Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December Report

Boston and Maine SW-1 1109: It's ALIVE! Well, sort of. Using a spare 74v battery charger from the shop Jason and Mike got its interior cab lights lit using its own low voltage side of the electrical system. Now it seems to have some life to it too as part of the display. Some work towards this was started last season but ran out of time. No shorts were found before hooking up the charger and no modifications done. It's all hidden and can be removed easily. The "toolbox" charger is hidden under the cab floor and the 110v cord ran out through the engine compartment and down through a hole shared with piping. 1109 is decorated too as part of Northern Lights Limited on the display track in its normal spot.

Canadian Pacific 1246, 4-6-2:  Now on Track 5 decorated for lights as part of Northern Lights Limited. Stewart continues painting the unit and has been getting some assistance from others. Part of the electrical system was tested and a few lights lit. It remains off now and not part of the display until other repairs are done.

Maine Central RS3 557: The fuel and air tanks on both sides have been painted black. A lube oil swap with cleaner used oil was attempted but was given up on by Jason for now as being too messy. 557 lacks an oil drain valve like our other RS-3's 529 and 1508 have. Jason will request shop time next year to add a valve to this unit. Water drainage in the radiator compartment will be looked into, as it holds water (unlike the radiators!) after storms.

NAUG US23B 2203:  The replacement oil cooler was installed and the unit returned to service. Unfortunately the oil cooler had a failure again within a week. This time it's an external oil leak. The unit remains in service as needed for the NLL runs and the oil level will be watched carefully, but it will need another oil cooler replacement.

CDOT/RMNE FL9 2019: In service for NLL and as usual running dependably.

RMNE 42, GE 45-tonner “the Critter”: Another attempt was made at starting the unit, unfortunately that attempt went up in smoke... literally! Once the batteries were fully charged and the start button pushed an instant "fizzt" sounded and smoke started filling the cab. A portion of the bad battery cable and battery post were vaporized. No further work is planned for this unit at this time. A new cable and battery would be needed just to start the engines, and it would still be in need of other work to make the unit serviceable for what little use it could be to us. Decisions would have to be made on what to do with this unit.

In order to give all plenty of notice, Rules Examiner Brent Bette has announced the 2013 Rules Classes.  February 23 will be the Novice class, with Advanced classes being offered on March 2 and March 9. Location is likely the Senior Center at the Thomaston Town Hall but details will be confirmed later this year.  Please notify Brent of what class you wish to take.

Schedule Change:  Weekday work sessions are now held Tuesdays from 4:00pm-8:00pm

My Last Run: This will be my last regular edition as editor of the Order Board, a publication that I originally started in January 1998 to get project news out on a more timely basis, inspired by the “Working Member’s Newsletter” from the Severn Valley Railway in England where I have been a member for many years.  Since then the O/B has evolved from exclusively hard copy to virtually a total e-mail publication. Starting in January 2013 Brent Bette will assume the position of editor, and I will retire to devote more time to producing our printed journal Along the Line on a more timely basis.  See you Along the Line! —Bill Sample

Thanks to Celeste Echlin, Bob Harrington, Barb Walcott, Jason Hartmann, Jon Chase, Brent Bette, Kevin Meehan, Pam & Kent Larson, and Sue Sample for their assistance.

Monday, November 19, 2012

November work progress

 Thomaston Shop as it appeared in 2007

Work continues on trackage at the Shop Yard, with ballast being applied to Track 4. Following the passage of former hurricane Sandy through the region, a right of way inspection was done by Randy Patterson, Stewart Crouse and your editor.  We covered the line from Hancock Brook in Waterville up through milepost 14 north of Campville and had only one tree that required a chain saw, and one that needed the pole saw.  We were very fortunate!  Equipment on the inspection trip included the tie (and tree!) handler and GMC TC35. 

In order to give all plenty of notice, Rules Examiner Brent Bette has announced the 2013 Rules Classes.  February 23 will be the Novice class, with Advanced classes being offered on March 2 and March 9. Location is likely the Senior Center at the Thomaston Town Hall but details will be confirmed later this year.  Please notify Brent of what class you wish to take at  HYPERLINK "mailto:bbette@msn.com"bbette@msn.com


After finding that our shop heating system had some problems, Howard Pincus began necessary repairs, working from a borrowed scissor lift or using some of our scaffolding. Most of the repair work has been completed. George Wittman and others have been assisting.

—Bill Sample, Editor

Friday, November 9, 2012

November Locomotive Report

Due to diminishing daylight hours, colder weather and the main person working on them having other commitments this time of year work on these engines is ramping down for the next several months. 

Boston & Maine 1732, GP9: Now has been removed from indoors where it sat since March.  The pit spot has been needed for other equipment. It has been sealed up and placed on track 1 for now. Prime mover work needs to advance further along before more actual loco work takes place. 

Canadian Pacific 1246, 4-6-2:  The locomotive has been moved to track 3 right beside the shop so Stewart can easily continue working on it. Stewart and Marty opened the smoke box front and cleaned out debris in there.  Paint work will continue as long as the weather allows it. 

Maine Central 557, RS3: A good portion of the east side has had its repaint completed including the "Maine Central" back on it for the first time since 1975.  Most striping has also been done. Cab side is being prepped for the pine tree insignia and striping. 

NAUG 2203, U23B is in the shop on the pit, and the “new” oil cooler is in the process of being installed.  Andy Kromer, Jason Hartmann, Stewart Crouse of others have been involved. 

NAUG 103, 2-6-2 has been getting some attention – Bob Carlson and Adam Miller have removed the main rods to allow safe towing from Chase Yard to the Shop Yard. 

New Haven 0401,  FA1 The locomotive remains on track 1 but the fan grille has been moved beside it. It will take a few people to help get it up onto the roof.

New Haven (CDoT/RMNE) 2019, FL9 is covering all assignments at this time until U23B 2203 is repaired. 

RMNE 42, GE 45 tonner “the Critter:” The batteries are back on charge and another attempt at getting both engines running will be made again. Bill Sample replaced one of the rusted stack covers for it. It has also been moved to track 3 next to the 1246 for easy access to power and tools.

