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.