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Niagara Railway Museum Blog

May 25, 2016

PROJECT 46 returns

FB_IMG_1464204076899When the Museum first went after the acquisition of Hydro Electric Power Commission ALCO 0-4-0st steam locomotive #46, we started Project 46 to raise the required funds. Well, that fundraising initiative is getting ready to start back up, as we plan to start the cosmetic restoration of 46 this summer. We will be starting with the cab and going from there. Our goal for this project is $5000, which we hope to use for matching funds to double the amount to complete more work. All donors will be added to the Project 46 donor plaque inside the cab.

To help support this initiative, you can make a secure donation online through Canada Helps at:

https://www.canadahelps.org/dn/10522.

Please select HEPC 46 for the project you wish to support. All donations over $25 are eligible for a Charitable tax reciept.

HEPC 46 was built by the ALCO Cooke works in September 1920 and delivered as stock to the Hydro Electric Power Commission at Queenston Ontario along with sister #47. Both were used on with many other types of small steam and electric locomotives during the construction of the power canal for Sir Adam Beck Generating Station #1. 46 worked along with our HEPC E-7 electric on that project and are together almost 100 yrs later. She is one of the most historic pieces remaining from that project, and last of her kind from the steam railway operations. The NRM thanks you for your support on this great project.

May 21, 2016

Opening Weekend

Sorry for the late posting on Opening Weekend, but here it is.

On May 14/15 the NRM had it’s opening weekend under rather poor weather conditions, experiencing wind, rain, sun, and even snow!  However, the weather didn’t keep the visitors away, with 2 very busy and steady days.

Our guests were treated to a fairly new Niagara Railway Museum.  Inside there were many changes, as we’ve been reporting over the last few months, including the major lighting upgrade inside the office area. Our 3rd boxcar was converted to a second display car, and also had a permanent store added to 1 end.  We are working on increasing our stock, but for now, it’s decent as it is.

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Thanks to Dave Torbett for building us 2 new cabinets for the display car.

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Wayne M got a little painting done on the middle door during the open house.

We had w new display cases made by David Torbett, and they were installed in the new display car in time for the weekend. We have a bit of tweaking to do on them before the next open house, but they were definitely a great addition to the car. They are used to house the Van Alstine and Mills collections.

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The new display on the Van Alstine twins on the CN.

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Tools of the trade for the display about Fred Mills, ex CNR Carman.

The new store is a great addition as well, as it now gives us a semi permanent area to sell Museum goods throughout the season, without having to set it up and take it down every time. We will be adding new items, such as NRM t-shirts and sweatshirts before the July open house. Also inside the display car was a case showing some pieces of railway china from CN & CP, both hotel and railway.

The Cab of CN 9173 was open for visitors, and is undergoing some work as we installed covers over the openings inside the cab  where the windows and such are.  This will receive another coat of paint over the summer, and will hopefully also see the damaged front window replaced.

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The Ontario Northland Historical Society brought their display out once again.

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The HO layout from The Hobby Shop, along with the old trolley coffee bar were a hit as well, as people reminisced about the store. Here a taxi had a bit of an incident.

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Our small G Scale layout was up and running as well.

Bill Woods and Garry Eller brought the Ontario Northland Historical & Technical Society display out to the shop as well. Bill & Garry are both members of the NRM, and have been displaying with us at our train year model railway shows, and our Museum events for 16yrs. The other new displays for this year were the items from the former Niagara Central Hobbies in St. Catharines. People were able to sit at the trolley and see some of the pics that were displayed on the various activities over the last few months, as well as watch the trains run on the layout. Our small G Scale layout was also running with new trains on loan from the Jones family.

 

As far as equipment goes, HEPC 46 was moved forward to allow for some better pictures, as she is usually back beside the work platform.  We will be starting up our Project 46 fundraising campaign again this year as we work to raise funds specifically for the cosmetic restoration of the locomotive, starting with the cab. She will also hopefully receive a new coat of paint. The ex-Atlas Steel Porter Fireless will also receive some new paint this year, once some metal work is done on the body. The plan is to repaint her back to the yellow she wore at the plant and upon initial arrival at Fort Erie.  She currently wears black with white trim, which was only applied to match 6218 when it was at the Town owned museum. The GE 25tonner performed perfectly after having a set of new batteries installed just days before the open weekend. The GE will be getting some front end work at some point, as we believe there is some spring damage.

