Friday, December 31, 2010

Car 451's Christmas Present

Car 451 (Illinois Terminal PCC) received a wonderful Christmas Gift this year, a winter inside. On Thursday evening, Dave Coppola, David Lesniak and I moved car 451 from its home on the North Road Lay-Up to the rear of Track 1 of Kelly Car Barn.

It has been the plan to move car 451 into a barn for a while, however, there was always the question of where to put it. At 50'5", the 1949-built PCC is a very long car. This can create some problems when trying to fit it into the barn with other cars. Over the summer, I cleared the back wall of Kelly Car Barn track 1. By doing this and pairing the car with car 1850 (Rio de Janeiro open), the car will fit in the barn with about 4 feet to spare. This, however, required something else to move. At that point, Xian Clere and Galen Semprebon helped me move car 2600 (Montreal Tramways) up to the shop. Due to the recent snowfall, this proved to be a much more difficult task than originally envisioned. Car 2600 got stuck going up the hill twice: first, climbing the hill paralleling Kelly Car Yard; and second, on Lusa Car Yard track 2 just outside the shop. After digging the car out multiple times and using sand, we were able to finally get 2600 into the shop.

Inside the Visitor Center, John Pelletier was busy working on two projects. On Montreal Tramways Car 2056 (Springfield Street Railway Car 575), John finished scraping one panel of the exterior of the car and primed the panel. It is expected that by the time we open in the Spring, the car will be repainted. On Car 65 (Connecticut Company), John finished fitting a piece of molding along the roof line.

Although work usually slows down in the off season, we will still be working hard as we have a lot of projects that can be done in the Visitor Center.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


The Snowstorm that hammered the midwest and much of the eastern seaboard hit the museum Sunday afternoon to Monday midday. That forced us to close for Sunday night and Monday night Winterfest Operations. The snowfall totals were not so bad, it was the blizzard winds that caused massive snowdrifts. By Monday afternoon, we had areas of the property that were bare and other areas where the snow came almost to your knees.

After the snowfall had ended, a group of members came to the museum in various shifts to clear the snow. Todd & Paul Chicoine arrived in the early afternoon to clear the parking lot, main walkway, and access roads to the barns.

Monday afternoon, Larry Lunden did an inspection of the signals and overhead for issues and found that the wind did some damage to the crossing gate at Winkler Road.

After I got out of work on Monday, Xian Clere and I cleared the mainline and the switches at North Road Station, Kelly Car Yard, and Hancock Siding. Because of the way the cars were stored the week before, the only 4 motor car that was accessible was car 4, the open observation car. This turned out to be a cold snow-clearing operation.

On Tuesday afternoon before we opened, Matt Januska shoveled the walkways around North Road Station for loading and unloading of passengers.

While the blizzard crippled operations, a steady group of volunteers got together and pushed through to open Tuesday evening.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Car 154 Emptied

In the early days of the museum, the only interior space was inside the trolleys. So, the cars that were not used for service (because they were unfit to operate, missing components, etc) became storehouses for other smaller materials that we acquired. Unfortunately, some of those materials have considerable weight to them which will stress the cars body. Connecticut Company 0309 (Fair Haven & Westville 154) is one of them that was loaded with overhead parts (insulators, bolts, etc). On Saturday, David Coppola helped me unload the materials stored inside the car onto shelf space inside the Visitor Center Relay Room. The only items left in the car now are parts to the car.

Inside the Visitor Center, Galen Semprebon, Brian Semprebon, and Matty Doane were working on scraping the exterior paint on Montreal Tramways 2056 (Springfield Street Railway 575). The car needs a new coat of paint and the plan is to return the car to Springfield, MA colors. While this will not be a complete restoration at the current time, it is a start in the direction to returning the car to its local history. In order to complete the restoration of the car, it will need an end reduction, because when the car was sold to Montreal Tramways, they extended the ends of the car and reconfigured the operators compartment.

