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Arthur W Schnabel, Editor ~ Mark Granville, Asst. Editor     Volume 9, Number 2  February 2001
 Published Monthly by the CONNECTICUT EASTERN CHAPTER of the N.R.H.S., Inc

2001 Dues Are Due

Howard Bidwell reports that dues payments have been coming in steadily and that we are slightly ahead of last year.  If you have not paid your dues yet, your prompt attention to this matter would be appreciated.  If you have any questions, please contact Howard at 860-742-9235

 P & W Excursion

On Saturday, May 5th, CERM will be holding a Spring rail excursion on the Providence and Worcester Railroad.  Passengers will board the train in Plainfield, CT and head north to Gardner, MA.  Then, we will retrace our steps past Worcester and Plainfield and head down to Groton.  The return to Plainfield is expected around 4:30 PM. We will be boarding in Plainfield at 8 AM and the train will leave at 8:30.  Tickets are $45 each and only 200 seats are available.  Sign up early if you want to be sure of a seat

Request for tickets:_____  # tickets @ $45.00

Total Enclosed ______

Name:  ________________________________

 Address:  ________________________________

 State  ____   Zip _______  Phone  ____________

Make check payable to CERM and mail to Veronica Trudeau, 2421 Putnam Pike, Chepachet, RI 02814.  If you need additional information, contact Veronica at 401-568-6202.

The Chaplin Station Story

By Robert A. LaMay

The small miniature looking Chaplin Railroad Station was built sometime during the early 1870’s, since the railroad line it was on was completed during August of 1872.  The building itself is compact and only measures 12 by 16 feet and has a small operator’s bay.  The line it sat along was part of the Boston, Hartford & Erie Railroad, a troubled, bankrupt company that was under reorganization. Within five years a new railroad company would emerge, namely the famed New York & New England Railroad.The Chaplin station served most of its life with the New York & New England Railroad, which went bankrupt in 1895, and was reorganized as the New England Railroad.  This railroad too would fail and end up being taken over by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad in 1898.  The New Haven Railroad, as it was referred to, proceeded with many capital projects that would improve the line as time went on.  These changes resulted in the Chaplin station being replaced by a larger combination freight and passenger station in 1902.The new structure was designated Clark’s Corner, primarily because the actual village of Chaplin was some distance away. This meant that the future of the Chaplin station building was in question.  However, Elmer Jewett had a strong sense of history and liked to collect things.  He proceeded to purchase the station from the New Haven for the sum of $2.00.  Elmer, who had served as agent at both the Chaplin and Clark’s Corner stations, had the station moved several hundred yards to his backyard at a cost of $4.00.  The station would sit quietly and safely for another 88 years.Elmer Jewett’s daughter, Elizabeth Gordon cared for the building for many years and she was getting on in age.  Her conservator, Ms. Pat Cascio, was greatly concerned about the future of the building, since the property had been sold.  She wanted the building to be preserved as a station.  It was during this time that Railroad Museum of New England was developing in the Willimantic area.  The Chaplin station was donated to the RMNE and the building was relocated from Chaplin to Willimantic during the spring of 1991.  The move to Willimantic ensured its survival and once again it sat next to a section of the old New York & New England Railroad.From the fall of 1990 to the summer of 1991, the RMNE did lots of work and many countless of hours were poured into the site.  Heavy duty clearing of the airline had been undertaken with lots of success.  However, the RMNE’s future as a museum in this area was short lived due to numerous situations and other challenges which couldn’t be resolved.  This resulted in the RMNE abandoning their plans for a museum in Willimantic. The RMNE held their last open house at the site on July 4, 1991.  It was here that the Chaplin station was officially opened for the public to see.  An unveiling of the Chaplin station signboard took place. The sign board reads -‘Boston 77.4 miles - Hudson River 150.4 miles.’Once the open house closed on July 4, 1991, the RMNE story of operating a railroad museum in eastern Connecticut ended.  Fortunately the story of a railroad museum coming to Willimantic didn’t die when the RMNE left town.  Another group of individuals got together with the common interest of building a railroad museum in Willimantic, Connecticut.  Thus, the Connecticut Eastern Chapter of the N.R.H.S. was formed in November 1991. Their first task was to ensure that the Chaplain station would continue to play an important part in the history of Eastern Connecticut railroading. From 1991 to July 16, 2000, the Chaplin station sat along part of the New Haven’s Airline and Midland Divisions in downtown Willimantic, Connecticut.  On July 16, 2000 the Chaplin station was moved to its final location on the grounds of the Connecticut Eastern Museum approximately one and a half miles to the west.  It is located in close proximity of the Groton freight house and reconstructed six-stall Columbia Junction Roundhouse. Currently the Chaplin station is sitting on its permanent foundation.  The next step is to add fill around the base, put down the loading platforms, and relay the ties and rails.   Who knows, trains may stop here once again in the not too distant future.



