SR&RL locomotive re-numberings

Locomotive renumbering of #1- 4 at time of amalgamation of SR&RL in 1908

Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2001 00:40:46 EST From: Subject: Wild Speculation Part 2  MaineTwoFooters group

Most texts discussing locomotive renumbering after the 1908 SR&RL merger state no records exist showing which locomotives became numbers 1 through 4. Several suggest the locomotives were renumbered by age, starting with the oldest. Using the numbers the SR and F&M locomotives received in 1905, SR #1 became SR&RL #1, P&R #4 became SR&RL #2, F&M #2 became SR&RL #3, F&M #3 became SR&RL #4.

Texts also suggest these locomotives were probably never actually renumbered or relettered except on paper and may already have been out of service. I have come to believe the reason no records exist of the 1908 renumbering is these four locomotives were not renumbered in 1908. I don’t mean they were out of service and it didn’t matter; I mean some or all of the four continued in service after the merger with the same numbers they had before. Here’s what gave me this idea.

First lets deal with the renumbering by age. If this was the original intention they didn’t stick with it very long. Look at the Portland forneys. Numbering by age, P&R #1 should have been #5, SR #4 should have been #6, and SR #5 should have been #7. As we all know P&R #1 became SR&RL #7 even though it was older than both SR #’s 4 & 5.

So let’s look at the first four again with the thought that the order by age was not mandatory. You have four engines numbered 1, 2, 3, and 4 that need to be renumbered 1, 2, 3, and 4. Why change what already exists and add to the confusion? Several comments about P&R #4 support this idea. I think everyone would agree the majority of the SR&RL locomotives, before and after the merger, had a particular assignment they stayed with most of the time. Locomotives stayed with the same crew on the same run. For example, most pictures of the passenger train in Bigelow show the same two cars with #6. “Old Star” spent so much time on that branch it became known as the “F&M mogul” even though it belonged to the Sandy River. The locomotives and crews tended to stay put. On page 77 Crittenden makes a few comments about P&R #4’s last years. He stated that even though she was old and battered “they kept her running and in later years she hauled the passenger train to Green’s Farm up over the Eustis Railroad.” Figure 61 in the same book shows #4 laying on her side around 1908 to 1909 after derailing with the mixed train from Greens Farm to Rangeley. The date is probably accurate. The round oil headlight has replaced the earlier box style and the pilot is made of iron bars instead of wood, a change that occurred within a few years of the merger.

Finally the comment that started this whole idea is in Crittenden’s acknowledgements at the beginning of the book. While giving credit to all of his sources of information he states “And there was the man who mentioned in passing that No. 4 had hauled the passenger train to Green’s Farm in 1911, ’cause he rode on the train and remembered the little engine particularly.” I think it’s fairly safe to assume the #4 pulling that train three years after the merger was ex P&R #4 on her last regular assignment and not ex F&M #3. If #4 kept her number after the merger, it’s not hard to believe the others did too. All of this leads me to believe SR#1 became SR&RL #1, F&M #2 became SR&RL #2, F&M #3 became SR&RL #3 and P&R #4 became SR&RL #4. No records of these four being renumbered in 1908 exist because it never happened. What do you think?

Gary Kohler confirmed that he had found shop notes confirming Paul’s speculation. Here's what the official MEC records show, this comes from the original inventory cards:

SRRR/SR&RL 1 destroyed Phillips 9-1-1912, ex B&B shop number 1863 SRRR/SR&RL 2 ditto , ex B&B shop number 1864

Locomotive renumbering gap at time of amalgamation of SR&RL in 1908, and afterwards.

This section added 16 March 2014 with contributions from Bob Harper, Matt Coleman and Terry Smith.

I’ve been looking at the SR&RL loco numbers, and suddenly wondered why were no numbers 11 – 14? I’ve probably read why in a book somewhere, but, if so, I’ve forgotten! : Bob Harper

I have not seen a reference in the published books, but the common understanding was that those numbers were reserved for new ‘passenger’ engines should any have been bought under the Maine Central control of the SR&RL. Numbers 15 – 24 were considered ‘freight’ locomotives under Maine Central organization. When the MeC bought the SR&RL in 1913, business (especially passenger business to the lakes) was booming and they didn’t want to do a second renumbering if new locos were purchased.

However, this is just what I have gleaned from other sources and reports (such as some of the research done by Peter Barney and others) of MeC and SR&RL records. Matt Coleman

Note locomotives acquired after the 1908 amalgamation:-


(New) Baldwin #33550 2-4-4RT (Forney) built 7/1909 as Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes #9.
(New) Baldwin #44231 2-4-4RT (Forney) built 10/1916 as Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes #10.


Former Eustis #7, Baldwin 23245 0-4-4RT (Forney) built 5/1903 re-numbered as Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes #20.

Former Eustis #8, Baldwin 23754 0-4-4RT (Forney) built 2/1904 re-numbered as Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes #21.

Former Eustis #9, Baldwin 23755 0-4-4RT (Forney) built 2/1904 re-numbered as Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes #22.

(New) Baldwin #40733 2-6-2 + Tender built 10/1913 as Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes #23.
(New) Baldwin #51804 built 5/1919 2-6-2 + Tender as Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes #24.  

The SR&RL Locomotive number gaps

After amalgamation (1908) the loco’s were numbered;-

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, gap, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

After the Eustis Railroad was absorbed in 1911 the loco’s were numbered;-

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, gap, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22


One thought on “SR&RL locomotive re-numberings

  1. Pingback: Locomotive models available by prototype roadname; F&M | The Maine On2 FAQ

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.