Outside, John Pelletier, with the help of Matty, Galen, and I, was working on the repairs to the operating fleet. The bent pole on Connecticut Company 1326 was straightened and the car was returned to service. The broken retriever on Illinois Terminal 451 was replaced by a rebuilt one found in the Parts Storage Room. The repairs to Montreal Tramways 2600 took a bit longer. There was a squealing noise coming from the number 3 axle. We checked the packing and oiled the Journal Boxes. The temperature of the number 3 axle journals were slightly elevated. When we took it out for a test, the noise was still there. We finally figured out that it was the cause of the armature bearing. The waste in the bearing was failing and not properly wicking the oil. Once we repacked the bearing, the noise subsided. The armature support bearing for the fourth motor has been freed and should be repaired in the next few weeks. Once that is done, the car will be jacked and the motor will be reinstalled in the trucks.

We had another busy night of Winterfest Operation Saturday night with 5 cars out on the main line at one point. With that many cars, there is a slight bottleneck at Hancock Passing Siding. The track with three cars needs to pass through the siding before the track with two cars on it can proceed because the siding is only two cars long.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Tomorrow night begins what is traditionally the busiest weekend of Winterfest and the Tunnel of Lights. It seems as though there will be a good weekend ahead of us. Not to worry if you plan to come. We have plenty of parking and will have the whole fleet out running. Come join us for Winterfest and the Tunnel of Lights this weekend, 5 to 9 pm each night.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Yes, we now have heat in the library that can be regulated! Thanks to Jim Miller, a thermostat has been installed in the library so we can control the heat at a steady temperature. Prior to this, we had two settings on the heat. On full blast or off.

More work has taken place by John Pelletier on car 65. A replacement piece for the upper part of the corner post is being fitted. Once that is in place the edge of the roof on the vestibule can be repaired. Slowly but surely, Connecticut Company Car 65 is coming together and will run on the rails again.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


This weekend was a busy weekend for some of us at the museum. On Saturday, Xian Clere, Art Mitchell, Camilo Santiago, Matt Januska, and I went down to Saybrook Yard off of the Valley Line where a New Haven Club Car was located that was offered to the museum by the Railroad Museum of New England. The Club Car is 86 feet 9 inches long, and 13 feet tall and was built in the 1950s. The exterior is in great shape, however, the interior of the car is missing all of its fixtures (seats, tables, etc).

Later in the day back at the museum, I found John Pelletier organizing Connecticut Company Car 65. Car 65 was built in 1906 by the Wason Manufacturing Company. Car 65 was the museum's first car acquired in 1941. The has been sitting in storage for many years after restoration was begun on the car and then abruptly stopped. John has begun restart the work on the car to piece it back together.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Monday night, Tim Baisley was able to repair the roof lights on S-193. For the past 6 months, it was very difficult to work in the evening with S-193 because the lights on the roof have not worked. Work took place with the aid of flashlights. It turns out that there was a broken wire on one of the series sockets that was causing the lights to ground out and blow. The socket has been repaired which will make it much easier to work in the future.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Winter Work Space

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, we are into Winterfest full swing. Since the line and the hall are done, we were able to get back to some other things at the museum. Galen Semprebon began to set up a workshop in the upstairs storage rooms that were originally built as a projection room. This workshop will become an area for the shop staff to work during the cold months on small parts like brake stands, door motors, and windows. From mid December to mid March, it is much too cold to work in the shop because there is no heat.

Out back, Paul and Todd Chicoine continued to work on grading the parking area behind the Fire Museum. This serves two purposes. It will allow us to move trucks and other construction equipment out back, and it will allow the Bus Museum to get their UConn bus out which has been sitting amongst the trees for a long time. The trolley poles that were sitting in the parking lot have been moved as well.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Winterfest Set Up

This past weekend, everyone at the museum was busy working on the Winterfest Displays. George Contrada, Ted Coppola, David Coppola, Alex Aberdale, and Camilo Santiago have been working to make the G Gauge layout bigger and better than ever. This year, there will be six different trains running in the layout which will now include an elevated line. Sheila Numrych and Marilyn Rodriguez finished the window displays. Outside, Jim Miller, Carol Zenczak, Larry Lunden, Erica Babbitt, and Matt Januska helped set up the lobby and front lawn.

