Monday, December 26, 2011

A Year in Review

This year has been quite a busy year with many accomplishments, least important for this blog is my own accomplishments in my personal life. Those are what have been keeping me from having time to post on here. As a new year approaches, I plan to be posting much more often and will try to post at minimum once a week. If I am not posting that often, feel free to let me know; remind me to post.

January: Work began on Springfield Street Railway car 575 (Montreal Tramways car 2056). Paint was scraped from the sides of the car in hopes to repaint it in Springfield, MA colors. Work was also accomplished on Connecticut Company car 65.

February: The northeast was hammered with snow which really slowed down work at the museum. It was difficult to even access the property.

March: The Main Hall was set up for opening day. The fourth motor was repaired and reinstalled in Montreal Tramways car 2600.

April: The front lawn was cleaned up of miscellaneous materials. Track 1 under the Visitor Center Train Shed was built and ties were replaced in Kelly Yard.

May: The museum received approximately 700 relay ties to be used in the Train Shed and on the main line. Work began on the floor and roof of the Bangor & Aroostook Caboose.

June: Work progressed on the Bangor & Aroostook Caboose. Work also began on the interior of the Reading Caboose. Work began on New Orleans car 836 to turn down the wheel set with a thin flange.

July: Work continued on the Reading Caboose and car 836. In addition, Illinois Terminal car 451 had work continued on it as an Eagle Scout Project.

August: Work on many projects slowed due to planning our special events - Rails to the Darkside, Pumpkin Patch, and Winterfest. New Orleans car 836 still had members working on the wheel sets. At the end of the month, Hurricane Irene hit the museum resulting in the museum being closed for a week.

September: The finishing touches were in the process of being completed on car 836. Repairs were made to the infrastructure after Hurricane Irene. Work was accomplished on the cosmetic restoration of Boston Elevated car 3100. Cars were tarped to protect them from the elements.

October: New Orleans car 836 was returned to service, however, Connecticut Company car 1326 was removed from service due to motor issues. Winter Storm Alfred hit the museum at the end of the month resulting in the museum being closed for its typically two best days of Pumpkin Patch and Rails to the Darkside.

November: Repairs were made to the infrastructure once again. The museum was set up for Winterfest.

December: Work was progressing on the Boston Elevated Railway car 5645 with interior woodwork and motor work. Tarps are going on the Dining Car to protect it from the winter snow. Next year, money will be spent to repair the car.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Track Work

There will be a Track Work Session on Monday September 26th in the evening. Times will be posted for those who are interested in the coming days.

Also, we will be prepping Railroad Ties on Saturday September 24th.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Saturday, the parts that we had received as part of the Trolleyville sale finally arrived. The truck pulled into the museum at around 8pm. Luckily, the Fire Museum was able to provide lights to allow us to see what we were doing during the unloading process. Galen Semprebon, George Contrada, Marilyn Rodriguez, Xian Clere, Aaron Mangan, John Pelletier, and I stuck around the museum until after 11pm in order to get the trailer unloaded. This was a sigh of relief because we have been waiting nearly two years for this trailer and were getting ready to travel to Cleveland to pick the parts up.

The rest of the day was quite eventful as well. Marilyn and I were able to shuffle some cars around in front of the shop. Boston Elevated PCC 3100 is now back on the Northern Barn Lead and the Centerville Albia & Southern Box Motor 101 is now in front of Lusa Shop track 2 allowing Fair Haven & Westville car 355 out of the shop. A few members of operations helped out as well, happy to see 355 able to come out of the shop again.

Pat McCann was once again turning down the wheels for New Orleans car 836. He is nearly complete with that task. John was further back in the shop continuing to work on Brooklyn Rapid Transit car 169.

On the front side of the property, Galen was busy doing more Rails to the Darkside setup. We were able to take care of some housekeeping things around the Snack Bar building and Dining Car. Since the Snack Bar is closed, the sign has been taken down. The broken railings and such on the staircase to the dining car have been removed as well.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rails to the Darkside Setup

Work has progressed during the Wednesday night work session for Rails to the Darkside setup. The cars are all in place and tarps are being put up in between the cars. Car 36 has been wrapped and the electrical drops are being located on the cars. I cannot discuss too much into what is actually happening, because this event is based on surprises, but one thing that I will say is that there will be quite a few new things this year!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tarping Cars

Over the weekend, Marilyn Rodriguez helped me tarp some of our fleet that sits outside. Normally it is like pulling teeth to get help doing such a mundane task. However, Saturday afternoon, we were able to get tarps over Connecticut Company express motor 2023, Chicago Elevated Railway car 4284, and the end of the Bangor & Aroostook Caboose. The previous weekend, I was able to tarp Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee car 162, and Chris Perry tarped Boston Elevated Railway car 3100.

Speaking of car 3100, Chris Perry has made quite a bit of progress on the car. Most of the car is sitting in a coat of bright orange paint, its original color. This is just a base coat to get some paint on the car to slow down the rusting and by no means the final coat. Nonetheless, the car is progressing along.

And, the caboose is progressing as well. George Contrada took the final measurements and is ordering the wood for the roof and the sides of the car. We were able to find the right style and width wood at just over a dollar a linear foot.

Galen Semprebon has been leading the setup for Rails to the Darkside. The cars within the Visitor Center have been moved into place and decorating has begun. We have also come up with a new layout for Winterfest. I will keep that under wraps so you will have to come to that event in December to find out.

The shop is still busy as ever with John Pelletier working on both New Orleans Public Service car 836 repairing the seats and doing general maintenance on the car and working on cleaning up and putting final touches on Fair Haven & Westville car 355. Pat McCann continues to turn the wheels for car 836.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Back up and Running

Friday was a very busy day at the museum. No not with visitors; unfortunately we were still closed due to the damage as a result of Hurricane Irene. Al Goff, Ben Wallace, John Cummins, and George Contrada spent the day hanging then 2200 volt signal line back in then air. The line fell and snapped when a tree fell on it. The trees also caused damage to numerous poles and cross arms. After working at our real jobs, Xian Clere, Aaron Mangan, and I showed up to help finish the job.

