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Niagara Railway Museum Blog

January 15, 2017

Welcome to our 20th Anniversary!!

The Niagara Railway Museum Inc. was founded in 1997 by Ken S. Jones as the Niagara Falls Railway Museum. After years of having no luck in Niagara Falls, it was decided to change the name and search for a new home elsewhere. In 2010 the Museum made arrangements with the owner of the former Canadian National Railway diesel locomotive shop in Fort Erie, Ontario, and immediately began cleaning the interior along with building new track outside, and moving equipment onto the site. Fast forward to 2017 and the Museum’s 20th year. 2016 ended with the arrival of an ex-CNR flanger donated by the family of Gerry Wool of Genaire Ltd. in Niagara On the Lake. There was also a second car donated to the Museum which is currently stored offsite, and more information will be coming this week. This car will be moved in the spring.

There is just so much happening at the Museum this year, and we hope you’ll stop by at some of the great events we have planned. Just some of the coming events we have planned.  And don’t forget, the Museum is open Saturdays from June 17th to September 30th. Our second big open weekend at the Museum will be July 9th & 10th, and of course our Fall Model Railway Show on October 29th. More information on many of these coming events will be provided as the time gets closer, but be sure to check out our first event, the 17th Annual Niagara Model Railway Show on March 5th.

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January 1, 2017

Welcome to 2017!!

Happy New Year!! Welcome to 2017, our 20th anniversary!!

2016 was yet another great year for the Niagara Railway Museum.  While our workforce at the shop was often small, we did get some projects done. Into the spring of 2016 we worked to changout all of our existing florescent lighting and go with LED flood lights.  This has given us a much brighter display area, and we will be finishing that off as we open up more of that area for displays this year. New lighting will also be added down the work platforms and into the shop area.  Our office work is coming along and we hope to have that finished in the spring. Wayne M. used some donated metal siding to start closing up some of the many broken windows in the shop. He started with the upper windows in the heavy repair bay, and had that done by winter. This has made a huge difference in the amount of weather that comes into the building.  We will using this same material elsewhere in the shop as we work to make the building more weather proof.

Equipment had to be switched around as well, and our GE 25tonner did that work with ease. Our 3rd boxcar was unloaded (used for storing 4 Fairmont A4d gangcars), and in March was switched to its current position on the middle track behind electric E-7. The car was then converted for part display and part store, and worked out very well in 2016. We ran 3 very well attended open weekends, and 2 model railway shows. We were also open every Saturday from June to October, which will be repeated again this year. Of course, the biggest news for 2016 was the successful move of our ex-CN wood flanger, which was gratiously donated by Lorraine Warner of Genaire Ltd. The car has been located at their facility at the Niagara District Airport in Niagara On The Lake since 1977. The car now resides inside the shop, and restoration work has already begun.

So with 2016 behind us, what are we looking at for 2017? We once again have our wish list, things we are looking for, items that will aid in the restoration and operation of the equipment and the museum. The list is in no particular order, but the first item is, for us, the most important.

  • Financial contributions – We can always use cash donations. Donations can be made towards specific projects at the shop, and can also be made in memory of someone. All donations over $25 are eligible for a Charitable Tax Receipt, and can also be made securely through Canada Helps
  • Construction materials – like lumber, nails, screws, even shop equipment is all necessary to the day to day operations of the Museum.
  • Rail and track materials – Necessary for our expansion projects in 2017.
  • Railway equipment – Always looking for equipment that has an attachment to Niagara. Looking for a caboose (wood or steel), passenger or baggage car, or even a locomotive. There’s still equipment around that has significance to Niagara.
  • Volunteers – The Museum is an all volunteer site. We rely on our members for a number of different tasks.  You don’t need to have a skilled trade to become involved. We have everything from archiving, to restoration, operation, and even off site displays.
  • General assistance – We are also looking for someone that has fundraising experience, and knowledge of grant applications. Help us get the assistance we need.

As we move into 2017, I thank all of our dedicated volunteers and members who help make the Museum what it is, and look forward to working with all of them in the coming year.  I also extend thanks on behalf of the Museum to everyone who has taken time in 2016 to pay us a visit, and to everyone who donated over the year, financially, for different projects, especially the flanger move, and with materials to allow us to get a few other projects started and completed. There will be more news coming very soon, and we hope to see you out at the Museum in 2017 to see everything we have in store for our 20th Anniversary!!
Ken Jones
President – Niagara Railway Museum Inc.

