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You’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad – Open Volunteer Work Sessions

Join the WW&F Railway’s volunteers on an “open” work session.

We have the following work sessions planned for select Saturdays this Fall.

Please join us for one or all of them!
Volunteers of all ages and abilities are welcome and needed.

Sept. 18:
Caboose painting day!
Help us prepare caboose 554 for it’s Fall Adventures.

Sept. 25:
Box Car 67 painting day!
Help paint historic B&SR Boxcar 67.

Oct. 9:
Lay Track! RR Spiking Party at Trout Brook.
Also will be laying out ties for the new Engine house.

Oct. 30:
Lay Track! (Part II) RR Spiking Party at Trout Brook.
Also will be laying out ties for the new Engine house.

Nov. 13:
Lay Track! (Part III) RR Spiking Party for Sheepscot Engine house.

Nov. 20:
Lay Track! (Part IV) RR Spiking Party for Sheepscot Engine house.
Finish any remaining tasks.

What to Expect

  • Volunteer shifts begin around 8:30AM at 97 Cross Road, Alna, Maine
  • Wear heeled, fully enclosed above the ankle boots (safety boots are preferable)
  • Wear full legged pants (no shorts, etc.)
  • Tools will be supplied, but feel free to bring ones that you are comfortable working with.
  • Tics and bugs are included at no extra charge. Appropriate repellant (and sunscreen) is recommended.
  • Volunteers will ride the train (or carpool) to the work site, depending on the work being done.
  • Lunch will be available for a modest donation – or pack your own.
  • Work will conclude by 3PM.
  • Younger volunteers are welcome under appropriate adult supervision.

Questions?

Please email us at info@wwfry.org

Sign Up Here!

Build 11 – September Update

Flanging and more!

On August 31 and September 1-3, several members of the No. 11 Project group worked at Sheepscot flanging boiler components for both No. 10 and No. 11. Straight flanging was done on the backhead and the throat sheet for No. 11 and the throat sheet for No. 10.
Here, Wayne Laepple (center) and Jason Lamontagne (left) are positioning the first sheet for bending in the flanger.

Fortunately, these bends were all straight bends so no heating of the sheets was necessary. Gordon Cook (far right) and Rick Sisson (not pictured) devised a stop that allowed us to make the bends at the correct angles. For the first try, a sheet of MDF plyboard was tried. It worked fine for the initial bends, but as we progressed, the force of the flanging operation caused fasteners to elongate the holes in the pltboard. Sections of steel bar stock were successfully substituted and the work continued.

The first attempt to use steel bar as a stop, seen here, was unsuccessful. A second try, bolting the bar directly to the sheet, worked much better.

The next work session will include additional flanging of No. 11’s throat sheet, the more difficult to execute curves. This operation will require heating the sheet to make it pliable. At this time, we expect to do that in early October.

While it may seem like we did not accomplish much at this session, a good deal of time was necessary to lay out the bends to follow the contours of the sheets. The actual forming operations took less than a third of the entire time we worked.

Here, the toggle of the flanger is just beginning to bend the steel for the initial bend.

In other news, the arrival of the “shop annex,” a 12 x 24 foot structure that has been positioned adjacent to the shop, was followed by the installation of a rack for storage of lengths of flat, angle and round steel stock, steel shelving, and bolt bins. Materials from several locations in the shop have been consolidated into this structure, which will also house various tools and equipment not frequently used that occupied valuable floor space in the shop. Thanks to Brendan Barry, the storage spaces have been set up and lighting has been installed.

Finally, we are pleased to announce that the fund raising for No. 11 continues to move forward. As of today, the total donations raised in 2021 amount to nearly $59,500. At this time, we need just $979 to fully access the $25,000 matching challenge donation received during the spring.

Put us “over the top” for 2021 at www.build11.org

Autumn in Alna: A Pumpkin Pickin’ Paradise!

Join us this fall for unforgettable fun on the Sheepscot Narrow Gauge!

We’ve scheduled three great, outdoor, safe experiences this autumn for you and your family to enjoy.


Pumpkin Pickin’ Trains to SeaLyon Farm

This is the premiere event in the Sheepscot Valley! Take the train, and a short hayride to SeaLyon Farm where you can pick your own pumpkin, grab a bite to eat, ride horse-drawn wagon, and partake in all the fun festivities.  Get your tickets soon, as we are limiting capacity (to help keep everyone safe) and we expect these trains to sell out well in advance.

