Saturday, May 10, 2008

Photos from May Track Blitz

Our Track Blitz helped expand the yard trackage around the Thomaston Shop complex, thanks to the hard work of the many RMNE volunteers who turned out for the weekend. As we bring more of our collection to "home rails," we need to expand our capacity for storage. This weekend in May was an excellent start! A hearty thank you to everyone who helped out.

--All photos by Howard Pincus.

Friday, May 9, 2008

RMNE Track Weekend a Great Success

Thanks to good organization by Steve Butterworth and Chad Boutet, and also some good promotion by Steve, Chad and others, the RMNE’s first Track Blitz Weekend was a great success. Modeled on the successful track-oriented events held for several years now twice a year on the 2-foot gauge Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway in Maine, the RMNE event also included some additional activities including the moving of the former Waterville ticket office from East Litchfield to Thomaston for use in the upcoming Day Out With Thomas event, and work on NH 529 and coach 5805. And also like the WW&F, close attention was paid to keeping the “troops” well fed. The food included sausage and peppers, chili, baked beans, various grilled items and homemade cookies. The Food Team included Pat Butterworth, Al Galanty, Paul Lambert, and Jim Hinman.

Trackwork included the completion of the first outside yard track southward to opposite the south end of the shop building and the second track southward to the beginning point of the final yard switch. For the time being, the second track will have enough room to store some track equipment. Remember Louis Edmond’s goal of driving 200 spikes? Well, that goal was left in the dust as Louis almost doubled that amount, driving a total of 373 over the weekend! With the new track structure basically complete, ballast was spread to the top of the ties along most of the new trackage, using engine 42 and one of the hoppers. Scott Paribello led a tamping team, using the ballast tamper, along the shop yard lead.

A mobile track crew consisting of Howard Pincus, Al Pomeroy, Steve Butterworth, Chad Boutet, and Bob Eberheim worked their way north, inspecting the track to Vista Drive in Torrington, clearing some minor fallen rock in the north cut and some fallen trees along the way. This cleared the way for a work train consisting of engine 2203, Portland Terminal crane PTM 198, and a gondola to run northward to East Litchfield to collect the former Waterville ticket office and bring it to the Thomaston station grounds. Bob’s rigging talents came in handy that weekend, assisting with tree removal, sign retrieval and later the handling of the “portable ticket office.”

Other equipment work that took place included repairs to the clamshell bucket used by crane PTM 198 and work under the direction of Andy Kromer on NH 529, resurrecting the locomotive from its winter storage period. A crew headed by Sam Walker continued their work on coach 5805 inside the shop.

Especially for a first time event, we had a good turnout with 31 participants on Saturday and around 20 on Sunday.
--Bill Sample

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Thomaston Shop Report

Inside the shop we will continue with the fitting-out of the building utilities. Electrical work – conduit running, wiring, and fixture installation – will continue under the direction of Stewart Fritts and Jack Tarter. Plywood installation, now virtually complete on about half the building, will continue. Pegboards and workbenches will be installed where planned. Water service and shop air piping installation are planned for later this year. The installation of the overhead heating system continues.

NAUG 2203 is slated for some shop time during the week of May 12, with a radiator leak repair and various engine adjustments being planned. Andy Kromer will be working during some of that week – contact him for information and details. NH 529 will have some more “coming out of hibernation” work performed, and a 92-day inspection and service is due this month. RMNE 42 continues to see service as a shop switcher, and the former HELCO/Yankee Gas 25-tonner is due for some brake work.

Rolling Stock
Coach 5805 continues to see progress each Saturday at the TSY under the direction of Sam Walker. Window shade boxes and other trim stripping continue but are nearing completion. Other projects include the completion of priming of the inner lower walls and insulation installation and preparing the battery boxes to receive a heavy-duty gasoline powered generator. More help is always welcome.

Department of Motor Vehicles
Bob Harrington reports that the MVD continues with the maintenance of the road vehicle fleet and continues with support to various maintenance projects of other departments. Having this equipment serviceable is somewhat behind the scenes work that is much appreciated by the planners of such projects as the Track Blitz Weekend.

Maintenance of Way
The next step in TSY track construction will likely be the construction of the final yard switch, which will allow access to the third outside track. Various main line projects are also in the planning stage.
--Bill Sample