125 Years Ago ~ Freight Summaries

The tabulation of the books at the close of the fiscal year, June 30th, shows that the freight traffic of the Bridgton railroad for the past twelve months to have been the largest of any year since the road was opened.

With the mercury at 90, or there-about, the daily spectacle of the arrival of coal trains doesn’t exactly cause a shiver and a chattering of teeth, but still it is suggestive that the summer of our discontent will soon be succeeded by autumn frost, and then, lo! the old-fashioned down-east winter. “Just as of old the seasons come and go, summer with its heat, and winter with its snow.” Just as of old the pumpkins will be ripe. Just as of old Bill Webb will light his pipe.

“Weeman’s,” the East Sebago station on the B. & S. R. R. R., so far as its human occupants are concerned exists only in name. The house is closed, and Jacob Witham and wife have come to live with their son Freeman, in this village. Mr. Witham is a native of Denmark, but he moved from that town to his Sebago farm in 1857, where he has lived ever since except the time he was in the army–he serving in the Twenty-fifth Maine regiment. Again the double current of Portland round-trip excursionists by steamer and narrow-gauge. A happy lot they are.

The railroad company will freight this season an aggregate of over 2600 tons of coal. The larger part of which goes to the factories, the rest is for the railroad and home and shop use. Of this amount, Hall & Dresser receives this season 500 tons, although they will handle 700 tons, they having 200 tons left over from last year to start with; they supply more or less to North Bridgton and Harrison. An engine on this road can haul 60 tons despite some very heavy grades, while if the road were level all the way it could haul 200 tons. And notwithstanding this great amount of coal used here, there is constantly a good demand for wood, so that it brings $3.50 to $4.50 and even as high as $5. In pod-auger days men of the past generation would cut and haul wood three or four miles to this village and sell it for “nine shillings” or “ten-an’-six” ($1.50 and $1.75) a cord! Oh, “the good old times!”

Originally printed by the Bridgton News, July 20, 1894

125 Years Ago, Today ~ Repainting the Bridgton Station

A few maintenance and operational comments from the Bridgton News this week:

  • The extra train will begin running July 2d.
  • Bridgton passenger station has been repainted: yellow with trimmings red.
  • The road-bed of the railroad is thoroughly ballasted, and the road is everyway in first class condition.

Published in the Bridgton News on June 1, 1894.

An additional detail for those interested in the colors of the station:

The interior of the Bridgton R. R. office shines like a cotton hat in its new and tasty paint.

Published in the Bridgton News on April 27, 1894.

125 years ago, today ~ Jumping from Iron Horse to Horse

A daring wild-west event on the narrow gauge:

HIRAM: While the Mount Cutler House team was at Bridgton Junction, Thursday, awaiting passengers, the horse became frightened and ran away. At the same time the narrow gauge engine started and overtook the team at the intersection of the highway and railroad, about half a mile away and the fireman jumped from his engine and caught the horse before any damage had been done.

Published in the Bridgton News on May 11, 1894.

125 Years Ago ~ January 19, 1894

The snow train kept the railroad open in good shape during the storm and blow, Friday and Saturday, so that the passenger trains were not delayed, so far as this road was concerned, they even making quicker time than usual. But the log train business was thereby lessened, so that it has been a stern chase to try and keep up with the daily demands.

Originally published by the Bridgton News on January 19, 1894.

125 Years Ago ~ A Busy Road

The snow train has several times this season been brought into play, to keep the road-bed clear of superfluous snow, while the section men have much to do to keep crossings and switches in good condition.

Long and heavy freight trains on our R. R., independent of log train. A busy road.

Among the recent freight arrivals was that of nearly one hundred tons of pressed hay, belonging to J. K. Martin. It goes to his “Sunny Crest” farm, where he has a handsome stock of high-grade cattle–about forty-five head. The hay comes from Mr. Martin’s farm in Deering–though by no means the whole quantity cut there–and is of fine quality and well-cured.

Originally published by the Bridgton News, Dec 22, 1893, on Pages 2 & 3.

125 Years Ago ~ The Logging Train Runs

The log train began running this week, and it has a big job on its hands–and wheels. M. M. Caswell is engineer; Charles Bertwell, fireman; George Emery, brakeman; Wm. H. Morrison, Fred Sanborn, and John Hibbard, loaders. The Moulton & Bradley timber, from the Col. Perley Nathaniel Hale lot, about 800,000, and the timber, almost a million feet, from another of the Col. Perley lots (already spoken of in this paper) is taken aboard at the Darwin Ingalls meadow and Perley’s Mills, respectively, and goes to the Junction. young Bros have about 250,000 feet of hard wood in Denmark, Sebago, and Hiram, which is to go to their mills; and a considerable quantity of poplar, birch, hardwood, etc., owned by D. P. Chaplin and Geo-Newcomb, from the Nehemiah Choate lot, is also to be transported by rail. The road, in fact, has all the freight business it well can attend to, now and for some time to come. The regular passenger train is run by its customary crew—John Marcque, engineer; Oscar Ham, fireman; Paul Lord, brakeman; Will Crosby, conductor.

Originally published by the Bridgton News, 15 December 1893.

125 Years Ago; Locomotives 1 & 3 Return!

The two locomotives, No. 1 and No. 3, so badly demoralized by the fire which destroyed the engine house Sept. 6th, have been put in nice trim, and are at the Bridgton station, ready for business. Soon after the fire, they were taken to the Portland Company’s Works, where they been thoroughly overhauled, and repaired, under the special direction of Mr. M. M. Caswell, who now and even since opening of the road, over ten years ago, has been its Master Mechanic and Purchasing Agent, and who has visited Portland twice every week to superintend the renovation. The locomotives look brand-new-fresh as a daisy. New cabs have been built, finished in ash, natural color; the exterior finished in black, with silver lettering; new numbering of plate in front boiler, with circular, guilt letter legend “Bridgton & Saco River Rail Road Co.;” while an improvement has been introduced by Mr. Caswell in the manner of sight-feed lubricators, for self-oiling the cilinder [sic],–an ingenious device whereby lubrication can be adjusted to a nicety. Each machine is provided with a chime-whistle, the same used on the Main [sic] Central.

Originally published by the Bridgton News on December 1st, 1893.