Friday, October 5, 2012

October Locomotive Update

Boston & Maine 1732, GP9: Now has been removed from indoors where it sat since March.  The pit spot has been needed for other equipment. It has been sealed up and placed on track 1 for now. Prime mover work needs to advance further along before more actual loco work takes place.

Canadian Pacific 1246, 4-6-2: Stewart has gotten back to work on sanding and repainting the steam engine. It's appearance has been greatly improved for this years Northern Lights display, and similar to what Jason has been doing to 557 helps slow down deterioration for when the day comes that the engine will get a proper restoration.

Builder's photo of sister unit MEC 556

Maine Central 557, RS3: This loco now has been standardized along with several other locos this year in pre-lube pump fittings. The horn has been fully rebuilt by Matt Lawson and is back at the shop. The air line running up to the roof on the long hood has been removed and capped off back under the running board by the bells original location. Scraping, wire brushing and primering of the heavily surface rusted radiator shutters and fireman's side door has begun. Jason has begun spending more time down there after work week nights trying to get as much done before winter sets in and puts a halt to 557 work.

Metro-North 2033 (ex-NH 2059), FL9: New polycarb panels were cut and installed in the open number board locations on the nose. Luckily the gaskets were still in place so it made installation easy and everything needed to do this was on hand in the shop. A polycarb disc was also cut out and mounted over the rear location for a horn/whistle, sealing up another spot. Save for the carbody filter locations this FL-9 has been significantly sealed up this past year on weather inlet. Loose molding on the fireman's side of the raised cab floor was reattached with screws, no more getting snagged on your boots once you climbed through the door.

NAUG 2203, U23B is down due to failed lube oil cooler. On October 1 Jason loaded a rebuildable core into Walter's F150 to be sent out for rebuilding, via Bob Eberheim’s shop.

New Haven 0401, FA1: Sadly, even with the best of intentions, this engine saw no progress this month as was hoped with it's turn in the stored loco queue.  Between the never ending pressing projects (loco/vehicle/shop) and doing the punch list of projects with the other stored engines there was no time left to devote to this engine the past few weeks. 

RMNE (ex-CDOT) 2002, FL9:
The replacement "vent" windows for the cab have begun getting cleaned up, they were removed and plated over sometime during CDOT's ownership. 2002 is the only FL-9 we have that had this done. At this time it seems unlikely they will get installed this year, due to colder weather on the horizon and the fact 2002 isn't serviceable so it's not a pressing project, and will remain a fill in project for now.

RMNE (ex-CDOT) 2019, FL9 is covering all assignments at this time until U23B 2203 is repaired.

RMNE 42, GE 45-ton: An attempt to get the unit started has failed so far. Battery water and antifreeze were topped off. Oil was checked in both engines and the batteries were charged. Fresh diesel fuel was put in the filters. The lights and radio came to life and even the contactors in the electrical compartment clicked away but neither engine would attempt to turn over. Digging into things more closely a terminal on one of the battery cables and the post that that cable was attached to was badly corroded and eaten away. This needs to be fixed before anything else is tried as all the low amperage draw stuff works but the heavy draw starters don't.

—Bill Sample, Editor

Friday, August 31, 2012

End of summer locomotive report

Maine Central RS3 557 had used diesel fuel from 2203's fuel filter change added into its prime mover. It will help clean up the innards when the pre-lube pump is set up.  Some cleaner previously-used oil will be added to the crankcase after some of 557's "tar" oil is drained out.

Metro-North FL9 2033 (ex-NH 2059) - Volunteer Alex began cleaning the unit out of debris. Volunteer Jason cut a piece of polycarb for the missing rear window; pieces to fill the open number boards are being worked on, these were/are three areas of weather inlet on the loco that will be plugged up. Used diesel fuel from a filter change on the 2203 was dumped down the test cocks of the stuck prime mover. Two of its shot batteries were removed by Jason and Alex, the rest are being freed up, battery work was last done back in May.

NAUG U23B 2203 continues to power all needed trains the past few months. A 92-day inspection was done by volunteers Hal Reiser, Jason Hartmann and Al Pomeroy.

New Haven FA1 0401 had the fan grill that was brought up to the shop site last month straightened out by Alex. It will be lifted up onto the roof and put in place with a plywood covering pitched for drainage. This will close up the open rear area of the carbody.

New Haven RS3 529 has had its battery water topped off and its batteries were charged.

New Haven (CDoT/RMNE) FL9 2019 had its batteries charged and the unit was started and idled for several hours. The 2019 hasn't been touched in 2 months since NAUG 2203 has been dependably covering all needed assignments. 2019 is being kept stored serviceable waiting for its reactivation to service this fall.

RMNE 42, the GE 45-tonner “the Critter” had its battery water was topped off and batteries are currently being charged. Fluids will be checked and the plan is to fire up its prime movers after 3 years of inactivity to keep the unit in the best shape possible for when it will be needed again.

Want to get your hands dirty? Volunteer! Weekday work sessions are now held Tuesdays from 4:00pm-8:00pm at Thomaston Shop. Contact us for more information!

—Bill Sample, Editor

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Thomaston Station News

While the inside of the station is now being enjoyed by our passengers and visitors, Kevin Meehan and John King have been removing the exterior Plexiglas covers from the west-facing waiting room windows.  Window locks are being installed and the windows will be usable for ventilation.  Exterior painting is also needed as part of the project.

We still have to do an extensive cleanout of the cellar, and some organization in the attic.  Cellar work should be planned for the warmer months, the attic for the cooler times.

Celeste has received word of a funding award from the Town of Thomaston.  The entire amount will be placed in the station fund On Tuesday 31 July, Laura Mancuso of the State Historic Preservation Office in Hartford was scheduled for a visit to the station.

Jason Hartmann is looking for a carpet “remnant” to be used on the station’s train layout in the station to deaden the sound. The carpet would have to be an earth tone, preferably beige or tan, and MUST be a loop style or low nap so it's fibers won't get stuck in the wheels and gears of the trains. A green or brown carpet would be OK too, just not ideal for "realistic" purposes but still "passable." The remnants or a small rug could be cut to fit but should be at least 3 feet wide.

—Bill Sample

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Naugatuck Olympics: The Grey Team and the Brown Team

The 2012 Summer Olympics opened Saturday, July 28 in London. Simultaneously, the Naugatuck Railroad put two teams on the ground at Torrington, Connecticut, to salvage a short spur track south of the Water Street crossing.