Galen Semprebon installed the new windows for the Visitor Center to replace the ones that were broken when the museum was vandalized a month ago.

Up in the car shop, Chris Chestnut spent the day turning down a wheel for New Orleans car 836 on the wheel lathe.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

From our Friends on the Coastline

A letter sent out by the Branford Electric Railway Association (Shore Line Trolley Museum) regarding the damage done during Hurricane Irene. Reprinted for your information.

We know that you care about the museum and are concerned about the impact of Hurricane Irene, which struck our area of Connecticut with great force. That is why we are writing to you now. We have assessed the damage and here is what we have found.

First the good news: There is only minimal damage to the car barns. Sprague station and its contents are fine. Most of the railway line is undamaged, however track wash-outs will prevent us from being able to operate all the way to Short Beach for possibly quite some time.

Although Irene made landfall more than 70 miles to our west, and was downgraded to a tropical storm as it did so, it had already whipped the waters of Long Island Sound to a frenzy. The timing was unfortunate: this storm occurred at new moon, when tides run higher than average. The placement of the storm to our west meant strong winds out of the east, piling up the tide in the Sound, and the passage of the storm almost exactly
at the time of high tide (11 AM in New Haven) brought strong southerly winds driving water on-shore and inland at the worst possible moment.

The result was the worst tidal flood in the museum's history. Water levels peaked at 8.3 feet above mean sea level, exceeding the December 1992 nor'easter by about half a foot. The depth of water on the shop floor was 19-20 inches, in barn 1 12-15", and in barn 3, where tracks had been raised after the 1992 incident to be above that level, 5-6". Parts of barns 4 and 6 received almost two feet of water. Water levels in barns 2 and 7 were 12 inches or greater, and in barn 5 varied from 6 to 14 inches. Flood waters receded by 2PM, but significant damage had already been done.

Thanks to the efforts of a number of volunteers who worked long hours in the days before the storm, cars were moved to higher tracks where possible. Because of the high winds forecast and the number of trees surrounding our line, options were limited. Cars 948, 850 and 357 are the only ones known to have completely escaped flooding and will be operational once electrical power has been restored to East Haven. All other cars in the collection were flooded to some degree by the salt water. Their operational status will depend on how the water affected the traction motors, which are
only a few inches above the rail. All of these cars (over 90) are considered out of service until they can be inspected and their motor insulation tested.

This process will take several weeks. Some of these cars may be operational, or may be brought back to operational status with a few days of effort, but we can expect that the majority of the cars will require complete traction motor disassembly and cleaning.

We value each and every vehicle in the collection for the important history it holds, and hope to see each one repaired in time. Please be aware that every car that we have inspected is repairable, but it will take a significant amount of work. As you may know, repairing one single car with a flooded motor can readily take 500 hours of skilled labor. Our efforts to combat the effects of this flood will last for years to come.

Yet as much as we value each car individually, we must think of the entire collection and the museum as whole. As we develop the plan to repair our cars as quickly and efficiently as possible, our first efforts are focused on re-opening the museum to the public. We anticipate re-opening before Labor Day, using the three trolleys that were not flooded, and operating over a shortened line. Thus our efforts right now are focused on clearing and inspecting the line.

The damage that we have sustained at the Museum is devastating and yet manageable, shocking but also expected. It was devastating to see so many cars flooded, living history potentially destroyed, and many thousands of hours of restoration work wiped out over a weekend. But the damage is manageable with your help. We are coming together to repair was has been hurt and rescue the history that would be otherwise lost.

It was shocking to see 100-year-old antiques sitting in pools of water, knowing that every minute was further damaging their valuable and irreplaceable motors. While looking at serious damage is always hard, it was expected, even predictable - it's happened before and we always knew it would happen again. And what is even more sobering is that when it does happen again, it may be worse, much worse. The infamous September 1938 hurricane brought water levels to 12 feet above sea level in our area. That is 4 feet higher than what we experienced this weekend.

For over 65 years the museum has been in this cycle of damage and repair. We must break out. And we have a plan to do so.

This year we began efforts to put a stop to this cycle by taking action to move our collection to higher ground. We began a Capital Campaign, "Elevating the Collection", which is raising $2M to build two new car buildings at an elevation of 13 feet above mean sea level.

If the new buildings had been in place this weekend the cars inside would have suffered no damage from Hurricane Irene and would have been protected.

We have already secured $156K toward this goal and are in conversation with a significant group of prospective donors who are considering support.

When our Campaign is successful and the new buildings are completed, we will never again have to repair our cars knowing that we will have to do it all over again after the next flood and the one after that. We will never again follow news of severe storms with the same sense of dread as we did this weekend. And we will rest assured that our collection will be enjoyed by generations to come. Now is the time to recognize our pressing need for higher ground and make every effort to ensure the
safety of our collection. As we begin to clean up the mess, we must redouble our work to ensure we are protected in the future.

At this critical moment, we need the support of every member, every person who has visited our museum, and trolley lovers around the world.

Would you consider please meeting with us privately about giving to Elevating the Collection? By giving to the campaign, you will be doing the best thing possible to ensure that the cars you love the most will ultimately be taken care of and preserved in perpetuity.

Please contact us at or (203) 467-6927 to find out how you can help. And be sure to visit to learn more about the campaign.

