Narrow Gauge railroad author to sign new book in Farmington

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FARMINGTON — Author Guy Rioux will sign copies of volume 2 of “The Franklin County Narrow Gauges … The Next Stop is Phillips” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, at the Octagon House at 126 High St.

He will also sign copies of volume one, “The Franklin County Narrow Gauges … The Next Stop is Rangeley.”

Volume 2 covers the history of the Sandy River railroad from Farmington to Phillips from 1878 to 1909. It is an extensive historical overview with over 150 black and white photos and maps. The book contains court records, Sandy River and Maine Central railroad documents, diaries, family records, and over 1,000 quotes.

There is a list of locations along the Sandy River, including a place the crews called the “haunted house.” As with volume one, GPS coordinates of locations are listed.

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The story of Maine’s first two-foot railroad covers historical highlights including:

* The history of Bedford & Billerica railroad is intertwined as it relates to the Sandy River railroad in how it came to Franklin County, and its construction in 1879.

* A detailed car graph starting in 1879 that lists each time a car was built or an order was placed by the Sandy River railroad.

* A chapter titled “The Franklin County Civil War: North vs. South” about a fight for control of the Sandy River railroad stock. The fight ripped apart the original group who built the Sandy River railroad.

* A chapter titled “The Battle for Strong” about a lawsuit that is used as case law today. In this case, the Sandy River railroad sued a sitting director and lost. This was how the Sandy River railroad right of way in Strong village was moved south in October 1879.

* The railroad buildings in Phillips yard, such as the 1880 repair shop.

* The 44-foot locomotive No. 2 bought by the Sandy River railroad in 1893.

* The 1897 death of a Sandy River railroad engineer at Farmington, based on new information.

The book is available at SugarWood Gallery at 248 Broadway in Farmington with all proceeds benefiting the Farmington Historical Society, which operates the Octagon House. The book can be ordered for shipping by calling 207-778-9105.

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