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Home / News & Reviews / News Wire / Maine narrow gauge line will use $10,000 award for track extension NEWSWIRE

Maine narrow gauge line will use $10,000 award for track extension NEWSWIRE

By Wayne Laepple | January 27, 2019

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WW&F members plan to build about 2,000 feet of track next fall with help from the Webb Award received on Jan. 26 from the Mass Bay Railroad Enthusiasts. Here is the end of track in October 2018.
WW&F: Mike Fox
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Mass Bay Railroad Enthusiasts has awarded its annual $10,000 H. Albert Webb Memorial Preservation Award to the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum to purchase track materials and contract labor for the museum’s Mountain Extension Project.

The award was made at the Amherst Railway Society’s Railroad Hobby Show on Jan. 26. The annual show is one of the largest such shows in the country, annually attracting more than 22,000 visitors, who come to view all sorts of railroad hobby activities showing in over 400,000 square feet of exhibit space.

David Brown, president of Mass Bay RRE, presented the award to David Buczkowski, president of the WW&F Railway Museum. The award will be used to purchase track materials and contract labor for the museum’s Mountain Extension Project.

The Mountain Extension Project is a multi-year effort to re-lay track on three-quarters of a mile of the original WW&F Railway’s grade, a scenic descent of a mountainside that brings the railway to the former Boston & Maine Railroad Howe pony truss bridge installed by the museum over Trout Brook in 2018 and beyond to a new station adjacent to Maine Route 218. Last fall museum volunteers laid more than 1,900 feet of track over three days, and in October 2019, they intend to lay another 2,000 feet of track. The entire Mountain Extension will be completed and opened for operation in 2021, following construction of a run around track and other facilities adjacent to the Trout Brook Nature Preserve.
Leigh A. Webb of Franklin, New Hampshire, donor of the award named for his late father, said, “Once again the Mass Bay RRE Award Committee has selected a worthy recipient. The WW&F truly understands the inestimable value of sustaining and recruiting a passionate hands-on volunteer base that also emphasizes the future of all such organizations: getting the young involved. Congratulations, not just for the project that is receiving the Award, but for all the success the WW&F has had, and will continue to have.”

Webb created the H. Albert Webb Memorial Railroad Preservation Award in 2000 to recognize his
father’s love for New England railroading. The award aids nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations that preserve historically significant railroad equipment, structures or information from New England railroads. In the ensuing years the award has distributed over $160,000 to support worthy railroad preservation projects throughout New England.

Brown, along with William Crawford, Chair of the Mass Bay RRE Award Committee, also announced the ten recipients of grants from the Mass Bay RRE Railroad Preservation Fund, totaling $22,500.
Mass Bay RRE established the Mass Bay RRE Railroad Preservation Fund in 2016 to further support worthy projects to preserve historically significant railroad equipment, structures, information or artifacts in New England. Grants, generally not exceeding $5000, are awarded annually, funded by the Club’s available funds and donations to the fund from members.
Each year, Mass Bay RRE is designating its largest Preservation Fund grant or grants as “The Ralph S. Hawkins Memorial Railroad Preservation Grant” to honor and preserve the memory of its dear friend and supporter, Ralph Hawkins, who died suddenly early in 2018. For 2019 there are two recipients of the Ralph S. Hawkins Memorial Railroad Preservation Grants:
The 470 Railroad Club of Cumberland, Maine, will receive $5,000 toward the restoration to operating
condition of Boston & Maine F7A locomotive No. 4268. The 4268, along with sister unit 4266, are survivors from the B&M’s initial purchase of four units from EMD in 1949 and 1950. The two locomotives were purchased by the 470 Railroad Club in the 1980s; 4266 was restored and leased to the Conway Scenic Railroad, where it regularly powers passenger trains. The 4268 has been on static display at the Conway Scenic, lacking necessary operating equipment including the diesel engine, generator and electrical equipment. The 470 Club purchased a 1959 EMD GP9 to supply these needed components, and its diesel prime mover was installed in the 4268 in November 2018. When restoration is complete (expected in 2020), the 4268 will be leased to the Conway Scenic and will operate along with the 4266.

