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Wiscasset Boothbay Belfast Moosehead

Adventurers in New England


Chapter Sixteen


Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington R'y Co.

Boothbay Railway Village

Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad


by

Robin Bowers

June 24, 2015

Wednesday

Part One


Text and Photos by Author
The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.

Comments are appreciated at...   yr.mmxx@gmail.com






    The night passed with sporadic storms and showers. But sunrise brought blue skies and bright sunshine for our day's adventures. Chris and I were up early and on US 1 heading north to the village of Wiscasset by going through Brunswick and Bath. At the junction of Rt. 218, we take it and head north to the hamlet of Alna. Here is our first stop.

Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington R'y Co.


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Loading platform with ticket office and station master office at far end.

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Inside the working office.

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    After we arrived, we were greeted by a nice gentleman, Steward Rine who opened the office to let us look in and then gave us a tour of the shops and yard. We were then joined by a fellow tourist and rail enthusiast, Phillip from Denver, Colorado area. He was also checking out local railroads in his travels.


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1925 Ford Rail bus. This car is loved by kids of all ages.

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#10 Revere Sugar 0-4-4 RT

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Box Car 309.

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Future car shop building.

    After looking around and exploring shops, the three of us were offered a ride to the end of the line. In the model T. What fun. We quickly climbed aboard.

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Covered water tower on right. It is heated inside for the cold dark Maine winters.


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Volunteers helping with the construction. Was told they come from far and wide to help. Many make return visits as often as they can. If you like spending a couple of weeks in the woods of Maine, volunteering helping narrow gauge railroads, then this might be your cup of tea.


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Look Mom. No hands.

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Alna Center station.

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The driver said that a few years back, he had an elderly lady passenger who said; when she was a girl she would wait inside this building in the winter for the train on school days.


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Inside the station.

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End of the line. Time for a little magic.


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Once he puts away the wood board we can begin our return trip.


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Thank You Volunteers for your good work.

Click for WW&F Railway. Click back button on your browser to return to this page.

    We finished our special ride, said good-byes and headed to our next stop. Along the way we'll stop in Wiscasset.


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Wiscasset at one time was Maine's chief port. The Embargo Act of 1807 seriously crippled its prosperous sea trade, and the town  never regained its stature as a seaport. However, the legacy of that era is evidenced by Wiscasset's mansions, built by ship owners and merchants in the 18th and early 19th centuries.


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 Sheepscot River. Could that other ocean be near by?

    After this short stop, it was a quick hop to our next adventure.

Boothbay Railway Village


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Boothbay Railway Village depicts a turn-of-the-20th-century Maine Village containing railroad memorabilia, antique cars and truck and a general store as well as the 1847 Boothbay Town Hall and the Spruce Point Chapel. Visors can ride on a narrow-gauge, coal-fired steam engine.

    Many months ago, like last year, when we were planing our trip, Chris wrote to the museum to see if they would be operating their train rides. So today looked good for doing just that. Long planned events don't always mesh to today's circumstance. Due to the fact that two bus tours switched to the next day, our visit turned into a no train day. We then were talking to the Assistant Director of the museum, Margaret Hoffman. She understood our disappointment on being unable to take a steam engine train ride. We told her we traveled across country from the Pacific Ocean to visit Boothbay Railway Village and write a story about our train ride and visit.   The gracious lady offered to give Chris and I a private, one on one, tour of  Boothbay Railway Village. So happily we were off to see the village.

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The Village Green:
Village greens or commons were an important aspect of village life, serving as gathering locations for celebrations and debates.

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Maine's Merci Car, 40 & 8 Boxcar: 1880. Presented in 1949 by the people of France to the people of Maine. 49 cars were filled with gifts and delivered to each state capital. The "40 & 8" draws its origin from WWI. Each boxcar carried 40 men or 8 horses.


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Freeport Station: 1912.

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Octagonal Crossing Shanty: 1908. This unique structure was the gate tender's quarters at Woodfords Crossing in Portland, ME.
Before automated crossing gates, crossings were staffed with people to hand operated the gates.
The we meet Phillip from early in the morning and his wife and they joined us on the tour.

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With no trains operating today, it was a good time to catch up on painting.

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Crossing Tower: Lewiston, ME.
Crossing towers helped monitor the operation of trains in a train yard. Was used as living quarters of museum founder, Mr. George McEvoy.


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Inside the workshop.

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Locomotives

    The museum operates Henschel narrow gauge steam engines. These European locomotives span the years 1913-1938. They are fired with anthracite hard coal and operate with a boiler pressure of 100 to 150 pounds per square inch or psi. The engines were originally used on short lines for rail yard and construction work. The engine configuration is 0-4-0, meaning no pilot wheels (leading wheels) and no trailing wheels, only four driving wheels. The water for the boiler is stored in the frame under the boiler and between the wheels. Each locomotive's serviceable weight is approximately 10 tons.


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Thorndike Station: 1871. Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad.


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Crossing Tower: Bath, ME.

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On duty in the Thorndike Station.

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Baldwin Steam Locomotive #14283: Built Westbrook, ME, 1895, for S.D.Warren Co.

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Boxcar #147: Built Phillips, ME, 1916, for the Sandy River & Rangely Lakes Railroad.
Combine 11: Built Laconia Car Co., Laconia, NH, 1885, for the Franklin & Megantic Railroad.

