Friday, November 26, 2010

All aboard for the Northern Lights Limited!

The Northern Lights Limited is all dressed up and ready to go!

Enjoy the festive holiday atmosphere!

Our comfortable vintage coaches are ready to whisk you away on a magical holiday journey! It's fun for the whole family, won't you join us this holiday season? Our special trains run November 27 and 28 and December 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18 and 19, departing at 5:00 and 7:00 pm. ALL ABOARD!

Friday, November 5, 2010

November Order Board

The Annual Membership Meeting will be held on Saturday, November 20.  The meeting will be held at the Thomaston Senior Center, Town Hall, Main St. and is scheduled for 7:30pm.


Come help your museum on the 6 and 7 of November as we push our TSY tracks 1, 2, and 3 southward.  When completed these extension will allow 6 or more items to be stored within the secure confines of the TSY, and will help clear tracks 4 and 5 north of the shop building, important for access during our upcoming holiday season. A barbeque lunch will be served to those members who sign up in advance. Please notify volunteer coordinator Steve Butterworth if you’ll be there.

Bob reports that the MVD has kept the fleet ready to go.  The Boom Truck has been active with retrieving ties from the Plume reclamation area and lumber for various shop projects from Chapman’s in Thomaston.
Publish Post

Kevin Meehan and Lisa Drazen brought in a good-sized load of pumpkins for our Pumpkin Fest operations last month – these were unloaded by the Special Events Committee.  With the refurbishing of the east wall of the waiting room completed for now, the station rehab project will take a break until after December.  Kevin will be doing some fund-raising to cover the expenses incurred with all the improvements.  The waiting room’s appearance has vastly improved due to efforts lead by Kevin and also Ralph Harris over the past year.  A grant awarded to the RMNE from the Thomaston Savings Bank Foundation will rebuild 5 windows along the west-facing wall of the station. November activities will primarily be decorating the station for the holiday operations.

There is much progress to report with the southward expansion of the Thomaston Shop Yard.  Tracks 1, 2, and 3 will each be extended 150 feet.  Preparatory work done by the end of October had the surface graded, and then ties were mined from the Plume “tie mountain” and brought to the TSY.  As of Sunday evening, ties were laid in place, plugged and tie plates were distributed on the entire length of tracks 1 and 2, and about 20 or so ties were set for track 3. About 50 or 60 more will have to be selected and brought down from Plume.  As mentioned above, the 1st weekend of November will see an all-hands effort to get this job done.  

B&M C72 R  - the former B&M 472 – has been backdated to its previous number as part of its overhaul.  The “R” addition to its number stands for “restricted” to home road service.  This buggy’s origins date back to a short wood-bodied car built by Laconia, but it received a new body c. 1959 and new trucks in the early 1970s, giving it a modern appearance.  Hal Reiser did a lion’s share of the painting, with Howard Pincus applying the lettering.  All of the body but the red ends and roof walks have been prepped and repainted – the roof walks will be stripped and painted later.  The red surfaces remained presentable as they were sheltered somewhat by the end of car roof over hangs. Both couplers were removed and rebuilt with the uncoupling mechanism on the underside to prevent buffer plate problems when used with passenger equipment.

Claremont & Concord #50, wood ex B&M Caboose – project leader Al Pomeroy thanks all who helped to cocoon the car with shrink-wrap for a period of outdoor storage.  The “buggy” has apparently been rescued from a certain death by deterioration.  Brought inside the shop for an extended period, its woodwork eventually dried out.  The car’s roof, floor surface, and cupola structure was removed during that time, which allowed a thorough inspection to determine what course of action would be needed to restore the car.  Temporary rafters and a plywood roof were constructed.  On the weekend of 30-31 October the car was prepared and shrink-wrapped by a team led by Bob Eberheim.  Later on Sunday, TSY track 5 was pulled and the C&C 50 was switched to a position just south of the shop on that track until the next stage of work can begin.  The MEC 6323 boxcar that had resided there will be transferred to the Chase Yard for storage.

Coaches 4980, 4992, 5046
– Our active fleet will be rotated through the north bay of track 5 for an extensive cleaning and installation of Christmas decorations, with 5046 being the 1st one in getting attention. Work is being done on Tuesday and Wednesday nights as well as weekends.  Contact Tony Pratt at  for details

Coach 5805 – The carpentry team has been drafted to build some platforms for use with B&M caboose C47 R when it is assigned for refreshment distribution duty at Thomaston. Exterior work continues with rotted areas being removed from the east side of the car, mostly along the letter board.   Like many departments, many volunteers are working other than usual tasks as part of the effort to prepare for Northern Lights Limited holiday service.

NH 529 has been buttoned up and removed from the shop for now. CDOT FL9 2019 will be in regular use along with NAUG 2203 through the season, and 2019 needs to have a heated storage area while in cold weather service.


An old RMNE tradition is being formally revived – Weeknight Work Sessions are being held on virtually all Wednesdays at the TSY, running from about 4:00pm until about 8:00pm.  Sam Walker is heading this – please call him if you wish to confirm the session on cell 860-485-2569.

DONATIONS ARE NEEDED - Louis Edmonds, Treasurer
The RMNE will be incurring costs for a number of upcoming developments, including the 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 a new address: P. O. Box 443, Georges Mills, NH 03751-0443.

Crews will be needed for most of the following operations, including conductors, engineers, brakemen, car hosts and shop and station support staff.  We definitely need a good turnout of crews for the busy month of December, which includes Friday and Saturday service.  Ed McAnaney is working with crew dispatcher Barb Walcott to set up a computer-based sign-up procedure, and it is hoped that volunteers will sign up ahead of time so that we can fill the vacancies.   The start of this program has been quite encouraging.  Please help by signing up ASAP!  A Northern Lights Limited sign up sheet is in the shop on coach 5805 but please also let Barb know what you signed up for.                       

That’s all the news that fits for now.  Thanks to all those who helped with this issue - Bill Sample, editor

Monday, November 1, 2010

Track Extension Underway at Thomaston Shop/Yard

The photo shows the progress of the track project by the end of Sunday afternoon at TSY. Well, actually not, because more ties were being harvested from the Great Thomaston Tie Pile by Louis Edmonds, Gene Pfeiffer, Bruce Hollis and Lou Beres (they were brought to the yard after dark). About 50-60 more ties remain to be harvested next Saturday, while the rail is being laid.

Saturday’s crew, led by Chad Boutet and Steve Butterworth, marked out the lines and started laying out and spacing ties and setting tie plates. Another crew, with Bob Harrington and Gene, were pulling out ties at Thomaston and bringing them to the shop yard.

Please participate this coming weekend. Our plan is to lay rail and spike it down, while some additional tie harvesting is going on at Thomaston. Thanks to all who helped this weekend, and to those who will be coming out to help this coming Saturday and Sunday!
—Howard Pincus