The Great Little Trains of Maine
In late July of 2021, my friend Dan Cupper called me and said "Let's go to Maine." I had wanted to visit the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington for a few years now, after a few friends have gone and come back as devoted (not to say rabid) fans of the two-foot-gauge line. Once upon a time, Maine had five two-foot railroads of various lengths, all built in the last quarter of the 19th century and all abandoned by the middle of World War II; a surprising amount of equipment survived, and the original Edaville Railroad in Massachusetts kept the legend alive for more than forty years. Since shortly before the turn of the 21st century, two non-profit groups have repatriated much of the rolling stock from Edaville and elsewhere, and the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum and the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum bring the heyday of the two-footers back to life -- the W. W. & F. on a small portion of the original right-of-way, amazingly enough.
At almost exactly 500 miles from my home in Bloomsburg, Pa., the W. W. & F. did not make for an easy weekend trip -- but with Dan and me sharing the driving, we went up on a Friday, came back on a Sunday, and had one of the best Saturdays ever at a place that felt like a combination of "Field of Dreams" and "Brigadoon" -- the wonderfulness founded on the wonderful people whom we met, a remarkable collection of volunteers of all ages who share the vision of reanimating a railroad, complete with stations and shops and turntables, that had for all practical purposes vanished before any of their births. Amazing.
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