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Build 11: Why Reconstruct Locomotive No. 7?
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 is in the process of reconstructing Wiscasset Waterville & Farmington Ry steam locomotive No. 7.
WW&F No. 7 (Baldwin construction 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.
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.
Build 11: $50,000 for “Some Assembly Required” in 2023
The first task of 2023 will be to join the rear frame to the rear frame extension casting, utilizing multiple custom made fitted bolts. Next, these frame sections will be attached to the forward frame with yet more custom fitted bolts. Then we’ll install the cylinder half-saddles to the frame. We expect those tasks to encompass the first one third to one half of 2023. That work will be followed by building the pilot truck and the rear truck.
Here's a video where Build 11 team mate Alan Downey shows the
progress on the rear frame as of late 2022:
Through the support of friends and followers (and the success of previous campaigns) we have been able to order a steady flow of critical components, including the cylinder half-saddles, drive wheel centers and a variety of smaller parts. This will continue through 2023.
The 2021 campaign goal was $50,000, which was exceeded by 96%, winding up at over $97,700, including a $25,000 matching grant from an anonymous friend. The 2022 campaign goal was $70,000, which was surpassed by 20%, topping out at $84,279, including a $25,000 matching grant from the Candelaria Fund.
In 2023, as we continue to move forward with the first phase of the locomotive’s assembly, our goal is $50,000. At this time, we do not have a matching grant in the picture, so we’ll have to count on our traditional donors to keep progress moving forward.
Build 11: How Can I Help?
When this project was in its formative stages (way back in 2007) we estimated the total cost would be around $250,000. However, costs have steadily risen, increasing the price of everything we need for the locomotive. In addition, due to the limits of shop space, time, and qualified machinists, we have decided to farm out some of the larger projects to area machine shops. This decision was not taken lightly, but it is necessary to insure the completion of No. 11 within our timeline. Thus, we have increased our estimate to $350,000, so we need your help more than ever.
Over the past 15 years, 290 individuals have contributed more than $300,000 to this effort. One person has made 200 separate donations, while another has contributed monthly since 2015. Several others have been making monthly donations for several years. That is simply amazing!
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. 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 encouraged and deeply appreciated. We still have a limited number of replica builder’s plates of WW&F No. 7, available to donors of $1100 or more in a single donation. We also have a smaller 3-D printed replica plate for your $110 donations. We are going into 2023 with a good cushion from our previous efforts, and we continue to seek foundation and corporate donations as well.
Build 11: What about No. 10?
Locomotive #10 is being rebuilt alongside #11, in order to save resources and consolidate efforts. One of the "Assembly Required" goals for 2023 is to bring #10's rebuild back into the forefront, including the assembly of its boiler and eventual return to service.
Build 11: Why Number 11?
During the common-carrier era (1894-1933), the WW&F Railway (and its predecessors) owned nine locomotives, numbered sequentially 1-9. Except for #9, which is the star of our museum collection, all of these locomotives were destroyed. Number 10 was the first steam locomotive acquired for use on the modern-day WW&F railway, and the new locomotive will be number 11.
The new locomotive will be given the road number 11 for a number of reasons:
- To carry on with our museum’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.
- 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.
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.
Since early 2019, a team of WW&F Railway Museum members with engineering backgrounds has 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 meet regularly 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 steady flow of primary components continues to come from foundries and shops.
A steam locomotive is a direct result of the technology and production methods available at the time of original construction. The final product will be more than an operating facsimile of the original machine, although not necessarily created as easily as possible using modern technology. Instead, the locomotive will, as much as practical, represent the industrial age during 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, to 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 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 45 percent. As mentioned above, both the 2021 and 2022 campaigns surpassed their stated goals. Now we’re on to the next campaign challenge, to raise funds to assemble WW&F No. 11 throughout 2023 and beyond.
With the opening of our Mountain Extension in mid-2022, we confirmed the need for No. 11, a locomotive a bit larger than No. 9, to provide adequate power for our trains on this new trackage, which includes a grade that tops out at 4%. It is expected that construction of No. 11 will take another three years or more, depending on the museum’s ability to raise funds and the availability of volunteer labor.
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 the team is committed to at least one multi-day work session each month. There are 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, although plenty of work is being done in home shops around the US -- notably in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Texas!
Build 11: We're Making it Happen... Together!
The Build 11 project is well established - assembly has now begun and we're building 11 together! With funds in hand, let’s keep moving forward, building a locomotive best suited for the railroad.
Thank you for helping make that happen.
HighlightsSee all activity60
- 1 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.)
- 1 claimed
- 109 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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