Category Archives: Build 11

Build 11 – January Update

Today, we are launching the 2023 “Some Assembly Required” campaign to fund the construction of locomotive 11.

Build 11: Some Assembly Required

WW&F #7 was damaged in an engine house fire and never repaired. It was scrapped in 1937. The Build 11 project is to replicate this lost locomotive for use on today’s restored WW&F Railway.

The first 2023 work session on No. 11 started Tuesday, with Rick and Gordon working to ream out the last few holes in the rear frame for fitted bolts. This after Gordon designed a system to hold a ream in proper alignment using a lathe tailstock. The rear frame extension casting is back from the machine shop, ready to be positioned for bolting to the front and rear frames. Today, Rick and Gordon began setting up the front frame for eventual marriage to the rear frame while Jason was busy making the binders that will support the pedestals for the main drivers.

Rick Sisson and Gordon Cook ream out one of the final holes in No. 11's rear frame.Rick Sisson and Gordon Cook ream out one of the final holes in No. 11’s rear frame.

Gordon designed this reamer arrangement to fit in the small space and hold the reamer steady.Gordon designed this reamer arrangement to fit in the small space and hold the reamer steady.

Today, Rick and Gordon began setting up the front frame for eventual bolting to the rear frame.Today, Rick and Gordon began setting up the front frame for eventual bolting to the rear frame.

In other news, the 2022 Build 11 Project fundraising finished up with an amazing $84,279, more than 20 percent over the goal. Thank you to everyone who contributed. We’re opening the 2023 Build 11 Project fundraiser today with a goal of $50,000. We’ve already got a few dollars in the pot from folks who contributed to 2022 but not quite in time for the end of the campaign.

Thanks for your continued interest and support. Learn more at

Build 11 – December (VIDEO) Update

Build 11 – News Video!

We’ll let the video speak for our progress over the last few months, but we want to offer a huge Thank You to all you good folks who have contributed to and followed the Build 11 Project in 2022.

As of Dec. 9th, the $70,000 goal for 2022 was been met and exceeded. The 2022 total currently stands at $82,771. We’ll have a final accounting for you next month, when we’ll also introduce the 2023 fund raiser.

In the meantime, we wish all of you the Joys of the Season, and Hope in the New Year!

Build 11 – November Update

Fitted bolts was the name of the game for the work session held Nov. 2-3. Gordon Cook made the bolts, and he and Rick Sisson were able to install five bolts in the frame. These special bolts are necessary to protect cast-iron components from potential damage during the riveting process.

On Tuesday, Gordon and Jason took the cylinder half-saddle castings to Mountain Machine Works in Auburn, Me. This firm has the capabilities to machine the mating surfaces between the two castings, plane the valve faces and bore the cylinders. In addition, the large rear frame casting will be taken to Mountain Machine for final machining. We expect these pieces to return to Sheepscot early in 2023.

Over the next several months, the pedestal binders and cross frame braces will be made. When the parts are returned from Mountain Machine, the three major frame components and the cylinders will be united into a single unit to support the rest of the locomotive.


Gordon cook carefully hammers a fitted bolt home. At the left side of the photo, two completed fitted bolts are circled. Photo by Rick Sisson.

On the fundraising front, we are just $2846 short of the overall goal for the year of $70,000. We’re grateful for your continued interest and support.

We’ll start a new round of fundraising for No. 11 on January 11, 2023 with a goal of $50,000. To all the folks who have contributed to the Build 11 Project over these past years, we thank you. Thank you for sticking with us as we strive to make this happen. We’ve raised three-quarters of the final goal of $350,000, and at every work session, No. 11 becomes more of a reality.

Build 11 – October (Video) Update

We have some great progress to report this month. During the September and October work sessions, the team, along with some additional volunteers, essentially completed riveting the rear frame extension together. The big Hanna riveter was used for about 85 percent of the work, while hand riveting finished the job. More than 70 rivets have been installed. In locations where it was impossible to drive the rivets properly, fitted bolts will be installed.

Here’s a video showing the Hanna riveter at work, with Rick Sisson operating the Hanna and Jeff Schumaker assisting.

We are pleased to report that the 2022 Build 11 Project fundraising has reached the 85% mark. We’re less than $11,000 from our goal of $70,000. Have you made your contribution at yet?

