Saturday, April 7, 2012

A new direction

After looking a the "numbers", or the amount of traffic my blog generates I have decided to go in a new direction.
  Each day readers of the blog have number 2, 3, or 4 except the one about The All American Red Heads which had a 15.  That let's me know that I am boring people so much that they won't read my blog.  So we need a new direction.
  The blog "series" that got the most attention were the ones about the National Parks, but I can't keep doing that because I've already done it.
  I'll research the next couple of day all of my postings to see what kind of stuff people want.
  We'll see.  Thanks for reading, I'll keep you "posted".

Friday, April 6, 2012

Portland & Ogdensburg Railway

Willey Brook Bridge in the White Mountains - click
    Formerly the Portland & Ogdensburg Railroad which had failed.  The Vermont section of that enterprise was leased to the Boston & Lowell Railway and we now have the Railway in it's place.  This Railway lasted a number of years before being sold to the Maine Central Railroad, and it became the Maine Centrals' Mountain Division.
  This Railway was a Standard Gauge road and almost all of its' locomotive were made by The Portland Company (right here in Maine).  Some of the track were still in use up until 1943.
  At the time this company worked some of its' civil engineering feats were an example for others to follow.  The Big Cut at Crawford Notch in the White Mountains of New Hampshire was a prime example of these types of feats.
  Photos from where more information can be found on this subject.
Gates of the Big Cut
Engine number One the Presumpscot

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Monson Railroad

Monson number 3 on loan by the museum - click please
shown in Phillips, Maine 2007
  The Monson Railroad was started by The Monson Slate Company to haul product from the quarries in the area to the workshops in town; it also carried goods for other companies or people.
  A narrow gauge track covered six and one-half miles and operated from 1883 to 1943 (jeepers!, part of that is in my lifetime!)
  Two of the locomotives and some of the cars have been lovingly restored to beauty and some can be seen at the Maine Narrow Gauge Museum and Railway in Portland, Maine.
  The railroad dissolved itself because the construction of the cars linkage and the "kerosene lantern" locomotive lights were considered unsafe even after some of the lights (green above) were replaced with automobile headlights.
  Photos are from where more information can be found.
Monson Station and a section of restored track in 2007 - click
Monson number 4, shown at the Museum in Portland - click

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Kennebec Central Railroad

Engine Four, probably located in Gardner  wikipedia photo
  This railroad was a short line, 8 miles, narrow gauge train.  It was built to run from Togus Veterans Hospital to nearby Gardiner, Maine.  It was built for the express purpose of transporting Civil War Veterans from other trains to the Togus Veterans Hospital.
  The locomotives were built by the Baldwin Works in Pennsylvania and many of the cars and gondolas were made by The Portland Company, right here in Maine.
  Despite it's small amount of track the railroad was profitable, until automobiles made the ride less of a scheduled event.
  The train only ran to Randolph, across the river from Gardiner, but there was a way to get there.  When the line closed the engines and some cars were sold to other railroads in Maine.
A model of the Randolph station.
From this station there were a set of stairs
to a covered bridge over the Kennebec River
and into Gardiner.
Another example of the Forney 0-4-4 locomotive

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

All American Red Heads

  Yesterday the Basketball Hall of Fame announced the inductees for this year.  One (group) of inductees stood out for attention, this is them.  We'll be back on the railroad tomorrow, probably.
  Back in 1936, long before the WNBA (Womens National Basketball Association) was born women were playing basketball, they started playing in college at Smith College in 1892, for physical education.  C. M. Olson of Cassville Missouri had a traveling mens team (no NBA then either), who went from town to town and played local teams - some semipro, a few professional teams.  Mr. Olsons' wife ran a beauty shop, but she played pickup games with other women after work.  Mrs. Olson formed a group to entertain called, originally, the Cassville Red Heads and they sort of caught on.  All women who played had to have red hair, either natural or dyed - thus the name.
  Women in the WNBA play 40 games in the four month season and travel by airplane.  The All American Redheads played 200 games in a seven-month tour.  At that time women played six-on-six, half-court games; not the Red Heads they played full court five women at a time against men.
Playing against men, plus putting on a half-time show and traveling 20,000 miles a year by car; and to top it off washing their own uniforms in the bathtub at the hotel.
  The teams of All American Red Heads played before a lot of people including Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.  They moved up to limousines in the early 1960s.
  At the onset of World War Two the team was in the Philippines and had to be evacuated at night by the army.
  Most of the women played for two years after trying out and making the team, so the induction will represent a lot of gals, or women.  They are most deserving, in my opinion.  The teams spanned a time period of 1936 to 1986; times changed from using henna to change hair color to Miss Clairol Flame 33.
  Let us all offer our congratulations and thanks to these fine women.
The 1937-38 Team, and their car.
The "hand washed" uniform
A poster for the 1958-59 season posted for sale at

Monday, April 2, 2012

Franklin and Megantic Railway

One of four locomotives, notice the small size.
  Built to reach the aboriginal spruce woods on Mount Abram and then to haul logs to mills in Kingfield, the "little two-foot" railway grew.  The two-foot remarks describes the tracks, laid two feet apart.
  A narrow gauge railway that spanned a distance of 14.5 miles from Strong to Bigelow, but over some pretty tough terrain.  There were a total of four locomotives, two forty foot passenger cars and the remainder of work cars.
  The railway only worked from 1884 to 1908 and the parts were sold off.  The flat cars were made by The Portland Company in Portland, Maine.  There is now a "tourist attraction" two-foot railway in Portland that includes some of the cars, that railway uses a locomotive imported from Denmark, and a couple of the Fanklin and Megantic locomotives ended up in Finland.  Part of the railway surface is now part of a "rail trail" that I wrote of a couple of weeks ago.
A map of the route from Strong to Bigelow.
A look down the tracks.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Maine Central Railroad

Union Station Bangor - click please
  The Maine Central was formed by the merger and/or acquisition of several other railroads.  As a result the "new" railroad served all of Maine except Aroostook and Piscataquis Counties, and the lines extended through northern New Hampshire to St. Johnbury, Vermont.
  The Maine Central connected to the Bangor and Aroostook at Northern Junction in Hermon very near the Bangor city limits, and MEC trains served Bangors' Union Station.  In Portland the "work yards" were at Rigby in South Portland and Danville which is now a part of Auburn.
  Headquartered in Portland on St. John Street the main terminal was the Union Station in Portland.
Maine Centrals Offices.  Yours truly went to classes for my last two
years of college on the third floor of the wing on your right.
Union Station, Portland
One of the waiting rooms in Union Station, Bangor
One of the areas in Union Station, Portland
All photos not otherwise noted are from
IMPORTANT:  Yesterday, Saturday March 31, 2012 the Bangor Humane Society took part in a national program called Mega-Match-a-thon.  The hours were to extend until 8PM and they would open on Sunday as well.  It turns out that all adoptable animals (all kinds) went to a new loving home and they had to close early on Saturday.  Great news.  Keep using