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.

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