Monday evening, out on the line, Tim Baisley gave me a hand repairing a break in the Winterfest feeder. Over the past year, a 200 foot section of Winterfest feeder snapped and fell at Newberry Siding. We were able to lift the wire back up over a span wire, and the siding overhead. Once we did so, we were able to splice the feeder and reattach the insulator cap and cone. Unfortunately it was dark, so I was unable to get any good pictures of the repairs. At this point, the Tunnel of Lights is just about ready for opening night on Friday.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Rail Repairs

Once the dust settled over the Halloween events, concentration was turned to the rail in Kelly Yard. Before the final weekend of the Halloween events, a compromise joint (60 lb rail to 40 lb rail) in Kelly Yard broke. It was apparent that this joint has broken before, because it was a welded joint. Xian Clere, Superintendent of Track, discussed possible repair options with a variety of people and finally decided on removing the welded joint bars, manufacturing new compromise joint bars in the shop, and then installing the new joint bars. This will be a much more permanent fix than has happened in the past.

Inside the main hall this weekend, everyone was hard at work decorating for Winterfest. The O Gauge layouts were put together. The massive G Gauge Table was set up. While the foot print of the table is the same size there is an extra 18 square feet of layout space. George Morris, Matt Januska, and Carolyn Levesque worked on Santa's Village inside Car 36 and the large display cabinets. Sheila Numrych was busy at work on the window displays that will see a change from last year's Winterfest. Galen Semprebon, Bill Yungk, Larry Lunden, and numerous other volunteers were seen helping out in the main hall as well.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Protecting Cars

Today while I had some free time, I was able to get a tarp over most of the Mansfield Depot (Bangor & Aroostook) Caboose. Of course, as soon as I got on the roof of the caboose with the tarp, the wind started to blow which made my job ten times more difficult. However, after an hour or so of fighting the wind, I was able to get the tarp over the roof and tied down. The caboose will need another short tarp to finish the other end, but the end that was damaged by the fire in Mansfield is protected. I placed a construction cone over the smokestack so that it wouldn't rip the tarp.

Monday, November 8, 2010

And on to Winterfest

This past weekend, we cleaned up the main hall from Rails and began to set up for Winterfest. This year, we are on a tight schedule because we only have three weekends between Rails to the Darkside and Winterfest. In order to create the room in the Main Hall for Winterfest, we had to move Connecticut Company 0309, Springfield Terminal 10, and the Ponemah Locomotive out under the train shed which required a few cars to be tarped. We moved the Tie Handler to the very end of track 3 where the rail ends at the missing switch. The Sweeper was moved all the way up to the Tie Handler and ISU 1 was moved right up to the Sweeper. At that point, there was just enough room for 10 to fit outside. It was almost as if the track was built just for those cars.

Once the Visitor Center had the cars removed, Connecticut Company 65 and Montreal 2056 were moved into position using a come-along to create tension with a few volunteers behind the car pushing it.

A bunch of volunteers (George Contrada, Galen Semprebon, Jim Miller, Larry Lunden, Ben Wallace, Al Goff, John Arel, Bill Yungk, and myself), helped unload the Winterfest Trailer. Unfortunately, some of the ornaments needed to be thrown out because there was a leak in the trailer.

On Sunday, we moved the Northern and the Cleveland car into position. The Northern was moved with a come-along anchored to the truck of 0309 with a group of volunteers pushing behind it. The Cleveland car was moved with the backhoe and chains through the end door of the Visitor Center. Now it is on to setting up the main hall.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Feedback on Rails to the Darkside

Today, we received an email from someone who visited the museum's Rails to the Darkside this weekend:

