(SOURCE: Trains.com 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
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 www.mainenarrowgauge.org/winter-fundraising-campaign.
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.