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Museum Milestones of Previous Years

a house covered in grass

1985: Harry E. Percival, Jr. purchases railroad right of way from the Winter Foundation, owner of the original WW&F assets.

1986 – 1988: Harry starts work to restore the railroad.  He tries to start a non-profit Wiscasset & Quebec Railroad Company (the name of the original railroad when built) but could not because the company was never shut down with the State.  He held a stockholder’s meeting and was able to restart the W&Q.

1989: The Sheepscot Valley Railroaders are created and incorporated August 8, as a group whose purpose is to rebuild a portion of the WW&F Railway.  A spot in Alna adjacent the Cross Road is chosen to headquarter the new group.  This spot is the site of the old Sheepscot flag stop, on land owned by Harry Percival.  The first newsletter is published at end of September.

1990: The first directors are elected.  The October issue of the newsletter holds the first installment of a long-running series of articles called “WW&F Musings.”  The timbers for the restoration of flatcar 118 are sawn and treated.

1991: Harry Percival and other volunteers put up the first bay of a planned 3-bay enginehouse.  The only track on the property is found inside this bay, running to just 60′ outside of it.  Ironically it will be 7 years before this bay is connected to the main line, the last bay to be so connected.  One-thousand feet of right-of-way north of the station are cleared.

1992: The remnants of flatcar 118 are sold to the Wiscasset & Quebec RR by Alice Ramsdell, of West Thompson, CT.  The Sheepscot Valley Railroaders change their corporate name to the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum, and acquires 501(C)(3) status.  Restoration of car 118 begins. The first Annual Picnic is held, in August.

1993: Restoration of flatcar 118 is completed.  The Sheepscot Station building is completed.  The second and third bays of the enginehouse are framed.  One-hundred and ten feet of mainline track are laid.  1993 was the beginning of exceptional growth for the Museum, thanks to president Joe Ruzyckij.

1994: The second and third bays of the enginehouse are completed, and track is put down in these bays.  The Museum’s first locomotive arrived in August for the Annual Picnic, a one-and-one-half ton Brookville, which now has the number 51.  One-thousand feet of roadbed north of the station is graded, and more than 500 feet of track is laid, culminating in an end-of-year track length of 735 feet.

1995: Locomotive #9 arrived back in Maine from West Thompson Connecticut, just barely in time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first scheduled train to Weeks Mills.  #9 also during the year had many parts inspected, cleaned, and repaired.  Considerable time was spent putting the newly laid track into service, as well as building the mainline switch into the yard, but no new mainline track was laid.  Temporary track was also laid into Bay 2.  A replica of the Weeks Mills freight shed was built next to the station building, and the building that served as the station at Sheepscot for a time was purchased from someone in Wiscasset.  A lease was signed with the next landowner to the north, allowing an easement for the railroad to lay track.  Clearing of the roadbed on this land began that winter.

1996: In the spring the original building bought the previous year is moved up the line a ways and becomes our section house, holding track tools.  The temporary track into Bay 2 is torn up and permanent track is put down.  Track begins creeping north that summer and ends just into a curve, with a end-of-year track length of 1374 feet.  A switch for Bay 3 was built, and that bay was connected with the railroad.  Locomotive #9 was worked on more and had several hydrostatic tests.  The engine was operated on compressed air in late October.

1997: Locomotive #9 received rear truck work over the winter, then operated several weekends during the year on compressed air.  It underwent an extensive ultrasound test to determine boiler thickness, and it was determined the boiler could not be used under steam.  Boxcar 309 was restored, getting stripped to the wheelsets.  A new car, a caboose, was started from plans drawn in 1901.  This caboose, numbered 320, had a carbody and box frame by the end of the year.  Track work concentrated on maintenance at the beginning of the year, connected Bay 1 to the rest of the system in the summer, and the north end crept north to a woods road crossing, with a end-of-year track length of 1557 feet.  The right-of-way clearing crew went south of Cross Road and cleared just the roadbed of trees for over a thousand feet.