We just got home from experiencing "Rails to the Darkside" and I have to tell you it was, by far, the best scary trolley ride/haunted house we have ever seen! The trolley ride was really amazing but when it was over it seemed to have been so short. But then we waited for the haunted warehouse and THAT was incredible! The volunteers were perfectly terrifying. On the trolley ride there was someone crawling up the aisle.I'm a 48-year-old woman and I was holding onto my 12-year-old daughter for protection.for me! And inside the warehouse all the scary people were sooooo scary. They just showed up over our shoulders and followed us around and lingered and it was SO CREEPY. At one point, there was a guy behind a paper wall (or something) and he SPOKE RIGHT INTO MY EAR. Oh my. I screamed and lurched and almost took out both my daughter and my husband (who had positioned himself behind us as cover). By the end we were laughing and screaming and running out of the building holding our sides. IT WAS GREAT!! We drove 45 minutes to get there, waited in line for the trolley for 1.5 hours, waited in line for the haunted warehouse for half an hour and another 45 minutes for the ride home.and we can't wait to do it all again next year! From now on no Halloween attraction is going to be able to hold a candle to yours. Thank you for scaring the stuffing out of all of us!

Rails to the Darkside Breaks Another Record

This year is turning out to be a record year for Rails to the Darkside. Saturday night we had 874 visitors come to Rails to the Darkside. This is the most visitors in a single night since Rails to the Darkside was brought back in 2007. Everyone did an excellent job. The line for the gift shop at one point extended out the front door, down the VC walkway and then along the tracks to Kelly Barn. The line to board the trolleys extended at one point from North Road Station to just beyond Kelly Barn.

In the parking lot, the parking crew packed as many cars in the main parking lot as possible. Once the main parking lot was full, they moved to the volunteer lot. Unfortunately, somebody parked their car in the volunteer lot blocking the Fire Museum lot so we lost around 20 parking spaces. By 8:30, we were turning people away due to lack of parking. Around 60 cars were turned away. However, some of them ended up parking next door at Olender's and across the street at WB Mason. The parking crew got innovative by turning the VC walkway into a road and creating an additional 20 parking spaces on the front lawn.

Pumpkin Patch was very busy all weekend too! From what I hear, there were points where the parking lot was nearing capacity during Pumpkin Patch as well. On Sunday, Pucky the Whale made an appearance during Pumpkin Patch.

Unfortunately, we had quite a problem on Sunday with pulling cars out of Kelly Barn. One of the joint bars in Kelly Yard snapped which caused great difficulty getting ready for Pumpkin Patch. Thanks to the quick thinking of Mike Caputo and Bill Babbitt, they were able to spike the joint in place and move the cars out of Kelly Yard. Xian Clere and I made it to the museum to make repairs. We were plagued with nothing but problems. The ties in the yard are so close together that it was difficult to get so much as a shovel in between them to remove the ballast. We also ran into issues with the Tie Inserter. Currently, the tie is nearly ready to be replaced.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Winkler Road Rebuilding

Yesterday and today, crews have been working to replace the Winkler Road Crossing. When the crossing was first built, ties were used along the inside of the rail in order to create the flange way. Over time, those ties have rotten and the pavement has sagged creating a very bumpy crossing. Half of the crossing was replaced yesterday with new rubber guards and pavement. The other half will be finished by the end of the day today. Thank you to Andy Cotton, Amber Hurrle, and the rest of their crew for helping out with traffic.

John Pelletier was able to find the cause of the air compressor issue on car 355 today. Apparently, the set screw that holds one of the bearings in place had worked itself loose and caused the bearing to spin and jam. Unfortunately, he found this out AFTER removing the air compressor from the car. This problem could have been solved without removing it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Over 700 Visitors for Rails to the Darkside

Rails to the Darkside was packed Saturday night! We had over 700 visitors. The first run is scheduled to go out at 7:00pm, but by 6:45pm the parking lot was full. Thankfully we had Andy Cotton and his crew in the parking lot. I don't know how they were able to go it by they found parking spaces for just about everyone. They utilized all of the main lot, the volunteer lot, and in the area behind the Fire Museum.

