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Niagara Railway Museum Blog

July 14, 2017

July open weekend

We’ve been very busy both at the Museum and off site. Canada Day weekend we had a display in Ridgeway for the Canada 150 celebrations, while being open at the Museum at the same time. A big thanks to our members who stepped up and covered both events.

The Canada Day weekend was followed by our July Open Weekend. Saturday was as usual the busier day, and we were given a Certificate from the Town of Fort Erie, congratulating the Niagara Railway Museum on its 20th Anniversary. Our members BBQ on Saturday night was attended by Mayor Wayne Redekop and Councillor Stephen Passero. Mayor Redekop made the presentation to Museum President Ken Jones, and his father Ken Jones, in front of our invited members and guests. We are very pleased to be recognized for this milestone in Museum history. After the BBQ the Mayor joined Ken in the cab of our 25tonner for a short trip down the Museum track.

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The GE and HEPC 46 outside in the sun.

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Ken Jones, NRM President Ken Jones, Mayor Wayne Redekop and Councillor Stephen Passero during the presentation of the certificate from the Town.

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Our Certificate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The mayor takes his turn at the throttle.

HEPC 46 was even pulled outside for display. Saturday was just for some nortmal photos, but Sunday we were visited by the Antique & Classic Car Club of Canada – Niagara Region Chapter. 2 of the cars were posed with 46 and we were pleased to have them visit the Museum. The weekend was very well attended with the furthest visitors coming from Germany (ok, so they didn’t come from Germany just to visit the Museum).

46car2 46car1There is still so much more to come at the Museum in 2017. We will have new equipment arriving soon, including the last gondola from the Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo Railway. We have had some extra donations come in, including some very much needed track materials from a local industry that no longer has rail service. In less than 2 months the Museum will be holding our biggest event at the site ever, Rail Days. While we’re still working on the event, we do have 5 model train layouts confirmed, and we’re waiting to hear back from a few model train vendors as well. Still so much to see this year. Rail Days will celebrate not just the railway history of the area, but the 20th Anniversary of the Niagara Railway Museum Inc., which strives to preserve and protect that railway heritage. We hope you will join us on September 9/10.

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February 18, 2017

Buffalo Train Show – Saturday Feb. 18

The Niagara Railway Museum went on the road again this weekend, taking part in the Buffalo Train and Toy Show held at the Hamburg Fairgrounds in Hamburg NY.  This bi-annual show draws from all over, and we are very pleased to be a part of it. We took the CP Woodings CBI motorcar and our small display. As a bonus, we were placed beside a restored Kalamazoo Velocipede, so it showed 2 different eras of track equipment. We spoke to many people about the Museum, and what we have planned for our 20th anniversary this year.  A lot of show and open house flyers were handed out, as were Museum brochures and business cards. Hoping for another great day on Sunday.

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The motorcar is always well received as part of our small display.

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Ken & Adam discuss the day before the show opens.

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Our 1985 Woodings CBI beside an 1883 Kalamzoo Velocipede.

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Flower City Hi Railers have a rather impressive O layout. This is a dream scheme GT unit.

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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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.

July 14, 2016

July open weekend

Our second big event of 2016 has come and gone, and everyone was pretty beat at the end of it all. We didn’t have the same advertising as May ,but we still had a decent turnout for the 2 days. Our night photo shoot had one photographer show up, but he was quite pleased with what we had to offer and wants to come back. So with that, we are now planning to hold another one on Saturday, September 10th.  More information will be made available as we get closer to the event.

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The GE 25tonner and HEPC 46 outside.

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HEPC 46 “under steam” and outside.

We did manage to get a bit of work done during the weekend.  Wayne M continued painting the cinderblock walls, with most of that being about 85% complete now. We also took some time to temporarily install one of the couplers on HEPC 46 to make it easier, and safer to move her in and out of the shop. The wood buffer beams will all be part of the cosmetic restoration, which we call Project 46.  Project 46 is the fundraising initiative to help complete the restoration. 46 and the GE were posed outside for the night photo shoot.

The open house itself went very well. A big thanks to Bill and Garry for once again bringing out the Ontario Northland Historical Society display, which includes HO models of ONR equipment, photos and artifacts. Also thanks to our members who came out on both days to take care of our visitors as they toured around the shop. We received lots of great feedback from our guests and everyone understood that the Niagara Railway Museum is a major work in progress. There were  a few new items for display as well.

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Our display cases, custom built by Dave Torbett, were returned and placed back into the display car.

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Running a few new trains on the G scale layout, including this narrow gauge Whitcomb and cars.

The rain managed to hold off except for a short time during the night photo shoot. 46 got a much needed bath thanks to Mother Nature!! Despite a push from our friends at the Welland Historical Museum,  the weather did keep our night photo shoot to a very small affair.  JW Vraets from Grimsby came down and spent about 3hrs with us, taking pics of many of our pieces.  Once the rain let up we were able to get outside to the GE and 46. It was a good time with some neat pictures, and was definitely a learning experience.

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HEPC 46 and the GE 25tonner outside under the quarter moon.

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NRM President Ken Jones at the controls of HEPC 46.

