In the late 19th century, a unique system of railroads developed in Maine. In order to serve a large geographic area with a small population, the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad was born. Trains running on 2’ wide rails carried freight and passengers, providing a connection between the state’s less populated rural areas and its larger cities. Eventually there were five railroads covering 200 miles of track that served the state from the 1870s to the 1940s. As one would guess, the little trains were the economic engine of Maine at the turn of the 20th Century.
Soon after the rails stopped running commercially, Ellis D. Atwood began purchasing the remnants of the rails and cars to use at his amusement park, the Edaville Railroad in Carver, Massachusetts.
Founded in 1992, the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad (MNGRR) is a nonprofit educational organization supported by the services of 100+ volunteers, who lay and maintain the track; inspect, repair, and operate the trains; and help to run the museum. After nearly 20 years in Portland, due to the sale and future redevelopment plans for the building that houses the museum, MNGRR must relocate.
After an extensive search, the group had decided upon Gray, Maine. Gray is home to a portion of another set of historic train tracks known as the ‘Portland Lewiston Interurban Line” that once connected Maine’s two largest cities, Portland and Lewiston. To date MNGRR has procured the right of way to nearly 2 miles of the Interurban Line and is now working to raise the $6,000,000 necessary to build a state of the art museum, restore the rail bed, install the tracks, and construct the necessary train storage and maintenance buildings.