Monday, July 27, 2009
While Metro-North and CDOT officially retired the former New Haven FL9's this past winter from commuter train service, the classic cab units continue to serve Connecticut! On Sunday, July 26, former CDOT 2019 (former NH 2049) was on the southbound lead of the regular Naugatuck Railroad trains, with NAUG 2203 as trailing unit. The FL9s STILL handle revenue passenger trains in Connecticut! Photos provided by Howard Pincus.
at 12:40 PM
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
DAY OUT WITH THOMAS 2009 - 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 the largest fund raiser for the Railroad Museum of New England. 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 203.578.5930. Thanks!
Train and Station Crews URGENTLY Needed
We’re well into our 2009 operating season and train and station crews are needed! Please call Barb Walcott at 203.525.5290 or 860.283.5790 so that she doesn’t have to spend all her time tracking down the necessary staff.
Locomotives and Rolling Stock
NH (ex-CDOT) 2019 is now back in service and will primarily be a back up engine when the 2203 is down for maintenance. The loco will likely see service on the DOWT runs this year. It will be the only FL9 in operation in Connecticut this summer now that the remaining CDOT –owned locomotives are now stored and no longer used by Metro-North.
Coach 5046’s window replacement project continues with most new windows installed as of mid July. Contact Sam Walker to help or for other Car Department information.
Recently coaches NH 603 and 610 (named “Forest Hills” and “Philinda” from their parlor car days) recently were brought up to Thomaston Shop for some cosmetic work before being placed inside the Chase Yard for long term storage. The surprisingly good condition of the 603’s interior was noted by many, and having it moved up in the restoration queue is a possibility should there be commitment and support.
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.
Car Department Job Sheets Posted
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. Here are some of the items listed: 5805 – complete welding along west side of carbody, body filler to finish seam for priming. Fill hex-head bolts, finish other bolt installation. Complete installation of step hanger brackets. Complete riveting of n/w end sheet, diaphragm mounting area and corner post.
C4989 – remove salvageable windows; remove lift hardware from scrap window frames. Remove northwest trap and any remaining trap hardware.
Locomotive Department Work Needed
NH 529 – batteries have been removed so this is a good chance to vacuum battery boxes, prep and repaint so the next set of batteries will have a good home. Contact Howard Pincus for more information about this project.
Kevin Meehan reports that we have received the donation of a large chest-type freezer from Dick “Foreman Yes” Lathrop. A big thank you from all of us that will be enjoying the refreshment made possible by the new freezer.
—Bill Sample, Editor
at 3:17 PM
Friday, July 17, 2009
The Yellow Fleet was the name given to a group of fourteen ships trapped in the Suez Canal (in the Great Bitter Lake section) from 1967 to 1975 as a result of the Six-Day War. The name derived from their yellow appearance as they were increasingly covered in desert sand swept onboard. WAIT! Stop right there!! Not that yellow fleet...
The "Yellow Fleet" is the informal name given to the collection of support equipment, both rubber tired and not, that enables the Railroad Museum of New England to support the goals of preservation and interpretation along with the operation of the railroad. Included are rubber tired motor vehicles, "hi-rail" equipment (can operate on road or rail), construction machinery and track equipment. Most happen to be painted... guess what color?
The most senior member of this diverse group is an item known locally as the "boom truck." A 1973 Ford C-700 heavy duty truck chassis with a hydraulic crane mounted behind the cab and a length of stake body. This truck was donated by the local electric utility many, many moons ago. Those of us with enough whiskers can recall that this truck figured prominently in the RMNE’s first major track project, which was the construction of Saybrook Yard. To this day, the truck has a high degree of usefulness and can be quickly set up for many types of lifting projects. Back in the day, it was even known to leave home territory and travel over the road for various resource recovery efforts.
By the way, we don’t recall who christened it the "boom truck." However, a boom is a part of a crane, the part of that actually positions the hoist over the load to be picked. The passage of time, along with the continual expansion of the yellow fleet, has created some difficulties when comes to maintaining all this stuff. Not enough time, not enough money. On the upside, there happens to be a dedicated maintenance crew consisting of Gene Pfeiffer and Bob Harrington. Two men with two lifetimes’ worth of experience dealing with this type of stuff. Not only that, but they have commercial drivers licenses (CDL) and can legally drive the heavier items on public roads. Sounds like a match made in heaven, right?
It can be argued that a piece of machinery has a personality of its own. The boom truck, suffice to say, is sorta loud, but she tends to go about her business without too much fanfare. Never been much of a hangar queen. Well, a few Saturdays past, folks were working in about the shop, puttering away on various things and all of a sudden, a loud BOOM was heard. We were outside, rummaging inside a boxcar and quicky ran into the shop to investigate. Nothing seems to be amiss-so we circled around and went back to what we doing and then we saw it. There was Gene, cigartte butt dangling out of his mouth, pointing down at the ground at some pieces of black plastic.