Jeff Hakner,
Board Chairperson

Wayne Sandford,
General Manager

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hurricane Damage

After Hurricane Irene, Al Goff, Chris Shaw, and Xian Clere inspected the line for damage and found that the high voltage line fell on the overhead wire. This will require a lot of work to fix, replacing cross arms and insulators. We hope to have the repairs made and the museum reopened by Saturday.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


With Hurricane Irene slamming Connecticut today, the museum has been closed. Yesterday we took the time to tie down anything that may fly away. The biggest concern is trees that may fall down on buildings or equipment.

Chris Chestnut spent the day turning the wheels on the lathe for New Orleans car 836. They are coming along quite well and we hope to have the car returned to service by the end of September.

In the back of the shop, I began my day pulling the floor up in Brooklyn Rapid Transit car 169. The floor was in such poor shape, most of it pulled up with just my hands. Under one of the seats, I found an interesting switch. It turned out it was actually the heater switch as it said "Consolidated Car Heating Company" on the side of it. Phil Godeck was working on the outside of the car removing paint.

John Pelletier was able to get the air compressor running in Fair Haven & Westville car 355 and the car should be back in service over the next couple of weeks.

During the heavy rain, Galen & Brian Semprebon spent time in the library organizing magazines and removing duplicates. Peg Hoffman now has over 500 books cataloged. The library is coming together.

Later in the day, I got to work some more on the Bangor & Aroostook Caboose. I have just about finished stripping the tar-paper off of the roof. George Contrada is working on getting the wood for the side and roof of the caboose.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Equipment Roster of CTM

Electric Passenger Cars

Montreal Tramways 4: 1924-built Observation Car
Springfield Electric Railway 10: 1901-built Combine Car
Springfield Terminal Railway 16: 1926-built Combine Car
Bristol Traction Co 28: 1907-built Closed Car
Bristol Traction Co 34: 1908-built Convertible Car
5 Mile Beach Electric Railway 36: 1895-built Open Car
Connecticut Co 65: 1906-built Closed Car
York Utilities 72: 1919-built Closed Car
Manchester Street Railway 94: 1906-built Closed Car
Fitchburg & Leominster Street Railway 106: 1927-built Closed Car
Fair Haven & Westville Railroad 154: 1902-built Closed Car
Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 162: 1915-built Interurban Car
Brooklyn Rapid Transit 169: 1894-built Curveside Closed Car
Consolidated Railway 189: 1904-built Closed Car
Aurora Elgin & Chicago 303: 1906-built Interurban Car
Fair Haven & Westville Railroad 355: 1902-built Open Car
Illinios Terminal 451: 1949-built PCC Car
Springfield Street Railway 575: 1927-built Closed Car
Dallas Railway & Terminal 625: 1946-built PCC Car
Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 710: 1924-built Interurban Car
New Orleans Public Service Inc 836: 1923-built Closed Car
Connecticut Co 840: 1905-built Open Car
Cleveland Interurban Railroad 1201: 1914-built Center-Entrance Car
Connecticut Co 1326: 1910-built Closed Car
Northern Ohio Traction Light & Power 1500: 1909-built Parlor Car
Connecticut Railway & Lighting Co 1550: 1911-built Closed Car
Connecticut Co 1739: 1918-built Closed Car
Rio de Janeiro Tramway Light & Power 1850: 1912-built Open Car
Rio de Janeiro Tramway Light & Power 1887: 1912-built Open Car
Montreal Tramways 2600: 1929-built Closed Car
Connecticut Co 3001: 1922-built Closed Car
Boston Elevated Railway 3003: 1941-built PCC Car
Boston Elevated Railway 3100: 1944-built PCC Car
Metropolitan Transit Authority 3306: 1951-built PCC Car
Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority 3309: 1951-built PCC Car
Long Island Railroad 4153: 1930-built Electric Railroad Car
Chicago Elevated Railway 4175: 1914-built Elevated Car
Chicago Elevated Railway 4284: 1922-built Elevated Car
Chicago Rapid Transit 4409: 1924-built Elevated Car
Chicago Rapid Transit 4436: 1924-built Elevated Car
Boston Elevated Railway 5645: 1924-built Closed Car

Electric Work Cars

Iowa Southern Utilites 1: 1896-built Line Car
Gardner & Templeton Street Railway 07: 1915-built Snow Plow
Capital Transit 010: 1899-built Sweeper
Connecticut Co 0206: 1910-built Work Car
Montreal Tramways W-1: 1912-built Crane
Chicopee & Holyoke Street Railways: 1903-built Crane

Non-Electric Work Cars

Central Vermont Railroad 8: Unpowered 4-Wheel Inspection Car
Boston & Maine 664: Track Speeder
Deleware & Hudson 700: Track Speeder
Singer Co: Velocipede Inspection Car
Boston & Maine TH-2: Tie Handler
New Haven Railroad: Tower Car

Locomotives & Box Motors

Hartford Electric Light Co 1: 1949-built Diesel Switcher Locomotive
Oshawa Railways 18: 1918-built Electric Steeple-Cab Locomotive
Centerville Albia & Southern 101: 1914-built Electric Box Motor
Ponemah Mills 1386: 1894-built Electric Steeple-Cab Locomotive
Connecticut Co 2022: 1911-built Gasoline/Electric Express Car
Connecticut Co 2023: 1910-built Diesel/Electric Express Car
Canadian National 6714: 1913-built Electric Box-Cab Locomotive
US Army 7926: 1944-built Diesel Locomotive
Ponemah Mills C: 1895-built Electric Switcher Locomotive
Corbin E-2: 1907-built Battery Locomotive

Freight Cars

Singer Co 143: 1869-built Wooden Boxcar
Singer Co 145: 1869-built Wooden Boxcar
United Tank Car Lines 75701: Tank Car
Connecticut Electric Railway S-194: 1994-built Wooden Flat Car
Deleware & Hudson Railroad 2782: Hopper Car
New Haven Railroad 41445: Flat Car
Chessie System 28853: Steel Boxcar
Swift Premium 25015: Steel Refrigerated Boxcar
Boston & Maine 96426: Steel Boxcar

