New book documents Maine’s two-footer railroads

Being published as of Feb. 19, “Maine’s Two-Footer Railroads: The Linwood Moody Collection” by Michael W. Torreson looks at the photographs of Linwood W. Moody.

Beginning in 1932, Moody (1905–1983) documented in photographs and collected artifacts of Maine’s two-footer railroads. A pioneer of railroad photography, his work led to articles in numerous publications such as Railroad Magazine and later culminated in Moody’s 1959 publication “The Maine Two-Footers”. Among his personal effects at the time of his death in 1983 were hundreds of photographs of three of the Maine two-footers — the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway; the Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad; and the Monson Railroad. The state of Maine was unique in regards to its narrow-gauge railroads. Most railroads in the United States have a width of four feet, eight and one half inches between the rails, known as standard gauge. Due to the efforts of George Mansfield, a railroad promoter of the late 1800s, a very narrow gauge of two feet between the rails was successfully developed in the state of Maine.

Torreson, a lifelong resident of Iowa, is charter/life member No. 11 of the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum of Alna,. He is also a longtime member of the 470 Railroad Club; the Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad at Phillips; the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum of Portland; and many other railroad museums around the United States. In 1968, he bought Moody’s book, and that purchase sparked a correspondence from that point until Moody’s passing in 1983.

As the nation’s leading publisher of books of local nonfiction and rarely explored pockets of history, Arcadia Publishing’s mission is to connect people with their past, with their communities and with one another. Arcadia has an extraordinary catalog of 17,000 titles exploring the story of America one city, state, or county at a time, including titles from Arcadia Children’s Books and the 100-year-old stalwart publisher, Pelican Publishing.

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