1998: Steam! returned to the railroad in the form of Monson #3, a locomotive which served well at Edaville and was owned by Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company & Museum, who were kind enough to loan it to us for two weeks.  The locomotive was present for the Annual Picnic and drew hundreds of people.  Talks with the owner of Locomotive #9 continued, and it was determined until these were complete no work would occur on the engine.  Track was extended at a record pace, with 810 feet of track laid this year for a year-end total of 2640 feet, or one-half mile.  Caboose #320 was completed in time for the picnic, and was a big hit.  Right-of-way clearing cleared about 700 feet in the winter, most of which had track laid on it the following fall.

1999: Steam again returned with Monson #3 for the Annual Picnic, as well as the purchase of ex-Edaville #5, which was given WW&F #10.  #10 was a former 30-inch gauge Louisiana sugar plantation engine, bought and regauged by Edaville to run at Pleasure Island in Wakefield Mass.  New wheels for Caboose 320 arrived and were put into service.  W&Q Coach #3, the only surviving WW&F coach, was leased from owner Maine Narrow Gauge and arrived in time for the Annual Picnic.  Railroad extension slowed, but rail and ties were found for our use on the ex-Maine Central Rockland Branch’s Wiscasset trestle over the Sheepscot.  This trestle was being rebuilt by the State, so the Museum benefited from a good quantity of rail, ties, and timbers for the eventual rebuilding of the Humason Brook Trestle.  Total track at the end of the year was 3100 feet.  Right-of-way clearing broke all records, with a total of 3000 feet cleared to just past Humason Brook Trestle.

2000: Locomotive #10 made its public appearance on Memorial Day weekend, but leaking tubes curtailed its operation to just five weekends in the year.  After Labor Day weekend the tubes were removed and boiler was prepped for minor repairs and retubing.  A long-term lease agreement for Locomotive #9 was reached.  A machine shop extension to the Sheepscot shops began with the excavation of a service pit.  The mainline was extended 954 feet, beginning in the spring with the building of Sutter’s Crossing and midway through Cock-Eye Curve.  Total track at the end of the year was 3954 feet.  Right-of-way clearing cleared about a half mile, ultimately reaching the Alna Center station site.  Museum volunteers also visited the Albion Station site, laying 214 feet of track in the yard there.

2001: Locomotive #10 began the year inoperable due to retubing.  Some minor welding was done on the boiler, it was retubed and returned to service by Memorial Day weekend.  Steam was run approximately twice a month throughout the summer.  Fundraising for Locomotive #9 began with its inclusion in the fall fundraiser.  United States Marine Corps Marine Wing Support Squadron 472, Detachment B, from the Marine Wing Support Group 47 out of Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan visited the Museum in August and rebuilt the Humason Brook Trestle from the ground up as part of training exercises.  They also graded some roadbed and put down the cement floor for the machine shop.  This led to erection of the walls and roof of the machine shop extension toward the end of the year.  Right of way north of Alna Center was cleared during the winter.  More than 2000 feet of track was laid during the year, over and beyond the newly built trestle.  Total track at the end of the year was 6079 feet, or 1.15 miles; with 4651 feet, or .88 miles, of passenger-ready track.  The Museum mourned the passing of Harry E. Percival, Jr. at the end of the year.  Harry was responsible for the rebirth of the WW&F with the purchase of much of the right-of-way and with the founding of the Museum.  Donations in his memory went to the restoration fund for #9.

2002: The new machine shop was completed, temporarily wired for power and light, and stocked with machines.  All buildings got repainted during the year, with the station/freight shed receiving a coat of grey/green, matching the original WW&F colors and the machine shop/engine house receiving yellow paint.  Fundraising for #9 continued during the year, with more than $35,000 raised during the year.  Steam service was provided by #10 for many weekends in spring, summer, and fall.  More tracks were added to Sheepscot yard, including a three-way stub switch and track into the machine shop.  All track constructed the previous year south of Humason Brook Trestle was put into service, with some 300 feet of new track built as well.  Total track at the end of the year was 6,537 feet, or 1.24 miles, with 6,084 feet of passenger-ready track.

2003: The platform at Sheepscot Station was extended by about 100 feet and a partial shelter was built over it.  Steam engine #10 began a longer and larger than anticipated heavy rebuild: a strip-down to the frame, boiler removed, moving parts were bushed, non-moving parts were repaired, tires were recontoured; the engine was starting to come back together by the end of the year.  Fundraising for #9 continued with $50,000 raised by the end of the year.  Passenger service was supplied by the diesel #52 during the year.  New track to built to Trask Crossing in the spring, and 1300 feet of track was laid in two days to the Alna Center station site; the event was celebrated with a “golden spike” ceremony.  Total track at the end of the year was 8,500 feet, or 1.62 miles, with 7,037 feet of passenger-ready track.

