A historic moment. During the 2012 Spring Work Weekend, WW&F Museum Volunteer Wayne Laepple uses a garden hose to do something that hasn't been done in nearly 80 years.....he's putting water into the cistern of WW&F Locomotive #9.
When the original WW&F ceased operations back in 1933, the vast majority of the remaining locomotives and rolling stock were scrapped. There were however, a few lucky pieces that were purchased by rail enthusiasts and saved for posterity. Among those pieces was an 1891-vintage, 18-ton, Portland-built, 0-4-4T Forney, that was the WW&F's Number 9. Believe it or not, little Number 9 then spent 50 years, squirreled away in a barn in Connecticut, until her existence was discovered by museum personnel. Fortunately, her owners were agreeable to terms that would allow the engine to not only to be returned to her home rails, but to be restored to operating condition. The museum has worked on this project for the last decade, constructing a brand new boiler and carefully restoring all of her major components. At long last, that project is coming together, and sometime in 2013, Number 9 should steam for the first time since 1933.
The WW&F Museum has attempted to preserve as much of the engine's original, historic fabric as possible. One of the major components that they hope to save is the engine's 121-year old tank that you see here. The tank passed its first major test this day, when it was partially filled with water, for the first time since 1933. Only one or two weeping leaks were found....which is utterly amazing considering its age. Soon, the tank will be cleaned up internally and a coating of sealant applied. It will then be joined with the boiler and frame inside the shops, sometime later this summer....and will hopefully emerge as part of an operational locomotive, sometime next year.