2016

December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Niagara Railway Museum. All the best to you all.

nrmxmassm

December 11, 2016

Less than 24hrs…

And the flanger is already getting worked on. Spent about 5hrs removing the old paneling from the inside the car to expose the original tongue in groove wall boards. This was necessary in order to inspect the boards for any serious damage, and to put a plan together for the restoration.  Luckily the interior is in pretty good shape, with only a small patch of boards that need to be replaced. The exterior will take more work, but one step at a time.

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The Flanger inside the Museum.

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Before the paneling was removed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lights were temporarily wired up and replaced with LED bulbs, which provided more than enough light to be able to work inside the car. We’ll be going over the electrical system to see what can be run off the generator. The walls were painted before the car was gutted and the original items that were mounted against the walls show in the paint. With the walls exposed, we can now put together a plan to fix up the interior, as well as the exterior. The 4th window was also reinstalled where the AC unit used to be. The car now also sports a CNR marker lamp.

insideduring

Halfway through the paneling removal, bad section is at the right.

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The finished product, all the paneling is gone and the car has been completely cleaned up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Flanger arrives!!

The Niagara Railway Museum Inc. would like to thank all the companies involved with the move of the Flanger. We obviously could not have done it without your help.

genairelogo ndalogo 1369950757_amherst_logo_copy equipment_express_logo penninsula attarlogo

 

 

 

 

 

 

There has been an incredible amount of things happening since the last update.  Our Fall Model Railway Show has come and gone and was a great success for the Museum. There has been constant work happening out at the site, with Wayne M finishing up covering over the upper by windows, which has made big difference in keeping some of the weather out. There has been track work, equipment maintenance and grounds work happening as well.  But the biggest news, and our early Christmas present, was the safe arrival of our 1935 ex-CNR snow flanger, #56323.

Countless hours of work went into the planning and execution of the move. The move involved a crane, specialized float trailer, fence removal, Airport cooperation, permits, and of course, general help. The move was all set up and planned for Friday, December 9th. So by 8am everyone was assembled at the Genaire Ltd. hangar at the Niagara District Airport in Niagara On The Lake and plans were worked through to make sure everyone was on the same page. First in was the crane, provided by Amherst Crane out of Port Colborne.

beforemove

An early morning start, 0745 on December 9th.

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Amherst has arrived and is starting to set up.

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Hovering over the ground, waiting for the trailer to be ready.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equipment Express from Ayr was the mover chosen for this job, and they had the perfect trailer for the job. Their crew knew the right route to take and we only encountered one low wire on the entire trip, which easily rolled over the car with the help of the wood skis we put over the car.  One of the stumbling points to the move was how to get the trailer into the property. We knew some fence had to be removed, and Greg from Peninsula Construction made sure that was looked after by sending a 2 man crew out to remove and reinstall the fence and barbed wire. Milton of Attar Metals in Fort Erie brought out the flat deck to move the trucks to the shop.  Milton managed to fit this into a very busy day, and was running later and later, but arrived at an almost perfect time and we had him loaded and gone quickly.

emptytrack

After 40yrs, the track sits empty.

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Genaire loaded the trucks onto the flat deck provided by our neighbours Attar Metals.

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Milton and Dan picked the wheels up, and delivered them to the shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was definitely a bittersweet day for Lorraine and her staff at Genaire.  For almost 40yrs the car has sat out back of the Hangar, brought there by her father Gerry. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t much productivity at the plant that day, at least not until after lunch. Most of the staff took time to check out the move every once in a while.  Some stood outside watching, others watched through the windows. Lorraine’s son Chris, and Maintenance guy Al were right into it, assisting with the crane set up, blocking, and whatever else was needed. We were able to get Genaire to bring out the big forklift to assist with moving blocking and plates, and of course loading the wheelsets. Everything worked out very well for timing.  Because the crane had to go up 100ft, we were given a 2hr window from the Airport to get the job done. Once the car was loaded, the crane was packed up and sent ahead to get set up at the Museum.  Milton showed up for the trucks, and the permit adjustment allowed the crane and wheels to arrive before the car itself. The day would not be complete without a big thanks to Lisa and everyone that helped from the Niagara District Airport. Having a crane this close to the runways, and having to bring the truck through the airport property need special permission, and escorts on and off the property. The cooperation that happened with everyone involved was fantastic.  There was one small issue with the permit fo the car, as after loading on the trailer, it was higher than what was on the original permit.  Equipment Express made those changes, and after a short wait, we were on the road for Fort Erie at about 105pm. It was a longer route, taking us all the way to Hwy 3 at Gasline, then over to Stevensville Rd, and east onto Bowen. At the end of Bowen it was up into the yard and down the access road to the shop.

