Tours


A Riveting Demonstration at the WW&F

Leave it to our good friends at the amazing WW&F Museum to come up with yet another unique afternoon activity.

The WW&F has recently acquired an 1877-vintage, deep-throat, pneumatic riveter. Intended to be much more than just a museum display, this device will actually be used to assist with the construction of new boilers for locomotives Nos. 10 and 11.

The WW&F crew will demonstrate the riveter in operation at Alna on Thursday afternoon, between 2:00 and 4:00 PM. The task will be completing the reattachment of No. 9’s original smokebox to its original boiler.

If you ever wanted to sample the sights and sounds of a steam-era backshop, this is your chance !

Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Photo Session

Are you one of the many who have been marveling at Steve Hussar’s incredible photo of a recreated WW&F freight in the May/June Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette?

If so, here’s your chance to try your hand at the same sort of time-machine photography.

On Thursday, Sept. 8, during the 36th National Narrow Gauge Convention, the WW&F team will offer a special photo session using a recreated consist with their authentic period look.

The event will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The cost is $21. Proceeds will go to the 21 Campaign, launched to fund a replacement boiler for locomotive 10 and a boiler for locomotive 11 (the future reconstruction of WW&F 7).

Advance registration is not required. Just arrive at Alna at the appointed time and buy your ticket there.

(Note that the free Augusta-Alna shuttle buses running earlier in the day will not be serving this early-evening event.)

Lobster Bake

This traditional, delicious Maine event will begin at 4:30 Friday afternoon, Sept. 9. The location is the beautiful Pine Tree Camp on North Pond in the scenic and famous Belgrade Lakes Region near Rome, ME, about a 30-minute drive from the Civic Center.

Your meal will include a 1.5-pound lobster and clams, wrapped in seaweed and cooked over a hardwood fire in the traditional fashion, plus corn on the cob, baked red potatoes, salad, bread, beverage and dessert.

The all-inclusive price for the event is just $55 per person.

You may now select and pay for the lobster bake on the tours section of the registration form. Seating is limited.

Please note that if you are participating in Friday’s SR&RL photo session or the WW&F guided bus tour, you will not be back in time to take part in this event.

P.S. But if you’re not a lobster lover and still want to attend, we’ll also offer an alternative entrée of BBQ chicken and pork ribs. After registering, email info@nngc2016.org to request this alternative entree.

Kennebec Central Guided Tour

The smallest of the two-footers, the little Kennebec Central operated from 1890 to 1929. Today a large part of the former right-of-way is a public hiking trail. Guides Dan Albert, President of the Randolph Old Narrow Gauge Trail organization, and Jeff Schumaker, co-presenter of the KCRR clinic, will help you see what remains.

The tour begins with a brief exploration of the former Randolph yard area and the site of the government coal dock. The tour then follows the grade towards Togus, passing the sites of the hand car and passenger car sheds. It continues to the highest point on the railroad, the location of a huge fill, and the remains of one of the concrete culverts. The total walking distance will be about two miles,  round trip.

We’ll rendezvous in Randolph at 1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9. Randolph is about nine miles and eighteen minutes from the Civic Center, and on the road to Alna and the WW&F.

To reserve your place on the tour, please email your name and number of persons planning to attend to kcrr@nngc2016.org. There is no fee, but donations to the Friends of the Randolph Old Narrow Gauge Trail are welcomed.

Take the Throttle of Two-Foot Steam

This may be a first for a Narrow Gauge Convention! Cap your visit to Maine with an opportunity to put your hand on the throttle of a narrow gauge steam locomotive. Boothbay Railway Village has just announced that their Engineer’s Society take-the-throttle program will be available during the convention.

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to run a steam locomotive includes one-on-one instruction with Boothbay Chief Engineer, Brian Fanslau, and then the opportunity to climb into the cab and operate one of the Museum’s Henschel steam locomotives for approximately thirty minutes.

This is an additional-fee opportunity and availability is very limited. Convention participants must make arrangements directly with the Museum to become members of its Engineer’s Society. For more information visit the Engineer’s Society page.

Boothbay is 35 miles and 60 minutes from the Civic Center. The Museum is just five minutes from the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and ten minutes from downtown Boothbay Harbor, one of the prettiest harbors in Maine and a vibrant downtown for shopping and dining.

Boothbay Railway Village Special Convention Operations

Maine’s first public railroad museum, established in 1965, the Boothbay Railway Village collection includes narrow gauge steam locomotives, historic Maine narrow gauge rolling stock, and more than a dozen historic Maine railroad structures including two stations, crossing towers and shanties, car barns, an operating wig wag and crossing gate.

