Railway Preservation News

Looking for information on Maine Central class X locomotives
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Author:  Howard P. [ Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Looking for information on Maine Central class X locomot

He used a fish finder, not a steam locomotive finder.

Seriously, the old story of a locomotive in a quarry, river, deep lake, mud bog, abandoned tunnel, collapsed tunnel, old coal mine, or bricked-up factory, is invariably bogus.

Yes, there are some exceptions; they are well-known (work train loco in the collapsed Richmond tunnel, B&M 3666 in the river in NH, 4-4-0 in the Florida swamp, CPR loco in a deep Canadian lake, etc.) or they are a tiny contractor's 0-4-0T abandoned in place (or in a quarry).

The major railroads (MEC among them) accounted for all their locomotives, and the chance of a 2-6-6-2 being left in a river, with no record of such, is as likely as me having a date with Cindy Crawford this evening.

Howard P.

Author:  Richard Glueck [ Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Looking for information on Maine Central class X locomot

Why would any railroad dump that much saleable scrap into a river? Why would there be no public record? Why would it be found for the first time using a fish finder? Why would it remain intact (especially in a New England river) after ninety years?
Somebody has superimposed the outline of something the shape of one of the articulated onto a screen of colored lines.

Author:  John T [ Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Looking for information on Maine Central class X locomot

While it seems unlikely there is a 2-6-6-2 at the bottom of that lake it is not impossible. What was scrap worth in 1935? Please keep us posted on the hunt.

Author:  Tom Davidson [ Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Looking for information on Maine Central class X locomot

I don't have a horse in this race. The image seems to show the loco and tender in perfect front-to-back alignment, almost as if it were still on the rails. If the engine was wrecked, this seems highly unlikely. Looks suspiciously like a hoax to me. Let us know what your dive turns up.

Now I'm off to the Seven Mountains of Pennsylvania to look for the lost Bebelheimer Shay.


Author:  Ron Travis [ Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Looking for information on Maine Central class X locomot

There are lost locomotive stories that are credible. The ones that are fallacious are usually wishful thinking about the prospect of acquiring a “free” locomotive for operation. Most of the wishful thinking losses involve the superpower era because those are the most desired locomotives. That is why they often seem so preposterous; like a perfectly preserved “Big Boy” hidden in a tunnel and forgotten. Actually, most lost locomotives date from the pioneering era. They may be documented or only the subject of verbal legend.

This one purported to be in the river seems highly unlikely. First of all, railroads seldom, if ever, “dumped” locomotives to get rid of them. Instead, they lost them because they fell into deep water or mud, and the cost of recovery exceeded their value. In any case, there needs to be an explanation of how a lost locomotive became lost.

If all the evidence for the lost Class x 2-6-6-2 is the fish finder image, one should first consider the location of a railroad in relation to that site. Is this beneath a railroad bridge over the river? Also, what is the scale of that image? Does it match the size of the suspected locomotive? How wide and deep is the river there? Also, if you remove the yellow outline that has been drawn around the image, is the image sufficiently convincing to be a locomotive?

The era of the supposed loss of this Class x is relatively recent. So there should be historical documentation in the newspapers. If the locomotive disposition records are available, losing the engine due to a wreck would most likely be noted. In any case, if the records show all Class x engines to have been scrapped, it disproves the theory of one being lost in the river. These types of records are often inconclusive from the pioneering era, but they should be quite clear in the relatively recent period of this supposed loss.

Author:  Ron Travis [ Sat Jan 21, 2017 4:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Looking for information on Maine Central class X locomot

Steel City,

Can you explain how this image data you posted on the previous page was gathered by the use of a fish finder? I assume all of that patchwork pattern is part of the data, and it appears to cover quite a large area. If this was gathered from a boat on the water, how was it added to the Google photograph? And what explains the patchwork imagery shown throughout the photo? Why is it all organized in pattern that seems entirely based on two dimensional X and Y coordinates?

Author:  Tom Davidson [ Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Looking for information on Maine Central class X locomot

Steel City wrote:

No. That's a nice find, but a different engine. The Bebelheimer Shay is something of a legend in Central Pennsylvania. Ben Kline told the story better than I can in his "Pitch Pine and Prop Timber", Vol. 1 of the Logging Railroad Era of Lumbering in Pennsylvania series. Daniel Bebelheimer had a small 42" gauge logging railroad operating out of the Milroy, PA area about 100 years ago, using a single second-hand Shay. The operation ended when the engine became disabed somewhere in the woods, and was abandoned in place. Realistically, it is likely that the engine was taken out in pieces for WWII scrap (if not before) by persons unknown. But this was never documented, so there are visions of its being dicovered some day, covered up in a Laurel thicket. It's a landlubber's Flying Dutchman.

Many years ago, I joined the hunt with my own cursory tour of the Bebelheimer line's route, to no avail. But it's rugged country, and I would never claim I turned over every leaf to find her. You're welcome to try yourself!


Author:  Ron Travis [ Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Looking for information on Maine Central class X locomot

Steel City,

Thanks for posting that link above to the History Channel coverage of the two locomotives off the coast of New Jersey. I have followed that story off and on for quite a while, but never had seen that coverage in the link. That is quite informative and detailed in describing their research. For a while, it seemed like the discovery was going to be abandoned with no conclusion. But after watching the coverage in the link, it seems like there is a good chance of recovering and preserving those locomotives as historical artifacts. They have really made a lot of progress in unraveling the mystery.