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Inside the cab of CN 9173.

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The last pic of the night, looking towards the east end of the shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to everyone who came out to support railway heritage in Niagara. We do this to keep one part of our Regions history alive for the current, and future generations. We will continue to expand and interpret our collection. We try to make changes throughout the year to rotate some of our collection through the display. Our next big event is September 10/11, 10am to 4pm both days, rain or shine. However, we are also open every Saturday from 10am -2pm until the end of September.

July 7, 2016

Open Weekend – July 9th and 10th

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HEPC46 has had some work done, and will soon be undergoing a cosmetic restoration.

This coming weekend is our second big event for the year. We have been working hard on new displays, and to fix some other issues in the shop itself. Some of that work is ongoing, but we’re ready for our visitors this weekend. Saturday night from 8-10pm we will be having a mini night photo shoot at the museum.  We do ask for a $5 donation, with all proceeds going towards the cosmetic restoration of HEPC 46, our steam locomotive. Photographers will be required to bring whatever they need for the shoot. Different angles will be available with both our GE diesel and steam locomotive.

As always, admission to our open weekend, which runs from 10am to 4pm rain or shine both days, is by cash donation. There’s lots to see and do for all ages. 2 operating train layouts, Thomas play table, equipment displays, with some equipment open for visitors. And don’t forget our 2 display cars and our Museum store.

For more information visit www.nfrm.ca or call 905 357 6539.

 

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.

March 7, 2016

Niagara Model Railway Show

The 16th Annual Niagara Model Railway Show has come and gone.  It was one of our better shows at this location to date and we are very pleased with the end result.  The table count even grew during the show to where we were pretty much to the maximum we could fit in the space. We had  4 museum/historical societies, 4 layouts (N, HO, 5/8″N2, G), and vendors selling model trains of all sizes, artifacts, photos and railroad art prints.

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Superior Art Editions selling a range of railway prints.

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Show attendees peruse what the vendors have to offer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nolan Currie brought a small Thomas The Tank Engine table and helped entertain the kids that came along.

 

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The NRM’s display, complete with our new steam locomotive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Weekenders once again brought their N scale modular layout. They have been with us at every show since the start.

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The Museum’s new 7/8″ scale Pacific live steam locomotive made its debut, and was very well received.

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Jim Cherry his 5/8N2 narrow gauge layout in operation, and added to the layouts that were on display.

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The Laxton’s brought their Vineland switching layout. This is a very hands on switching puzzle and was popular with all.

This is just the start of what will be an amazing season at the Museum. we extend a thanks to everyone who came out to the show, and to all of our over 40 vendors who came out to sell and display what they had to offer.  I also offer a big thanks to our dedicated volunteers who came out to help out at the show. It takes many people to put on a show, from set up, to the kitchen, to manning tables and dealing with vendors. Our group has always done a great job making sure things go smoothly, and this year was no exception.  Thanks to Ken, Ken, Aaron, Wayne M, Wayne G, Peter, Deanna, Charles, Jane, Melody, Jim, Audrey and Nolan. Thanks also to Susan and Jane for making some extras like cookies and butter tarts, and to Jane, Melody and Ken for our most popular item, our famous chili.

With the March show out of the way, we now look forward to the rest of the 2016 plans.  Don’t miss our opening weekend on May 14th & 15th.

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In April we’ll be starting our spring cleaning to get everything into shape for the May opening weekend. We are still open Saturdays from mid-June to the end of September. There is a lot going on this year, be sure to set some time aside to pay us a visit.

 

March 5, 2016

The train show is here!!

It’s yet another very busy weekend for the Museum.  We picked our newest addition today, a 3 1/2″ gauge, 7/8″ scale 4-6-2 live steam pacific locomotive. Fred Mill, a local former CN Carman had need to downsize, and passed this great looking engine over to the NRM.  It will have its first display at the Niagara Model Railway Show on Sunday. The locomotive and tender weigh in at about 230lbs (empty). It also comes with a custom built display stand and lift, and a custom built flat car. The locomotive will undergo a complete inspection before being test fired over the coming months.

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NRM’s newly acquired live steam pacific locomotive.

 

 

 

Sunday March 6th is the 16th Annual Niagara Model Railway Show. This is going to be one of our biggest shows yet with new vendors and displays. Come out and support Railway Heritage in Niagara. Hope to see you there.

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January 7, 2016

Events for 2016

Our events are starting to come together for 2016. We start off the year with our 16th annual Niagara Model Railway Show on Sunday March 6th, 10am-3pm at the Merritton Community Centre. Our Open House dates are May 14/15, July 9/10 and September 10/11.  All Open House weekends run 10am to 4pm, rain or shine. We will also be open each Saturday from mid-June to the end of September, 10am to 3pm, rain or shine.

 

There has been so much happening over the last few months. A lot of changes have taken place, and even more are on the way. We’re just one week into the new year, and wheels are already turning on potential new developments. Make sure you plan a trip to the Museum in 2016 to see what’s new. Look for all the latest news right here, and on our Facebook page.

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The former Niagara Central Hobbies HO Layout is up and running and on display at the Museum

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