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.