Monday, August 29, 2011

40 years ago...

The date is Sunday, August 1, 1971, the location is Deep River, Connecticut.  Amtrak is 4 months old today.  It is the Valley Railroad's second day of public operation, and engine 103 is having a little indigestion this morning.  Raising steam to get out of Essex was a bit of trouble, so 44-tonner #400 pushed on the other end of the train all the way from Essex to Deep River.  Engineer R. B. Jones was really not too happy with his fireman this day. This historic locomotive is part of the collection at the Railroad Museum of New England, moved by truck to our site in 2009. —Photo by Howard Pincus

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Order Board for August


The next General Membership Meeting will be held on Saturday, 10 September 2011.  The meeting will be held at the Thomaston Senior Center, Town Hall, Main St. and is scheduled for 6:30pm.


Engine and train crews are needed – engineer, conductor, brakeman and car host positions plus we can always use help at the station, in the office and also tour guides now that we have the B&M 1109 SW1 diesel and B&M C72 caboose on the display track. Barb asks that you please sign up early so she doesn’t have to recruit crews at the last minute. Please contact Barb Walcott at 860.283.5790.


The next major job will be extending a couple of the yard tracks southward in the shop yard, likely just tracks 1 and 2 as track 3 is too close to the driveway. A work train, using the PTM 198 crane, was run to collect rail for the siding extensions, which are needed to allow room for equipment arriving from Saybrook and Chase Yard.  Ties are in stock and tie plates have been brought in from Saybrook.  The construction time will be announced, likely for this fall.

Gene Pfeiffer has been grading the area south of tracks 4 and 5, the tracks that pass through the Volunteer Shop.  Not surprisingly he hit some rock ledge below the driveway that goes along the shop, but is locating someone to remove the ledge, which is not too extensive.  The extension of these tracks will occur after tracks 1 and 2 are done.

Louis Edmonds and Matt Andel recently cleared the former Civil War exhibition site south of mile post 8 of many years of tree and brush growth to allow the site to be used as a pumpkin patch at a future fall event.  Platforms have yet to be constructed and will be needed to allow safe passage of “pumpkin hunters” to and from the train.


Motor Vehicle Department

Bob Harrington and Gene Pfeiffer have both kept busy assisting with other projects, mainly work at the Saybrook and Shop Yards.  The use of equipment maintained by them saves a considerable amount of money that we don’t have to pay in rental fees!

Car Department

Coaches 5046, 4980, and 4990 continue in use on the regular service train. Coach 4992 remains in the north bay of track 5 in the shop and work is progressing on the roof.  Currently plywood clerestory sides have been installed on the east side, and the scaffolding is being moved around to allow work on other areas. Later this summer we will be installing the roofing membrane and we will need an all-hands effort to do the job correctly.  We will make a special announcement when dates are known and it will be very important to have an adequate staff of about 10-12 to handle the membrane and keep it tight so that we don’t get wrinkles. Other work needed on this car includes interior cleaning and floor painting.

A Request from Our Treasurer

Louis Edmonds is looking for financial donations to help defray the expenses of re-roofing coach 4992.  These expenses include plywood, supplies such as sandpaper and additions to our tools, the scaffolding, wood repair, and the rubber membrane surface and related installation items. Donations to pay for these items should be sent directly to the Treasurer, either to the Museum at P. O. Box 400, Thomaston, CT 06787-0400 or the Treasurer’s home address at P. O. BOX 443, GEORGES MILLS, NH 03751-0443. Please consider assisting us with this important project.  Please report to Sam Walker for instructions.

Coach 5805 - Interior woodwork continues to see attention from Stan Bogacz, Win Bissell, Kurt Wiener and occasional others, although some of the crew has been pressed into service on 4992.

Locomotive Department

Metro-North 2033 (ex NH 2059, the last production FL9 and the last production carbody F-unit by EMD) has been evaluated and sealed up by Jason Hartmann.  Jay has taken on the management of the out-of-service locomotives and is compiling records detailing their status and needs.

NAUG (ex-CDOT) 2019 (EMD FL9) has been covering most of the trains so far this year due to 2203’s operating problems.  It is used in the push-pull mode at the south end of the train.

NAUG 1508 (Alco RS3) was placed over the pit at the request of project manager Jason Hartmann so that the locomotive can be maintained for continued secure storage.  The 1508 is a former B&M locomotive that probably has one of the more interesting histories of any of our fleet. The unit is being sealed up, cleaned up, and being evaluated for needed repairs.  One traction motor needs replacement before regular service can begin.

NAUG 2203 is running in the work train with a new fuel pump and hopefully this will be what the loco needed to return to our active duty lineup. 


Kevin Meehan and his crew have continued the improvements to the station waiting room.  About 80% of the temporary crown molding has been installed and needs caulking and painting.  Wainscoting has been evaluated and the first area that passed the solidarity test has been given a coat of paint that matches one of the NYNH&H era green colors.  Next, four window sashes will be removed to be brought to a restoration shop in Torrington as part of a grant awarded by the Thomaston Savings Bank Foundation.


It’s not too early to start planning to assist with our busy fall season.  One area where we’ll need extra help is the Pumpkin Festival, where we will need “Pumpkin Wranglers” to assist with distribution.

Volunteer Work Hour Records

As part of the renewed emphasis on obtaining grant funding, we must resume the recording of our volunteer time.  Please complete the Volunteer Worksheets that are available by the north door of the shop by the dispatcher’s area.  Sherry Edmonds will be recording the hours as submitted from these forms or also records can be e-mailed up to Louis Edmonds. These forms are usually available by the dispatcher’s desk in the Volunteer Shop and at the Thomaston  station ticket office


Executive Director Tom Carver has completed his work as RMNE Executive director and is heading for a new position in the operating department of the new Saratoga & North Creek Railroad, which is owned by Iowa Pacific, a prosperous midwestern regional railroad holding company.  In his short time with the RMNE he assisted with gaining several grant awards including funding for locomotive B&M 1732 and the Thomaston station and shared his experiences on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad.  We wish him well and look forward to his future visits with us.


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.

That’s all the news that fits for now- Thanks to Bob Harrington, Barb Walcott, and Sue Sample for their assistance!

—Bill Sample, Editor