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HEPC 46 was moved forward for display.

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The GE tucked away for the night.

 

The Niagara Railway Museum would like to extend its thanks to everyone who came out to support us over the weekend.  We had a great time, and hope you all did as well.  We received a lot of very positive comments from new and repeat visitors. We will continue to work hard to improve the visitor experience and hope to be able to announce some good news in the coming weeks.  Thanks also to our dedicated members who came out to help run the event.

Our next big event will be July 9 & 10, 10am to 4pm rain or shine. However, the Museum will also be open Saturdays from Fathers Day weekend to the end of September, 10am to 2pm. Admission for all events is by cash donation with every bit of it going directly towards the Niagara Railway Museum.

May 12, 2016

This weekend!

Just a day away until Opening weekend at the Museum. Our members have been working hard over the last few months to make it a great experience this year. Just a few more minor things to take care of on Friday, and we’ll be all ready for Saturday.

Our batteries in the GE 25tonner finally quite on us last week. We contacted Pro Battery Shops ( http://www.probatteryshops.com/ ) in Fonthill. Scott Forbes provided 4 new 8v batteries at a very reasonable cost. Thanks to our members who donated to help cover the cost of the batteries, the GE now starts better than ever! And thanks to Scott for getting us what we needed, and for delivering them to the shop.

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Shoved outside, waiting for new batteries.

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The GE after firing up on the new batteries with the Pro Battery Shops vehicle.

Don’t forget, Opening weekend is this weekend, May 14th & 15th, 10am to 4pm both days, rain or shine.

 

 

May 7, 2016

We have a store, sort of…

By the end of our work session today, we actually had a partial store set up in the boxcar.  We installed lights in the other end of the new display car in order to work out how the new store set up was going to work.  We don’t have a whole lot of stock, but we’re working on that. So while we weren’t expecting to have the store actually set up in the boxcar before opening weekend, it looks like it will in fact be ready to go!!

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Just a few items that will be for sale on opening weekend.

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New cover panels on the side and door have been installed and will be painted before opening weekend.

Wayne M continued painting and working on patching the holes in the brick near the entrance. He also installed the cover panels inside the cab of the CN F7.

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NYC, TH&B and Wabash make up the first cabinet.

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CN, CP, GO and other local railways are represented in the second cabinet.

 

 

 

 

 

Ken and Aaron were working on the display and store car.  Some of our HO model railway collection is now on display for the first time. We have a very extensive HO scale model railway collection and we are just not able to display even a fraction of it. The majority of the collection is related to the Niagara Region and features a lot of New York Central equipment, including steam and diesel locomotives, and freight and passenger cars that would have run on the NYC across Southern Ontario.  Other equipment is from CN, Wabash, and Lehigh Valley, with freight cars also seen in the Region. We look forward to eventually having a proper layout of the area to be able to run these items on.

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Wayne started repainting some of the yellow safety lines on the floor of the shop.

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Our Canadian Flag is flying back in its proper place for the season.

Everything is starting to come together for opening weekend. Our members have been very busy over the last few months making sure everything is looking great.  The new lighting in the office area is a vast improvement over the previous lighting, and all the new paint has really dressed everything up. Artifact displays will be finalized next week, and will include some all new displays from some local railroad families.  The display upgrades are ongoing and we will be changing some things throughout the year to rotate items from the collection through for viewing. Thanks to our members, Jim, Wayne M, Ken, Ken, and Aaron, who showed up Friday and Saturday to keep the progress going.

A big thanks also goes to Mark Wikobrado from Cogeco Niagara for paying the NRM a visit and shooting this short clip for The Source. Really pleased with the outcome, and Cogeco has always been a big help for promoting our event.

