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Niagara Railway Museum Blog

January 30, 2017

Mechanical help needed

The Niagara Railway Museum Inc. is celebrating 20yrs in 2017, and our goal is to have any equipment that operates, back in service for this year.  With the arrival of the GE 25tonner in November 2015, it gave us a locomotive with enough power to move around any of our equipment. However, we also have 2 other pieces of motive power in the collection that we want to get back in service. Our Plymouth MDT 40t is waiting for an air compressor, and then should be able to be returned to limited service. The main piece we want to get back into operation is our Whiting 2TMA Trackmobile.  This unit was restored by one of our members back in 2014 and was used a few times for demonstration purposes and to move equipment outside for cleaning. However, while it is fine operating condition, something came loose in the transmission, and it will no longer disengage with the clutch. The Museum is looking for a mechanic that would be willing to assist us with this project, as it really is a very useful piece of equipment.  If anyone knows someone that might be able to help, please contact the Niagara Railway Museum Inc. ASAP so we can get this item back in service.

October 1, 2014

The Boxcars arrive home

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401639 is the first to be lifted off it’s trucks and loaded for the move.

After almost a year in Stevensville, and even longer in storage in Niagara Falls, the Museums 3 ex-CP Rail boxcars have finally arrived at the shop. The move took place on Monday September 29th and took just over 12hrs to complete.

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401258 is next, with the trucks shown rolled out of the way.

With very good summer weather (which we didn’t get this summer!), Ken, John, Rick and Gary from the Museum met with the mover, Pioneer Heavy Haul,and the cranes from Vic Powell Welding of Dunnville, at the former DMI Industries plant (now owned by Trinity Industries of Texas) in Stevensville, ON.  Ken Sr. and Wayne G were at the shop getting things ready for the arrival on that end. #401639 was the first car loaded, with #401258 second and #57974 last. The load was sitting high on the trailers as the air tanks on the bottom of the cars could not be removed. Blocking was utilized to keep the cars off the trailer deck. The first car took the longest for loading, having to have smaller blocks placed to lower it further to clear the wires. The lifts went well, however movement to the site was slow.

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401639 & 401258 are loaded and ready to head for the shop.

It was a lengthy process getting the cars loaded and tied down. Attar Metals, our fantastic neighbours to the west of our location (Who operate out of the former CN Car shops), brought a flat deck over to move the wheelsets from DMI to the shop.  They also came over to the shop with the loader to pull the Plymouth and steam engine outside as 2 of the boxcars were going inside behind HEPC #46. Once it was all done, they also moved the locomotives back inside the shop.

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57974 is the last car to be loaded, and was also the last car to be unloaded.

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Milton from Attar Metals unloads the wheelsets while waiting for the first car to arrive.

CP 401258 arrived at the shop around 4pm and was quickly unloaded onto its wheels and moved easily inside the shop.  The Trackmobile was used for this, but it wasn’t really needed, as it rolled so well we actually just pushed it the final 20ft to the stop blocks. The final 2 cars arrived at dusk and were unloaded and placed onto their trucks in the dark. 401639 shares the track behind HEPC #46 with 401258, while 57974 is currently outside awaiting movement into the middle track behind HEPC E-7.

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401258 is being readied to be unloaded.

 

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401258 is the first car to be moved into the shop.

The Niagara Railway Museum extends its thanks to:

– Pioneer Heavy Haul and Vic Powell Welding for the floats and cranes for this move.

– Milton Braun and Attar Metals Fort Erie for their continued support and assistance. So much couldn’t be accomplished without their help.

– Preston Bass and Trinity Industries of Dallas, Texas, owners of the former DMI plant for allowing us to move the cars to their site, and for their patience as we worked through the lengthy process of making this move happen.

– The dedicated members from the Museum who spent the day making this move happen. (John Weylie, Wayne Gibson, Ken F Jones, Karen Jones, Rick Howard, Gary Eller, Ken S Jones)

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HEPC #46 spends some time outside for the first time since she arrived 4yrs ago.

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The Plymouth was also outside, and made it further down the track than ever before in order to allow space for the unloading of the boxcars.

August 18, 2013

More progress is making a difference

I don’t really know how todays work session could have been any better. A 6 person crew came out to the shop today, and took on 4 different projects. The main goal of the day was to start covering up some of the hundreds of broken and missing windows.  We decided the easiest way to do this was with clear corrugated PVC panels. As work started in the morning, however, it was quickly discovered that manpower could be utilized in a number of different projects. 

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Rick finishes off the assembly of the transmission for the Whiting Trackmobile

Rick went to work finishing off the transmission for the Whiting 2TMA Trackmobile, bringing that restoration one step closer to completion. Ken Sr. worked on cutting down some of the weeds around the track, and assisting the window crew when required.

