The Boothbay Railway Village has recently acquired the last two surviving bridges from Maine’s iconic two-foot railroads. The two bridges had been salvaged by a private owner in the early 2000s but never restored to use. Theses bridges were part of the Harrison Extension of the Bridgton & Saco River Railroad constructed in 1898. The larger of the pair is a fifty-foot iron bridge that spanned Stevens Brook just outside of North Bridgton. It was built by the Berlin Iron Company of East Berlin, Connecticut. Less is known about the source of the smaller twenty-foot span but it originally spanned a smaller brook, its abutments are still standing within the grounds of a campground where a wooded bridge was constructed for sportsmen at some time in the last twenty years.
The bridges are to be restored and located over an existing small brook and man-made pond on the Museum’s grounds. The track expansion project also serves to ease the existing curve entering Freeport Station making operations of our longer, historic rolling stock easier and safer. The bridges join Bridgton & Saco River Coach 11 (Jackson & Sharpe, 1900.) The coach is currently undergoing its own restoration process returning it to its original Baggage & RPO configuration of which it is the only surviving example from the Maine Two-Footers.
The restoration and installation of the last two surviving Maine narrow gauge bridges at the Boothbay Railway Village is an outstanding opportunity to preserve a part of railroad history for future generations. The Museum has long been home to orphans of the two-footers and Maine’s standard gauge railroads including crossing gates, shanties and section houses, stations and rolling stock. These two iron bridges will be right at home here and provide the opportunity to tell a great story of when innovation and industry were transforming New England.
The restoration of the two original Bridgton & Saco River Railroad iron girder bridges is the first step in a larger track expansion project at the Boothbay Railway Village. If you’d like to make a tax-deductible gift to support our efforts, click here and indicated in the comments field that you’d like your gift applied to the Museum’s upcoming capital campaign.
Multi-year pledges are, of course, also welcome. There are even naming opportunities available if you’d like to leave a legacy at the Museum. We’d love to give you a tour and share our plans with you. Contact Margaret to set up a tour.