I don’t recall exactly, but his words were something like, "The $#%! battery blew up." Moving closer for a look, there were the remains of the battery sitting under the cab. The rest of the battery was scattered about on the ground. The boom truck went BOOM! As no one was hurt, we turned to the hows and whys of the situation. In very detailed fashion, Gene detailed the events of the day. Long and the short of it was that she had been misbehavin’ all day, and choose to punctuate the end of her day with an explosion. A more technical explanation: the truck had been overcharging for quite a while, boiled all of the water out of the sealed battery and then the battery exploded.
The next Monday, Gene returned to the scene of the crime, with a fresh battery in tow. One twist of the key later, the truck returned to life with the usual roar. Easy enough, right? Not so fast. Now, it was time to get down to brass tacks and examine the defective battery charging system. Out comes the voltmeter, touch test probes here, touch probes there. Yes-No-YESSS! Appears to be the voltage regulator. Back to the "office" to locate the part.
The office (actually Gene’s kitchen) is where much of the hard stuff takes place. That is, locating the needed part at a price that the group is able to pay. Endless numbers of cell phone calls (many of them dead ends), note taking, looking through repair manuals and parts books. All done during business hours, during the day. Navigating the long trail, in search of the solution.
In this case, the trail is going to lead to Cheshire Ford because parts for heavy duty vehicles such as the boom truck aren’t carried at the local auto parts store. Gene made the 40 mile journey down to Chesire Ford. As Gene is apt to do, he chatted up the parts guy, who turned out to be well schooled in these vehicles. Gene learned that there were three variations of this truck chassis. One was equipped with an auger to drill holes for utility poles, one had a grapple to set the poles and the third (our old ‘gal) was used to lift and mount the transformers on the pole. Unknown to anybody but Clem, the boom truck was equipped with a high-output alternator used to power lights (removed before we obtained the truck) located on the boom. A knowlegable parts guy always helps things along, along with selecting the correct part the first time out.
After some money changed hands, a voltage regulator (stocked in Florida) and a priming switch (stocked in Pennsylvania) were ordered. Forty miles back to Genes’ place and on to other matters. A few days later, another forty miles to Chesire to pick the stuff up-and still another forty miles back.
The following Saturday, Gene and Bob got set up to make the old gal healthy again. The new voltage regulator was nothing but a simple swap. The priming switch turned out to be a bit of a challenge, but was eventually doped out and installed. After working the priming switch, the truck started easily, as it should have. Not only that, but the charging ammeter settled down to the middle position, instead of showing maximum charge. That problem was solved. For now, the boom truck is good to go. Not that she is perfect. There is a clutch slave cylinder to be changed, and leaks to be addressed in certain hydraulic cylinders. In due time, Gene will take care of those problems, too, no doubt about it!
at 12:00 PM
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Restoration work continues on our ex-Canadian National heavyweight coaches. These pictures show museum volunteers Jon Chase and Dan Ditullio installing rivets in new end sheets on coach 5805. The process involves heating the rivets, driving and bucking them (with two rivet guns), inserting the red-hot rivet with rivet tongs and getting the air-powered rivet gun onto the head and driving the rivet. These photos were provided by Howard Pincus.
at 10:35 AM
Sunday, July 5, 2009
This 1884 timetable documents Naugatuck Railroad service between Bridgeport and Winsted, about twenty years before control was assumed by the New Haven. Notice that both freight and passenger trains are shown in the schedule, as well as the "Watertown Division," showing service between Watertown and Waterbury. Today's Naugatuck Railroad operates from just north of Waterbury Station to the current end of the line in Torrington. Frequent commuter service is offered between Waterbury and Bridgeport by MTA Metro-North Railroad.
at 12:49 PM
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
NEXT MEETINGThe 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.
UPCOMING EVENTS & PROJECTSDAY OUT WITH THOMAS 2009 - 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 the largest by far 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 July 31, August 1-2, and August 7-9, our usual Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule. Please contact her as soon as possible at her new e-mail address or 203.578.5930 – Thanks!
FINAL RULES CLASS FOR 2009: The final NORAC Book of Rules Class will be given on Saturday 11 July. For details such as time and location as well as to register, please contact Kevin Meehan tel 860.965.2938. Kevin is also requesting the donation of a large chest-type freezer or ice machine for use in the DOWT trailer. Having cold water and ice on those hot summer DOWT days is nice!
Train and Station Crews URGENTLY Needed: We’ve begun our 2009 operating season and train and station crews are needed! Please call Barb Walcott at 203.525.5290 or 860.283.5790 so that she doesn’t have to spend all her time tracking down the necessary staff.
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 that Gene is working on and he could use some help, you can contact him at 860.605.0454. Gene has been the go-to guy for getting a number of different tasks done on the property and he can be even more efficient with a helper or two.
