Sunday, August 30, 2009

August 2009

Day Out with Thomas 2009 has now come and gone and overall things ran smoothly. Business was off a bit from past years; due to the reduced family spending caused by the Great Recession, and to some extent the weather (especially the first Friday). DOWT remains far and away the RMNE’s largest fundraiser.

Following the 2009 visit, crews worked hard to put the Naugatuck Railroad back to its normal configuration. Decorations were removed, fencing taken down, and merchandise tent equipment was returned to storage. A fresh train and engine crew boarded, returned CDOT 2019 to the Thomaston Shop Yard for a well-earned rest after having powered all DOWT trains without any problems. There the 2203 was “fired up” to complete the final switching moves, which returned coach 4990, the BAR caboose and Thomas to the Chase Yard, and brought the 5046, 4980, 4992 and the B&M 472 back to the TSY. Then the 2203 was deadheaded back to Chase to be ready for the following morning, when Thomas would be loaded and sent home to Strasburg, PA.

Weekday Work Opportunities

Gene Pfeiffer continues to spend a lot of time on weekdays on the railroad, usually at the Thomaston Shop. There are a number of projects, primarily Motor Vehicle Department work, which Gene is working on and he could use some help. Another project that Gene has started is digging away the embankment at the end of the shop track leads so that they may be extended a few car lengths southward. He is also continuing work on the parking area at the main gate and the access road. Contact Gene on his cell phone 860.605.0454

Motor Vehicle Department

Hydraulic system repairs have returned both the Dyna-hoe and the tie inserter to service. Gene Pfeiffer has been busy working on an upper parking area as well as continuing to excavate the area south of the two shop tracks to prepare for their extension. Volunteers who normally are associated with the MVD are heavily involved with grounds keeping around the Thomaston Station and Shop Yard area, tending to mowing and planting of flowers. A number of flowering shrubs have appeared near the road gate to the TSY and I’ll bet the rose bushes are descendents of those planted by the New Haven Railroad over 70 years ago! I’m sure Bob Harrington can fill you in on this.

Car Department

On the east side of coach 5805 Sam Walker has posted job sheets describing car department tasks for the next few months for a number of different coaches. Like other departments, the Car Department has been pressed into DOWT service over the past few weekends but now car work is resuming. Contact Sam Walker to help or for other Car Department info.

NH 603, ex Parlor “Forest Hills” is currently in the shop, spending its first days under cover in probably over a half-century. It recently received a quick protective paint job below the letter board, but now awaits some attention to the roof. Using the portable platform lift, the roof will have the loose paint and roof coating removed so that a thorough inspection can be made. We believe the roof is in pretty good shape so hopefully only some priming and coating will be necessary to adequately protect the coach over the next few years. Two styles of New Haven lettering appear on the letter board – this will be traced for future duplication and then the letter board and any other exterior panels will be repainted in the “McGinnis” black and vermillion for now. The car also needs a good interior and vestibule cleaning. Your editor made a first pass on the north vestibule, carting away much rust, dirt, and broken glass. This car’s appearance at the TSY has generated a good amount of interest in placing it in our “restoration queue” as a future project. It would be a nice historic addition to our fleet. NH 610, the former parlor “Philinda,” a stepsister to the 603, also was brought to TSY for a quick graffiti-cover up session. This car’s sides are in poor shape although the roof is good. The car was moved to Chase Yard for storage.

NH W-221 former RPO/baggage/express recently had its underbody power-washed, removing decades of “crud” to allow visual inspection. This car, as the 30 foot Railway Post Office / baggage / express car NH 2789, once was regularly assigned to Winsted-New York (GCT) service and various ideas for refurbishing have been discussed amongst the active members. One proposal has the car refurbished on the exterior to an early 1950s appearance but with the interior set up as an “activity car” suitable for charter or stationary use. It also could see service as a wheelchair accessible car, with gated doorways and the RPO area windows restored.

C4989, the “C” standing for “condemned,” is currently parked on the middle outside track at TSY awaiting more salvage work. See the list taped to the 5805. 5046’s new windows certainly passed the test of DOWT. As the window set was several frames short of what was needed on this car – the windows had been ordered for a different car - the replacement job isn’t quite done yet. Following the completion of the 5805 this car will enjoy a heavy overhaul as it is in need of exterior and some interior work.

Claremont & Concord 50 narrow monitor Caboose will reportedly be getting a trip to the shop for dry-out storage prior to some weatherproofing following DOWT.

Locomotive Department

Alco RS-3 NH 529 until recently was on the pit, a convenient location for a number of tasks taking place on her. With the batteries removed a thorough overhaul of the battery boxes has started, with the engineer’s side box now ready for paint. The fireman’s side is in far better shape so it should be ready for paint following a day’s surface prep and cleaning. The steam generator room under the short hood also enjoyed about an hour’s work of chipping and vacuuming but could use more work to get into the remaining “nooks and crannies.” See Howard Pincus for details.

CDOT 2002 recently received a power wash, getting rid of the “green” appearance caused by facing north in a shadowy environment over a couple of very wet years. CDOT 2019 continues as the standby locomotive when 2203 is out of service for maintenance.

The NAUG 1732 (ex B&M GP9) replacement engine overhaul has taken a few weeks off due to DOWT activities.

NAUG 2203 is currently waiting some attention to repair internal oil leaks on the pit track in the shop.

Special Events Committee

Kevin Meehan reported that DOWT ’09 merchandise department operations went well, and thanked all who helped make this possible, with special thanks to John King, Bruce Hollis, and Mike Bruscino for their preparation work.

A new “Sandwich Board” has been obtained for use at the beginning of the Station Approach road in Thomaston thanks to Tony Pratt.

Vintage Express operations are tentatively scheduled for October 4 and November 8. Additional V/E operations will be considered over the Christmas Season, possibly as part of a revamped Holiday Season program.

Communication & Signal Department

Steve Butterworth will continue the crossing signal repainting program later in the summer after DOWT. Steve says “it’s clean work with no heavy lifting!” Contact Steve for details on how to join his signal appearance upgrade detail.

Maintenance of Way Department

Our 2009 Fall Work Weekend, featuring a major track project, has been tentatively scheduled for 7-8 November. Discussion has begun on the location of the outside yard tracks at the south end of the TSY site.

Membership Meeting

NEXT MEETING The next General Membership Meeting will be held on Saturday, 12 September 2009, at 6:30pm, at the Senior Center, Thomaston Town Hall, on Main Street.

Thanks to the following for their help with this edition: Bob Harrington, Gene Pfeiffer, Barb Walcott, Kevin Meehan, Steve Butterworth, Chad Boutet, and Sue Sample.
—Bill Sample, editor