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Arthur W Schnabel, Editor ~ Mark Granville, Asst. Editor     Volume 9, Number 12  December 2001
 Published Monthly by the CONNECTICUT EASTERN CHAPTER of the N.R.H.S., Inc

Annual Banquet

Our annual banquet was held on December 2nd at Windham Community Hospital with about 30 in attendance.  The food was delicious! You missed a good meal if you didn’t attend.  Following dinner, Peter Montville, a member of the Hartford Railroad Enthusiasts, presented a program entitled “Train Watching 2000”, a review of places he visited during the year.  Later, President Granville presented a short tribute and roast of past President Cerreto, who ended the evening with a review of past activities at the museum.

Train Show

Attendance was down a bit at the fall show, but most of the vendors were happy with their sales and we should come out ahead.  Show attendees were given free admission to the museum which resulted in 101 visitors, including 11 paying customers.

Speakers at Monthly Meetings

Our program of having guest speakers at the membership meetings fell by the wayside this past year because of the tremendously successful efforts put into opening the Museum to the public.  We plan to have speakers at our membership meetings next year.  In order to keep the meetings from being too long, we will conduct most of the business at our 1st Sunday meetings and limit the membership meetings to more important matters.

2002 CT Eastern Calendars
Make Great Christmas Gifts

What’s New at the Museum


All of remaining 132-pound tie plates were removed from the ties and traded to a used equipment dealer for 179 switch ties.

Additional track areas have been leveled and ballasted by the Army and our members.

A new crossing has been built across the tracks at the village area.  It looks great!

The temporary crossing behind the roundhouse has been removed and the track is being leveled so a permanent crossing can be installed.

Several pieces of rail from the Kendall spur have been moved over to the museum, thanks to the loan of a truck by Howard Spector and a loader by Maurice Bisson.

25-Ton Locomotive:

Jerry Griffin has been hard at work painting the 25-tonner.  It has received a full coat of white paint and has blue stripes on the ends and a blue roof.

Communications System:

The telephone lines are ready to be installed following connection of the underground communications pipes.


Jerry Griffin has installed an American Flag on the front of the Section House.


Holes have been dug for the platform piers at the Chaplin Station and the Groton Freight House and concrete will soon be poured.

Turntable in the Pit

On Saturday, November 24th the turntable bridge was lowered into the turntable pit and placed on blocks.  Central Construction Industries of Putnam, CT recently purchased a new 70-ton crane and offered to help us with the turntable, which weighs 14 tons.  Other than a light rain, the job was accomplished quickly and easily.  Hopefully, it will be restored to operating condition next year with the assistance of the Army.

Committees versus Departments

Our very successful first year as an operating museum means that we must continue to evolve as an organization.  We are not only building a museum, we are operating one!  Accordingly, it has been decided to make a greater distinction between “committees” and “departments”.

Committees will be responsible for those tasks where members will have to meet periodically to discuss or plan actions for the Museum.  Each committee will decide on it’s own chairman.  Departments will deal with those areas that are task or job oriented.  The executive committee will appoint a director or department head to oversee each department

If you did not get to sign up for a committee at the November meeting or are interested in volunteering your talents to a department, contact Mark Granville to sign up or obtain further information.

Committees for 2002

Acquisitions: responsible for searching out new equipment, buildings, or items that would help portray the railroad story to visitors and arrange for transportation to the museum.

Audit: responsible for reviewing the records of our Treasurer to verify their accuracy.

Fund Raising and Grant Writing: responsible for programs designed to raise funds for the museum and preparing grant applications.

Membership Services: responsible for directing a program designed to obtain and welcome new members, assist members with questions or problems, and provide services for the good and welfare of the membership.

Museum Operations and Activities: responsible for developing a program to welcome visitors to the museum, provide tour guides, and develop special programs and activities to attract visitors.

Museum Planning: responsible for planning the development of the museum infrastructure.

Public Relations: responsible for promoting the museum to the public and attracting visitors to the museum.

