WW&F locomotive No. 10 was built in 1904 by the Vulcan Iron Works of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, as a 30″-gauge locomotive for Underwood, Short & Reeves of Belleview Plantation, Louisiana. Its original owner named the locomotive High Pockets. In later years the locomotive also saw service on two other sugar plantations: Sterling Sugars, Inc. at Franklin, LA; and Dugas & LeBlanc Ltd. at Westfield Plantation in Paincourtville, LA. This was Westfield’s 4th locomotive and ended service there in 1957. During its last years in Louisiana service, the locomotive carried the name Betsy.
After it left active service, Betsy was acquired by the scrapping firm Elray Kocke Service, Inc., of Donaldsonville, LA. Photos from 1957 of the locomotive being loaded onto a trailer can be found in a timeline on the company’s website. The locomotive was soon sold to the Edaville Railroad of South Carver, Mass, bringing her to New England.
Edaville gave their new acquisition the number 5 and overhauled it, including a new, larger boiler and a regauging to 24 inches. It was then put into service at the new Pleasure Island amusement park in Wakefield, Mass.
The Friends of Pleasure Island group has two webpages posted on the park railroad, both containing images of Edaville No. 5. The first page includes a September 9th, 1959 list of Edaville equipment at the park which includes No. 5. The second page includes a history of the locomotive.
No. 5 returned to Edaville after Pleasure Island closed for good following the 1969 season. Because of its small size and inability to haul the usual Edaville train size around the railroad’s 5½-mile loop, it was set out as a static display. It was used to generate electricity with steam during the 1970s oil crisis, but otherwise saw no service. No. 5 did travel at least once, to the Burlington (MA) Mall in April 1973 to help promote Massachusetts tourism.
Resurrection came in 1998 by a group hoping to restart the dormant Edaville attraction. After getting No. 5 back to operational status, the group put the locomotive up for sale the following year. Thanks to some generous donations by Museum members, the engine arrived at the WW&F on the afternoon of August 6th, 1999.
Following the tradition of railroads everywhere and completed in time for our 1999 Annual Picnic a week later, the locomotive was quickly relettered and renumbered, given the number 10. WW&F No. 10 did not go into service right away, however, since it first had to receive a boiler ticket from the State. The first steam-up on the WW&F took place on December 18th, 1999. It saw several weekends of service in 2000, after which it underwent some boiler repair and retubing during the winter. It saw infrequent service from 2001-2002, then underwent an 18-month, frame-up mechanical overhaul in 2003-2004. Since that time, No. 10 provided faithful service up to and including our 2015 Victorian Christmas.
WW&F #10 newly arrived, getting renumbered and relettered shortly before our 1999 Annual Picnic. Photo courtesy of James Patten.
Many videos have been posted on YouTube of WW&F locomotive No. 10 in operation. Here is a sampling:
- August 2002: “Engine 10 at the WW&F Railway Museum”
- August 26th, 2007: “WW&F Railroad 2’ Gauge Steam”
- July 2011: A ride in No. 10’s cab
- September 24th, 2011: A ride behind No. 10
- 2013: Aerial views of No. 10 in operation
With the restoration of WW&F locomotive No. 9 to service in December 2015, attention turned a thorough inspection of No. 10’s boiler. Some eight years earlier, a problem with staybolt welds was discovered in the boiler of Monson locomotive No. 3 while it was being rebuilt at the Boothbay Railway Village. The root cause was found to be a manufacturing flaw in how the staybolt welds were applied. Further degradation occurred in service as a result of the initial welding flaws.
Our Chief Mechanical Officer Jason Lamontagne shared the results of No. 10’s boiler inspection in the March/April 2016 WW&F Newsletter:
“At the time (eight years earlier), we recognized the potential for this flaw to exist in Number 10 and hired a certified non-destructive testing company to determine the weld metal thickness on Number 10’s staybolt welds. The testing company performed five inspections over the course of eight years, the last being in January 2014. Each time, they concluded there was at least 7/16” of weld metal, with some spots of porosity noted. On this basis we, and the Chief Boiler Inspector for the State of Maine, concluded that the boiler was safe, and continued operation.
“The end of the 2015 season marked 15 years from the boiler’s last major inspection and more than 50 years since its construction. The FRA rules require that a complete boiler inspection, and calculation to determine the safe working pressure, be performed at least every 15 years.
“On this basis, we decided to strip the boiler of plumbing, jacket, and insulation to perform an ultrasonic thickness test to determine the boiler’s thickness at all locations. The testing indicated flaws in several of the staybolts at a point 3/16” deep. The flaws were found all the way around the bolt, ruling out limited spots of porosity. We decided to grind into the heads of several of these bolts in an attempt to visually confirm the defect; we found cracking at exactly the 3/16” point indicated by the ultrasound tests. Finally, we removed one bolt and its weld attachment completely, and sectioned that sample bolt. It clearly showed lack of fusion in the original weld, and subsequent stress-induced cracking.”
So what to do? We could either attempt to fix the staybolts and risk finding other defects in the 50-year-old boiler, or build a new boiler for No. 10. At the March 11th, 2016 WW&F Board of Directors’ meeting, the Board chose the more prudent and expensive route: Build a new boiler for No. 10.
The new boiler for No. 10 will have design changes that will alter the appearance of the locomotive. When Edaville replaced the boiler, the new boiler was made with a bigger barrel to improve steam capacity. Edaville left the smokebox the same size as the original boiler barrel. One of the changes we’re making is a new smokebox that will match the boiler diameter. The larger diameter of the smoke box will causes the smokebox to move higher in the cylinder saddle, raising the center line of the boiler up on the locomotive.
The new boiler will have a taller steam dome moved closer to the cab. The taller steam dome will provide drier steam to the throttle, and moving the dome back allows for easier plumbing. Moving the steam dome will displace the turbo generator, and the decision has been made to move the generator forward of the stack as on some of the original WW&F locomotives. The smoke box will be lengthened to accommodate the generator. The generator will displace the headlight out onto a bracket at the front of the smokebox. We have a casting and reflector for a new headlight that will be installed. The last change is a cinder pocket and clean out.
We started the 21 Campaign in April 2016 to raise funds for two new locomotive boilers: one for No. 10, and a second for planned locomotive No. 11, a reconstruction of WW&F locomotive No. 7. The campaign exceeded its $130,000 goal on December 5th, 2018. Details on the campaign can be found on Fundrazr, Facebook and our forum.
While this initial fundraising was underway, we built a flanging machine for our shop. The estimate for contracting the flanging of both boilers was $50,000; our home-built flanger was budgeted at $8,000 and completed in early 2017.
Concurrent with flanger construction, boiler sheet was waterjet cut at Aquacut in Rome, NY. Afterwards, the sheets for the boilers, fireboxes and smokeboxes were transported to Mack Brothers Sheet Iron and Boiler Works in Syracuse, NY, where they were rolled and shaped to the appropriate dimensions for both locomotives. The sheets were then transported to our Sheepscot shop, where the first three boiler sheets for No. 10 were flanged by the time of Spring 2017 Work Weekend in late April. Flanging work for No. 10 continued through most of the year.
Boiler work was curtailed in 2018 and much of 2019 due to the Trout Brook Bridge and Mountain Extension projects. We were provided the opportunity to reuse an historic New Hampshire railroad bridge of rare design, but this fortunate break came with strict grant and environmental permit deadlines to complete the bridge reconstruction, installation, and associated site work. Work has since resumed on both No. 10 and No. 11, despite pandemic restrictions.