Saturday, March 7, 2020

Maine Bicentennial Series - Androscoggin & Kennebec Railway Company 1919-1941

The Crooked Bridge over Maine Central Railroad in South
Lewiston on the Lewiston-Lisbon Falls line, as it looked when
the lightweight cars ran in Sunday service between 1937 and
1941. Photo by Gerald F. Cunningham in the O. R.
Cummings Collection

Here is the newest release in the Maine Bicentennial series of electric railways in Maine. This blog post features the Androscoggin & Kennebec Railway (A&K) summary/images from the book, "Trolleys to Brunswick, Maine 1896-1937" by O. R. Cummings, presented as Transportation Volume 73 by the Connecticut Valley Chapter and the National Railway Historical Society- January-December 1966.  Also, there are materials from O. R. Cummings' 1963 publication, "Lewiston, Augusta & Waterville Street Railway. In addition, there are materials from O. R. Cummings and edited by Roger Borrup in O. R. Cummings' book, "Transportation Bulletin No. 76-Trolleys to Augusta, Maine", issued by the Connecticut Valley Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, January-August 1969. All books acquired by this blogger. Additional photos will be credited accordingly.

Bound for Lewiston, No. 126 passes a freight drag, headed
by Maine Central No. 519, a Class W-70 (2-8-0) Consolidated
built by Alco. The date is April 18, 1937, West Bath.
A G. Cummingham photo in the O. R. Cummings Collection

The A & K was a large system, starting with more than 145 miles of mainline track. With that in mind, the Kennebec Division (formerly the Augusta Division of the LA&W) details are in a separate blog post titled: Trolleys To Augusta and covers primarily the trolley lines extending from Augusta to Hallowell, Farmingdale, Sabattus and Gardiner; to Vassalboro, Winslow, and Waterville; to Manchester and Winthrop, and to the National Soldiers' Home in Togus, as well as a short local line in Augusta itself. And the Lewiston Division details are in a separate blog post titled: Lewiston, Brunswick & Bath and covers primarily trolley lines from Lewiston, Auburn, Webster, Lisbon, Lisbon Falls, Topsham, Brunswick, and Bath. There is some overlap of coverage and ownership descriptions in many of the various posts.


Click Here for the post: Ninety Communities in Maine had Electric Railway Service!
Click Here for the post: 57 Million Passengers Carried on Electric Railways in Maine in 1915!
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - History of the Portland Railroad 1860-1941
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - History of the Calais Street Railway 1894-1929
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - History of Aroostook Valley Railroad 1909-1946
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Fryeburg Horse Railroad 1887-1913
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - The Norway and Paris Street Railway 1894-1918
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Skowhegan & Norridgewock Railway 1894-1903
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Benton and Fairfield Railway 1898-1928
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - The Somerset Traction Company 1895-1928
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - The Fairfield and Shawmut Railway 1903-1927
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Waterville, Fairfield, & Oakland Rwy 1887-1937
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Trolleys to Augusta, Maine 1889-1932
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Rockland, South Thomaston, & St. George Rwy
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Biddeford and Saco Railroad Co. 1888-1939
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Mousam River Railroad - 1892-1899
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Sanford & Cape Porpoise Railway 1899-1904
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Portsmouth, Kittery & York St Rwy 1897-1903
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Bangor Street Railway 1889-1905
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Bangor Railway & Electric Company 1905-1925
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Bangor, Orono & Old Town Railway 1895-1905
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Bangor, Hampden & Winterport Rwy 1896-1905
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Penobscot Central Railway 1898-1906
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Bangor Hydro-Electric Company 1925-1945
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Lewiston, Brunswick & Bath St Rwy 1898-1907
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Lewiston, Augusta & Waterville St Rwy 1907-19
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Portland & Brunswick Street Railway 1902-1911
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Auburn & Turner Railroad 1905-1928
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Auburn, Mechanic Falls & NorwayStRwy1902-7
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Portsmouth, Dover & York St Rwy 1903-1906
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Atlantic Shore Line Railway 1900-1910
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Atlantic Shore Railway 1911-1923
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - York Utilities Company 1923-1949
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Portland-Lewiston Interurban - It Begins 1914
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Portland-Lewiston Interurban - The End 1933

The only steam railroad crossing on the Lewiston-Bath line
was on Maine Street, Brunswick, where the trolley crossed
the mainline of the Maine Central. Here is No. 120 waiting
for the crossing tender's signal to go.
O. R. Cummings Collection
         