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Leaving Genaire for the final time.

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Turning off Townline Rd.

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Arriving at the west end of the CN Fort Erie yard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The actual trip to Fort Erie was about 70minute trip, which was great time. With the crane already set up at the shop by the time the car arrived, the unload went very quick. The trucks were on the track in the right order, and only needed to be moved in to position. The slings and spreader bars were put into position and the lift began. Not much more than 15 minutes later, at 320pm, the car was reunited with its trucks at its new home. Once everything was in place, the crane and float packed up and left.  The flanger, weighing in at about 22tons, needed to go inside. However, the wheels were not all that free rolling.  Ken and Ken were left to move this car inside, and the only thing we had was our Ford 8n tractor. Somehow, the tractor managed to pull the car into the shop (with Ken using a manual car mover at the back), where it would spend the night inside for the first time in decades.

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Everything is in position at the shop.

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Up in the air, heading for the trucks.

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At 1520, the body was resting back on its trucks at its new home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our 2 flangers, CN 56452 & 56323 together outside the shop.

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As we were finishing up, CN came through enroute to Buffalo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to the crews from:

Equipment Express – Rich & Darren, and Tim & Roger with the float and escort truck.

Amherst Crane – Gerald and Derek (operator)

Peninsula Construction – Greg and Morgan & Justin

Attar Metals – Milton & Dan

In addition to the many companies involved, I also thank our members who came out to help, Ken, Ken, Wayne, Garry and Jim.

 

October 22, 2016

As the month of October moves on, so does progress at the Museum. Saturday was yet another busy day.

Wayne M. spent the day up on the roof, installing the metal siding, closing up the upper heavy repair bay windows. He has done a great job and is 3/4’s of the way along. This has made a very big difference when it comes to keeping the weather out.

Ken Sr. picked up a Ford tractor in Niagara On The Lake and brought that out to the shop to replace our Ferguson tractor which is currently out of service for repairs.

Wayne G. brought out part of our latest donation, a large collection of “old, new stock” of LGB G scale trains. The locomotives were put on track and tested and all ran great.  This was the first time any of them have been run as they are all brand new!  All the cars and locomotives have since been placed back into storage until the Museum re opens in the spring. There were also 2 large plastic models, one of a Northern Pacific 4-6-6-4 Challenger, and the other is a Canadian Pacific 2-10-4 Selkirk. These 2 models have gone on display inside the boxcar.

Ken Jr. visited Genaire in Niagara On The Lake to inspect the ex-CNR flanger and formulate a plan for prepping and moving the car. The car is showing significant signs of deterioration. so this has become a top priority for the Museum to get the car on site and inside as soon as possible. This will be one of the most fragile pieces of equipment the Museum has had to move, and we are seeking donations to help with the cost of moving this rare piece to the Museum. Donations can be sent directly to the Niagara Railway Museum, or can be made online through the secure site at Canada Helps. All donations over $25 are eligible for a Charitable Tax Receipt. Please consider helping the Museum with this project.

We are just one week away from the 13th Annual Fall Niagara Model Railway Show at the Merritton Community Centre, 7 Park Ave in St. Catharines. vendors from across Ontario selling model railway items in all scales, as well as paintings, pictures, and collectibles.  More information can be found at http://www.nfrm.ca/nfmrs.php

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Wayne M. up on the roof installing the metal sheeting over the windows.

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The metal sheeting over the windows of the heavy repair bay from inside.

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Great, the stenciled weight was left on the car.

 

 

 

 

 

southside

The south side is showing significant siding deterioration.

inside

The inside of the Flanger.

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One of the new LGB engines and some cars on the Museum layout.

 

 

 

 

 

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The model of Northern Pacific 4-6-6-4 #5141.

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The largest locomotives the CPR owned were the 2-10-4 Selkirks.

 

 

October 18, 2016

New acquisitions!!

