UPCOMING EVENTS & PROJECTS
DAY OUT WITH THOMAS 2008 - VOLUNTEER STAFF NEEDED
President Ralph Harris has most of the arrangements completed for this year’s visit by Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, which remains by far the largest RMNE fund raiser. Nancy Pratt again will be using her organizational skills as the DOWT Crew Dispatcher and is now taking requests for positions. The event will be running 31 July, 1-2 then 7-8-9 August, the usual Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule. Please contact her as soon as possible at her new e-mail address or tel. 203.579.5930 – Thanks!
Communication & Signal DepartmentSteve Butterworth has proposed a summer project for upgrading the line’s appearance by painting the various signal cabinets in the historic New Haven Railroad appearance of white with black trim. Steve suggested a 2 or 3 person crew, equipped with a wire wheel grinder and sander for surface prep, and a portable generator to provide power where it couldn’t be tapped from the signal cabinet. Hopefully we can find – if it exists at a reasonable cost – some type of topcoat that is somewhat graffiti-resistant. (Maybe this project could be extended to include repainting signs and switch stands and covering existing graffiti. – Ed.)
Train and Station Crews NeededWe’re almost at the start of our 2009 operating season and train and station crews are needed! Please call Barb Walcott at 203.525.5290 or 860.283.5790 as soon as possible after her return from vacation around 15 May.
The RMNE Spring Track WeekendOur second annual Spring Track Weekend was held on the 18 and 19th of April. The weather was cooperative and we accomplished much of what we had planned, which included 3 separate track projects running over the weekend – the extension of the three outside yard tracks (the CORRECT numbers are 6-8-10 if the normal system is used) at the Thomaston Shop Yard, surfacing most of the TSY lead track (jacking and tamping), and finishing up tie replacement at the Plume private crossing in Thomaston that had started a year or two ago.
The first two projects went fine, with the 66-foot extension of each yard track being completed by noon on Sunday. The lead track surfacing went even better, with that job being done by the end of the day Saturday. But trouble struck at the Plume project – when the crossing was removed, it was discovered that around 50 years of trapped moisture had eroded the rail bases almost everywhere the rail had been spiked. Ultimately we ended up replacing about 4 rail lengths of 115 lb rail as well as all the ties under and adjacent to the crossing on the two tracks, and this project was extended for an additional two weekends.
We had about 30 members and friends involved that weekend, including several who helped to feed the volunteers. A more detailed report will follow in an upcoming Along the Line.
MOTOR VEHICLE DEPARTMENTThe MVD will be working on the tie handler and tie inserter over the next few weeks, then work will resume on the IHC front-end loader.
LOCOMOTIVES AND ROLLING STOCKNAUG 1732’s future prime mover has been seeing much attention and there is progress to report. Two heads and one power assembly have now been removed and so far there has been no sign of freeze damage. Some new tooling has been acquired and this will allow for additional progress. NAUG 2203 recently spent some time in the shop getting a number of small procedures done. New Haven 529 is being evaluated for a possible truck swap with another one of our locomotives.
Coach 5805 has seen considerable progress on its north vestibule, with most of the new metalwork now being completed. In early May the new patches along the lower rail were being fitted and welded. The rust removal from the outer window frames has been completed. Lower ceiling panel batten fabrication and installation continues. Also, we have recently received a number of photos of car interiors taken from the 1920s to 1940s, showing the original configuration and decoration of the cars, from the Canadian Museum of Science and Industry collection.
Central Vermont caboose ("van") 4014, remains inside the shop where a comprehensive roof overhaul began. A rubber-membrane type covering is being installed, with the cupola being completed as of this writing. Other repair or replacement work included a couple of siding boards, fascia boards, plus some trim on the cupola. A rebuilt chimney assembly also awaits installation. Al is interested in getting some help with this project. The CV 4014 saw much use on the Naugy over the years.
BRIDGES AND BUILDINGS DEPARTMENTThomaston Station - A ditch cleaning and tree cutting program has taken place up near the Plume switch, improving drainage and reducing the chances of dead trees falling onto the line. Walt Hermann spent the better part of a recent Saturday running his chain saw there.
Thomaston Shop - Pre-assembled conduit sections continue to be manufactured by our electricians at ground level. The sections will later be installed in a number of the steel roof support channels to provide needed power for lighting and the heating units. Jack Tarter, Richard Edling and Stewart Fritts.
--Bill Sample, Editor