Railroad Passenger Cars

Philadelphia & Reading 940: 1903-built Passenger Coach
New Haven Railroad 2633: Passenger Coach


New York, Ontario & Western 8146: 1883-built Wooden Bobber Caboose
Reading Railroad 94024: Steel Caboose
Bangor & Aroostook Railroad: Wooden Caboose

Trackless Trolleys

Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority 8488: 1954-built Electric Trackless Trolley
Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority 8494: 1954-built Electric Trackless Trolley


Bradley International Airport 1 & 2: 1974-built Personal Rapid Transit Test Vehicles

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Signal Problems Repaired

This morning, Xian Clere, Brian Semprebon, and I replaced the insulated joint across from the section house. This insulated joint has been causing some troublesome ghost signals for some time. Now that this insulated joint has been replaced, operations should be happy.

Behind the Visitor Center, a volunteer has been working on building a wall for Rails to the Darkside. The wall is of very simple construction, using shelving units to hold the wall up. Once it is constructed, maybe we can get someone to give it a coat of paint? Any volunteers?

Using our 1890's McCabe lathe powered by a traction motor with a modern tracing attachment and a template, Chris Chestnut and Pat McCann have been able to turn the wheels for New Orleans Car 836 to eliminate the thin flanges. It is a very interesting process. We have completed the first wheel and are now working on the second. A video of the process can be seen here: I do suggest that you turn your speakers down before watching, as the lathe does make a rather ear piercing noise.

Also in the shop, John Pelletier has been working on remounting the air compressor for Fair Haven and Westville Open Car 355. Now, we just need to re-plumb it and the car will be ready to go back into service.

In the back corner of the shop, Brooklyn Rapid Transit Car 169 has been quietly stored. Nothing has been done to the car, so tools, parts, and other things have been stored inside and up against the car. One of our newer shop volunteers, Phil Godeck has started work on the car. He has documented all of the lettering found on the car, and has removed the paint from one side of the car. The siding on the car is cracked and separating in many places so we will need to fix that, then we can begin to paint the car. Once the exterior is done, the interior will be repaired: floor replaced, seats reinstalled; and hopefully the car will be moved down to the Visitor Center. 5 Mile Beach Electric Railway (Wildwood, NJ) Open Car 36 will then most likely be moved up to the shop.

Centerville Albia & Southern Box Motor 101 is now sitting outside the shop. Chris Chestnut is planning to go through that car and get it completely serviced at the end of this year to be ready for next year. And finally, I have received word from Chris Perry; he will be coming down during the week of Labor Day to work on Boston Elevated Railway PCC Car 3100.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wheel Turning

This past weekend, Chris Chestnut and Pat McCann took turns watching and making adjustments at the lathe. The first of car 836's wheel sets is being turned on the lathe with the first wheel nearly complete. The flange that was paper thin is now being turned down and beginning to form.

Elsewhere in the shop, John Pelletier was busy working on getting the proper hardware to install a new air compressor on car 355. This air compressor appears to be in working order, unlike the last two that once we got them under the car, they would not function properly. The last one that we put together had a high bar.

With the help of George Contrada, I was able to repair the north gate at Winkler Road Crossing after a pick-up truck damaged it on Friday. The gate will be replaced when a new one is assembled.

The rest of the day, I spent sorting through railroad ties: the good, the bad, and the ugly; so that we can get them prepared for main line tie replacement. Once those are sorted out, I need to get the tie inserter running again. Between that and the tie handler, we will have a semblance of a production job.

And, yes it is that time of year again. Galen Semprebon was caught out behind the Visitor Center unloading materials for Rails to the Darkside! In fact, the path is nearly constructed between the mainline and the Visitor Center. I guess that is my hint to begin installing the lighting.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Catching Up

Its hard to imagine how long it has been since I have last posted. Unfortunately, long hours at work have gotten in the way of my ability to post. But enough about me, I know you are all looking for what has happened at the museum over the past two months!

Train Shed

Tracks 1 and 1A have been completed under the Train Shed of the Visitor Center. Galen Semprebon led the effort with the help of a number of other people to get the track built, temporary trackage from the siding to the storage tracks built, and the cars moved under the Train Shed. Connecticut Company car 1739 and Connecticut Company Work Car 0206 have both been moved under cover on those tracks.

New Orleans Public Service car 836

Work has been steadily progressing on car 836. Pat McCann, our resident machinist, has set up the wheel lathe with a tracing tool, and with the help of Chris Chestnut, has been preparing to make the first cut on the wheels. Yesterday, work has started on the turning of the first wheelset for 836.

Connecticut Company car 1326

While the car was in the shop for its yearly inspection and maintenance, the window sills on the car were sanded down and painted by John Pelletier, our shop foreman.

Springfield Terminal Railway car 16

John Pelletier has milled the wood to replace the floor in the operators area of the car. The floor does have a couple of weak spots that are being monitored. As time allows, the car will be moved to the shop to have the floor in that area replaced, before it becomes an issue. Phil Godeck took the time to remove the trolley hook and replace the support board underneath it. The board was detereorating and needed to be replaced. It was interesting to note, that since the car had returned to service, that hook was installed with the open part facing the wrong direction. This problem was corrected when the support board was replaced.

Illinois Terminal PCC 451

Kevin Mitchell has started to work on car 451 as his Eagle Scout Project. So far, him and his father have begun to sand down one side of the car.

Bangor & Aroostook Railroad Caboose

Work has been ongoing on the caboose. George Contrada and Xian Clere have removed the carpet and particle board that was covering the floor. While this was going on, I spent time on the roof, removing the roofing paper. Unfortunately, the roof was in worse shape than we had suspected and the roof boards will need to be replaced as well.


