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Niagara Railway Museum Blog

September 4, 2017

4 days to go!!

It’s now just 4 days to go until Rail Days 2017 and this weekend we had 2 good work sessions at the shop to get things ready.  We’ll still be out there a few more times this week to finish off some things, but everything is starting to look great.

Saturday was a big cleaning day mostly, with some painting being done on 46 as 6 members were out, Wayne G, Jim, Nolan, Mike, Ken & Ken. Monday however was much busier. Ken, Wayne G & JT worked in the office, cleaning, painting, and organizing things for the weekend. Need to make rooom for 3 more small layouts and a few vendor tables. Elsewhere in the shop, Wayne M cleaned, primed, and painted our ex-CNR steam locomotive rerailers, and they will be on display from now on. After that he started working on the TH&B gondola, masking off and getting a basecoat on the TH&B logo on the one side. Hope to have that done by the weekend.

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Wayne M cleaning the rerailers.

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Primed and ready for paint.

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All painted for display.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Masking the TH&B logo.

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Base coat on the logo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ken and Glen worked on 46. Stencils were cut and the striping was masked off and painted. It was a very long project, but it turned out fairly well.  It’s not perfect, but it really doesn’t make a big difference in her appearance.

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Glen masking the cab stripe.

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Engineman’s side.

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Fireman’s side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to everyone who came out to work this weekend.  We’ve been making some great progress the last 2 months, and it’s really starting to show. Really pleased with the amount of work on HEPC 46, she’ll be looking good for the night photo shoot during Rail Days.

August 19, 2017

Major progress on many fronts

Today (August 19th) was an absolutely incredible day. 10 members were out and everyone was taking on a project. The big news today was the arrival of the new front pilot beam for Hydro-Electric Power Commission ALCo 0-4-0ST #46. Derek Costello has been working on this for just over a month, and we have been eagerly awaiting this delivery. Needless to say, we were definitely NOT disappointed. It looks great.  Derek had to fabricate the new coupler cut lever and mounting brackets, a grab iron across the length of the beam, and one of the spindals for the grab iron. The beam was installed easily, but we ran into an issue with the coupler installation, so we need to make some adjustments to that next week. All in all, this is a great step in the restoration of 46. There is still some work to do on the front, but it really does make a big difference, and we’re really pleased to be able to show this progress off at Rail Days in 3 weeks.

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Derek arrives with the new beams.

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Unloaded from the truck.

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Getting ready to lift the beam in place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The beam in place for the first time in decades.

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Footboard brackets installed, footboards are next.

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Checking the coupler height. everything looks great on the engine.

Elsewhere at the shop, Wayne M was outside working on the north track, spiking and gauging track so we can move the TH&B gondola outside for the event in 3 weeks.  Wayne G and Ken worked in the office, painting and cleaning, Adam and Colin worked on the brush cutter, and managed to get it to fire, but could not get it running, but it’s a good start. Mike, Ken, Jim, Glen and Nolan all worked on 46 installing the beam and cleaning up in the area.

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Need a few adjustments, but it’ll do for now.

So very pleased with how much work got done out there today. Everyone jumped in and helped out and we are starting to accomplish things with the help of some of our new members. I hope to have more news coming in regards to HEPC 46 very soon, and am very excited to see this project getting the attention it so very much deserves.

August 7, 2017

46 Pilot beam progress

Wow, Derek has been moving right along with the front pilot beam and it is looking really good. Derek has created an impressive looking front beam in just over a week, and we can’t wait to see it on 46.

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Derek drilling through the pilot beam.

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3/4 view of the new beam.

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Head on shot of the new beam.

August 4, 2017

HEPC 46 restoration begins.

The cosmetic restoration of Hydro-Electric Power Commission 1920 ALCo 0-4-0ST #46 has begun. Thanks to the generous assistance of Derek Costello, new wood pilot beams are being fabricated. However, there are a fair amount of pieces missing, so some will need to be fabricated. Some we have 1 of, others we have none. New coupler cut levers also need to be made. Derek came to the Museum a week or so ago to take measurements of where the pilot beam needs to mount. He took what parts we had as well, and has already cleaned and painted them. We are very grateful to Derek for taking on this part of the project, and we really look forward to having this part of it done.  I’m sure it’ll look great when complete. We will add more pictures as the work progresses.

There is still a long way to go with the restoration of 46. We are seeking help from someone that can do all the steelwork on the cab. Another large piece of this project, but once complete, it would allow us to have visitors safely access the cab.

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New hardwood pilot beams.

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Push pole pockets cleaned and ready.

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Front footboard brackets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 of the grab iron end posts.

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Newly fabricated cut lever brackets.

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The assembled cut lever brackets test fit.

 

 

 

May 30, 2017

Museum updates

It’s been a very busy time in life and with the Museum. The updates haven’t been as frequent on our website, but have been on our Facebook page. However, as things progress this year we will work hard to keep this up to date.

Opening weekend in May went well, and we are now already planning for our big weekends during Canada Day and our second open house the second weekend of July. The Museum will have a display at the Canada 150 celebrations in Ridgeway on June 30th to July 2nd. We’ll also be open for Canada Day at the shop on July 1st.

Work is continuing on a regular basis, Wednesday and Saturday, and this coming Saturday, June 3rd we start opening every Saturday 10am to 2pm until the end of September. We have a lot of projects on the go and some starting soon. Our steam engine, HEPC 46 will be getting new end beams to start her multi year restoration as we head into her 100th birthday in 2020. The Window work on the Plymouth is continuing and the GE will receive some work as well.  We are also sourcing 1″x4″ tongue in groove boards for the ex-CN Flanger.

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Peter and Garry looking over 46.

