PORTLAND, Maine — When the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad’s No. 1 GE diesel broke down last week, the railroad’s close relationship with the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum proved its worth.
Without another locomotive, Maine Narrow Gauge canceled its trains on Tuesday. Learning of the problem, the WW&F offered its No. 52 Plymouth diesel as a replacement for No. 1, and on Wednesday Maine Locomotive & Machine Works had hauled No. 52 the 45 miles south of Portland so service could resume on Thursday . To replace No. 52, Maine Locomotive & Machine loaned its Brookville diesel to WW&F.
“Maine Narrow Gauge was kind enough to allow the WW&F Railroad to use Locomotive No. 7, its [Bridgton & Saco River Railroad] hub and coaches. so this is an opportunity, in a small part, to give back,” said WW&F President Dave Buczkowski. “That’s how we hoped the Narrow Gauge collaboration would work.”
The two museums developed strong ties after the formation of the Narrow Gauge Collaboration in January 2019. Maine Narrow Gauge, the WW&F and Maine Locomotive & Machine Works have cooperated closely since then. The collaboration was formed when Maine Narrow Gauge lost its showroom and store space due to development along Portland’s waterfront. The WW&F has agreed to house several historic locomotives and cars in its museum, including the only 2-foot gauge lounge car, Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad Rangely.
“Maine Narrow Gauge is thrilled to have such a close relationship with our partners at WW&F,” said Griffin Bourassa, Executive Director of Maine Narrow Gauge. “Having the ability to help our neighbors and being able to count on their support is essential to our success and the achievement of our mission.”
— Update at 7:08 a.m. CDT with commentary from Griffin Bourassa.