Frequently Asked Questions
UPDATED OCTOBER 14, 2018
Question: Where will she run?
Answer: Downeast Scenic will be 470's permanent home.
Question: What is the affiliation between New England Steam and Downeast Scenic?
Answer: New England Steam Corp. and Downeast Scenic are two entirely separate, but cooperative non-profits. Donations to DESR go to DESR, donations to NESCO go to NESCO.
Question: Will 470 ever be able to run on other railroads?
Answer: As time and funding permits, the plan is to eventually repair the remaining Calais branch grade crossings and mainline to Brewer. This will connect the line from Ellsworth to the Pan Am mainline. Several groups and other New England railroads have expressed a desire to lease 470. If the connection is repaired and replaced, this will be a possibility, but nothing is guaranteed. She'll need plenty of break-in time before going elsewhere.
Question: How long will it take to rebuild 470?
Answer: We rebuild at the speed of our donation and grant base. We put money to work as it is received. Currently, the tender is our focus. 470 requires a tender and this project will mark the completion of a functional, critical part of the operable locomotive. The tender drawings are being finished at this date. The steel work will be completed by Cianbro shops in Pittsfield. The frame has been stripped of paint and will be sandblasted and primed in the spring. The trucks will be disassembled, cleaned, and inspected, indoors, this winter. Priming, painting, lubricating will happen as soon as temperatures allow. The tender fund will meet its complete goal when donations or grant awards in the amount of ~$40,000 come through. In the meantime, we have begun the project. It's a necessity. It must be finished.
Question: What has been completed?
The headlight and tender backup light.
The classification lights.
Cylinder drain cocks,
The turbogenerator finished by professionals at A.C. Electric, in Bangor.
Removal of toxic material left on the locomotive and tender frame.
Erection of an all-weather, enclosed shop building with live rail access.
Question: What's happening right now?
The tender rebuild.
Loosening up the frozen pistons and rods, locked since 1970.
Further removal of paint and collected grime, rocks, rust, broken glass, and sand.
The Westinghouse cross compound pump is in the hands of capable mechanical engineering students, with supervision, at the University of Maine.
Further development of the shop facilities, including electrification (nearly finished).
Removal of remaining components from the frame, including pony truck assembly.
Question: What does the future hold?
Answer: We will actively pursue the drop pit as the next shop expansion, and we will begin stripping the boiler for U/T mapping.
Question: Tell me about memberships, funding, and donations.
Answer: Please join or renew during the current month, unless your personal calendar is otherwise dated. Legacy donations and cash contributions from family foundations and individual bequests make good things happen in a timely manner. New England Steam Corporation is a registered 501(c)(3), and all contributions are tax deductible. Donations of parts, gauges, tools, and railroadiana are always welcomed! Corporate donations, including services and materials, stretch our budget.
Question: When will she run?
Answer: When she is completed and inspected for maximum safe operation. We run at the speed of money. Public support, in every way it's brought forth, moves this project forward. We will be at the Brewer, Maine and Springfield, Mass. train shows.
Question: How long will it take to rebuild Maine Central #470?
Answer: That depends on the scope of work, funding, and availability of materials. If funding is steady and sufficient to what is required to bring the #470 up to exceed regulated minimums, the project is projected to take three to eight years. Our timeline for complete restoration changes with these factors, but we want to get her out as soon as we can! Keep an eye on the news section of this website for details.
Question: How can I join NESCo?
Answer: It's easy, just click here to fill out the online application. Once you have joined, we'll contact you and schedule your safety class. All members must take and pass our mandatory safety class in order to work on any project.
Question: What condition is Maine Central #470 in today?
Answer: In spite of 60 years of outdoor display, a great deal of #470's boiler and firebox appear to be solid. The locomotive may have been thoroughly shopped prior to her final run in 1954. Inspection of the firebox and smokebox reveal little internal wear.
Question: Why not simply paint #470, make it look presentable, and continue to display it?
Answer: Maine Central #470 is a monument to the region's growth and transportation history, constructed for motion and moving passengers. There is no other mainline passenger steam locomotive in northern New England. Rebuilding #470 stops the slow corrosive rusting process and repairs damage brought about from time, weather, and vandalism. This locomotive is a treasure of Maine history, built for speed and born to run. Without a rebuild, it can not be run again, and corrosion will continue unabated.
Question: Where will the locomotive be operated?
Answer: There are many miles of railroad track within Maine and on former Maine Central tracks in northern New England where #470 can be operated. Once the locomotive is ready to fire, rail operations will be arranged. See our operations page for more information.
Question: Who will rebuild the locomotive?
Answer: The locomotive will be rebuilt in Maine by a Maine company (or companies) yet to be determined. Once completed, the locomotive will be tested and broken in on the Downeast Scenic Railroad tourist line. Our rebuild team includes a mechanical engineer, a machinist, as well as a civil engineer and student civil engineer. Contractors and volunteers will be certified and cleared by the CMO. The rebuild team is experienced with steam locomotive restoration and operation, and will be advised by Scott Lindsay of Steam Operations Corporation, as required
Question: Where will the locomotive be kept, once rebuilt?
Answer: #470 will be call Ellsworth her "home" for the foreseeable future. We are working on a plan for a maintenance facility where we can house and maintain #470.
Question: What does this investment do for Maine?
Answer: Maine Central #470 is the kind of home-grown economic shot in the arm that this state needs at this time. Operating a steam locomotive between spring and summer will pump hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Maine economy. Motels, restaurants, service stations, retail shops, and other independent small businesses will see a large influx of business along the locomotive's advertised route. The fares of paying passengers will realize sufficient funds to pay for the leasing the rail time and pay trained personnel to escort passengers safely while providing services on board. Mainline steam excursion trains can earn as much as $60,000 on a single round trip. For more information on potential earnings from steam excursions, please read this informative article on excursions pulled by Nickel Plate #765.
Question: What can I do to help speed the rebuild process?
Answer: If you are a business owner, consider underwriting a significant investment in steel. The cab must be replaced, the boiler tubes and superheater flues need to be removed and replaced. The locomotive tender requires a new tank. Conversion of the tender axles to roller bearings would enhance operation and reliability. If you represent a company with heavy equipment capabilities, contact our board to discuss options for "in kind" donations. As an individual, let your state representatives know you support mainline live steam history in your state. Write a check or use the PayPal link to donate whatever amount with which you are comfortable.
Question: How can I learn more?
Answer: Search this site or email us with specific questions. If you represent a charitable organization, email us to request a presentation on why this is critical to preservation in Maine, why it is educationally wise, and how it will help build the Maine economy.