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46 will soon have new wood end beams.

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Giving some of the new LGB trains a run during Opening Weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting June 1st, (page coming soon) for every dollar donated online, the Museum will get a chance to win $10000!! Needless to say, this would be a huge boost to the Museum and allow us to get some much needed work done to some of our equipment. Please consider making a donation between June 1st and 30th, and help us win $10000!! You can make the donation project specific as well. Just enter what project you’d like to support (Steam engine 46, Electric E7, the GE, Plymouth MDT, ex-CN Flanger, TH&B Gondola 2676 or our general account).

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March 31, 2017

It’s about to get busy at the shop.

Its been a while since our last post, and its been a busy time since then.  So lets get started.

The Buffalo show went well. Sunday was definitely a lot busier and we talked to a lot more people. The hit of our display of course was the Woodings motorcar. The Woodings has been out of service for quite a while, and went in for engine repairs upon returning to the Falls after the Buffalo show. More on that later.

The 17th Annual Niagara Model Railway Show has also come and gone during this time, and it was a great show. Vendors from across Ontario, selling all scales of model trains, artifacts and historical displays. The G Scale Vineland Siding Bluetooth controlled switching layout was a hit with the kids.

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The Museum’s live steam Pacific made an appearance at the show again.

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The NRM sales table was fairly busy at the show.

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Golden Horseshoe Live Steamers display.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Restoration work continues at the shop with the Plymouth diesel still the main focus. Most of the windows have been reinstalled, with just 2 frames left to clean and paint. Adam has been working on cleaning off the surface rust on the carbody, a slow process, but he is making progress.  This is some of the first work this locomotive has had in a few years. Elsewhere in the shop, Ken has been working inside the office, installing drywall and a ceiling so we can get our office back in order. Another week and we’ll be starting to get things cleaned up and organized around the site. Not too long now until our opening weekend in May.

Conductor side sliding windows back in place.

Conductor side sliding windows back in place.

The Woodings back on track on March 31st.

The Woodings back on track on March 31st.

The Woodings CBI Railcar was taken in for repairs after returning from display at the Buffalo show in February. The car hasn’t run for at least 5yrs, and was in need of motor repairs. After 2 months, and countless hours, the car fired up and ran. There is still some tweaking to do, mostly adjusting  the throttle and choke, but overall, having the car running again will make it a great addition to our 2017 activities.

Woodings CBI Railcar

 

There is so much going on out at the Museum this year as we hit our 20th Anniversary. We have our usual open weekends in May and July, but will also be open on Canada Day as we celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday. We will also be open Saturdays from June to October, with our big event, Rail Days, taking place on September 9/10. We have many more surprises in store this year, so we hope you’ll join us in Fort Erie at the Niagara Railway Museum.mayopen raildays sats

 

February 3, 2017

Looking over the Plymouth

With 2017 being a big year for the Museum, we are looking at getting the Plymouth MDT40t back in to operation for the first time over 25yrs. The motor itself was made operational about 6yrs ago, but without the compressor, the locomotive is not able to operate under its own power. The original compressor was damaged beyond repair, and we are waiting for a replacement. There were some other missing and damaged parts that we are looking to repair and/or replace. The locomotive is missing one side of the exhaust piping, but there is one set that can be used as a pattern, as the missing pieces may have to be custom built. There is some damage on one wheel flange that will be repaired as this locomotive will only be used for demonstrations and backup power if necessary. Once the locomotive is back in service, more work will be done on the air system as the train air lines need to be re-piped. Saturday February 11th we plan to start replacing the windows in the cab and cleaning it to prep it for a coat of paint in the spring. Lots of projects on the go for our 20th year, always looking for volunteers to help, no experience necessary.  Donations can also be made to our  many projects and anything over $25 is eligible for a Charitable Tax Reciept.

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Sizing up the exhaust port for an elbow.

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The existing exhaust piping and muffler.

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A custom built Y will join the 2 sides to go out the carbody.

 

January 27, 2017

Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo gondola #2676

The NRM is pleased to officially be able to announce that we have finally finished the acquisition of the last gondola from the TH&B Railway. #2676 reached its 50th year in February 2016, and after almost a year of negotiations, the car was finally delivered by CP to CN’s Southern Yard near Welland. It was then picked up by Martech Rail Services and has gone into storage on their property until we can move the car by road in the spring.

This acquisition all started when the TH&B Historical Society and a TH&B fan at CP noticed that this would end up being the last TH&B Gondola, and was therefore something that should be preserved. The NRM was contacted about accepting the car (the TH&BRHS is not a Charitable organization, nor do they have space to put such an item), and accepted the offer.  The last thing the Museum needed was another freight car, but with its significance, it was felt that it would be a good addition to the Museum, and allow us to help out another important Historical Society. The Niagara Railway Museum Inc. would like to extend our thanks to Heather Woods and James Gamble from CP who worked very hard on this whole project. James worked tirelessly until the very end to see this through.

The car is in very good condition. It shows normal side panel dents and such, but has no holes in it and the top rails are straight as an arrow. The car recieved a very light covering of black paint at some point, but the lettering and logo can still be seen on one side of the car. In time, the car will be restored back to its as delivered TH&B scheme. The NRM also thanks Martech Rail Services in Welland for their assistance with the storage and movement of the car.

As with everything else at the Museum, we are always looking for financial assistance with this car, and our other pieces of equipment. Donations can be made securely online through Canada Helps at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/niagara-railway-museum-inc/

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Martech’s 1950 GE 80tonner spots TH&B 2676 out behind their shop for storage.

 

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B end of 2676.

 

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A end of 2676.

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The TH&B logo is still faintly visible on one side of the car.

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.

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