The Grey (Hair) Team included Howard Pincus, Foreman; Al Galanty, locomotive engineer; Tim Reed, crane operator; Walt Herrman, spare parts runner; Steve Butterworth, track (work) coach and news reporter.

The Brown (Hair) team included Matt Andel, train conductor; Matt Lawson; Toni Barbera, Tom Wallace, Alex Neisloss, and Winfield Greene, apprentice track (but not field) workers. Jason Hartmann and Tyler came off the bench and joined in the afternoon.

This reporter observed very real progress in bringing along the younger generation at the Naugatuck. Both Matt Andel and Matt Lawson have a few years’ experience in all sorts of jobs on our railroad, ranging from car host to conductor and from track builders to mechanics and coach roofers. Toni, Tom, and Alex count their experience in months, but bring plenty of curiosity and enthusiasm plus their youthful energy. Considerable credit goes to Matt Lawson for collecting Toni, Tom and Alex and driving from the Norwich, CT area to the Naugatuck Valley.  Winfield is a veteran of Mystic Seaport's SABINO, Tim Reed introduced him to the possibilities of mechanical things on rails.

In Torrington, Franklin Products is west of the main track and south of the Water Street crossing. Their business is expanding, and they wanted to use space east of the main track. ConnDOT, which owns the rail line we use, agreed that Franklin could construct a private grade crossing and use land occupied by a 250-foot spur track east of the main track. The spur was laid with 80-lb. section rail that the Naugy can use for yard tracks at Volunteer Shop. After restoration, a pipe-connected derail on the spur will be displayed on the Thomaston station track.

Festivities started at 8:30 Saturday with Matt Andel and Al Galanty inspecting 2203 before heading to Thomaston to pick up the PTM 198 crane and Maine Central gondola. Meanwhile, “the kids” helped Steve check TC30 and load it with track tools plus the oxyacetylene cutting torch. TC30 and Matt Lawson’s truck drove on the highway to Torrington. Meanwhile, Howard met with CDOT’s grade-crossing engineer and representatives from Franklin Products to walk the site and finalize details of their plan.

The day’s first goal was obvious: Remove the rails and other materials from the spur so  Franklin Products can proceed with their expansion plan. The Naugy crew began by measuring the rails and marking them with their lengths and center points. Then it was muscle work, pulling spikes and removing the bolts from joint bars. Some bolts were so rusted, they spun loose in the holes and had to be cut with the torch. The freed rails were rolled toward the center of the track, exposing the tie plates. Those were picked up with a long packing hook, borrowed from the car knocker’s corner of the shop.

After 2203 arrived with the crane and gondola, we all put on hard hats. Then the rails, a ruined bumper post, the derail, the pipe connection hardware, the switch frog (previously removed, with a broken casting), guard rails, and crates of tie plates and scrap all went into the gon. We took an involuntary break in mid-afternoon when the sky opened up and poured rain. Nearly an inch collected in the spike bucket in an hour.

Next we moved north to the Torrington loading dock siding, intending to retrieve the resident New Haven gondola and bring it to Chase Yard. The switch needed digging out, and everyone learned what a track broom is for. The switchstand also required respiking. Walt cleared the weeds with his weed wacker, allowing a close inspection of the track. When we applied a track gauge, we found some just acceptable wide-gauge spots. After some reflection, Howard considered the hour (6 PM), the weather (still raining lightly), and the crew condition (wet and tired) and decided it was a good time to apply the lesson, “Bad things can happen late in the day.” The switch was relined and locked for the main, and 2203 headed south, providing a physical-characteristics session en route for Alex and Winfield.

The number of young volunteers gave the old guard the chance to teach and pass along skills and good work habits. Our “new” Naugatuck Railroad is already 15 years old; time marches on relentlessly. We are very fortunate to have some younger people who think our railroad is interesting to be around. And we are grateful for their help.

—Steve Butterworth

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Order Board for June


We have now arrived in the Operating Season and there is so much to do.  Please consider how you can help make this year a safe, prosperous and successful one.


Train, engine and station crews are needed to cover our scheduled operations, which are initially on Sundays and Tuesdays. We also have the visit of Flagg Coal #75 coming up in June, with the additional operating days.  (#75 operation includes 7, 8, 9, 10 and 15, 16, 17 June)  There will be a special mailing for this event and its requirements. In addition to the usual crews, qualified flaggers will be needed in Torrington for a proposed operation in 7 June.


We have been receiving the CDOT surplus ties at the Thomaston station parking lot.  All that arrived so far  – hundreds – have been completely removed and distributed to secure staging, storage, or installation points, and all will be used along the main line. The initial installation began on Memorial Day 28 May north of the Dam.

The first trackwork of the season began on 20 May at the south switch of the Huntington Ave. passing track in Waterville.  Eight switch timbers were replaced – 4 nine footers and four 14 footers.  Hal Reiser, Al Galanty, Howard Pincus, Dana Hunt, Rowan de la Barre, and George Wittman comprised the team.  Hope to have photos in an upcoming Along the Line.

A North End Expeditionary Force has made appearances north of the dam to clean up remaining tree and brush problems remaining from the 2011 storms.  As of 24 May all but MP14.5 – MP16 was done.  Additionally flangeway cleaning in crossings will be done in East Litchfield and Torrington.

 Motor Vehicle Department  - Jason Hartmann has repaired the tie cart by giving it a good realignment, and hopefully the vehicle will track better.


With the first two days of operation, life inside the station has returned to the “open station” mode, fit for public consumption. The floor was cleaned several times and repainted, and work will continue on finishing the upper walls and doing temporary repairs on the wainscoting in the waiting room.  Baggage room repairs may begin later, and it requested not to alter any existing woodwork before documentation can occur.

Kevin Meehan requests that we now concentrate on caring for what we have accomplished – a presentable station.  This starts with keeping floors and counters clean and mopped and trashcans emptied.  Additionally, the grounds need attention starting with outdoor trashcans.  Walt Hermann, Lou Beres and others have been doing a good job but could use some help.  As Walt is not as nimble as he once was, the gardens could use some help, starting with the ones along the west wall of the station and later down to the west edge of the parking lot by the station approach.  Are there any gardeners out there that could help?  It sure dresses up the appearance of the station.  We have some photos of the East Litchfield station “back in the day” that shows what good station landscaping looks like.

