When I was a boy, I would often lie awake at night and listen for the distant whistle of trains at the crossing not far from my boyhood home. It was little wonder then, particularly with the building of an HO gauge model train layout in my basement by my Father, that I became interested in trains.
When it was time for Kindergarten, Model Railroader Magazine issues were my preferred free reading choice and I soon tore through everything the school and local public libraries had available. Although my interest in trains has ebbed and flowed over the years, its never been completely forgotten.
Eventually I discovered real trains – a major event in my relatively young life (4th grade) was the discovery of a book entitled ‘The Maine Two-Footers’ by Linwood W. Moody. Prior to this I had no knowledge of the two-foot gauge railroads that once ran in a variety of places around Maine. This was a revelation – and I read that book more times than I can count. G Gauge model railroading equipment was released in Maine two-foot paint schemes about that time and I was very fortunate to have some pieces show up under the Christmas tree. This did nothing but fan the flames of my Narrow (Gauge!) Mind and when I began to grow older and decide to volunteer at railroad museums – it was the Narrow Gauge ones that I started with. Another Christmas present one year was a Life Membership at the Wiscasset Waterville and Farmington Railway and Museum – a relatively new non-profit at the time. A few years later, I began training as a train crew member of the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad in Portland, Maine. Eventually, I would be qualified as an Engineer on #1, a 23 ton Diesel locomotive.
Photo by David Graham – Thanks Dave!
Closer to home, I became involved with the City Point Central, in Belfast Maine and one of the now defunct organizations that was running the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad based in Unity, Maine. It was on the rails of the ‘Bull Moose’ that I discovered the fun of running railroad motor cars. Between the first B&ML I volunteered for and the next administration that I worked for, I purchased a Fairmont M-9 section car. Currently undergoing restoration, it has been identified as an ex Bangor and Aroostook car, number M19.
Thanks to Neil MacDonald for providing this shot!