 

April 23, 2016

Checking some projects off the list

With just 3 weekends left until opening weekend, our members have been busy again this week trying to get things done.  Wednesday 4 members were out working on electrical, installing more fixtures for the new LED floods, and finishing painting walls and railings. The office area is really looking great, very bright with a fresh coat of paint.

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Our 3.5″ gauge live steam pacific poses for a pic on the GHLS track in Hamilton.

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The Trolley is now complete with its new LED headlight.

On Friday, Ken and Ken took the NRM’s live steam pacific up to the Golden Horseshoe Live Steamers track in Hamilton to have the boiler tested. Unfortunately the test couldn’t be performed due to an improper fitting (a new one is being made for the next test). However, we did put the engine on the track and rolled it back and forth a bit to see how it looked, and of course take a few pictures. Looking forward to being able to fire it up (after passing the boiler test) and running it on the GHLS track. Information on their operation can be found at http://www.ghls.ca/ghls-home.

Saturday was another busy day with 7 members (Wayne G, Wayne M, Ken, Ken, Aaron, Jim, Peter) out working on different projects. The trolley from Niagara Central Hobbies finally got its new headlight, and it looks great.  It started out as a ditch light from an ex-Ontario Northland F unit. It was cleaned and repainted, and has had a frosted lense and low watt LED bulb installed. It’s a nice bright light and now makes the trolley look more complete. The switch stand, which used to sit out at the back stairs with the store address on the target is now up with the rest of the Hobby Shop items.  It’s coming together well, and we hope to have that display completed in time for opening weekend.

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Wayne adding a second coat of primer to the stair railing.

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The railings on the ramp glow with fresh yellow paint.

Wayne M. continued painting the railings, first applying 2 coats of primer, and a top coat of yellow.  Every bit of paint Wayne has done has really improved the look of the shop, and has amounted to hundreds of hours of cleaning the old paint and rough spots off to get a nice smooth finish. All the fresh yellow (and much of the grey & silver) that is seen around the shop has been done by Wayne.

The second display car is coming along very well.  Some major changes were made to the first car as all of the Great Gorge Route items were moved into the new display car to keep everything in one spot. The GGR display will also be expanded a bit with a few more artifacts, pictures, and some history.  Taking the place of the GGR items in the first display car  will be an expanded Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto electric railway display. This new display will feature more photos of the NS&T from across the system, as well as a few more of our artifacts.

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Jim and Aaron working on a stand for part of the Great Gorge Route display.

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The GGR display at the end of the day. Still some work to do, but really pleased with it right now.

We are always trying to improve our displays for our visitors and we feel what we have planned for 2016 will really show how hard we’ve been working to get things done. Our work days are generally Wednesday and Saturday, and we’re always looking for new members to get involved.

Be sure to stop by the Museum on opening weekend, May 14th & 15th, 10am to 4pm rain or shine.

 

 

April 9, 2016

Another great work day today, with a lot of work getting done.  5 members were out, continuing the painting in the office area, and working on the new display car.

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Wayne M working on the interior of the new display car.

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New covers made for the drop table.

Wayne M and Ken Sr. were working on painting in the office area, as we work to getting it all painted before the May Opening Weekend. Eventually a lot of this will be covered over with insulated walls, but for now, we just want to clean it all up. Wayne G was working on the office door, having had to make some adjustments to the frame. The doors to the shop and storage room have been given a coat of CN blue as well, as that’s what would have been there when the shop was in service. The majority of the painting should be done next weekend if the weather stays fairly decent. More will be done between the open weekends. Once Wayne M was done painting in the office he moved into the display car to do some repair work to the old tongue in groove boards on the walls. One of the steel bottom panels was also broken away from its weld, so he secured that back to the wall.

Thanks to our friends over at Attar Metals for cutting us some covers for the various access points on the Whiting drop table. These holes have been covered by wood recently, and we felt it was time to make some proper panels to make walking on the drop table safe for our members, and in the future, our visitors.

