Amherst Railway Society - meeting -May, 2019Date: Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Keeping the Spirit Alive…
WW&F and the art of steam-powered narrow gauge railroading
David Buczkowski and Ed Lecuyer
During the later half of the 19th century, Maine developed a network of five 2-foot gauge railroads. Based on the slate and lead hauling 2-footers of Wales, the narrower gauge rails, smaller locomotives and cars, and smaller real estate investment made Maine’s narrow gauge railroads less expensive to construct, and easier to run through rugged terrain. At the peak of operations, these five lines operated over 200 miles of track, ran dozens of locomotives, carried thousands of passengers, and hauled countless tons of freight. And, the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railroad (WW&F) was one of the five. The WW&F came to life in 1894 as the Wiscasset & Quebec, with the grand vision of connecting Boston and New York with the province of Quebec through the port of Wiscasset, Maine. On Wednesday, May 8, 2019, WW&F’s David Buczkowski and Ed Lecuyer will explain the hurdles the railroad faced trying to build all the way to Quebec, and why they ultimately fell short. They will also describe the rich culture that the narrow gauge railroads of Maine brought to this country - a culture that is alive and well at the WW&F Museum in Alna, Maine. Restoration and preservation of railroad artifacts are a key component of any historical organization. But the WW&F Railway Museum is going a step farther - they are preserving the spirit of Maine’s narrow gauge railroads, so visitors can truly feel, be part of, the way the railroad was in 1910. They are treating the WW&F like a railroad that never stopped operating. The locomotives, rolling stock, and structures are all part of a working railroad. Guided by enthusiasm, patience, and perseverance, David and Ed will explain how the staff and volunteers at the WW&F Railway Museum are preserving the spirit of Maine’s 2-footers through locomotive restoration and reconstruction, restoration of rolling stock, rebuilding a historic covered bridge, pushing the mainline track further north, and recreating historic railroad events.
Amherst Railway Society meetings are open to the public.