Car Department Job Sheets Posted: 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. Here are some of the items listed: 5805 – complete welding along west side of carbody, body filler to finish seam for priming. Fill hex-head bolts, finish other bolt installation. Complete installation of step hanger brackets. Complete riveting of n/w end sheet, diaphragm mounting area and corner post. 5046 – Complete hardware installation on new windows, install window latches on new guides, install in coach, removing old windows for re-use or disposal. 4990- Remove traps on west side north and south, prep and fit replacements. Vestibule outer doors – scrape, repair latches and windows, and repaint. C4989 – remove salvageable windows; remove lift hardware from scrap window frames. Remove n/w trap and any remaining trap hardware.
Locomotive Department Work Needed: NH 529 – batteries have been removed so this is a good chance to vacuum battery boxes, prep and repaint so the next set of batteries will have a good home. See Howard for details
Communication & Signal Department: Steve Butterworth will continue the crossing signal repainting program later in the summer. He thanks Chad Boutet, Hal Reiser, and Dana Hunt for their assistance. Steve says “it’s clean work with no heavy lifting!” Contact Steve at his email for details on how to join his signal appearance upgrade detail.
MOTOR VEHICLE DEPARTMENTGene Pfeiffer and Bob Harrington report that the boom truck’s electrical illness has been cured, and Gene has found that many hard-to-get parts can be obtained at Dowling Ford. The boom truck is ex-UI and has a number of non-stock heavy-duty components. Good detective work, Gene!
LOCOMOTIVES AND ROLLING STOCKNaugatuck 103 – The RMNE’s other steam locomotive now resides on the Naugy after completing an over-the-road move from its long time home on the Valley Railroad at Essex, CT. A mighty tip of the hat goes to RMNE member and rigger extraordinaire Bob Eberheim, who planned the move with Howard Pincus, then made it all happen. Two Link-Belt quad axle mobile cranes did the locomotive lift, placing it on a low bed operated by J A Miara Riggers and Heavy Haulers. The locomotive was set onto home rails by 9:15pm on 25 June. A cosmetic restoration is planned prior to a public display at the Thomaston Station.
NAUG 1732’s future 567C model diesel engine has now had all 16 heads removed from the block and next come the cylinder liners, with 3 removed by the end of June. A rig to do this had been designed by RMNE locomotive staff and RMNE friend Bob Carlson. An initial air pressure test has indicated that the “top deck” of the engine was not damaged by freezing but a more definitive test is needed to confirm this. We’re keeping our fingers crossed!
NAUG 2203 carries on, and is currently “running like a champ” – your editor can speak from hands-on experience! Scott P, Dave K, Dave M, Matt A, and others have kept it that way. Some routine maintenance is scheduled in early July to keep the 2203 “shipshape” – after all it is a “U-Boat” - and up to date on its paperwork.
NH 529 will be taking an extended vacation. The “new” auxiliary generator that had recently been installed has been trouble prone and has been removed for rework or replacement. A fairly serious water leak has been discovered which will require the removal of one of the cylinder heads, and a high pressure fuel pump will need work. The locomotive’s wheels, which have been reprofiled at least twice and there’s no “meat,” are in need of an expensive replacement and we will be turning up the heat on fundraising to make this possible.
CDOT FL9m 2019 is again moving under its own power and continues to receive attention to get it into standby status. Triennial brake work is next to get its paperwork up to date. Get your barring-the-engine-over muscles ready folks! The loco will likely see service on the DOWT runs this year. An historical note for those who haven’t heard: Metro-North has finally retired their 6 remaining FL9s, being the second batch of CDOT-owned locomotives appropriately attired in NH colors. Thus, the final former NH locomotives are retired from main line service, returned their ancestral home at New Haven to await their fate.
Coach 5046’s window replacement project continues with 8 new windows installed as of late June. The project will continue into July. Contact Sam to help or for other car dept. info.
Coach 5805 has now felt the pounding of hot rivet installation on its northwest end sheet. Al Pomeroy worked the gun while the “usual suspects” heated, passed, inserted and “bucked” the rivets. Al’s experience at this ancient art made the work look easy. Inside the coach, Stan Bogacz and company continue to work on the lower deck ceiling, and Tony Pratt has continued his patch fitting.
NH Shop Car W-221 has had its first truck-frame painted and it sure looks good! Thanks, Chris and Dawn.
Claremont & Concord 50 narrow monitor Caboose is in desperate need of roof protection. Hopefully it is not too late to save the historic car. A shrink-wrap candidate?
Thanks to the following for their help with this edition: Dave Manning, Barb Walcott, Howard Pincus, Steve Butterworth, Bob Harrington, Gene Pfeiffer, Sam Walker, Kevin Meehan and Sue Sample.
—Bill Sample, Editor
at 10:48 PM