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Jan 20 – “Steam and Sleighs” is Cancelled; Other Dates Available.

Due to the impending storm predicted for the evening of Saturday, Jan 19 through Sunday, Jan 20th, the WW&F Railway Museum regrets to announce that Sunday’s “Steam and Sleighs” event has been cancelled.

Guests who have reserved tickets for Jan 20th will be contacted directly to reschedule or receive a refund.

Tickets remain available for Saturday, January 19th (which will not be affected by the storm) and Saturday/Sunday February 16/17.

Steam & Sleighs January 19th & 20th!

Photo courtesy of Matthew Malkiewicz.
Copyright Matthew Malkiewicz/Lost Tracks of Time.

Experience an unforgettable day at the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway during “Steam and Sleighs.”

Ride the Railway’s steam-powered Sheepscot Valley Winter Service trains and enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh (or wagon) ride, backcountry cross country skiing, snowshoeing, winter hiking, and more at our station stops along your journey.

Trains will leave from Sheepscot Station (97 Cross Road in Alna) and make stops at Alna Center and Top of Mountain Stations.

At Alna Center, detrain for horse-drawn sleigh rides and cross country skiing along with hot beverages prepared on the station’s potbelly stove. Outside, warm your hands around the bonfire and participate in a variety of demonstrations. In addition to the heated station, a portable toilet will be stationed here.

At Top of Mountain detrain for snowshoeing, backcountry X/C, hiking and to explore the work the railway is undertaking on our Mountain Extension, a .75 mile extension of the railway to a new station adjacent to Midcoast Conservancy’s Trout Brook Preserve.  For your convenience, a heated caboose and attendant will be on hand to help direct you. There are no additional facilities at this remote location.

Trains leave Sheepscot Station (97 Cross Road in Alna) at 10:30 a.m., 12 noon, and 1:30 p.m. An additional 3:00 p.m. train from Sheepscot will pick up hikers, skiers and snowshoers. Visitors are welcome for a train ride only at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are valid for round trip passage to and from Sheepscot Station all day and include access to all of the day’s activities. You may return on any train you wish to or break your journey at any station and resume it on a later train. Steam and Sleighs will be held Snow or Shine. In the event of inclement and hazardous weather, the event will be canceled and tickets will be refunded. Come dressed prepared for the weather. If you care to engage in outdoor activities, please bring your own skis, snowshoes, or outdoor gear.

Please arrive 15 minutes in advance of your train’s departure time to ensure a relaxed and pleasant experience.

Advance tickets are required, which can be purchased on line here.

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

A Busy January!

Work is already underway on the restoration of the Bridgton & Saco River Railroad flatcar, as seen in this December 29th photo.

Happy New Year!

With the arrival of the New Year, our attention now turns to a number of projects as we grow our Museum. In our Sheepscot shops, work is already underway on the restoration of a Bridgton & Saco River flatcar in bay 2. Elsewhere in the shop, coal stoves and new overhead crane rails are being installed. Once done, work on steam locomotive #10’s boiler will resume, as well as other shop projects.

Meanwhile, tree cutting will resume on our Mountain Extension in January to allow construction of our track to and over Trout Brook Bridge during Columbus Day weekend later this year.

Saturdays and Wednesdays are typically our busiest days, with volunteers working on both indoor and outdoor projects, weather permitting. Details on our January work sessions can be found here.

While we won’t have train rides most of the month, we will be offering Sheepscot Valley Winter Service Saturday & Sunday, January 19th & 20th, featuring steam trains and other activities. More details will be posted as we get closer to the 19th.

To end the month, we will be participating in the upcoming Railroad Hobby Show January 26th and 27th. The show, sponsored by the Amherst Railway Society, is located at the Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds in West Springfield, Massachusetts. See www.railroadhobbyshow.com for more information about the show.

Our “21 Campaign” Surpasses Our Goal!

On December 5th, our 21 Campaign exceeded our stated goal of $130,000! We thank our many contributors for the achievement of this important milestone in an ambitious fundraising campaign.

