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!