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Thread: The Old Somerset Railroad

  1. #1
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    Default The Old Somerset Railroad

    Over 100 years ago, there was a railroad that went from Oakland, Maine to the tourist resort at Kineo, on Moosehead lake. It was called the "Somerset Railroad". The train station in Solon (where I live) closed in 1935, and the last service was to Bingham in 1975. But the right-of-way still exists as a "rail trail" with at least 50 geocaches between Solon and Lake Moxie - about 30 miles north. (and there more north of there...)

    This history of the Somerset Railroad is fascinating, and is documented in a Book from DownEast Books of Camden, "The Old Somerset Railroad".

    This is such a great ride, both for geocaching and just getting into the scenic Maine woods. I plan on adding to this thread with pictures and a "caches along a route" listing. The trail is accessible by bicycle, ATV and snowmobile. The 6-mile stretch between Solon and Bingham (6 miles, 23 caches, along the Kennebec River)) can also be walked easily. (If you want to drop your car at one end, I might be persuaded to drive you back to the starting point...)

    Last edited by WhereRWe?; 03-24-2011 at 07:01 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default

    Good idea, Bruce - why not make it a article?
    DNFTT! DNFTT! DNFTT!

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by brdad View Post
    Good idea, Bruce - why not make it a article?
    Cut and paste, Dave. LOL!

    (Seriously, I might just do that. I really love the trip from Solon to Indian Pond. And retracing your steps and continuing on the northern side of the Kennebec is also great - and not a geocache for miles. I'll have to get busy as soon as the snow is gone. LOL!)

  4. #4
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    Default

    I worked on the whole section between Oakland,where I lived, to Bingham when I worked for the MCRR and then Guilford Industries where I was let go in 84 because of the consolidation of the railroad. I was the last railroad guy in Bingham before I was involved in the tear down of the tracks from N Anson to Bingham. Sure do miss those days. Spent many days traveling along that stretch of rail and in my opinion the most beautiful stretch of rails in the state. Glad that the right-of-way is still in use and hopefully will continue to be for many years to come.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Default

    Give the word and I'll move the thread. If you need any other help, maps or a GSAK macro to spit out the list of caches, let me know.
    DNFTT! DNFTT! DNFTT!

    "The funniest thing about this particular signature is that by the time you realize it doesn't say anything it's to late to stop reading it..."

  6. #6
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    Dec 2007
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    Default

    The 6 mile stretch between Solon and Bingham gets you views of the Kennebec River you'll ever see. We did these caches on bikes with Bruce, Theresa, Jim Stacey and his mother in law. It was a great day of caching with friends! If you haven't done these, make a date to do them. Parking cars/trucks at both ends is a good idea if you're on foot or bike.



    Quote Originally Posted by WhereRWe? View Post
    Over 100 years ago, there was a railroad that went from Oakland, Maine to the tourist resort at Kineo, on Moosehead lake. It was called the "Somerset Railroad". The train station in Solon (where I live) closed in 1935, and the last service was to Bingham in 1975. But the right-of-way still exists as a "rail trail" with at least 50 geocaches between Solon and Lake Moxie - about 30 miles north. (and there more north of there...)

    This history of the Somerset Railroad is fascinating, and is documented in a Book from DownEast Books of Camden, "The Old Somerset Railroad".

    This is such a great ride, both for geocaching and just getting into the scenic Maine woods. I plan on adding to this thread with pictures and a "caches along a route" listing. The trail is accessible by bicycle, ATV and snowmobile. The 6-mile stretch between Solon and Bingham (6 miles, 23 caches, along the Kennebec River)) can also be walked easily. (If you want to drop your car at one end, I might be persuaded to drive you back to the starting point...)

    Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by brdad View Post
    Give the word and I'll move the thread. If you need any other help, maps or a GSAK macro to spit out the list of caches, let me know.
    The GSAK class we went to this weekend has gotten me interested in macros. I especially liked what you can do with the arc/poly function to map caches in an area. Give me a couple of days to see what I can do before I call for help. LOL!


  8. #8
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    Default Works well.

    Quote Originally Posted by WhereRWe? View Post
    The GSAK class we went to this weekend has gotten me interested in macros. I especially liked what you can do with the arc/poly function to map caches in an area. Give me a couple of days to see what I can do before I call for help. LOL!

    The arc/poly function is awesome. It's almost exclusively the way I load caches onto our GPS's now. The exception being newly published caches that weren't in my PQ's so I just send them to the GPS and we run.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhereRWe? View Post
    The GSAK class we went to this weekend has gotten me interested in macros. I especially liked what you can do with the arc/poly function to map caches in an area. Give me a couple of days to see what I can do before I call for help. LOL!

    Yes, ARC/Poly is a great tool. You can have multiple arcs or polygons as as well. If you want to spit out just a list of caches anywhere along one route, you don't even need a macro, you can do it with a filter and save that filter. Then the next time, you just apply the saved filter to your database, and you can use my copy_to_clip macro to copy the cache list formatted for pasting into the forum!

    The macro I made to do the caches near bridges or waterfalls, as well as the macro to list which town any Maine cache is in, use a very similar technique repeated over and over. The Maine towns one has to process 915 polygons!
    Last edited by brdad; 03-25-2011 at 11:42 AM.
    DNFTT! DNFTT! DNFTT!

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  10. #10
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    Feb 2007
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    Oakland, Maine
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Haffy View Post
    I worked on the whole section between Oakland,where I lived, to Bingham when I worked for the MCRR and then Guilford Industries where I was let go in 84 because of the consolidation of the railroad. I was the last railroad guy in Bingham before I was involved in the tear down of the tracks from N Anson to Bingham. Sure do miss those days. Spent many days traveling along that stretch of rail and in my opinion the most beautiful stretch of rails in the state. Glad that the right-of-way is still in use and hopefully will continue to be for many years to come.
    Another thing we have in common Haffy, we've both been layed off by the Railroad. I was wondering if the Madison Branch was part of the old Somerset Railroad. From Oakland to Madison it's still in daily use. (Unless the mill closes, then it's kaput). Engineer friends of mine tell me it's the worst section of rail in New England with a 5 mph speed limit. It wasn't unusual to see a train go past me in Norridgewock and watch the engine sink down and scrape the rail (for those of you who have not worked the RR. That's really bad) Guildford had plans to start and rebuild the tracks, but that's on hold pending the sale of the Madison Mill.

    It would be neat to see some of these old railways be converted over to trails like the old Newport to Hartland section. I was in Bowdoinham today caching and the section of rail from Brunswick to Augusta would be perfect. With no factories or mills, it's a complete pipe dream to think that trains will someday run on these tracks. In fact, the plan to rebuild the tracks from Westbrook to Fryeburg is, quite frankly, insane. (that's the old Mountain Division rail of the Maine Central Railroad) The cost just to replace the road crossings would be in the millions to bring them up to modern standards. Fortunately,the economy is in great shape and we have the money for these things.....
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