Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum Home        Ghost Train Journal Back Issues

Ghost Train Journal logo
 
Jeffrey Ricard, Editor  Volume 6, Number 5, May 1998 
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS 
Please welcome the following new member to our chapter. George Shipton.  Welcome Aboard!

June 13 - Andover has invited our chapter to participate in a parade.  The current plan is to enter the railbus as a float.  All members that would be interested in marching/riding in the parade please plan on meeting at the school on School Road in Andover about 1:30 pm.  Step off is at 3:00.

June 16 - Amherst Railway society has invited the chapter to their June meeting.  They will be hosting guest speaker, Mr. Kevin Keefe, Editor of Trains Magazine.  

WHOOPS!  Correction of the month
Another error slid past the editor in the May issue.  The July and August general membership meetings will NOT bve held this summer.  (JUly 19 & August 16)  However the business meetings will still be held on the first Sunday (July 5 & August 2).  The change was voted on in April due to the lack of attendance during these months.

July 4, 1998 - Windham's annual BoomBox Parade!  This year the chapter will again be marching in this annual one of a kind event.  Chapter members should dreww in railroad attire if possible.  Plan on meeting in the Jillson Square parking lot at 10:00 am.  Step off is at 11:00 am.  If you need any additional information, please contact one of the officers on the back page of this newsletter.  
JUNE ENTERTAINMENT
Joe Cerreto will be showing slides
 
 

Central Vermont Flanger

Recently while working down at the site a discussion was initiated on a flanger.  Several of the younger crowd were not exactly sure what or who a flanger was.  So Art Hall dug up this article from the September 1948 of Railroad Model Craftsman. 
 This excerpt  and picture were written by Hal Carstens.  Hal was on a fan trip between New York City and Montreal via the CP, B&M, CV and the New Haven Railroads, when he came across a CV flanger parked on a White River Junction, VT siding ready to keep the main line open.
The car is basically a box car with windows, to which a cupola has been added on top.  Underneath, between the trucks, is a metal flange which shoves the snow off the track.  It's not designed for fifteen foot drifts and isn't used for such.  Rotary plows and large wedge plows are 
used for that type of snow but, nevertheless New England roads find plenty of use for these cars in the winter.  But you don't have to be a New Englander to use snow fighting equipment. 
The New York Central (and probably all of the rest) used them just last winter to keep the lines 
clear during the Big Snow of '47.  The Central had a Pacific (K-11) hauling the flanger and a caboose and the train kept going up and down 
the line until the weather cleared.  The Central Vermont's flanger was painted in the old familiar tuscan red with white letters and numbers. 
 

Why is the U.S. Railroad Gauge so strange? Or How Specifications Live on Forever!

The U.S. standard railroad gauge is 4 feet 8 1/2 inches.  That's an exceedingly odd number.  If you ever wanted to know how this distance 
was determined read on! 

Why was that gauge used?  Because that's the way they built them in England and the U.S. railroads were built by English ex-patriots. 

Why did the English people build them like that?  Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the tramways and that's the gauge they used. 

Why did 'they' use that gauge, then?   
Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.  Okay! 

Why did the wagons use that odd wheel spacing?  Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagons would break on some of the old, long distance roads because that was the spacing of the old wheel ruts.

So who built the old rutted roads?  The first long distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. The roads have been used ever since. 

And the ruts?  The initial ruts, which everyone else had to use for fear of destroying their wagons, were first made by Roman war chariots. Since the chariots were made for or by Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. 

Thus the answer to the original question.  The U.S. standard railroad gauge derives from the original military specification for an Imperial 
Roman army war chariot. 

Or to put it more lightly (and somewhat off-color), a couple of horse's  asses made it up - Roman chariots are made just wide enough to 
accommodate the back ends of two war horses! 

(Bulletin Bridge Line Historical Society via the Observation Car,  Delaware Valley Chapter and the NRHS news.)  

 
At the May meeting Mr Joseph R. Snopek, co author of "Diesels to Park Avenue, The FL9 Story"  will be presenting the chapter with a double projector slide show on Australian Railroads.  According to Robert LaMay, this is an excellent slide show that you won't want to miss. 

Please pass the complements 

Bill Jeske received a nice complement from Mr Timothy Baisley, shop superintendent of the Trolley Museum in Windsor.  Timothy was touring our site and had noticed the restoration work we had completed on the CV flat car and the CV box car.  Tim said that he knew the CV Caboose we purchased from the Trolley Museum earlier in the year,  had found a good home!

A little relief from a can 

The chapter voted at the April meeting to look into the possibility of having a porta-potty located on site to relieve the pressure of nature during work sessions and during public functions being held at the museum.  A movement was made to flush some money from the treasury to rent the latrine.  The comfort station will be returned in early October.  Since you are now privy to this information we hope that you will come on down to the site, participate in the work sessions and pay honor to the throne. 

-by  John Bowl 
Water Closet  Chairman

Previous Issue     Top     Next Issue


Copyright ©1997 Connecticut Eastern Chapter, National Railway Historical Society January 13, 1997