|The two 100 ton locomotives in the woods.|
Back in the 1920's lumbermen needed a way to get logs from the area to the West Branch of the Penobscot River to be "rafted" to the Bangor area sawmills. There was, already in place, the Tramway which used Lombard Haulers to pull loads part of the distance. The Tramway operated from Umbazooksus Lake which connects to the West Branch through Chamberlain Lake, but there were problems with fueling the engines and breakdowns. Enter Edouard "King" Lacroix and his Madawaska Company and the birth of a railroad.
Two locomotives were converted from coal to oil and a 1500 foot trestle was built for part of the right of way. At each end there were gasoline engines (small train engines) to turn the cars around and they were towed back to be refilled.
Logs were lifted by two conveyor belts, run by gasoline engines, logs lifted from Eagle Lake were loaded onto the rail cars. A car could be loaded in 90 seconds with 12 cords of logs, 40 car trains were then sent down the line.
By 1933 the operation was over, now a network of private roads and large trucks, without weight limits, carry logs to mills.
The locomotives and other equipment were just "tossed aside".
|One of the small engines for turning cars around.|
|The conveyors loading cars with logs.|
|Engine 4 - photo by James Patten|
All photos, except the bottom, are from the Maine Department of Conservation.
While writing about the Trails in past couple of weeks I often cautioned about "Mud Season", I stand corrected. The new signs say "Trails are closed due to Saturated Soils". So I guess we no longer have mud pies only saturation soil quiche. :)
Speaking of saturated soil, Maine route 15 a busy connector from Bangor/Brewer to Bucksport and the Coastal US Route 1 was flooded last night a closed to traffic for a few hours. A breach in a beaver dam in Orrington was the problem, the water washed out part of one road and part of the railroad tracks that run next to the highway.