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Build 11 – October (VIDEO) Update

Fund-raising for this year has reached over 93 percent! This is fantastic news, with more than two months left to reach our $17,000 goal. Thanks to all who have donated thus far. There is still time to donate, either to our own build11.org site, or with a donation through the www.wwfry.org site, or with a check to the museum in the good ol’ U.S. mail. We’re glad to have it any way you care to donate.

The Request for Quotations for large castings went out on Oct. 1 to nine potential bidders, and we have already received confirmations and questions from about half of them. Foundries with the experience and ability to produce such complex castings as the cylinder half-saddles are relatively rare these days, so we reached out to operations in Maine, Texas, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and elsewhere to meet our needs.

In other news, a large sheet of one-inch steel plate has been water-jet cut by Aquacut of Syracuse, NY, into numerous smaller pieces for No. 11. (See video.) This is the same firm that cut the plate from which new boilers for No. 10 and No. 11 were made. The one-inch pieces have been placed on a pallet for shipping to Sheepscot. Next for Aquacut are 7/8 and 3/4-inch plate to make additional components.

Before the snow flies, we hope to have a container on hand in which to safely store components for No. 11 until needed. Once the COVID-19 restrictions have eased, we hope to get a serious start on the first phase of the Build 11 Project, that of assembling the main and rear frame components. Harold Downey arrived from Texas the other day with another load of patterns for both No. 11 and coach No. 9. Both projects are moving forward.

We Regret to Announce our 2020 Fall Work Weekend is Cancelled

 

 

Dear Members and Friends of the WW&F:

Every Work Weekend at the WW&F is like a family reunion to all of us. Folks come from near and far, to celebrate, laugh, reminisce, dine, and hang out together – all while accomplishing the various work that needs to be done on our beloved railroad. Like any great family gathering, we are comfortable and open with each other – while working (sweating) and playing in close proximity. It is a joyous occasion that we all look forward to.

Our bi-annual Work Weekends are not unlike a wedding that occurred in Millinocket just a few weeks ago – a celebratory gathering of family and friends who all came to an isolated Maine resort to share a joyous occasion. As you may have heard, this has since turned to sorrow, as seven people have now died from the Coronavirus spread amongst those who gathered that day.

In light of that incident, it is with deep regret that the WW&F Board of Directors decided that in the best interest of all of us, the Fall 2020 Work Weekend is cancelled.

Various options were considered, including “socially distant” crews working on isolated tasks – much like what occurs now amongst the handful of volunteers that congregate on regular workdays. However, with the date of the Fall Work Weekend fast approaching, coupled with limited travel and lodging options, it was determined that such a plan would be impossible to develop and execute in the coming weeks. Moreover, public train service is scheduled on Saturday of the Work Weekend – and the possibility of foreign work crews intermingling with passengers (who are limited in number and must adhere to our COVID-19 safety policy) produces too high of a risk that our joyous event could also turn tragic.

For Spring 2021 – should precautions still be necessary – advance sign ups for specific dates and crews may be required. All participants will be required to adhere to any state-issued mandates regarding mask use, travel restrictions, lodging, quarantining, and the like. It is also probable that lodging in the attic of the Percival House, on-site camping, etc., will be tightly regulated. Meal preparation and distribution (arguably one of the highlights of the weekend) will have to be rethought. Finally, there will be no public train service during the Spring 2021 Work Weekend.

Until the Millinocket spreader event occured, it had been our intent to hold the Fall Work Weekend in some way, shape, or form. We apologize for the last minute notice; our intent is to joyously welcome all of us back to Sheepscot in 2021.

On a similar note, the WW&F Board of Directors have also cancelled the 2020 Victorian Christmas; look for revamped Christmas-themed trains and gatherings in 2021. Likewise, the WW&F has opted out of participating in the January 2021 Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show in West Springfield, Mass. While we are saddened that we will not be able to see our friends at these events, we look forward to the day that we can gather together once more.

Sincerely,

David J. Buczkowski, President
On behalf of the WW&F Board of Directors and leadership team.

Build Locomotive 11: September Update

Some good new to start out this month’s No. 11 progress report. Our on-line http://build11.wwfry.org on FundRazr has reached 76% of its goal for 2020, and we still have nearly four months to go. Eight individuals so far will be receiving bronze replicas of WW&F No. 7’s Baldwin Locomotive Works builder’s plates. In addition to funds flowing through the on-line site, donations are coming into the mailbox at the Alna post office. We are grateful for every dollar we receive. Thank you. Thank you.

