No. 133: Brunswick, Maine Track Study

A few weeks ago I took quick trip to New Hampshire to take my son to get his drivers license.  He got his license the first morning of our trip.  We spent the next couple of days shopping and also went up to Brunswick, Maine for a few hours to visit Bowdoin College.
The photo above is on the departure out of Frankfurt.  Here’s the city, below, around 7:00 a.m.  Frankfurt was levelled during the war by the British and American bombing campaigns, and rebuilt as “an American city” featuring New York City-style skyscrapers.  It is the only city in Germany with skyscraper buildings.
While at Bowdoin, Jacob went off to an orientation appointment and I had about 90 minutes to hang around town.  Naturally I went “down to the tracks” to poke around and take a few photos.  I don’t model Maine railroads but track study is important to the railroad prototype modeler, as track is a model too and getting it right is important.  Here’s what I found.
First I went to the passenger depot just off campus and found the local double-ended passenger train had just arrived.  The train turns here and returns south after about an hour break.
Right around the corner were a few old buildings that appear to have been rail-served at one time.  Here is the most interesting one, below.   Many thanks to the guys at Gorham Bike Shop for letting me on their property to shoot around the building. They told me it was a former lumber shed.
Below.  Nearby the lumber shed on one leg of a wye track, this old telltale is still in service…sorta.
How come the modern modelers never include stuff like this on their layouts?
With time running out I slowed down and did a little track study.  I was drawn to an old switch stand near the telltale, shown below, then took some time to photograph track details.
The last patent date on this switch stand is 1907; I wouldn’t be surprised if it is 110 years old.  It is a Ramapo No. 17.
Below.  A double-ended gauge rod near the turnout.  There were quite a few of them on the wye and at the turnout.
Note the color of the ties too.  They’re not gray, and not tan, but somewhere in the middle.
Below.  These devices are adjustable rail braces that help keep track in alignment at turnouts.  I don’t know how long this type of rail brace has been in service, but these appear to be as old as the track itself.
Again, note the tie colors and the slightly contrasting color of the track and fasteners.
Here’s a joint bar, of fishplate, with the bolt heads on the inside.  The wire provides additional electrical continuity.
Here’s another joint bar, below, with two bolt heads and two nuts on the inside rail.
Below.  Even more details.  It’s hard to see in this photo, but this rail was forged in 1915.  Another nearby rail, which I couldn’t photograph because the detail was partially hidden in a shadow, was forged in 1909.
Finally, I went looking for date nails.  In 1991 I spend a weekend in Caribou, Maine with a broken C-141, and in 2001 I visited the Conway Scenic Railroad in New Hampshire.  In both places I noticed date nails everywhere, so I had a hunch I would find them here in Brunswick.  I did—lots of them!
I love date nails.  I think they tell a great story.  Here’s a rare one, below—1943!
Here’s a few more.  They’re still in great shape.  I’m glad they’re still there and haven’t been pulled up by a nail-hunter.

I hope you enjoyed the random thoughts.  Have a great week!  – John G

2 thoughts on “No. 133: Brunswick, Maine Track Study

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