Tuesday, October 25, 2011

MEC 557 gets a little touch-up work

Railroad Museum of New England volunteer Jason Hartmann has become a valued member of Naugatuck Railroad's motive power force. He not only has worked keep the operational locomotives on the road, but is spending as much time as possible providing care to some of RMNE's stored out-of-service power. Dedicating not only his time, but spending his own funds for paint, Jason has been working on cosmetically restoring some of the museum's pieces, including Maine Central Alco RS-3 557. He is seen at the Thomaston Volunteer Shop on October 23, 2011, matching colors on the historic Maine Alco. With this work towards cosmetic restoration, the historic unit will be a nice addition to be viewed by our passengers as they ride past the shop area. Meanwhile, Jason explores the unit's physical condition, working to ensure that it can be made operational in the future. Jason is also providing some needed mechanical preservation to the 557 in addition to the cosmetic work. He will be finished with this project within one week to allow other projects needing attention to move into the shop.

Builder's photo of sister unit MEC 556

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Coach roof restoration continues

Repairs to the wood roof of Canadian National coach 4992 are almost complete. Working on the north end of the car, Tony Pratt is attaching new curved wood pieces to the roof. These cars used a composite roof, with steel structural framing, wood strip underlayment and heavy canvas as the outer layer.

In this rebuilding, any deteriorated wood has been replaced, and heavy commercial rubber roofing membrane will be the outer layer, replacing the old canvas. This is the first major roof rebuilding the Museum has done and it will serve as a guide for this work on the other CN cars in coming years.

Project Leader Sam Walker performs the "measure twice, cut once" ritual on a piece of edge tack molding before bolting the new wood part onto CN coach 4992. These pieces form the edge of the roof above the steel car side, seen in the background of this image.

—Photos by Howard Pincus

Friday, October 14, 2011

Central Vermont caboose 4014

RMNE volunteer Al Pomeroy continues to perform some maintenance on Central Vermont wooden caboose #4014, taking advantage of the warmer weather to make repairs and apply fresh paint. This particular caboose was built in February 1925, replacing another car of the same number that had burned at White River Junction, Vt. The car was in service until at least 1972, when it was purchased to become part of the collection of Steamtown when it was located in Bellows Falls, Vermont. The caboose was privately purchased in 1987 after that organization had decamped to Scranton. The car was later moved to display on the Valley Railroad and eventually moved in 1996 to the Naugatuck Railroad and the Railroad Museum of New England.

—Photos by Howard Pincus

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Order Board for October

The next Meeting will be the Annual Membership Meeting, held on Saturday, 19 November 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 C72R caboose on the display track, which have been very popular with our visitors. Barb asks that you please sign up early so she doesn’t have to recruit crews at the last minute. This is especially important during our busy fall season! Please help out. Please contact Barb Walcott at 860.283.5790 or wwalcott@snet.net

In a scenario not unlike 1955 when Hurricane Connie was quickly followed by Diane, the remnants of Hurricanes Irene and Lee struck the upper Naugatuck Valley. As in 1955, the second storm added a very heavy rainfall to an already saturated ground and this time we suffered some damage, particularly in the Reynolds Bridge area, where we had a long wash over and a pair of wash outs, most of this run off from Waterbury Road. Operations were suspended for two days to allow repairs to be made. A work train with engine 2203 and the Pennsy hopper car was dispatched helped get the track back in service for the final weekend of the month. Side dump car NYC 133 was also used to help build up some of the eroded shoulders along the main line. As our own Gradall is out of service Murphy Construction’s Mike Vincent was hired in with his modern Gradall to perform ditching at various points between the shop yard and Thomaston station.

The southward extensions of tracks 1, 2, and 3 saw much progress late in September. The roadbed was graded, ties were laid out and the rail and miscellaneous track hardware was brought to the site for placement with crane PTM 198. Track 1 needed spiking at the end of the month but tracks 2 and 3 were completed except for ballast and surfacing and were immediately filled with equipment. This additional space will help accommodate the arrival of equipment from Saybrook.

Extension of tracks 4 and 5 is underway as grading, including ledge removal, has begun. Gene Pfeiffer has arranged this and other grading to be done at no cost to the RMNE, which allows funding to be directed to other cash hungry projects.

Remaining to be done: spiking track 1, ballasting and surfacing all 3 tracks. Also, over 200 new ties have been installed in the main line using a mix of contract and volunteer labor. Some tamping remains. We hope to be hiring in a ballast regulator this fall. Contact Howard Pincus for project details hpincus@mindspring.com

Motor Vehicle Department - Bob Harrington reports that he is modernizing the brakes on the boom truck mainly to save us $700. on the replacement costs on the antiquated system. New front tires are now on the Dyna-hoe. The IHC loader continues to serve at Saybrook. Gene reports that brake work is needed on the Cummins loader, the Dyna-hoe and Gradall to get things in good order for the winter.

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. Work on the wood sub-surface at the north end of the car is now nearly complete, and the drip rail installation has begun. Once the woodwork is done a major interior cleaning can start. An all-hands effort will be required to do the job correctly when we will be installing the roofing membrane – a special Order Board will be sent to announce the dates. NYC 133 Side Dump Car received some repair work and again became capable of being dumped to either side, just in time for flood repair duty. CV 4014 has had its roof completed, including walkways. The window repair work, including sills, is also done and the repainting has begun.

Locomotive Department - NH (CDoT/RMNE) 2019 (EMD FL9) remains in use as the regular loco, with NAUG 2203 being used for switching and work train duties until electrical problems in the higher throttle notches can be corrected.

Regarding other locomotives, Jason Hartmann has taken the lead in caring for the stored fleet. NAUG (B&M) 1508, NAUG (MEC) 557, and NAUG (MN 2033) have received recent work, which will be detailed in various upcoming Along the Line issues.

Kevin Meehan reports that the first two restored windows have been installed along the west wall and the restoration of the next two is underway. They sure look good!

- The new RMNE web site is now up and running. Check it out at www.rmne.org
- Advance sales and reservations for the autumn and holidays seasons are reportedly going well. Two complete trains have been reserved in December.
- The Cheshire (CT) High School Ram Band Train Show will be held 20 Nov, 10AM-4PM – we’ll be there!
- The RMNE appeared at the Eastern States Exposition in the Connecticut Building on 28 Sep. Tony & Nancy Pratt, Bill Sample, Timothy Reed, Matt Lawson, Kevin Meehan and Lisa Drazen worked the booth.
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.

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, Jason Hartmann, Kevin Meehan, Howard Pincus, Jon Chase and Sue Sample for their assistance —Bill Sample, Editor