The first car was sent out 15 minutes early. That still left us working until well after 11:30 at night. All of the volunteers at both ends were amazing. George Barreto and Xian Clere both received a crash course in Conducting in the Main Hall. Even most of the kids that are volunteering made it through to the end. Luckily, when the volunteers at the end of the line were done, they helped at in the Main Hall.

The closer we get to Halloween, the better it gets so it should be a very good year.

During the day, John Pelletier took a look at the Type 5. Unfortunately, it appears that a nut came loose on one of the field coil bolts. This allowed the bolt to drop down onto the armature and dig into the armature. This will require the motor to be pulled from the car and an armature will have to be found to replace the damaged one.

Pat McCann spent the day working on car 355's air compressor. A couple of months ago, 355 was pulled from service because the air compressor armature was unraveling. Once the compressor is taken apart, we will able to figure out what the extent of the damage was and repair it.

With the problems that we have begun to have with some of the operating equipment, we really need to get car 836 back in service. In order to do this, we still need to raise the funds to repair or replace the wheels that have thin flanges on them. Please consider making a donation to the New Orleans Public Service Car 836 Fund!

In the Fire Museum, members spent the day rearranging their Main Hall. This was done to get one of the trucks in the rear out and put in the shop. While this was happening, I was able to get a quick look at the Connecticut bus that was just repainted.

Pumpkin Patch did well this weekend too! All day Saturday, the parking lot was filled with cars. This year should be a good year for our Halloween events.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Plans for 2011

Just a peak at whats to come...

I don't even need to be at the museum to work on Museum projects. Right now, I am working on a plan for locations of trolley cars for 2011 which will put 8 more trolleys under cover. It requires a bit of track construction under the train shed, but it will put almost all of our wooden equipment under cover.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Car Relocations

Yesterday, with the help of Ernie Darrow, Brian Semprebon, and David Coppola, we got ConnCo Open 840 switched out of the car shop and into Woods Barn. We first had to push the Elevated car 4436 all the way to the back. At this point Woods Barn is bursting at the seams. Both tracks of the barn have two cars on them that just allow the doors to close. Car 840 was moved out of the shop for two reasons. First, Fair Haven & Westville open 355 had to be moved into the shop to rebuild the Air Compressor. It is not a good idea to have both Connecticut Open Cars in one building. Second, in the coming weeks, work is going to be done over the dead track of the shop so the car could not sit there.

Out in the parking lot, Todd and Paul Chicoine were hard at work starting and early regrading the upper lot. There was a pile of old telephone poles stacked in the lot that they used to delineate the edges of the parking lot with. Hopefully by next weekend we will have the parking lot opened up all the way to the Northern Barn tracks. Ted Coppola and Pat McCann kept busy cutting down trees that were along the edge of the newly reclaimed parking lot.

Pumpkin Patch was a huge success on both Friday and Saturday. There was little space in the parking lot both days for additional parking. New this year to Pumpkin Patch is a scavenger hunt for the children to do..."Help Ponemah Learn to Run". "Ponemah" is our Ponemah Mills Locomotive built by General Electric. The children need to find the ghosts in the main hall that tell them what the next step is to start a trolley car. When they are done, they can turn it in for a prize. Of course, the favorite part of the event for the children is when they get to go out to the Pumpkin Patch at Airport Station and pick out their pumpkin. We can still use help for Pumpkin Patch for both motormen and people in the Visitor Center. If you would like to help, contact Carol at the museum.

Rails to the Darkside was also a huge success both nights. The West End has once again expanded to include an additional trolley car, and we have many new features. On Friday night, we had 150 riders, and on Saturday night we had over 300 riders. This is much better than last year's first weekend. We have an excellent cast in both the Visitor Center West End and the Newberry Siding East End. We can still use help from cast members, motormen, and people in the parking lot, so if you would like to help out, come by the museum Friday or Saturday nights at around 6pm.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tornado hits Museum's Trailers

Actually, it wasn't exactly a tornado, but it sure looks like one has hit. On Saturday, Todd and Paul Chicoine spent the day getting another trailer ready to be removed from the property. One of the main goals this year has been to clean up the property. We have accomplished quite a lot by getting rid of the trailers in the parking lot, the scrap metal pile inside the loop, the junk stored underneath the train shed, and moving the three Connecticut Company cars out of the Hartman's Siding Lay Up track. In addition, we cleaned up the gardens in front of the Visitor Center and installed a fence between the parking lot and front lawn. Paul and Todd emptied out the trailer of the materials stored in it. Everything inside the trailer was moved to the storage room off of the gift shop. Then, with the help of the front end loader, the trailer was crushed. The trailer should be removed from the property by next weekend.