We recently had a Thursday work night at the station to get everything ready for the operating season and the Flagg Coal visit.  Celeste Echlin, Sam Walker, Jay Hartmann, Kevin Meehan, Walt Hermann, Lou Beres, Tony Pratt, and Sue & Bill Sample were there cleaning, organizing and setting up “kiddie korner” with the O gauge layout.  The excellent and educational locomotive cutaway illustrations provided by Preston Cook have been reinstalled.

Tony Pratt and Bill Sample are setting up a photo display using vintage post card and photo views from along our line.


Schedule Change:  Weekday work sessions are now held Tuesdays from 4:00pm-8:00pm


Electrical work on the outside west wall of the shop hopefully will be completed by early June. Rich Edling has been available to assist Jack Tarter on certain weekdays so progress has been made:  At this point all the necessary wiring has been pulled. Actual devices (receptacles) will be wired in and connection made to the distribution panel to wrap up the job. Completion of the pit wiring is most likely next on the list.

Weed control to the shop yard and its nooks and crannies has been completed.

Locomotive Department

B&M 1732, GP9 –The locomotive remains on the pit, with the cleanout and hood removal preparation continuing.  Scott Lent continues the preparation of the rebuilt 567 C prime mover for installation.

NAUG 2203, U23B  – The additional new circuit cards and some control stand rewiring by Andy Kromer has returned the locomotive to service.

NH (RMNE) 2019, FL9 – The locomotive was returned to service in late March and used to power the recent Haight/Brown Vineyard Vintage Express train.

Car Department

Coach 4992 –  No one is happier than project manager Sam Walker that this work is all but done. Earlier in May a work session was organized by Sam and the upper deck roofing was laid out and glued down.  Next the final edge nailing was done and at last report the car is just about done except for the ends.  A thorough cleaning and seat installation will return the car to service.

Coach 4990 — The roof needs to be “glopped” (sealed). This is planned for right after 4992 leaves the shop. This should only take one weekend if we can move the scaffolding Saturday after one side is done. If time allows we can needle scale and paint the vestibules. (Does not need super job - just chase away the “potato chips” and paint).

Coach 5046 – This car has about a 15-year-old exterior paint job and it is showing its age.  We hope to have this car in the shop for a refurbishment later this spring.  The interior, while generally presentable, could also use a freshening.



The Haight/Brown Vineyard Vintage Express wine train returned on May 19 and was well attended.  The sparkling Thomaston Station waiting room impressed the visitors, especially those who remember the station in years gone by.


Reminder – our big non-holiday event planning is well along for the 3rd annual visit of Flagg Coal Company #75, affectionately known as “Hank the Tank Engine.”  The Gramling Family’s 0-4-0ST coal burner is scheduled to appear June 8-9-10-15-16-17 at Thomaston.  This year we have been blessed with some major-league assistance with the promotion of the event:  Member Bert Brander, who has been the major force in the success of the Simsbury Airport Fly In, building it into the largest event of its kind in New England.  Bert is working with Celeste Echlin and Tony Pratt locally and this year’s increased promotion should make for a busy two long weekends.  (Please consider volunteering whenever you can to help it success!)

Some of the advertising includes radio - we'll be on WZBG-FM (97.3) at the end of May through Amy Ferrarotti with ticket giveaways for the first weekend of Hank the Tank Engine’s visit.  We also will have 15 minutes with WATR (AM 1320.)

Jack Tarter and Bert Brander have been working to get a DVD of the railroad activities aired on Cablevision Channel 5 in the Torrington area. On a recent Wednesday Jack met with a member of the public access staff and signed the necessary paperwork for the program to air. I believe the days will be Monday and Thursday evenings at 8:00pm.

That’s all the news that fits for now- Thanks to Sam Walker, Celeste Echlin, Bob Harrington, Kevin Meehan, Howard Pincus, Hal Reiser, Jack Tarter, Al Pomeroy, and Sue Sample for their assistance 

—Bill Sample, Editor

Monday, April 30, 2012

Train station restoration full steam ahead

THOMASTON, Conn. (WTW) — The whirring of an orbital sander resonated off fresh drywall in the Thomaston Train Station on a recent day as volunteer John King of Southington prepared the surface for paint. Windows, original to the 1881 train station but removed and carefully restored over the winter, are primed and ready for paint in time for the Railroad Museum of New England's season opening in May. Although the projects may seem mundane, they are giant steps for the nonprofit museum that has been working to restore the train station since 1996.

"It was pretty much an eyesore for quite a few years," said Kevin J. Meehan, a volunteer. The ceiling, which fell down in an arson fire in 1994, hadn't fully been repaired until last winter when drywall was laid over insulation that hung exposed from the rafters. Windows on the west side of the building, some of which were so rotten that Meehan had to shrink wrap their sashes so their shape would be preserved on their way to a builder, were restored by Torrington Sash and Door Co.

Celeste Echlin, museum president, said the group is steaming ahead with projects and hopes to tackle more work after the train station is designated as a historic place. That, she said, should come after a May 2 hearing with the State Historic Preservation Office and will open the door to grants to help fund substantial projects, like repointing the aged brick facade.

The museum has also applied for a Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation grant to pay for an architect to assess the building and focus on future projects, she said.

Read the full story here: http://www.rep-am.com/articles/2012/04/30/ap-state-ct/ct_fea_thomaston_station.txt

Friday, March 30, 2012

B&M 1732 enters Thomaston Shop

Our former Boston & Maine GP9 #1732 has been spotted inside Thomaston Shop on Sunday March 25, as we begin the task of swapping out the old engine for a newer rebuilt one. Volunteer Jason Hartmann can be seen standing on the deck, while Ed McAneney looks on.

RMNE volunteers Jason Hartmann and Bill Sample check out the locomotive status board inside Thomaston Shop. Visit our web site if you're interested in joining our ranks of volunteers who keep our trains running!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Order Board - March Edition - Second Section

Naugatuck Railroad work train near Frost Bridge Road, 2008.

