Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum Home        Ghost Train Journal Back Issues

Ghost Train Journal logo
Published Monthly by the CONNECTICUT EASTERN CHAPTER of the N.R.H.S., Inc.
Jeffd, Editor  Volume 7, Number 6, June 1999 
HELP !!!!    Us Stay on Track - An Open Letter
By Robert A. LaMay

As of May 1, 1999 the Connecticut Eastern Chapter of the NRHS has 218 members ( this includes family  and single members).  1999 should be a banner year for both the chapter and the museum.  On any given weekend you'll find approximately 20 people down at the museum working on numerous projects.  This number represents about 10% of our membership.  This is unfortunate considering the projects and various deadlines facing the museum in the months ahead.

Our members serve the Chapter and the museum in many capacities, be it promoting the museum via slide shows around the state, restoring equipment and rolling stock, preparing plans for the roundhouse and turntable area, coordinating the trackwork necessary to get our trains "rolling", keeping the financial records, paying bills, promoting the museum in the various rail press magazines, and on and on. There's something for everyone no matter how big or small the task.

I am sure you know the 20 or so people who work hard every weekend undertaking the numerous tasks that need to be done simply can't do it alone.  It was these 20 or so "dedicated" members that took the shambles that another proposed museum left behind when they hurriedly left town.  For the next five years many projects too numerous to mention were completed.  Let's keep this momentum going!!  We need to rely on those members who are strangers to both the museum and the monthly Chapter meetings.  I'm not talking to those who already go "above and beyond the call", you know who you are.  Want to be a major part of this history-making event?  Don't you realize that by the end of the year the roundhouse and turntable construction will be well under way?  All our buildings will be situated near the roundhouse - thus forming the basis of an actual operating railroad village?  The trackwork necessary for the operation of trains will also be well under way?  You'll be able to relive those glory days of railroading once again, by showing up and participating.

Granted, today we live a very hectic and demanding life.  We are being pulled in different directions to the meet the many responsibilities required of all of us.  If we are to succeed with our short-term goals we must have the help of all of our members.  If we meet all these short-term goals the long term ones will be easier to face. Sit back for a minute and think about this ...... When the major projects we are currently undertaking are complete and operating (With the help of all the members) - 

The Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum will be a bright star shining in Eastern Connecticut.  We will have the only operating railroad village complete with enclosed roundhouse and operating turntable in Eastern Connecticut.

Take the time - attend one of our monthly meetings, visit the museum and see all of the exciting projects taking place. Come down, visit "Our" museum, say hello, don a hard hat, grab a shovel, and have fun "Working on the Railroad."

As a side note to the above letter sent to the editor, a discussion was held at the May general membership meeting on chapter participation. Some members felt that possibly we are not getting the word out properly or perhaps when members do show up to work on Saturdays they are not sure just what to do or how to get involved in an on going project.  It was decided that we need to diversify the leaders of some of the projects, especially during this time of museum construction. 

Below is a list of tasks that need to be done.  Some already are underway, some need to be done and some are already have leaders and are awaiting other tasks before they can be started.  This list will give you an idea of what has to be accomplished in a very short time.  If you can assist with any of these tasks or would volunteer to be the leader of one of these tasks please let us know at the next meeting.  Remember the leader just need to coordinate the project.  We can then get a committee together or schedule a day or days to get the task done.

-Free wheels on turntable bridge
-Scrape and paint turntable bridge
-Straighten bent members on TT bridge
-Find replacement TT bearing
-Remove stump from turntable pit
-Repair brownstone on TT pit alignment
-Repair turntable shelf bolts
-Install small building foundations
-Move buildings to new foundations
-Finish excavating roundhouse pits
-Remove dirt pile near RH machine base
-Brush cutting along driveway to end of embankment
-Remove trees at the west end of site.
-Extend Hartford Main siding into site
-Extend Airline track to inside fencing
-Organize corporate and archive files for storage in Textile museum vault.
-Docent guide needs to be developed

Another Caboose arrives at Museum

Last year the chapter purchased the CV 4052 caboose that was located at the Trolley Museum in East Windsor.  As spring arrived Howard Bidwell began working on getting the caboose moved to our site.  Well on Thursday May 20th the caboose arrived.  As is usual procedure with a wooden railroad car, it had to be transported by truck to our site.  It arrived safely, with special thanks going out to Howard and his crew.

