Author Topic: Historic Locomotive Returns to WW&F  (Read 4328 times)

Mark Edry

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Historic Locomotive Returns to WW&F
« on: April 01, 2009, 09:41:19 PM »
1 April 2009
Alna ME

The Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Railway Museum announced today the return to its rails of a unique piece of Maine's railroad history. A small crowd was on hand at the Museum's headquarters at Cross Rd in Alna as Fred the Forney steamed up to Sheepscot Station and chortled to a stop for the first time in over a century.

"It's a great day for the Museum and for two-foot fans around the world," said Museum spokesman Jason Lamontagne. "Until barely a month ago we didn't even know Fred the Forney still existed, and now here it is."

At the turn of the last century, the small steam engine saw service on the WW&F, leading excursion trains through the coastal Maine countryside. When a tragic accident saw the sole WW&F excursion car withdrawn from service and rebuilt as a combine, Fred the Forney was retired.

The tiny 0-4-4T had been thought to have been scrapped ages ago. However, on February 29th of this year a team of Museum members on a routine expedition discovered Fred the Forney slumbering under a tarp in a barn in Benton, Maine. The antique locomotive was a bit crusty, "no more than it ever was," but none the worse for wear. The Museum, a group of mostly older, male, train enthusiasts, quickly arranged for its transportation to Alna. Lamontagne supervised the locomotive's restoration to running order.

"The rediscovery of Fred the Forney answers two big questions about which I have been musing for ages," said narrow-gauge historian Ellis Walker.

First, the presence of the locomotive in Benton explains why the WW&F's Burnham extension was left in place despite the railroad's inability to secure a Maine Central crossing in Burhnam. Though no revenue service was ever seen on the extension, the rails remained in place for years. Evidently the line served to ferry the locomotive to and from its shed in Benton.

Secondly, the fate of Fred the Forney after it was withdrawn from service has long been the subject of speculation. Most historians speculated that it had simply been scrapped, with its boiler used as a culvert along a Maine Central branch line. The most intriguing theory, popular among conspiracy buffs, was that the locomotive went to the Bridgton and Saco River Railroad in the same shadowy transaction that sent WW&F Coach #10 to the B&SR. The theory was what when Ellis Atwood bought the bankrupt line, he brought the locomotive to South Carver and painted it blue. Historians were always puzzled by the utter lack of photographic evidence of the locomotive's supposed stay at Bridgton.

But now those questions are answered.

"With Fred the Forney back home, we plan to put it to good use," said Lamontagne. Initial plans are to return the locomotive to excursion service, leading nature expeditions to the north end of the restored railroad.

Fred the Forney Back On Home Rails

Pete "Cosmo" Barrington

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Re: Historic Locomotive Returns to WW&F
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2009, 08:24:21 PM »
Now THAT is just precious! :D