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Build 11: Why Build a New Steam Locomotive?
The Mission of the WW&F Railway Museum, is to restore and reconstruct the operation and equipment of the original railroad as completely as possible. To that end, our organization has begun reconstruction of Wiscasset Waterville & Farmington Ry steam locomotive No. 7.
WW&F No. 7 (Baldwin Const. No 31692) was a 28-ton 2-4-4T Forney built in 1907 for the WW&F Railway. In 1931, the locomotive was damaged in a roundhouse fire. It was never repaired and was scrapped in 1937. In keeping with the tradition of giving new motive power the next available consecutive number, the reconstructed No. 7 will become WW&F Ry No. 11.
Build 11: Why Reconstruct Locomotive No. 7?
As a Baldwin Locomotive Works product (together with No. 9 representing the Portland Company) the museum will be preserving the range of motive power preferred by the original railway and other Maine two foot gauge railroads.
The Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, Pa. was widely recognized and was the largest steam locomotive manufacturer in the world. Locomotives of all sizes and types were economically produced by Baldwin through the use of standard components and procedures. This project will promote involvement in the project by individuals interested in steam locomotion and the construction of new steam locomotives generally. Moreover, the size of this locomotive (compared with a standard gauge locomotive) makes the project achievable and economical.
Larger locomotives (like No. 7) are needed to traverse the WW&F's soon-to-be-reopened "mountain extension" with its 4% winding grade. As a 28-ton locomotive, No. 7 will not only handle this grade with ease, it will represent the heavier class of locomotives used by the railway (yet is not so large as to tax the track structure.)
Build 11: Why Number 11?
When finished will be given the road number 11 for a number of reasons:
- To recognize the enormous effort that must be made to fulfill this project
- To recognize that while we are trying to emulate the Baldwin Locomotive Works we are in fact not that company
- To carry on with our organization’s tradition of giving new numbers to reconstructed equipment
- To carry on the original railway’s tradition of assigning consecutive road numbers to locomotives regardless of locomotives currently or formerly on the roster.
Build 11: Rebuilding Maine History
Just looking like the original isn’t good enough. Part of the museum’s mission is to present, in context, the technology available at the time of the original construction -- a philosophy crucial to maintaining the spirit of the original machine. Components will be produced through methods as practical to the original, to maintain the same level of craftsmanship and skill required for the original.
To this end a team of WW&F Railway Museum members with engineering backgrounds have been producing drawings in the same manner as Baldwin did but using modern technology to do so. Hand drawings are reproduced on computers in two dimensions, and, as necessary in three dimensions so that patterns can be made to produce castings.
The six members of the engineering group have been meeting weekly by Zoom (since several are located outside Maine) to discuss progress as well as problems that arise. To date, the team has produced several hundred drawings and images, and a number of primary components have been produced, with additional parts in production.
Respect shall be given to the fact that a steam locomotive is a direct result of the technology and production methods available at the time of original construction. The final product shall be more than an operating facsimile of the original machine, and shall not necessarily be created as easily as possible using modern technology. Instead, the machine shall, as much as practical, represent the industrial age in which the Baldwin plant operated in 1907.
Yet there are practical limits to this historical tribute. Several recognized and documented exceptions must be made for practical reasons. Specifically, these exceptions are made to
- Bring the construction cost in line with the capabilities of our organization.
- Make the finished product more practical, and therefore economical, to maintain and operate.
Care will be given to each component concerning its design and production method; decisions will be made as consistently as possible with maintaining historical integrity while not exceeding our practical limitations.
A major benefit to this project will be the opportunity to document the various methods used to produce the locomotive. This will serve as an educational study of historical industrial methods as well modern methods being used in place of them for practical reasons.
Build 11: Raising Money and Making Progress
At the end of 2019, the WW&F Railway Museum successfully completed its ”21 Campaign” to raise funds for new boilers for No. 10 and No. 11, actually exceeding the goal by about 7 percent. In 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the initial fund-raising for No. 11’s construction raised nearly $24,000, surpassing the $17,000 goal by nearly 45 percent - and providing funding to complete the tasks anticipated in 2021. Now we’re onto the next campaign challenge, to raise funds to continue building WW&F No. 11 throughout 2022.
The anticipated completion of the Mountain Extension in the next year or so points to the need for No. 11, a locomotive a bit larger than No. 9, to provide adequate power for our trains on the new track, which includes a grade that tops out at 4%. Once the all-clear surrounding the pandemic has been given, it is expected that construction of No. 11 will take 4-5 years, depending on the museum’s ability to raise funds and the availability of volunteer labor.
We need your support! The cost of building No. 11 is estimated at $250,000. Although we do have a good head start on the necessary funds, we need additional dollars to complete the locomotive.
Build 11: $50,000 for Building Steam in 2021
The goal of this campaign is to provide funds to keep the momentum going in 2021. Through the support of our friends and followers (and the success of the aforementioned campaigns) we have been able to order critical components, including the main frames, the cylinder half-saddles, drive wheel centers and a variety of smaller parts. As soon as possible, final flanging work for No. 10 will be completed, to be followed immediately with flanging of boiler components for No. 11. Later in 2021, we hope to begin assembly of the entire frame of the locomotive.
We currently estimate that $50,000 each year will be required to purchase materials and keep construction on track. The 2021 effort to raise $50,000 will provide funds needed to move the project forward beyond 2021 -- ensuring that the project does not fall idle due to the lack of resources. This 2021 effort will be fundraising for 2022’s anticipated expenditures.
Build 11: How Can I Help?
Here's an easy way to contribute... set aside $11 each month for No. 11. Or maybe $11 every two weeks ($22/mo.) This provides steady income earmarked for the project, while larger donations are sought. (Recurring donations such as theses can be set up via PayPal or by using your bank's online bill paying service.)
Of course, any amount is welcomed and deeply appreciated. We’re making a limited number of replica builders plates of locomotive 7, available to donors of $1100 or more. We are going into 2021 with a good cushion from our previous efforts, and we continue efforts to attract foundation and corporate donations as well.
Build 11: Volunteers Needed
The WW&F Railway is an entirely volunteer-driven organization with no formal paid staff. Contractors are employed only when necessary to bring specific skills to particular projects. Two members of the engineering team have committed themselves to regular work days at the museum, and there will be ample opportunities for others to assist, as well as additional work sessions when a larger group of helpers will be needed. So, if this project interests you, please contact us to get involved. Depending on the task, work can be done at our Alna, Maine facility, or plenty of work is being done in home shops around the US -- notably in Pennsylvania and Texas!
Build 11: We're Making it Happen... Together!
The Build 11 project had been a “back burner” project at the WW&F Railway for over a decade. Now with funds in hand, and the “Mountain Extension” nearly complete (with its steep and winding grades) it is time to build a locomotive best suited for the railroad.
Now is the time to Build 11. Thank you for helping make that happen.
HighlightsSee all activity277
- 13 claimed
Sometime's called the locomotive's "birth certificate", one-time donors of $1100 will join the "31692 Group" and receive their very own copy of #7's original builder's plate. (Limit of one plate per donor, please - and only a handful of these plates will be made.)
- 18 claimed
- 92 remaining
This miniature recreation of #7's builder's plate is available to one-time donors of $110 or more. Each is "cast" using a 3D printer in bronze-colored plastic using the same digital model the full-size plates were created from. (Limit of one plate per donor, please - and only a 110 of these miniature plates will be made.)
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