The 21 Campaign was established in the spring of 2016 after examination of WW&F locomotive #10’s boiler revealed defects that would require extensive mitigation work or replacement. Historic steam locomotive #9 had been returned to service after an 80+ year slumber the prior December, so the decision was made to take the extended downtime to replace #10’s boiler.

So why did we call our fundraiser the 21 Campaign? Once #10 is back in service a new steam locomotive, #11, will be built from scratch. #11 is a reconstruction of original WW&F Railway’s locomotive #7! Our 21 Campaign’s goal has been to provide the funds needed to construct the new boilers of both #10 and #11, hence 10+11=21!

This latest goal was accomplished by our generous members and friends while the Museum simultaneously funded and completed other ambitious projects. During this time period our Annual Fund Drives also raised over $280,000, funding our Mountain Extension and Trout Brook Bridge, among other important projects.

Our Museum invites those who have contributed along with those with an interest in the work of the 21 Campaign to consider providing continued support of the 21 Campaign, bearing in mind the formidable work ahead of us in bringing the construction of #11, a new steam locomotive built to 1907 Baldwin Locomotive Works specifications, to fruition. These continued donations will first ensure completion of the two boilers, after which additional funds will be reserved for continued work on locomotive #11, helping ensure that as the construction of #11 gets underway in earnest, a dedicated source of funding is readily available.

This summer and fall our volunteers have been busy rearranging and improving our shop building to resume work on #10 over the winter. We look forward to an exciting 2019!

Thank you!

Thank You, HeritageRail Alliance!

The preservation and reuse of the historic Boston & Maine Railroad’s Moose Brook Bridge as our new Trout Brook Bridge has been recognized by the HeritageRail Alliance’s Significant Achievement — Structures Award.  Stewart Rhine photo.

Our Museum has received national recognition from the HeritageRail Alliance in the form of its Significant Achievement — Structures Award during the HRA’s Fall Conference held in Santa Fe, N.M. November 7th through 10th.

HeritageRail is a national alliance of tourist, scenic, historic and excursion railroads, as well as railway and trolley museums. HeritageRail Alliance is moving railroad preservation into the 21st Century by developing and supporting the best practices and brightest minds in conservation, operation, exhibition and interpretation.

The Significant Achievement Award — Structures Award recognized the rescue, reconstruction, moving and placement of a former Boston & Maine Railroad boxed pony truss covered bridge on the main line of the WW&F. The bridge arrived at our Museum’s Sheepscot station parking lot in pieces on October 4, 2017, and in the span of only 11 months was reconstructed and then moved by highway about four miles and placed over Trout Brook.

You can read more about our Trout Brook Bridge project in our September 12th post.

Thanks to the preservation efforts of three generations of the Ramsdell/King family, our Museum was able to restore historic locomotive No. 9 to service December 5th, 2015.  The family was recognized by the HeritageRail Alliance through its Friend of Railway Preservation Award.  Dale King (right) spoke at No. 9’s dedication during our Annual Picnic August 13, 2016, sharing his family’s lengthy devotion to No. 9.  Past Museum President Steve Zuppa looks on.  Kevin Madore photo.

While at the Fall Conference, our Railway Superintendent and Chief Mechanical Officer Jason M. Lamontagne also accepted, on behalf of the family, the HRA’s Friend of Railway Preservation Award recognizing the three generations of stewardship by the Ramsdell and King families of West Thompson, Conn. of WW&F locomotive No. 9, a two-foot gauge 0-4-4T built in 1891. Frank Ramsdell and his friend William Monypenny rescued No. 9 from the scrappers in 1937. Following Ramsdell’s death in 1954, His daughter Alice continued to protect No. 9.

Alice died in 1994, and her nephew Dale King became the caretaker of the long-held family dream to return No. 9 to steam. In 1995, he came to an agreement with our Museum for a long-term lease that saw the locomotive moved back to Maine, where a 10-year overhaul began. This included a new boiler and the rebuilding of the running gear and cab. On December 5th, 2015, No. 9 steamed over the two miles of the WW&F Railway, marking its first travel over the line since 1933. King was present for No. 9’s formal dedication on August 13, 2016, when he spoke of his family’s lengthy devotion to No. 9.

Congratulations to the Ramsdell/King family for this well-deserved recognition, and to Dale King for permitting us to restore #9 and return her to service!