The end of the Lewiston, Augusta & Waterville (LA&W) 1918 Losses Brought Receivership - Reorganization Decided Upon
     With losses approaching $100,000, on December 16, 1918, the Lewiston, Augusta & Waterville line was in receivership. When the financial conditions failed to improve in 1919, the company was reorganized and foreclosed on July 1, 1919. A public auction took place.
     The sale was held on September 5, and the assets, properties, and franchises of the LA&W being conveyed to the protective committee for $50, contingent upon acceptance of the outstanding liabilities and debts totaling $3,100,000.
     The Augusta Division of the former LA&W became the Kennebec Division of the Androscoggin & Kennebec Railway (A&K), and it eventually was expanded to include the Sabattus-Gardiner trackage in addition to that from Gardiner through Augusta to Waterville; from Augusta to Winthrop, and from Augusta to Togus.
     George W. Bowie continued as superintendent of the Kennebec Division, Alfred B. Sweeney being the general manager of the A&K.

Androscoggin & Kennebec Railway (A&K)
     A new operating company, the Androscoggin & Kennebec Railway Company (A&K), was incorporated on September 30, 1919, and the following day it took over the former LA&W system.
     Excluded from the property acquired by A&K was the Auburn & Turner Railroad, which was conveyed to the town of Turner for $30,000.
     The system conveyed to the A&K consisted of 145.97 miles of mainline track, 1.65 miles of secondary mainline track, 7.86 miles of siding and turnouts, and 1.86 miles of carhouse and shop tracks for a total of 157.14 single-track miles.

Off to a Rough Start
     The A&K began operation in one of the most severe winters in New England history - 1919-20. About six feet of snow fell in a month, followed by, the "storm of the century" on March 6. A&K service was suspended throughout the system.

Circa 1920 - "Jenny," possibly No. 006 plow.
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_21_138

Near North Vassalboro. Circa Jan./Feb. 1920
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_21_144

     Despite the poor start, the A&K reported a profit in 1920. During 1921, 12,842,576 passengers were carried and the company also reported a profit. A sharp drop in ridership in 1922 became the trend as private automobile competition increased. In 1927, ridership was down to 7,863,810, and the company reported a profit.

Freight and Express were important sources of revenue.
Here, gondola motor No. 652 is at the Bates College heating
plant in Lewiston in 1935. Photo by Roger Borrup in
O. R. Cummings Collection

     The weak line of the Kennebec Division was the Winthrop route. The last cars ran on the Winthrop line on Thursday, August 23, 1928, and the railway company began removing the rails and overhead shortly thereafter.

Winthrop Village.
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_21_124

     The company's first deficit was reported in 1930, followed by a deficit in 1931, as the Great Depression increased its stranglehold on the American economy.

Line car no. 702 is shown in front of the Lewiston carbarn
on Lisbon Street while lineman makes some minor repairs on
the overhead trolley wire. Photo by Roger Borrup on
June 30, 1937, in the O. R. Cummings Collection

     Ridership dropped to 4,824,027 in 1931. Then the state announced plans for extensive improvements to the present Route 201 - which the railway paralleled for a few miles out of Augusta towards Waterville. This would require the relocation of track and overhead.  The anticipated expense to do so dictated the decision to abandon the line. The entire 53 miles of the Kennebec Division were abandoned. The last cars between Lewiston and Waterville, between Gardiner and Augusta, and between Augusta and Togus, ran on Sunday, July 31, 1932.

After its conversion to "Quick Lunch" car, No. 108,
"Maranacook," spent time in South Hallowell. Here is
how it looked in the late 1930s - photo from L. C. Leighton 
in the O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_22_037

     The abandoned line still had outstanding mortgage bonds of the former Augusta, Hallowell, & Gardiner Railroad Company. Debtors foreclosed on the properties and the properties were liquidated.

1932 scene at the Augusta carbarn. Henry L. C. Leighton of
Augusta, who supplied a number of photos for the book used
for this blog post is seen here posing by the receiver's sign.
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_25_035

     All that remained of the Lewiston-Waterville route thereafter was the approximately 6 miles between Lewiston and Sabattus and another 1.1 miles from Sabattus Village to Sabattus Lake and a gravel pit a short distance east of Long Beach.

Motorman Charles Mason and conductor Robert Hurley
standing by car No. 40 at the original end-of-the-line, near
Cooperative Block, near Sabattus.
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_21_014

     The Lewiston-Bath route and local line in Bath was abandoned in 1937.

