The Easter Bunny Express was a resounding success this year, due to a combination of good marketing and good weather. Originally scheduled for two runs, the increasing demand was monitored through our on-line reservation system by Celeste Echlin and Dave Manning and it was decided to add a 10:00am run before the scheduled 12noon and 2:00pm trains. When the 2:00pm sold out we decided to add a 4:00pm run, and we ended up carrying over 600 passengers! We had a good turnout of both on board and station crew and the operation ran smoothly. Locomotive 2203 headed up coaches 5046, 4992, and 4980 on this service.
In May we will be running a number of special operations. On May 1 we will be hosting a charter Vintage Express for the St Mary’s Hospital Auxiliary. On May 8 we will be operating the Haight/Brown Vintage Express (both from TST). On May 21 (training and private operation), 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, and 31 we will be hosting Flagg Coal #75, a coal-burning industrial 0-4-0 saddle tank. Flagg Coal #75 will be running from TST to a point near Frost Bridge Rd. We will need extra crews for firing and servicing the locomotive, which will be coaled “bucket-brigade” style. Trains will depart at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm. Crews will be needed for most of the above operations, including conductors, engineers, brakemen, car hosts and shop & station support staff. Please contact Barbara Walcott at 860-283-5790. It is not too early to plan on helping with the staffing needs of our regular season that commences in June.
One-Tank Expo at Quassy
On 13 June the RMNE will be participating in the second annual “One Tank Expo” at the Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, CT. The One Tank Expo is a free event where regional attractions with a one-fuel-tank range of the New York metro area can publicize their venues. The event runs 11am until 4pm. and parking is $5.00 per vehicle. Uniform will be RMNE shirts and Naugy hats. Please contact Celeste Echlin on firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to assist.
BOOK OF RULES CLASS POSTPONED
Due to the passing of his mother, rules examiner Ralph Harris will not have the time available to organize and conduct the NORAC rules class that was in the planning stages for April. We will announce the rescheduled dates when they become known.
ANNUAL ALL-MEMBER WORK WEEKEND – APRIL 24-25
Planning for the upcoming Spring Work Weekend is progressing. Our main focus will be on extending tracks 1, 2, and 3 in the Thomaston Shop Yard by 130 to 150 feet each. This would allow the secure storage of additional equipment within the secure confines of our facility at TSY. A preparation weekend will be held 17-18 April, including a work train with crane PTM 198, to gather rail and other supplies for the trackwork. Please consider helping out on one or both weekends to make our efforts successful. Howard Pincus is the project leader. As usual, there will be other work in the TSY area both inside and outside of the shop. We believe that food will be provided on both the 24th and 25th.
DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES
The Cummins front-end loader bucket is getting rebuilt at Cigar Man’s Welding. All Hi-Rail vehicles have received their final pre-season servicing, track equipment inspection & servicing is now underway. The Eslargo GMC hi-rail truck is back outside, ready to assist the Boom Truck’s scheduled repair work. TC 35 is scheduled for some additional work later this spring.
Progress marches along on coach 5805 as the remaining steel needed for outside repair work is arriving. Sam Walker has made substantial progress on finishing exterior side sheet welding, and riveting has been completed on the north end. North end interior bulkhead work has continued, and a window repair project for coaches 4980 and 4992 has been utilizing the 5805’s interior work space.
During late March a work train was run to reposition some equipment for future work. Coach 6606 moved from Chase Yard to Thomaston Shop site, initially for easy access as a pattern for interior end bulkhead reconstruction on 5805. “Cadaver” coach 4989 was positioned at the north end of shop for component recovery. Ex-colonist sleeper 4952 was moved from the DA track to Chase Yard for safekeeping and easier access to seat cushions stored within.
Plans are to bring several Pullman cars and “permanent collection” locomotives to Thomaston Shop site, once more track is built, to facilitate future conservation activities including roof painting.
Plans are being finalized by Al Pomeroy for movement of the ex-B&M, ex C&C wooden caboose to shop for serious roof attention. The car received a thorough inspection in late March by Al.
NAUG 1732 – 567C engine: The engine has now been completely disassembled and inspection and testing of various components has begun, with most work being done by Scott Lent. Cylinder liner pressure testing is complete with only the freeze-damaged unit not passing. Scott and Howard Pincus planned and built a portable piston and rod rack to safely store those items.
NH 529 is on track 5, north bay, and continues to have engine work – heads are being removed, one by one.
BRIDGES & BUILDINGS
Thomaston Station: Kevin Meehan, with the assistance of Walt Hermann and Sue and Bill Sample, began an interior upgrade to the TST station waiting room. While not a “total restoration,” the effort certainly dramatically improves the appearance. Loose material is being removed, most holes (except fastener inspection openings) are being repaired, and the entire wall is receiving a base coat of paint. Additional improvements are being considered, and a proposal by Lee VanIderstine outlines a complete restoration of a small area which should show the potential future appearance. Ralph Harris has also been in conversation with a contractor regarding finishing the waiting room ceiling and Ralph also has been removing the corrugated window coverings along the platform side, improving our “front door” appearance. These efforts headed by Ralph and Kevin have re-ignited enthusiasm for an eventual restoration of the building. And as these improvements continue, we should increase our efforts to keep the station clean and uncluttered – all parking lot signs and cones will be kept in the former Waterville/E Litchfield ticket booth, the key for this being stored with the comfort coach key inside the TST station. Kevin also is interested in improving the displays inside the waiting room.
Thomaston Shop: Major improvement work continues. The air compressor has been relocated to the south end of the building, and shop air piping is now in service on 2 of the 3 sides to be equipped. 208V three-phase power is now in service to the machine shop area and our Bridgeport milling machine should be in service soon. A portable gantry crane has been constructed by Bob Eberheim and is now in service. The crane has 2 1-ton hoists, 16’6” vertical and 13’6” horizontal clearance.
—Bill Sample, Editor