Xian Clere used the afternoon to continue to clean out the Bangor & Aroostook Caboose. He brought a vacuum out to the caboose to clean the floor and cushions. We are still looking for donations to help offset the cost of moving the caboose and the work that the caboose needs.

Rails to the Darkside has progressed much over the weekend. The set up of the main hall is almost completed with all of the curtains in place and the lighting set up. The Graveyard posts have been set up with the gravestones, lighting, and fencing. We gained a couple of new cast members at the Rails to the Darkside Casting Call, however, we are still looking for more cast. A rehearsal is scheduled for Thursday night. If you are interested in helping out for Rails to the Darkside, contact

Up in the shop, John Pelletier and Pat McCann began setting up the storage pod. The storage pod will be used to store paints, oils, and other flammable materials so they are not stored in the car shop. Boston Elevated 5645 has been released from the shop. While in the shop, whistles were installed on the car, door motors were repaired, and missing windows were replaced. Springfield Terminal 16 was moved up to the shop to have windows repaired and the motor support bearings repacked.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rubber Tired Transportation

Just behind the Visitor Center in the Fire Museum, Bert Johanson, Alan Walker, and Tom Holcombe were finishing up work on one of the Connecticut Buses. Over the past few months, they have been working on the interior and body of the bus. Once the body work was done, they masked the bus and this morning, they gave it a fresh coat of paint. Next year it will be displayed in the main hall of the Fire and Bus Museum.

Yesterday, the Fire Museum participated in the Four Town Fair Parade and won a trophy for "Best Appearing Antique".

Friday, September 17, 2010

Caboose Arrives at the CTM

After months of phone calls, planning, and fundraising, the Bangor and Aroostook Caboose from Mansfield Depot is finally at the museum. The move began early Tuesday morning. Xian Clere and I arrived in Mansfield Depot at 9 am. As soon as the rigging crew and trucker showed up, we began the process of putting the caboose on the trailer.

Once we got the caboose over the trailer we realized that we would have to take more off than we initially expected. The air tank, air cylinder, and brake rigging would have to be removed to get the caboose below 14 feet 8 inches, which is the height that the permit was for. Unfortunately, while doing this, the torch caught one of the trailer's air lines. This would have to be repaired before we could move. After the caboose was loaded, the truck driver noticed that the tractor had a flat tire. At that point, we decided that we would wait until Wednesday to make the move. We loaded the trucks on a second trailer and called it a day.

Wednesday morning, Xian and I arrived at Mansfield Depot at 8am. As I was arriving, I found out that the trucker decided to get an early start to the day and move the trucks to the museum. Unfortunately, when he got to the museum, the gate was locked, so he parked the trailer in the Wal-Mart parking lot and returned to Mansfield Depot. Before we left, I got on the roof and laid two 2x4s from the roof of the caboose to the cupola. This was done so that low wires would not snag on the cupola.

Finally, we were on the road by 10am. The state sent us east on US-44 to CT-32 north. At CT-195, we were sent north to I-84. We followed I-84 one exit to CT-31 north. When we got to Rockville, we turned left on to CT-74 west. Going through Rockville, we had to deal with construction. Cones had to be moved and a town cop had to move his car so that the caboose could get through. We followed CT-74 to the end where we went south on CT-194 then west on CT-30. When we reached US-5, we followed it north. We jogged over to I-91 at exit 44 then off at CT-140. This was so we did not have to make the right turn off of 5 onto 140. We arrived at the museum at about noon.