Greenville Junction Depot Friends of Greenville, Maine, will receive $5,000 toward the restoration of the
roof of the 1889 Canadian Pacific Railway Depot in Greenville Junction, Maine. The depot, on the southwestern shore of Moosehead Lake, is an arresting structure, one of five of its kind in New England and the only one in Maine. The building’s significance rests in its Queen Anne style, its historic function, and its association with the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Depot was decommissioned and abandoned in 1965. In 2008 Preservation Maine listed the structure as one of “Maine’s most endangered historic properties.” The Friends organized in 2010, began to raise funds locally, and undertook to “save the Depot.” In 2015 the building was removed from Maine Preservation’s list of endangered historic properties and in 2017 it was enrolled in the National Register of Historic Places. Even in the early stages of its restoration, the stately 1889 structure in the Stick-wood style recalls the heyday of passenger and rail transportation in the Moosehead Lake Region and in northern New England and stands ready to tell its rich story to new generations of visitors.

The other recipients of 2019 Mass Bay RRE Railroad Preservation Fund grants are:
• Ipswich Museum of Ipswich, MA, $3,000 for restoration of Rowley Boston & Maine RR crossing tender
• Bartlett Roundhouse Preservation Society of Nashua, NH, $2,000 to replace siding & restore door on Bartlett Roundhouse Preservation Society of Nashua, NH, $2,000 to replace siding & restore door on
historic Bartlett roundhouse.
• Connecticut Eastern Chapter NRHS of Willimantic, CT, $2,000 for permanent identification placards on Museum buildings & rolling stock.
• The New Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes RR of Phillips, ME, $2,000 for the overhaul of 1883 boxcar/tool car no. 562.
• Boston Street Railway Association of Boston, MA, $1,000 for labor & materials for canvas roof
restoration on Boston Elevated Railway Type 5 Streetcar No. 5706.
• Seashore Trolley Museum of Kennebunkport, ME, $1,000 to complete restoration of Boston Car #4175.
• Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum of Shelburne Falls, MA, $1,000.00 for the car barn extension project
• Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley RRHS of Scranton, PA, $500 for purchase of sight glasses for the cab of B&M Locomotive #3713.

The application period for the 2020 H. Albert Webb Memorial Railroad Preservation Award and the Mass Bay RRE Railroad Preservation Fund Grants will open in July of 2019. Additional information about the H. Albert Webb Award and the Mass Bay RRE Grant program is available on Mass Bay RRE’s website at:

18 thoughts on “Maine narrow gauge line will use $10,000 award for track extension NEWSWIRE

  1. Congratulations on the award to the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum! The track extention will mean a greater distance to ride those Jackson and Sharp passenger cars.

  2. To expand on what Ed said, the $10,000 will go towards the extension work, supplementing funds raised from our Annual Fund Drive. Between a large ditch repair, gravel to repair the grade, stone ballast, ties, spikes, bolts, nuts and washers, the amount to be spent could be well above $30,000

    We are in the process this winter of cutting and burning the trees, clearing the grade to be ready for spring. Work is done most Saturdays, and help is always welcome.

    Mike Fox
    WW&F Board Member and Mountain Extension Manager

  3. And for those interested in narrow gauge, Wisc. Dells hosts the R&GN (Riverside & Great Northern), a 2′ gauge running upon original Milw. Rd. ROW. This was the dream project of an old C&NW genius who wished to manufacture replicas in narrow gauge. When things fell upon hard times and the operations closed, it was only years later that volunteers coalesced to save the grounds from compete ruin. Guess what was the first order of business? Clear the ROW.

  4. Mister Fox:

    I thought the article was a bit misleading, thank you for the clarification. If I understand correctly, and please correct me if I am wrong, the materials cost (materials alone, not including labour or real estate costs) is on the order of $30K/mile. This is for a two-foot narrow gauge system.

    Would you have an approximate figure for the materials cost for a mile of standard gauge?

    And thank you.

    The above comments are general in nature and do not form the basis for an attorney/client relationship. They do not constitute legal advice. I am not your attorney. Find your own damn lawyer.

  5. Another “win” for this wonderful museum. I can’t wait for 2021 and the completion of the Mountain Extension Project. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if these people are able to complete the project in less time. They are doing amazing things in Alna, Maine. Come on up this summer and enjoy it all.

  6. Was this two thousand feet of track the entirety of the ten thousand dollars, or did they have to purchase the land as well? How much of the old ROW do they have? This works out to five dollars a foot, or $26K/mile, roughly.