Last weekend, I led a work crew to replace ties east of Winkler Road. In total, nine ties were replaced. We were able to use car 16 to transport people and tools, and the Tie Handler with a push car to move ties. Throughout the summer, we hope to be able to replace more ties as the time allows.


Peg Hoffman has begun to work in the library cateloging the many books that we have. Meanwhile, a community service volunteer has been organizing the magazines that we have. We were surprised to find that we have quite a few complete sets of different railroad magazines.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Flea Market Fast Approaching!

The market is still ON! As of this morning, Saturday's market is still taking place at the CT Trolley Museum. A final decision will be reached no later than 8:30pm Friday evening. If the market is being canceled, due to weather, it will be noted here by 9:30pm Friday evening.

If you have questions before the market, please contact Barbara at (860)798-5376. See you all Saturday. Set up is as early as 6am - 7:45 am. Please be patient when arriving - we will get you parked as quickly as possible.

As of today's date, we have over 110 vendor spaces rented and counting featuring a variety of items and great finds including antiques, collectibles, Revolutionary & Civil War items, military, coins, primitive items, household items, Vintage items, glassware, The Simon Foundation - animal rescue adoption day, We Adopt Greyhounds - greyhound adoption day, Party Lite Candles, furniture, Elm City Kettle Corn & Cotton Candy, All Things Beaded, Teach Art 2 Me - face painting and children's crafts, Pandora style & Murano beads, Scentsy Wickless candles,photos, Arbonne, baked goods, Pampered Chef, plants, Gary the Magic Guy, Mary Kay, bird houses, Thirty One Gifts, photos, Miche, Mary Kay, Jafra, crafts, Girl Scouts will be selling cookies, Pandora / Murano glass style beads, Tastefully Simple, clothing, plumbing items & hot tub, records, fishing lures, Tupperware, jewelry, garden items, gifts, Avon, a 13 year old custom jewelry maker and more! Come meet Corporal McNeice and Mack from the East Windsor Police Department's K-9 unit! There is something for EVERYONE at this year's market!

Space rentals may be paid by cash only! If you wish to rent a space, you'll need to contact Barbara @ (860) 798-5376 to make arrangements! Spaces are limited so don't wait!

Additional parking is available at Golden Gavel (Route 140). Shuttle bus will run every 20 minutes.

Interior Decorating

Or should I say Interior Demolition? Xian Clere has started aggressively working on the Bangor and Aroostook Caboose. While the interior for the most part is staying as is, the floor will be replaced. After we moved the caboose, we noticed that the floor was buckling. Initially, we thought that this was because of the move. Once we started pulling up the carpet, we found out that it was, in fact, because under the carpet was particle board. Water had made its way down under the carpet and the particle board had warped. George Contrada started working on the carpet on Saturday. Tuesday, Xian and I got together and finished pulling up the carpet and started pulling up the particle board. Under the particle board was 1" dense foam board which is the reason why the floor is so thick. We will most likely need to replace some of the foam board under the floor because some of that was wet as well. At least now the caboose is under the Visitor Center Train Shed so that it can dry out and work can begin.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rail Bonds

Throughout the day Saturday, Ben Wallace and I had to look for the tools to replace rail bonds. Once we were able to find what we needed (some tools being in the car shop), we proceeded out on the line and replaced two rail bonds. The rail bonds are necessary to allow for the signal system to function properly.

Up in the car shop, John Pelletier and Galen Semprebon were working with a crew of people to set up a gantry over the wheel lathe. This will be used to hoist the wheel set (wheels and axle) up onto the lathe for turning the wheels down. The wheel sets on New Orleans Car 836 are set to be turned down to eliminate the thin flanges that are on the wheels. Also, work was progressing on Illinois Terminal PCC 451. The "rain gutters" on the side of the car were sanded down and primed and work was ongoing on fixing a rot hole on the side of the car.

In Kelly Yard, Xian Clere has worked with Rob Levesque and Brandon Clark to replace the broken rail. The old rail was removed and the new rail was installed over the week. After borrowing a drill from the fire museum, holes for the guard rail bolts were drilled in the new rail and the guard rail was installed. There is still more work to be accomplished in Kelly Yard, but it is much better than it was at the end of last season.

Work is also progressing on the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad Caboose. George Contrada stripped the carpet from the interior of the caboose. Soon, the siding will be stripped and replaced.

Be sure to stop down for the Flea Market at the museum on this coming Saturday, May 21st! There will be over 100 vendors!

Monday, May 2, 2011


On Sunday, Camilo Santiago took the initiative to clean the Members Room. Since the beginning of the year, extraneous materials have been stored in the Members Room and a lot of dirt has been tracked in from outside. Now, the room has been cleaned up and is a comfortable place for volunteers to hang out, eat lunch, and relax after a hard days work.

Out by the section house, I was working on cleaning the grounds. When the section house was being restored, some of the track tools were stored under a tarp outside. The tools have now been moved back into the section house. While I was doing that, I found three level boards. A level board is used to check how much elevation is built into the track. For example, if the level board reads an inch of elevation on the east rail, that means that the east rail is an inch higher than the west rail. For the past few years, we have been using a homemade level board.

Remember, the Annual Meeting is this coming Saturday at 5pm. Earlier in the day, at 2pm, there will be a ceremony for the presentation of the donation from the WLPA.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

More Car Shifting

Most of the progress during the day on Saturday included shifting of various cars in preparation for the Annual Meeting.

First thing in the morning, Bill Wall and Bill Pollman stopped by the museum with tires and rims for the trolley bus that is scheduled to be shipped down to Baltimore. They have a similar trolley bus, but they need one of ours (we have three) for parts. The one big hurdle in getting the bus shipped is that it had no tires on it.