Once we got to the museum, we had to figure out what the best way to unload the caboose. We backed the body of the caboose across the front lawn to the Visitor Center access tracks where it was unloaded. The caboose was unloaded by 2pm. This is nowhere near the end of the project. Now, we need to raise the funds to pay for the transportation and restoration of the caboose. Next year, we hope to begin using the caboose for Birthday Parties and other events.

On Wednesday, clean up work was ongoing at the museum. Todd Chicoine was dis-assembling a trailer with an excavator that was no longer of use. The trailer was no longer safe to use due to rot. This will not only make the property look cleaner, but it will open up more spaces in the parking lot.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mansfield Depot Caboose Project

I have received word that we will be loading the caboose on to the trailer tomorrow morning. This has been a long time coming with a lot of phone calls and preparation. The steps were removed from the caboose last week. We are still far from our goal of donations to move the caboose. If you can, please donate to the BAR Mansfield Depot Caboose Fund. Donations can be made by credit card over the phone, 860.627.6540, or mailed to Connecticut Trolley Museum, PO Box 360, East Windsor, CT 06088.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Rails to the Darkside Preparation

By the time I arrived at the museum on Saturday, the trolleys in the main hall were already moved into position for the Rails to the Darkside Setup. Many people were hard at work throughout the day. I began the day running electrical to the trolleys for power. Brian Semprebon, Erica Babbitt, and another younger volunteer were hard at work hanging the blackout "curtains" inside 1201, 2056, and 65.

Bill Babbitt and I spent some time cleaning up the interior of car 65. Because restoration of the car started but was never completed, many components of the car were simply being stored on the floor of the car. There were also piles of seats in the car that don't even belong to the car. Everything in the car was stacked along the walls of the car so that there is a clear walkway through the car.

Other volunteers, including Larry Bryan, Galen Semprebon, Matty Doane, George Contrada, and Larry Lunden, were all hard at work on other Rails to the Darkside projects. Unfortunately, I cannot give away too much because it will ruin the show.

By the end of the day, the Main Hall was cleaned up and the exhibit boards were put in place. They will be used to create a wall to separate the Rails to the Darkside area from the Pumpkin Patch area.

Matty is already getting into the Rails to the Darkside spirit as seen here by his companion in his van. Anyone who is interested in coming down to help out with the setup for Rails to the Darkside is encouraged. We can use all the help that we can get. Also, September 25th is the Rails to the Darkside Casting Call from 3 to 5 pm. Anyone who is interested in scaring for Rails to the Darkside who has not done it in the past is encouraged to come to the casting call.

Elsewhere on the property, work was being done as well. Xian Clere was able to get the Tie Handler running under its own power. He moved it closer to the Sweeper and swung the boom sideways to make room for the Bangor & Aroostook Caboose when it arrives this week. Larry Lunden also spent some time outside cleaning up the west end gardens of the Visitor Center. They have been overgrown with pricker bushes for the longest time and he was able to remove the bushes.

Up in the shop, John Pelletier found the issue plaguing the Type 5's motors. One of the motor support bearings was worn and it was causing the motor to jump when power was initially applied. This resulted in the bull gear and pinion not making contact. John will be looking for a spare set of motor support bearings next weekend to replace the worn ones. For the time being, the car will be out of service.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Labor Day

For Chris Perry, Labor Day meant a lot of work. Throughout the Labor Day Weekend, Chris was hard at work on the Boston Elevated 3100. The entire upper half of the body has been patched up. The entire body has been sanded down. The roof is now painted silver, and the area above the windows has been painted cream. Some of the body is painted as well. Now that the summer is over, Chris will not be able to come around as much, so work will take a hiatus until next summer.

When completed, the car will be cosmetically restored to the orange and cream paint scheme of the Boston Elevated. Once that is completed, the car will be in condition to be displayed and hopefully put in the main hall of the Visitor Center to complete the exhibit of the History and Evolution of the Electric Trolley and its Impact on Society. The exhibit currently discusses the PCC Car, but there is no example of it in the hall.