Birney safety car No. 242, which spent most of the 1920s in
the "high speed" service on the Brunswick-Yarmouth line,
ran out its days on the Lewiston-Auburn lines. It is shown
on Sabattus Street, Lewiston, in 1935.
O. R. Cummings Collection

Receivership for the A & K
     The A&K went into receivership on August 3, 1940, and on January 10, 1941, the assets, properties, and franchises of the company were sold at public auction to the H. E. Salzberg interests of New York City.
     Transfer to the new owner took place on April 1, 1941, and on that same date, the Lewiston-Auburn Transit Company came into being.
     Permission to motorize the remaining rail lines of the former A&K was soon obtained from the PUC; buses were ordered from General Motors, and with their arrival, training of operators began.

Taking down the Lewiston-Waterville overhead after
the abandonment of the line. From O. R. Cummings
1963 book, "Lewiston, Augusta, & Waterville Street Railway

Buses Took Over in September 1941
     By late August, all was in readiness for the changeover, and on September 1, 1941, the Lisbon Falls, Sabattus and Mechanic Falls routes and the three city lines were motorized. Five days later, on September 6th, buses took over on the two remaining lines.
     The Lewiston-Auburn Transit Company had a life span of approximately 18 years, bus service being permanently suspended on February 28, 1959, after a strike by the employees.

Restoration work continues on the Narcissus. The Narcissus is more than 100 years old now and has so many incredible stories to share. The restoration is but one.

     The Narcissus is featured in the national Gold Award-winning novel, Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride. The "Elegant Ride" is the Narcissus. Theodore Roosevelt was a passenger on the Narcissus on August 18, 1914, between Lewiston and Portland, Maine, during campaigning for the Progressive Party candidates.

Independent book publisher, Phil Morse, holding
the Gold Book Award Winner plaque for
 the Middle Reader category for The Eric
Hoffer Book Award. Congratulations to
award-winning Maine author,
Jean M. Flahive

     The paperback edition of Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride can be purchased online through the Seashore Trolley Museum's store website. Books purchased through the Museum's website directly benefit the Museum and the Narcissus project. Amazon book purchases also benefit the Museum and the Narcissus.

Click Here to go to the Museum Store webpage to order online

Click Here to go to the Amazon page to order the book online

Click Here to go to the ebook page

Books are available at these local bookstores in Maine:
The Book Review, Falmouth
The Bookworm, Gorham
Letterpress Books, Portland
Nonesuch Books and More, South Portland
Sherman's Maine Coast Book Shops - All locations

Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride
by Jean M. Flahive
Illustrations by Amy J. Gagnon

     Millie Thayer is a headstrong farmer's daughter who chases her dreams in a way you would expect a little girl nicknamed "Spitfire" would-running full tilt and with her eyes on the stars. Dreaming of leaving the farm life, working in the city, and fighting for women's right to vote, Millie imagines flying away on a magic carpet. One day, that flying carpet shows up in the form of an electric trolley that cuts across her farm. A fortune-teller predicts that Millie's path will cross that of someone famous. Suddenly, she finds herself caught up in events that shake the nation, Maine, and her family. Despairing that her dreams may be shattered, Millie learns, in an unexpected way, that dreams can be shared.
A resource for teachers 
Maine Historical Society has created companion lesson plans inspired by Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride - These State-standard-based lesson plans for classroom use in grades 6, 7, and 8 are now completed. They will be uploaded to the Maine Memory Network and will be included with the other statewide lesson plans K-12. Once a link is available, it will be posted here. The lesson plans will also be uploaded and available through the Seashore Trolley Museum's website later in July 2020. Go to the Teacher Resource Page in the pulldown for more details.

The ebook is available through Amazon Kindle Click HERE

The audiobook is now available Click HERE to go to the Audible page.

2-minute, 30-second, Retail Audio Sample of the Audiobook 


Award-winning author, Jean M. Flahive


                                                  


Click Here to read the post - Coveted Blueink Starred Review  - Notable Book - January 20, 2020

Click Here to read the post - Three 5-Star Reviews from Readers' Favorite posted on January 6, 2020

Click Here to read January 24, 2020 - Four-Star Clarion Review

Click Here to read January 19, 2020 - Theodore Roosevelt Center Blog Post Review

Click Here to read the December 25, 2019 4-Stars out of 4-Stars Review through OnlineBookClub

Please Consider a Donation to the Narcissus Project to help us tell the incredible story of the Narcissus through the interpretation portion of the Narcissus Project.

     Here is an example of how donations to the Narcissus Project now will help with the interpretation portion of the project. The interpretation programming will include exhibits, displays, education programming. During 2019, through generous donations to the Narcissus Project, we were able to conserve, replicate, and have high resolutions digital image files made of the original, 1910, 25.5-foot long, surveyor map of the elevation and grade of the 30-mile private right-of-way of the Portland, Gray, and Lewiston Railroad (Portland-Lewiston Interurban)
Thank You!