The engineering team continues to meet weekly via Zoom. Recently, the team has been concentrating on the production of drawings for the tender. So far, Harold Downey has produced about 60 drawings of various details necessary for the water tank and coal space for No. 11.

In addition to the tender, a great deal of attention has been focused on the final details of the Request for Quotations packet that will be in the mail sometime in the next few days. The team has selected seven potential manufacturers of the cylinder half-saddles (shown below), driver wheel centers and other major cast components.

3D Model of #11's Cylinder Casting

Harold Downey sent several photos of patterns he’s been making in his workshop at home in Austin, Texas. Among the photos is one that illustrates the complexity of not only pattern making, but also the complexity of castings parts.

This photo shows the parts necessary to cast the trailing truck journal boxes for No. 11. To start with, in pattern making, the maker must be able to visualize the part as a negative, similar to a photographic negative. He must see what’s around the part, rather than the completed part. To make the journal box, five separate pattern parts are necessary.

Here are two photos of another part that Harold has patterned, that of the rear truck swing link hanger.

Swing Link Hanger

The first photo shows the hanger as it would look as a completed casting, while the inset illustrates how the casting will be made using two parts of the same piece. Notice the two small holes in the left-hand piece, into which the two pegs are inserted to properly align the sections.

Now imagine how complicated making the patterns for the steam cylinder half-saddles will be. There are several interior passages for live and exhaust steam that must curve inside the casting to deliver the steam to the valve and allow the exhaust steam to exit. There are also several “lightening” areas to reduce the overall weight of this large part. It’s estimated each half-saddle will weigh about 1,500 pounds.

Riveting #10's Smokebox

In other news, our bull riveter is back together. It was tested last weekend, and on Saturday, Alan Downey, along with Gerry and Carlos Steinke, plan to rivet the front ring to the new smokebox for No. 10. Carlos and Jerry completely overhauled the riveter during the spring, and this machine will have major role in the construction of No. 11, as well as in the manufacture of boilers for No. 10 and No. 11.

Build Locomotive 11: August Update

WW&F locomotive #7
WW&F locomotive #7

This report on No. 11 includes some fabulous news, as well as updates on actual progress that moves the project forward.

First of all, we have received two substantial donations for No. 11. An anonymous member has donated $50,000 to the project, which really provides us a kick start! In addition, the Bluewater Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, located in Royal Oak, Michigan, heard about the project and donated $10,000. This chapter, which is going out of business, has sold off its collection of passenger equipment and is donating the proceeds of that sale to what it considers worthy causes. Many, many thanks to both donors.

In addition to these wonderful donations, this FundRazr crowd-funding has reached about 45% of the $17,000 goal we set for ourselves. Just in July, three people each donated $1,100 or more, entitling each of them to a replica of WW&F No. 7’s Baldwin builder’s plate. The pattern for the plates has been made and delivered to Cattail Foundry, which is producing 10 plates for us — we’re quite optimistic that others will want one. Thanks to everyone who is supporting us through FundRazr.

The engineering group has developed a timetable for the manufacture of No. 11. Over a five year period, it is hoped that No. 11 will go from paper and electronic images to the actual live, steaming, operating locomotive. Phase 1 — building the main frame from from front to back, including the cylinders and rear frame castings. Phase 2 — adding the running gear including pilot and rear trucks, drivers, etc. Phase 3 — finish all foundation work including driving gear, valves and brakes. Phase 4 — boiler and tank installed on frame. And finally, Phase 5 — completion and testing of the new locomotive.

Frames for locomotive #11
Frames for locomotive #11

On Aug. 3, the frames and other parts made by Precision Grinding Inc. in Alabama were delivered to Sheepscot and are temporarily stored in Bay 1

This month, quotations for water-jet production of parts, plus a request for quotations for production of the cylinder half-saddle sections, will go out. The cylinders are cast in two identical sections which are then machined and bolted together, thus the “half-saddle” nomenclature. In addition the drive wheel centers and the eccentric cranks will be cast.

3D Model of #11's Cylinder Casting
3D Model of #11’s Cylinder Casting

Last but not least, No. 10 was recently moved from shop track 2 over to track 1, not only to provide shop space for coach No. 9’s construction, but also so No. 10’s boiler construction and other necessary work can continue. During the move, a rolling inspection of No. 10’s running gear was performed, revealing no problems.

Locomotive 10 on the move
Locomotive 10 on the move

Tickets Are Now on Sale for Our Reopening in August!

