A father-son team from Texas, the Downeys, spent three weeks working on the engine’s pilot (aka the “cow catcher”), spending time reviewing historical photographs and rebuilding to those.
After considerable piping, the boiler underwent several hydro tests in the Fall, followed by a boiler test fire on November 25. The test fire was strictly for the boiler, there was no way for the engine to move.
Top of the Mountain: After several years of negotiations, the Museum purchased a parcel of land in mid-April just beyond the end of our track. This purchase will allow us to continue laying track north. 23 acres of back land were purchased, which include 800+ feet of railroad right-of-way. This parcel was purchased with a private loan, which will be paid off over the next ten years. This area of the railroad was known as the “Top of the Mountain”, as it was the top of one of the railroad’s steepest grades as the railroad ascended from the Sheepscot River valley.
Grading (using our own Kubota excavator) started in May, continuing through to September. Areas were pretty wet, but dried out nicely. With grading complete, the Fall Work Weekend was successful in laying nearly 300 feet of mainline track, a 320 foot siding, and an 85 foot crossover track from main to siding. The crossover will allow locomotives to switch ends at this location, while track is laid down the Mountain.
Creamery Car 65: Creamery Car 65 made a trip to West Springfield, MA to visit the Amherst Railway Society’s Big Model Train Show at the end of January. It was a great hit with more than 1600 visitors to the car. The car traveled on our trailer there and back again, and was removed from the trailer for the show. Thanks go out to volunteer Brendan Barry who hauled it there and back again. Later in April it traveled to Rockland for the Maine Eastern Railroad’s “Touch a Train” event. It eventually returned to Wiscasset, where the interior was refurbished to include a diorama of the Wiscasset waterfront in the 1920s. The grand re-opening was held on June 30.
Caboose 320 Makeover: The caboose received new paint inside.
Locomotive 10 Work: Work was done in the smokebox to improve drafting, which greatly improved it, allowing it to easily haul 5 car trains during our Christmas event.
Yard Tracks: During the Spring Work Weekend, track was built in the so-called “North Yard”, which included placing and building two switches. A track which will eventually run through one bay of the roundhouse to the turntable was constructed.
Percival House: Work began in the basement to add electric heat, boarding over the wall insulation, and building in piping for a kitchen and bathroom.
North Car Barn: Construction began on a car storage barn. The building is a post and beam. The east wall posts were erected on Fall Work Weekend, and the remaining west wall posts were erected afterward. Cap beams, diagonal supports, and other structures were put in during the remainder of the year.
Victorian Christmas: This year’s Victorian Christmas was a smashing success with over 1300 riders, a new record.