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
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
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.
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
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!