Author Topic: Other People's opinion about the WW&F  (Read 2649 times)

Ed Lecuyer

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Other People's opinion about the WW&F
« on: January 25, 2009, 08:57:39 PM »
MODERATORS NOTE:
Other People's opinion about the WW&F has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
Some formatting may have been removed or modified from the original postings that appear quoted in this topic.
Information contained within this post may be superseded by more recent postings and conversations.

Joe Fox wrote:
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Hey everybody,

I was just reading on other forums, and there are a lot of people who think of the WW&F as unhistorical, only running steam for our amusment, and a toy.  I must say that it is too bad that people feel that way about the WW&F, and other two foot gauge railroads. But one thing is for sure, those of us that do it, know that it is far from toy, and we certainly have a lot of historical value to the state, the town, and with the cars we use. If only there was a way to convince people that the WW&F, and other two foot gauge railroads were once REAL railroads, and that the WW&F is still a real railroad today, even though the WW&F doesn't haul freight now, it is still a real railroad.

Joe

elecuyer replied:
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Hi Joe,

You're reading the wrong message boards/forums.

All of the forums I read have nothing but PRAISE for the WW&F - the mission, its volunteers, the whole operation. "RAILFAN" types are going to frown on the WW&F because its old, small, and not relevant to modern super railways running the latest 6 axle power. Rail historians, however, know how unique the Maine two-footers are, and appreciate their role in the region's history.

Joe, you do a lot of evangelizing for the WW&F on the Internet. Don't let the opinions of a handful of foamers change that. With time, even the most fanatical rail nut may come to appreciate the charm, beauty, and relevance of turn-of-the (last) century shortline narrow gauge railroading.

-Ed Lecuyer

Stewart Rhine replied:
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Joe, Some people have always said that two-foot gauge railroads were "toy like".  They equate them with amusement park rides.  The truth is that narrow-gauge railroads served a fairly large portion of the country at one time.  The Maine two footers have their own proud and important place in the history of U.S. rail transportation.

Another fact is that Maine two-foot equipment was not small.  Remember the farmer who thought his Model T Ford was a match for a SR&RL engine?   An 18 ton locomotive will hurt you just as fast as a 100 ton engine.   Ed is right about some railfans who like the Acela going by at 125mph.  Steam power pulling wooden coaches through the woods doesn't seem interesting to them.  There's nothing wrong with modern high speed rail service - it's great.   The fact is that the WW&F has come back to life in an amazing way.  From antique telephones, light fixtures and a train register cabinet to rebuilding a historic 0-4-4T locomotive, the WW&F is the envy of many a U.S. Museum.   Seeing hundreds of excited visitors at Sheepscot during last years Narrow Gauge Convention said that loud and clear to me.

Remember, you won't please everyone and that's ok.  Our volunteers and members are happy and we have faithfully recreated the WW&F - that's what matters most.

Joe Fox replied:
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Yes. I have noticed, that there are a few people on a certain forum, not going to mention the name, that don't like the WW&F because it is smaller than 3' gauge. As you guys have stated, many people fail to realize what these railroads did, especially for the surrounding communities. For example, I read in one of the books about the WW&F, that when the WW&F was closed for good, the surrounding towns realized how much the railroad actually meant to them. Unfortunatley, these types of things are only recongnized when it is too late. Isn't it funny how one person can say, the WW&F fails to be historical, when yet they support another railroad that is somewhat historic, but has more modern ties than the WW&F has now. Then again, I believe that the only people who say bad things about the WW&F, are the ones who have never seen it's operation.

Joe

John McNamara replied:
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Just tell those folks at that other forum that 3-feet is 50% too big

On a more serious note, I've noticed that many of the 3-foot enthusiasts spend a lot of their time bashing each other, a habit rarely if ever seen here in 2-foot land. I suppose some of the disrespect with which they treat each other just spilled over.

-John

Joe Fox replied:
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Could be. Everybody that I have talked to that has visited the WW&F, has nothing but good things to say. Does anybody know if Conway Scenic has our museums brochures? If not, or if so, I could re-stock them when they get empty. Food for though?

Joe

Steve Klare replied:
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The thing with the Maine Two-Footers, is absolutely the trains were and are great, but the really awesome part of the whole thing is the story behind them. Maybe it's Linwood Moody that made them what they are to us, but they have an aura about them that sets them apart from a great many other railroads 24" gauge or otherwise.

If not for places like WW&F and the others, it would all be nothing more than legends and grainy photos.

