Slate haulers. The crew of Monson #3 waits patiently for their next move, as they bring a couple of empty slate flats to a quarry just outside the little town of Monson, Maine. Of course, the REAL Monson Railroad is long gone, so this 2017 re-creation was operated on the trackage of the WW&F Museum in Alna, Maine.
The 6-mile-long Monson Railroad existed primarily to move slate from the quarries near Monson to a junction with the standard gauge Bangor & Aroostook Railroad. Although it did haul a few passengers, the only passenger equipment it ever owned was one small, Laconia Combine, which seated perhaps a dozen passengers at most. Nearly all of its other rolling stock were flat cars like the ones seen here. The Monson Railroad was one of the most primitive in the United States in the early 20th century, with no automatic brakes of any kind and no headlights, because they never ran at night. They even used link & pin couplers right up until the end in 1941. The Monson also had no turning facilities for their locomotives and they didn't waste a lot of time switching. The odd arrangement of both front and rear-coupled rolling stock seen here is also authentic.
Our cab crew on Monson #3 this day was Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum Engineer Bill Piche (in the cab window), and WW&F Pilot Hansel Fardon (in the gangway).