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Published Monthly by the CONNECTICUT EASTERN CHAPTER of the N.R.H.S., Inc.
Jeffrey Ricard, Editor  Volume 6, Number 12, December 1998 

Caboose 4029 Arrives in Willimantic

By Bill Jeske

On Tuesday November 24, 1998 our Central Vermont Caboose arrived at the Museum.  The story begins in August 1997 when Morgan Steele found out through a friend that the 4029 was for sale.  About a year ago Morgan, Duke York, and Bill Jeske made a trip up to Hardwick, Mass. to check the condition of the caboose and whether it was worth purchasing.  The caboose was found to be in relatively good condition and was purchased by the chapter for $500.00.

In August of this year we were notified by the MASS Central that the caboose had been moved off of it's secure siding and we needed to move
it to Willimantic.  Art Hall had the New England Central check it out to see if it could be moved by rail.  Unfortunately it could not be moved
by rail due to it's brakes being in poor condition.  At this time Vice President Howard Bidwell went to work finding a trucker and a crane to move the car.  Howard contacted a number of companies to do the trucking and decided on trucker Brad Robbins of Monson Mass.  Howard contacted
General Construction Crane of East Hartford to unload the car here in Willimantic (this was the same crane that unloaded our 25 tonner last year).  Meanwhile Morgan arranged for the Mass. Central to move the car to the intermodal yard in Palmer and have it lifted with a container

With the move planned out, a number of trips were made to Hardwick to prep the caboose for moving.  This involved 3 Saturdays of difficult
work.  The brake rigging was removed along with the ladders, steps smoke stack and most difficult of all, the entire cupola was removed.  This required cutting through bolts that held angle iron, which in turn held the four corner posts of the cupola on.  Once the  cupola was ready, it was lowered by hand on to Duke Yorks truck for transport to Willimantic.  The caboose was also secured at this time, which included boarding over the windows and installing a hasp and lock.  Museum members making this trip were Morgan Steele, Howard Bidwell, Dick Sobielo, Mark Granville, Bert Turcotte, Eric Leverson, Bill Nickerson and Bill Jeske.  Number 4029 was now ready to begin it's journey to Willimantic.

As with most moves everything fell into place very quickly.  Howard made two trips to the Department of Transportation and obtained the permits.  Morgan arranged to have the car moved to the container lot and also contacted his friend Mike Duda of B&M Garage in Stafford Springs to haul one of the wheel sets with his car hauler.  Howard contacted the trucker and the crane operator to let them know we were ready to move.  On the 24th all parties involved were ready to go.

At 8 a.m. the caboose was lifted onto the lowboy and by 9 a.m. the truck was ready to roll.  Howard then called the crane and let them know that they were on the way.

Mike Duda arrived first with the wheel set at 10 a.m.  This was promptly unloaded and placed on our track.  The caboose arrived next at 10:30. 
The crane arrived at 11:45 and it took about an hour and a half to set up.  At about 1:30 p.m. the 4029 was lifted off of the truck and reunited with it's wheel set our track.  The unloading crew consisted of Morgan Steele, Howard Bidwell, Duke York, Bert Turcotte, Jerry Griffin,
Paul Shamonis, Mike Makuch and Bill Jeske.

It was very impressive on how this move was accomplished, the planning by Morgan and Howard was remarkable.  All volunteers involved showed their expertise in every aspect of the move, from the prepping, to the final lift nothing was overlooked and safety was kept in mind at all times.  I don't believe professionals could have done any better than we did.  We can all be proud of our crew and a large thank you goes out to all of them.

On the Editors Desk .....

Lets talk about this years train show.  We ran into another snag getting the show scheduled in March of 1999, but we have finally settled on February 28, 1999 at Windham High School.  This year's show will be a few weeks earlier than usual requiring a little extra planning on our part. So please mark this date on your calendar.  We will need all members to plan on lending a hand during the last weekend in February.

Welcome !

Please welcome the following new members to the chapter:  Howard Raphaelson, Eric Leverson, Robert  & Laleen Testa, John and Carol Stottle.  Please note that this brings the chapters membership to 222 members, making us the largest chapter in the New England region.
Speaking of memberships, you should be receiving your membership renewals in the mail very soon.  They were mailed out to members on December 8th.  We would like to suggest that when you receive your membership renewal, please return it promptly in the envelope provided.  And if possible, it would be appreciated if you could include a little
something extra for the chapter.  The faster you return your membership the easier it is on membership chairman Howard Bidwell to get them

Since the holidays are right around the corner consider giving a membership as a gift.  This is going to be one of our most exciting years and you can share this excitement by giving a membership.
Do you have your 1999 Calendar? December is upon us an I suspect that you have already purchased your 1999 Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum Calendar.  If not we still have calendars for sale for $4.00 each or we will mail postage paid for $5.00.  Get yours at the museum on Saturday mornings or make arrangements with any of the officers listed on the back page of The
Ghost Train Journal.

Colchester Dedicates Airline Rail Trail

By Dick Sobielo

Thanks to the efforts of many hard working volunteers and funding by the National Recreation Trails Fund, the town of Colchester recently
celebrated completion of it's portion of the airline Rail Trail.  The trail is part of the Airline State Park Trail System and will connect to several Connecticut greenways.

On hand for the October 25th ribbon cutting ceremony at the Salmon river State Forest were Colchester First Selectman Jenny Contois and U.S. congressman Sam Gejdenson.  Contois praised all the volunteers and thanked the state and federal government officials for their efforts in
securing the $22,000.00 in grant money that came from the National Recreation Trails Fund.

The portion of the Airline Trail in Colchester runs from 4.1 miles from the East Hampton town line to Bull Hill Road, then to the railroad
bridge overpass at the Salmon River State Forest access road. From the overpass, it proceeds to the Salmon River railroad bridge, then to the River Road crossing near Norton Pond, then to Route 149.

It then runs along the Jeremy River to the state's commuter lot at exit 16 off Route 2 where it runs into Hebron.

Although most of us wish that the rails were still in place on the Airline, it's good to know that others have been hard at work to insure that we might still be able to walk along the route of the Ghost Train and imagine how things were in those simple days of long ago.


Allan Wiswall of West Somersville MA will be presenting a slide show on
Great Northern Steam at the December general membership meeting.  Hope
to see you their!

A reminder to all members...Please be sure to check all locks and gates at the site before you leave!  If you open a lock please be sure to lock it when you leave.  We have had several instances over the last few months were members have left windows open or locks unlocked.  Our
security is only as good as we make it.

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Copyright ©1998 Connecticut Eastern Chapter, National Railway Historical Society September 20, 1998.