One very historic consist. A WW&F Mixed Train makes a brief flag stop in the tiny hamlet of Alna Center, Maine on an icy, late March afternoon. Although this just looks like a train-wedge on a cloudy day, there's a lot of history in the image you see here. Its the first time in 83 years that an authentic, mixed train, powered by an original WW&F Locomotive, has been out on the original right of way since the WW&F shut down back in 1933.
Leading the train on this day was WW&F #9, an 1891 product of Maine's own Portland Company. This locomotive served several Maine 2-Ft. railroads in a career spanning over 40 years, ending up on the WW&F just before it closed in 1933. It then spent the next 50 years in a barn in Connecticut after being saved from the scrappers by local rail enthusiasts. It recently emerged from a 10-year restoration effort by the museum in Alna.
Immediately behind the locomotive is Turner Centre Creamery Reefer #65, which was built by the museum in 2012. It is a faithful replica of a car which appears in historic photos of the line. The car contains display cases with photos and historic artifacts and normally spends its summers displayed on the waterfront in downtown Wiscasset. The car's exhibit site is adjacent to the historic location of the Turner Centre Creamery.
Behind the reefer are two more original pieces of WW&F rolling stock, Boxcar 309 and Flatcar 118. Both were saved from the original railroad, spent 50 years in the barn with #9, and were restored by the WW&F Museum in recent years. Note that Flatcar 118 has stakes made of rough logs. Historic photos show that this was very typical on the WW&F.
Further back, we find Flatcar 126, which is a replica. Sitting on that flat however, is a locomotive boiler that is no replica. This just happens to be the original boiler from Engine #9, which was deemed unfit for restoration. Its inclusion in this train was an effort to replicate a historic photo depicting a locomotive boiler being transported in exactly this fashion, behind WW&F #7.
Bringing up the rear of the train is yet another original piece, Wiscasset & Quebec Coach #3. Built in 1894 by Jackson & Sharpe for the Wiscasset & Quebec, the forerunner of the WW&F, this coach was eventually sold by the WW&F to the Bridgton & Saco River Railroad in the early 1900s. It was saved from destruction by the owners of Edaville Railroad in Massachusetts and later became part of the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company & Museum in Portland. Several years ago, the WW&F Museum purchased the car outright.
So yes, this photo may appear to be just another train-wedge, but to the folks at the WW&F Museum, it represents the dream of their late Founder, Harry Percival finally come true. The equipment is back on home rails for the first time in 83 years!