For the National Narrow Gauge Convention, the Museum is offering special activities on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Boothbay plans to have three narrow gauge locomotives steamed up during the convention. Each day’s train will include a different configuration of historic Maine equipment including SR&RL Caboose, B&S Coach #11, and Franklin & Megantic First Class Coach #2. Steam trains departures will be on the half-hour every afternoon with the last departure of the day at 4 pm.

The Village also invites you to take a ride in the 1925 Model T SR&RL Track Inspection Car (on loan from Owls Head Transportation Museum),  the SR&RL Railbus (on loan from Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum),  or the 1895 WW&F handcar. The inspection car, railbus,  and hand car will be available between 12 – 4 pm. (Participants must show their convention badge and purchase a regular admission for $12 adults, $10 seniors, $6 children.)

The Museum campus also includes an impressive collection of vintage automobiles, antique engines and tractors, a model railroad exhibit (so large it has its own building,) and other exhibits that tell the story of Maine village life from the mid nineteenth to the mid twentieth century.

Boothbay is 35 miles and 60 minutes from the Civic Center. The Museum is just five minutes from the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and ten minutes from downtown Boothbay Harbor, one of the prettiest harbors in Maine and a vibrant downtown for shopping and dining.

Maine Maritime Museum

The Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, ME is a coastal Maine attraction offering many opportunities to explore Maine’s maritime heritage and culture, including numerous displays featuring exquisite model building. The Museum will be offering discounted admission to convention attendees showing their name badge. Convention attendees also qualify for special discounts on the Museum’s popular one-hour Shipyards & Lighthouse Cruise on the Kennebec River and also their narrated trolley tour of the Bath Iron Works, builder of some of the U.S. Navy’s most notable warships. (Advance reservations through the museum will be required for the cruise and the B.I.W. tour, and space is limited. Registered convention attendees will receive information on the reservation process prior to the convention.)

Bridgton Historical Society

The Bridgton Historical Society hosts a significant display of material relevant to the Bridgton & Saco River / Bridgton & Harrison two-footer, as well as the surrounding countryside. The museum will be open for special, extended hours during the convention, 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

The exhibit includes a number of artifacts and memorabilia from the Bridgton & Saco River Railroad, including timetables, handbills, posters, and other ephemera,  headlamps from Engines #5 and #7, original signs from nearly every station on the line, luggage tags, scale models of the various stations, a live steam model of #8 by Gordon B. MacLeod, and other artifacts. A selection of their large photograph collection and other archival materials will be available during the convention.

Plan to combine your visit with the original B&SR equipment at the Maine Narrow Gauge Museum, or with our self-guided driving tour of the Bridgton line’s remnants.

Guided Bus Tour of WW&F Route

The WW&F Museum will offer a bus tour on Friday of the many visible remains of the full WW&F route.

Your guide will be Bill Reidy, author of Tours of the Sheepscot Narrow Gauge. The tour follows the line from Albion to Wiscasset, with some stops along the Winslow branch, covering various sites along the right of way.   The bus will also visit Alna for a ride on the operating portion of the line.

The tour bus will leave the Civic Center about 8 am (NOTE CHANGE) and return about 6 pm.

The price for the tour is  $50 and reservations will be required.  Box lunches catered by Sprague’s Lobster in Wiscasset will be provided, but will be a separate cost.

Visit the WW&F site for the full tour details. Send an email to reservations@wwfry.org with the subject of “NNGC Bus Tour” to start your reservation process.

Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Museum

The WW&F museum in Alna will be operating both historic steam and their Model T railcar over original WW&F right-of-way. Original WW&F Forney #9 will operate a mixed train regularly between 12 noon and 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday of the convention week. The museum is open to requests on train consists and photo stops.

Shuttle buses will run between the civic center and Alna on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoons. Buses will leave the Civic Center at 9:30 AM, noon, and 2:30 PM; and leave the WW&F at approximately 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 4:00 PM. Alternatively, Alna is about a 40-minute drive from the convention center and the museum has ample free parking. Train tickets are available at the museum’s gift shop.

Boothbay Boiler Shop Tour

Boothbay Railway Village is not only a premier railfan attraction, but also operates a fully certified locomotive boiler shop. Their craftsmen have played a key role in returning WW&F #9, B&SR # 7, and Monson #3 to operation. Yet the shop itself is surprisingly small and simple.

Currently, the shop is restoring the Museum’s own S.D. Warren Co. locomotive # 2 to its original operating condition, as built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works and shipped to Westbrook, Maine in 1895. Work on the locomotive, which last operated under steam in the 1940’s, includes building a new boiler, repairs to the wrought iron frame, all new bearings, a new cab and a new saddle tank. The planned restoration follows the specifications from the original order placed in 1895. At the time steam power arrived at Cumberland Mills, S.D. Warren was producing more than 35,000 pounds of paper a day and was the largest paper mill in the world. Locomotives # 1 and # 2 hauled both pulpwood and coal throughout the mill. The mill complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 as the Cumberland Mills Historic District.