Build 11 September Update: Ready to rivet.

The Build 11 work sessions that occurred on Aug. 23-24 continued the prep work for riveting No. 11’s rear frame. A  few test rivets were heated and installed in test plates to determine the correct lengths, and Gordon is working on a fixture to allow precision cutting of rivets as required. The big electric compressor was wired in to provide air to power the Hanna riveter. We’re just about ready. One more work session on Sept. 20-22 should do it.

Want to come and help? Sign up at

All the silver bolts and nuts seen here will be replaced by rivets.

Harold looks over the Hanna riveter positioned to drive a rivet in the frame.

On the fundraising front, the magic number is $13,333! (“Three, it’s a magic number.” Thanks, Schoolhouse Rock!) That’s what we need to reach our stated 2022 goal of $70,000. That’s right – our current 2022 total stands at exactly $56,6667, or just over 80% of this year’s goal. Can we make it by the end of the year in three months?

You can donate via our FundRazr page:, by credit card directly to the museum through the museum store, or by check. Let’s do it!

Build Locomotive 11 – August 2022 Update

Riveting News!

We did it!
Thanks to your support, on July 11th 2022, we achieved the $25,000 mark in our 2022 Build 11 project fund-raising, releasing an additional $25,000 in matching funds from the Candelaria Fund. As of today, we have $52,378 toward our $70,000 goal. We need $17,622 by the end of the year. Can we make it? It’s up to you!

Over three days at the beginning of August, the Build 11 team made great progress. With the help of four new volunteers joining three regulars, we were able to match-ream nearly all of the holes in the rear frame of No. 11. The process involved removing each bolt one by one, reaming the previously match-drilled holes to size, inserting a sleeve to maintain the alignment and finally replacing the bolts. We did not expect to complete the work, but with the help of the new volunteers, we did it.

That left us time to explore our big Hanna riveter. You may recall the machine was overhauled over a year ago and was successfully tested by riveting the smokebox ring for locomotive No. 10. We experimented with altering its orientation from vertical to horizontal, figuring out how to perform that operation safely. Remaining work includes changes to air piping to more efficiently receive the air to squeeze the rivets and redirecting the air exhaust away from the operation.

Next month, we’ll continue preparations for riveting during the October Fall Work Weekend. The September work session is planned for Sept. 20-22 and may include additional work on the Hanna riveter, making test coupons for test riveting, and the actual testing of the rivet furnace. Work generally begins around 9 a.m., and new volunteers are encouraged to come by.

Want to join the crew? Sign up at

So now we need rivets. We’ll eventually need a lot more — maybe a thousand of them — but right now we need 146 in several sizes. Your donation of $11 will buy four. If 37 of the folks who read this each send us $11, we’re there!

We recently took delivery of 10 new bronze replica builder’s plates, which we are offering upon request as a premium to folks who contribute $1,100 or more in a single donation to the Build 11 project. We also have 3-D printed miniature builder’s plates, in return for a $110 donation to the project. Build 11 challenge coins – with the infamous typo now corrected – are available in the WW&F Gift Shop for $11.
Learn more and contribute at

Build Locomotive 11 – July 2022 Update

During the most recent work session for No. 11 (July 5-7), Gordon Cook, Harold Downey and Jason Lamontagne concentrated on making preparations for riveting the various components. Gordon was making tack sleeves to accompany the tack bolts. The sleeves fit in the reamed holes so that standard bolts can be used to hold the components firmly in position for riveting. Harold, in the meantime, began the task of disassembling the various components from the outside of the frame toward the center sills.

It’s expected this work will conclude in August, after which riveting will begin. The majority of the riveting will take place in September. (Want to help? See for Build 11 work dates!)

Elsewhere in the shop, Alan Downey has been machining the large rear frame casting, using our H&K mill. Machining is a necessary process to properly fit the casting to the rear frame; then, the casting will be riveted to the rear frame.

On the fund-raising front, we have received a little more than $24,333 which leaves us just $677 shy of the $25,000 we need to raise to release the $25,000 in matching dollars from the Candelaria Fund. With those funds in hand, we’ll still need to secure another $20,000 in contributions to reach our $70,000 goal by the end of 2022.

Have you made your donation yet? Learn more and contribute at

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!

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

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