Category Archives: General Museum News

News, events, and other tidbits about the WW&F Railway Museum

A Busy January!

Happy New Year!

Our public trains are now done for the winter, but work continues on a number of projects as we grow our Museum, including tree removal for the installation of our new Trout Brook bridge later this year, as well as beyond our current end of track.

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.

To end the month, we will be participating in the upcoming Railroad Hobby Show January 27th and 28th. 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.

A Victorian Christmas update!

Due to the popularity of our Victorian Christmas trains, all online pre-reserved boarding passes have now been taken. For those still interested in attending, a limited number of boarding passes will be available at our Museum on December 16th and 23rd on a first come, first served basis.

Come join the WW&F Railway Museum as we celebrate the Holidays December 16th and 23rd with:
Steam and diesel train rides 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.;
Sleigh* rides 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.;
Holiday decorations and refreshments.
All trains will stop to visit Santa at Alna Center station!
All Train and Sleigh* rides will be FREE!
as our way of saying “Thank You” to our Sheepscot Valley neighbors for your generous support this past year.
* In the event of no snow, there will be horse-drawn wagon rides instead of sleigh rides.
The last train to depart Sheepscot Station for a sleigh ride will be at 2 p.m.

Thank you for your support. We look forward to seeing you at our Museum!

Victorian Christmas Trains!

Come join the WW&F Railway Museum as we celebrate the Holidays December 16th and 23rd with:
Steam and diesel train rides 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.;
Sleigh* rides 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.;
Holiday decorations and refreshments.
All trains will stop to visit Santa at Alna Center station!
All Train and Sleigh* rides will be FREE!
as our way of saying “Thank You” to our Sheepscot Valley neighbors for your generous support this past year.
* In the event of no snow, there will be horse-drawn wagon rides instead of sleigh rides.
The last train to depart Sheepscot Station for a sleigh ride will be at 2 p.m.

Reservations recommended! To reserve your seat, please visit:
http://wwfrytickets.simpletix.com/Event/32102/VictorianChristmas/

Help the WW&F while Holiday shopping online!

Planning to do some online shopping for the Holiday season? Then why not help the WW&F Railway Museum while you shop!

There are several online shopping “portals” that will donate back to your favorite cause (like the WW&F). They don’t add any cost to your purchase, and you don’t need any special software (In fact, if a website states you need to download something, try a different shopping portal). Almost every major online retailer is listed on one or more of these web sites, including “brick and mortar” stores like Walmart, specialty sites like AbeBooks, and travel websites like Hotels.com and Orbitz. The WW&F has been listed on all of the major portals for several years.

While our Museum doesn’t make a ton of money with these, every bit helps! Since we’ve been signed up with these services, we’ve received about $1,100 in total donations!

The WW&F is registered at:

http://www.igive.com
http://www.goodshop.com
http://givingassistant.org
http://smile.amazon.com

Please keep this in mind whenever ordering anything online, especially during the upcoming Christmas shopping season. Thanks!

Albion Day November 4th!

The first Saturday of every November, immediately following the end of our operating season, our Museum volunteers travel north to Albion station to help our friends at the Albion Historical Society maintain the WW&F Railway station and surrounding grounds there. This was the northern-most point of the railroad for many years!

This year, we will be at Albion on November 4th, which conveniently falls on the anniversary of the first train to Albion in 1895! We will meet at our Museum grounds in Sheepscot at 7.00 a.m. or so and plan to be arrive at Albion station at 86 Benton Road by around 8.45.

This year’s planned work will feature the usual weed-whacking and track maintenance but will also have a special twist. AHS President Phil Dow would like to do some archeological digging in and around the turntable pit to see if any nice tidbits or knickknacks can be uncovered!

Our volunteers will also have the opportunity to see the AHS’ Plymouth locomotive, which the society was able to start for the first time in a long, long time this year!

Lunch will be provided by AHS’ members Phil and Janet Dow. The weather forecast promises to be spectacular for early November this year!

We hope you can join us!

Narrow Bridge Ahead!

As you likely know, our Museum has started the push to extend our main line track northward, down the mountain toward Route 218 three quarters of a mile away! This season saw much right-of-way preparation near the Top of the Mountain, with a major washout repaired. Right-of-way work will continue northward next summer.

Approaching Route 218, our right-of-way crosses Trout Brook (or as it was known during the original railway’s days, Carleton Brook). The original railway had a queen truss bridge at this location. Our museum had planned to build a similar structure, but a series of fortunate circumstances have provided our Museum the opportunity to reuse an historic railroad bridge from New Hampshire.

