Maine Narrow Gauge shares plans for new campus

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GRAY, Maine – The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad & Museum has released plans for a multi-million-dollar museum expected to open in May 2017. As many as six buildings will occupy the location where the museum plans to build a 2-mile demonstration railroad.

The centerpiece of the site will be a 13,500-square-foot structure that would house administrative offices, event space, archives, and library, in addition to a full-size replica of the Kennebec Central's Randolph station, according to Donnell Carroll, museum executive director.

The entire project may cost up to $12 million. Plans include a 5,000 square-foot restoration shop, a carbarn to store up to 15 cars, and a six-stall roundhouse. The site will support a 2-mile railroad to be built on the adjacent right-of-way of the former Portland-Lewiston Interurban Railroad, which was abandoned in 1933. The Central Maine Power Co., which had owned the grade, donated it to the museum last year.

The museum is currently along the waterfront in Portland, about 25 miles away and intends to move to Gray as soon as funds are raised for track and building construction, according to Carroll. Its current site is on land leased from the city and private investors who want to develop the property.

Carroll says the museum has sought funding support from about 30 potential sources, though little money has been forthcoming. At the least, he says, the railroad will be built and operating by May 2017, with the buildings to come as funding is secured.

The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad includes equipment from three of Maine's five 2-foot gauge railroads, which flourished from 1879-1943. The equipment was rescued by Ellis D. Atwood just before World War II and taken to his Edaville Railroad in Massachusetts. Edaville sold the equipment to Maine Narrow Gauge in 1992.

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