2004: After a heavy rebuild, locomotive #10 started to come back together, finally steaming up in mid-July in time to celebrate its 100th birthday and to celebrate its years of service at Pleasure Island.  For locomotive #9, bids were tendered for construction of a new boiler, and the job was awarded to Boothbay Railway Village.  The museum received a leased car from Maine Narrow Gauge, ex-Edaville car 103, an open-air excursion car built from pieces of a B&SR Railway flatcar in the 1950s.  The terms of the lease required us to restore the car to operating condition.  Trees were cleared on right of way about a half mile north of Alna Center as well as clearing trees off the Averill road, a former town road.  In-service track was brought to just south of Alna Center station, construction of which started in the spring; later that fall another 500 feet of mainline track, plus the south switch and most of a siding was at Alna Center.  Total track at the end of the year was 9,037 feet, or 1.71 miles, with 1.64 miles of passenger-ready track.

2005: Locomotive 9 boiler work started with paperwork: drawings and engineering documents, plus discussions with the FRA regarding the original boiler design (with the boiler as part of the frame).  Work on Car 103 began, to stabilize it.  Two new cars were purchased at the end of the year: Edaville coach 26 and open car 202.  Edaville 26 became WW&F 8.  It was hoped to use 202’s stringers for a new flatcar, but they were too tender and the wooden superstructure was scrapped, with the metal saved.  Crews cleared trees from the Averill Road, a former town road at Alna Center, then cleared about a 1000 feet of right-of-way on the railroad.  Averill Road was restored to use by contractors in September.  Work began on the Head Tide Water Tank replica, with the drilling of a well and the pouring of a foundation.  The museum purchased 1.5 acres of land from Clarissa Percival, on the north end of her land; this piece connects the piece to the west of the Percival property.  In-service track was extended to Alna Center itself, and a run-around siding put in place (the first on the railroad).  600 feet of new track was constructed north of the station, down the grade.  Total track at the end of the year was 10,137 feet, or 1.91 miles, with 1.76 miles of passenger-ready track.

2006: Actual construction of Locomotive 9’s boiler began at Boothbay Railway Village in early summer.  Planning and drawings began on a frame connection between the locomotive’s front frame and rear frame, after an informal ruling by the FRA disuading us from using the existing method of having the boiler as part of the frame.  After extensive photographs of the existing condition of the engine, dismantling of it began in October.  Car 103 entered service for Halloween after extensive work.  In the winter, a new flatcar #126 was built and was in service for the April Work Weekend.  A hand pumpcar was completed.  Coach 8 received new lettering, paint, and windows.  Right of way clearing to the Top of the Mountain, as well as slash left over on the side from prior years’ work, and the right of way was graded all the way to the property line at the Top of the Mountain.  In-service track was extended north of Alna Center, and new track was built north of that.  Sheepscot Yard completed its own run-around siding with the installation of a switch by the station – finally, trains are able to run engine-first in both directions all the time!  Total track at the end of the year was 11,041 feet, or 2.09 miles, with 1.83 miles of passenger-ready track.

2007: Locomotive 9’s boiler construction at Boothbay Railway Village reached the half-way point.  The old boiler was removed from the forward frame and stored, while a new rear frame was constructed.  Other pieces came off the engine and were stored. The Museum took possession of the larger of two oil tanks which once belonged to the B & SR Railroad, and ran as a tank car.  The tank is stored for future restoration.  Coach 3 received brakes during the year.  The Head Tide Water Tank replica construction was nearly completed, with the arrival of a new tank, its placement on its pedestal, construction of the surrounding building, and plumbing work.  Harry Percival’s widow Clarissa passed away in January, leaving the Museum with opportunity to purchase the Percival property in June, which we did with an early fund raiser and a mortgage.  570 feet of new track was constructed to just beyond MP 7, plus prior new track was put into service.  Total track at the end of the year was 11,659, or 2.19 miles, with 1.96 miles of passenger-ready track.

