Tuesday, April 21, 2009

April 2009 Track Blitz

Our 2009 Spring Track Blitz weekend was a huge success. These photos show the work at Thomaston Shop Yard (TSY), where three yard tracks were extended by 66 feet each at add more storage space for rolling stock inside the yard. That project started on Saturday morning and was finished on Sunday morning.

Other photos are the work done at the north "PLUME" passing track switch in Thomaston, where a 50-year old private crossing was removed so that the ties could be replaced. Lots of hand shoveling was necessary there, to break up hard-packed areas so that the old ties could be extracted. Four lengths of 115-lb rail were found to have excessive corrosion damage (from being buried in the crossing for 50 years), and they will have to be replaced. We also replaced 14 track ties and 15 long switch ties. The crossing will be replaced also, using timber rail guards and crushed stone fillers.

Not shown in this group of pictures is the work done by a third crew on Saturday the 18th, this crew surfaced the 700-foot long shop lead track, using track jacks, shovels and a large on-track tamper.

A few other groups were working inside the shop, on projects such as engine work on the EMD 16-cylinder diesel engine, the Central Vermont caboose roof replacement and the on-going restoration of coach 5805.

A lot of work by a lot of dedicated volunteers, and more improvement to the Naugatuck Railroad! Thanks to all who made this happen! Want to be a part of the railroad preservation movement? Consider coming out some weekend to lend a hand and see what we do. Just contact one of our volunteers for more information. Photos by Howard Pincus and Scott Hartley.

Working at PLUME siding...

Reconditioning our EMD 16-cylinder prime mover inside Thomaston Shop.

Working on the Central Vermont caboose inside Thomaston Shop.

Just some of the crew working on PLUME siding.

Grilling lunch outside Thomaston Shop.

Quite the spread for hungry railroaders! Who ordered extra hydraulic oil for their sandwich?

The extended yard tracks at Thomaston Shop were already being put to good use by the end of the weekend.
Extending the yard tracks will increase our storage capacity and bring our restoration projects closer to the shop environment.

Monday, April 13, 2009

April Order Board

The next General Membership Meeting will be held on Saturday, 13 June 2009, at 6:30pm, at the Senior Center, Thomaston Town Hall, on Main Street.

Our second annual Spring Track Weekend will be held on the 18 and 19th of April. The current National Weather Service long-range forecast is for partly cloudy weather both days with temperatures around 62 Saturday, 57 on Sunday – excellent working weather (Thanks, Dave M)! This year’s revised work plans are for three separate projects...

1. Extension of the Thomaston Shop Yard Trackage: Extending Tracks 5, 7 and 9 (the outside tracks) southward from the current end of trackage to allow room for additional equipment. This trackage will be permanent in construction but somewhat temporary in location so it can be adjusted to suit the eventual location of a car barn. Our work will hopefully allow enough space for the secure storage of 4 or more cars and/or locomotives.

2. Completion of the surfacing of the TSY lead track from the main line switch into the yard as far as possible. The lead track sees plenty of action theses days and we hope to complete ballasting and tamping this important piece of our real estate. Our tamping machine will do most of the work, but some jacking and shoveling will be necessary.

3. Main line work at the north end of the Thomaston passing siding. This is another long-in-tooth project that includes replacement of some switch timbers and ties at the private crossing north of the “timber mountain” tie pile. Finishing this will eliminate the slow order at this location, allowing an easier climb up Walcott Hill to the Dam. The slow order is right at the bottom of the hill – preventing an easy assault on the grade under the North Thomaston twin bridges.

Work will begin 8:00am each day, and lunch will be served to those who reserved. Proper safety gear, including a hard hat, safety glasses, gloves and safety-toe boots will be mandatory for all on-track workers. Anyone with spare hard hats please label them with your name and bring them to share with those in need. We’ll try to have some spare earplugs on hand as well. Registration will be very helpful in planning work and food needs. Please register with project leaders Chad Boutet (Boutet.c at neu.edu) or Steve Butterworth (bworth5 at comcast.net) as soon as possible. This project will be a great opportunity to introduce new volunteers to railroad work. If you know anyone who has had some interest, bring them along for a nice day out and a good education!

Bob Harrington reports that all equipment is serviceable with the exception of the IHC front-end loader. The MVD staff, primarily Gene Pfeiffer and Bob, has been very busy preparing the M of W equipment for upcoming work. The tamper recently received servicing from Bob and Scott Paribello.