Dates: Sept. 25; Oct. 2, 9, 16, & 23.
Departure Times: 11am; 12, 1, 2, & 3pm.
Duration: 2.5 hours.

And yes, our popular Caboose Adventure (as heard on Maine Public Radio) is available for these dates.

Book your Pumpkin Pickin’ Train tickets.

 


Sheepscot Valley Steam Train

Looking for a unique autumn adventure? Ride the Sheepscot Valley Steam Train to Top of the Mountain station where you’ll be able to try your hand on the famous WW&F Handcar, go for a short hike, kibitz with the engine crew, or bring a snack/picnic. While the Sheepscot Valley Steam Trains will be running concurrently with the Pumpkin Pickin’ trains, passage on the Sheepscot Valley Steam Train does not include access to SeaLyon Farm via the hayride, etc.

Dates: Sept. 25; Oct. 2, 9, 16, & 23.
Departure Times: 11am; 12, 1, 2, 3, & 4pm.
Duration: 1.5 hours.

Book a Sheepscot Valley Steam Train.

 


Music on the Railway

Take the train to an outdoor concert! We’ve invited some of the best local bands to our brand-new Alna Center Pavilion for evenings of stories and song! Click the link for details on the bands.

Dates: Sept. 4; Oct. 2, & 16.
Departure Time: 5pm.
Duration: 2.5 hours.

Reserve a seat for Music on the Railway.

 


All aboard for Autumn in Alna!

We look forward to seeing you this fall on the Sheepscot Narrow Gauge!

Build 11 – August Update

GOAL!!!

Arguably more exciting than watching the Olympics, the WW&F “FundRazr” goal of $50,000 in 2021 for building locomotive no. 11 has been achieved this week! Thank you to all who have contributed; your generosity will ensure that the project does not pause in 2022 due to a lack of financial resources.

That said, we’re not quite out of the woods yet! We still need to raise $3500 to complete the $50,000 challenge set forth by one of our most generous donors. Lean more and donate at:  build11.org

Of course, any funds raised above and beyond our 2021 goal will make the 2022-2025 campaigns all the easier.

If you’ve been keeping up with the news, you know that the national economy is roaring ahead, but at the same time is plagued with a shortage of willing workers. This problem has led to a delay in the manufacture and delivery of crucial components from Dakota Foundry for No. 11. That being the case, we are temporarily shifting our focus from No. 11’s frame to No. 10’s boiler.  In the coming weeks, we plan to flange the last few pieces for No. 10’s firebox, make some modifications to the front and rear tube sheets, and then take all those parts to Maine Locomotive & Machine. ML&M will move ahead with manufacturing the new boiler, welding the components as we provide them. The shell is already at their shop.

Meanwhile, Gordon Cook is designing a fixture and jigs for the flanging machine. It will be used to form the large radius curved sections of the top of the door sheet and the rear tube sheet. The idea is to hold these large sheets in the proper position to achieve the best results. They are difficult to maneuver in the flanging machine, and the pivot will ensure that they will have the correct radius.

And our own shop crew is now actively seeking machinists who would like to volunteer their talents towards the Build 11 project. In short, we are ready to machine a plethora of castings and parts – and could use some help. If you are a qualified machinist in the Midcoast Maine area, please email us at info@wwfry.org to learn how you can help Build 11.

It is also planned to modify our home-built Beatty-style flanging machine to serve as a brake, adding another layer of versatility to this most useful tool. With that, we will be able to manufacture various parts for coach No. 9’s trucks. While we have a number of parts already on hand made for us by Cattail Foundry, we need a few more components before we can begin to machine and then assemble the trucks.  As for Coach No. 9 itself, the exterior is essentially complete, so Eric and Ron and Lou will soon turn their attention to the interior of the car.

And to the delight of our hard-working steam crews, a brand spanking new Nathan “Simplex” No. 4 boiler injector, made by Eccentric Engineer of Orange, California, has been purchased and is being installed to replace a troublesome “legacy” injector on locomotive No. 9. Some minor modifications of the piping will be necessary, as will making a bracket to hold the device. If this injector proves successful on locomotive No. 9, additional injectors will be ordered for locomotive No. 11.

Learn more, get involved, and contribute at build11.org

CLOSED SAT. JULY 31st.

The railway will not be open for public train rides this weekend (July 31st – August 1st) due to private events on both days. We look forward to seeing everyone at our Annual Picnic on August 7th when there will be 3 locomotives in steam for the event.