Mark your calendars (hopefully you will be marking your 1999 Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum Calendar) for September 12th.  That is the day for the next chapter train show.  We have signed a contract with Windham High School for the use of the building and the dealer notices have also been mailed.  Very soon we will have a flier ready which we will need your help to distribute to your favorite hobby supply store or anywhere that you can find to get word out.  Give us a call if you have any questions.  (Numbers are listed on the back page of this newsletter.)

Here is the abbreviated Treasurers report from the May General Membership meeting. The Treasurer will continue to report at the meeting and any member is welcome to look at the complete report at any time.  If you have any questions about the chapter finances, please feel free to see the treasurer at our meetings.

Income as of May was $2374.90 with most of the income for the month coming in from donations to the chapter.  The sales department also contributed over $700.00 this month.  Expenses for the month totaled $3774.45, with $1745.41 being spent on restorations.  Other expenses included fuels for engines, sales department to replenish inventory, and renting of the wood chipper.  Our current checkbook balance is $9651.50.

By Bill Jeske

On Thursday May 13,  I went down to the site to take some pictures of our turntable and pit for the grant writing committee.  When I stopped at the front gate to open it I heard a diesel engine running on our locomotive 0800, the 44 tonner.  I thought that maybe Tony Roman was working on it.  I didn't see his truck or any other vehicle around though.  When I walked around the north side of the locomotive I found the entry cab door locked.  I thought this was unusual so I investigated further.  I then unlocked the cab door and found the cab full of diesel exhaust.

After I let the exhaust clear I entered the cab.  Next I found
something's that were really unusual.  The main knife switch was in the open position.  The fuel pump was turned off.The main control switches were in the off position.  There was no way
this locomotive should be running, but it was.  I also found the exhaust stack cover closed, and this is why the exhaust was in the cab.

I immediately shut down the engine by pulling the fuel cut off knob.  This did shut down the locomotive.  I began to wonder how a locomotive could start all by itself.  With all of the above mentioned items in the off position there was no way it could.

After talking to Howard Bidwell and Tony Roman we decided that the engine did not start itself.  This is what we think happened.   One of our members who has a key, entered the cab and started the locomotive.  This person forgot to open the exhaust cover and panicked when it began to fill with exhaust.  This person then tried to shut down the engine the same way as our 25 tonner is shut down.  By throwing the control switches off.  Well in this case the 0800 needs to have the full shut
off pulled to shut it down.  When the engine would not shut down this person just locked the doors and left.

What could have happened could have been disastrous.  After calling Dave Pina a locomotive mechanic, he informed me of this condition, it is called dieseling.  The engine continues to run with only a small amount of fuel in it.  It creates a vacuum and continues to suck fuel from the tank.  If this condition was allowed to continue for a long period of time it could have ruined the engine.  This locomotive is currently under repair and the chapter has just spent over $3000 to get it repaired.

The chapter officers want to remind all of it's members that these
locomotives are not to be started without someone who is qualified to be there.  They are not to be operated by anyone not qualified.  They are not to be operated by anyone by themselves.  These rules are for your safety and to keep our equipment from being damaged.  Whoever did this was careless and did not want to admit he was in trouble.  This person could have called Howard or myself for help.  But rather than admit his mistake he just left.  This could have been a very expensive repair bill for the museum.  It would have probably meant replacing the whole engine.  This person knows who he is and we hope he has learned a valuable lesson.  The rules are in place and it is up to all of us to follow them, no exceptions.

:)  A Reminder that there will not be a General Membership meeting during July and August.  The business meeting will still be held on the first Sunday of the month.

Previous Issue     Top     Next Issue

Copyright ©1999 Connecticut Eastern Chapter, National Railway Historical Society June 1999.