Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Work continues on the Naugy...

This past weekend was a busy weekend on RMNE's Naugatuck Railroad. Saturday dawned the second weekend of our "Santa Express" train season. As is customary, Santa and Mrs. Claus made special appearances on the trains. Work also continued in the shop both Saturday and Sunday and the annual membership dinner was Saturday evening.

After torrential rains associated with the storm that caused much destruction in the form of large amounts of ice across central and northern New England, the Naugatuck River was well above normal levels on Saturday. Those who rode the train Saturday had the opportunity to see Thomaston Dam hard at work controlling the flow of water down the river. This dam was put in place to help prevent flooding from occurring in the valley, similar to the devastating flood in the 1950s.

You can see from the pictures that there was a large volume of water flowing through the dam's flood gates. It was definitely quite a sight! Because of the cold temperatures Saturday, the mist from the raging torrent of water even coated the trees nearby in ice making for quite a winter scene.

It was much warmer inside however, where work continued on the shop, and on coach 5805. The north buffer plate of 5805 was removed for repair and restoration.

The next photo shows a copy of a builder's photo of coach 5800, of the same group as 5805. The picture is posted on 5805 as "inspiration". There were 6 cars in this group, built Dec. 1923: 5800 through 5805. 5803 still exists at a railway museum in Canada.

The final photo shows member Dawn Sampson using an air-powered needle scaler to chip off old paint, rust, dirt on the underframe and trucks of coach 5805.

Monday, December 8, 2008

December Order Board

On the 23rd of November the RMNE had a table and informational display at the Cheshire High School Ram Band Train Show. The show, held twice a year, is one of the oldest and most popular train shows in southern New England. Kevin Meehan, Lisa Drazen, Tony and Nancy Pratt, and Bill and Sue Sample staffed the exhibit, which featured a varied selection of RMNE and Naugatuck Railroad photographs.

Three special trains were operated on Saturday 29 November from Thomaston to the Reynolds Bridge Station site north of the Whyco crossing. Although patronage was off a bit from last year, we still carried over 260 passengers and the operation went smoothly.


December 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21 – “Holiday Express” service trains from Thomaston. A group that included Celeste Echlin, Scott Hartley, Joe Wiener, and others has decorated the coaches.

January 24 & 25th 2009 – Amherst Railway Society’s Railroad Hobby Show, West Springfield, MA. Al Galanty is in the process of registering the RMNE, and the 2009 show requires pre-registration of participating members.

The project for the reconstruction of the Huntingdon Avenue passing siding has now reached the halfway point, working a few rail lengths at a time. A work train will be run soon to distribute additional rail and ties. The light 74 and 78 pound rail is being replaced by 107-pound (per yard) rail, the same size as most of the main line.

A work train to Torrington was run in late November, with crane W198 picking up scrap rail along the line. The rail, which was no longer suitable for main line use, will be used for yard trackage if possible.

Ballast that had been dumped on the new yard tracks at the Thomaston Shop Yard (TSY) is being “hand regulated” by various members – your editor recently saw Hal Reiser and Al Pomeroy on this job. Tamping has not yet taken place as some work is needed on the tamper before it can return to full service, and most likely this won’t take place until spring.

Over the winter it is hoped to run a few work trains along the south end of the line, performing some lineside brush cutting and trash cleanup.

The TSY track-numbering proposal has been revisited. Sounds like the official numbers will start at the fence along the main line (the west side of the yard) with track 6, 8, and 10 in the outside yard, and the tracks that run through the shop will be numbered 12 (pit) and 14 ([future] office side), the easternmost track. Borrowing a term from Danbury, track 10 has been referred to as the “night coach track,” named after the storage spur that once was located behind the roundhouse there. Track 10 is where our passenger consist is usually kept when not in use.

Work continues on the rebuilding of the Cummins-powered front-end loader and it is hope to have it up and running and out of the shop within a few months. A used scissors-type man-lift has been obtained so that work can continue on the higher elevations inside the shop. It’s engine is running well on gasoline, next step will to be getting it to run on propane so it can safely be used indoors.

Naugatuck Railroad U23B 2203 will be the regularly assigned locomotive through the end of the year. Later in the month, the NH 529 will be drained and winterized, and RMNE's 45-tonner will be getting an oil change if time permits.

A major milestone has been reached with the installation of a 6500-watt generator in one of the battery boxes of coach 4980. This is a temporary location for this season, to be replaced by a skid mounting system that will be installed in the battery boxes of coaches 5046 and 5805. The machine, designed for recreational vehicle use, is so quiet that when running under a load it merely sounded like a slight air leak! Sam Walker, Louis Edmonds, and Howard Pincus handled the installation. Work in coach 5805 continues to progress, with most of the steel replacement now fitted, welded and prime coated. The curved, lower deck ceiling panels are now being manufactured.

Thanks to Bob Harrington, Celeste Echlin, Kevin Meehan, Barb Walcott and Sue Sample for help with this issue.
--Bill Sample

We go through snow

On the Naugatuck Railroad, we go, snow or no!

This past weekend visitors to the Naugy enjoyed the first 2 days of our annual Santa Express trains. The Santa Express trains continue for the next 2 weekends (Dec. 13-14 and Dec. 20-21). The trains depart the Thomaston station at noon and 2 PM.

The Santa Express train is a departure from the norm for anyone who rides. The train is decorated for the holiday season, and thanks to the tireless work of our volunteers a new electrical generator was installed under the train allowing the coaches to be reliably and pleasantly warm on a cold winter afternoon.

Aside from the creature comforts on the train, kids of all ages can enjoy a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus and their elves, who have graciously accepted our invitation to join us for all of our Santa Express trains. Tickets, and more information is available by following this link. Start the holiday season by dropping by the Naugy for a ride with us!

As a taste of winter to come, a snow squall during the middle of the day on this past Sunday helped create these wintry images and get everyone on the train (including the crew!) into the holiday spirit. All photos from December 7. It's starting to feel like winter around here! Photos by Howard Pincus and Scott Hartley.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Light Up Thomaston

The Naugatuck Railroad ran special trains in coordination with the annual "Light Up Thomaston" celebration. Photos by Howard Pincus