Next Meeting:
5:30pm, May 12, Senior Center, Thomaston Town Hall. It has been requested to have the meeting at 5:30pm rather than 6:30pm.


Schedule Change: Weekday work sessions are now held Tuesdays from 4:00pm-8:00pm

Car Department - Sam Walker

Coach 4992 - The wood for the lower drip rail/tack board is now complete, fitted to the car and installed to stay. The south end needs some minor contour sanding and painting, which should be completed next Tuesday night. The north end is now being covered with the membrane. This is the most involved part of the job and requires careful fitting and finishing. I expect this to take the next two weekends. Easter weekend is planned for finishing the upper drip edge installation (must be done after the four lower corners are done) with the upper main roof planned for April 14 or 21. COT&S could be done at any time during this period as help is available.

Coach 4990 (ex-“ beater”) -Roof needs to be glopped (sealed). This is planned for right after 4992 leaves the shop. This should only take one weekend if we can move the scaffolding Saturday after one side is done. If time allows we can needle scale and paint the vestibules. (does not need super job - just chase away the “potato chips” and paint).

Locomotive Department – Jason Hartmann, Sam and Dave (M)

B&M 1732 – currently on track 5 north of the shop, will be surveyed for the upcoming engine swap. Power assemblies for the rebuilt engine were ordered and delivery is imminent.

NAUG 2203 – new circuit cards are on order, hopefully they will solve the remaining electrical problems.

NH 529 – pretty much ready for the truck swap, detailed planning underway.

RMNE 2019 – batteries are being charged and it is anticipated that the loco will return to service this weekend.

Motor Vehicle Department – various

The MVD should finally be getting some shop time so repairs to the TSY front-end loader can be made so it can be returned to service for various projects. We were very fortunate that it wasn’t needed over the winter, as we would have to have hired in a contractor using funding that could have been better spent on vehicle improvements.


Electrical Department – Jack Tarter continues working on electrical service installation and improvements in the shop.


Our track expansion project at the Shop Yard continues over the next few weekends. Track 5 has ties and plates positioned, and rail should be arriving via a work train Saturday. Angle bars and bolts will be needed. All rail will be unloaded from the MEC gondola, with surplus rail being neatly deposited within reach. If we had a working front-end loader we could also ballast track 5, then start on track 4.


New switch key locks will be distributed to operating personnel on the Naugatuck Railroad. Prior to the cut over of the switch locks, new keys will be distributed to qualified Brakeman, Conductors and Engineers on the current roster. For new members who pass their examination of the NORAC rulebook during one of the Naugatuck Railroad’s annual rules classes and wish to enter the Student Brakeman training program they will use the switch key of their instructing Brakeman during their training period. Upon qualification by the Trainmaster as a Full Brakeman they will be issued the new key. Those personnel with any questions should contact Hal Reiser by either phone (914 714-5135) or by email at Hal2415@aol.com

(Many thanks to Hal for investing his time into the behind-the-scenes but very necessary task!).


“There’s always painting….” - Kevin Meehan

West side waiting room half-doors should be installed by this weekend. A new lock will also be installed to replace the padlock on the slider. Most of the shelves and display cases have been returned to their normal configuration.

What you can’t see in the station is some concentrated effort from Celeste Echlin to secure grant funding. Part of this includes a restoration plan for the building, including the exterior. Don Watson and Ralph Harris are assisting with this. As at least one of the grant requests is a “matching grant” type, it is imperative that we keep track of the time spent working on the project. (a good habit to follow on ALL projects!)

Work continues on most Saturdays and Sundays.


March 31 - Train and Station pre-season Cleanup Day – Need a good turnout! Station and Shop Yard (if train isn’t brought to station)

April 7 (Saturday) Easter Bunny Express 10:00AM, 12:00 Noon, 2:00PM – Staff requirements: Easter bunny (Sue), “bunny wrangler,” Train Crew, Car Hosts, Station Staff

As most of you already know, membership renewal notices have been sent out. Please remit ASAP and help to make our treasurer happy!

Saybrook crews continue to be busy with the final stages of the yard cleanup plus equipment move preparation. This location is closed to the public.

The Special Events Committee is busy planning the various events as listed above. Various advertising needs are part of the planning process. Nancy and Tony Pratt, Sue and Bill Sample, Celeste Echlin and Barb Walcott are the regular members and often Sam Walker assists if he has time.

That’s all the news that fits for now- Thanks to Dave Manning, Sam Walker, Celeste Echlin, Bob Harrington, Hal Reiser, Jason Hartmann, Kevin Meehan, and Sue Sample for their assistance.

—Bill Sample, editor

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Order Board for February

Next Meeting: March 10, 6:30pm, Senior Center, Thomaston Town Hall


The RMNE received the first Founder’s Award grant issued by the Amherst Railway Society. The award of $10,000.00 was received by chairman Howard Pincus, president Celeste Echlin, and Volunteer Shop representative Sam Walker at a short ceremony held at the ARS’s Railroad Hobby Show on January 29th. The award will be dedicated to the Boston & Maine 1732 restoration program and will allow us to purchase the remaining needed power assemblies for the 567C engine overhaul.


The RMNE has recently concluded a lease agreement with the State of Connecticut to expand our leasehold southward from the Thomaston Shop Yard. The unused property basically lies between the railroad right of way and Waterbury Road and contains a length of former trolley right of way and consists of about 4 acres.


Submitted by Brent Bette, Rules Examiner

This year's NORAC classes will be split into two separate sections – a “novice” and “advanced” level. The novice class, designed for those who have never taken the class or have been qualified for only one year, will be more methodical in nature and allow for a more in-depth discussion of specific rules. This class, required for 0-1 year NORAC participants, is also open to those who would like a less “fast paced” learning environment. For those who have been NORAC qualified for more than one year, an advanced class will be offered, where students will discuss the application of the rules to various scenarios. Both classes will include NORAC 10th edition, Timetable 6 and the new “electronic devices” regulations. The classes will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break. Due to the number of items we have to cover this year, the course WILL utilize the entire time slot so please plan accordingly. Please email me at bbette@msn.com with your specific class request. If you are unable to attend any of the dates offered, please contact me and we will try to find a mutual time. However, due to a multitude of time-sensitive, railroad related weekend commitments, I ask participants make every effort to attend one of the following dates:

Saturday, March 3 (NOVICE)

Saturday, March 10 (ADVANCED)

Saturday, March 17 (ADVANCED)

Houses For Sale Near Shop Yard

Become a friendly neighbor! Cut down your drive time to and from the Museum! Two houses just about across the street from the Shop Yard are for sale at around $250,000. each, at 901 and 905 Waterbury Road. Contact Showcase Realty for details.


