Category Archives: General Museum News

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

Steam Train Snow Day February 17th!

Enjoy a winter day at the railway! Bring your snowshoes, cross-country skis, winter hiking gear, etc. and explore the serenity of the Maine outdoors on our secluded field and forest at the “Top of the Mountain”. Trails for snowshoeing will be marked; backcountry x-country skiing will be available along the mountain extension. Or, join the hardy corps of volunteers as they cut trees and burn brush to clear the right-of-way.

This is a self-guided rugged activity in the woods without facilities or conveniences, so please dress and plan appropriately. A hosted warming hut will be provided at Top of Mountain. Please wear clothing suitable for outdoor adventure or volunteering (which means you don’t mind them getting dirty or damaged).

Train tickets will be sold at reduced fare: $5.00 for this special one-day-only event!

Take the train from Sheepscot station (97 Cross Road in Alna) for the ride to the Top of the Mountain 2-1/2 miles to the north. Trains will leave Sheepscot station approximately every hour from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

In case of inclement weather, this event will be rescheduled to the following Saturday, 2/24/18.

February Activities!

February promises to be a busy month, as our volunteers continue work on a number of projects. Saturdays and Wednesdays are typically our busiest days, with volunteers working on both indoor and outdoor projects, weather permitting. Details on our February work sessions can be found here.

Saturday, February 17th will be a particularly busy day. Concurrent with the tree cutting activities along the Mountain Extension, public steam trains will be operating from our Museum in Sheepscot to the Top of Mountain for snowshoeing, backcountry x-country skiing, and related winter fun!

Our Museum will also have sales tables at the Augusta Armory on the 17th. The Whitefield Lions Club sponsors their Annual Model Railroad & Dollhouse Show every February at the armory.

We hope to see you in February!

Thank You, Mass Bay RRE!

WW&F Railway Museum president Dave Buczkowski (left) shakes hands with Mass Bay RRE president David Brown, following the announcement that the WW&F is the recipient of a $1,000 grant from the Mass Bay RRE Railroad Preservation Fund. Note the photo of WW&F #9 (alongside MRR #3) over David’s shoulder!

Today the Mass Bay Railroad Enthusiasts announced our Museum is one of 12 organizations that are recipients of Mass Bay RRE Railroad Preservation Grants. The Mass Bay RRE established the Mass Bay RRE Railroad Preservation Fund in 2016 to support railroad preservation projects in New England.

The announcement was made at the Amherst Railway Society’s 50th annual Railroad Hobby Show January 27th at the Big E in West Springfield, MA.

The $1,000 grant to our Museum will aid in our work for the restoration of the historic Moose Brook bridge, and its relocation to serve as our Trout Brook bridge on our Mountain Extension to Route 218.

We are very grateful to the Mass Bay RRE for their support of our Museum. It has been the support like this from our many members and friends that has grown our Museum. Thank you!

WW&F at the Springfield, MA, Railroad Hobby Show Jan. 27 & 28!

Our Museum will be participating in the upcoming Railroad Hobby Show January 27th and 28th. The show, sponsored by the Amherst Railway Society, is held at the Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Please see www.railroadhobbyshow.com for more information about the show.

This event, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018, is one of the largest railroad hobby shows in the United States. Proceeds from the show are used by the Amherst Railway Society to promote interest in railroads, including donations to rail museums, historical societies, restoration projects and scholarship funds. Over the years, the ARS has generously donated to restoration efforts by our Museum.

Our sales table will be in the Young Building, section 78, near the “Heroes and Legends” cafe — in the area popularly known as “narrow gauge corner.” Many items available in our gift shop will be available at the show, including our 2018 calendar.

This will be a good opportunity to sign up for our Spring Photographic Excursions, planned as two separate events on Saturday, April 14th and Saturday, April 21st. Both days will feature the firing of historic 1891 locomotive No. 9 starting at 6 a.m. and a day session photo train operating 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. April 21st will also feature a staged and lit night scene starting at 6 a.m.

During both events, all our original and replica equipment will be used to demonstrate mixed and freight trains commonly operated on the old WW&F Railway. Several unique photo opportunities will be provided both days.

Price is $150 per person April 14th, and $225 per person April 21st. You can reserve your seat at our sales table at the Railroad Hobby Show, or online at wwfrytickets.simpletix.com

We hope to see you in West Springfield January 27th & 28th!

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!