Farewell to Number 4. With the FRA Form 4 on Monson Railroad Locomotive #4 about to expire, the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company and Museum decided to bring her out of the engine house one last time on March 29th, of 2014, for a day of operations and activities for fans of Maine's 2-foot gauge railroads. In this photo, the museum's Diesel Locomotive #1 pushes #4 onto the engine house track after taking her to the standpipe for water. The fire has been lit, but it will be a couple of hours before she'll be up to pressure and ready to couple to a train.
Built in 1918 by the Vulcan Iron Works for Maine's 6-mile-long Monson Railroad, this 20-ton, 0-4-4T was the largest, and last of 4 locomotives to serve that line. When the railroad closed down in 1943, the two surviving Monson engines (#s 3 and 4) were shipped off to a used equipment lot in Rochester, NY. There, they were discovered by 2-foot gauge historian Linwood Moody. They were brought to the attention of one Ellis D. Atwood from Massachusetts, who quickly acquired them for his cranberry plantation railroad, which later became a successful tourist attraction known as Edaville Railroad. The two Monson engines ran at Edaville for the next 50 years, until that operation closed in the 1990s. At that time, the Edaville collection was purchased by the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company and was repatriated to Maine.
Monson #4, which is currently on its second boiler, was restored by the MNGRR Team starting back in 1999, and has operated on the museum's trackage in downtown Portland since the early 2000s. The museum does have long-term plans to rebuild this engine once again, but owing to the age and condition of her current boiler, they are looking at building a new one as the most economical method of getting her re-certified by the FRA.