George Contrada, Galen Semprebon, Ted Coppola, John Cummins, Dave Coppola and I worked to move the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad Caboose under the Train Shed. In order to do this, we needed to pull the caboose down to the Powerhouse Crossing on the Visitor Center lead tracks so that the access track could be shifted over 2 bays. Then the caboose was pulled back up and pushed under the Train Shed.

Xian Clere and Camilo Santiago worked with Northern Tree Service of Palmer, MA to move around 700 relay ties that have been donated to the museum. The ties are now sitting on the back road to the loop.

Up in the shop, John Pelletier was working with another volunteer to service additional cars. They were able to finish working on Fair Haven & Westville Railroad Car 355 and Illinois Terminal PCC 451. Later in the day, Springfield Terminal Car 16 was brought up to the shop and minor repairs were continued on the car.

After operations was finished for the day, Camilo Santiago, Xian Clere, George Contrada, and John Cummins completed a switching operation which included moving the Reading Caboose to the North Road Lay-Up Track and clearing the Northern Barn Lead so that Aurora Elgin & Chicago Interurban 303 can be moved out for the Annual Meeting next weekend.

Morgan von Eisengrein spent the day working diligently in the office with the planning of our new fund raising event for this year, BBQ on the Line. More information on the event will be forthcoming.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Car 451 Repaired

Yes, Sunday was Easter Sunday. Where was Tim Baisley? At the museum for a couple of hours working on the braking system of 451. Now that's dedication! In the time he was there, he was able to adjust the brakes. Now the drum brakes actuate when the dynamic brakes are depleted like they are supposed to. Only one more adjustment on one end of the car and it should be ready to return to Public Service!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Track 1 of Train Shed Takes Shape

Saturday was a very productive day at the museum. Galen Semprebon, along with his son Brian, led a group of community service volunteers in building track 1 under the Train Shed of the Visitor Center. While doing this, they were able to learn some basic track building principles, such as lining, spiking, and gaging.

Up in the shop, John Pelletier was busy working on a hoist for the wheel lathe. One axle is out from underneath New Orleans Car 836 so once the hoist and tooling are ready, the project can begin.

John Cummins and I were busy working on clean up projects of the property. Some of the area by the Section Houses have been cleared of the material stored there. It is hoped that this will all be able to be cleared. In the past week, a dump truck and flatbed truck have been removed from the property. The tie inserter (rusted yellow piece of equipment) that has been sitting next to the Bradley People Movers has been dragged out of there to the top of the parking lot. The owner of it is supposed to have it removed by the Annual Meeting. In moving it, we were able to rescue a track jack that was buried under it.

On the public side, despite the rain, the museum did exceptionally well on Saturday, Easter Bunny Fun Day. Every time I looked up front, the parking lot was full and operations was running double sections of cars.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

And the Trucks are Finally off the Front Lawn!

Over the weekend, a lot was accomplished at the museum. I started off the day in Kelly Yard with a hard working crew of volunteers. We were able to replace three more switch timbers in the yard before lunch. I was also able to get the hi rail gear working on our hi rail truck. Pat McCann was able to cut a bit off of the handle for the hi rail gear so that we are able to use it easily. Before, it was hitting the ground before the hi rail gear was fully up.

In the car shop, Galen Semprebon and John Pelletier were able to jack up New Orleans car 836 and pull the truck out from under it. The car is in the shop to have the wheelsets fixed due to thin flanges. The truck was removed from under the car and disassembled.

John Cummins and Morgan von Eisengrein were able to help me move the two sets of Peckam trucks off of the front lawn. For a long time, they have been an eyesore in the corner of the front lawn. They are now sitting on the truck track on the back side of the property. We were also able to move Connecticut Company car 771 (Consolidated Railway car 189) back under the train shed and move the snow plow blade for Gardner & Templeton Snow Plow 12 back in front of the snow plow.

Xian Clere spent a good portion of the weekend working on the computers. All of the old printers, copiers, computers, and monitors that are broken or otherwise unusable have been moved outside for a company to recycle. They are willing to dispose of them free of charge because we are a non-profit.

Overall, a lot was able to get accomplished over the weekend. We are open all week this week for school vacation week and next Saturday is Easter Bunny Fun Day!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Kelly Yard Track Work

Kelly Yard is finally getting the rebuilding that it has needed for a long time. And doing this, we are able to teach some of the younger volunteers how to do track work. On Saturday morning, Camilo Santiago and I got together with Henry Kutash and some of the younger guys - Brian Semprebon, Alex Aberdale, David Coppola, and David Lesniak - to show them how to properly do track work. These guys learned a lot and we were all able to replace 7 switch timbers in the Kelly 1-3 Switch. They got a chance at learning to properly tamp and spike ties as well. They all did remarkably well. We will be attempting to finish the timber replacement next Saturday morning beginning at 9am. All are welcome.

Under the Visitor Center Train Shed, Galen Semprebon led a crew grading the fill to build the track for Connecticut Company Cars 0206 and 1739. Todd Chicoine and his father Paul were busy using the front end loader and bulldozer grading the path for the temporary access tracks.

Up in the Lusa Car Shop, John Pelletier was busy with some new volunteers finishing the servicing of Fair Haven & Westville Railroad 355. The air compressor armature was reinstalled in the car and the car was returned to service. They also cleared the area in front of the lathe. Galen also was able to break free from working under the Train Shed to service Montreal Tramways Observation Car 4. At the end of the day, 355 was released into service and Illinois Terminal PCC 451 was moved to the car shop.

Behind the Visitor Center, John Cummins and Morgan von Eisengrein were working to cut and remove overgrown trees.

