|. Stangley .|
- Richard Insley
It is 1940 and the small town of Strangley in Somerset County, Maine, USA. The railroad running through the town is the Freeman and Chester, a 2' 3" gauge line.
With the success of the Sandy River Valley Railroad in the neighbouring Franklin County the thrifty souls of Chester chartered a slim gauge line to link them to Strangley, Freeman and hopefully Strong on the Sandy River line. The line of 37 miles was completed by July 1 1980. An end on connection was made with the standard gauge Maine Central Railroad at Freeman.
Locomotives were purchased from the Hinkley, Porter Mason and Baldwin companies between 1890 and 1913.
In 1900 a spur of 18 miles was built from Strangley to Dead River timber stands where timber continued to be moved until the late 1950's. The pleasures of Strangley lakes were discovered in 1903 and tourism became a major revenue for the railroad.
After the First World War the railroad began a slow economic decline which continued up to 1940. Some engines and stock were sold off, while the line beyond Freeman was closed. Its metals were used to repair other parts of the line. Timber and tourism, along with small industries and farm products, still brought in enough revenue for the line to survive.
Published by Chris MacKenzie for the
Virtual Narrow Gauge Model Railway Exhibition
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