Save the Date – April 28, 2012 at The Hills Country Club restaurant, back by popular request. Details will be coming soon.


Kevin Meehan and his crew will be continuing work inside the Thomaston Station over the winter. Two more window assemblies are being rebuilt and we are very pleased with the outcome. One of the double entrance doors that had been rebuilt by Ralph Harris has had a topcoat of paint applied and it looks very good. Work on the ceiling will begin this month.

Kevin is looking for any photographs of the station, inside or out, with the priority being when we first took on the building’s ownership. Photos from any other era are also welcome.

Recent work within the building has included a big clean-up of the entire first floor, mostly putting retail items in safe places to allow the rehab to continue.


The remaining Christmas decorations have been removed from the coaches and are all packed up and ready to go by the track 5 north door at the shop. We need someone to transport them up to the station and put them away inside the NAUG 445 boxcar. See Sam Walker for details.


Spring will be here soon and with it comes a new season of Naugatuck train schedules and constant support work. All of the operations on the Naugatuck are carried out by volunteers, not paid staff. We hope to include all who want to share the load. We realize that it is not obvious how new people can best "break in" to the ranks of volunteers. When do I come to help? Where is the work taking place? What do I bring? We'll try to answer some of those questions here, and there is a contact list at the end. Any of those folks will be glad to hear from you. Ask all the questions you want, and then there will be no surprises. Some of the work is for qualified crew; much more requires only willing hands and a smiling face. Following is a list of scheduled trains and planned projects for 2012 with some details. We hope you will look it over and consider spending some time supporting the railroad and museum.

Naugatuck Railroad Passenger Trains

April 7 (Saturday) Easter Bunny Express

Easter "bunny", Train Crew, Car Hosts, Station Staff

May 27 (Sunday) (Memorial Day weekend)

Train Crew, Car Hosts, Station Staff

June 8-9-10, 15-16-17 Steam Returns to The Naugy (Fri. - Sun.)

Train Crew, Steam Fireman, Car Hosts, Station Staff, Parking Staff, Fire Patrol, and engine service brigade (water and coal handling)

June - July - August – September: Summer Service most Tuesdays & Sundays

Train Crew, Car Hosts, Station Staff

October 13-14, 20-21, 27-28: Fall Foliage / Pumpkin Harvest

Train Crew, Car Hosts, Station Staff, Parking Staff, Pumpkin Handlers

November 24, Dec. 1-23 (Sat. & Sun.): Northern Lights Ltd & Santa Trains

Santa & Elves, Train Crew, Car Hosts, Station Staff, Parking Staff, shop staff.

The passenger service requires a qualified Train Crew of conductor, engineer, and brakeman. These positions require successive training and examination of NORAC Rules, Physical Characteristics, Air Brake Rules and locomotive training. They also start simply with volunteers interested in making the service comfortable for our riders. This works starts with morning inspection of the train inside and out, opening windows on warm days, starting the heat in cold weather, checking seats, sweeping coach floors. Thomaston station and the Comfort Coach need to be opened, checked and stocked, swept, cleaned, the phone answered, tickets sold.

Car Hosts board passengers, attend vestibule traps and doors, punch tickets, point out the sights, answer questions and snap passengers' camera photos. Volunteering as a car host is a good way to get on board experience prior to entering train crew service.

There are continuing efforts to restore doors and windows and the wooden awnings at the station. The Comfort Coach will receive exterior scraping and painting in late March if the weather permits, mid-April otherwise.

Steam Returns to The Naugy in June

Car Hosts escort passengers to the coach vestibule nearest to the steam engine to see and hear the crew scoop coal into the firebox, run the engine, and watch the water glass. In the wake of the steam train, a fire patrol in a hi-rail truck is necessary to extinguish any smoldering leaves and weeds with water and shovels. Hands are needed at the station to shovel and load coal and handle the water hose.

October Pumpkin Harvest

Kids and their families enjoy a few minutes off the train picking a pumpkin from the "patch". Helpers are needed to load and move the pumpkins to the patch and supervise the "picking". Early in the month a work party will set up the boarding platforms and clear the patch.

June, October, November & December Parking Staff

These trains generate enough crowds that parking lot attendants are needed to point drivers into and out of parking areas. A monitor watches the grade crossing and driveway to keep automobiles and people safely separated.

November & December Cold Weather Work

Winter brings the need to heat and light the train coaches. This is done with equipment that requires propane fuel and generator fuel. These are attended to in the morning concurrent with the inspections. Willing hands are helpful to handle fuel and any odd needs that winter can bring. If snow comes, it needs shoveling. Thomaston station, the train, and Santa's Workshop need decorating before Nov. 24.

Car Cleaning

The coaches get a major cleaning inside and out in the Spring. Periodic maintenance wiping and cleaning of seats, windowsills and glass, and floor cleaning keeps the cars in top form for passengers. The work is uncomplicated but high in reward and visibility.

Shop and Track Work (where our clothes get really dirty)

All sorts of rolling stock restoration work takes place all year round on Saturdays and Wednesday evenings at the Volunteer Shop. Some projects carry into Sundays as well. In January a coach roof was restored with a rubber roofing membrane. Months of wood roof reconstruction and repair took place before the new membrane could be installed. This will be repeated on a second coach before Spring. Another coach sees much steel cutting, welding and grinding on its exterior. The interior is getting a complete stripping and repair of its interior mahogany trim.

The operating locomotives require an FRA mandated inspection every 92 days. Other repair work is done as needed. Some of this work is highly skilled, some of it is busting rust. Assistants are always useful. Ever handle a handful of bees? We don't mean insects, we mean a needle scaler or power wire brush. Both are necessary tools for prep work before painting a steel car.

An ongoing project is the construction of the electrical distribution system in the Shop. Conduit and wiring is needed for lighting, outlets and 208-volt machine shop services. This work is done on Saturdays, there is also offsite component fabrication time.

