These and many other original photographs of Norway’s history are in the collections of the Norway Museum and Historical Society. We hope that soon we will again be able to make these available to the public. In the meantime, please visit the website at


The Norway Branch Railroad was described in a newspaper article as a railroad with no locomotives, rolling stock or engineers. Financed by a grant from the Town of Norway and individual stock subscriptions, the track covered 1.4 miles and connected the town of Norway to South Paris. Construction began in May of 1879 and was completed for the official opening on January 3, 1880. The completed line was leased to the Grand Trunk Railroad for 99 years for the sum of $1.00 per year. This was a railroad created for the convenience of Norway residents travelling by train.

The first photograph shows the train yard, buildings and station along Beal Street. This was a busy terminal for 86 years. Products shipped included locally produced pulp-wood, lumber, dowel and finish stock, wood flour and shoes. Incoming products included grains, flour and retail merchandise for the stores of the town.

The second photo shows the locomotive that moved cars containing passengers and goods between the main line in South Paris and the Norway terminal beginning in 1895. This type of locomotive was known, rather unflatteringly, as a “Dummy”. It was a wood burning, steam powered locomotive with a cabbage style smoke stack intended to move railway cars from the main line onto sidings and along city streets. What made it different was that it was a locomotive with a wooden box exterior. Why? Well, horses and horse-drawn wagons were everywhere. Horses can become difficult to manage when startled by the unusual. So, the thinking was to hide the locomotive inside a wooden exterior and fool the horses into thinking it was possibly a streetcar. However, it became evident that the horses weren’t frightened by the image as much as they were by the noise the contraption made. Horses are a lot smarter than some people think.

Unfortunately, the “Dummy” in the picture was involved in a disastrous accident during its years on the Norway Branch. On one trip the engineer had allowed two young girls to ride in the cab on the way to South Paris. A front wheel went off the track and the engine rolled into Tannery Brook. The steam pipes burst and, according to a newspaper article, the two girls were badly burned causing the death of one and crippling the other. The engineer and the train’s fireman received less severe injuries.

Passenger service to Norway along the Branch line was discontinued in 1939 although freight service continued. In 1956 a diesel-powered engine began moving freight along the branch line. The Norway Station was closed on October 3, 1965 and demolished in 1967. (This is now the location of Norway Station Apartments.)

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