2 Steamers, abandoned in the Maine Woods

Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, Ian MacMillan

Re: 2 Steamers, abandoned in the Maine Woods

Postby Tracer » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:02 pm

3rdrail wrote:A helicopter would be ideal to get there

Got one i can borrow? :-D

3rdrail wrote:The inn has a selection of cabooses and you pick the caboose that you wish to stay in. All the cabooses have been refurbished inside and are very comfortable- one or two even have a roaring fireplace !

So you can railfan and get it on at that same time? Thats a deal!
Tracer
 

Re: 2 Steamers, abandoned in the Maine Woods

Postby 3rdrail » Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:50 pm

Here's a link to a Trainorders.com blog about the locos. There is some interesting information here. Apparently, they are both former New York Central Ten-Wheelers that were skidded accross the frozen lake.

http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?2,367128
~Paul Joyce~~HELP STOP VICIOUS SMALL ANIMAL TORTURE IN CHINESE FUR FARMS !
Moderator: Toy Trains, Model Railroading, Outdoor and Live Steam
Remember Boston Police Sergeant Cornelius H. Donovan, who in 1921 heroically prevented a derailed Elevated car from crushing a loaded streetcar below.
User avatar
3rdrail
 
Posts: 5651
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:10 am
Location: Boston

Re: 2 Steamers, abandoned in the Maine Woods

Postby wally » Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:05 am

seems to be a lot of hype in many of the posts about "northern maine". no doubt, much of the interior in and around the allagash is a long way from populated areas. however, there aren't many places, even in the "maine wilderness" that don't have roads. the key is whether you have access to the roads. most are gated. some are closed via bridge/culvert removals. many areas require permission/registration to enter. and without a good map, the myriad road network can by dizzying. perhaps surprisingly, a passenger car can get you to within moderate hiking distance of most places. (less than 3 miles) of course, you will be "on your own" as far as getting your car back out, so consider the risk in driving it in.

i've worked out of a few places in "remote" maine over the years, first for IP out of clayton lake (north of eagle lake), then in the philipstown area north of aziscohos (basically bowmantown, oxbow and massachusetts gore). at the time, the lands were owned by IP. (the clayton lake lands may still be), but the bowmantown/oxbow/gore lands have been sold. clayton lake is on the american realty road about 60 miles west of ashland. access was monitored by a gate-house just west of ashland. access to bowmantown/etc was through combo-lock gates, usually over the morton cutoff to green top to the oxbow, or over the parmachenee road to the west, via wilsons mills.

a good map, provided by IP, was pretty handy for determining location. i also had keys/combinations to get through gates. i saw wildlife most days in the woods, black bear included. in point of fact, although black bears have been documented to attack people, it is a very rare occurence, mostly involving a mother protecting her cubs. yes, it does happen, and being attacked can be deadly, but it isn't the normal result of "bear encounters". a little knowledge of proper behavior and safety around black bear would be a good idea, rather than scare tactics.

proper attire, equipment and self-sufficiency are good ideas. a compass and map should be mandatory (along with the ability to use them properly). a gps is great, but they aren't infallible.

as to the locomotives, my biggest regret is that i didn't visit them when i worked out of the clayton lake area. of course, at the time (1990), i didn't know about them, so that played into it. we had some cruising to do off of churchill lake, so we were only about 10-12 miles away by road. a missed opportunity, to be sure. maybe someday with the kids.

happy hunting.

wally
member, new hampshire timberland owners association
wally
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 8:01 pm
Location: upper middle western nh

Re: 2 Steamers, abandoned in the Maine Woods

Postby Terry Harper » Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:18 pm

Greetings,

This is a topic I am quite familiar with having spent 20 years of research and many years on the ground in, under and on these locomotives. I headed the crew that performed the jacking, built the new roadbed and lowered the locomotives back onto it and mapped and documented the site.

