Track on the Calais and Eastport branches

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Track on the Calais and Eastport branches

Postby Simon Dunkley » Tue Aug 02, 2016 3:09 pm

Hi,

Please be gentle with this newcomer to the forum!

I am UK based and work in S scale (a glutton for punishment!) and after years of off and on interest, have decided to actually model the MEC downeast, and stop dreaming about it.

The terminus at Calais is serving as primary inspiration (modified for my available space) along with elements of the Eastport branch, but there are some details I would like to know more about - there may be quite a long list over the forthcoming weeks, months and years...

Does anyone know weight of rail was in use during the 1970s, and the spacing of the ties? Track is an important part of a model to me, just as important as the rest, and I want to get things as right (not necessarily perfect) as possible.

Any help will be gratefully appreciated, and all information rapidly absorbed.

Simon
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Re: Track on the Calais and Eastport branches

Postby jwhite07 » Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:11 am

Basing this on hazy youth recollections when I would sometimes walk the then-abandoned right of way and pick up date nails from the ties, the Calais Branch in its late years I don't think was more than 85 pound rail, at least on the west end in the Ellsworth area, and maybe even less than that. I'll be up in that area in a couple of weeks and may be able to investigate that (without trespassing!), but there are people on this forum who have much more immediate and thorough knowledge on the topic than I do. I was a young'un living 400 miles away when Eastport was abandoned, so I cannot attest to what was there.
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Re: Track on the Calais and Eastport branches

Postby Simon Dunkley » Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:34 am

Thank you.
That's a good start. I am not surprised that it was probably no heavier than 85lb/yard, wonder how much lighter some of it was.
Does anyone know what number frogs were used on the turnouts? I have a thing about using larger numbers than most modellers, but it can be easy to overdo it.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Track on the Calais and Eastport branches

Postby Mikejf » Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:02 pm

Eastport branch had 60# rail for the most part if I recall correctly. The light rail and light bridges made the branch restricted to the MEC 44 Tonners. I have seen several photos. Do you have any MEC books for reference?
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Re: Track on the Calais and Eastport branches

Postby Simon Dunkley » Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:47 pm

Hi Mike,

Thank you for that. I hadn't realised just how light the rail was on the Eastport branch.

I have the Morning Sun volumes, New England Alcos in Twilight, and the book on the Washington County is in transit to me, plus of course various Internet resources, but it is good to have these things confirmed.

One problem - and I see this coming up at regular intervals over the years - is the lack of an MEC historical and technical society. I wonder how many otherwise interesting (to us) records and artefacts have been lost because there is nowhere for them to go, no one to collect them, etc? I have managed to pick up lots of interesting information on (for example) design and maintenance of way from a hundred years ago for a number of companies, but nothing for the MEC, nor indeed much in New England.
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Re: Track on the Calais and Eastport branches

Postby Simon Dunkley » Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:43 am

I just came across a photo showing details I had not seen before, on the New Jersey Freemo blog. Second picture/third image in this blog post: http://njfreemo.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/calais-trackplan.html. It answers a lot of questions.

It's ony been on the web for over seven years. How did I miss that?
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Re: Track on the Calais and Eastport branches

Postby Mikejf » Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:27 pm

Even the track in the yard is lightweight..
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Re: Track on the Calais and Eastport branches

Postby Simon Dunkley » Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:18 pm

Almost scarily lightweight.
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Re: Track on the Calais and Eastport branches

Postby jwhite07 » Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:58 pm

Simon Dunkley wrote:One problem - and I see this coming up at regular intervals over the years - is the lack of an MEC historical and technical society. I wonder how many otherwise interesting (to us) records and artefacts have been lost because there is nowhere for them to go, no one to collect them, etc? I have managed to pick up lots of interesting information on (for example) design and maintenance of way from a hundred years ago for a number of companies, but nothing for the MEC, nor indeed much in New England.


But there is a Maine Central historical society... the 470 Railroad Club. I cannot speak to the depth of their collection and/or overall technical knowledge at hand because I am not a member myself. I do know they are active, and they put out a regular newsletter. Their website has a discussion board which seems to be dormant/non-functioning... mebbe they do the Facebook thing, which I do not.
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Re: Track on the Calais and Eastport branches

Postby Mikejf » Fri Aug 05, 2016 7:39 am

I think they even used an old turntable as a bridge. Now I really need to dig out the books
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Re: Track on the Calais and Eastport branches

Postby ericofmaine » Fri Aug 05, 2016 7:43 am

I'm not sure we've ever claimed to be the Maine Central's historical society, despite being listed as such in some publications (Model Railroader comes to mind). That said, thanks to the late Emmons Lancaster and others, we do have a lot of stuff. Unfortunately, records weren't kept all that well, so we really don't know just what we do have. That said, please consider becoming a member! Every little bit helps and we've been complimented on our newsletter!

Also, in response to a statement about the Eastport branch being limited to the 44 tonners, I did find, in one of our books last night, a picture of a train being led by an S-1 on the branch.

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Re: Track on the Calais and Eastport branches

Postby Mikejf » Fri Aug 05, 2016 7:54 am

Yes, I should have worded that differently. Perhaps there were even a few trips with a GP7 on there too, but track was very light and I imagine after a few rerailing episodes they decided against that.
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Re: Track on the Calais and Eastport branches

Postby Simon Dunkley » Fri Aug 05, 2016 8:11 am

ericofmaine wrote:I'm not sure we've ever claimed to be the Maine Central's historical society, despite being listed as such in some publications (Model Railroader comes to mind). That said, thanks to the late Emmons Lancaster and others, we do have a lot of stuff. Unfortunately, records weren't kept all that well, so we really don't know just what we do have. That said, please consider becoming a member! Every little bit helps and we've been complimented on our newsletter!

That was my impression: the closest thing to an historical society for the MEC, but not actually one.

I would love to join, but could you accept payments via PayPal? (I'd be happy to pay the fee.)
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Re: Track on the Calais and Eastport branches

Postby Mikejf » Fri Aug 05, 2016 7:17 pm

Meet the Maine Central by the 470 Club has two photos of a 44 tonner on the Eastport Branch, as well as a statement saying the 44 tonner pictured in Calais was for the light rail on the Eastport branch. Now to find more photos..
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Re: Track on the Calais and Eastport branches

Postby Mikejf » Fri Aug 05, 2016 7:34 pm

The Best of Maine Railroads by Ron Johnson has the photo of the TurnTable bridge I mentioned.
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