Re-assembling a Freight at Top of the Mountain.Brakeman Bill Baskerville stands on the catwalk of Reefer Car 65 as Engineer Rick Sisson, Fireman Jason Lamontagne and Conductor J.B. Smith bring WW&F #9 to the head end of their freight train to resume the southbound run to Sheepscot. Conductor Smith will shortly alight from the locomotive to line the south switch to allow the locomotive out onto the main line.
The location you see here is referred to as "Top of the Mountain" and once you've been there, you know why. This location is the summit....the south end of a steep 3% grade that crosses several brooks and streams. Back in the early 1900s, it was the ruling grade on the entire 60+ mile ROW of the original WW&F. Often, freights running southbound would have to stop at the bottom of this hill, and split their consists, hauling it to the top in pieces and depositing the sections on a spur track that existed right here. When the entire train had been brought to the top, it was re-assembled and resumed its journey toward Wiscasset. The procedure I've just described was called "Doubling the Hill."
Today, this location is the northern terminus of the WW&F Museum's passenger excursions. Instead of a spur track, there is a complete run-around siding as you can see here. The museum does intend to continue building track to the north, and in fact, during their Spring Work Weekend, about 1,000 ft. of new track was built down that 3% grade. Unfortunately, in order to reach their ultimate goal, which is the town of Head Tide, just less than a mile to the north, there are some washouts, a landslide and a missing bridge that have to be overcome. It will all happen in time. If you've ever been to the WW&F Museum, one of the things you come away with is sense that these folks can and will do just about anything they put their minds to.