More information on these two awards can be found on the Trains magazine News Wire in an article written by Wayne Laepple.

Victorian Christmas December 15th!

Help us celebrate the holidays at the Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Railway December 15th! Take our trains from Sheepscot Station (97 Cross Road, Alna) where you can enjoy hot chocolate, cider, snacks and exhibits before boarding the train. At Alna Center Station warm yourself around the bonfire and enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh or wagon ride before visiting with our special visitors from the North Pole! Join your fellow passengers in carol singing on the train!

Please reserve your free tickets at http://wwfrytickets.simpletix.com

UPDATE: We apologize, but all advance tickets for Victorian Christmas have now been reserved.

Victorian Christmas will be held Saturday, December 15th unless unsafe weather conditions require rescheduling the event for the following Saturday, December 22nd. If the event is rescheduled, announcements will be made via social media and news outlets. Ticket reservations for the 15th will be honored for the same time on December 22nd.

Parts of Victorian Christmas are outdoors and unheated. Please dress accordingly.

Please check in at our ticket office in Sheepscot 30 minutes before your train’s departure time. Our ticket agents will have your reserved tickets ready for you. The ticket office is located midway between the parking area and the train station and will be denoted by signage. Check-in is required, as our ticket office will provide a hard copy ticket needed to board the train.  Tickets not claimed 30 minutes before train time may be given to walk-up guests,

Victorian Christmas is our opportunity to thank our Sheepscot Valley community for your generous support throughout the year. Thank you, and we wish you a joyous holiday season!

Our Fall Work Weekend October 5th through 8th!

Since 1997, scores of volunteers from across the country and overseas have traveled to our Museum in late April and over the Columbus Day weekend to work on many projects. This fall, we have the following projects planned:

• Construction of 1200 to 1400 feet of main line track down the Mountain!
• Clearing land in Sheepscot for our parking lot expansion.
• Constructing a deck on the front of the Percival House
• Burying conduit from the Sheepscot shop building to the Percival House.
• and other projects are likely as well!

Of course, visitors are welcome to just watch & see how our Sheepscot valley railroad is maintained and grows!

Work will start at 7 a.m. and end around 5 p.m. each day (or a bit earlier Monday). Delicious lunches (all four days) and dinners (Friday – Sunday) will be provided by our Museum.

Steam-powered passenger trains will be operating Saturday and Sunday. This will be one of the last opportunities to see our steam trains this year. Steam will be operating for our Victorian Christmas celebration December 15th.

If you can’t join us in person, you can follow weekend progress in our Mountain Extension and Fall Work Weekend 2018 forum threads.

The weather forecast so far looks great for Columbus Day weekend. We hope you can come help build and maintain our Museum!

Fall Festival and a Moonlight Extra Train September 29th!

Enjoy a day of games, fun, and happenings at our annual Fall Festival!

Board our train at Sheepscot Station at 97 Cross Rd, Alna, and travel up the line to Alna Center station, location of the festival. There will be face painting, a pumpkin patch, hay rides in the back of a Model AA truck, games and fun for the whole family!

Once again we welcome the Bluegrass Music Association of Maine to the festival, for a bluegrass pickin’ party! Enjoy some old fashioned music!

Trains depart from Sheepscot regularly at 10:30 AM, 10:55, 12 noon, 12:25 PM, 1:30, 1:55, and 3:00 (the last regular train); however depending on how busy it gets we may run trains more frequently than that. Purchase your ticket at Sheepscot station (97 Cross Road) ($8 for adults, $7 for seniors 60+, $5 for kids 4-12, kids 3 and under free) and board the train. Spend as much time as you like at the festival. Bluegrass pickers (with instruments) ride free.

Please join us for our Moonlight Extra Train! 9/21/18:  Sorry — our evening train is now sold out!  We hope to offer a similar train in October.  Please watch wwfry.org for updates.

There will be a 6 PM evening train to Alna Center, where visitors will be entertained by a bonfire, locally-produced foods and a talk by Taryn Hammer Marcus, of the Sheepscot General Store and Farm on the significance and history of General Stores in the Sheepscot Valley. The train will return to Sheepscot by 8:00. Please bring your camp chairs! Ticketing for this evening train is separate from the day’s events. Advance tickets for the evening train only are available at wwfrytickets.simpletix.com.  Sorry — our September 29th Moonlight Extra Train is now sold out!

