The former Monson locomotive #3, seen here at the Portland Narrow Gauge Museum in 1997 is a typical Maine Two Foot locomotive. The narrowness of two foot gauge track is evident at the feet of the onlookers.
What are “the Maine Two Footers”?
Most enthusiasts would recognise them as a group of two foot gauge railroads that were built in Maine from the 1880’s onwards, and operated as common carriers to their local communities until as late as the 1940’s.
They were characterised by using the same locomotives designs, and the same suppliers for rolling stock initially, and later worked co-operatively to develop better and larger locomotives. A number of locomotives and coaches changed lines at various stages of their careers.
The lines are;-
B&SR; – Bridgton and Saco River (after 1927 Bridgton and Harrison B&H)
KC – Kennebec Central
Monson – The Monson
SR&RL – Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes (formerly Sandy River, Franklin & Megantic, Phillips & Rangeley, Eustis) with two associated lines Madrid RR, Kingfield & Dead River RR which were both developed to handle lumber interest in the area, but never had equipment of their own.
WW&F – Wiscasset Waterville and Farmington (formerly Wiscasset & Quebec).
The first two foot gauge common carrier railroad built on the East Coast was the ill fated Billerica & Bedford railroad in Massachusetts which started the interest in two foot railroads but only operated for nine months, before the equipment was sold to the then building Sandy River Railroad.
A lot of the equipment was to later return to Massachusetts when the remnants of the Bridgton and Harrison line and two Monson locomotives plus other various equipment were collected at South Carver to form the Edaville Railroad, which ran from 1947 until initial closure in 1993.
In line with most enthusiasts, this FAQ’s will use the term “the Maine Two Footers” to refer to and include all the above named lines. Further information on these lines can be obtained from a number of sources.
For more information about the B&SR locomotives click here.
For more information about the KC locomotives click here.
For more information about the Monson locomotives click here.
For more information about the SR&RL locomotives click here.
For more information about the WW&F locomotives click here.
Listed below are some resources currently available on the internet;-
Maine, an Encyclopedia
Has a useful map showing the locations of all of the Maine Two Footers (click on image to enlarge in your browser). Some of the historical facts presented about the SR&RL are believed to be suspect.
Bridgton Historical Society
B&SR Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridgton_and_Saco_River_Railroad
Kennebec Central Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kennebec_Central_Railroad
Monson Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monson_Railroad
Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad http://srrl-rr.org/
SR&RL Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_River_and_Rangeley_Lakes_Railroad
WW&F Railway Museum http://www.wwfry.org/
WW&FR Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiscasset,_Waterville_and_Farmington_Railway
Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum http://www.mainenarrowgauge.org/
Wikipedia page: Narrow Gauge railroads in Maine
Current Edaville theme park site
Brian Carter has a very useful website about the Maine Two Footers at;- http://www.narrowgauge.iform.com.au/m2f.html
Written by Terry Smith 11-Aug-2013, updated 02-03-2015.