Yes the locomotives are remote. But they are certainly not abandoned. They are owned by the State of Maine with the entire area designated as a national historic site. The best way is by canoe from Churchill Depot or by motor boat from Chamberlain Bridge then hike across Tramway. If you choose ot go overland you can drive withing 2 miles of the site. If you choose to go by canoe remember that the Allagash Waterway has restrictions on motors etc. If you go by boat from Chamberlain Bridge there are no restrictions however the cove at the south end of Tramway can be very shallow and very, very muddy depending upon the season. However on the way up Chamberlain be sure to stop at Chamberlain Farm and checkout the remains of the steamer HW Marsh.

Be warned, road conditions can vary depending upon wether or not they are hauling in that area and of course on the weather. The main haulroads are passable by a car - if your careful. However the secondary and winter roads for last of the trip can be challenging. Also remember several good spare tires are a must as well (not those dinky donuts) - especially if they have just graded the roads. The gravel they use is sharp edged shale. Incidently the Landrover group mentioned earlier didn't know about the trail and went through a lot of extra effort that otherwise was not required.

The trailhead is un-marked. But once on it its fairly clear. It is in fact an old Lombard haulroad. In fact after you hit the intersection with the old 9-14 Lombard road you are walking the very route the locomotives were moved over back in 1927 & 28. Beware that blow-downs are present and the trail is not maintained. Why? Simple - theft and vandalisim. The idea is that if you have to put effort into getting in to the locomotives then chances are you will appreciate the awsome experience and wow factor and thus not abuse them or any of the other surrounding artifacts.

Again, with so many railroad artifacts lying around seemingly abandoned - in reality they are not. They all serve to tell a remarkable story. Look, wonder and yes touch but leave those 'Treasures' for others to discover. Thats the fun of the Tramway site. Its the sense of discovery and wonderment and thought it provokes no matter how many times its been 'Discovered'.

The Eagle Lake & West Branch railroad and the the story of Edouard Lacroix's Allagash operations is legendary and has provoked lots of stories - some true - many not so true. :-D For a brief history see my article in the July/August 2007 issue of "The Narrow Gauge & Shortline Gazette" also the Sept./Oct 2007 issue has my article on Lombards. Both feature extensive drawings and photos. One of these days I will sit down and get it all on paper. Unfortunalty I keep getting distracted. My current project is restoring to operating condition a 1925 Wisconsin 6 cylinder that powered one of Lacroix's Lombard tractors. For now the archive keeps growing and the story more and more interesting.

Again, if you go there be respectful and be prepared. It ain't no day trip in loafers.

To clear-up a few things:
The story of the locomotives being hauled across the lakes is one of those hearsay things that have become fact over the passing decades. That and the assertion that they ran both locomotives at the same time and had a passing track at Ellis Brook. The reality is the locomotives were hauled over Lacroix's all season road from Lac Frontiere to Clayton Lake. They then headed cross country over a winter haulroad until they intersected the old Eastern Manufacturing Lombard road (9-14 road) along Russell Brook.
They then followed it along Russell Brook then along the shore of Eagle Lake and right into Tramway. Parts of this route are still very visible today. I follwed a good part of it this past Fall while hiking into Russell Brook to document the remains of the Eastern's big Depot Camp)

As for the passing siding: They only ran one locomotive at a time. There was no siding other than at the top of grade coming out of Tramway and at the top of grade heading out of Umbazooksus. Once No. 2 arrived in March of 1928 No. 1 was relegated to backup.

Also there was no sale to Great Northern. Great Northern did build and own the lower five mile section form Umbazooksus to Chesuncook Meadows. In operation this section known as "the Five Mile Stretch" was used only to move supplies. The rest of the railroad, locomotives and rollingstock were all owned and funded by Lacroix's Madawaska Co. Many years later he sold most of his Maine holdings to Iriving Pulp & Paper. In 1969 Irving transfered ownership of the Tramway site to the Site of Maine.