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Our next stop was a visit to the impressive Model Railroad Exhibit. One of best things I saw was that they had mounted a small video camera on a rail car and broadcasted to big video monitors in the room. A car level view of the exhibit. 


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    After leaving the Model Railway Exhibit, Chris and I said good-bye to our great guide and docent, Margaret Hoffman, Assistant Director of Boothbay Railway Village. She was expecting several visitors at the office shortly. We then explored the village on our own.


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Tompkins's Filling Station: An original service station in East Boothbay, it now contains a display of vintage auto parts and catalogs.

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Clean and simple dash plus 4 on the floor. I like that a lot.


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One-Room Schoolhouse: A replica of the original, made famous by the children's nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb," now in Sudbury, Mass.

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Farm Equipment Shed: Highlights here include a 1927 Fordson tractor and a 1953 Oliver V-Plow tractor outfitted with a Sergeant V-Plow built in Portland, ME.


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Inside Spruce Point Chapel.

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Spruce Point Chapel: Built in 1923 by wealthy summer residents as a place of worship for their staff and local children. Relocated to the Museum in 1995.

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Boothbay Town Hall: The earliest structure on the Museum grounds, moved here in 1990 from Boothbay Center. Built in 1847 for $700 in Ephram Pinkham, the hall is an example of the Greek Revival style, popular in Maine from 1830-1860. It continues to serve as a municipal building for the Town of Boothbay.

Museum Story

    By late 1963, George McEvoy, just 27 years old, had amassed a collection of railroad memorabilia that almost filled the family home in Grafton, Mass., and their Southport, ME, summer cottage. He had to find a place to store his collection.

    In his time off from teaching school in Bowdoinham, George had made frequent visits to Freeport station befriending the station agent, Phillip Carr. On one visit, a posted sign said that the station would be closing. When Phillip told George that the station itself would be put up for sale, the idea of having a Museum took hold.

    George purchased Freeport Station, was later gifted Thorndike Station from the Belfast & Moosehead Railroad, and then found himself and his friends spending the summer of 1964 laying three quarters of a mile of railroad track around what would eventually become the site of today's Boothbay Railway Village.

    On Memorial Day weekend of 1965, the then Boothbay Railway Museum opened to the public, making it the first public railroad museum in Maine. Later that summer, when the stream engine arrived and was put into service, it was the first narrow gauge train to run in Maine for nearly three decades. All of the historic narrow gauge lines had long been abandoned.

    Maine 24-inch or two foot gauge was developed to lower the cost of railroad construction and operation, allowing railroads to be built in areas where it would not otherwise be economically feasible.

    A not-for-profit since 1981, today when you visit the Museum you'll learn about how technologies like steam engines and the automobile changed life along the coast of Maine between 1850 and 1950. The Museum also occasionally offers rides in one of the Ford Model T's.

    This summer the Boothbay Railway Village is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a series of special events and a commemorative exhibit.

    Our last place to visit was Antique Auto Exhibit. The 60+ vehicles on display dates from 1902-1962 and illustrate technological advances and engineering feats that helped make cars accessible to the masses.

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1931 Model 401 Sport Coupe. In 1931 a new Sport Coupe cost $715. Average annual salary, $1,800.
The 1931 series 401 Fine Six was newly introduced with the body on a longer 112" wheelbase chassis. The Fisher Body Vision-Ventilation windshield was still in use and the hood retained 31 thin vertical louvers per side but the latches were now controlled by a single, center-mounted handle. The V-shaped radiator featured chrome-plated wire mesh grille inserts for this year only.


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Click for Boothbay Village. Click back button on your browser to return to this page.


    After completing our great visit to Boothbay Railway Village, Chris and I headed back to US 1 and head east to our next stop here in Maine.

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The Warren Maine Central station.

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Thomaston Maine Central Station.

    After our stops in Warren and Thomaston our next stop on US 1 was to be Rockland.

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Maine Eastern train yard in Rockland.


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Maine Eastern GP-9 100.

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Maine Eastern station in Rockland, Maine.

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    Leaving Rockland, Chris and I travel north on US 1, while hugging the coast line, it gives great view of Penobscot Bay.


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    At the town of Belfast we leave US 1 and head to our next stop at City Point.

Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad


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GE 70 ton diesel electric.


Upon our arrival at City Point RR Museum, we were not greeted by a welcoming committee or a host. So left alone we wandered and took photos of the equipment.


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    In 1867, the Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad was chartered to connect the port of Belfast with the rich forests and resources of the Moosehead Lake region. Though the railroad never reached Moosehead Lake it did provide a vital link for Waldo County with the rest of North America.


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Click for Belfast & Moosehead Lake. Click back button to return to this page.

    After our quick walk about, we were heading back to US 1. Just a few miles north on US 1 we came across this building.

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Searsport ME.  station.

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And next door was this building.

    Leaving this stop we continue north along the coast to a wonderful modern highway bridge and then to transportation museum on Maine's history. From there we will see the capital building and end up in Bath. We'll continue in the next chapter.

Next Chapter - Seventeen  Cole Land Transportation Museum in Bangor, ME

Return to last Chapter - Fifteen

Robin's trips

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Text and Photos by Author

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.


Comments are appreciated at...   yr.mmxx@gmail.com