With all of the things that were going on Saturday, we still had many volunteers running streetcars in Public Operation. It was great to see so many volunteers, and so many visitors at the museum.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Back on Four

Montreal Tramways 2600 is running back on four motors thanks to Galen Semprebon, John Pelletier, and others in the shop. The car was returned to service in time for operations training Saturday. First thing Saturday morning, New Orleans Public Service 836 was pulled out of Woods Car Barn and transferred to the shop so that work could start on the wheels of the car. Rio de Janeiro car 1850 was transferred to Woods Car Barn so that there would be room for car 2600 in Kelly Car Barn.

The Operations Department had their training session on Saturday. They were accompanied by Flat Stanley during their training. Flat Stanley is a paper cutout of a person who is mailed around by elementary school students to visit and learn about different places within the state.

In the afternoon, Bill Babbitt helped me with moving Fair Haven & Westville car 154 into the Visitor Center. Bill went back home to pick up his air hammer to knock out the rust in the brake system which was binding the wheels. John Cummins ran home to get his come along because the one that we were using broke. In addition, John Pelletier, Galen Semprebon, Brian Semprebon, David Lesniak, Bill Heim, George Contrada, Camilo Santiago, Matt Januska, and others helped move the car into the Visitor Center.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cars Moved into the Visitor Center

On Saturday, we were able to get the Main Hall mostly set up. I started off in the morning by moving Montreal Tramways 2056 (Springfield Street Railway 575) to the west end of the main hall. Larry Lunden helped out by sweeping the tracks and vacuuming the flangeways. By the time I was ready to move the Ponemah Mills Locomotive into the Visitor Center, Dave Coppola, Brian Semprebon, and Alex Aberdale had arrived to help move the cars. We moved the Ponemah Mills Locomotive and New York Ontario & Western Caboose into the Visitor Center. Camilo Santiago and Xian Clere came to help move Connecticut Company Car 65 into place and finally Springfield Electric Railway (Vermont) Car 10 into the Visitor Center. The only cars left to move are the Northern Parlor Car to the west end of the main hall and the Fair Haven & Westville Car 154 into the Main Hall!

Meanwhile, George Contrada and Ted Coppola were busy loading the Winterfest Layouts into the storage trailer. Roger Pierson spent his day in Kelly Barn cleaning out the public operating fleet.

Up in the shop, Galen Semprebon and John Pelletier jacked up Montreal Tramways Car 2600 and installed the 4th motor back into the car. Next weekend, the car will be jacked back down on the truck. This car will now be running again on four motors for opening day!

I had the pleasure of giving a new volunteer, Dave, a tour of the property. He plans to be back next Saturday! Remember, we are always looking for new volunteers. Anyone who is interested in volunteering should contact the museum.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

In Like a Lion

March has come in like a lion this year, and I am not talking about the weather. After a few weekends where not much has been happening, everyone seemed to be in full swing this weekend to get all of the Winterfest materials OUT of the Visitor Center. It started off in the morning with Galen & Brian Semprebon helping me load out the boxes of Winterfest into the trailer. Larry Lunden arrived soon after and helped shuttle the boxes to the door where we moved them to the trailer. When Roger Pierson arrived, he went up to Kelly Car Barn and removed the decorations from cars 4 and 1326. After lunch, Ted Coppola and I repaired the roof of the Winterfest Layout Trailer using flashing and pop-rivets. The large modular layout was then moved into the trailer by George Contrada, Dave Coppola, and Brian Semprebon.

Once all of the layouts are moved into the trailers, we will be able to shift cars around to set up the Visitor Center. The plan is to bring the Bobber Caboose into the Visitor Center paired with the Ponemah to have an enhanced exhibit on Trolley Freight Service.

Up in the shop, John Pelletier was busy cleaning, again. Pretty soon, everything will be in its place and we will be able to find the tool we need when we need it. Pat McCann was kept busy working on 2600's motor and motor support bearing. Within the next few weeks, the car will be jacked and the motor will be reinstalled in the car.

Unfortunately, it was quite busy so I was unable to get very many pictures of the day.

This year should be a very exciting year, and we could definitely use your help! We have many projects this year, some of them as follows: repairs to the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad Caboose, repairs and repainting of Engine 18, repairs to the open passenger car, and the repairs to the wheel-sets of New Orleans car 836.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


With the constant pounding of snowstorms hitting the Northeast, the museum has been inundated with snow. The snowpile from clearing the parking lot is nearly has high as the overhang on the Visitor Center! Luckily our buildings are holding up to the snow and we have not had any visible damage due to the weight. The meeting that was scheduled for Saturday, has been postponed until this coming Saturday, February 12th.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Amherst Rail Show

This past weekend was the Amherst Railway Society’s Big Railroad Hobby Show. As always, we had our booth in the Better Living Center by Door 9. It was quite interesting getting our booth set up, because it seemed that everyone who normally helps out was busy on Friday. Fortunately, David Lesniak had mid-term exams on Friday, therefore he had a half day of school. George Contrada was able to pick him up from school after finals and bring him down to the museum to load the van. It took them two trips with the van and one trip in my car (after I got out of work for the day) to get everything up to the Eastern States Exposition. This included information about the museum, the disappearing mountain layout, and sales items. We were joined by Mike Caputo to help set up. Later, Ted and Dave Coppola arrived with another van that had the big screen television in it and two ho layouts. By the time we were done, it was after 9pm.

Saturday morning, we all arrived bright and early to finish the setup for the show. The booth this year was one of the more successful booths in the recent past. We set up the disappearing mountain layout with a push button to make the train go, so there was some interaction for our younger visitors.

New this year was Ted’s HO Trolley Layout. This layout was set up so that there was a trolley on each end and they would pass each other on a long passing siding. Once the both trolleys got to the other end, they would start over again.

