WW&F #9 passes......WW&F #9. The newly restored WW&F Locomotive #9 runs light in the Sheepscot Yard, passing her former self. You heard right. The boiler that you see secured on the deck of Flatcar #126 is the historic boiler of WW&F Locomotive #9, built in 1891 by Maine's Portland Company. After working for over 40 years on no fewer than four Maine 2-Foot Railroads, that boiler then spent the next 50 years in a barn in West Thompson, CT. When #9 was repatriated to her home state by the WW&F Museum and a decision was made to restore her to operation, her original boiler was evaluated, and unfortunately condemned. Not only did it have some some thin spots, but it also featured lap-seam construction, which is not illegal to operate, but is definitely inferior to modern construction techniques. Even the smoke box on the front of it could not be saved, as it was paper thin on the bottom. The museum elected to replace the boiler with a brand new one, featuring welded construction and steel that is up to current codes. The 9's new boiler should keep her running the rails for another hundred years or so. As for the old boiler, the current plan is to preserve it and display it as an exhibit, so that visitors may better understand both the history of this engine and its internal workings.
Additional note: The odd contraption on the track to the left of #9 is also a steam engine of sorts. It is the type of steam engine that powered mill equipment in the early 1900s. The WW&F has acquired a historic shingle mill and will eventually be rebuilding it as a line-side industrial exhibit. That mill will feature a working boiler and the steam engine with the big, red flywheel that you see here. The WW&F Museum is continuing to evolve and has some very cool plans for the future!