Tickets are now on sale for all of our train services later this summer!  Detailed descriptions for these special events can be found at the “Book Now” link on the top right of this page or at the links listed below.

The safety of our guests and volunteers are paramount to our reopening.  All guests are directed to please read our WW&F COVID-19 Pandemic Safety Plan before visiting our Railway at 97 Cross Road in Alna, Maine.

Here are a few highlights of our planned events in August and September:

The first public trains since 1933 to Milepost 8 August 7th and 8th!  These evening trains will traverse our Mountain Extension to the foot of Trout Brook Bridge.  This fundraising excursion will also include a photo run-by and a pie and lemonade celebration at Alna Center.

Learn more and book your special tickets for a Milepost 8 Excursion at https://fareharbor.com/embeds/book/wwfry/items/244380/calendar/2020/07/?full-items=yes

Our Annual Picnic Saturday, August 8th will celebrate a great step in the preservation of Maine’s two-foot gauge railroad equipment with the opening of the Maine Narrow Gauge Collection in the newly completed Car Barn Extension. There will be antique auto rides, 2 locomotives in steam, food available (for pre-purchase), guided tours, and more!

Learn more, order your picnic lunch, and book your Annual Picnic tickets at: https://fareharbor.com/embeds/book/wwfry/items/244377/calendar/2020/07/?full-items=yes

Handcar Hops at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Saturdays August 22nd, September 5th and September 19th.  This is an opportunity for 2 to 4 guests to take handcar ride out on our mainline with a WW&F brakeman.  After some brief safety and operation training, you will set out on a 90-minute adventure via a pump car used by railway workers maintaining this line in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Learn more and book your Handcar Hop at: https://fareharbor.com/embeds/book/wwfry/items/244381/calendar/2020/07/?full-items=yes

Ice Cream Eggspress 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturdays August 22nd, September 5th and September 19th.  What do you get when you combine Ice Cream and Eggs?  Frozen Custard? No—The Ice Cream Eggspress!  We’ll have locally-made, award-winning Round Top Ice Cream on hand, along with an egg hunt for children who missed out on our usual Easter Eggspress trains this year.

Learn more and buy your tickets on the Ice Cream Eggspress at: https://fareharbor.com/embeds/book/wwfry/items/245517/calendar/2020/07/?full-items=yes

Evening Picnic Special 5 p.m. Saturdays August 22nd, September 5th and September 19th.  Bring your own or order a boxed picnic made by Treats in Wiscasset.  BYOB and enjoy the beautiful fields around Alna Center station as the day winds down.

Learn more, book tickets and order a ready-to-go boxed dinner if you’d like for your Evening Picnic at: https://fareharbor.com/embeds/book/wwfry/items/245523/calendar/2020/07/?full-items=yes

Campfire Trains 7 p.m. Saturdays August 22nd, September 5th and September 19th.    Enjoy a talk by a local author, music, stories, stargazing, or the magic of taking a lamp-lit train listening to the sounds of a steam train working through the night’s darkness.

Each train will have a special theme:

We hope to see you soon on the Sheepscot Valley Narrow Gauge!

Build Locomotive 11: July Update

So how do we get from “wouldn’t it be cool” to the actual locomotive? An engineering team, led by Jason Lamontagne, joined by Rick Sisson, Harold Downey, Eric Shade, Gordon Cook and Alan Downey, is using modern methods to take the locomotive piece- by-piece from a series of sketches to computer-assisted designs and finally to the shop to become a real piece of iron or steel.

BLW Builder's Photo WW&F 7

WW&F No. 7 was scrapped in 1937. Fortunately for the team, Baldwin Locomotive Works had developed a very methodical and logical approach to locomotive construction. Virtually every piece and part that went into a Baldwin locomotive was of a standardized design. Baldwin engineers relied on the company’s Manual of Standard Practices, which defined the dimensions and materials for every component, for guidance. By following those specifications, these components could be made, no matter the gauge or size of the locomotive.

BLW Standards

Our WW&F team is following those same standards as they design and draw the many components, which, once assembled, will become WW&F No. 11. The team meets weekly on Zoom to discuss progress and challenges. Each member of the team has been assigned a series of related components, which will become sub-assemblies of the locomotive. Rick Sisson manages a spreadsheet to track completion of drawings and patterns, while Eric Shade carefully checks each drawing against the standards.