As far as lost locomotives go, that discovery ranks extremely high in the quality and antiquity of the artifact. It is interesting that the two locomotives match each other as well as the one preserved 2-2-2 locomotive named PIONEER, and yet they are much larger than the preserved PIONEER.

I have considered the theories that are offered for as to how the two locomotives ended up side by side and perfectly upright on the ocean floor. The idea that they were being towed on a barge that sunk in a storm makes sense and explains final resting position of the locomotives if they went down while fastened down the deck of the barge. But apparently, they have conclude that no barge is there.

If they were not on a barge, but rather, slid off or were jettisoned from the ship deck in a storm, it is hard to imagine them landing in such an orderly fashion on the bottom.

I would like to know more about that crate of "lollypops" they found nearby.

Author:  philip.marshall [ Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Looking for information on Maine Central class X locomot

I'm fascinated by these two Seth Wilmarth(?) 2-2-2Ts sunken off New Jersey and think the topic is significant and important enough to deserve a thread of its own.

According to Taber's Antebellum American Railroads: 1830-1860, the Cumberland Valley RR had at least three other 2-2-2Ts in addition to the Pioneer, namely the Jenny Lind (1851), the Boston (1855), and the Enterprise (also 1855), all with 54" drivers and presumably all built by Seth Wilmarth. Could they have ordered two more in the period between 1851 and 1855 that didn't make it? (Are there any surviving records of the Cumberland Valley that might shed light on this, perhaps in the RMPA archives?)

The "lollipops" look kind of like eccentric rods to me.

Do we know the current status of this project? I'd love to see these engines raised and conserved.

-Philip Marshall

EDIT: I see now that these locomotives have already been discussed numerous times on this board going back more than a decade, though with no recent updates.

Author:  Richard Glueck [ Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Looking for information on Maine Central class X locomot

All of the Youtube clips are well known items. The Delaware River site is either from an abandoned wreck or were freight cars placed there as flood control items. As a child, I remember Lehigh Valley hoppers being run into a flood raging river to help slow it down (1950's). The two little steamers in the Atlantic, were either thrown overboard or washed off a deck. WW2 ships with locomotives are well documented. "News" clips or television segments are edited to entice your imagination. How you would try to move a 2-6-6-2 across a New Hampshire lake, or why you would want to do it, is a bit less clear. How you would keep the whole business "murky" until 2017, would be the story!

Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Looking for information on Maine Central class X locomot

Steel City wrote:
Air bags, the same way we bring ships to the surface.
Something makes me think you don't want this steam locomotive to be found. Maybe because it might take the light off of Maine Central #470?

Ummmmmm.jpg [ 6 KiB | Viewed 4174 times ]

Author:  Richard Glueck [ Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Looking for information on Maine Central class X locomot

That must be what it is!

Author:  bbunge [ Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Looking for information on Maine Central class X locomot

Steel City wrote:
We'll find out in late May or early June when My two son's and I take a dip.

A posting after a positive or negative find will be most welcome. Those of us who have been on this board for a long time (years) tend to be skeptical because sunken engine stories pop up every couple of years, usually with a promise of a spring/summer dive, with the original posters never to be heard from again.

And then if you are around long enough, we get to hear it all over again when a couple of years later some newbie bounces the original thread asking if there has been an update. :-)

So please pardon us old-timers if we are skeptical and somewhat grumpy. Starting to get personal with a veteran of the trade who has nuts, bolts, political, and fund raising cred doesn't endear. Conversing while understanding this environment, asking good, intelligent questions, seeking help digging through newspaper and other archives, answering technical questions directed to you, and even getting an expert to tag along on your trip would gain cred.

So how deep is the water there? And can you post your Google Earth image with a distance scale please? And perhaps highlight near by current and historical tracks?



Author:  Dave [ Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Looking for information on Maine Central class X locomot

Actually..... Steel City has nothing to prove, he's just asking for information. the odds are not good, but every now and again a long shot comes in - think of the developments of last Friday, for example. Cut him some slack and let's see what he finds during his dive - at the worst, he'll have a nice day doing some interesting poking around. Best, there's something of interest down there. It costs us nothing to watch and wish him well and a safe dive.

Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Looking for information on Maine Central class X locomot

Here's some help for anyone still paying attention.

The "aerial view" posted earlier is likely to confuse some, as it's looking SOUTH down the Connecticut River towards Wilder Dam, with Vermont on the right and New Hampshire on the left. The parking lot seen at the lower right is for the Montshire Museum of Science, in Vermont across the river from Hanover, NH. The former Boston & Maine branch from White River Junction to Wells River hugs the shore of the Vermont side. Last I remember, that was a Pan Am Railways line, with excursions operated on it by Vermont Rail Systems as part of the annual RR festival at WRJ.

Using my edition of Google Earth Pro, matching up everything as closely as I can, I'm coming up with a length for this purported image of tender and locomotive of approximately 200 feet (and that's being conservative--the first couple times were 250 and 220 feet). This is for a purported locomotive and tender that was 77 feet long as built.

And this does not entertain any discussion of how a Maine Central articulated ended up on the B&M line, how it wrecked, or how it managed to end up perpendicular to the rail line before coming to rest on the bottom when the adjacent rail line is mere feet from the river bank at this location--approximately 25 feet above the water level.

As anyone looking at Facebook or purported "news" websites must observe:
"Claims require proof. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."

I wish you lots of fun on your dive junket.

RyPN's Resident Skeptical Curmudgeon

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