Maine has a new two-footer in operation

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S.D. Warren 0-4-0T leads a short excursion at Boothbay, Maine on Sept. 8.
Timothy Franz
BOOTHBAY, Maine — Maine’s newest 2-foot gauge steam locomotive made its public debut last weekend, and fans of pint-sized steam locomotives will have at least two more opportunities to ride behind the tank engine this fall.

S.D. Warren 0-4-0T No. 2 was under steam on Saturday at the Boothbay Railway Village just weeks after the museum completed an extensive restoration. Margaret Hoffman, executive director of the museum, says that a few small issues were discovered with the locomotive over the weekend, but nothing that will prevent it from operating at least two more times this fall. The locomotive is slated to appear during Family Harvest Days on Sept. 29 and 30 and the Fall Foliage Festival Oct. 6, 7, and 8.

Hoffman says the locomotive is tentatively scheduled to make an appearance at the Amherst Railway Society’s Railroad Hobby Show in West Springfield, Mass. in January 2019. In past years, the Edaville Railroad has brought a steam locomotive to the train show to operate in the parking lot on snap track.

S.D. Warren No. 2 is expected to be the Boothbay Railway Village’s primary motive power in 2019, Hoffman says. The museum also rosters a small fleet of German-built 0-4-0T locomotives.

While enthusiasts have heard of Maine’s five famous 2-foot gauge common-carrier roads, fewer know about the industrial railroad built to serve the S.D. Warren Paper Mill Co. in Westbrook, just west of Portland. Originally using horse-drawn cars on narrow gauge rails, the paper company purchased three 0-4-0T locomotives in 1895 from the Baldwin Locomotive Works to move materials around the plant. The locomotives were used by the paper mill until the 1940s.

When the locomotives were retired from the mill, Frank Van Walsh purchased two of the locomotives, Nos. 1 and 2, and moved them to an amusement park in New Jersey where they were operated with gas. In 1969, Van Walsh donated the locomotives to the newly formed Boothbay Railway Village. Locomotive No. 1 was put on display with equipment from other Maine 2-footers, including boxcars from the Wiscasset & Quebec Railroad and Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad. Locomotive No. 2 was parked along the highway under the sign that welcomed visitors to the museum. In 2007, it was moved into the shop for evaluation and the restoration began in 2016.

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