MUST-READ! - Click Here 

   Inside the Donald G. Curry Town House Restoration Shop, the Narcissus is in the midst of major work as we strive to complete its restoration. We are now planning the interpretation portion of the Narcissus Project. Donations to the Narcissus Project may be used in the future to help tell the incredible 100-plus-year-old story of the Narcissus. Your donation to the Narcissus is helping to make the dream of the project's success, a reality.

See below for Donation options -
It starts with YOU
Your Donation Matters
Make a Donation TODAY

Please Help the Narcissus. 
Donation Options to Help the Narcissus Project:

The New England Electric Railway Historical Society (NEERHS)
is the 501c3 organization that owns and operates the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, ME and the National Streetcar
The NEERHS is registered with the IRS (EIN# 01-0244457) and was incorporated in Maine in 1941.

Check or Money Order ***** should be made payable to:
New England Electric Railway Historical Society (NEERHS)
In the memo please write: Narcissus Fund 816-A
Mail to: Seashore Trolley Museum
              P. O. Box A
              Kennebunkport, ME 04046

Credit Card ***** donations can be a one-time donation or you
may choose to have a specific amount charged to your card
automatically on a monthly basis. Please contact the Museum bookkeeper, Connie, via email at finance@NEERHS.org or by phone, 207-967-2712 ext. 5.

Online Donations - may be made by using a Credit Card: 
Click Here to make an online donation through the Museum's website - When at the Donation page: Fill in donor info, etc., when at "To which fund are you donating? Scroll down to "Other" and type in: 816-A Narcissus, then continue on filling in the required information.

Click Here for PayPal - to make an online donation: you can use email: finance@NEERHS.org and in the message box write:
For Narcissus fund 816-A

Donation of Securities ***** We also accept donations of
securities. You can contact the Museum bookkeeper, Connie, via email at finance@NEERHS.org or by phone, 207-967-2712 ext. 5,
for brokerage account information for accepting donated securities.

BONUS ***** If you work for a company/corporation that will
"match" an employee's donation to an approved 501c3 non-profit
educational organization, please be sure to complete the necessary paperwork with your employer so that your donation is matched :)

Questions? ***** Please contact Narcissus project manager:
Phil Morse, pmorse31@gmail.com or call 207-985-9723 - cell.

Thank You :)

Thank You for our Current Funding Partners
20th Century Electric Railway Foundation - 2018 - Major Gift, 2017/2014 Matching Grants
Renaissance Charitable Foundation (LPCT) by Fiduciary Trust Charitable Giving Fund
Mass Bay RRE - 2018 Railroad Preservation Grant 
Thornton Academy (Saco, ME) - Staff & Alumni - Matching Grant Challenge 2014
New England Electric Railway Historical Society (Kennebunkport, ME) - Member Donations
Amherst Railway Society - 2015 Heritage Grant
National Railway Historical Society - 2016 & 2015 Heritage Preservation Grants
Enterprise Holding Foundation - 2015 Community Grant
Theodore Roosevelt Association - Member Donations
John Libby Family Association and Member Donations
* The Conley Family - In Memory of Scott Libbey 2018/2017/2016/2015
* The W. S. Libbey Family - Awalt, Conley, Graf, Holman, Libbey, McAvoy, McLaughlin, Meldrum, O'Halloran, Salto, - 2018/2017
* The Hughes Family 2017/2016/2010
New Gloucester Historical Society and Member Donations
Gray Historical Society and Member Donations
Gray Public Library Association - Pat Barter Speaker Series
* LogMein - Matching Employee Donation
* IBM - Matching Employee/Retiree Donations
* Fidelity Charitable Grant - Matching Employee Donations
* Richard E. Erwin Grant - 2017/2016

The Narcissus, with interior back-lit, stained glass windows are majestic.
Make a donation today to help restore the interior of this Maine gem.
Help Theodore Roosevelt's Maine Ride get back on track! Once restored,
you will be able to ride in luxury on this National Register Treasure at
Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.
PWM photo

Please Consider Making a Donation to the project of the National Register of Historic Places member, Narcissus. We are currently raising funds to tell the incredible story of this Maine gem.

Various News stories during the summer of 2015 about the
Narcissus and its connection to Theodore Roosevelt. TR
was a passenger on the Narcissus on August 18, 1914.

Click Here to See the list of All Previous Blog Posts - Index

The Narcissus - July 31, 2015. Make a donation today.
Help Theodore Roosevelt's Maine Ride get back on track!
Once restored, you will be able to ride in luxury on this
Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.

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