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Arthur W Schnabel, Editor ~ Mark Granville, Asst. Editor     Volume 9, Number 1  January 2001
 Published Monthly by the CONNECTICUT EASTERN CHAPTER of the N.R.H.S., Inc

Tune In

 Duke York will be on the WILI (AM 1410) Republic Oil Forum on Friday, January 26th talking about the museum with Harry Carbone and Al Giordano.  It is scheduled to begin around 5:10 PM and may also be on local access TV (Cable 14).

 Have You Paid Your Dues Yet?

Howard Bidwell reports that 62% of our members have paid their dues as of January 7th.  Please send in your renewal as soon as possible if you haven’t already done so.  If you have any questions, please contact Howard at 860-742-9235.

 Railway Preservation News

 The Railway Preservation News web site,, will be featuring our roundhouse during January 2001.  This web site also has an extensive article concerning the reactivation of the rail line to Morrisville, VT where our RS-11 and several pieces of rolling stock are located.

             Check out  This is the web site of Vermont Rail Link, Inc., the proposed operator of the line.  The first phase, which would reopen the line between Swanton and Morrisville, is estimated to cost $4,837,000. Hopefully this will happen so that we can get our equipment down to the museum.

January Speaker

 Arthur Schnabel will present a program on Railfair 99, with slides taken during the 1999 NRHS convention in Sacramento, CA.

Maine Central Railbus

By Robert A. LaMay

 Saturday morning, November 4, 2000 started out as a drab and cloudy day.  I arrived at the museum a short time before Maurice Bisson of Hampton, Connecticut arrived with his dump truck and trailer.  Plans called for loading the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum’s 1930 vintage Fairmont Railbus onto his trailer.  Once loaded he would take the railbus about ¼ of a mile west to a place where it would be unloaded onto the old New Haven Railroad’s ‘Airline’ track and it would make a combination of photo and test runs to be sure all systems operated properly. The bright yellow railbus first headed east around a curve and out of sight.   A short time later you could hear the old familiar “clickity clack” long before you saw it round the curve.  What a sight!  The gas powered Chevrolet engine purred quietly and the only sound heard was that of steel wheels rolling along steel rails.  The railbus ran flawlessly.Built for the Maine Central’s Engineering Department, this bus was used extensively all over the Maine Central Railroad system.  When the Maine Central Railroad discontinued its use, a local Maine resident with hopes of restoration purchased it. Unfortunately this never happened due to various circumstances.Richard Arnold, a resident of Manchester, Connecticut and owner of Arnold Millworks decided to purchase the railbus with the idea of restoring it to operating condition.  For almost fifteen years it sat inside his warehouse.  Time was never right to work on its preservation, so sometime during 1995 he approached the museum and offered it as a donation under the conditions that it be restored to operational condition and stored inside to protect it from the elements. The railbus, basically just a shell, arrived on the property in 1995 and a special storage building was constructed.  During the next five-year period, museum volunteers Bill Voorvaart, Paul Shamonis, Duke York, and some other museum members took on the responsibility of restoring it to running condition.  The railbus was taken apart and rebuilt from the ground up, including a new Midas muffler. Richard Arnold was on hand November 4th to see it run on the ‘Airline.’  He was all smiles and said, “I thought I would never see it run again.”  Well, he not only saw it run, but he also had the opportunity to ride in it a couple of times.

CERM Promotions by Bob LaMay

 Railfan & Railroad - February 2000:

- New Haven Columbia Junction Roundhouse   Includes 2/3-page history of rail lines, roundhouse and reconstruction.

Railpace – January 2001:

- Picture of Maine Central Railbus

Norwich Bulletin - December 26th:

- Nice article along with pictures.

470 Railroad Club Newsletter:

- Article and photo about railbus.

Brother, Can You Lend A Buck?

 Fund raising activities have enabled our bank loan for the roundhouse to be reduced by $5,000 during December.  Unfortunately we still owe the bank $53,000.00 and bank interest each month amounts to about $550.

 A suggestion has been made that we solicit non-interest loans from the membership so that we can pay off the bank loan and use the money currently being spent for interest to pay off the membership loans.

 While the full details have not been worked out yet, the plan would work basically as follows:

1.      Loan certificates could be purchased in any multiple of $500.

2.      Each month, a randomly selected certificate would be paid off.  A minimum of $500 would be paid off each month, with additional payments being made as funds became available.

