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.
Jeffrey Ricard, Editor  Volume 7, Number 12, December 1999 
Museum Receives Donation
By Robert A. LaMay
Mary E. Albro, Assistant Manager - Reference and Adult Services of the City of Hartford Public Library, contacted Chapter member Ray Axelrod regarding a possible donation of various railroad books covering the late 1800's and early 1900's. Bob LaMay agreed to contact Mary Albro regarding the donation. A brief visit was made to the library on Nov 15, 1999 to review the inventory. Once reviewing the inventory it was decided to accept the donation. Two more trips to the Hartford Public Library were necessary in order to obtain all the books being donated. Involved were 19 boxes containing a total of 118 books, all hard cover.   Here's what we received:
1  - Handbook of American Railroads
2 - Poor's manual of Railroads - Annual      Editions - 1870-1899 and 1911-1939
3 - Poor's Directory of Railroad  Officials and the Manual of American Street Railways - 1886, 1888, 1892, 1893, and 1895
4 - Railway Locomotive and Locomotive Engineering - 1901-1902, 1904-1926
5 - 1939 Railway Engineering and Maintenance Cyclopedia - Tracks, Signals, Bridges, Buildings, and Water Supply
6 - Locomotive Cyclopedia - 1930, 1938, and 1956
7 - Locomotive Dictionary - 1916
8 - Car Builders Cyclopedia - 1931, 1946, and 1961
After reviewing all of the material, There's quite an array of historical information. All subjects covered - everything you ever wanted to know about steam engines, diesel locomotives and electric locomotives, all rolling stock covered from MOW to Passenger with detailed photos and diagrams. This will definitely add a lot of depth to our library and make those interested in research an easy task.  A huge THANK YOU goes out to the Hartford Public Library for this generous donation.

Treasurer's Summary Report
December Income received for the month of November was $961.19 and most of this came in from the 2000 train show tables being sold along with contributions.   Expenses totaled $2030.48 which included freight house moving and the banquet.      -Jeff Laverty
1205th ARMY Reserve Railway Unit Helps Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum
The 1205th Railway Reserve Company of the Army has agreed to help the chapter lay ties and track at the museum.  Recently Bob LaMay made contact with Lt. Tim Christensen, who is the Assistant Operations Officer and was able to schedule a meeting at our site to discuss the possibility of the Army Reserve Railway Unit using our site for training exercises.  The meeting was held and Lt. Christensen was impressed with what we were trying to accomplish and he was eager to lend us a hand. On December 4th the chapter signed an agreement with the 1205th for the next 2 years to work one weekend per month. In turn we will provide them with the rail, spikes, ties and other materials that will be needed for the weekend.  A schedule will be provided to us when they will be working.  It should be noted that there are only two Army Reserve Railway Units in all of the branches of the Armed Forces. (Middletown CT and Southport NC).  We are lucky to have their assistance and appreciate their interest in our museum.  Check out their web site at

The January Business meeting has been changed from January 2nd to January 9th.  Please make a note of this! 
Have you signed up for a committee?  The chapter could really use your help this year.  If you would like to get involved in our year 2000 Corporate Fundraising Campaign please give one of the officers a call. Much needs to get accomplished this year.  As you know the chapter will be receiving several hundred guests from the National Convention in July and we would really like to have the museum in presentable order.  If you can't help out here, how about the newsletter, could you write 1 or 2 articles?  Not interested yet?  What about Grant writing, Sales, or being a tour guide at the site for our visitors.  Please consider helping us out, we need your support!

Welcome to the Chapter!
New members voted into the chapter at the November meeting:  Gordon Underwood of Ellington, Kenneth Sigfridson of Brooklyn, David Cole of Uncasville, Donna and Vernon Ramsey of Rifle, CO, and Michael Duda of
Stafford Springs.  Welcome new members!!

Do you know your railroad facts?
Member Jerry Griffin came across a copy of the Association of American Railroads Quiz book from 1948.  It was a publication written to provide "Ready and convenient form of answers to many questions which are frequently asked about American railroads" .  The book was first issued in 1940 and enjoyed a wide circulation among members of the armed forces, teachers, students, editors and writers as well as railway
employees.  Over the next few months I will be publishing some of the more interesting quiz facts.  Keep in mind the answers date back to the 40's.

266.  How much water and ice are used in railway operations?
Approximately 567,000,000,000 gallons of water are required annually to quench the thirst of locomotives and to supply other needs of the railroads of the United States.  This would be sufficient to fill a
channel 600 feet in width and 9 feet deep reaching from New York to San Francisco.

1.  What were some of the first railroads or tramways in the United States?
The first road of rails in the United States is said to have been a short inclined track used as early as 1795 to convey brick and other
clay products from kilns on Beacon Hill, Boston, to a street below.  In 1807, Silas Whitney built a short railway at the same location.  The rails were of wood.  In 1809, Thomas Leiper built a tramway to connect his quarry at Crumb Creak, Delaware with tidewater on Ridley Creek.
This road is now part of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.  About 1811, a tramroad was constructed on Falling's Creek, Virginia to furnish
transportation for a powder mill.  In 1818, a tramroad was built at Bear Creek Pennsylvania and in 1825 a tramroad was built at Nashua, New Hampshire.

10.  What was the origin of the railway spike now in common use?
Spikes of various designs were used from the earliest period of railway development, but the hooked-head spike, which is used today by railroads throughout the world to fasten steel rails to crossties, was designed in 1831 by Robert L. Stevens, the first president of the Camden and Amboy (now part of the Pennsylvania Railroad in New Jersey.)

Willimantic Elks Train Show
The chapter will be participating in a train show at the Elks on December 26 from 10:00 to 4:00, admission $3.00.  If you could donate sometime to staff the table it would be appreciated.

Trees & Trains Holiday Exhibit
The Windham Textile & History Museum is planning their annual Trees & Trains Holiday Exhibit.  They have put together a G-Scale layout for the holidays. The show will run through January 2nd on Friday, Saturday and Sundays between 1:00 and 4:30 and by appointment.  Please stop by and visit!  If you would like additional information, please call Bev York.

What's in fashion this season?
Interested in sweatshirts or sport shirts with the Connecticut Eastern Logo?  Please contact Jeff Laverty (back page) to get information and
place and order.  Show your support for our museum.

Psst ---
Have you filled out your worksheets this month?  If not, remember we need to have them for the State of CT grant, please do it today and get
them turned in!

Phone Home?
The chapter is looking for 2 answering machines that someone might be interested in donating.  They must be in working order and you must be able to get messages from a remote location on these machines.  Call an officer if you can help out.

Membership Renewals
Just a reminder that membership renewals were mailed out, if you have not received yours please contact Howard Bidwell.  As always it would be a great help if you could send your renewal back right away.  About 1/3 of the renewals have already been returned.  And
remember now is the time to think about those tax deductible donations before the end of the year!

Previous Issue     Top     Next Issue

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