    It would be very nice if they could do, say, ten miles, but once again, just what did that $10K pay for?

    The above comments are general in nature and do not form the basis for an attorney/client relationship. They do not constitute legal advice. I am not your attorney. Find your own damn lawyer.

  7. Anna, if it is only $5 per foot, that’s not a bad price. I’m constructing a 2 ft gauge railroad with ties at 3 ft spacing and the cost of 3/8″ spikes is $2.50 per tie. (I don’t have any other costs to compare since the rail was a package deal with the train, the ties have been donated so far and I haven’t ballasted the 250 feet constructed yet.)

  8. @Paul – Yes we have applied for and received all of those awards.

    @Anna – The $10,000 is only a piece of what we have invested in the whole 3/4 mile “Mountain Extension”. That said, we did already own most of the right-of-way, but it required significant repairs (and the bridge over Trout Brook) since the rails were lifted in the early 1930s. Much of the work has been done by our volunteers, with contractors assisting with some of the site work and bridge installation.

    All are welcome to help join in the rebuilding. Our Spring Work Weekend is April 26-28, when we will ballast, tamp, and line the track shown in the photo. Our Fall Work Weekend is October 11-14, when the track will be laid across the bridge and possibly all the way to the (future?) crossing of state Route 218.

    To make it happen, we still can use some financial support. Those so willing can contribute on our web site.

    -Ed Lecuyer
    WW&F Volunteer

  9. Anna – The right-of-way to route 218 is already owned by the WW&F. Once the track is extended in the fall of 2019, there will be roughly 3.5 miles for their excursion run. Right now with only private crossings on their ROW, they are insular. If they decide to expand farther in the future, they will be faced with the expense/maintenance of grade crossings and most likely additional FRA requirements. As an all-volunteer organization, maintaining three and a half miles of ROW should keep them more than busy.

  10. Looks like fallen trees could be cut up and sold for firewood. All home improvement stores in Germany sell firewood for city slickers who enjoy evenings in front of the fireplace but don’t own any private land of their own to down trees to help fill the wood box with. Afterall, every $ counts, does it not?

    Respect goes to all the dedicated members and work crews for refusing to permit the Two Foot to disappear from the scene and become just another forgotten artifact found in some history book but instead have breathed new life and energy into yet another Great State of Maine institution.

    As a result, future generations will be able to experience first hand what it was like when little trains huffed and puffed across the Maine countryside to connect each and every small sleepy town along the right of way with the hustle and bustle of America’s commerce and well beyond it’s borders.

  11. @Anna – It would be difficult to come up with a “per mile” cost without doing some serious number crunching. All of these expenses do not include the rail, which we purchased a few years ago (from the defunct Kettle Moraine railroad in Wisconsin.) This section also includes the Trout Brook Bridge, which was a serious investment – even though the bridge was donated to us by the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges.

    @Joseph – We keep the hardwoods to use when firing up our steam locomotives – to build the fire before switching to coal. The softwoods are available to anyone willing to haul them out, which is kind of a pain due to the location. We may run a cleanup train once the track is down to get the softwood logs out.

  12. Ed: I became a Two Foot Gauge Fanatic, when I obtained my copy of the now classic book Ride the Sandy River, which was released by Pacific Fast Mail in 1973.

    I don’t imigine it would be feasable to make and sell polished wooden spike souvenirs complete with the railway’s initials on them as fund raisers from excess wood removed from the right of way?

    Indeed, I will check out your web site to see how I can contribute to your cause! A pity I’m “10.000 Miles” away, residing in Germany, as I’d love to sign up for your Work Weekends. Now retired and living off of a fixed income, part of my problem would be finding economical lodging while visiting.

    I would fly Air Canada, most likely Montreal, to cross The Big Pond safely and quickly. I believe it’s quite understood that in the event I were to use an old patched up inflatable rubber raft, instead of a plane, there always remains a remote possibility that I might just perhaps encounter a minor problem or two enroute, especially if I followed the course of the Titanic…

  13. Anna–Why are you so suspicious of grant money awarded to a successful, respected, well-known volunteer organization? Nobody I,m sure, is trying to snag you into any imagined scam you seem to imply may be going on? I’ve seen your past posts, always tinged with fear of some sort of possible criminal wrongdoing?

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