The Boothbay Railway Village brought a special surprise for visitors to the 2017 Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show — a 1925 H.K. Porter steam locomotive. The Amherst Railway Society's annual Railroad Hobby Show occupies four buildings at the Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, Massachusetts. The event draws 25,000 people, and is one of the most respected railroad shows in the country. For the first time ever, show visitors had the opportunity to see a full-size locomotive under steam when they visited on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 28 and 29.
The H.K. Porter Company based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania specialized in industrial locomotives. This engine was 1 of 11, all very similar, owned by Raritan Copper in New Jersey. The craftsman of the Boothbay Railway Village rebuilt it for Edaville (an amusement park in South Carver, Massachusetts.) The engine had been acquired by Edaville in 1957 and was on static display until 2012.
The crew led by Brian Fanslau, the Museum’s chief engineer, saved the original cylinders and running gear. The engine was re-gauged from 30 inches to 24 inches and a new cab was constructed. The project also required a new boiler, custom designed and built by the Museum to modern code standards. Work was completed in 2014.
The Museum operates a fully certified boiler shop. The ability to perform code work on boilers is unique in the museum field and they are able to keep their own equipment and that of other historic preservation efforts in proper operating condition.
Currently, the shop is restoring the Museum's own S.D. Warren Co. locomotive No. 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 1940s, 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. On scheduled work days, volunteers from around the region, including John Orne, Skip MacPhee, Doug Fowles, Bruce Bowler, George Sefcik and Ron Ginger, have been learning and working side by side with the staff on the Baldwin.
The Museum’s staff have played a key role in returning WW&F #9, B&SR #7, and Monson #3 to operation along with other historic steam vehicles including two Lombard log haulers. Other clients have included Edaville, Conway Scenic, The Mount Washington Cog, Maine Narrow Gauge, WW&F, SR&RL, Clark's Trading Post, Loon Mountain, Fire Museum of Maryland and Maine Forest & Logging Museum. The Boothbay Railway Village’s expert craftsman and engineers truly keep New England under steam.
Boothbay Railway Village is open to visitors from Memorial Day through late October. Special events including lectures and hands-on programs are scheduled year-round. To learn more about the Museum visit www.railwayvillage.org. If interested in volunteering or making a contribution to support the Museum’s preservation efforts please call 207-633-4727.
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