Monday, April 7, 2014

Maine Two-foot Steamer on Track to Restoration

(SOURCE: Newswire)

PORTLAND, Maine. – One of Maine's best known two-foot gauge steam locomotives, Bridgton & Saco River 2-4-4T No. 7, is on track to being under steam within the next year and a half. The engine is currently under restoration at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum in Portland.

The nonprofit group has been working on the locomotive since 2008, but suffered a major setback in 2010 when a fire destroyed the museum's engine house. No. 7 was inside the structure at the time and the cab and tender tank were completely destroyed. According to museum Steam Program Manager Jay Monty, those two pieces have been a major part of the restoration, but volunteers have also been focusing on a complete rebuild of the locomotive's boiler. That part of the project is being completed at the Boothbay Railway Museum and should be completed this summer.

No. 7 was built in 1913 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works and ran on the B&SR, and later the Bridgton & Harrison, until 1941 when the railroad was scrapped. At the time, the B&H was the state's last two-foot gauge railroad. Later that year, No. 7 and sister engine No. 8 were purchased by Ellis D. Atwood, a Massachusetts businessman who set up his own two-foot gauge railroad around his cranberry bogs in South Carver, Mass. The Edaville Railroad ran as a tourist attraction until 1992 when the entire collection (which included four original Maine two-foot gauge steam locomotives and dozens of freight and passenger cars) was returned to Maine and set up as a museum on the Portland waterfront. No. 7 remained in Massachusetts for nearly a decade and finally returned to Maine in 2002, where it ran under steam for a year before being sidelined. In 2008, the group began another full restoration of the engine.

The Edaville built the locomotive’s current boiler in 1959 and during this most recent restoration, volunteers repaired the shell and installed a new firebox, dry pipe, flues, and stay bolts. Last week, Monty estimated the boiler would return to Portland in mid-summer. Meanwhile, the new tender tank is about 95 percent complete and ready for the final mounting on the frame.

In the past year, the museum has raised more than $40,000 for the project, however the group still needs another $10,000 to cover the re-assembly of the locomotive. Anyone interested in helping should visit

When No. 7 is restored to steam in 12-18 months, it will be the museum's only operating steam locomotive. On March 29, former Monson Railroad No. 4, a 4-4-0T, made its last run before being sidelined due to the expiration of the engine's Federal Railroad Administration certificate. The event included photo runs and a night photo session.

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