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 eight 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 two years ago between the NSPCB and the WW&F about using 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.

In order to fulfill the requirements of the National Park Service (which funded the reconstruction of the bridge) the trusses have been transported to our Museum and assembly, which must be completed by December 31, 2017, has started on our Sheepscot campus. By the end of 2018, the museum projects that the bridge will be placed onto new abutments and along a new approach span – with trains travelling across the span sometime thereafter. To accomplish this (and not lose the National Park funding) the museum must fund the site preparation, approaches, abutments, and complete the actual erection of the bridge.

As a result, our Museum has started the Narrow Bridge Ahead! campaign on Fundrazr, with the goal of raising $50,000 in donations by 31 December 2017 to complete the required preparation work.

We are asking railroad enthusiasts, bridge aficionados, and other historians and friends to partner with us to safely bring the Moose Brook bridge to the WW&F. While monetary donations are most needed, we are always looking for additional volunteers, who will have opportunities to help with the project. Finally, please help us spread the word about our unique preservation efforts!

You can follow progress on the Trout Brook bridge discussion thread on our Museum forum. The NSPCB has published a two-page PDF information sheet about the Moose Brook bridge. We have also started a 12-part series on our Facebook page telling the story of the Howe Boxed Pony Truss design, the B&M’s Moose Brook bridge, and the WW&F’s Trout Brook bridge. Here is a link to the first chapter, published this past Sunday, October 8th. We will be publishing a new chapter every Sunday.

Thanks!

Our Fall Work Weekend October 6th through 9th!

For the past twenty years, scores of volunteers from across the country and overseas have travelled 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:

• Extension of the Top of Mountain mill siding to tree line
• Lift, line and tamp the track from ToM to the recently completed culvert
• Construction of a retaining wall by the Humason Brook trestle
• Main Line track maintenance
• Sheepscot track work reconnecting the bays 2 and 3 shop tracks to the yard
• Percival house construction work
• Sheepscot woods track ballasting
• and several other projects as well!

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

Please join us to celebrate our late friend and member Vic Hamburger during our memorial dedication Saturday at 5 p.m.

Work will start at 7 a.m. and end around 5 p.m. each day (or a bit earlier Monday). Delicious breakfasts (Saturday – Monday), 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 ride our steam trains this year. Steam will be operating the following Saturday, October 14th, and then for our Victorian Christmas celebration December 16th and 23rd.

Please come help build and maintain our Museum!

Our Fall Festival September 30th!

Our Fall Festival will feature:
At Sheepscot station: Steam and Diesel Train Rides * Model AA Truck Rides * Model T Rail Car Rides * Hand Car Rides!
At Alna Center station: Children’s Games * Pumpkin Patch * Pumpkin Painting * Light Refreshments * music featuring Bluegrass Pickin’ * And More!

Trains will depart from Sheepscot from 10.30 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Regular train fares apply.  A train ticket is required to travel to Alna Center.

Please join us for a special 6 p.m. Moonlight Train to Alna Center!

Our steam train will depart Sheepscot station at 6 p.m., weather permitting.  Upon arrival at Alna Center, enjoy warm cider and cookies by the fire as John Bunker tells the story of heritage apples, the making of cider, and the shipment of apples via the narrow gauge railroad a century ago! John is a well-known expert of the history of heritage apples and owns the Super Chilly Farm in Palermo. The train will return to Sheepscot station by 7.30 p.m. Regular train fares apply.

We hope you can join us Saturday, September 30th!

Steam in September!

We are pleased to announce that we will be operating steam every Saturday and Sunday in September, except Sunday, September 24th. This is of course subject to crew and equipment availability. On September 24th we will be running diesel trains.

September in Maine is a great month – warm days and cool nights, usually pretty sunny, with some nice foliage showing up later in the month. The high tourist season is over, so hotel rooms are available and traffic is manageable. Please come visit!

Ice Cream August 26th!

We had such a good time in July, we’re doing it again to mark the end of summer!

Please join us for our second Ice Cream Social on Saturday, August 26th. Take any train from our Museum grounds at Sheepscot between noon and 3 p.m. and receive an ice cream when you arrive at Alna Center! While at Alna Center, enjoy kite flying and old-fashioned lawn games.

Regular fares apply on all trains.

If weather does not cooperate on Saturday the 26th, our August Ice Cream Social will be held the next day — Sunday, August 27th.