Here you can reach out and touch it: present time, 3 dimensional, alive and well.

It's just human nature to dismiss what other people do, but maybe it's time people that think that way grow up a little!

Wayne Laepple replied:
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Having worked on and around a bunch of steam engines, ranging in size from a 7.5 inch gauge Pacific to a standard gauge 4-8-4, I can say without reservation that the old saying "The higher above the rail the cab, the bigger the ego in the seat" holds true. The beauty of our little railroad and its engines is that ego gets sublimated for the greater good. I believe for many narrow gauge fans, two-footers for sure and maybe even three-footers, the approachability of the equipment and the physical plant is what holds their attention.

My grandmother used to say "If you can't say something good about someone, don't say anything at all." So I simply ignore people who bad mouth the WW&F. I daresay many of them have never visited the railroad or taken part in a Track Weekend. And I'll bet we didn'tmiss them, either!

Mike Fox replied:
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I like that Wayne. About the big ego. I have grown up knowing the history of these pint sized railroads so to me they have been, still are, and always will be a real railroad. I agree that anyone that would make any comment against a specific size or railroad has simply not taken the time to find out the history of it or to visit it.
Mike

Ray Davidowski replied:
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I believe for many narrow gauge fans, two-footers for sure and maybe even three-footers, the approachability of the equipment and the physical plant is what holds their attention.

That's certainly a reason I like the EBT (and now the WW&F).  Even though its equipment is of pretty good size compared to many narrow-gauges, the EBT Mikados were still barely the size of standard gauge 0-6-0s.  But they're a lot easier to look at!

And as Steve mentioned, all of these little places have the most interesting stories to tell.

Bruce Wilson replied:
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The thing with the Maine Two-Footers, is absolutely the trains were and are great, but the really awesome part of the whole thing is the story behind them. Maybe it's Linwood Moody that made them what they are to us, but they have an aura about them that sets them apart from a great many other railroads 24" gauge or otherwise.

Well stated Steve! And to what you have said I will add in that Moody referred to the two footers as "Lilliputs", although he often expressed that the work done by the trains and thier crews was as hard as the Maine winters.

When I was a volunteer with South Carver Rail at Edaville in 1997, I had one of the gas-mechanical lokies coupled to an open excursion car on a siding. The lokie was idling as we waited clearance to enter the yard and switch the flat. A group of us were standing by the lokie and I had a guy in my face giving me his opinion of another group, of which I am a member.

I remember wishing that he'd find another hobby or at least see that we all had work to do.

Divine intervention played a hand as the upper radiator hose of that little lokies Chevrolet powerplant let go a small pinhole that played a stream of warm water over the mans back.

He left us grumbling, we broke out the duct tape and were ready to move when given the signal. We all had a good laugh later on...
_________________
Wanted: Photographs by Linwood Moody, Phil Bonnet, Lawrence Brown and other first generation narrow gage rail enthusiasts. Also seeking collectibles, ephemera and correspondence offered by and exchanged between narrow gage enthusiasts.

Mike Fox replied:
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Bruce,
Sounds to me like that little lokie did not like the comments that were being said and took the appropriate action. Funny how things work out like that sometimes. Almost like they have a mind of their own......
Mike

Bruce Wilson replied:
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Mike,

It's true...the little critters have a mind of their own. And while I'd like to tell you that the color of the coolant that the little six cylinder streamed out was "yellow", it wasn't...it was just rust colored water.
_________________
Wanted: Photographs by Linwood Moody, Phil Bonnet, Lawrence Brown and other first generation narrow gage rail enthusiasts. Also seeking collectibles, ephemera and correspondence offered by and exchanged between narrow gage enthusiasts.

Roger Whitney replied:
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These folks on these other forums may be just jealous.  The proof is in the pudding.........we are one of the biggest (by membership) railroad museums  in North America.  1100+ people can't be wrong!  Let them flap....there's always hate and discontent in the railfan / modeling hobby.  I belonged to a club in New Jersey.......all we did was fight over picky details!!

mikechoochoo replied:
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The people I respect on the RYPN forum have a lot of good things to say about this group when the topic comes up, and they have been involved in restoration for a long time.
Some are a little jealous of the success of the organization but they are still  glad to see a healthy, involved group of preservationists.
_________________
Mike Nix in Minnesota

Mike Fox replied:
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Speaking of members as Roger did, I like to think of everyone that comes to the museum to volunteer as friends. Weather I can remember thier name or not, weather we share the same point of view or not, weather you come once a year or once every 3 years, still friends. We all are there for a common goal but for different reasons. Looking forward to seeing all my friends again in a little over a month.
Mike

petecosmob replied:
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Speaking of members as Roger did, I like to think of everyone that comes to the museum to volunteer as friends. Weather I can remember thier name or not, weather we share the same point of view or not, weather you come once a year or once every 3 years, still friends. We all are there for a common goal but for different reasons. Looking forward to seeing all my friends again in a little over a month.
Mike

HEAR HEAR! 

