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