The "yellow fleet" requires periodic maintenance and repair. Both track machines and rubber-tired equipment are kept in repair by our Motor Vehicle Department.

Power assemblies will arrive this Spring for the 16-cylinder EMD engine that will replace the engine in B&M 1732. Learn what a power assembly is (hint- there are 16 of them) and help reassemble the engine. Much work will be going into 1732 to prepare the engine hood for removal and restoration.

Track Work

Ties rot, bolts and plates wear, stone ballast compacts; the needs of the track are constant. Track inspections find areas of deterioration; projects are scheduled to restore these areas. April and May is a big season to replace ties and worn joint components and tamp ballast at low joints. Some of this work is done by "yellow machines"; a work crew is also necessary to load and move materials, pull spikes, turn wrenches and place and operate track jacks.

A lot of new yard track has been built in the yard at Volunteer Shop and some of it needs stone ballast spread and tamped on it. Fortunately the railroad has a stockpile of crushed stone on site and rail cars to spread it.

More yard trackage will be built. Many hands can make light work to space ties, install plates, bolt together joints and drive spikes. Track work is done periodically throughout the season and is announced in Order Board. Lots of opportunity to apprentice - see how it is done and join in.

As noted above, many skills and trades are busy on the Naugatuck Railroad. Besides helping keep our Museum going, volunteers can learn new skills and interests, much like an apprenticeship in the “paid” work world.


Several ongoing projects are funded with gifts and grants. The Museum seeks people knowledgeable in the process of non-profit fundraising. Also needed is help with documenting the Museum's curatorial plans and needs; budgeting, community outreach, promotion and marketing, future development, administration. The tools are words, pen and paper, computer word processor; the workplace and time is the volunteer's choosing. A project leader contact list will be provided in a future issue. --Steve Butterworth


As most of you already know, membership renewal notices have been sent out. It has been suggested that only those who have paid their dues will be eligible to take rules classes (later this winter, dates to be determined). Please remit ASAP and help to make our treasurer happy!


Bob Harrington reports that the Cummins front-end loader still awaits brake repair and an alternator upgrade when shop time is available.


Boston & Maine GP9 1732 has been moved to just outside the door on track 5 for easy access. A set of rebuilt power assemblies has been delivered to Bob Eberheim’s shop and will be transferred up to the Volunteer Shop as time permits. Melanie Sembrat of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad spent the day on various shop projects and she drained the last of the lube oil from the replacement block and cleaned the sump as part of the preparation for it’s rebuilding.

NAUG U23B 2203 recently suffered from flat batteries as someone forgot to open the main battery switch following an operating session. Jason Hartmann coordinated the rescue of the batteries with a thorough re-charge. Flat batteries can freeze and be destroyed, making for an expensive and difficult replacement task – please be careful and properly shut down the locomotive.

New Haven RS3 529 has been moved inside onto the pit and is having its trucks readied for a change out. Brake rigging has been removed and traction motors are being disconnected.


Coach 4992 – Jason Hartmann and Melanie Sembrat welded up the last dual propane tank holder needed for the active coach fleet – her first welding experience. The holder has had its first coat of gray paint done but needs one more. Up on top, about 90 percent of the new rubber roof surface has been applied under the direction of Sam Walker, who enjoyed a good turnout of volunteer roofers. The 10 percent remaining includes both ends of the car where new tack strips are being manufactured and carefully fitted. The tack strips are wood pieces attached to the carbody that provide areas for the roofing material to be attached to using roof tacks. All tack strips on the car are being completely replaced with new wood and this is a job we’d better get used to because it is needed on the entire ex CNR fleet. The end pieces are difficult to install and require careful hand-carving to snugly fit in the correct area between various curves and ridges on the car ends. The interior of the car has been given a major cleaning and the floor is in the process of being repainted.

Coach 5046 should be getting some shop time later this winter for exterior work as previously discussed.


The southward extension of track 5 has slowly begun. Jason Hartmann reported that he has finished raking the track bed smooth, set up a string line to locate the path of the track, and painted an edge line to mark the alignment for placing the ties. Spikes and other smaller supplies are slowly making their way to the area. With the Cummins loader being down, the moving of the ties has been held up. Jason warns that erosion is taking place on the embankment between track 5 and the driveway and recommends that it gets a coating of crushed rock or have some grass planted next spring.

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 Celeste Echlin, Bob Harrington, Jason Hartmann, Kevin Meehan, Brent Bette, Jon Chase, Howard Pincus, Steve Butterworth and Sue Sample for their assistance --Bill Sample, editor

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Order Board for January


Knowing the history of why the December meeting was moved up to November is part of the same problem that has made it difficult to come up with a quick solution to the bylaw problem and has also gotten in the way of communicating a plan for resolving the issues now before us. In case a rare few members have forgotten, or are new to RMNE since November 2009, we moved the annual December meeting and Volunteer Appreciation Dinner to November three years ago with the advent of our first Northern Lights Limited because our December weekend nights were going to be filled with our evening train special events. The simple solution at the time seemed to be to just hold the dinner earlier before December train operations began and also include the member meeting. No one on the Board and no one in the membership thought at the time to look at the bylaws, no one noticed that we were not following protocol until this last meeting in Nov. 2011.

After the November 2011 meeting and the issue of not properly scheduling the annual meeting was revealed, most board members were subsequently heavily involved in running the December special events and Saybrook move activities with no time available to schedule either a board meeting or send out any communications regarding plans to resolve the bylaw issues. Board members did communicate with each other during the last month and were able to locate amended bylaws that had been approved in late 2000. The board also started working through revisions of the bylaws that will be needed going forward to bring the bylaws current with changes in the organization and to help communications with the general membership. The board of trustees is planning to meet within a couple of weeks to go over the issues at hand and to re-schedule a member meeting at the earliest convenience for presentation of proposed new bylaws and to properly elect the trustees who wish to serve going forward. I am sorry to all our members that we were not able to resolve these issues more quickly to everyone's satisfaction, but it was more important for me, the other board members and other persons involved to participate in the December special events to help ensure the organization's financial well-being for the future.

