Celebrate just about everything on two rails on Saturday, Aug. 4 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Boothbay Railway Village. Although the Museum is celebrating 53 years of operations this summer, this will be its inaugural Railfan Day. For more than half a century, the Boothbay Railway Village has been a steward of Maine’s railroad history and its collection includes more than a dozen railroad buildings and structures, a variety of historic rolling stock, engines and other equipment (both in operation and on display), ephemera and other objects. The non-profit museum is also home to a boiler code shop that keeps New England under steam.
Planned operations include two trains both powered by steam locomotives. One will feature the Museum’s replica of Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Coach 5 designed by Gus Pratt and built by master boatbuilder Cecil Pierce on Southport during 1964-1965 specifically for the then newly founded museum. That passenger train will also include First Class Coach 2. Built by Jackson & Sharp Co. in Wilmington, Delaware in 1903 for Maine's Franklin & Megantic Railway, which at one time stretched from Strong to Bigelow passing through the heart of Maine’s Carrabasset Valley. This coach embodies the typical travel of the era with its plush walkover seats and mahogany interior. Seating aboard the restored first-class coach will be offered for free to Museum Members and to visitors making an additional $5 per person donation to the Museum. A freight train will also be operating featuring Bridgton & Saco River Box Car 51 (1889) and Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Caboose 551 (1904.)
Rides aboard two other unique rail vehicles will also be offered throughout the day. The Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Model T Inspection Car is owned by the Owls Head Transportation Museum and is on extended loan to the Museum for demonstration. This 1925 Model T was converted into a crew car for the two-foot gauge Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railroad at Phillips, Maine in 1925. A motorized inspection car was a significant upgrade from the earlier hand cars that were used to transport tools and workers to locations on the tracks that needed repair.
The 12-passenger rail bus was also built by the Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railroad at Phillips, Maine in 1925. The railroad was experiencing declining passenger counts and hoped the rail bus would be a way to continue operations while limiting their overhead expenses. It’s on loan from the Maine Narrow Gauge Museum in Portland.
Between train departures there will also be demonstrations of the WW&F Hand Car and a railway velocipede. Our hand car dates to 1895 and would have been used by railroad employees to bring their tools and themselves out to areas on the line that needed attention. It is operated by one or two people on either side of the handlebars, alternating sides pushing down on the handlebars to turn a gear which turns the wheels.
At 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Maine author and railway historian Joey Kelley will present illustrated talks and book signings about his book on the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad inside the 1847 Boothbay Town Hall. Chartered in 1867, BM&L was integral to Waldo County for 150 years. Kelley will tell the unforgettable story of how the railroad survived two world wars, the collapse of local industry, and many changes in the demand for rail travel. The Museum is home to both the 1871 Thorndike Station and a crossing gate that once guarded Route 1 for the Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad.
Museum volunteers will lead behind-the-scenes workshop tours at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. departing from Freeport Station. The Museum operates a certified boiler shop. The ability to perform code work on boilers is unique in the museum field and we are able to keep our 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. 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.
All activities except the first-class upgrade are included with Museum admission of $7 for children 3 – 18, $14 for adults, $12 for seniors (65+), children under 3 and Museum Members are free. Standard admission also includes a second free day within 7 days of your first visit. Although the Museum will be open from 10 to 5, most activities will take place between 11 and 4. Well-behaved and leashed four-legged friends are welcome (although it is recommended they skip the shop tours). Contact the Boothbay Railway Village for more information at 633-4727, or online at www.railwayvillage.org. The Boothbay Railway Village is located at 586 Wiscasset Road, Route 27 in Boothbay, Maine.