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 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