Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Order Board for January

Thomaston Station Reversionary Rights Resolved

Thanks to a lengthy pursuit by RMNE Trustee Ed McAnaney and the assistance of Torrington commercial realtor Vance Taylor, a purchase and sale agreement has been received by the RMNE from rights holder Jay Horowitz for Thomaston Station.  This will give the RMNE full control of the station’s future and opens the door to pursue funding for a major restoration project.   Additional details will appear in an upcoming issue of “Along the Line.” 

Torrington Station Death Watch

An article that appeared in the 27 December edition of the Waterbury Republican-American newspaper announced the impending death of the Torrington passenger station.  Owned since the late 1950s by the Kelley family, onetime owners of bus, trucking and fuel operations, the building saw little maintenance and much neglect which led it to its current poor condition.  The article did not state who the present owner of the property is, but it did say the city would be applying for the demolition permit.  Years ago the RMNE approached the Kelley family concerning an offer to help preserve the building, but our help – which was a proposal to tarp the roof at our expense – was flatly turned down.  As the building entered the new century, its condition became basically beyond saving. Demolition began on Tuesday, January 4 and continued through the week.  (Thanks to Jason Hartmann for the news tip)

Holiday Operations

RMNE president Celeste Echlin provided a very positive report concerning our 2010 holiday operations.  Our preliminary reports have listed ticket sales of more than 3600 passengers and a gross income greater than $62,000, which is a 30% increase over the successful 2009 season!  And this was done with fewer scheduled runs.  One big help was from Mother Nature as we enjoyed good weather throughout except for one very rainy but non-freezing day. Celeste began her report with a big thank you to the membership, old and new, who spent hundreds of volunteer hours planning, preparing and operating the event. Crew Dispatcher Barbara Walcott also send a big thank you to the membership for their help on staffing the train and station throughout the 2010 season.

Membership Matters

Celeste Echlin reported that several new members were signed up during the holiday season at the Thomaston Station.
Kevin Meehan thanks Lisa Drazen, Tom Carver, and Bill and Sue Sample with their help staffing the December Cheshire High School train show.

Membership Chair Pam Larson announced that the 2011 dues billings are being prepared and will be going out beginning in mid-January.  The Regular Membership rate is being increased to $35.00 per year, but this increase is the first in at least 24 years – how many other organization have kept their basic dues at such a reasonable rate for a quarter century despite rising operating costs, such as postage? And the Museum will always gladly accept direct donations to the General Fund, which is also tax-deductible.  These donations should be sent directly to the Treasurer at P. O. Box 400, Thomaston, CT 06787-0400.


The coal truck is in the usual DMV corner of the shop for water pump and brake work.  The IHC front-end loader has returned from the Saybrook Yard and is also receiving repairs so that we will be ready to battle any snowfall.  The Boom truck will also get some shop time for needed repairs, and the borrowed boom truck has also returned to the Naugy from Saybrook duties for now.


With the start of a new year, we will be phasing in the name “Volunteer Shop” at the request of RMNE Treasurer Louis Edmonds, whose own support and leadership made the complex a reality.  Louis wishes to name the area “Volunteer” due to the dedication of those who not only are helping build the trackage and fit out the building (both projects are far from complete) but also to honor the volunteers who staff the railroad from the Board of Trustees through those who maintain the comfort coach, and also as a tribute to those who offer their knowledge and compassion to guide the Museum’s development.

The “Volunteer” name will also apply to the shop yard and lead track from the main line, and this is scheduled to be formalized in an upcoming Naugatuck Railroad operating timetable. This renaming has a number of precedents in New England – for safety reasons a number of similar station names were changed, in this era it was to prevent confusion on train orders.  One example that your editor remembers was on the Boston & Maine in New Hampshire when West Lebanon became Westboro - following a serious train wreck that was likely caused by confusion with the use of similar station names on a train order.

Although the shop naming is being phased in ahead of completion, improvements do continue.  Gene Pfeiffer and Jason Hartmann have now hooked up hot water to the newly installed sink, and lighting has been installed inside the toilet stall with electrical work being done by Jack Tarter with assistance by Dick Edling.  Electrical conduit installation continues at a steady pace at various areas around the building.  Much appreciated outside lighting has been installed outside the staff doors at both ends of the building.

For those of who remember our bare-bones existence not all that long ago at the Chase Yard and earlier at Saybrook, the newly upgraded Volunteer Shop is a real blessing!  As Steve Butterworth said “I washed my hands inside, at a sink, standing up.  So marvelous, for something we usually take for granted.”


With the completion of the holiday operations, quiet has again returned to the Thomaston Station and Kevin Meehan and his crew will resume the repair and repainting of the waiting room walls.  The east wall is almost complete.  Work on the south wall of the waiting room will be a more extensive project that will begin later this winter.


We are working on setting up NORAC Book of Rules classes for our operating personnel later this winter.  These classes will likely be offered on two weekend days and one weekday, probably in the Thomaston Town Hall.  Details will be provided when available.  Members who will be taking these exams should begin reviewing their rulebooks.

Al Pomeroy is setting up his upcoming air brake classes and exams. The class schedule still is to be determined but will be coordinated with the rules classes.  Al suggests that this is a good time to dig out your books and do some studying. Requests for books to alp4@myfairpoint.net so that he can get an idea of how many he needs to print. They will be free for first time students, $25.00 replacement book charge to apply for lost /missing. They also will be available as an e-mailed PDF file upon request. The air brake class is required for engineers, but conductors are strongly recommended to attend due to upcoming certification requirements.  The class will be open to all current or future employees in covered service.


Passenger Car Christmas decoration removal will commence inside the Volunteer Shop in January – work days are scheduled on the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 8th, 9th, and 12th

The Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show is scheduled for set up on Jan 28 (set up, around 1pm), 29 (show staff time 8am-5pm), and 30 (show staff time 9am-5pm, followed by take down)

Possible days set aside for NORAC classes – February 5, 19, and March 6.  Watch future Order Boards for confirmation.

The Saybrook Yard cleanup will resume later this winter – watch for announcements.

Car Department

5805 – overhaul will continue, with continuing wood and metal repair inside and outside.  Saturdays are the best day to find a crew working on the project.

4990 – At some point, “The Beater” will be given some shop time to prepare it for service when other coaches are undergoing repairs.  This will include window and trap repair, a thorough interior cleaning, and a basic exterior painting to give the car a presentable appearance.

4980, 4992, 5046 – the active fleet will receive roof attention to address the leaks that were apparent on that extremely wet day we had during the holiday operations.  The car with the original canvas roof will be the first car to have its roof updated with a rubber-fabric overlay, a treatment that will eventually be applied to the remaining composite roofed cars time and finances permit.

5046 will receive an exterior prep and repaint following the rubber roof project

As track expansion continues in the Volunteer Yard, other cars will be brought in from Waterville for safekeeping.

Locomotive Department

No information was submitted.  It is assumed that CDOT 2019 will be drained for outside storage, and 2203 will be kept in service for needed switching.

Maintenance of Way

There is a possibility of brush and tree cutting gangs going out, primarily to keep sight lines open and later to open up scenic vistas for our passengers.


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 has been incurring costs for a number of projects as described in recent issues of the Order Board. The RMNE is a 501c3 charitable organization – tax time is coming.  Now is the time to plan what financial support you can assist the RMNE with.

That’s all the news that fits for now.  Thanks to Celeste Echlin, Louis Edmonds, Bob Harrington, Barb Walcott, Sue Sample and others who helped with this issue. 
—Bill Sample, Editor