew doing such a great job of clearing the rails it wasn't bad.

Water was taken on the way in and we spotted the train at the station.

After getting the go ahead, we pulled out. The train was very stiff from the cold and the solid bearings and it took a unusually heavy throttle to keep moving. Once past the yard limit, the first challenge was the crossing at Jane's Way, where there was still enough snow and ice to cause 9 to loose her feet for a bit. After that it was clear that the snow was still covering the rails and traction was going to be poor. With a loud bark 9 would dig in, slip a little, then dig in, slip a little and this was the pattern all the way. At times the drivers were spinning faster than we were going, but not in an uncontrolled way.

We tried to gain some speed for Cockeye Curve, but with more steam about all that would happen was more slipping. On the first curve she settled into a steady pace and was able to hold that up to the next crossing at MLM. Dan was shoveling furiously all this time, and the gauge stayed at about 110 pounds despite the load.

Once again we tried to make a run for the grade after Hummason Brook, but again the poor traction and cold bearings kept us at a moderate slog, but she dug in and we made it to Alna Center, where we were going to stop  but then thankfully we didn't and were able to crest the grade. At that point I realized that we were at full throttle all the way up to Alna Center. I actually had to use steam to keep up the pace down the Ladder and all the way to Top of the Mountain.

Again snow on the rails stopped us short of the platform, so I had to back down with sanders going and then was able to make it up to put the car steps on the platform. The horse drawn sleigh was waiting, as was the plow train with 52.

Dan did a great job of firing, keeping the pressure above 100 despite having to use full throttle for much of the trip. Snow was packed in around all the running gear.

The trip back was interesting also, starting up the grade southbound out of TOM it felt like a brake was on. After stopping and inspection, we backed up a bit and tried again. Either it was just the drag or whichever brake was sticking unstuck, and we made our way back to Alna Center. Again, a lot of throttle was needed.

We took the siding and waited for the northbound train with No. 7. In the distance, we could see her just south of Trask's Crossing, and seemed to not be moving. After a bit much steam and smoke was seen and it became clear she was making her way towards us.

After 7's train passed, No 52 and the morning's plow train, which was waiting in the siding ahead of us, departed for Sheepscot and we waited another 10 minutes and proceeded south. It was still necessary to use steam all the way back, which I don't remember ever needing to do before.

When we reached Sheepscot we pulled into the station. I looked in the coal bunker and realized it was half gone!

The second trip was much more normal, with the snow off the rails and the bearings warmed up. When we got to TOM the second time, I asked Dan if he would have liked to do this 5 or 6 days a week, as they did in the 'good' old days. All I got was a look.

Personally I am very grateful for all the effort put in by the many volunteers that make this all possible. It is an amazing amount of work that goes into all the preparations. Doing it in winter is both exciting and daunting.











 




Gawdon

James Patten

  • Administrator
  • Superintendent
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,988
  • Loco for 6
    • View Profile
Re: Steam and Sleighs makes The Bangor Daily News
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2022, 07:40:12 PM »
Gordon mentioned he'd wished he had more layers, and wondered about the plow train.  I was on the plow train as brakeman, and I wished I had more layers too.  I should have worn long johns and my 40-below socks.  I had 4 upper layers and wished I'd had another. 

Our trains was a lot of charge ahead to plow, hit the virgin snow and quickly come to a stop (usually within 100-150 feet), then back up and try again.  Even after flanging I noticed the track never really cleared, so I knew the first train to follow us would have a wonderful time of it. 

On the way back we stopped for #7's train at Alna Center.  I was very grateful for the fire in the station stove.  My toes finally warmed up.

Wayne Laepple

  • Museum Member
  • Yardmaster
  • *******
  • Posts: 2,064
    • View Profile
Re: Steam and Sleighs makes The Bangor Daily News
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2022, 07:50:16 PM »
You guys! Wow, just wow!!

Jeff Schumaker

  • Museum Member
  • Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,229
    • View Profile
Re: Steam and Sleighs makes The Bangor Daily News
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2022, 10:27:30 AM »
Thanks for relating your experience, Gordon.

Jeff S.
Hey Rocky, watch me pull a moose trout out of my hat.

Ed Lecuyer

  • Administrator
  • Superintendent
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,874
    • View Profile
    • wwfry.org
Re: Steam and Sleighs makes The Bangor Daily News
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2022, 09:53:15 PM »
Ed Lecuyer
Moderator, WW&F Forum

john d Stone

  • Museum Member
  • Fireman
  • ****
  • Posts: 397
    • View Profile
Re: Steam and Sleighs makes The Bangor Daily News
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2022, 11:39:18 AM »
Really good news coverage! Sounds like a wonderful, but exhausting time which brought a lot of joy to the visitors and crews. You guys are the best!
I really like Gordon's description of cold-weather steam railroading. Quite an effort to get over the road! Running with cold, stiff journals is an all but forgotten aspect of railroading in the good old days!

ALAIN DELASSUS

  • Museum Member
  • Engineer
  • ****
  • Posts: 604
    • View Profile
Re: Steam and Sleighs makes The Bangor Daily News
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2022, 02:21:44 PM »
 I really like Gordon's report of # 9 and her steamcrew hauling the first train of the day in such poor weather conditions. Reading it, I definitly felt like being in the cab of # 9. In Pithiviers I met pouring rain, hailstorm, T storm and scorching heat but I  never struggled with cold and snow because except for Santa's Specials the trains don't run in the winter. If some day it snowed a lot the previous day or the day of the Santa's specials the trains would be surely cancelled because it would be such a mess on the roads that  hardly anybody would  take a chance to drive out here.

Bill Sample

  • Museum Member
  • Fireman
  • ****
  • Posts: 342
    • View Profile
Re: Steam and Sleighs makes The Bangor Daily News
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2022, 10:50:13 PM »
Excellent account, Gordon!  Thanks for sharing the winter two-foot experience.

Mike the Choochoo Nix

  • Museum Member
  • Hostler
  • ***
  • Posts: 293
    • View Profile
Re: Steam and Sleighs makes The Bangor Daily News
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2022, 10:33:32 AM »
Back in the day they recorded when trains were late and bad weather conditions but the little details about what it was like and the difficulties of operating in the adverse weather conditions were often not well recorded.  By running public trains in the winter you have added to the historical record more details of what winter running in bad weather was like. Truly bringing history to life!
M. Nix
Mike Nix