Yes, we’ll be “back” with THREE locomotives in steam (and a special evening double-header) on Saturday 8/7 for the 2021 Annual Picnic – 3 Locos in Steam – One Summertime Steamtacular!!!

Thank you.

Build 11 – July Update

Over several days in June, various members of the No. 11 engineering group worked at Sheepscot. They installed new cranes in bay 1 and bay 3 of the shop. In addition, during another work session they completed all the components for the rear frame extension of No. 11 that required bending. Several of those items were machined and found to be within 0.01 of perfect.

Gordon Cook has produced an image of the Phase 1 work on No. 11, the assembly of the main frames of the locomotive. As work progresses on the actual assembly, we will update this image.

We received the welcome news that pattern work for the locomotive’s cylinder half-saddles is proceeding at Dakota Foundry. They have sent us several photos.

Thanks to a couple of eagle-eyed members, we have been able to acquire an appropriate steam gauge and a genuine Eames Vacuum Brake gauge though on-line auction. Several WW&F members contributed funds to allow the purchase of authentic items needed for No. 11.

Our 2021 fund raising for No. 11 is proceeding amazingly well. As of July 11, we have received $39,677.00, including $12,820.00 in matching funds from our anonymous donor. This brings us to 51% of the $50,000 Challenge (which concludes on October 31st) and to 80% of our overall goal for 2021!

Meanwhile, we’ve sent out more 20 of the full-size builder’s plate replicas, as well as 10 of the 3-D printed version. Our raffle for one of the bronze plates has raised more than $350 – and there are plenty of tickets available. The drawing takes place on Saturday, October 9 during the Fall Work Weekend.

Learn more, and contribute at build11.org

Music on the Railway: 2021 Concert Series on the WW&F

Take the Narrow Gauge Music Express!

Board your train at Sheepscot station (97 Cross Road, Alna) for a steam-powered ride through the wild pine forests, farmlands and hamlets of the Sheepscot Valley to Alna Center where music and fun awaits.

We’ve invited four of the regions best-loved entertainers for evenings filled with stories and song. Pack a picnic dinner, or order one in advance from Treats! After the music concludes and as the sunlight fades, the train will return you back to Sheepscot.

Ticket price includes the steam train ride, concert admission (general seating on benches, or bring your own chair) as well as parking at Sheepscot. Note that passengers requiring extra assistance may have difficulty navigating the platforms and stairs at Alna Center. Well-behaved dogs are allowed at the discretion of the Conductor.

Trains for Music on the Railway depart Sheepscot station (97 Cross Road, Alna) promptly at 5pm and return by 7:30pm.

Music on the Railway concerts are held rain or shine under the WW&F’s unique pavilion nestled in the trees at Alna Center.

We look forward to seeing you on the narrow gauge!

Oct 2: Sandy River Ramblers

Sandy River RamblersThe Sandy River Ramblers are the second oldest Bluegrass band in Maine, having been established in 1982. Original members still in the band are Stan Keach and Bud Godsoe. Liz Keach, an original member, is semi-retired from music, but still subs for other members when needed. Keach is the most widely recorded Bluegrass songwriter in Maine ever, having had many of his original songs recorded by big-name Bluegrassers, including James King, Audie Blaylock, Special Consensus, Danny Paisley, and many others. Godsoe and Simons are two of the best pickers in the state, and Davenport is a stunningly good lead singer. Reynolds is a vocal prodigy, and the vocal trio of Keach, Davenport and Reynolds has been widely praised. Woodruff is already a fine young fiddler. The Ramblers’ specialty is original songs about Maine. Their CD, Cry of the Loon and other original songs about Maine, has been critically acclaimed and has been, Keach believes, the best selling Bluegrass CD in Maine for many years.

Oct 16: Gelina Family Band

Gelina Family BandThe Gelina Family Band features some of Maine’s finest musicians and vocalists with a front man that is a prolific songwriter and they bring together a repertoire filled with traditional and original bluegrass and old-time country songs. Brian is a member of the Maine Country Music Hall Of Fame and all members are Award-Winning singers, songwriters and musicians. Whether it be bluegrass or country they have pleased audiences of all ages. As someone once said “they play every note they feel and feel every note they play”, as it ought to be.

