THE RAILROAD EXTENSION.
AS VIEWED FROM THE HARRISON POINT OF VIEW.
At Harrison as a matter of course, railroad matters continue to be the uppermost subject for thought and discussion throughout the town. While there is a diversity of opinion as to which is the best of the various schemes afloat, there is one point on which all seem to be agreed and this is: that under the present condition of things it would be impossible to get a vote of he town to help build the Bridgton narrow-gauge extension to Harrison village. At least this is the outspoken opinion of all those whom the NEWS representative has interviewed on the matter. This, however, is a belief independent of the real wishes of those interested in having better facilities for connection with the outside world. As to the business men–the merchants, manufacturers, etc.,–while some would be glad to have an electric line, either from Norway or Westbrook, in preference to the Bridgton extension, the majority of this class deem the latter scheme the only practical one. Of this class is Marshall Jordan, whom the notebook man interviewed. He found him outspoken and pronounced as to his ideas. Said M. Jordan:
To my mind, there is only one plan to be considered for a moment by any one who views the question from a true business standpoint, and that plan is the narrow-gauge extension from Bridgton. Even if the other projects now talked of were feasible as to constructing and opening a road to or through this town, the all-important requisite for practical success lies in the question, Will it pay? And this essential is precisely what the Bridgton scheme possesses, and is what the other schemes lack. To be sure, there are some trifling disadvantages to the narrow-gauge as compared to the standard-gauge, but so far as my business is concerned the narrow-gauge would do it all without trouble. A broad-gauge is not feasible because of the much greater cost of constructing and operating. Pay? Why, certainly, the narrow-gauge extension would not only pay, but be decidedly profitable. In the first place our freighting would be a third more. Any man who will dispassionately study the question must see that there is but one logical deduction, namely, that this is the only route worth considering. In my candid judgment, if we Harrison people are to get out of town by rail, it will be in the way I have stated. And the Bridgton road has presented a fair and satisfactory solution of the problem.
Another well-known business man said:
I have no faith in the practicability of any railway route except the Bridgton extension. Of course, with the Westbrook-route idea in the way–which is quite “taking” with those who are impressed more strongly by the sentimental than the practical–it is of no use to hope that a sufficient number of votes could be secured to raise money for the Bridgton extension. And then, again, our town is peculiar. It is peculiar in this, that while in other towns, as a general thing, there are a number of men possessed of money or influence, or both, who take hold and lead in all important local issues; in Harrison it is different, for we all average up and alike as to means and influence. In other words, we are as a town a class of equals, and without leadership.
I presume you arn’t [SIC] especially partial to a Bridgton extension?
was the feeler put out by the notebook man to Sumner C. Davis, the stage-line proprietor.
On the contrary, I am decidedly in favor of it,
was his answer.
Would it hurt my stage business? Not at all. I think the Bridgton route the only really practical one, and I wonder how any one who looks into the whys and wherefores of the present schemes can see it in any other light.
W. H. Bailey, the custom tailor, was conservative on railroad matters. He, however, would prefer an electric line to any other if it could be attained.
If outside parties would themselves build and run such a road,
I cannot see why Harrison should object to it. Still, it is one thing to talk electric or other railroad, and quite another thing to get it!
As printed in the Bridgton News, page 2, January 8, 1897.