Ken Jr. was working in the new display car, hanging the temporary lighting in the display end (one end will be for displays, the other will be for the Museum store), as the store end won’t be ready before opening day (we don’t think anyways).  Once the lighting was installed, Ken and Aaron worked on getting 2 display cabinets installed.  These are the 2 N scale cabinets that used to be at Niagara Central Hobbies. and will display some of our HO model railway collection.

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Aaron installing the glass shelves.

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The cabinets hung and ready for trains.

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The first artifact displayed in the new car, a sneak peak of what’s to come.

At the end of the day, the first artifact was hung in the new display car.  Last year we were given items from relatives of the Van Alstine brothers, twins who worked for CN out of Niagara Falls. A few years back we were given a picture that was done for William VanAlstine, but I didn’t actually realise it until just this year. The items from the family of Murray and Morley Van Alstine will make up a part of this new display, and will help tell a bit of the story of these 2 brothers.

Still lots going on out at the shop. If you think you’d like to lend a hand, please drop us a line, we’d be happy to hear from you.

 

 

 

April 6, 2016

NRM this week

It’s going to be another busy weekend, with crews out at the shop Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  We don’t have much time left to get these projects done before opening weekend.  More hands would make things a whole lot easier, but we’re doing our best. We hope to have at least part of the new display car open for viewing (We need the space for a special new display). The pics below are a 2 new lamps to the collection, and one end of the current display car. The lighting is slated for upgrades in the next month or so but may not be done by the time opening weekend rolls around.

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New York Central System lamp.

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Grand Trunk Railway lamp.

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One end of the current display car.

Lots going on out at the shop, and we’re out there every Saturday, and usually Wednesdays as well. Stop by on a Saturday if you’re in the area.

 

 

 

 

 

March 31, 2016

There’s been a lot of activity around the shop this week, and it’s continuing into Friday and Saturday. Wednesday Wayne G, Jim and Ken spent a few hours scraping down the north wall in the office, and giving it a base coat of white paint.  A second coat will be applied the next time we get a decent day weather wise. The east wall will also get scraped down in preparation for a coat of white paint.  All this will improve the appearance of the display area, and help brighten up the new LED lighting.

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Wayne and Jim working the north wall.

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The first coat of white.

Thursday saw the crew from Easily Moved Equipment back out at the shop doing some load testing with a brand new crane.  This one of a kind 10ton Aluminium gantry crane is testing on our 25ton GE diesel. This is the second time out for EME as they work out some of the unique challenges with this new product. We thank EME for coming out and involving us in this very unique opportunity and welcome them back anytime.

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Setting up the gantry.

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Blocking the back end.

 

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The gantry over the front of the engine for the lift.

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close up shot of the crane and diesel.

 

 

 

The Niagara Railway Museum has many different opportunities for the community, and industry.  We have a facility that can be used for film and video shoots, and some special events. For industry, our equipment can be available for non destructive testing of industrial equipment, such as the crane from EME. If you would like more information on some of the opportunities we have, please contact the Museum.

 

 

March 29, 2016

A Busy End to March

The work just never ends at the Museum. We will have a crew out there working Wednesday, Thursday morning, and Saturday, with the potential for Friday as well. Work scheduled for this week is the scraping and painting of the north and east walls in the office display area.  This will help freshen up the room, and make it even brighter with the new LED lights. Other work going into the weekend will be to get working on the new display/store boxcar as it needs to be ready by the May open weekend. Over the summer we will be doing more track work as well, fixing up some rough spots, and lifting the track in a few low spots.

The Museum is also looking for a few items in addition to those listed at the beginning of the year.  We need some ABC fire extinguishers, 100lb track material (rail, turnout parts, bars/bolts/plates), switch ties. Also still looking for a caboose, or baggage car/coach, and any local railway artifacts or photographs.

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Some of our new store items.

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Looking across the drop table at the Plymouth last Saturday.

We have some new items for sale in the store.  There are 4 hard plastic signs for the NYC, GT, TH&B and Ontario Northland. These are selling for $8. There is also a new Great Northern pin, white goat on the blue background, and that is in line with our other pins at $4. Also thought we would try pink engineers hats which are available for $12. And finally, 2 DVDs, CN 6060 is $24 and A Last Look At Steam is $20.