The Niagara Railway Museum Inc. is continuing to expand in 2016.  We have already announced the first piece of equipment that we are working on moving, ex-CNR wood body snow flanger #56323, which has been donated by the Warner family in St. Catharines.  This car is currently used as a meeting/conference room, and will be a great useful addition to the Museum.

We now move on to our next piece. We have been working on this item since the spring, and are very pleased to say that the last gondola from the Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo Railway will soon be joining the collection. TH&B 2676 was built in February 1966 by National Steel Car in Hamilton. 2676 was a multi use car, hauling finished steel products, stone, scrap, pipe, and other metals in and out of Hamilton, with it’s final assignment being a load of scrap rail from British Columbia to Hamilton.  The car was removed from service once unloaded and stored, awaiting movement to the Museum. We are working with CP to get the car moved to Fort Erie, and we are now fundraising for the movement of both cars, as well as the restoration back to its original markings.

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TH&B 2676 in Fisher Yard in March 2003. (Lance Brown photo)

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Hamilton Yard in November 2015. (Lance Brown photo)

 

 

The Museum is looking forward to have these 2 items join our growing collection. If you would like to contribute to these 2 projects, you can send payment directly to the Niagara Railway Museum Inc. at 6521 Burdette Dr. Niagara Falls, Ont. L2E 5H4. You can also make a secure online donation by visiting Canada Helps. The Niagara Railway Museum Inc. is a Charitable Organization registered with the Canada Revenue Agency. All donations over $25 are eligible for a Charitable Tax Receipt.

In other news, the 13th Annual Fall Niagara Model Railway Show is completely sold out for October. This is the first time we’ve sold out at this hall, and we are of course very pleased with this. The show is Sunday October 30th, 10am to 330pm at the Merritton Community Centre, 7 Park Ave in St. Catharines.

October 15, 2016

New track for more equipment

Saturday was a very productive day at the shop with 5 members taking care of a number of tasks. Wayne M. was working on the sheeting covering the windows on the top of the heavy repair bay. This will go a long way to help keep some of the weather out. Ken was working in the office area, while John, Aaron and Ken spent the day working on the yard track realignment. This work included leveling and preparing the area where the turnout will be moved to, and by the end of the day, the south track was lined to a gentle curve and is now ready for the turnout. After that work was done the crew set about getting the new track panels for the north track in front of the heavy repair bay.  This is necessary as the current flanger frame (ex-CNR 56452) will be moved outside to allow the coming flanger (56323) to go inside. The other new piece of equipment, which should be arriving soon as well (we hope to have an official press release on that soon), will also be going on the new storage tracks outside.

It was a great day, and a big part of the track project is complete.  The next step will be to move the turnout into position, and some final prep work on the storage track. In the spring the new north track will also be extended west, and eventually into a turnout to connect all 3 tracks. There is still so much going on before the end of the year.  2 more pieces of equipment are coming to the Museum, and our 13th Annual Fall Niagara Model Railway Show in St. Catharines is just 2 weeks away.

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The new north track for storage, in front of the heavy repair bay.

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Looking east towards the shop, the middle and south tracks are ready for the turnout.

October 14, 2016

NRM acquires ex-CNR flanger 56323

The Niagara Railway Museum Inc. Is very pleased to announce that we have acquired ex-CNR snow flanger 56323 from Genaire Ltd in St. Catharines, Ontario.

We are now seeking donations to assist us with the  move from St. Catharines to the Museum site in Fort Erie. We would like to move the car before winter to avoid the car sitting outside any further.

Donations can be mailed to the Museum at 6521 Burdette Dr. Niagara Falls, Ontario L2E 5H4 or through our secure server Canadahelps.org on the main page of our be site at www.nfrm.ca. Please help the NRM preserve the railway heritage of Niagara.

ex-CNR snow flanger 56323

ex-CNR snow flanger 56323

October 5, 2016

Upcoming Railway show

Been having some minor issues with posting on here, but will soon have a full update from our Fall Rail Days in September, and other happenings around the shop.

It’s just a few weeks until the 13th Annual Fall Model Railway Show at the Meritton Community Centre at 7 Park St in St. Catharines, Ont. The show runs 10am to 330pm and features model railway vendors, layouts and historical displays from across Ontario.  Something for everyone, get your Christmas shopping done early! Food is available, including our famous railway chili.

The show is run by the Niagara Railway Museum Inc., and all proceeds go directly to the Museum to allow us to continue our progress in 2017.

Info can be found at www.nfrm.ca/nfmrs.php

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