We have held several private steam train events in January and February, and our Easter Eggspress April 15th was very popular, with nearly 1,100 visitors. But after a long winter and early spring, we’re very happy to be starting our 2017 regular operating season!
Over the next three Saturdays (May 6th, 13th and 20th), we will be operating diesel and Model T railcar trains under our spring train schedule. Diesel trains depart Sheepscot station (97 Cross Road, Alna) at 10.30 a.m., 12 noon and 1.30 p.m. If crew and our railcar are available, our Model T railcar will run at 10.55 a.m., 12.25 and 1.55 p.m. Our summer schedule will start May 27th, with steam trains that weekend.
While there is a charge to ride our trains (except during Victorian Christmas), a visit to our Museum grounds is always free! Stop by any Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in May to see what projects are underway and watch trains depart and arrive at Sheepscot station. Learn more about the Maine two-footers!
Come help us build and maintain our Railroad!
Our Annual 3-Day Spring Work Weekend will be Friday through Sunday, April 28, 29 and 30. Work will start at 7 a.m. each day and end around 5 p.m. (or a bit earlier Sunday). Delicious lunches and dinners will be provided by the Museum!
Planned projects this spring include:
• Making the Top of Mountain extension serviceable for work movements, so work trains can reach the first culvert that needs replacement;
• Main line track maintenance;
• Coach #8 baggage door project;
• Sheepscot station platform repairs;
• B&SR boxcar #67 reconstruction;
• Humason trestle retaining wall;
• Top of Mountain mill siding;
• Start of a spur into the Maine Locomotive and Machine Works at Sheepscot Mills;
• And most likely other work as well to prepare our railroad for the coming summer season!
Of course, visitors are welcome to just watch & see how our Railroad is maintained and grows! With scores of volunteers working at both ends of the railroad, there will be plenty to see and do!
The National Railway Historical Society has announced our Museum will receive a $3,000 Railway Heritage Grant to help us equip locomotives and rolling stock with an Eames automatic vacuum brake system. Automatic brakes are an important safety feature as our railroad continues to expand. The automatic system will engage the brakes if the cars separate while running. The single control in the locomotive gives the engineer better control of the train.
The original WW&F used vacuum brakes on their locomotives, and #9 has that restored system. Eames patented an automatic vacuum brake system but it was never fully developed due to his untimely death. Our Museum will fully develop the system. Combine #8 already has the system, but testing has yet to be completed. Original W&Q coach #3 will receive a restored system, and locomotives #10 and #52 will receive the equipment as well.
The WW&F Railway Museum officers and members thank the NRHS for choosing our project to support with the Railway Heritage Grant. In the past NRHS grants have provided funds for engine #9’s planished iron boiler jacket and our ongoing mainline extension.
Please join us April 15th from noon to 3 PM for our annual Easter Eggspress as we celebrate Easter and the return of Spring! This is our first public trains of the year. Steam trains will depart Sheepscot Station roughly every hour from noon to 3 PM that day, take you to Alna Center Station where the Easter Bunny has hidden eggs all over the place. Locate a special egg and a large basket of goodies is yours! Separate egg hunts will be held each trip for children 5 and under and children 6 and older. If the special egg is not found, the basket will go to the child who finds the most eggs.
Since Easter egg hunts are for the young at heart, our normal child’s fare will apply to all! Train tickets are only $5.00 per person, and free under age 3.
In early May last year, we announced the “21 Campaign” to raise $130,000 for the construction of two new locomotive boilers — a replacement needed for our WW&F #10, and one for planned locomotive #11, a reconstruction of the original railway’s #7, a 28-ton 2-4-4T forney built in 1907 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works.
Now, a little over 10 months later, the 21 Campaign has raised over $75,000 — 58% of our goal!
As donations have been received, we have been able to:
— Restore a 2-ton Allen deep throat riveter to operation;
— Complete the boiler designs and receive approval by the ASME;
— Order and receive the boiler plate for both boilers;
— Complete waterjet cutting of the plates at Aquacut, Inc., of Lakeland, NY;
— Complete rolling of the boiler shells, fire box, smoke box and other curved pieces at Mack Brothers Boiler and Sheet Irons Works in NY;
— Construct a new Beatty Flanging Machine, based on a 1937 design; and
— Complete many other items needed to restore #10 to service and build new locomotive #11!
And all that was in 2016, along with many other Museum projects big (new turntable!) and small, and all while running a railroad for our guests, including attendees of the National Narrow Gauge Convention!
For the latest 21 Campaign progress reports, please see our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/wwandf21campaign/
And to learn more about our campaign and to donate, please visit our Fundrazr page at https://fundrazr.com/21campaign
Every contribution, big and small helps us get #10 back to service and build #11!
Watch your money go up in smoke!
No trains are scheduled this month, but our volunteers are busy with a number of projects, including the rebuilding of Bridgton & Saco River Railroad boxcar #67 and the addition of a baggage door to coach #8.
We also have other work going on this month. Saturdays are usually our busiest day, with volunteers working on both indoor and outdoor projects, weather permitting. Details on our March work sessions can be found here.
While we’re not running trains, visitors are welcome to stop by oour Museum any Saturday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to see what’s going on!
The Whitefield Lions Club will once again sponsor their Model Railroad and Dollhouse Show at the Augusta Armory, 179 Western Avenue, in Augusta this Saturday, February 18th, from 10 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. We’ll have sales tables at the show.
If you’re in the Augusta area Saturday, we hope you’ll stop by and say Hi!
On February 11th, members of the Mass Bay Railroad Enthusiasts will be joining us for a day of steam in the Sheepscot Valley. WW&F locomotive #9 and Monson #3 will be running up and down our 2.5-mile line in Alna. Our friends on the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad & Museum steam crew will also be joining us.
We look forward to the Mass Bay RRE’s visit!
We will be participating in the upcoming Railroad Hobby Show January 28th and 29th. 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 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 2017 calendar.
This event 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.
We hope to see you there!
Hard to believe it’s all over, but today marked the end of our second and last Maine Two-Foot Winter weekend. We hope everyone who joined us the past two weekends enjoyed the events — we know we did!
It was a lot of work, but in the process we met several new friends and learned quite a bit about winter operations on the Maine two-footers. We’ve already seen several spectacular photos taken the past two weekends!
Special thanks to the Boothbay Railway Village and Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum. Without their involvement, this event would not have taken place. We especially enjoyed working with the MNG steam crew team!
Thank you to all who could join us!