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