Monkeys at Work

The process begins with an old-fashioned sketch on paper, with the necessary dimensions indicated, sometimes with an arrow pointing to a particular place or a circle indicating an area for special attention. Following the sketch, several two-dimensional computer drawing are made, including all dimensions for rivet or bolt holes, angles, fillets or any other modifications.

BLW Valve Drawing

The exciting part comes next, as the two-dimensional drawings are converted to a 3-D images using one of several Computer Assisted Design programs. A 3-D image offers the design team the opportunity to “see” what the finished object will look like. The image can be manipulated on the screen to allow viewing from any angle, it can be enlarged to show detail, and in very complex designs, such as the cylinders, it’s even possible to see interior details. Various smaller parts can be “stacked” on the screen to show the final product. In fact, a 3-D image can be “printed” to make a foundry pattern.

3-D rendering of crossheads, guides and main rods

The first parts manufactured in 2020 for No. 11 should be at Sheepscot soon. These are the two main frame rails and two pallets of smaller parts. All were made using CAD prints produced by the engineering team and sent to Precision Grinding, Inc. of Bessemer, Alabama. Parts were produced by computer-controlled plasma-cutting, a polishing process known as Blanchard grinding and final machining.

Polished Main Frame Member

The fund-raising for No. 11 continues apace. The first on-line campaign on FundRazr kicked off on June 11 and raised its first $1,000 in less than two days. In addition to the on-line contributions, funds were mailed directly to the WW&F post office box. Our goal by the end of 2020 is $17,000, which will set up the budget for the first year of the project of $50,000. Have you donated yet?

Don’t forget the special gift for anyone who donates $1100 or more in a single check. We will give each of those generous individuals a full size bronze replica of WW&F No. 7’s Baldwin builder’s plate, produced at Cattail Foundry in Gordonville, Pa.

Replica Builder's Plate

Learn more and donate at: build11.wwfry.org

Now Is the Time to Build 11!

The mission of the WW&F Railway Museum is to restore and reconstruct the operation and equipment of the original railroad as completely as possible. To that end, our organization has begun reconstruction of Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway’s steam locomotive No. 7.

WW&F No. 7 (Baldwin Locomotive Works Const. No. 31692) was a 28-ton 2-4-4T Forney built in 1907.  In 1931, the locomotive was damaged in a roundhouse fire at Wiscasset and was scrapped six years later.  In keeping with the tradition of giving new motive power the next available consecutive number, the reconstructed No. 7 will become our WW&F Railway No. 11.  Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Archives photo.

Build 11: Why Reconstruct Locomotive No. 7?

As a Baldwin Locomotive Works product (together with No. 9 representing the Portland Company), our Museum will be preserving the range of motive power preferred by the historic WW&F Railway and other Maine two foot gauge railroads.

Baldwin was a widely recognized and popular U.S. locomotive builder.  This will serve to promote involvement in the project by individuals interested in steam locomotion and the construction of new steam locomotives generally.  Moreover, the size of this locomotive (compared with a standard gauge locomotive) makes the project achievable and economical.

Larger locomotives (like No. 7) are needed to traverse the WW&F’s soon-to-be-reopened Mountain Extension with its 4% winding grade.  As a 28-ton locomotive, No. 7 will not only handle this grade with ease, it will represent the heavier class of locomotives used by the historic railway.

Build 11: Raising Money and Building Interest

At the end of 2019, the WW&F Railway Museum successfully completed our 21 Campaign to raise funds for new boilers for our existing No. 10 and planned No. 11, actually exceeding the goal by about 7%.  Now we’re ready to embark on the next major campaign, to raise funds to complete construction of No. 11.

In May, a purchase order was sent to Precision Grinding, Inc. of Birmingham, Alabama. This firm has produced the main frame sections and several smaller items such as brake levers and suspension elements that require plasma cutting and precise grinding.  Most of our order has been completed and will be shipped to Sheepscot shortly.  Here we see a portion of the frame being plasma cut.

Our engineering team has been preparing drawings and 3-D renderings of the many components required for the new locomotive, and recently the main frames and a number of other components have been fabricated off site. It is expected that construction of No. 11 will take 4 to 5 years, depending on our ability to raise funds and the availability of volunteer labor.

We need your support! The estimated cost of building No. 11 is $250,000. Although we do have a good head start on the necessary funds, we need additional dollars to complete the locomotive.

Build 11: $17,000 for 2020 Vision

The goal of this campaign is to provide funds to keep the momentum going through 2021. Through the support of our friends and followers, we have enough funds on hand to not only simultaneously complete the boilers for Nos. 10 and 11 during the coming months, we can take advantage of ordering components together, timed now when the costs are at all-time lows.

