We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The first thing that struck my eye was of course the steam locomotive. I like all railroads but I am no expert on New England roads.
I believe the steam engine belonged to the New Haven and was probably either an elderly 2-6-0 or 4-6-0 type. It appears to have steam chests which would date the birth of the locomotive to no later than the early 1900s.
The next thing that caught my eye was the large white house next to the track. It must have been something to have a train pass that close.
Moving on, the switch stand on the left side of the tracks is interesting as it has a kerosene marker light on top. Those lights rotated as the switch was thrown, showing the train crew either a red or green light. They are very collectible today.
I am also impressed with the condition of the track. Wellfleet had to be on a lightly used branchline so I am surprised it appeared so well maintained.
There is also a mystery (to me) in the picture. If you look to the left of the rail you can see a control rod running parallel to the tracks. Back in the day, these rods connected railroad switches to an interlocking tower. The tower was located at a crossing point of two railroads and controlled the movements of both railroads so there would be no collisions at the crossing. A towerman pulling a lever would literally move the rod and throw a switch that might be as far as a mile away.
This is where the mystery lies. I did not think another railroad went through Wellfleet, and I would not imagine there would not be a yard there large enough to warrant these types of control rods either, and yet, there they are. Why are they there?
Finally, I would like to mention Sanborn fire insurance maps. Sanborn mapped every municipality over the years. The maps would show how the towns were laid out with all roads and railroad trackage. They also show a footprint, dimensions and names of business locations at the time the map was made.
They are very worthwhile if one wishes to see where the tracks went and the businesses served. The Library of Congress has the collection, but it is not digitized. There are some maps available on line for some areas, but it seems not that many.
I have gone on way too long. This must be totally boring to most people.
Bird Dog, please be sure to eat at Ceraldi this year, in the WHAT building at the harbor. Outstanding Italian farm to table seven course settings for $70 a person, with an optional wine flight. Moved there this year, was a Ptown startup last year. Very unpretentious, but better than anything else on Cape for approximating great local food in Italy. We ate there last week, just as good as ever. www.ceraldicapecod.com
For a while my dad commuted from Lexington to work in Boston. A locomotive like that pulled the train and I could stand by the driving wheels which were as tall as I was at the time. Quite the scene at twilight with the steam, lights, and commuters being picked up by a line of automobiles.