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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.


The Flanger inside the Museum.


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.


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


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.

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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.


An early morning start, 0745 on December 9th.


Amherst has arrived and is starting to set up.


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.


After 40yrs, the track sits empty.


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


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.


Leaving Genaire for the final time.


Turning off Townline Rd.


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.


Everything is in position at the shop.


Up in the air, heading for the trucks.


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












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


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 7, 2012

A little more on the flanger (Part 1)


With the arrival of the ex-CNR snow flanger, it gives a good opportunity to take some closer looks at this interesting piece of snow fighting equipment.? We will start with a few more pics of the car arriving at the Museum site.


Coming off the trailer, taken from outside the shop, as the first truck touches down at its new home

Where the flanger is currently living is the one track in the shop that has no track constructed outside of the shop itself.? This made this move quite easy, as the trailer was able to drop down and line up perfectly with the rail imbedded in the concrete floor.? Of course, once it was off the trailer, it need a bit of help to get inside the door. The tractor was on an angle that didn?t allow good traction, so 4 of the members, one on a manual car mover, the other 3 pushing, got the car inside the door enough to allow the tractor to push the rest of the way. With someone on the handbrake, the car was eased into position.


While the car came off the trailer fine, the shop floor is of course pretty level. Both the manual car mover (and 3 other members pushing) along with the tractor, moved the car inside the shop.


A look at the actual blades of the flanger. Originally, when in service, this car also had 4 short wings, which could be positioned manually to allow snow to be deflected further from the track.



Part of the floor gone shows the tin protecting the bottom of the floor.


With the tin removed, the frame cross members are now visible.

With the wood tongue in groove deck so badly deteriorated, it makes it very easy to remove the rotten floor.? A small corner has been started at one end of the car, and we can see the tin sheeting nailed to the bottom of the deck to protect the wood from the water that would be thrown from the wheels.? This tin was only over the trucks, not in the centre.? With the tin removed, the cross members of the frame can be clearly seen. This is the first part of the car that is being worked on, and it will be done one section at a time until the deck is gone. There is a lot of chipping and wire brushing to be done, hence the reason it will be done in sections.



The frame on the deck of the car is where the air cylinders once were. Because of the amount of deterioration in the deck, the wood blocks no longer support the weight of the blades and they dropped down to the rails. The ties in the photo are holding the blades off the rails.

The next part of this story will focus on some of the actual construction methods used on the car. Stay tuned for part 2.

September 30, 2012

The Flanger arrives!!

The Niagara Railway Museum Inc. is pleased to announce the arrival of their donated ex-CNR snow flanger. Built in December 1923 for the Grand Trunk Railway as wood boxcar #26471,it later became a CN boxcar #346671.? In 1936 it was rebuilt into a flanger by CN as #56452 before being retired in 1980.? The car was acquired by the City of Welland Chamber of Commerce and placed near the old Niagara St. Catharine’s & Toronto Railway line, and became a tourist information booth at the corner of East Main St and Prince Charles Dr.

The flanger in Welland in 1984paul_duncan_ photo4-mar2000sm

The flanger in Welland in 1984 when it was open, and after the fire in 2000.

(both photos collection of Paul Duncan)

By the year 2000, the info booth was no longer open, and in 2000 it was destroyed by fire.? The car was pretty much a total loss.? With the significant damage, the car was destined for scrapping when the owner of Trillium Railway in Port Colborne stepped in and acquired the car.? The body was stripped and the remaining frame moved to storage in Welland.? Initial plans were to use the car for a shoving platform for back up moves in Thorold. However, a more suitable caboose was found and the flanger was left in the weeds.

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The flanger in Dain City on Nov. 23, 2007, and moved into loading position on Sept. 29th, 2012. (photo credit ? Ken Jones, Aaron White)

In 2011, the Niagara Railway Museum Inc. was approached and asked if we would be interested in having the car for our museum.? Seeing as how this piece had spent so much of it?s life in Niagara, the NRM felt it would be a suitable item, despite the deteriorated condition.? After almost a year of work to find someone who could move the car, the time finally came, and on September 29th, 2012, the flanger was loaded onto a float and made it?s final trip to the NRM shop at Fort Erie.

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Being loaded at Dain City, almost finished, and arriving at the Museum shop in Fort Erie.

(photo credit ? Aaron White, Ken Jones)

It was a quick trip from Dain City to the Museum site in Fort Erie, and everything went as planned.? The loading was perfect, as was the move and the unloading at the site.? The truck was positioned at the north track of the shop, the former heavy repair bay, where locomotives would receive major overhauls.? The rear of the deck was lowered, and the car rolled smoothly off the trailer, and onto the rails of it?s new home.? All in all, it was over in just a couple of hours.? Once the car was safely inside, members started looking over the car, seeing what needed to be worked on first.


The first axle touches the rails at the NRM shop. The car in its new home, ready for repairs.

(photos by Ken Jones)

A big thanks to all the NRM members who came out to help with the loading and unloading of our new piece of rolling stock, Attar Metals for assisting with some of the prep work, and to Marcel for his expertise in this move.? Next step is the repairs of the car, and the movement of our 3 ex-CP Rail boxcars.? Stay tuned here for more information.

If you would like to contribute to the restoration of this unique and fading piece of railway history, please contact us.

September 24, 2012

Flanger move

A tentative date has finally been set for the movement of the NRM?s ex-CNR Flanger.  If all goes well, the flanger will be loaded in the morning on Saturday, September 29th, and arrive at the shop before noon.  The car will be unloaded into the north track, which was the heavy repair bay.  This will allow the Museum to properly assess the condition of the car, and begin the longterm restoration.


This will be a lengthy restoration, as the car is basically a frame only.  We will need to rebuild all the wood structure back to its original design.  Therefore, the NRM is also looking at fundraising for this restoration, and are accepting materials, or cash donations.  Any donations will be noted on the inside of the flanger, on the donor wall for that particular project, and are also eligible for a charitable tax receipt.  Please contact the NRM for more information on this project, and check back soon to see pictures of the move.