Here’s a chance to go behind the scenes and see locomotive restoration work for yourself with a Boothbay staff expert as your guide. This tour will be available once a day on Thursday-Saturday, at approximately 2:30 pm.

Reservations are not needed, but the tour is first-come, first-serve, with limited space.    The tour is free to convention participants (show your convention badge) after buying a regular paid admission to the Railway Village.  Please wear closed-toe shoes or boots if you plan to participate. The tour departs from the Freeport Station passenger platform after the arrival of the 2:00 pm train.

Boothbay is 35 miles and 60 minutes from the Civic Center. The Museum is just five minutes from the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and ten minutes from downtown Boothbay Harbor, one of the prettiest harbors in Maine and a vibrant downtown for shopping and dining.

Monson Guided Tour

The last of the two-footers, the little Monson Railroad operated from 1883 to 1943. Though it has been gone for over 70 years, a surprising number of elements remain. Join guide Cliff Olson (current owner of the Monson depot) for a walking visit to historic Monson Railroad structures, yard site, slate-ballasted right-of-way, and exhibits at the local historical society.

We’ll rendezvous in Monson at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8. Monson is 84 miles and 1 hour and 45 minutes from the Civic Center.

To reserve your place on the tour, please email your name and number of persons planning to attend to monson@nngc2016.org. There is no fee, but donations to the Monson Historical Society are welcomed.

Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railfan Photo Session

The Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Museum will be operating special railfan photo trains on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Sept. 8-10. You’ll have special opportunities to capture mutiple photo run-bys pulled by Monson Forney #3 under steam, with vintage SR&RL freight and passenger consists on the original SR&RL right-of-way.

Because of limited parking space and train capacity, the museum and the photo sessions will be open those days only to those arriving by convention tour bus. Tour buses leave the Civic Center at 1 pm each day and return at 6 pm. Advance reservations are required and seating is limited. The extra fare of $45 includes bus transportation and your admittance to the museum and photo session. Registration for this tour is done as part of the overall convention registration procedure.

Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Guided Driving Tour: Sandy River and P&R

Join Sandy River expert Jerry DeVos (author of four books on the line) for a self-driving, car-pool tour of the route of the original Sandy River and Phillips & Rangeley two-footers. Your guides will lead you through a wide variety of scenes and remnants, including the Phillips Historical Society museum, along one leg of the 110-mile route of America’s premier two-footer. The tour includes an illustrated booklet of historical photos and frequent stops to explain what you are viewing.

This tour will be Wednesday, Sept. 7, departing before the convention begins, and will depart from the Augusta Civic Center at 8:00 am. You drive your own vehicle. Carpooling is encouraged.

Weather permitting (aka muddy or wet roads and fields), you can expect to see:

  • Farmington, with the Maine Central Station and yard area (and a coffee stop ! )
  • Strong yard area including creamery, Forsters warehouse and mill, Delano bridge abutments and more. (Lunch will be available in Strong, at an extra charge.)
  • Phillips, including SR&RL station, yards and Phillips Historical Society.
  • Madrid Junction with turntable pit and Berlin Mills Sawmill site.
  • Dead River station.
  • Rangeley with Marbles station and yard.

You’ll return to Augusta about 5 pm.

Pre-registration is required. A fee of $5 covers the tour booklet. Registration for this tour is done as part of the overall convention registration procedure.

Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Guided Driving Tour: Sandy River and F&M

Join Sandy River expert Jerry DeVos (author of four books on the line) for a self-driving, car-pool tour of the route of the original Sandy River and Franklin & Megantic two-footers. Your guides will lead you through a wide variety of scenes and remnants, including the Phillips Historical Society museum, along one leg of the 110-mile route of America’s premier two-footer. The tour includes a booklet of historical photos and frequent stops to explain what you are viewing.

This tour will be Sunday, Sept. 11, the day after the convention ends, and will depart from the Augusta Civic Center at 8:00 am. You drive your own vehicle. Carpooling is encouraged.

Weather permitting (aka muddy or wet roads and fields), you can expect to see:

  • Farmington, with the Maine Central Station and yard area (and a coffee stop ! )
  • Strong yard area including creamery, Forsters warehouse and mill, Delano bridge abutments and more. (Lunch will be available in Strong, at an extra charge.)
  • Phillips, including SR&RL station, yards and Phillips Historical Society.
  • West Freeman site.
  • Salem station and section house.
  • North Freeman station site.
  • Kingfield car house, yard and mills.
  • Bigelow station and yard.

You can expect to return to Augusta about 5 pm.

Pre-registration is required. A fee of $5 covers the tour booklet. Registration for this tour is done as part of the overall convention registration procedure.