Category Archives: General Museum News

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

Build Locomotive 11 – June 2022 Update

Monthly work sessions have continued to be productive, with more progress on No. 11’s rear frame. Everything has been drilled and bolted together, and the large rear frame extension castings that will enclose No. 11’s firebox has arrived. It needs some machining before it can be attached to the rear frame, but it’s shown fitted to the rear frame in these photos:

There was much excitement at Sheepscot on May 17, when just as the diesel locomotive was unloaded, a second truck pulled in bearing the two new cylinder half-saddle castings for No. 11.  A few days later, however, a detailed inspection of the castings revealed several flaws which rendered the castings unacceptable for use.

The foundry was contacted, and following some discussion, they agreed to manufacture two new castings and ship them to us, at no cost to the Build 11 Project or the WW&F. This process will take a couple of months, as minor modifications to the patterns are necessary and new cores for the patterns must be made.

While we were all disappointed at this turn of events, the final outcome will be satisfactory. More importantly, the long delay in receiving the cylinder half-saddle castings does not materially delay the assembly work now underway on the rear frame.

Our fund-raising for No. 11 is making slow progress toward the $70,000 goal. Right now, we are focused on reaching the $25,000 mark in contributions. That will unleash a $25,000 matching grant from the Candelaria Fund, immediately moving our fund-raising total to $50,000, or 51% of our goal. Please consider making your dollar for dollar donation count right now!

Lavender Pickin’ Dinnertime Trains

Fresh Lavender, Farmstand Food, a Fantastic Family Outing

Saturdays: July 2nd, 9th, 16th, & 23rd.
Board your train at Sheepscot station for a steam-powered ride through the wild pine forests, farmlands and hamlets of the Sheepscot Valley to Top of Mountain where you’ll hop a short wagon ride to complete your journey to Alna’s famous lavender farm.

At SeaLyon Farm, pick your own lavender during the setting sun; peruse a plethora of lavender-themed goods; dine on farm fresh meats and other goodies from Grandpa’s Kitchen; enjoy some Maine-made beer, wine, mead, and cider from Maine Tasting Center; take a horse-drawn wagon ride around the farm; and partake in other fun activities.

Afterwards, we’ll all return back to Sheepscot station where you’ll want to explore our railyard, examine our displays, and peruse our gift shop. The entire experience takes just under 3 hours.

Ticket price ($25 per person for adults, senior, youth and group/caboose rates available) includes all transportation (historic steam train and tractor wagon ride) as well as parking at Sheepscot. Dinner, refreshments, lavender stalks, horse wagon rides, and other farm products are sold separately by SeaLyon Farm and their partners. Note that due to the nature of this event, wheelchairs can not be accommodated.

In addition to lavender picking, activities and vendors at SeaLyon farm will include:

  • The Farm Store will be selling jams, salsas, lavender products, kettle popcorn, baked goods, the best whoopie pies in Maine and other tasty treats, crochet items, and handmade jewelry.
  • Grandpa’s Kitchen with locally-sourced meats (sausages, bacon, etc.), with vegetarian options available – however, please request in advance!
  • Maine Tasting Center will be offering a selection of Maine-made wine, beer, mead, and cider.
  • Round Top Ice Cream has created a Lavender ice cream flavor – using lavender harvested from SeaLyon Farm – which will be on sale.
  • Horse Drawn Wagon Rides for a tour of the Farm!
  • Outdoor games of cornhole, checkers, and tic-tac-toe.
  • A porta potty and hand washing station.
  • And, did we mention lavender picking!

There will be an approximately 90 minute layover to pick lavender, enjoy the farm, and get a bite to eat before the narrow gauge train returns you to Sheepscot station.

Unfortunately, pets can not be accommodated during this special event.

The special Lavender Pickin’ Dinnertime Train to SeaLyon Farm train departs Sheepscot station (97 Cross Road, Alna) promptly at 4:00pm and 6:00pm.

We look forward to seeing you on the narrow gauge!

 


OMG BEST EXPERIENCE EVER!!!! I cannot say enough nice things about how amazing this experience was. If you are in the area you NEED to go here. It is fun for all ages. Family with kids? Kids will LOVE the train and the farm activities! Picky teenagers? The lavender fields and esthetic lily beautiful train ride is perfect for your Instagram feed. Adults who are looking for something to do? The BOMB food and incredible history lesson is something you don’t want to miss. 10/10 would recommend!!!
-Carol S. (via Yelp)


Caboose Adventure

Ride the Lavender Pickin’ Dinnertime Train to SeaLyon Farm in your very own caboose “cabubble”!

