Author Topic: Freight Transfer @ Monson Jct.  (Read 6871 times)

Jeff Acock

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Freight Transfer @ Monson Jct.
« on: June 03, 2009, 04:24:34 PM »
I'm curious how transfer of large slate blocks was handled.  Pictures in Jones' "Two Feet to the Quarries" show only shovel transfer of sand & coal, and hand transfer (hand truck or dolly) of crated shingles.  None of the pictures of Monson Jct. yard show any kind of hoisting aparatus nor even a gravity trestle.  Nevertheless, page 44 of the Jones book shows a large unfinished slate block being loaded on a flat car at a quarry using a primitave derrick.  I can not make out any kind of rollers or blocking placed underneath the slab.  Admittedly this could have been an inter-plant movement (quarry to finishing shed or the like), but the book also references the manufacture of gravestones which must have been shipped via the Monson RR and would almost certainly have required some sort of mechanical aid to transfer especially during the later years when the railroad was said to be down to a 4-man staff.  For that matter, the Monson also handled some pulpwood logs, which would presumably be too large & heavy for hand loading.
So.......the question is does anyone have any thoughts or input as to how large-item transfer was handled?  Some sort of mobile derrick? ramps & rollers? jury-rigged block & tackle?

Cliff Olson

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Re: Freight Transfer @ Monson Jct.
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2009, 08:22:14 AM »
As far as I know, having spent time in Monson almost every summer of my life, slabs as large as that shown on page 44 were moved only from the quarry to the finishing sheds.  The boom shown on page 44 would have been one of those used to raise slate slabs from the pit.  I have never seen any other type of crane in Monson or Monson Jct. except in the finishing sheds. When I was a kid, slate slabs were still being moved at the Portland-Monson Slate Company (now Sheldon Slate) on short heavy-duty flat cars that were pushed by hand (and probably lowered by winch on steep slopes) on two-foot track that was not part of the Monson RR.  The Monson Maine Slate Company (shown in most of the quarry photos in the Jones book) went out of business before I was one year old.
I believe that most of the pulpwood logs were small enough that they could have been moved in four-foot lengths by a person using a birch hook.