BOOTHBAY — The Boothbay Railway Village will host its first Railfan Day to celebrate everything on two rails — and the museum’s 53 years of operations.

The event will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4. 

“We’ve had days before that had a bit of a railroad theme, like Engineer’s Day in 2015, but never a day where we went all out like this where we basically operated everything possible all at once,” said Executive Director Margaret Hoffman. 

The event includes planned operations of two trains both powered by steam locomotives. One will feature the museum’s replica of Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Coach 5 designed by Gus Pratt and built by master boatbuilder Cecil Pierce on Southport in 1964-65 specifically for the museum. 

That passenger train will also include First Class Coach 2, which was built by Jackson & Sharp Co. in Wilmington, Del., in 1903 for Maine’s Franklin & Megantic Railway, which at one time stretched from Strong to Bigelow passing through the heart of Maine’s Carrabasset Valley.  

Seating aboard the restored first-class coach will be offered for free to museum members and to visitors making an additional $5 per person donation to the museum. A freight train will also be operating with Bridgton & Saco River Box Car 51 and Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Caboose 551.

Rides aboard two other unique rail vehicles will also be offered throughout the day. The Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Model T Inspection Car is owned by the Owls Head Transportation Museum and is on extended loan to the railway village for demonstration. The 1925 Model T was converted into a crew car for the 2-foot gauge Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railroad at Phillips in 1925. A motorized inspection car was a significant upgrade from the earlier hand cars that were used to transport tools and workers to locations on the tracks that needed repair.

The 12-passenger rail bus was also built by the Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railroad in 1925. The railroad was experiencing declining passenger counts and hoped the rail bus would be a way to continue operations while limiting their overhead expenses. It’s on loan from the Maine Narrow Gauge Museum in Portland. 

Between train departures at the village there will also be demonstrations of the WW&F Hand Car and a railway velocipede — a human-powered land vehicle with one or more wheels. The village’s hand car dates to 1895 and would have been used by railroad employees to bring their tools and themselves out to areas on the line that needed attention. It is operated by one or two people on either side of the handlebars, alternating sides pushing down on the handlebars to turn a gear which turns the wheels. 

Author and historian Joey Kelley will present illustrated talks and sign copies of his book about the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in the 1847 Boothbay Town Hall. Kelley’s book tells the story of how the railroad survived two world wars, the collapse of local industry and many changes in the demand for rail travel. The museum is home to both the 1871 Thorndike Station and a crossing gate that once guarded Route 1 for the Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad.

Museum volunteers will lead behind-the-scenes workshop tours at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., which will include a visit to the museum’s certified boiler shop. 

The shop is restoring the museum’s own S.D. Warren Co. locomotive No. 2 to its original operating condition, as built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works and shipped to Westbrook in 1895.  

For more than 50 years, the Boothbay Railway Village has been a center of Maine’s railroad history. Its collection includes more than a dozen railroad buildings and structures, a variety of historic rolling stock, engines and other equipment (both in operation and on display), ephemera and other objects. 

All activities except the first-class upgrade are included with museum admission of $14 for adults; $12 for seniors over 65; $7 for children ages 3-18; and free for children under 3.

The museum will be open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., but most activities will take place between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“Maine’s railroad heritage is integrally tied to the growth of industry and Maine’s economy,” Hoffman said. “It’s one part of a fascinating puzzle where technological advances, arts and cultural heritage and our natural landscape evolved into the Maine we know today.”

For more information, visit or call 633-4727.

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