Monday, July 6, 2015

The Narrowest of Narrow Gauges

A couple of weeks ago we were able to visit the Wiscasset, Waterville, and Farmington in Maine while steam was running and had a great time.
The museum is recreating a few miles of the original WW&F railway, a 2' gauge line (1895-1933) on the original right-of-way and using some of the original equipment.  This railroad was projected as the Wiscasset & Quebec, although the idea of riding for 250 miles on these little trains seems rather unlikely.  In practice, the line only got about 40 miles from its terminal at Wiscasset, and never reached either Waterville or Farmington.

The real jewel of the collection is Coach #3, and lettered for  "Wiscasset & Quebec".  Built by Jackson & Sharp in 1894 for the road's first order of passenger equipment.


Hale & Kilburn made seats like this suited to narrow-gauge equipment.  Light is provided by an oil lamp at each end.

The inspection car is sometimes used for revenue service.

In downtown Wiscasset, about five miles away, this replica boxcar is on display.

 The displays inside do a good job of explaining what the railroad was about.

Wiscasset has a harbor on Sheepscot Bay, and the railroad's main function was to promote shipments through the town.

To save on land acquisition, the line entered town on a trestle over the water, and surprisingly many of the pilings are still in place.   This is actually the right-of-way of the WW&F coming into Wiscasset.


Anonymous said...

I can't help myself from saying, the narrowest gauges might be more like the 20" mining railroads of AZ, or 500mm industrial railroads of Europe, or even an 18" gauge line here or there that ran and hauled goods by steam or electricity or compressed air for a few miles. But yes, for all practical purposes, the two-footers of Maine were the most prevalent extremely narrow gauge common-carrier lines of the Railway Equipment Register of North America.

They sure are a great experience to ride, and, the WW&F is probably the best of all the two footer experiences today.

Anonymous said...

I was in Maine last summer and also combined a visit to the Seashore Trolley Museum with a visit to the WW&F. They are a bunch of hard working rail fans. Their new 110 foot, three track, Car barn will do a good job of protecting their passenger and freight equipment from the Maine winters. i hope you ate some sea food!

Ted Miles, Member of WW&F and IRM.