2008: Locomotive 9’s boiler neared completion at Boothbay Railway Village.  Meanwhile new rear frame pieces were constructed, and a new casting arrived to mate the forward and rear frames.  The old smokebox was separated from the old boiler.  Brakes were added to Coach 8 and Flatcar 126, while about a third of Coach 8’s windows were replaced.  Thanks to winning the 2008 H. Albert Webb Award, the Museum began construction of a 3-bay southward extension to the car shop.  The extension has a concrete floor.  The roof was completed by the end of the year.  The Head Tide Water tank was also completed and was used by steam locomotive 10 for its water supply all summer.  With the purchase of the Percival house, tree clearing concentrated on an area west and north of the house, intended for future parking, restrooms, car storage, and a roundhouse.  About 1100 feet of new track was put into service, with another 1200 feet of track laid in the fall.  Heavy crane rail was donated to the Museum and was traded for 60-lb rail.  Total track at the end of the year was 12,668, or 2.39 miles, with 2.17 miles of passenger-ready track.

2009: Work on the new Model T railcar progressed with the pressing of wheels on axles and tires on the wheels, work on the running gear of the car, and the beginning of the car’s final assembly at the home of the volunteer who is building it.  Machining on the frame casting for #9 continued, as well as work on the forward frame, cylinder casting, and cab. The new boiler arrived mid-year and was set up at the entrance of Bay 1 in the car shop extension, where appliances began to be re-applied to it.  The southward extension of the car shop was completed, with the finishing of the interior.  A large “New Haven” lathe acquired in 2008 was placed at the southern end of the building.  Work continues on rewiring the entire shop building with period-style wiring and lights.  The east wall was was rearranged during the spring work weekend by moving the windows from up high down to normal height.  Additionally the eastern, southern, and western walls were all changed over to board and batten.  During the winter, volunteers worked at Head Tide, clearing trees from the right of way in order to fulfill the terms of an easement over the property.  Over the year about 800 feet of track was put into service and another 125 feet was built.  The spring work weekend also saw the introduction of “Big Joe”, a home-made tamping machine with four air-powered tampers attached to a frame, powered currently by a large rented air compressor.  Big Joe made another appearance in the fall after additional changes were made.  Total passenger-ready mainline track at the end of 2009: 12,800 feet, or 2.43 miles, plus another 200 feet of track beyond it, for 2.46 miles of track.

2010: The Model T railcar was completed during the year, and after a period of working out the bugs was put into service.  W&Q Coach 3, long leased from Maine Narrow Gauge Museum, was purchased in June for $50,000, thanks to a generous private loan.  Part of the Annual Fund Drive paid off part of the loan.  Locomotive 9 received a new smokebox on the new boiler, and had its cylinders sent to a local machine shop for reboring and sleeving.  The “Big Joe” tamper was put to more use, thanks to a donated Lindsay air compressor which was mounted on the back of the tamper car.  No new track was built, instead on the first quarter mile of railroad much of the light rail was replaced with heavier, and parts of a switch were installed which will lead to a new yard north of the Percival House.  West of the Percival House, trees were cleared on what would become a parking lot, and work was done for a leach field for bathrooms.

2011: Locomotive 9 had new forward frames built after the old wrought iron frames were found to be cracked and not easily repairable.  Its cylinders were rebored and sleeved.  The frame was reassembled by year’s end.  Construction began on a replica of Turner Centre Creamery Car #65, with the replica also getting #65.  Big Joe work began to provide hydraulic lifting to the unit.  Grounds west of the Percival House were cleared for a parking lot, and in the summer fill from a Wiscasset sewer job was brought in and helped to fill the parking area and the area between Percival House and the Sheepscot Shops.  Some track was built toward the new north yard, and some additional track was built up to the property line at north end of track.

Corporate History of the W. W. & F. Railway Museum

M. Starr Edgerton 1991
Joe Ruzyckij 1992-1994
Larsen Powell 1994-1998
Larsen Powell Zack Wyllie 1998-2002
Zack Wyllie Zack Wyllie 2002-2009
Stephen Zuppa Zack Wyllie 2009-2017
David Buczkowski Jason Lamontagne (RR) 2017-