Treat Yourself to a Picnic Dinner

We’ve invited Treats from Wiscasset to provide an optional boxed picnic dinner; or bring your own! Music on the Railway events are BYOB, though bottled water is provided with all pre-purchased boxed picnics.

Please note that for preparation purposes, reservations for boxed picnic dinners end two days prior to train departure.

Caboose Adventure

Rent the Music on the Railway caboose for the exclusive use of your whole family (or small group) of up to 15 people. Cost is $225, which includes admission to the concert for everyone in your group. (And yes, you may ride in the cupola, if you so wish.)

Passes, Vouchers and Discounts

We will be pleased to honor passes and vouchers for the base portion of the fare of this special event. Please email info@wwfry.org to reserve a spot on the train using a Lifetime WW&F Pass, an Annual Pass, a Victorian Christmas 2019 Voucher, or similar pass.

Reserve your seat for Music on the Railway!

Past Performances

We missed you at these fantastic concert events!

Aug 21: Pejepscot Station

Pejepscot StationBased in the village of Pejepscot (in Topsham, ME), Pejepscot Station has performed throughout southern Maine since forming in 2011. Their repertoire is a mix of traditional and contemporary bluegrass, Americana, and some “bluegrassified” favorites thrown in. Wide vocal harmonies and an informal and relaxed stage presence make for an enjoyable and fun show appropriate for all.

Sept 4: OldHat String Band

OldHat String BandOldHat Stringband is based out of Eliot, Maine. Fusing tight vocal harmonies with a lively rhythm section, OldHat creates a sound that draws from bluegrass, old time, folk, and country traditions. Whitney Roy’s (Guitar, Vocals) lilting vocals provide the backbone of OldHat’s vocal blend, while her solid rhythm guitar anchors the bands rhythm section. Steve Roy (Mandolin, Fiddle, Vocals) is one of New England’s premier multi-instrumentalists, and has performed and toured with many of the acoustic world’s top acts. Amanda Kowalski (Bass) is one of the more sought after bass players in the worlds of bluegrass and old time music, and her rhythmic drive and energy on stage are second to none.

Head Tide Church Open in July & August

On your way to or from the WW&F, consider stopping in at the historic Head Tide Church. The church is just off Head Tide Road (connecting Routes 218 and 194) in Alna and will be open during July and August on Saturdays (and Sundays) from 2 to 4 p.m. The Head Tide Church Committee warmly welcomes everyone to stop by. Volunteers will be on hand to greet visitors and answer questions.

Known for its simple beauty and pastoral setting atop a hill overlooking the Sheepscot River and WW&F Railway grade, the historic Head Tide Church has been the subject of a number of famous artists, prominent among them Marsden Hartley, and Andrew and Jamie Wyeth. The church was dedicated on Nov. 21, 1838 when Head Tide was a bustling village supported by mills at the dam, agriculture and apple orchards, boat building, fishing and forestry.

As Head Tide grew in population, village leaders determined to build their own Congregational church so they would not have to travel the three miles to the 1789 Meeting House in Alna Center. They funded it by subscribing, or “buying,” family pews. Although the Head Tide Church differs in many respects from the “Old Meeting House,” the trompe l’oeil window behind the pulpit evokes the velvet-curtained window behind the pulpit in the Meeting House on Route 218.

For a while the church – and the community – flourished. But post Civil War urbanization and industrialization brought changes to all of New England, including Head Tide. Population decreases led to the closing of the church in the 1880s. A group was assembled in the early 20th century to rescue the building from deterioration. In 1914, the cast-iron kerosene lamp chandelier was hung in the center of the unusual barrel-vaulted ceiling, six columns of the original front façade were replaced with simple carved pilasters, and the steeple with its rare Paul Revere bell was strengthened.

While the 1940s saw decline in church use, in 1955 a new group stepped in to address many years of neglect. They secured title and assumed responsibility for upkeep. Then in 1962, lightning struck the bell and set fire to the front façade, including the steeple, and half of the roof. The Paul Revere bell crashed to the ground in pieces. Once again, the community rolled up its sleeves and provided labor and funding to rebuild the church and steeple and to acquire a new bell.

Although the church has not had an active year-round congregation for many years, it still serves Midcoast Maine as a unique venue for weddings, memorial services, lectures and musical events. The Friends of the Head Tide Church raise funds and volunteer hundreds of hours to keep this “jewel on the hill” in good condition, and we welcome visitors from across the country and around the globe with pleasure each year.

For more information please email Headtidechurch@gmail.com