Monday, May 24, 2010

Steam visits the Naugy

Flagg Coal 75 arrives at Thomaston, Connecticut - Photo by Jim Hinman

Relive the days of steam on the Naugatuck Railroad! Flagg Coal Co. #75 is a 40 ton coal-fired steam locomotive built in 1930. It worked in Pennsylvania coal mines and New York rock quarries until it was retired in 1953. #75 rusted away, forgotten until 1991, when it was purchased by father and son team John and Barney Gramling from Indiana. The Gramlings moved #75 to their farm and fully restored it to operating condition, completing it October 2001. Since then, #75 has since traveled as far as Florida, Michigan, and North Carolina as a living, breathing ambassador of American steam railroading. Flagg Coal Co. 75 will be operating on the Naugatuck Railroad May 28-31 at 10:00 am, 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, and 4:00 pm. Buy your tickets now!

video
Video by Jim Hinman

Friday, May 21, 2010

Flagg Coal Co. 75 arrives at Thomaston!


Volunteers from the Railroad Museum of New England prepped Flagg Coal Co. 75 for a few trial runs on Thursday, and showing her off to the local press. If you want your chance to ride behind steam on the Naugatuck Railroad, get your tickets today!


Celebrate the Railroad History of New England
Paul Murnane - WCBS 880

THOMASTON, CT (WCBS 880) -- In Connecticut's Litchfield Hills, you may stop, look, and listen as a little bit of history comes down the track. Hell's waiting room has nothing on the smoking heat in the cab on #75. "This is the machine that built America," says Howard Pincus with the Railroad Museum of New England in Thomaston. Pincus says the 40-ton machine toiled on the tracks around foundries and coal mines in its 80 years. This weekend and next, it's pulling passenger coaches.

Museum volunteer Randy Paterson makes three generations in his family in the business. Paterson says, "My father and my grandfather have always said this is not, not reall the life. I think they're keeping a good secret from me." Running a grand machine like this, he says, you watch your fire, steam pressure, water, everything - and you keep her happy.

LISTEN: Paul Murnane reports from Thomaston

Flagg Coal 75 alongside the Plume & Atwood complex in Thomaston, Ct.
Photos by Howard Pincus

Friday, May 7, 2010

Order Board for May 2010

SUCCESSFUL MAY DAY VINTAGE EXPRESS CHARTER RUN

Thanks to a good turnout of volunteer support, starting with the superb leadership of Celeste Echlin, the Naugatuck Railroad carried about 120 members and friends from Waterbury’s St. Mary’s Hospital Auxiliary. The 90-minute train ride, which featured wine tasting, was bracketed by food and entertainment sessions in the upgraded waiting room of the Thomaston Station. The group thoroughly enjoyed their Naugatuck Railroad experience and already many have begun to offer the all-important word-of-mouth advertising that will benefit our operation.

UPCOMING SPECIAL EVENTS

Later in May we will be running other special operations:

May 8th: Haight/Brown Vintage Express (from Thomaston Station), departing 2:00pm for Waterville and Thomaston Dam.

May 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, and 31 - Flagg Coal #75, a coal-burning industrial 0-4-0 saddle tank. #75 will be running from Thomaston Station to a point near Watertown Frost Bridge Road. We will need extra crews for firing and servicing the locomotive, which will be coaled “bucket-brigade” style. Trains will depart at 10am, 12noon, 2pm, and 4pm. This will be the first known steam loco operation in the Naugatuck Valley since 1968.

Reminder to our members: Help support the RMNE – you can also buy tickets for family & friends to ride the Flagg Coal trains. Train rides on this special event are not free to members. This is an important fundraiser for the Railroad Museum and support from all volunteers and customers is much appreciated! Our members can either buy online or by calling 860-283-7245 anytime 24/7. Price will be $18.00 for all.

June 13: The RMNE will be participating in the second annual “One Tank Expo” at the Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, CT. The One Tank Expo is a free event where regional attractions with a one-fuel-tank range of the New York metro area can publicize their venues. The event runs 11am until 4pm. and parking is $5.00 per vehicle. Uniform will be RMNE shirts and Naugy hats. Please contact Celeste Echlin if you’d like to assist.