Best regards,

Terry Harper
Terry Harper
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: 2 Steamers, abandoned in the Maine Woods

Postby Chesuncook » Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:04 pm

The trains and tramway are 21 miles from our lodge. Generally we have 80-100 snowmobiles going there each weekend to check them out. It is a very popular destination in the winter. We even sell a book that was written about trains and rail roads it's titled "Rail Roads of the North Woods".

David

Chesuncook Lake House and Cabins
chesuncooklakehouse.com
Chesuncook
 

Re: 2 Steamers, abandoned in the Maine Woods

Postby Terry Harper » Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:04 pm

Dave,

Snowmobile is a great way to get there indeed. I remember well my first winter trip in the late 1970's. We camped at Zeigler in a big canvas tent (with tie-down flaps no less!!) The second night the temp dropped to 20 below and the wind was just screaming off the lake. Here we were all tucked in for the night - sleeping bags, snowmobile suites, and every stitch of clothing we had on plus a big canvas tarp over all of us. Just as Dad turned down the lantern our friend Tim said "You know.... I think I read somewhere that you feel sleepy just before you freeze to death." Up went the lantern and the pot of coffee went back on the burner! We had a great time though.

I beleive it was during that trip that we went across Mud Pond Carry and visted Chesuncook Village. I remember we had just left the graveyard when we met a fellow hunting rabbits. We introduced ourselves and were a bit stunned when he gave his name as Charlie Smith - we had just left Mr. Smith's tombstone! Anyway he owned what use to be the store/dentist office. He invited us in to warm-up and we had wonderful visit. If I remember right the wall paper was all old newspapers. What a wonderful time!

The last time I snowmobiled in we were moving 150 yards of stone ballast from behind Crow's Nest to Tramway. over 4500 hundred plastic pail loads! Such good memories! Hope your season went well.

Best regards,

Terry Harper
Attachments
pulpcars4.jpg
EL&WB No.2 Crossing Allagash Stream Trestle
pulpcars4.jpg (235.85 KiB) Viewed 8990 times
Terry Harper
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: 2 Steamers, abandoned in the Maine Woods

Postby Terry Harper » Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:20 pm

Here is Gordon Birrell's incredable 1:16 scale model of the EL&WB's Lombard railtruck.

Plans for this appeared in the Sept./Oct 2007 issue of "The Narrow Gauge & Shortline Gazette" The wheels for this neat conversion are still at Tramway. When we found them during our survey of artifacts we were perplexed as to what they went to. Then several years later I got a phone from the daughter of O.A. Harkness - chief Mechanical Officer for the Great Northern Paper Company at the time. I was stunned to find several wonderful photos of the original rail tractor complete with those unique rear wheels which we had found at Tramway. It begain life as a Lombard Model 'N' 10 Ton tractor.

Gordon's model is a faithful reproduction with the exception of the spare fuel tank addition of a cab and spoked drive sprockets. I particularly love how he modeled the engine. I have an original engine sitting in the shop (all 1157 lbs of it) See attached. so I can vouch for the accuracy of Gordon's work. Amazing!!

Image


More photos and examples of Gordon's incredable work can be see here:
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=lombard&w=77318580%40N00
Attachments
11-23-08ea.jpg
1925 Wisconsin Model PT 6 cylinder engine (5-3/4"x7") from a Lombard Model N Tractor
11-23-08ea.jpg (255.38 KiB) Viewed 8951 times
Terry Harper
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: 2 Steamers, abandoned in the Maine Woods

Postby Terry Harper » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:36 pm

Here is a recent photo (8-1-09) of the remains at Umbazooksus Lake.
Attachments
100_0634-a.jpg
100_0634-a.jpg (305.4 KiB) Viewed 8414 times
Terry Harper
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: 2 Steamers, abandoned in the Maine Woods

Postby Terry Harper » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:39 pm

Pulpcars at Tramway (8-2-09)
Attachments
100_0660-a.jpg
100_0660-a.jpg (385.78 KiB) Viewed 8408 times
Terry Harper
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: 2 Steamers, abandoned in the Maine Woods

Postby Terry Harper » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:42 pm

Pulcar truck at Tramway (8-2-09)
Attachments
100_0659-a.jpg
100_0659-a.jpg (302.37 KiB) Viewed 8368 times
Terry Harper
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: 2 Steamers, abandoned in the Maine Woods

Postby RussNelson » Tue Aug 11, 2009 2:21 am

Terry Harper wrote:Here is a recent photo (8-1-09) of the remains at Umbazooksus Lake.