John continued with painting the south wall, and got another 2 1/2 sections finished. We hope to have the south wall done along the work platforms by the September open house.  If that is done, we will proceed with painting the north wall of the heavy repair bay.  The paint has made a huge difference in the appearance of the shop interior, hand has all been donated by members.

The window crew went to work just before 10am, starting with 2×4 framing to secure the PVC panels to. We had 25 pieces to start with, which would be about 1/4 of the south wall.  Marcel and Jim assembled 8’ long frames on the ground while Ken worked in the Genie lift placing the frames and securing the PVC panels.
Home Depot Home Depot in Niagara Falls gave the NRM a discount on the PVC panels, which was a great help.  Once again all the funds for the purchase of the PVC were donated by NRM members.
None of this window work, however, could have even been attempted without the continued assistance of Attar Metals in Fort Erie.  Milton offered the NRM use of their Genie lift to get up to the windows.  It was perfect for the job, and made the work go so much easier.  In the end, 14 pieces were installed, a total of 7 sheets (we get 2 pieces per sheet)  Milton and Attar Metals have been continued supporters of the NRM since they located to the area about  2yrs ago. Without their continued support, a lot of what we do just wouldn’t be possible.Attar Metals

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The first 2 PVC panels are in place.

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Ken is up on the lift installing the 2×4 frames and PVC panels, closing in the south wall of the shop.

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After 7hrs of work, 14 pieces were installed.

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John continued painting the south wall, finishing another 2 1/2 sections. The new paint on the north and south wall have made a significant difference inside the shop.

Be sure to come out to our final open house of 2013 on September 7 & 8, 10-4 both days, rain or shine. See all the changes and improvements that have been made, and see how you too can become involved with the Niagara Railway Museum Inc.

July 6, 2013

Productive weekends at the NRM

Our second open house of the year was on the Canada Day long weekend.  Attendance was down a bit, but still fair. Gained at least 1 new member, so that’s makes a lot of the time spent there worth while. Some work was even done during the open house itself, with Rick starting to put the Trackmobile back together.

 

On Saturday July 6, a crew was out at the shop. Once again Rick worked on the Trackmobile, which went very well.  The clutch plate is in great shape, and the gear boxes are starting to go back together.  The one hydraulic cylindar is a bit pitted and was removed from the unit.  Luckily it is in otherwise great condition, and should be just fine for the amount of time we plan to use the machine.

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(left) – Rick works on the clutch plate on the Whiting 2TMA Trackmobile in preparation for installation of the gear boxes. For the first time in many years, the Mercury Tractor (ex-Spadina Motive Power Tractor) got its tires pumped up.  The machine was moved around the shop for the first time as well.

 

Unit 456 was the former Motive Power tractor for the Spadina Shops in Toronto.  This heavy machine was used for moving the locomotives around the shop.  It somehow ended up in Fort Erie, but was heavily damaged during the years after the shop closed. Today the tires were inflated, and actually held air. The machine was moved around the shop a bit, and will be evaluated for future restoration.

On a sad note, another piece of railway history was lost this week when CN scrapped the car scale in the yard.  The scale house was also demolished.  However, the NRM was able to acquire the beam scale from inside the scale house.  Some damage occurred during movement, but the parts are already being readied for repair.  The unit will be repaired and repainted for display inside the shop. The Niagara Railway Museum Inc. wishes to thank CN Rail for their donation of this piece of Fort Erie’s Railway history, and to Attar Metals for removing and delivering the unit to our facility.

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The scale track and scale house in 2012, long out of service (left). After removal the scale was delivered to the main doors of the shop.  The unit will be repaired and repainted before going on display (right).

July 2, 2007

New Equipment Acquisitions

Our Whiting 2TMA Trackmobile has arrived!!

On Saturday, July 7th, members of the NFRM journeyed up north to load up our recently acquired 2TMA Whiting Trackmobile.  When rebuilt, the unit will be very useful when it comes to moving equipment around the display site.  We have also acquired a 400amp Miller welder, which can also serve as a backup generator, and will be needed in the restoration of #46 when she is brought back to Niagara.  The NFRM thanks Ted Lucas from Lucas Lift Truck in Thorold for moving the Trackmobile, welder, and more parts for #46 (air tank, steam dome, coupler).  All these items will be put into storage until we are ready for them.  Meanwhile, we will continue to work on the Trackmobile.  A photo of the Trackmobile, and another project car, a Sylvester 21E motorcar (privately owned, and also picked up July 7th) are now in the equipment list on the collection page.  There is also an updated photo of #46, also taken on the 7th.

 

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