Dave Coppola brought back his half finished HO trolley layout complete with overhead wire. Also, he brought the simulation of the museum’s line that he created using Trainz. This was set up on the big screen tv.

Over the year, we have acquired many surplus scale trains that have been long stored in the attic. Some of them were donated to the museum to do with what we saw fit and others were acquired through Craig’s List and other means. Since they are not used by us, we decided that we could sell them to raise funds for the museum. That proved to be successful.

When cleaning up on Sunday, we found that we had less vehicles than when we brought everything to the show. Luckily after some creative packing, we were able to get everything in the cars and vans. I don’t know how we got some of the stuff in the cars, but everything just fit, although some passengers were holding things on their laps.

Back at the museum, we were able to quickly unload both the stuff from our booth and the stuff from the Connecticut Valley Chapter’s booth and head out for dinner.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Paint Chips

Today, Xian Clere and I met at the museum to work on Springfield Street Railway 575 (Montreal Tramways Car 2056). We were able to scrape more of the Montreal white off of the car on the north side. Xian also worked on the west end of the car. It is amazing at the sizes of some of the chunks of paint that are breaking off. We will have to do some repair work to the panels on the car before the car is painted, because there are areas in the base of the panels that have rotted away.

While we were scraping the paint on the side of the car, we noticed some bolt heads extending out the side of the body around the area of the rivets. It is apparent the bolts were added after the car was painted last because they have no paint on them and do not show signs of aging. When I went inside the car, I was able to determine that the bolts were holding the seat frames in place. The original screw holes were rounded out, so it appears the bolts were installed to take the place of the screws. The inside panels will need to be repaired so that the seats can be attached to the wall the way they were originally intended. Then the outside panels can be repaired prior to painting.

Xian also spent some time getting the hy-rail out from behind the snow pile. It is not likely that we will need to use it during the winter, however, it is good to have it accessible just in case.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Visitor Center Clean Up

Saturday was a busy day in the Visitor Center. Many volunteers banded together to take the Winterfest decorations down. The village inside Wildwood Open Car 36 was taken down and boxed up. The decorations inside the window displays and on the cars were disassembled; trees were taken down. George Morris, Sheila Numrych, Paul & Duanne Gallo, Matt Januska, Carol Zenczak, Brian Semprebon and others helped in the Visitor Center.

The major accomplishment was the dis-assembly of the G Gauge table and moving of the Northern far enough into the Visitor Center for Fair Haven & Westville 154 to enter the Visitor Center. This would allow Connecticut Company 771 (Consolidated Railway 189) to be moved back under the Train Shed. Will Yungk helped me with this project. We moved the Northern with a "car-walker" (see picture to right). When we went to move car 154, we used a come-along with a chain attached to a truck on the Northern as an anchor. The axles on car 154 do not turn very well, which makes it difficult to move. Unfortunately, as we began to move 154, the come-along handle broke and we could not find another that would work. With the car moved only 6 inches, the door would no longer close to the Visitor Center. It took us a while, but we were finally able to move the car back outside to close the door.

On the Restoration side, John Pelletier was hard at work on Connecticut Company Car 65. He was busy most of the day scraping the operators compartment on the west end of the car. He was also able to clean up and reinstall a few pieces of trim molding.

Next to car 65, Xian Clere and Galen Semprebon were working on stenciling the numbers on Springfield Street Railway Car 575 (Montreal Tramways Car 2056). We were able to get a very good stencil of the numbers of the car. Next we will be able to continue with the scraping of the car to prepare it for painting. The car will be repainted in Springfield (MA) colors, where the car originally ran.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Paint Scrapings

Yesterday, I was able to stop down at the CTM during my lunch at work to scrape some more paint off of a panel on the north side of the Montreal Tramways Car 2056/Springfield Street Railway Car 575. While looking through the layers scraped off, it is apparent that there were some repairs made to the side of the car at one point with a bondo type substance. Most of the work seen in the pictures has been done by Galen Semprebon and Xian Clere.

Looking at the numbers closely, one can see the original numbers on the car. The white paint is the Montreal paint colors. We are scraping down to the yellow/gold which was the Springfield (MA) Street Railway colors. Between the red '2' and the '0', a red '5' is faintly visible on the yellow paint. After the '0', we have uncovered the '7' and on the right edge of the picture, another 5 is barely discernible. We plan to trace the numbers and then see if we can uncover the numbers better and trace them again.

The picture on the right is a date that Xian uncovered (7-10-53) with an word above it starting with "NA". Above that on a lower layer of paint is a date in 1949. This is located on the left side vestibule door side post on one end of the car. Any thoughts?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Beneath the Layers

Work continued on Montreal Tramways Car 2056 (former Springfield Street Railway Car 575) Saturday in the Winter Shops (the Visitor Center). Galen Semprebon and Xian Clere worked on scraping more paint off of the car. While scraping by the left side door post on one end, Xian found some dates painted onto the car (a different date on each layer of paint). The word above it unfortunately was not discernible. Does anyone know what that date may be signifying? We were thinking that it could be the date each time the car had a major overhaul. Xian and Galen were also able to remove enough layers of paint to find the size and font of the car number when it was in Springfield livery. Before any more paint is scraped, we will trace the number. Once the car is completely scraped, it will be painted back in the Springfield Street Railway colors.

John Pelletier, meanwhile, was busy working on car 65 (Connecticut Company). The pieces on the end of the car are starting to come together.

I directed my own attention to tearing down the G Gauge tables. With winter upon us, I want to get the cars that are under tarps back into the Visitor Center as soon as possible. In order to do that, I need to pull down the G Gauge tables because they are taking up the track space that we need. I was able to pull all of the sheets off the table, but time was not on my side. George Contrada and Ted Coppola were busy working on the layout that we will be taking to the Amherst Railway Society's Big Railroad Hobby Show at the end of the month.