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The Grand Reunion: A Maine Two-Footer Winter Weekend

Bridgton & Saco River 7 and Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington 9 pull a 13-car mixed train past a snow-covered field in Alna, Maine, during the Grand Reunion on Sunday, January 19, 2020. The Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum, the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company, and Maine Locomotive & Machine Works, collaborated on a three-day photography event January 17-19, 2020.

The Grand Reunion: A Maine Two-Footer Winter Weekend

April 2020By Savery Moore/photos by the author

The recent collaborative efforts of the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum and the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company & Museum culminated in what was billed as “The Grand Reunion – A Maine Two-Footer Winter Weekend.” Advertised on each museum’s Facebook page, website and newsletter during the spring of 2019, the two weekend photographers’ events – scheduled for the dead of winter and limited to 25 attendees plus train crew – each sold out in a matter of days. The main draw for these happenings was the chance to see and photo-graph the last five remaining two-foot gauge steam locomotives together on one railroad for the first time ever

The joint venture between the two railroad museums, as well as Maine Locomotive & Machine Works, resulted in some of the MNGM equipment moving to the WW&F for care, shelter and, in some cases, repair and restoration. Through well-coordinated moves between the two venues, MNGRR locomotives 3 (former Monson), 4 (also Monson), 7 and 8 (both former-Bridgton & Saco River) all arrived on the WW&F property in time for the first weekend, January 17–19, 2020. There they joined WW&F 9 (ex-Sandy River Railroad 5, exx-Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes 6, nee-Kennebec Central 4), creating a reunion not only of the five remaining steam locomotives, but also representing all five of the two-foot gauge railroads that criss-crossed Maine more than a century ago. Numbers 3, 4, 7 and 8 are also well-known for their forty-six years of service at Edaville Railroad in South Carver, Mass., during the latter half of the last century. While numbers 4 and 8 were static due to necessary repairs, the other three locomotives were steamed up to put on a show. The Grand Reunion weekend was spread across three days, with each day having a specific theme.

Narrow Gauge Winter Weekend

B&SR 7 holds the siding while WW&F 9 spots a dairy car on the main line at Alna Center station for loading. This photo was taken Saturday afternoon, January 18, 2020, just as the clouds started rolling in. The following day, 6 inches of fresh snow and bright sunshine greeted the group of photographers.

Friday, January 17, was “Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes” Day. WW&F #9 (ex-SR&RL 6) was given a temporary smokebox plate, magnetic number boards and tender boards to mimic its appearance when it was with the SR&RL. The consist included combine #14 (nee-Franklin & Megantic 3, becoming SR&RL 14), Franklin & Megantic coach #2 (which became SR&RL 21), and the Rangeley, the only two-foot gauge parlor car ever built (for the SR&RL).

Blue skies and temperatures in the mid-teens greeted the photographers Friday morning, following a late Thursday afternoon snowstorm which blanketed the area with 6 inches of fresh snow. Multiple run-bys were held at locations along the right-of-way, and the festivities ended back in Sheepscot Yard slightly before sunset.

Saturday, January 18, was to be a full day with morning, afternoon and evening sessions planned. The morning session highlighted three railroads – WW&F,  B&SR, and Monson. Three trains ran that morning…

April 2020Read the rest of this article in the April 2020 issue of Railpace Newsmagazine!

This article was posted on: March 16, 2020