July 11: We will be hosting another new event - the Saltwater Grille of Litchfield will sponsor a Singles Mix & Mingle on Sunday July 11, on the 2:00 pm scheduled train from Thomaston Station. We would love our single members to come join the fun and buy a ticket. Be a customer for a really fun event on the Naugy! Climb aboard the Naugatuck Railroad for an exclusive Singles Mix & Mingle Event with Litchfield's Saltwater Grille! Adults only, limited to 50 passengers. Enjoy the romantic ambiance with wine tasting, hors d'oeuvres and the vintage train ride through the scenic Naugatuck River Valley. The train leaves promptly at 2:00 pm. During the hour and 15 minute train ride, each person aboard the 1920's era passenger coach will circulate providing an opportunity for each man and woman to talk briefly. Follow up after the event will be provided to ensure that if a match is made, the journey will not end at the railroad station! Past events have produced a high success rate of happy couples. Purchase tickets now by calling 860-283-7245 any time (24/7) or purchase online at www.rmne.org. Advance Reservations recommended. Pick up tickets at Thomaston Station's "Will Call" window on the day of the event.

Crews will be needed for most of the above operations, including conductors, engineers, brakemen, car hosts and shop and station support staff. Also it is not too early to plan on helping with the staffing needs of our regular season that commences in June. Please contact Barbara Walcott at 860-283-5790.

WELCOME ABOARD!

The Honorable Edward G. McAnaney was appointed to the RMNE Board of Trustees during the April Meeting. Ed has been active at the RMNE as a passenger conductor and has recently become involved with museum strategy planning. Ed, who currently serves as a judge of the Probate Court in the Suffield CT area, brings a wealth of experience in civic matters to the Board. He is a retired Captain in the United States Naval Reserve.

DONATIONS ARE NEEDED

The RMNE will be incurring costs for a number of upcoming developments, including an executive director, shop development, continuing the refurbishment of coach 5805 (including heating, sidewalls, roofing and seats); continuing progress on the B&M GP9 1732; wheels, carbody and prime mover projects on NH RS3 529. Treasurer Louis Edmonds will get some budget numbers together for an upcoming Opportunity Flyer, but now is the time to plan what financial support you can assist the RMNE with. Louis has been quite busy with a change of location for both his residence and business – his new address is - P. O. Box 443, Georges Mills, NH 03751-0443.

ANNUAL ALL-MEMBER WORK WEEKEND – April 24-25

We had a small but talented turnout of about a dozen volunteers for our latest track project- continued tie replacement between the Thomaston Shop Yard (TSY) switch and the Reynolds Bridge curve. Thankfully many of the crew had prior track maintenance experience. Around 40 ties were replaced , spiked and tamped. We replaced 14 sets of the “wrap-around” angle bars with standard bars, which are believed to be a superior design, as they allow the use of "double-shoulder" tie plates – the plates lie between the rail base and tie, providing an extra cushioning and better weight distribution which leads to longer tie life. The wrap-around angle bars are converted to a standard style by a local metalworking shop, another way that the RMNE and Naugatuck Railroad benefit the community. Other activities that weekend took place at the TSY, both inside and outside. A more detailed account with photos will appear in an upcoming Along the Line newsletter edition.

DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES

The RMNE DMV has just about completed preparing the roadbed area south of TSY tracks 1, 2, and 3 to allow for future track extensions. The GMC dump truck, which will be used to haul coal for Flagg Coal locomotive 75, is getting some new paint on its dump body.

CAR DEPARTMENT

Progress marches along on coach 5805 as the remaining steel needed for outside repair work is arriving. Sam Walker has made substantial progress on finishing exterior side sheet welding, and riveting has been completed on the north end. North end interior bulkhead work has continued, and a window repair project for coaches 4980 and 4992 has been utilizing the 5805’s interior workspace.

LOCOMOTIVE DEPARTMENT

Getting ready for the coming season, former CDOT FL9 2019 (ex-NH 2049) has been filled with water and was switched into the shop for further “reawakening” work.

COMMUNICATION & SIGNAL DEPARTMENT

Steve Butterworth is planning on resuming crossing signal and relay case repainting now that warmer weather has returned. Please contact him if you'd like to learn how you can help.

BRIDGES & BUILDINGS

Thomaston Station: Kevin Meehan, Walt Hermann, Bob Martinchek and others have continued the interior station improvements, with the west, north and much of the east walls being painted. Kevin requested that train crews use the ex Waterville/East Litchfield ticket office to store station and parking signs as well as the traffic control guidance system (cones) to keep clutter out of the station.

Thomaston Shop: Improvements continue in several areas. Jack Tarter and Stewart Fritts are designing a portable circuit panel that can provide multiple outlets where needed. General heavy-duty electrical service installation continues and it is hoped that some of the large machinery such as the milling machine can soon be in service.

That’s all the news that fits for now. Thanks to all those who helped with this issue – Celeste Echlin, Ralph Harris, Sue Sample, Steve Butterworth, Howard Pincus, Kevin Meehan, Lisa Drazen, Barb Walcott, Dave Manning, and Bob Harrington.

—Bill Sample, editor