Volunteer-built crane aids railroad track-laying in Alna

Posted:  Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - 8:45am

Until now, Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum volunteers in steel toes would lay track using their gloved hands. In the woods of Alna Saturday, a crane volunteers built traveled the line to do part of the job for them.

The crane's goal was safety but it was also saving time and reusing pieces from another project, putting a bridge over Trout Brook, officials said on the nonprofit's annual fall work weekend.

The pieces' reuse was the plan from the outset, officials said. Jason Lamontagne of Bath said he and fellow board member Brent Barry figured out the crane could be built of trusses from the bridge's temporary cribbing. Lamontagne engineered the crane.

Lamontagne and president David Buczkowski said the museum doesn't want to mechanize so much of its work the volunteers have too little to do. They like the work, and that goes for him, too, Buczkowski said. Sitting at a desk as a real estate attorney, he looks forward to his time on museum projects.

"The fun is in the journey," he said.

While volunteers and the crane were laying track, about a half acre of hardwoods off Cross Road were being cleared for added parking, and work continued toward putting utilities underground, officials said.

Track-laying resumes in 2019, officials said.