Thomaston Station - Brent Bette and Matt O’Brien continue work on station displays including the Pullman display and could use some assistance. Contact him at bbette at msn.com. Tony Pratt is assisting with graphics. The station and Comfort Coach have had a good spring-cleaning thanks to Ralph Harris and “others.” Gene Pfeiffer, Walt Hermann, and Lou Beres have also been involved with various station maintenance duties.

Thomaston Shop - Work continues inside the shop with gas piping to heating units largely complete. Don Chepurna continues his steel painting on the roof beams and seems to be over halfway done. The operating department “office” is in operation at the north end of the building – let’s keep this area uncluttered. John Cerreta has completed another set of flange way guards, this set being the middle crossing over the pit track. These flange way guards make for a much safer passage of mobile equipment over the crossings. Jack Tarter, Stewart Fritts, Rich Edling and others continue with electrical utility installation. Conduit sections for both wall and ceiling continue, with some preparation work being done off site. Permanent lighting installation will follow the completion of this wiring. A contractor is in the process of installing an overhead crane the length of the East/Office/13 Track. It will have the capacity for lifting such items as power assemblies from engine blocks.

B&M 1732’s replacement engine was repositioned for the start of its exploratory surgery. Dave K. and Dave Manning removed the first head and the prognosis so far is favorable.

NAUG 2203 remains in service. The loco recently received its 92-day inspection and service and ran well during our Easter weekend service. Some of the tasks attended to included a major overhaul of the rear sanding system, work on the air dryer and spitter valves. Scott Paribello, Dave Manning, Matt Lawson and Carl Weber were on this.

NH 529 has received a “new” auxiliary generator, thanks to Dave K. and Al Pomeroy.

PTM 198, our locomotive crane, is receiving attention to its air system. Timothy Reed, Matt Lawson and others are assisting. Window frame repairs are also underway by Sam Walker.

Coach 5805 continues to see substantial progress. Virtually all the new metal on the south vestibule has been fitted, and the replacement side sheet on the east side has been installed. Not too far behind this is the completion of the west side. The south end outer vestibule metalwork is taking shape, with virtually all the metal in the lower 1-foot section of the end being replaced. The window opening preparation project has about 4 windows remaining to be completed. The ceiling panel joint overlays are now being formed and fitted. The “usual suspects” participated.

CV “van” 4014 has finally occupied the east shop track and owner Al Pomeroy has headed up an overhaul of its roof. Al is looking for some assistance – send an e-mail to info@rmne.org and it will be sent to Al. This caboose saw much RMNE service during the early years.

Future project: Parts salvage on four coaches to be retired. Details to be announced.

Our 42nd Annual Dinner, organized by Nancy Pratt, was another resounding success in many ways. The food was great as was the service, and the ever-popular “Year-In-Review” show, produced by Howard Pincus and Brent Bette was thoroughly enjoyed. Andy and Jen Kromer attended with their recent addition to their family, Clara Anne. Howard Pincus was presented with a genuine electric cattle prod for possible use in crowd control situations in the future by an appreciative Hal Reiser, who is rapidly recovering from a badly broken ankle suffered during one of the recent winter’s nasty ice storms.

Thanks to Bob Harrington, Chad Boutet, Jack Tarter, and Sue Sample for help with this issue. --Bill Sample, Editor

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

April Track Blitz Reminder

As a reminder, we will be holding spring track weekend on April 18 and 19. For those of you who have attended in the past, last year's spring and fall track weekends were a huge success. Excellent attendance and great weather lead to four highly productive work days and the track constructed has gone to good use.

This year, we will be focusing on several smaller projects instead of a single large project. This will hopefully alleviate some of the congestion caused by large numbers of people trying to work within the same area. The tentative list of projects includes extension of the Thomaston Shop yard tracks by constructing temporary "skeleton track" to increase yard capacity, surfacing and ballasting of the yard lead and yard tracks, and track repairs at the Plume & Atwood grade crossing. The plan is to divide crews as necessary to accomplish the work.

Please plan on meeting at Thomaston Shop at 8:00am. All volunteers must have necessary personal protection equipment, including a hard hat, safety-toe boots, gloves, safety glasses, and hearing protection if working around equipment. Lunch will be provided to all volunteers in attendance and work will continue until 5pm.

In order to plan projects and ensure adequate food quantities, it is crucial that you contact Chad Boutet if you plan on attending. If you are interested in a specific project, please specify the project in the email. Thanks, and I look forward to seeing you there!

—Chad Boutet