Franklin Countys First News

Wild West Comes to the SR&RLRR

Wild West reenactors coming to Phillips July 20-21.

PHILLIPS - Now that trains are running every weekend through Labor Day, the Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad in Phillips is staging several special events. One, a reprise of the railroad’s popular Wild West Weekend, is set for Saturday and Sunday, July 20-21.

On that weekend, the Wild West, guns a-blazing, returns once more to the SR&RLRR. On that Saturday and Sunday, train passengers on the narrow-gauge will experience the thrill of the West as a gang of desperados attempt to rob the train.

Some of the gang creating the gun smoke are part of Old Wild West Back East, a group of reenactors who come together occasionally to recreate history. And not just Western history; some of those who dress in the garb of the Wild West do other reenactments as well. Norm Harbinson, for instance, one of the organizers of the SR&RLRR Wild West event, reenacts several time periods and personas, and earlier this year, on Saturday, June 8, he and some of his group did a dramatic reenactment at the railroad of the 101st Airborne’s participation in the Normandy Invasion in 1944 – the 75th anniversary of that world-changing event.

So what should train riders in Phillips expect on the SR&RLRR Western weekend?

An attempt to rob the train, certainly, though whether the Marshal and his posse will arrive in time to thwart the attempt is less certain. BuT be assured that gunplay is inevitable and that weapons – loaded with blanks, of course – will be fired.

And why the Wild West in Phillips, Maine?

As the group says, “We don't believe that, just because you live in the eastern United States, you can't recreate the life of the pre-1900 American West. Through reenacting and living history, we experience some of the lifestyles of the men and women who became immortalized in fact, fiction and lore.” As for why at the SR&RLRR in Maine, well, that’s where history also resides.

For some excitement and a taste of another region’s narrow gauge history, come to the Sanders Station on Bridge Street in Phillips on Saturday and Sunday, July 20-21. Trains run on the hour on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fares are $6 for age 13 and up, $2 for under 13, and children 5 or younger ride for free. And if you care to, feel free to wear your Stetson and spurs.

For more information about the railroad’s operating schedule, including other special events, visit the railroad’s web site at

For more information contact: Dick Matthews 639-2630

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3 Responses »

  1. Saw your advertisement thought it was neat I am part of a reinactment group in Payson Arizona The troupe just wanted to say hi

  2. Highly recommend this event! My grandsons loved it.. the train robbery was great!
    The train “barn” itself is amazing!

  3. This event is a lot of fun for both children and adults alike. Last year the Sheriff found himself outnumbered and had to deputize the children riding on the train. Hopefully they will do the same this year, as the kids seemed to love wearing the tin star as deputies.