How do you get a 13,000 lb narrow gauge reefer car off a photo freight and onto a truck? The stock answer is very carefully!
As great as it looks out on the rails, the WW&F Museum's new Turner Centre Reefer Car wasn't built for photo freights. It was built primarily to act as a display in the nearby Village of Wiscasset, and to lure passers-by on US Rt 1 into taking a short ride to Alna to visit the museum. In order to accomplish her mission, the reefer car needed to come off the rails in Alna and be put on a flat-bed trailer before heading south. Museum crews used Diesel Locomotive #52 to take the the car off the morning photo freight and set it at the end of a spur track. There, the riggers had built an inclined section of track, running from the spur all the way up onto the trailer. A power winch on the trailer would then pull the car off the spur and up the inclined track. The trickiest part would be the transition from the spur to the incline. For that, a small fixture was hastily constructed by the museum staff to smooth the transition and hold the two tracks in perfect alignment.
This photo depicts the critical moment when the lead truck made the transition. The steel cable is completely taut. The man with the blue hat looking very concerned is WW&F CMO Jason Lamontagne. Ever so slowly, the car made the perilous climb up onto the trailer with museum staffers placing trigs behind the wheels as she went. You can see WW&F Museum President Steve Zuppa at the back of the car, looking like he's pushing it all by his lonesome. In just about 20 minutes, the car was in place, and the riggers were tying it down for the ride to Wiscasset.