NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/13/22 4:50 p.m.

C&NW #514 is up close and personal, but there's another almost hidden behind it. And on the innermost track, a rare Fairbanks-Morse Erie-Built. F-M's factory at Beloit was an on-line customer for both C&NW and MILW and they both rostered a sizable amount of the opposed-piston wonders.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/13/22 4:54 p.m.

C&NW E8A #5023A seems to have suffered some sort of damage to the fireman's front corner as it leaves North Western Terminal with a regular passenger train, judging by the streamlined coaches, while it's flanked by two commuter trains still running the old clerestory-roof passenger cars.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/13/22 4:55 p.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/14/22 9:34 a.m.

The T1 Trust is having their big open house in Harrisburg today and hauled out the boiler with the streamlined prow and cab attached. That's one big SOB

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/14/22 8:17 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

I still can't believe they're pulling this off. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/14/22 8:59 p.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

When they initially announced the project, I rolled my eyes. There's been plenty of individuals who have announced they're going to build a new NYC Hudson or Niagara or something to that effect, with no actual plans or funds. But this group is actually out here doing it, and with an engine that's pretty darn big and complex

Recon1342
Recon1342 SuperDork
5/14/22 9:53 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

Not only are they getting it done, but they've announced their intention is to break the Mallard's world record for speed...

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/15/22 2:38 p.m.

In reply to Recon1342 :

Even if they don't take it there, or set the record, I wouldn't be upset. Honestly, even if it never turned a wheel under its own power and was just a display piece in the hall at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania or in the museum at Altoona, I would be okay with it. Just it's mere existence is a major win.

I'm curious if this leads to a other new construction steam locomotives. A T1 is a massive and complex machine, and they had to reverse engineer the Franklin valve gear. By comparison, an NYC J-3 Hudson or S-1a Niagara or a B&O T-3 Mountain or an SP Mt-1 Mountain or many other extinct steam locomotives would be much easier. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/17/22 12:45 p.m.

On the subject of reconstructed extinct steam locomotives, I'd be remiss for not mentioning the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington starting construction of the frame of WW&F 2-4-4 Forney Tank #11 this month. This 24"-gauge locomotive is an exact recreation of WW&F #7, the largest and last new locomotive purchased by the WW&F (#8 and #9 were smaller and purchased used from the Kennebec Central, and #10 never operated on the original WW&F). The #7 was built by Baldwin in 1907 and ran until 1931, when it was damaged by the Wiscasset enginehouse fire. It sat on the spot, never repaired or operated again until 1933, when the WW&F went out of business and it was scrapped. Construction of #11 began in 2017 as part of Project 21, which set out to build a new boiler for #10 and construct an entirely new engine, #11. They chose to recreate #7, since the soon-to-open Mountain Division has 3-4% grades and they will need a more powerful engine to haul trains over that line, rather than beating the guts out of #9 and #10. The boiler package has been finished, they started the frame construction, and they received word that the cylinder saddle castings have been completed and will be shipping soon.

 

And what it will looks like when done.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/17/22 2:49 p.m.

WW&F is also in the process of constructing a duplicate of Coach #3, now numbered Coach #9. That's kind of the downside of working with 24" gauge stuff: you can't exactly go scoop up 2-footer engines and passenger cars at an auction. Ignoring industrial or park equipment, all of which is pretty unsuited for use on a hilly railroad, there's not any 2-foot gauge equipment anywhere else. Common carrier 2-footers in the US were an anomaly of just the state of Maine and they all closed up shop before WWII. It's a miracle that anything is left, and a huge thanks to Ellis D. Atwood that he saved it for his Edaville park. So when they need more equipment, they either have to convert it (like #10, which was formerly a 30"-gauge sugar plantation engine or the new standard gauge 45-tonner they are cutting down to 24") or they have to build new from scratch.

TheMagicRatchet
TheMagicRatchet New Reader
5/17/22 5:12 p.m.

Coach 9 is beautiful! A work of art!

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/17/22 8:52 p.m.

In reply to TheMagicRatchet :

They were working on it last year when I visited. They also had the Sandy River & Rangely Lakes Rangely up there from the Maine Narrow Gauge Museum. The Rangely is the only 2-foot gauge parlor car ever built. Sadly I didn't get to see the inside of it. WW&F staff said I was welcome to go anywhere on the property but was very explicit that people were not to go inside of the Rangely, presumably due to the rarity and that it doesn't belong to them.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/18/22 6:38 a.m.

This might be some hopeful news regarding RS1325 #30. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/18/22 8:10 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

I wasn't aware that the other RS1325 was at risk of being scrapped. For some reason I thought both had been owned by the same company and both had been donated to Monticello. Also, it's kind of insane that G&W has something that is one of two ever built and they immediately jump to scrapping it. Wouldn't you try offering it around to any interested parties first and after exhausting that, then move towards scrapping? IRM makes sense for it, and hopefully they can keep it from being cut up. Just another reason I'm not fond of the Orange Plague.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/18/22 10:22 a.m.