Rail Operations: responsible for designing programs to provide safe operation of railroad equipment and qualifying rail equipment operators in order to provide for the safety of the workers and visitors to the museum.

Train Show: responsible for planning our train shows, securing vendors, and operating each train show.




Calendar of Upcoming Events

Dec 16   - Membership Meeting

Jan    6   - Business Meeting

        20   - Membership Meeting

Feb    2   - Amherst Railway Society Train Show

          3   - Amherst Railway Society Train Show

Membership Renewals for 2002

Membership renewal forms will be mailed out shortly.  Your prompt attention to returning the forms would be appreciated.

Winter Work Schedule

Sooner or later, our summer in December will be ending and we must face the reality of snow and ice.  We plan to continue our Saturday workdays during the upcoming months, weather permitting.  There are several projects to work on and we can always warm up in the Section House if it gets too cold.

One major determining factor is the condition of the roadway.  If it gets too icy or rutted, it may not be passable.  If you are traveling some distance, you might want to check with one of the officers before you head out to the museum.

Museum Visitors

We had a total of 85 visitors, including 58 paid admissions and 27 guests and children, for the month of November.  Admission fees totaled $174, donations amounted to $34 and gift shop sales were $146.

SNET Community Connections

Last quarter we received $81.18 from SNET, bringing our total to $1,628.80.

Recent Donations

Grade-all Truck:

Thanks to the efforts of Dick Arnold, we are now the owner of a Grade-all truck donated by Frank Aleria.  The Grade-all has already been used to dig a communications ditch, construct the village crossing and ballast the tracks.

Colchester Hand Truck:

Robert Merrill, Jr of Bristol recently donated a hand truck used at the Colchester Freight House.


John Hildebrandt of Columbia has donated a 2-HP 40-gallon compressor to the museum.

Railbus Classification Lights & Air Horn:

Allen Thompson of Campton, NH, who formerly owned our Maine Central railbus, has donated these parts to the museum.

Security System:

Joe Cerreto has donated equipment that can be used to help protect the museum.

Ghost Train Journal

Bill Lavallee has taken over the printing and mailing of the Ghost Train Journal.  If you have problems receiving your Ghost Train Journal, contact him at 860-228-0796.

What’s Happening?

Approximately fifty 1st grade students from the Natchaug School in Willimantic visited the museum on Friday, November 2nd.  Six members were on hand to show the students around and tell them about the early days of railroading.  One highlight was the New England Central train that passed by during the tour.

Bob LaMay presented a slide show about the museum to the Willington Historical Society on November 16th.

Departments for 2002

Archives & Library:  responsible for maintaining our historical records and library, including making the library books available to the membership.

Entertainment:  responsible for obtaining programs for our monthly membership meetings.

Maintenance of Way: responsible for laying new track where needed and keeping existing track in good repair.

Mechanical: responsible for keeping all equipment mechanically sound and operating properly.

Newsletter: responsible for writing, editing, printing, and mailing the Ghost Train Journal.

Property Management & Security: responsible for maintaining records of museum property and keeping that property secure and in good condition.

Restoration & Buildings: responsible for the restoration and maintenance of buildings and equipment.

Sales: responsible for purchasing items for resale at the museum, at train shows, or at other events and for planning, printing, and selling the annual museum calendar.

Welcome to the Chapter!

We welcome the following new members who were voted into the chapter at the November 18th meeting.

Laura & Paul Smith, Storrs, CT

Treasurer’s Summary – October

Income for October totaled $10,261.60 and came primarily from the P & W and Vermont excursions, souvenir sales, and the sale of roundhouse pavers.  Also included was the sale of unneeded tie plates that were swapped for switch tie sets.

Expenses amounted to $6,338.71 and consisted primarily of the switch tie sets, excursion costs, insurance, and purchases for the sales department.

As of October 31, cash on hand totaled $19,859.54.

Our roundhouse bank loan balance was reduced to $14,000 with an additional payment of $1,000.

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