The Niagara Railway Museum is always looking for new members/volunteers to help out with the many projects we have on the go.  No experience is necessary, we will do all the training needed at the shop.  Please contact us for more information.

 

March 26, 2016

Another great Saturday

It was almost an 8hr day out at the shop today, as 6 members spent the time switching equipment around, getting it in place for the coming season, and to get some work done as well.  The movements started just after 10am and wrapped up around 3pm, but by the end of the day, everything was repositioned where it needed to be. At the end of 2015 we were able to move equipment between 2 of the 3 shop tracks. It was functional, but does need some work. This was an even bigger test of the track as the electric weighs in at about 50tons, and there were multiple back and forth movements involved.

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First move, shove the boxcar to the end of the tail track.

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Jim, Wayne, Garry and Aaron remove the bars to switch the track.

The number 8 turnout is a bit odd in construction. In order to get done what needed to be done, it was constructed with 100lb rail and interlaced 8ft ties. There are no points, as it’s a different form of a stub switch.  The tail track is barred/bolted to the route to be used. When the other track is needed, the bars are removed, the track moved over and the bars reapplied.  Yes, it is a very time consuming job, but it is functional.  In 2016 it will have 16’6″ points added to make things easier.

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CN working the main line.

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CN 2246 a 2006 built GE, passes our 1948 GE.

It was a pretty busy day for train traffic as well.  First up was a CN which came into Fort Erie, set out in the yard, then took it’s 3 6axle units and 6 boxcars of shingles over to the lumber transload off Gilmore Rd. It was an interesting comparison of a modern, 2006 built GE, with our 1948 built GE. After that came a CP heading to the US with another GE, followed by a westbound CP ethanol train lead by yet another GE. Final train was the NS transfer.

 

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Westbound CP with 2002 built GE 9717.

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Westbound CP with CP 2001 built GE 8605 and CEFX 2004 built GE 1055.

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The NS transfer lead by GM 3311 (with a CP GE in the consist).

It was neat to see all the trains that went through this day had GE power in the consist. This was also the first time that Hydro Electric Power Commission E-7 (Ex-Inco 102) was outside since it was moved into the shop some 5yrs ago. E-7 posed for some pics with the GE and Plymouth.

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HEPC E-7 in the sun.

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The GE, Electric and Plymouth outside together for the first time.

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The train before shoving back into the shop.

 

 

 

 

 

The weather was fantastic for doing all this work, and it sets us up right where we need to be for this display season. The GE performed very well and handled the job with ease.  There is still some minor work to do on the GE, and that will continue over the summer.

This week we also received a few more items from Fred Mills, the donor of the live steam Pacific. We were able to get copies of a few of his personal pictures, such as the Niagara Falls Car Department from 1942 to 1986 (when Fred retired), along with the picture of the retirees in 1986.  Fred also very generously donated a clock he received when he retired.  We look forward to having all these items on display at the shop this year. Fred is a 3rd generation railroader,  his Grandfather Frederick Mills worked on the GTR as a Baggageman in Niagara Falls, his father, Wilfred Mills worked for the New York Central as a Yard Clerk, and Fred himself spent 40yrs with the CN as a Carman at Niagara Falls.

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Niagara Falls CN Car Department group shot from 1942 to 1986.

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The early retirees in 1986. Fred is 3rd from the right.

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One of Fred’s retirement gifts.

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Fred with CN 6060 at Niagara Falls.

A big thanks to our members who came out to help get this very important work done, Jim, Wayne G., Garry, Aaron, Ken and Ken. The Museum is a very complex plan, and every bit of help we are able to get is of great benefit to us.  We are always looking for new members who want to get involved with the many projects we have on the go. And remember, the Niagara Railway Museum Inc. is a Charitable Organization registered with the Canada Revenue Agency.  We are able to offer Charitable tax receipts for donations received. Come out and see us in 2016, lots going on and lots more to come.

 

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