Joe Fox replied:
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Very true,. Most, if not everybody at the WW&F has different views and opinions on things, and an some disagreements here and there, but that is to be expected. I enjoy working at the WW&F, and all who volunteer. I too look foward to seeing everybody this spring.

Joe

Bill Sample replied:
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Well said, Joe.
I think that a major reason for the success of the WW&F is that the leadership and active membership have the primary goal of working for the good of the organization.

Dana Deering replied:
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Joe,

I haven't been on the forum for quite a while so even though this thread is old I wanted to respond.  When you see negative comments about the WW&F, don't jump in.  Let it go.  You know and I know just what the WW&F is and what it means.  The best thing about it is that we have managed to subordinate egos for the good of the railroad.  There may be a disagreement here and there but that is usually only about the way to proceed and not about the goal or the direction we are headed in.  Let's just keep doing what we do and keep our "eyes on the prize" and forget the rest.  Look at what we've accomplished so far by doing it that way!  There's always going to be somebody who is a bit negative but usually it's about something going on inside of them.  Leave em be.  Life's too short to waste on toxic people.

Dana

teresa horky replied:
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Just remember not everyone likes the same thing and that if we all did the world would be a perty boring place. That said there is more than one way to be jelous and just because one has never been to the museum that they dont understand. I for one have not been to Maine or to the museum but I am jelous of you all that you get to have all the fun of rebuilding this historic railroad. Wish I could be there but I live in Arizona and it is a long way to Maine. Ido hope to get there someday. Keep up the great work see you someday

Paul Horky

Tom Hunter replied:
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Each railroad museum out there has critics and folks who think the way things are done are wrong... A good meaningful discussion amongst member is healthy, but if everything is a ‘put down’ well then most of that is as Dana said, inside them and ‘let that go’ is good advice.

I have been to a lot of these museums over the last 30 years.  The one and only time I spent at the WW&F was one of the best weekends at a museum project in my memory, so good in fact that I made sure that two of the people that I have taught out here in the Midwest in the railroad museum track world came out this spring, to join Josh’s Baltimore gang.  I would have been there too, but I had to deal with my mom who is sick back in Baltimore... I plan to be out in October again with the IRM gang as well as THEY think the same way as I do now that they both, Adam and Frank have invested blisters in your operation. We have spiking to show off, err, I mean do.

You all have nothing to worry about – you are the real deal.

Bill Sample replied:
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One of the delights of participating in the WW&F Track Weekend is seeing a number of volunteers who are primarily involved with other operations, like I am, helping the "home guard."  Kind of like an old fashioned barn-raising type effort where the neighbors pitch in.
Another delight is seeing all of our friends from the WW&F on their home road once again, and seeing all the progress that took place since our previous visit.

Stewart Rhine replied:
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Bill, To expand on your point, yes there were many volunteers involved in the 4 MAJOR projects over the track weekend.  The non track jobs included replacing more windows on coach 8,  installing brakes on flat 126 and coach 8, and painting most of the west side of the water tank.  Other smaller projects included repairing the Brookville, moving fill dirt and working on the hand car and fire car.

I never get tired of working on the various projects at the museum.  No matter what the task, everyone has a level of dedication that is inspiring.

Ira Schreiber replied:
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I could not agree with you more. At the track weekend, there were many tasks and many people doing them. Stewart outlined them well.
I was not up to trackwork, but there were numerous jobs available and I worked on several.
Those who are negative usually represent someone who is not happy with what they are doing. It that case, do something else or get out of the way of those who are doing!
"It is much preferred to be gruntled than disgruntled"

Bill Sample replied:
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Thanks for reminding me about the other projects, Stewart!  With all that goes on may we should call the track weekends something like Spring Work Weekends    I'm sure that the major effort on these weekends will continue to be track work, but there always be plenty of other tasks on hand from the shop and Percival House to the "end o' steel" .... and beyond.
Ed Lecuyer
Moderator, WW&F Forum