I am very thankful for working with so many very special volunteers over the past month who all contributed greatly to making this year's December trains our most successful yet. We all had fun and heard many compliments and sincere thanks from our customers. We know that we produced a high quality event and know that the hard work by all contributed to our museum's success. It is our reward in itself.


The framework of the Education Committee was organized over the year 2011. As of November 19 members include Lori Bean, Matt Andel, Matt Lawson, Dana Hunt, Jason Hartmann, George Roraback, and Brent Bette. Committee Consultant: Sherry Edmonds. Howard Pincus is the Museum Board liaison.

Programs will include “Tour Time at the Station” a hands-on, interactive program that will be focused toward students from the elementary through high school levels. “Go Gear” (a program to equip 18-22 year old members with necessary safety and other items), “Railroad Experience” (a hands-on program for adults who are mentored by our volunteers in real project work in restoration, operations, and maintenance), “Story Time at the Station” (train stories, poetry and games for the very young) and “Rail Talk” (an oral history program interviewing museum members about their history and interests in railroading) will also be offered, insuring that there will be something of interest for all age groups from pre-school to seniors.

In addition, other new visitor materials are being drafted: Fast, fun facts about railroading (focusing on the Naugy, and the industrial and natural history of the Naugatuck River Valley) will be available as brochure inserts and on a rack in the station, with an initial run of twelve cards, each presenting a different topic.

Lori’s children’s book about who and what makes our railroad run is in its second revision, and Lori asks for assistance from other writers and readers for review and feedback in order to help get this book ready before Memorial Day 2012. Contact her at 646.491.1473.

Education Committee next steps include: Finalizing all program start dates; Finalizing copy for the website; recruiting leadership for Education publicity and promotion.


As most of you already know, RMNE membership renewal notices have been sent out. It has been suggested that only those who have paid their dues will be eligible to take rules classes (later this winter, dates to be determined). Please remit ASAP and help to make our treasurer happy!


The west side window rebuilding continues, with windows 3 and 4 scheduled for completion of the re-installation by mid-January. Windows 5 and 6 have now been removed for rebuilding. Once again Kevin Meehan is requesting that the station be kept clear of clutter through the off-season as well. The station is not a warehouse and clutter gets in the way of the restoration work that is best done when the public is not around. The cellar will be targeted for a big cleanup, which will probably include a large dumpster to haul useless items away. There is no way we can do any meaningful work to improve the cellar until it is largely cleared out.


Bob Harrington reports that there is a new starter on the “upper deck” of the Gradall hi-rail excavator. The hi-rail equipment on the machine is currently under repair and should be completed soon. The IHC front-end loader continues to be a valued machine at the Saybrook Yard, and the Cummins front-end loader awaits brake repair and an alternator upgrade when shop time is available.


Jason Hartmann, Stewart Crouse, Matt Lawson and others have kept busy with various locomotive projects.

Boston & Maine GP 9 1732 is scheduled for some shop time later this winter for engine removal preparation.

Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 1246 played an important role as a display during our Christmas operations, especially the premium Northern Lights Limited service. On display at the shop yard for all to see, the locomotive was well decorated and lit after dark and used a smoke machine supplied by Stewart Crouse to provide some special effects.

Maine Central RS3 557 has had its damaged horn rebuilt by Matt Lawson.

NAUG U23B 2203 covered the north end of the Holiday service trains without major problems. It remains serviceable to cover any needed assignments.

New Haven RS3 529 received a Christmas present – its batteries were recharged.

New Haven U25B 2525 had an exterior cleaning to remove accumulated leaves and other tree debris left over from its stay at the Chase Yard.

ex-CDOT FL9 2002 got an inspection done to prepare for an engine roll-over but a test cock was found to be stuck. Ex-CDOT 2019 FL9 successfully completed covering the south end of the Holiday service trains. It was drained and set up for its winter hibernation on New Year’s Eve day. Dave Kornfeld was back east for a holiday visit and worked with Howard Pincus and Jay Hartmann on this project.

RMNE 45-tonner 42 also received a battery recharging over the Christmas week. Although not used over the past few years, “the Critter” may be returned to limited service as the shop switcher.


Coach 4980 has had a dual propane tank holder installed by Jason Hartmann, matching the set-up in the other two regularly assigned coaches. Now all 3 of the currently used coaches 4980, 4990, and 5046 have this setup. Sam Walker has the parts cut for another holder which will be installed in the 4992 once it's welded together and painted. Coach 4992 has had its first day of rubberized roof scheduled for Saturday January 7 and work will likely continue on Sunday January 8. Coach 5046 should be getting some shop time later this winter for exterior work as previously discussed.


Adam Miller and Jason Hartmann set up the Eastwood blast cabinet for use inside the shop, and it has already been handy for cleaning small parts. Outside the well-head along track 5 south of the shop was protected with an application of blue paint. Jack Tarter, leader of the electrical installation program, has been sidelined by an accident at home that left him with shoulder problems. He reports that he will be entering a therapy program soon and we’re looking forward to seeing him back at the shop. Howard Pincus has been evaluating possible modifications to the heating system that would make it more efficient.


The southward extension of track 5 has slowly begun. Jason Hartmann reported that he has finished raking the track bed smooth, set up a string line to locate the path of the track, and painted an edge line to mark the alignment for placing the ties. Spikes and other smaller supplies are slowly making their way to the area. With the Cummins loader being down, the moving of the ties has been held up. Jason warns that erosion is taking place on the embankment between track 5 and the driveway and recommends that it gets a coating of crushed rock or have some grass planted next spring.

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.


Volunteer Work Hour Records

As part of the renewed emphasis on obtaining grant funding, we must resume the recording of our volunteer time. Volunteer Worksheets are being re-designed and will be 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.

Amherst Railway Society Train Show

As no information was received, the editor assumes that set up for the show in the usual manner – Friday afternoon, January 27. (at the Better Living Center section 23). That is when the staffers should get their admission passes and can purchase their parking permits for the weekend. Check out the show website for details. If any additional information is received I’ll send out an extra edition to the active members.

That’s all the news that fits for now- Thanks to Celeste Echlin, Bob Harrington, Jason Hartmann, Kevin Meehan, Jon Chase, Howard Pincus, Lori Bean, and Sue Sample for their assistance —Bill Sample, editor