In reply to NickD :

My first thought was I wonder if G&W jumped straight to "scrap" just to light a fire and get someone to step up quickly to take it? Vs. saying "Hey, anyone want this old loco"? Then having to wait around while various groups/people shout "Yes!" but don't realistically have the ability to take it. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/18/22 11:32 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

That could be it. I know that has been a trick fairly recently to get people to buy up stuff. Bessemer & Lake Erie 2-10-4 #643 was one where it was listed on eBay and the ad basically said "If no one buys this for $350,000 before the auction ends, it's being scrapped." Fortunately Age of Steam Roundhouse stepped up and saved that monster of an engine. The guy who owned the Canadian Pacific Mikado stored at Gould Coupler in Depew, NY did something similar, and I think that was because it the property owner wanted it moved off the land. It sold, but last I heard it was still there, so I'm not sure if they worked something out. There was a brief moment where everyone thought it was meeting the torch, because the spur it was on was isolated from the main system and CSX had no interest in reinstalling the switch. The campground that had Coos Bay Lumber 2-8-2T #10 on display also tried the "It's scrap unless someone buys it NOW" trick but that engine was so far gone that it did indeed get cut up, there was nothing worth saving on it, it had been so badly mistreated.

On the flip side, G&W is known to be not very sentimental or friendly to railfans, so they really just might not care. Every shortline they've bought up that offered occasional passenger excursions, they canceled all excursions and sold off all the passenger equipment and won't even host trips over it with foreign equipment. The first order of business on taking over is also usually retirement and replacement of all the motive power that isn't a common EMD and ditching the railroad's corporate identity for G&W orange, yellow and black. And when the Iowa Pacific stuff went up for auction, there are two passenger cars stored on the Buffalo & Pittsburgh and G&W said that whoever buys them has just 10 days after placing the bid to get them off the property, which has led to the conclusion that those cars are pretty much toast.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/18/22 12:46 p.m.

This year should hopefully see the return on WW&F #10, which has been out of service since 2015. It was built in 1904 by the Vulcan Iron Works of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, as a 30″-gauge locomotive for Underwood, Short & Reeves of Belleview Plantation, Louisiana and was named High Pockets by the original owners.  In later years the locomotive also saw service on two other sugar plantations: Sterling Sugars, Inc. at Franklin, LA; and Dugas & LeBlanc Ltd. at Westfield Plantation in Paincourtville, LA.  This was Westfield’s 4th locomotive and ended service there in 1957. It was then purchased from a scrapyard by Ellis D. Atwood, founder of Edaville and savior of almost all the surviving Maine 2-foot gauge equipment, and moved to South Carver, Massachusetts. It was regauged to 24" gauge and had a new larger diameter boiler constructed, although the smokebox retains the original diameter, giving it a weird stepped appearance. It was then renumbered to #5 and ran at Atwood's new park, Pleasure Island in Wakefield, Massachusetts. Pleasure Island closed in 1969 (turns out there's a reason why Disneyland and Disneyworld are built in locations with warm climates) and the #5 was moved back to Edaville but never actually ran there, since it was unable to handle the longer train lengths that Bridgton & Saco River #7 and #8 could. It was put up for sale in 1999, purchased by the WW&F to give them a locomotive to operate while WW&F #9 was being restored, and the #10 was returned to operation in 2000, with major work sporadically occurring throughout 2002-2004. In 2007, the Maine Narrow Gauge Museum discovered a boiler defect in Monson Railway #3, which had also been reboilered at Edaville and ultimately required another new boiler , and so WW&F began routinely checking the boiler to avoid a catastrophic failure. In 2015, WW&F #9 finally finished it's lengthy restoration,  the #10 was due for its FRA 1472, and its boiler had started to develop the same issue as Monson #3. The #10 was taken out of service and the decision was made to reboiler it. The new boiler, actually constructed locally in Syracuse, NY, was completed in 2017, along with the boiler for #11, and they made it up to Maine. But the installation process was delayed because in 2018 the WW&F was donated a bridge for use in construction of the Mountain Division, and the attached grant money required the project to be done in a specific amount of time, and so not much work was done to the #10 in that time frame. But word is that work is back underway on the #10 and it should be up and running some time this year. Supposedly the new boiler will have a smokebox that will match the diameter of the boiler, so it will lose the weird stepped transition between the boiler and smokebox.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/18/22 2:13 p.m.

It's definitely a good time to be a 2-foot gauge fan currently. A lot of big stuff is happening currently and in the near future.

At Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington:

  • Construction of locomotive #11 and coach #9 moving along steadily
  • Locomotive #10 to return to service in near future
  • Standard gauge GE 45-tonner acquired to convert to narrow gauge
  • Construction of roundhouse, based on original blueprints, well underway
  • Opening of Mountain Division for regular service nearing

Meanwhile at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum:

  • Monson Railway #3 and Bridgton & Saco River #7 both operational
  • Fundraising started for Monson Railway #4 and Bridgton & Saco River #8 to be returned to service.
  • Monon Railway #3 returned to Edaville to operate for special 75th anniversary event.
  • Continued partnership with WW&F for special events

With B&SR #8 and Monon #4 returned to service, that would mean that all five of the five surviving Maine 2-footers would be operational again, and WW&F #11 is an exact replica of WW&F #7, which would mean that brings the total up to 6. I am curious to see if a group attempts to reconstruct one of the Sandy River & Rangely Lakes or WW&F 2-6-2 tender engines here in the US. Brecon Mountain Railway in the UK actually has an operational full-size replica of an SR&RL 2-6-2 tender engine. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/18/22 8:34 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

I'd really like to make a trip to Maine to check out both lines someday. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/19/22 9:11 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

The nice thing is that it's only an hour drive from the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum in Portland to the WW&F up in Alna Center. I went during the winter though, so the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum was not open at the time. But the WW&F, and Maine in general, is extremely beautiful in the winter.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/19/22 10:14 a.m.

I was also mistaken, in that Brecon Mountain Railway has not constructed the replica of Sandy River & Rangely Lakes 2-6-2 #23, they are in the process of constructing the replica of SR&RL #23. They are also constructing an operating replica of SR&RL #10, a 2-4-4 Forney Tank, and they have a replica of an SR&RL caboose that they use. They do operate a 2-6-2 tender engine that looks similar to an SR&RL 2-6-2, but it was a 30" gauge 2-6-0 built by Baldwin for a Brazilian line that Brecon Mountain imported, regauged to 24" and added a trailing truck to, 

They also have a neat little Baldwin-built 24" gauge 4-6-2 that was originally owned by Eastern Provenance Cement Co. in South Africa. It ran away in '73 and was wrecked, then sat rusting away in the desert, then was bought by Brecon Mountain and shipped up to Wales and returned to operation.

It's funny that Wales has a railroad that is highly committed to the Maine 2-footer aesthetic. They were, and still are, a pretty obscure operation here in the US.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/19/22 11:18 a.m.

As if to prove my point, the WW&F posted photos of them installing the turntable at the northern terminus of the Mountain Extension in the middle of the Trout Brook Preserve. The turntable was originally built for the Bridgton & Saco River, then was used at Edaville until 1991. This was the first time that it has been assembled and turned on its own bearings and ring rail since 1991. A turntable isn't strictly necessary at that end, since Forney Tanks are just as happy running backwards as they are forwards (indeed, Monson Railway didn't own a turntable at all and never turned their engines in the years they owned them) but it does look nicer having the boiler lead. Matthias Forney probably cringes though, because when he designed the Forney Tank, he envisioned them running bunker first, for better safety and visibility, but railroads clung to the notion that the boiler should lead the way.

There will also be a flag stop station constructed there, like the one at Sheepscot, and they plan to tie their rides into the park, so that you can hitch a ride up and get off and explore the preserve, and then ride back. I'm a little irritated that they announced the opening of the Mountain Extension will be on August 6th, and I'm pretty sure I have a wedding that day. I'm also pretty sure that WW&F will make it a big event, maybe bring B&SR #7 up for it.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/19/22 2:40 p.m.

A weird detail about 2'-gauge railroads is that they don't, or rather can't, stagger the rail joints. In standard and 3'-gauge railroads, you make sure the joints between segments of rails don't line up side by side, for the sake of ride quality. Hitting both rail joints at the same time results in a rough ride quality and a loud bang-bang-bang noise. But because 2'-gauge has such a narrow track width, trying to stagger rail joints ends, combined with th lack of suspension damping and the often rudimentary roadbeds of the Maine 2-footers, would result in equipment getting into a swaying motion that would continue to worsen until something derailed. So they were forced to have even rail joints, which results in ride quality and sound akin to a wooden roller coaster. Fortunately, due to the tight curvature of the track, speed was already quite limited, so they didn't run fast enough to where the ride was too bone-jarring (probably a good thing considering that they were not equipped with air brakes, instead using Eames vacuum brakes and hand brakes). And they also still had a ton of derailments anyways. In Two Feet To Tidewater they mention that WW&F #4 was wrecked many, many times in derailments and subsequent rebuildings resulted in a locomotive that barely resembled what it started as, and the WW&F staff also mentioned that #9, during it's original life on the SR&RL, was wrecked so many times in so many severe incidents (including being hit by a Maine Central standard gauge engine at a diamond) that they're amazed that it still exists. As one employee put it "The cab that's currently on it is certainly historical but far from original. We estimate its on its third or fourth cab."

02Pilot
02Pilot UberDork
5/19/22 2:58 p.m.

I'm actually up in Maine right now, about an hour and a half away from Wiscassett. Out of curiosity I checked their website and today and tomorrow that actually have an opportunity to go and help build their new engine. If I weren't otherwise committed I would totally do it - how often do you get a chance to build a new steam engine?

NickD
NickD MegaDork
5/19/22 4:43 p.m.

In reply to 02Pilot :

Yeah, that was my thought when I went there: I wish this was closer, because I would totally volunteer here.

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