Bring your family (or small group) for unique ride on the narrow gauge railroad! Your group (of up to 15 people) gets exclusive access to the “little red caboose” on the WW&F railway during the trip to and from the farmstand activities near Top of Mountain station.

And yes, you can ride “up top” in the cupola (although adults will need to watch their heads!)

The Caboose Adventure is $250 (which includes group admission to the farm and being seated completely separately from other passengers during the train ride.)

NOTE: Caboose Adventurers must return on their scheduled departure from Top of Mountain station and can not enjoy an extended layover at the farm. (Otherwise the caboose will be forfeited and your group seated with the other passengers.)


Sunset Special

The 6pm departure of the Lavender Pickin’ Dinnertime Train to SeaLyon Farm is timed so that your return from the farm will occur during sunset.


About SeaLyon Farm

SeaLyon Farm is situated is beautifully situated amongst the rolling woods and fields of Alna just south of Head Tide and adjacent to the WW&F’s Top of Mountain station. The WW&F Railway partners with SeaLyon Farm throughout the year on a variety of excursions including Steam & Sleighs, Eastertime Eggspress, Lavender Pickin’ Dinnertime Trains, Pumpkin Pickin’ Trains, and Christmastime Trains.

About Grandpa’s Kitchen

Grandpa’s Specialty Smoked Meats are done the old fashioned way. Some products are handcrafted over 3 weeks from start to finish – including their famous hand-stuffed sausages. Meats are smoked anywhere from 2-14 hours. Grandpa’s meats are shipped all over the world from their facility in Belfast, Maine.

While menu items for this event are subject to change, choices typically include smoked chicken, steak dogs, and homemade stuffed sausages. And bacon; real bacon. Vegetarian options should be requested in advance.

About Maine Tasting Center

Explore Maine’s iconic food and drink industries, producers and the associations that represent them at Maine Tasting Center. Their welcoming campus in Wiscasset is your one-stop-shop for learning about – and sampling! – the most delicious food and drink products Maine has to offer. Visitors are encouraged to sign up for a class in the Learning Center, visit the Tasting Room for beer, wine, cocktails and small plates, or drop in for a special event.

About Round Top Ice Cream

Round Top Ice Cream locally made in Damariscotta Maine since 1924 enjoys partnering with other Maine businesses to create new flavors. Owner Stephanie Poland is using the lavender from SeaLyon Farm, LLC to make lavender ice cream for the Lavender Pickin’ Dinnertime Train to SeaLyon Farm. Round Top creates over 60 flavors of homemade ice cream in its Damariscotta location and has been family owned for 40 years.


About the Weather and Cancellations

The Lavender Pickin’ Dinnertime Train to SeaLyon Farm will run rain or shine (please dress accordingly.) If extreme weather is predicted, all passengers will be notified via email or phone, and given the option to reschedule or receive a full refund.

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 first purchase your tickets (at full price) to reserve your seats, then email info@wwfry.org to receive a refund equal to the value of a Lifetime WW&F Pass, an Annual Pass, a Victorian Christmas 2019 Voucher, or similar pass.

Book online now!

Build 11 – May 2022 Update

We have great news to report!

First of all, during the WW&F’s Spring Work Weekend, several members of the Build 11 Project, as well as other volunteers, began assembling the rear frame extension of No. 11 in Bay 2 of the Sheepscot shop. Over the course of three intense days, components were moved from storage, identified, and laid out on the shop floor. Then the pieces were clamped together and drilled in sequences.
Multiple holes were drilled through water-jet cut holes in the steel sills and into several cast iron brackets. Then temporary bolts were inserted and tightened. Once that had been accomplished, the next step saw the entire framework lifted onto six screw jacks, which allowed the workers to carefully level the frame fore and aft and side to side. The final step will be to permanently mate the various components with either fitted bolts or hot rivets.

Many volunteers and visitors passed through the shop during the weekend and admired the work going on. This work marked the first tangible evidence that building a new locomotive at Sheepscot was becoming a reality. The Build 11 crew was pleased as well, and then more great news broke on May 2, when we received word from Dakota Foundry that the long-awaited cylinder half saddles and the main rear frame casting were both complete and would be shipped shortly.