Whoa! Cool! You mean that they didn't pull out the rails either?? Neat stuff.
User avatar
RussNelson
 
Posts: 3395
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 2:20 am
Location: Potsdam, NY

Re: 2 Steamers, abandoned in the Maine Woods

Postby Terry Harper » Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:31 am

Russ,

There is a little over 2100 feet of mainline left at Umbazooksus extending from the south switch of the Wye north towards Chamberlain Lake. Both legs of the Wye and the un-loading track are gone as well as the line extending down to Chesuncook. At Tramway the rails are still in place (with the exception of the Wye) about two miles to the trestle.

Terry
Attachments
100_0643-a.jpg
Chesuncook Meadows Terminal We camped on the old roadbed
100_0643-a.jpg (353.05 KiB) Viewed 8248 times
Terry Harper
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: 2 Steamers, abandoned in the Maine Woods

Postby Terry Harper » Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:35 am

The same location (Chesuncook Meadows) as it looked back then.
Attachments
RJ-03-a.jpg
Chesuncook Meadows
RJ-03-a.jpg (139.88 KiB) Viewed 8208 times
Terry Harper
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: 2 Steamers, abandoned in the Maine Woods

Postby Terry Harper » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:07 pm

To access the trail from John’s Bridge:
Take the first left and follow the road southward towards Russell Brook. After crossing Russell Brook take the first left. (this a rough grassy road) proceed along it and take the first left again. Park at the boulders (N46-20.437’, W069-24.267’) blocking the road. Follow the road on foot to the tail head located at the end of the road on the left. (N46-19.659’, W069-23.415’) This can be quite hard to spot and DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT rely on plastic tape marking the trail. This area is currently being cruised for timber and there is a lot of tape which can be misleading.

The trail you are now following is an old Lombard road. Bear right at the intersection with another Lombard road coming in on the left. (N46-19.704’, W069-25.271’)

You will soon intersect the old 9-14 Lombard road (N46-19.652’, W069-23.169’) Bear right again. You are now following the trail the locomotives were hauled in over. You will also find some old sled runner parts here.

Proceed along the trail and you will soon encounter the west leg of the wye. (N46-19.387’, W069-22.750’) The overgrown clearing to your left was were the boardinghouse and cabins for the workers where. Note that there are a lot of blow-downs in this area.

Turn left when you intersect the mainline (N46-19.354’, W069-22.720’) and proceed to the locomotives. Following the track to the right will lead to the Big Cut.

Again, look, enjoy but do not take anything. Leave it for others to discover.

If you choose to hike into the locomotives come prepared. The trail is not marked or maintained and can be very, very, wet. This is a remote area. Cell phones are useless and help is a long way away and the Maine Woods is not a pleasant place to get lost in. Stay on the trail at all times and carry a map and compass and know how to use it! Literally in less than a few yards you can become totally confused. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

The Author would like to note that by following these directions you are proceeding at your own risk and thus accept full responsability for your own well being and that the Author will not be held responsible for errors in directions or coordinate information.
Attachments
100_0645.JPG
100_0645.JPG (339.47 KiB) Viewed 7972 times
Terry Harper
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: 2 Steamers, abandoned in the Maine Woods

Postby Tracer » Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:41 am

Thanks for the info terry. How are the roads up there? Do you think a stock 4x4 pickup enough vehicle for the trip? Do you think johns river bridge would be the best route to take from Millinocket? (it looks like there may be a shorter route to the west of chamberlin lake)
****and yes, i understand any info given is purely for informational purposes only****** :wink:

Thanks, Tom
Tracer
 

PreviousNext

Return to New England Railfan

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests