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Messages - Stephen Piwowarski

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Work and Events / Re: WW&F Launches its first Summer Concert Series
« on: August 05, 2018, 01:49:29 PM »
Okay... Let's get a but more back on target!

Our next concert is coming up fairly quickly on August 25th. This is also an ice cream social day, by the way.

We need to get more posters up. Steve L. I printed up 20 and try are by the sign in at the station. Take as many as you need. Thank you! Also, stores/businesses really like it if you bring your own tape and offer to hang the flyer for them.

In addition, being in as many free event calendars as we can is an excellent way to spread the news. Alex H, I'll send you copy to use if you're still able to work on this.

Everyone- please tell your friends about this concert series and, in fact, all of our events and activities. We are working hard to offer ways for many different people to make a connection with the narrow gauge. Your enthusiasm for it and excitement abot our activities- wanting to share them with others- is what ultimately gets the most people through the door.

As always, we are open to suggestions. Please keep them positive and constructive.


Other Narrow Gauge / Budapest Children's Railway
« on: August 03, 2018, 12:05:26 PM »
Attached below is an interesting article on the Children's Railway in Budapest. It is interesting to note that all of the positions on the railway, save the engineers are filled by children under age 18, and some as young as 10.

There were many children's railways across the former USSR and Soviet Satellite states, most of them 600-750mm gauge. They were meant to prepare children for work on the state railways but, perhaps more importantly, to teach teamwork, problem solving, and life skills.

Work and Events / Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« on: August 02, 2018, 11:12:23 PM »
We all are not getting any younger ...

While it is true that quite literally no one is getting younger, I actually resent the idea of switching to power spiking (one which has been suggested many times, so don't take it personally) because it misses a key point of what the recreation of the WW&F is about- maintaining and teaching the authentic skills used to build, operate, and maintain a late 19th-early 20th century narrow gauge railroad.

Some of our younger volunteers pride themselves on doing things the 'old' way. That is, they enjoy cutting logs by hand, either with saw or axe, enjoy hand spiking. There are plenty of places to do things the 'new' way, but few to learn and practice these skills that we use on a regular basis.

The other problem with this is- if you are worried about an aging volunteer workforce, I think you would not focus on devices which save us from the labor that the railway is all about. Instead we should focus on attracting new, willing volunteers who are interested in learning those skills instead of replacing them with a machine. Saving labor with a machine to counteract an aging volunteer workforce is not a sustainable solution. Is a very few short years, since you have focused on saving labor rather than expanding volunteer workforce, you will find you have no one to run your power spiker- or locomotive, for that matter, either.

Ok, I'll get off the soapbox,
Steve Piwowarski

Work and Events / Re: WW&F Launches its first Summer Concert Series
« on: July 30, 2018, 11:36:12 AM »
From Alna's building code ordinance:

"D. Permanent signs shall conform to the following criteria:
1. Directional signs shall be limited to three square feet and shall not exceed six
in number.
2. Freestanding signs relating to goods and/or services sold on the premises
shall not exceed twelve square feet in area, per sign, and shall be limited to
two signs, which may be two-sided.
3. Temporary signs (garage sales, etc.) shall be permitted for seventy-two hours
4. All existing signs are grandfathered, as long as they conform to State Law."

James and I were talking about signs this weekend. If we could locate a sign at the intersection of Cross Road and 218, it would free up two OBDS signs. At 4'x3' or so we could include a letterboard that lets us post upcoming events (or maybe we could do a separate letterboard.

Another sign could be added at the entrance to our parking lot. It has always bothered me that we don't have one- when the rep came to visit from the Maine Tourism Association came to visit she called from the driveway in front of the house because she didn't know where to go. As the official 'entrance' to the Museum, this should have an eye catching and attractive sign to welcome visitors.

Joe- I've seen the song in the archives- we have the lyrics, but I don't think there was a melody specified.

Volunteers / Re: July 2018 Work Planning
« on: July 30, 2018, 10:45:17 AM »
Yep. They'e nuts. They eat it all. Even Poison Ivy. One thing they can't eat that we have a lot of is Bracken Fern, but if we go in and cut the fern, we should be ok.

Work and Events / Re: WW&F Launches its first Summer Concert Series
« on: July 30, 2018, 03:13:43 AM »
Here's a little bit more about the concert and a description of the feel that the venue provided. Mark Horn, who joined Chris and Liz Lannon on banjo and washboard last night described the venue as feeling kind of "like a medicine show".

The venue felt just right for old-time music and the sound of the band carried all the way to route 218 across Tom Albee's fields. Dave B. lent us a super quiet Honda generator which couldn't even be heard from the concert tent.

Joe makes a great point that we need to get the word out- more. Despite over 150 posters up in the Brunswick to Damariscotta Rte. 1 corridor and more around Warren, Thomaston, Rockland, there is a need to get the word out even more. Tell your neighbors, tell your friends. If they've never been to the Railway because a train ride isn't there thing- remember that this isn't just a train ride.

My thought is that people will come for the concert and be so surprised and enchanted by the railway that they will want to learn more about it. I tried to do that last night in little pieces- some history in the introduction- at the intermisson (and questions) and at the end. This way, we got to carry a bit of the education into the concert itself.

Volunteers / Re: July 2018 Work Planning
« on: July 30, 2018, 03:05:07 AM »
I am totally in favor of finding a way to handle keeping the right of way 'mowed' that uses less volunteer resources. I think the goat idea could actually be an idea that would gain some traction if paired with the right farmer. Goats could be contained using solar powered electric livestock fencing. They could move up and down the right of way during the week and be moved to a suitable pasture during the weekend. Work trains would need to proceed through fenced areas at restricted speed or something.

I think folks would be surprised how quickly 5-10 goats would do this work. I think the main concern would be to ensure they don't overgraze and eat too much.

Volunteers / Re: July 2018 Work Planning
« on: July 29, 2018, 02:51:11 AM »
It went well! The band was great and a few visitors described the venue as a perfect one. Many also loved the concert setup, using the AA truck as a stage. We will undoubtedly have return participants. We also had two reporters, from both the Lincoln County News and the Wiscasset and Boothbay Papers present to report on the concert and upcoming series.

Huge thanks to all of the volunteers who played a role in making the concert happen as well. It was a great group effort and with some little tweaks, should be fairly easy to reproduce in a month with even more efficiency.

We had a light turnout, which we'll work to address on the next concerts- 26 passengers, which was 26% of capacity. Part of this may have been due to the very poor weather forecasted for this evening which didn't materialize here until around 10:15PM.

With all of that in mind- Annual Picnic is just 2 short weeks away!

Original Railway / Re: Pay Check
« on: July 19, 2018, 02:10:06 PM »
This check was issued before the stock market crash and paid out afterwards. I wonder how concerned the employee was that the money wouldn't be there when they went to cash it.

Work and Events / Re: WW&F Launches its first Summer Concert Series
« on: July 16, 2018, 04:43:17 AM »
Hi All,

If folks are interested in getting tickets for the first summer concert on July 28th featuring acoustic duo 'Married with Chitlins' it is strongly advised to buy those tickets in advance at

Not only will you save $ because the advance tickets are $3.00 less, you will also have a guaranteed place for the concert, which we cannot guarantee right before the event.

Get those tickets soon!

Museum Discussion / Re: 2018 Operating Schedule
« on: July 09, 2018, 03:14:04 AM »
Likewise today- I'd say that about 30-40% were first time visitors. I think encouraging folks to bring picnics, hike, etc. will be key to further developing the regular operating days. Have to have enough to do at a station to justify them staying for an entire timetable cycle. On days with 1st class trains only that is approximately 1.5 hours. A bit long for a picnic or a short hike. We might need longer hikes and the mills at ToM along with the proposed trail at Alna Center to make it possible, or shorter headways between trains.


Museum Discussion / 2018 Operating Schedule
« on: July 08, 2018, 09:25:15 PM »
Visitor count today was 56 with 6 on pass, so 50 paying passengers. When combined with yesterday that makes for over 200 for the weekend- a good weekend. Amazing Ice Cream Social- the games were great and people were having fun.


Work and Events / WW&F Launches its first Summer Concert Series
« on: June 12, 2018, 03:22:20 PM »
Join us for a summer concert series  at the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington's Alna Center station. The series includes a concert each month during July, August, and September. Park at Sheepscot station (97 Cross Road, Alna) and take the train to Alna Center for the show. Train fare and parking at Sheepscot are included in the ticket price. Advance sale tickets are $15.00/adults, $8.00/kids 4-12, free/kids birth-3. Feel free to bring a blanket and picnic (no alcohol, please).
For tickets and information to the other concerts in this series, please go here:

All Train departs Sheepscot at 5PM sharp! Please arrive early to ensure a relaxed experience. Music at Alna Center is from 5:30PM to 7PM.

Concert information:

Opening Concert July 28 featuring Married with Chitlins
Married with Chitlins is kicking off our 3 concert series! An acoustic music duo comprised of Chris and Liz Lannon, Married with Chitlins perform Traditional American music, Old Time Country and Blues, some Jazz standards and Celtic reels and jigs, with guitar and fiddle with a strong female lead vocal with harmonies but you'll also hear sprinklings of mandolin and harmonica.
Find them on facebook and on reverbnation.
Online ticketing ends 7/27/18.

Second concert August 25 featuring Rough Sawn
This local string band is composed of farmers and carpenters - true salt of the earth people. They are renowned  for their excellent covers of classic country, bluegrass, folk and Western swing as well as timeless originals. They've played local farmers markets, breweries, and other events.  Their four part harmonies are not something you're going to want to miss. You can find Rough Sawn on facebook.
Online ticketing ends 8/24/2018.

Final concert September 8th featuring GoldenOak
GoldenOak is an Indie Soul-Folk band fronted by sibling duo Zak and Lena Kendall. Originally from the Sandy River Valley of Western Maine and now based in Portland, they began to write music and perform in 2014. GoldenOak released their first album, Pleasant St., in 2016 an album they co-wrote with cellist Seth Wegner. The full length album painted a landscape of the duo’s childhood and their experiences growing up and leaving home. The original album with beautiful instrumentation and voice solidified the band as ambassadors of the Maine Folk Scene and earned them praise such as a nomination as “one of Portland's most important upcoming bands” by Dispatch Magazine. Over the last two years, they shared the stage with many notable artists such as Lady Lamb, The Dustbowl Revival, The Ghost of Paul Revere, and The Mallett Brothers Band. In October 2017, GoldenOak released Foxgloves, a 6 track EP that builds on Zak and Lena's folk roots with a remarkable orchestral approach and earthy sound. The band kicked off their Foxgloves release tour with a sold out show at Portland’s One Longfellow Square, and in December, Foxgloves was voted “EP of the Year” by the Portland Music Awards. Zak and Lena record and often tour with fellow musicians and band mates, Seth Wegner (cello), Max Eddington (piano), and Jackson Cromwell (percussion). Find out more at
Online ticketing ends 9/7/18

Work and Events / Re: Alna Day - Saturday June 16, 2018
« on: May 08, 2018, 04:42:32 PM »
Probably would be hard to fill all of the positions since there is a lot of carryover between those two groups!

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