We received a nice note from WW&F member Bill Sample, who made a generous donation to the Build 11 Project. Bill said, “What really made me go through with the donation was reading Rick Sisson’s posting on the “Build 11” project.  Seeing Rick’s post encouraged me to participate and dedicate the contribution to all you “Build 11” participants who are not only building the new locomotive but are also making a major accomplishment in heritage railway history. We here “in the Colonies” can also build new full sized locomotives!”

Our 2022 fundraising is off and running, but four months into it, we’ve only reached about 15% of our goal of $70,000. We need your help, in any amount, if we are going to continue to Build 11. Be like Bill Sample — support the Build 11 Project. Buy a “typo edition” Challenge Coin for $11, donate $110 and receive a 3-D printed replica of WW&F No. 7’s builder’s plate, or go for broke, and for a donation of $1,100, you’ll receive a full size cast bronze replica of the builder’s plate. Remember each donation will be matched by the Candelaria Fund!

Learn more and contribute at www.build11.org.

Music on the Railway: 2022 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, if you so wish. 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!

July 30th: Pete Kilpatrick

Pete Kilpatrick

Maine based singer-songwriter Pete Kilpatrick has released nine independent albums and performs both solo and with his band around the country. His acoustic based style is a blend of folk and alternative rock. Pete’s most recent record Songs From The Green Room was written and recorded from home during the global shutdown in March and April of 2020. His music has been featured on over 15 network television shows, including The OfficeParks and RecreationNew Girl and Community. He has shared the stage with various artists including Dave Matthews Band, Guster, Ray Lamontagne and David Gray.

August 20th: Elsie Gawler & Ethan TischlerElsie & Ethan

Elsie Gawler and Ethan Stokes Tischler deliver original and traditional songs and tunes that come straight from the heart. These New England based songsters, on fiddle, guitar, vocals, cello, and banjo, bring together their unique musical backgrounds to create a rich original sound that is alive with their love for the music they make together. Elsie and Ethan have each shared their music and spirits with audiences across New England and beyond while maintaining a deeply rooted connection to the thriving Vermont and Maine based folk music communities from which they’ve emerged.

Sept. 3rd: Rough SawnRough Sawn

Rough Sawn is a collective group of farmers and carpenters from around the state that get together to play original Americana music as well as classic covers. Rough Sawn are Fan Favorites of the WW&FRy. Definitely not one to be missed!

Oct 1st: Jud CaswellJud Caswell

Maine singer/songwriter Jud Caswell has got a keen eye for detail, a head full of far-away, and a heart full of home. In 2006 he burst on the national scene, winning the legendary Kerrville New Folk competition. His songs have been taught at Berklee, recorded by Judy Collins, and named “#4 Song of the Decade” by New York’s WFUV. Jud left the road to raise a family where his own roots go deep. He draws inspiration from the land like Mary Oliver, pushing gently into the specific until it unfolds into the universal. He paints his landscapes like Wyeth, with a reverence for humble beauty. And with a voice fresh as water over granite and soft as a pine needle bed, he wields his instruments with the matter-of fact deftness of an old woodsman with an axe.

 

 


Caboose Adventure

Ride to the Music on the Railway concert in your very own caboose “cabubble”!

Bring your family (or small group) for unique ride on the narrow gauge railroad! Your group (of up to 15 people) gets exclusive access to the “little red caboose” on the WW&F railway during the trip to and from the concert at Alna Center.

And yes, you can ride “up top” in the cupola (although adults will need to watch their heads!)

Cost is $225 (which includes admission to the concert and being seated completely separately from other passengers during the train ride.)


About the Weather and Cancellations

The Music on the Railway Concert Series will run rain or shine – and held under our spacious outdoor event pavilion (please dress accordingly.) If extreme weather is predicted, all passengers will be notified via email or phone, and given the option to reschedule or receive a full refund.

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 first purchase your tickets (at full price) to reserve your seats, then email info@wwfry.org to receive a refund equal to the value of a Lifetime WW&F Pass, an Annual Pass, a Victorian Christmas 2019 Voucher, or similar pass.

WW&F Receives Grant for Trout Brook Station!

The Massachusetts Bay Railroad Enthusiasts (MBRRE) announced that the WW&F has received a $10,000 grant for the construction of the station at Trout Brook.