3.      Certificates could be divided into two classes so that money might be returned more quickly to those needing it.

 What do you think? Please call one of the officers with your thoughts.

 Welcome to the Chapter!

 We welcome the following new members who were voted into the chapter at the December 17th meeting:

 Michael Borovicka, Newtown, PA

Jeffrey Pasiuk, Scotland, CT

Calendar of Upcoming Events

Jan    21     - Monthly Meeting

Feb  3-4     - Amherst Railway Society Show

          11     - Business Meeting

          18     - Monthly Meeting

Mar      5     - Business Meeting

          18     - Monthly Meeting

Apr    22     - Spring Train Show

May     5     - P&W Train Excursion

Jun    10     - Roundhouse Dedication

 February Business Meeting

 The February business meeting has been moved to February 11th due to the Amherst Railway Society Show on February 4th.

 Amherst Railway Society Hobby Show 

The 2001 ARS show will be held on February 3rd and 4th, 2001 at the Eastern States Exposition Grounds in West Springfield, MA.  Like last year, it will take place in 3 buildings and include more than 35 operating layouts.  The show runs from 9 AM to 5 PM and daily admission is $6.00.  We will have a table at this show to promote the museum.

Roundhouse Dedication

 Sunday, June 10th has been selected as the date for the dedication of the roundhouse.  In order to get the museum ready by then, we have a lot of work to accomplish including general grounds cleanup, track laying and building repair.  If you would like to serve on the planning committee, contact any of the officers.

National Director’s Report

By Arthur Schnabel

            Because of rising expenses, National NRHS operations are projected to result in an operating deficit during the current year.  In order to keep the NRHS solvent; the following proposals have been made: 

1.      Regular membership dues would be increased by $3.00 to $20.00 starting with the year 2002.

2.      Family membership dues would be increased by $1.00 to $3.00 as of the year 2002.

3.      Reduced membership fee for new members joining during June, July and August would be eliminated.  Persons joining September or after would pay the regular dues amount, but would be paid for the balance of the current year as well as the following year.

This will be voted on at the Spring 2001 National meeting.  How do you think we should vote? Call Arthur Schnable at 860-666-2386.

 P&W Excursion

CERM will be holding a spring field trip on the Providence and Worcester Railroad from Plainfield to Groton, up to Gardner, MA and return to Plainfield.  The trip is scheduled for May 5th; and will take approximately 8 hours.  There will only be 220 seats available, so if you want to go, sign up early.  Flyers should be ready next month.

 Turntable Full Speed Ahead

The bearing for the turntable has been ordered from Bay State Bearing.  Detailed plans have been prepared and we hope to place the bridge in the pit this year.  Remember, the turntable is manually driven.  Get yourself into shape!

What’s New at the Museum

While the snow and ice has temporarily slowed down progress at the museum, work has continued in several areas.

Reporters from the Hartford Courant were at the museum on December 16th.  They are planning an in depth article about the museum.

Forms have been built for the new junction boxes for the electrical system between buildings.

Reporters from the Norwich Bulletin visited the museum on December 23rd.

Measurements have been taken to plan for the installation of the turntable bridge.

Have you seen the new Soo Line caboose that recently arrived at the museum?  Its owner is temporarily storing it at the museum.

 Treasurer’s Summary – December

By Jeff Laverty

 Income for December, which totaled $8,856.71, came primarily from the turntable donation, sale of roundhouse pavers, and membership dues and donations.  Expenses amounted to $7,223.55, consisting primarily of the deposit on the turntable bearing, loan interest, NRHS national dues and electrical conduit.

As of December 31, cash on hand totaled $21,643.40.

For the year 2000, income was $34,413.06 and expenses were $75,580.82.  The excess of expenditures, which covered primarily the expenses of the roundhouse, was funded by the bank loan that is now being paid off.  It might be noted that these figures do not include the receipts and expenditures paid from the State grant.

The budget for 2001 is currently being prepared.  If you or your committee expect to have significant expenses during the upcoming year, please advise Jeff Laverty so that they can be included.


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Copyright ©2000 Connecticut Eastern Chapter, National Railway Historical Society October  2000.