A Brief History: Starting in the latter part of the 19th century, Maine had a unique system of railroads that ran on rail only two feet apart. From the 1870s until the 1940s, some 200 miles of narrow gauge lines served many of Maine’s smaller communities. Eventually there were five of these railways:
- Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes (1879-1935)
- Bridgton and Saco River (1881-1941)
- Monson (1883-1943)
- Kennebec Central (1890-1929)
- Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington (1894-1933)
Transporting both passengers and freight, they were the smallest narrow gauge common carrier railroads in the United States. They connected the less populated rural areas of Maine with the larger cities and thus were an important part of the economic development of the interior of Maine.
Founding: Founded in 1992, the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company & Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization with a mission to educate the public and preserve historic equipment related to Maine’s two-foot gauge railways. The museum has become a popular visitor attraction for the greater Portland area drawing over 42,000 visitors annually, including tourists and area residents, to experience a remarkable piece of history unique to the state of Maine.