Mass Bay RRE designates its largest Preservation Fund grant each year as “The Ralph S. Hawkins Memorial Railroad Preservation Grant” to honor and preserve the memory of the late Ralph Hawkins, a longtime active Director of Mass Bay RRE.

For 2022 there is a single recipient of the Ralph S. Hawkins Memorial Railroad Preservation Grant: The Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum of Alna, Maine, will receive $10,000 to construct a WW&F flag stop station at the northern terminus of the restored Mountain Extension. Situated in the midst of Midcoast Conservancy’s Trout Brook Preserve, this station will serve as a shelter and joint exhibit space for WW&F passengers who disembark to enjoy this adjacent scenic park. The building will be constructed in the style of flag stop stations found along the WW&F elsewhere, such as Sheepscot and Alna Center.

The new station is expected to be completed in time for the planned August 6, 2022 inaugural run over the Mountain Extension.

[From MBRRE press release.]

Thank you, MBRRE!

Build 11 – April 2022 Update

A special Build 11 update from one of our volunteers…

Hi everyone. I’m Rick Sisson, a member of the WW&F Ry Museum for more than 20 years. I love volunteering there, but because I live more than 200 miles away, and because of Covid era restrictions, I’m not able to get to Maine as often as I’d like. As a member of the Build 11 engineering team, I’m able to contribute to that project by working from home, or “remote working”. I develop designs and drawings on my computer using CAD programs that are shared with and reviewed by the Build 11 team. I can collaborate with the entire team using Zoom meetings.
We’ve partitioned the Build 11 construction efforts into 5 phases. The first of these constitutes the forward frame which incorporates two cylinder saddle castings. These are large, complex components weighing about 1600 pounds each. We expect to receive the raw castings this summer which we will send to a local shop to get them machined to our specifications. This operation is complex, requiring specialized machine tools and will take a fair amount of shop time to complete.
Accordingly, this will consume a significant portion of this years Build 11 budget. Your contributions to the Build 11 campaign will ensure that we will be able complete phase 1 of the Build 11 project. And let’s not forget, the first $25,000 contributed this year will be matched by the Candelaria Fund. This matching grant will accelerate Build 11 progress. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who contributes. You’re all part of the Build 11 team!
Learn more and contribute at www.build11.org.

Introducing Locomotive No. 53

Observant members and visitors to Sheepscot recently may have noticed a section of standard gauge track under construction. They may have wondered what’s going on. The WW&F is, after all, a two-foot gauge railway.

Here’s the rest of the story. For the better part of three years, we have been looking for just the right diesel locomotive to supplement our trusty No. 52. We needed something to plow snow, pull work trains, handle trains on the Mountain Extension, and (perish the thought) rescue a stalled steam train.

We spent a lot of time seeking a suitable locomotive. We wanted a double-truck unit that would not punish our track. We wanted something with plenty of power to do what we needed. We thought there might be a chance for an Australian sugar cane locomotive, but all that was available was an 0-6-0 diesel hydraulic not much larger than No. 52. We looked into British and French units, and we even looked into eastern European diesel hydraulics, but nothing quite fit.

We thought maybe we could salvage the remains of a wrecked GE and rebuild it. We considered building our own from the ground up. We even considered a commercial rebuild and a battery-electric. But in the end, nothing seemed quite right.

After considerable thought and consultation, we finally decided to seek a small standard gauge locomotive that could economically be modified to meet our needs, and in mid-February, we found a 1941 General Electric 45-ton side-rod diesel in Sunbury, Pa. that seemed to meet our criteria, which we were able to purchase at scrap price.

Over the last several weeks since we purchased the locomotive, the engineering of the conversion was taken in hand, with a thorough plan already laid out. This is going to be an interesting and exciting project, and If you like to volunteer, contact Jason Lamontagne at the museum.

That’s what the standard gauge track is for. No. 53 will arrive at Sheepscot by truck in May and will be unloaded onto the new track now under construction. Over the next year or three, the trucks will be overhauled and rebuilt to two-foot gauge, a new propulsion system utilizing one of its two diesel engines and traction motors will be installed, snowplow pilots will be fabricated for both ends, and most significantly, the entire locomotive including the cab will be reduced in width to fit our clearances, and its weight will be reduced by about 10 tons. And who knows, it may eventually even have an alternative battery propulsion system.

