While going through some model railroad magazines I came across advertisements for Model Rail Scenes, a company that custom builds train layouts. They seemed to focus mainly on three rail, O scale, layouts, and I found their designs to be pretty realistic and evocative of New England scenery. If I ever did build an O scale layout, I would want mine to focus on the north east. So, I called the owner, Brian Inch, just to talk about basic layout concepts and such. I wasn't planning on hiring him to build a layout for me, but he does things I haven't seen elsewhere and I wanted to pick his brain. He did one better, and invited me to visit his showroom and talk with him in person. Great!... except he was 330 miles away in Augusta, Maine.
While that was going on, I had a desire to revisit the WW&F Railway in Alna, Maine. I am a member of the organization and read their newsletters but haven't been there in person since 2017. My wife has wanted to take a long weekend vacation in Maine again, but it has been busy with work and the WW&F is located about 300 miles from where we live.
So, these two Maine destinations sat on my backburner until I just decided to go for it. I would go on a Saturday and visit both in the same day, and then drive home. It was an 11+ hour trip covering almost 700 miles, but I figured I could do it. So, I woke up early last Saturday and left the house at 6:00 AM exactly. I arrived back home at 10:45 PM. But, aside from waiting in line for over 2 hours at Red's Eats for a fried chicken sandwich (which I was told they were out of when I got to the front of the line!) it was a good day. Below are some pictures from my trip.
Brian's display layout is 10x16'. There is a lot packed in it. It is considered an "island" style layout in that you can walk completely around it. I really liked his duck scene.
This bridge took up a lot of space but it wasn't forced into the scene, and that is what made it so realistic. Many bridges are shoehorned in by layout builders who want add them just because they look good without giving thought to whether the rest of the scenery would demand such a bridge be built there.
The center area is part of his old display layout that I actually saw at the Springfield, MA train show a couple of years ago. Even the tree-covered forests look good and they aren't those cheap "puff ball trees" that everyone seems to like to build.
Around the layout area were display shelves filled with O scale trains that would have run on railroads in Maine. It was inspiring to see.
After we talked for a while, I drove to the WW&F Railway. They were running multiple trains which required passing each other at their station stop in Alna Center.
The train pulled by B&SR #7 arrived first and took the straight portion of the dual track.
Then, the other train pulled by WW&F #9 (the train I rode earlier) took the siding. While I can't be sure of it, I think they always kept the train pulled by the B&SR #7 engine on the straight mainline portion of the track to keep it off of the reverse curves leading into and out of the passing siding.
The railyard in Sheepscot was jam packed full of trains, including at least two other steamers and a diesel engine. Part of the equipment belongs to the Maine Narrow Gauge Museum in Portland, ME.
Their machine shop filled with equipment looked great.
Their new engine house was under construction. It will be great to have a nice, safe place to store all of the steam locomotives.
Monson #4, which at one time was abandoned in a scrap yard in Rochester NY, was here on loan. I wish I had my picture taken with it here like I did with Monson #3 in 2020. Maybe next time I come up.
The inside scoop on a passenger car being built from scratch in their shops.
One of only two Maine 2-foot gauge tank cars, this one was restored in the past few years here. I took some more pictures as I would like to build a model of it someday.
My very own T.C.D.A. #65 next to the real thing in Wiscasset, ME. The dock was filled with stuff as part of the clean up for the end of season and this was the best shot I could manage.
Saying goodbye to the railroads in Maine... until next time.