 Have you ever wondered what these funny looking letters mean on the side of railcars?  These are reporting marks used to identify rail equipment operating on the railroads.  These marks are used in combination with the car number to track and route the cars traveling on any railroad. A comprehensive listing of the railroad reporting marks can be found on the Internet at:

 Railroad Trespassing Fine

Via Bridge Line Historical Society Bulletin

 The Connecticut State Legislature passed a bill increasing the fine for trespassing on railroad property from $77 to $250.  It became effective on October 1st.

 Penn Central RR Historical Society

A new historical society for the Penn Central Railroad has been established.  Charter membership is $20.00.  For further information contact: Penn Central RR Historical Society, PO Box 448, Lock Haven, PA 17745.


Calendar of Upcoming Events

Feb  11   - Business Meeting

        18   - Monthly Meeting

Mar    4   - Business Meeting

        18   - Monthly Meeting

Apr     1   - Business Meeting

        15   - Monthly Meeting

        22   - Spring Train Show

May    5   - P & W Train Excursion

Jun   10   - Museum Grand Opening & Roundhouse Dedication

 Museum Work Days 

 There is much work to be done to get the museum ready for the grand opening and roundhouse dedication.  It has been decided to reinstate the Sunday workdays starting in March, or earlier if the weather cooperates.  While progress has slowed due to the ice and snow, work continues on Saturdays, weather permitting.


CERM Spring Train Show

  Our spring train show will be held on April 22nd from 10 AM to 3 PM at Windham High School.  Flyers are now available.

 Grand Opening and Dedication

 The grand opening of the Museum and dedication of the roundhouse will take place on Sunday, June 10th.   The museum will be open from 10 AM to 4 PM and the dedication ceremony will take place at 2 PM.  A lot of help will be needed to get ready. Can you help?

Ebay Rarities 

Via The Callboy – Mass Bay RRE Bulletin

 A decorative cast-iron “4-0-4” locomotive, offered to “ferrous equestrians.”  A Boston & Maine conductor’s uniform.  “For those of you not aware, the Boston & Maine railroad is no longer in business and was bought out years ago by Lemmon, the industrialist.  They now call his railroad Guilford Industries.”

A postcard of the New Haven Mount Vernon Station identified as the “New York, New Hampshire & Hudson River Railroad.”

 What’s New at the Museum

 Several members got out their sled dogs and mushed their way down to the museum.  Most of the Operator’s Shanty reconstruction has been completed and work will shift to other areas as the weather improves.

 Subject: Heaven

Via the Bridge Line (D&H) Historical Society Bulletin

 Two engineers died and went to heaven, but unfortunately they found themselves in a long line before the pearly gates.  Not only was the line long, it moved very slowly.  This was enough to try the patience of Job.  As they were saying how slow the line was moving, they noticed an old man with a visor hat and sleeve garters on go walking past them.  The man had a train sheet under one arm and an ink pen in hand.  The man walked past the entire line and right into heaven.  This disturbed the engineers to no end.  How dare a dispatcher cut in line!!! As the two waited their turn, that was all they could talk about.  When they finally reached St. Peter, they wanted to know why the dispatcher was allowed to cut in line.  St. Peter told them that no such thing had happened.  Both engineers swore that it did.  As the argument went back and forth, one of the engineers saw him, the little man with a visor hat on, a train sheet under one arm, and an ink pen in hand.  When the man was pointed out, St. Peter said, “Oh him?  That’s no train dispatcher.  That’s God.  He just thinks he’s a train dispatcher.”

 Paver Blocks

 Pavers are still available for only $50.00.  We want to have the first group installed before the Grand Opening.  Buy yours now to be included.

 Treasurer’s Summary – January

By Jeff Laverty

 Income for January, which totaled $4,558.52, came primarily from the turntable grant, membership dues and donations, and sale of roundhouse pavers. 

Expenses amounted to $3,088.78 and consisted primarily of loan interest, insurance, administrative costs and restoration of the operator’s shanty.  Not included in the above totals were NRHS national dues and contributions, and a $1,000.00 principal payment on the bank loan. As of January 31, cash on hand totaled $22,113.14.

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