We estimate that $50,000 each year will be required to purchase materials and keep construction on track. The 2020 Vision of $17,000 will complete the funds needed to move forward with the project through 2021—ensuring that the project does not fall idle due to the lack of resources. In 2021, we will be fundraising for 2022’s anticipated expenditures.

Build 11: How Can I Learn More or Help?

Here’s an easy way to contribute: Set aside $11 each month for No. 11.  Or maybe $11 every two weeks ($22 each month).  Recurring donations provide steady income for the project, while larger donations are sought.  Recurring donations such as these can be set up via the Donate button on the upper right of this page or by using your bank’s online bill paying service.

If you’d like to learn more about the Build 11 project or make a one-time donation, please visit our FundRazr page at build11.wwfry.org.  Here you can learn many more details about the project, including volunteer opportunities!

Thank you for your interest and support, as we continue Rebuilding Maine History!

No. 11’s bell and headlight, awaiting their locomotive!

(Not Entirely) Quiet Times on the Sheepcot Valley Narrow Gauge

Times are quiet on our Mountain Extension near Trout Brook bridge.  We had planned a busy Spring Work Weekend in late April as we prepare for our Mountain Extension’s opening, but the pandemic has delayed that work.  That hasn’t meant we had to stop all progress on our Railway.  Stewart Rhine photo.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly all the non-profits, businesses and our other friends in the Sheepscot Valley, not to mention across the rest of Maine, the U.S. and the world.  Like our friends, our Railway is no exception.  We are currently closed to the public and nearly all our volunteers.  We currently plan to open to the public August 8th and to our volunteers sooner, all of course dependent on guidance by the CDC and state of Maine.

That doesn’t mean, however, our progress has completely stopped!

Alna Center Pavilion

Stewart Rhine photo.

Just before pandemic restrictions hit in mid-March, a small volunteer crew had finished the erection of half of the pavilion at Alna Center, including its roof.  Once pandemic restrictions are lifted, we plan to set the footings for the rest of the posts and then erect the rest of the building.

Our pavilion will serve as a nearly all-weather venue at our Alna Center station for special events like our Easter Eggspress, Music on the Railway concert series, evening talks, Fall Festival and Victorian Christmas.  Our thanks to Bath’s Maine Maritime Museum, with provided us the opportunity to repurpose this building they had used to shelter the recent restoration of their schooner Mary E.

Car Barn Extension

Brendan Barry photo.

When the pandemic hit, we were well along with our Sheepscot Car Barn Extension.  In order to secure the building, a small group of local volunteers, following social distancing guidelines, have worked to finish the walls, roof and doors to secure the building.

Portland’s Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum has provided much of the funding for the extension to, in part, shelter a portion of their collection.  Once completed, this building will provide an exhibition space highlighting the story of the Maine two-foot gauge railroads, while sheltering historic equipment of both our Railway and Maine Narrow Gauge.

Railroad Maintenance

Mike Fox photo.

A spring inspection of our railroad found two culverts in early need of repair.  Since our 2020 public trains are delayed, a one to two-man volunteer crew has been performing these repairs to keep our rail line open and avoid impacts to our eventual public train service.

Our Gift Shop

Stewart Rhine photo.

Just as pandemic restrictions hit, our gift shop team was finishing up renovations to our Sheepscot gift shop.  When it reopens, our shop will have a new cleaned and painted floor, a wider aisle and new displays.

While our Sheepscot gift shop is closed, our online gift shop is always open!  Purchase the newly printed Third Edition of Two Feet to Tidewater,  peruse our other sale items or make a donation to help us keep the lights on while we are closed.  Thanks!

“Virtual” Annual Meeting Set for May 2, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and stay-at-home order currently enacted within the State of Maine, the 31st Annual Meeting of the WW&F Railway Museum, as set for May 2, 2020 at 2pm, shall take place via electronic teleconference, rather than at the historic Alna Center Meetinghouse, as previously announced.

All official business of the Railway will be conducted at that time, including the election of officers. Votes by proxy (as already sent to all members of the organization) will be tallied during the meeting; members are highly encouraged to vote by proxy in advance of the meeting.

To join the Annual Meeting electronically, please use the following web link: http://meet.google.com/xst-qfra-cch

Or call: 413-338-0028
PIN: 506 194 966#

Additional detailed instructions, as well as agenda items and reports (once available), can be found at:
http://forum.wwfry.org/index.php/topic,3672.msg45775.html