Build 11 – March 2022 Update

Gordon Cook has been spending several days each month at the museum, most recently running the horizontal mill. He’s been finishing work on two rear frame bolster castings. These and three additional castings form the support for the rear truck under the tank and are an important component of the rear frame of No. 11.

These pieces need to be faced on five sides so the entire assembly is square and tight with the strength to support the weight of the water tank and coal. In addition, they must resist twisting and bending forces as the locomotive rolls around curves and on uneven track

Harold Downey has been at work in Texas, making patterns for a number of components for No. 11. Photos show the front spring equalizer pedestal and core box, the lead truck oil cellar and core box and the lead truck journal box and core boxes. This is all rather tedious work, and Harold has continued to do this, along with a number of engineering drawings for No. 11. He’s also working on patterns for several small parts for coach No. 9.

Gordon and his friend Dave Roche made a “solid model” of the main drivers, with the cranks and the valve gear, to prove the angles needed for the key ways in the axles. Gordon explained that this was necessary to make certain everything was correct prior to manufacturing the axles, especially the cutting of the key ways.

Friends, we’re well into the 2022 fund raising effort for No. 11, and we’re grateful for all the donations to the project. About 35 individuals, some being one-time donors, while others are regular monthly or bi-monthly donors, have contributed about $3,700. However, we need to receive at least $982 every week for the remainder of the year if we intend to reach our $70,000 goal for 2022. Don’t forget, we have a standing offer of $25,000 in matching funds that is only activated when we achieve $25,000 in individual donations. If you are able to do so, please help us Build 11.

Can you help make this dream a reality?

Remember, we have two great premiums for donors. For $1,100 or more, you can get your own full-size bronze replica of WW&F No. 7’s Baldwin builder’s plate. For just $110, you can receive a high-quality 3-D plastic casting of No. 7’s plate, and in the WW&F’s gift shop, we’ve got the No. 11 Challenge coin for only $11.

Contribute at www.build11.org

Steam Train Snow Day: Sat 2/26

With a 7″ blanket of new-fallen snow predicted on Friday, the conditions will be perfect on Saturday for some steamy fun in the snow.

Join us for one of these three adventures:

Winter Steam Adventure

Departing at 12 noon and 3pm, we’ll take our train through the ‘Currier & Ives’-like scenery of evergreen forests and farms to our station at Top of the Mountain. Along the way we’ll also make a stop at Alna Center for an opportunity to photograph the train in motion. And, in true WW&F fashion, we’ll be stopping en-route to deliver freight on the 12pm trip. Come experience real winter railroading in Maine. Photography is welcome (and encouraged!)

Winter Caboose Adventure

Bring your family (or small group) for a special experience on the WW&F Railway! Your group (of up to 15 people) gets exclusive access to the “little red caboose” on the WW&F Railway for a five-mile 50-minute excursion through ‘Currier & Ives’-like scenery of evergreen forests and farms to our station at Top of Mountain. The train will travel over the river and through the (hopefully) snow-covered woods for good, old-fashioned fun. And yes, you can ride “up top” in the cupola (although adults will need to watch their heads!)

Ski and Snowshoe Train

Join us for a wintertime adventure aboard the WW&F Railway. Your trip will take you from Sheepscot station through ‘Currier & Ives’-like scenery of evergreen forests and farms to Alna Center Station for access to our local network of ski and snowshoe trails. After your ski or snowshoe, warm up by the coal stove at the station, then board the 2:10 train to return to Sheepscot station. The trails around Alna Center are maintained by the Alna Snowmobile Club. Please be cautious as they are multi-use trails.

Advance tickets for these adventures are recommended, as seating will be very limited.

Book your Steamy Winter Adventure!

 

Note that our trains are not heated – so please dress accordingly as you would for an outdoor event.

Build 11 – February Update

Build 11 – February VIDEO update.
 
Here’s the dramatic video of the pour of the first cylinder half-saddle casting for No. 11. This took place on January 5, 2022, at Dakota Foundry (aka Anderson Industries LLC) in Webster, South Dakota.
 
During the second clip, you’ll hear the man pouring announce that 1800 pound of molten iron was poured. Notice the gasses igniting at various places around the flask during the pour. Also note the man aiming a device at the pour. It’s a pyrometer to measure the temperature of the hot iron.
 
This is tangible proof that the Build 11 Project is real. Your donations to www.build11.org and the WW&F Railway are making No. 11 a reality!
 
#build11 #rebuildingmainehistory