We hope to see you September 29th!

A Major Milestone for Our Trout Brook Bridge Project!

The historic B&M Moose Brook Bridge now spans Trout Brook near Head Tide village.  The bridge will soon be lowered and secured onto its pilings, and remaining work on two short approach spans will then follow.  Brendan Barry photo.

On Saturday, September 8th, our Museum completed a major milestone in our Trout Brook Bridge project with the move of the historic Boston & Maine Railroad Moose Brook Bridge from our Sheepscot parking lot to its final destination spanning Trout Brook near Head Tide village!

Chesterfield Associates handled the move, with assistance from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and our volunteers.   A detailed story on the move is featured in the Wiscasset Newspaper.

The bridge, originally constructed in 1918 over Moose Brook near Gorham, New Hampshire on the Berlin Branch of the Boston & Maine Railroad, is a historically-significant example of a Howe Boxed Pony Truss bridge, one of only six surviving examples of such a design in North America. While the WW&F never had such a design, a bridge of this type was a familiar sight in Head Tide village — Head Tide Road crossed the Sheepscot River over a Howe Boxed Pony Truss bridge well into the 1940s, within sight of the WW&F right-of-way.

After an arsonist set fire to the Moose Brook bridge in 2004, the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges (NSPCB) saved the remains of the bridge by taking possession of it with the hope of rebuilding. Dr. Dario Gasparini of Case Western Reserve University saw a research opportunity in the charred timbers and cracked castings. First, the structure was documented by the National Covered Bridges Recording Project, a documentation program of the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), which is administered by a division of the National Park Service. Later, the remaining iron parts were shipped to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, where Dr. Gasparini, his students, and Tim Andrews of Barns and Bridges of New England completely rebuilt the trusses according to the HAER plans using all new wooden components.

The ensuing tests yielded valuable data on bridge design and load ratings, and provided a framework for the preservation of the remaining examples of this design. At this point, the NSPCB, led by President Bill Caswell, secured a grant from the National Park Service for the re-assembly of the bridge trusses. The next step was to find a suitable home for the historic span, and a number of locations were explored. The original location was no longer in use for railroad purposes, and plans for a static display nearby had stalled. With the assistance of our bridge engineer Wayne Duffett, who has been of substantial assistance in other WW&F projects, talks began about 18 months ago between the NSPCB and the WW&F regarding use of the Moose Brook trusses for a bridge over Trout Brook. They offered to donate the trusses, including the reassembly funds from its NPS grant to the WW&F, so the bridge could once again be put back into active service on a rail line.

The repurposed bridge will now serve as a key piece of our Mountain Extension – a ¾-mile northward extension of our 2.6-mile active railway from Top of the Mountain to Route 218 just north of Trout Brook. Over Columbus Day weekend (October 5th through 8th), our volunteers will build 1400 feet of new track. A similar push over Columbus Day weekend in 2019 will bring our rails to the bridge. In 2020, our Museum will build the remaining track north from the bridge to Route 218, and in 2021, we plan to open the completed extension to the public.

The restoration and reuse of the historic Moose Brook Bridge is the culmination of work by many organizations and individuals. We thank everyone who has supported this effort, including:

Bill Caswell/National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges
Christopher Marston/National Park Service, Historic American Engineering Record
Midcoast Conservancy
Tim Andrews/Barns and Bridges of New England
Lansing Community College
Dr. Dario Gasparini/Case Western Reserve University
Tom E. Dailey Foundation
John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust
Massachusetts Bay Railroad Enthusiasts
2018 W. Russell Rylko Memorial Award/Mystic Valley Railway Society
Wayne Duffett/TEC Associates
E. Davies Allan/Chesterfield Associates
Jeff Verney/Jeffrey Verney Excavation of Alna
Town of Alna
Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department
Contributors to our Narrow Bridge Ahead! Campaign
And our Members, Sheepscot Valley Neighbors, Friends and Benefactors!

Thank You All!