What the WW&F? Maine has a new Forney steamer in service

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Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington 0-4-4t No. 9 steamed for the first time in decades Saturday. 
Stephen J. Hussar
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Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington No. 9 steamed for the first time on Saturday in more than 80 years.
Stephen J. Hussar
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Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington No. 9 runs around its train at Alna Center, Maine, on Saturday, Dec. 5. The consist was WW&F coach No. 3, built by Jackson & Sharp for the original railroad in 1894. Many of those riding Saturday's trip were WW&F museum members and volunteers who helped during the nine-year restoration of this locomotive.
C. Stewart Rhine
ALNA, Maine — One Maine locomotive is under steam again for the first time in 82 years.

Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway No. 9 operated under its own steam for test runs on Dec. 5. The engine had been cold since 1933. The Saturday test runs are the culmination of a nine-year effort by Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum members to restore the 18-ton two-foot gauge Forney 0-4-4t engine. Additional testing and crew training will take place before the engine enters regular service on the restored 2.5-mile section of the original railroad.

Volunteers collaborated to complete most of the project including a new boiler and redesign of critical frame components to meet current safety requirements, restoration of the wooden cab, and manufacture of several missing components. In addition, WW&F members designed and built specialized tools such as a portable quartering machine to move the project along. Except for construction of the new boiler at the nearby Boothbay Railway Museum, all work was done in the museum's shop.

No. 9 is the oldest of the five surviving two-foot gauge steam locomotives operated by Maine's two-foot gauge common carrier railroads. It was built by the state's Portland Co. in 1891 for the Sandy River Railroad, a predecessor of the Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes, as its No. 5. It subsequently became SR&RL No. 6. In 1924, it was sold to the Kennebec Central Railroad, where it became No. 4. Kennebec Central shut down in 1929, and in early 1933, No. 4 was purchased by the original Wiscasset railroad, where it became No. 9.

It operated only a few times on the WW&F before it was sidelined by a mechanical failure, just two days before the WW&F shut down itself. The locomotive languished in the WW&F's shop in Wiscasset until 1937, when two Connecticut railfans purchased it and moved it to Thompson, Conn., where it was stored in a shed for 58 years before returning to Maine in 1995 and is now part of the museum group celebrating the heritage of its namesake railroad.
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