Taking an ice-cold drink on an ice-cold day. During a brief break between the Christmas Trains to Alna Center, Fireman Wes Carpenter tops the cistern on the 1891-vintage WW&F Locomotive #9 from the water tank at the north end of the Sheepscot Yard. Back in the early years of the 20th century, when the original WW&F was in operation, water tanks such as the one pictured here typically had some sort of coal-fired stove inside the building to keep the actual tank from freezing in the winter. Since the museum currently operates mostly during the warmer months, the Sheepscot Tank does not presently have such a heater and is drained right after the Victorian Christmas Event. The museum crew has been discussing possible enhancements to this facility to provide heat for potential winter operations in the future.
Those who have been following the WW&F operation for the last few years may notice something rather different about the scene pictured above. For the entire history of the WW&F Museum, all steam locomotives have so far faced south. They were placed that way when they arrived on these rails and there was no easy way to turn them. That all changed this past fall, with the completion of a brand new turntable adjacent to the shop building. Those familiar with the Sheepscot Yard will note that in this photo, #9 is facing north. On this particular day, the change was made for operational reasons. The line is up-grade from Sheepscot to Alna Center and believe it or not, the sander pipes on this engine are positioned in front of the front set of drivers. That means that both sets of drivers get sand running forward, but NONE get sand when she runs in reverse. It was (oddly) designed that way by the Portland Company back in 1891, and when the locomotive was recently restored by the museum, it was restored to its as-built configuration.