WW&F hosts Wiscasset students

Mon, 05/20/2024 - 8:00am

On April 30, Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum in Alna hosted Wiscasset Middle High School history students learning about the rapid economic and technological transformation of the Maine midcoastal region.  

Henry Putnam examined Steam Locomotive #9. It was interesting to see how small the train was in relation to how much weight it can push and pull, which was about 135,000 pounds.

Steve Piwowarski, WW&F visitor interaction coordinator, gave an informative overview of the railroad history and the economic importance to rural communities in Alna, Whitefield, Coopers Mills and Albion in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Peter Rego, a volunteer with Alna Fire Department, said, “The WW&F railroad was a memorable place. The steam engine is very fascinating, especially the mechanism of how it works. The steam engine uses steam as its working fluid and the pressure is typically 200-250 psi, running at 25-30 mph.

The Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Railroad used narrow gauge railways two feet in width which is substantially smaller than the standard gauge of four feet and eight inches. This allowed the smaller trains to travel on tight curves and difficult terrain. The cost of construction was 80% less expensive and easier to maintain, serving rural lumber and farming communities in Maine.

Dominic Waite said, “The Alna train railway was one of the smaller stations in the area. It was a very useful mode of transportation but has died down due to cars. In 1895 to 1933, the Wiscasset and Quebec railway train transported mail, livestock and produce.

Ismael Martinez and Olivia Marshall appreciated WW&F Museum and the famous Turner Centre System Ice Cream connection in the 1920s. Martinez said, It is great to see a part of our history in first person. Seeing the older designs of the trains as well as some of the work that went into operating them was a great experience.