Future WW&F Locomotive No. 11

Image of our planned No. 11, based on a builder’s photo of historic WW&F locomotive No. 7.

Our Museum has long planned to build a reproduction of the historic railway’s No. 7, a 28-ton 2-4-4RT built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in September 1907, builder’s number 31692.

Our Chief Mechanical Officer Jason Lamontagne explained the attraction of historic No. 7 in a July/August 1994 WW&F Newsletter article:  “Number 7 was a real work of art, both in appearance and in design.  Baldwin combined their outside frame technology with Portland’s lead truck innovation to create the first real high-speed easy riding two-foot gauge passenger locomotive.  No. 7 came with 11-½” cylinders and 33″ drivers and operated on 180 psi.  This gave her a tractive effort of about 8,300 pounds, which made her the most powerful Forney type (0-4-4 rear tank) yet, although she would have to be considered a modified Forney as she was a 2-4-4RT locomotive.”

Builder’s photo of the historic WW&F Railway locomotive No. 7.

As a Baldwin Locomotive Works product (together with No. 9 representing the Portland Company) our Museum will be preserving the range of motive power preferred by the original railway and other Maine two-foot gauge railroads.

The Baldwin Locomotive Works was a widely recognized and popular builder.  This will serve to promote involvement in the project by individuals interested in steam locomotion and the construction of new steam locomotives generally.  Moreover, the size of this locomotive (compared with a standard gauge locomotive) makes the project achievable and economical.

Larger locomotives (like the historic No. 7) are needed to traverse the WW&F’s soon-to-be-reopened Mountain Extension with its 4% winding grade. As a 28-ton locomotive, our No. 11 will not only handle this grade with ease, it will represent the heavier class of locomotives used by the railway (and yet not be so large as to tax the track structure).

Diagram of WW&F No. 7, as drawn by Chief Mechanical Officer Jason Lamontagne.

Early work started in the late 2000s with the construction of many patterns and some castings for No. 11.  Volunteers in Pennsylvania, Texas and Maine contributed to this effort.  Details on their work can be found in this forum thread.

Locomotive No. 11 parts, in 2010. Photo courtesy of James Patten.

Work on larger components for No. 11, such as the boiler, would wait until the restoration of WW&F locomotive No. 9 was completed in December 2015.

Following No. 9’s completion, a thorough inspection was made of WW&F locomotive No. 10’s boiler and in the winter of 2016, it was determined that No. 10’s boiler should be replaced.  In response, we started the 21 Campaign in April 2016 to raise funds for two new locomotive boilers:  one for No. 10, and the second for No. 11.  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.

No. 11’s boiler sheet is rolled at Mack Brothers Sheet Iron and Boiler Works in early January 2017.  Jason Lamontagne photo.

Locomotive 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 locomotives, despite pandemic restrictions.  Our Build 11 project is now advancing progress on both Nos. 10 and 11.

Historic WW&F locomotive No. 7 leads a northbound train through Wiscasset’s upper yard on August 17th, 1925.  Hugh G. Boutell photo.

Rebuilding Maine History