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August 28, 2023
As has been reported online and in other media, the Museum acquired and moved 2 steam locomotives to the shop on July 4th. Once again I am very far behind on updating this site, as most of our updates happen on our Facebook page.
The locomotives were acquired by John Holer, the owner of Marineland in Niagara Falls. They were built in 1955 & 1958 by Duro Dakovic Locomotive Technica for the Jugoslav State Railway. Both engines are 0-6-0T tank engines, based on an American design. They were both rebuilt and operated in Slovenia prior to being shipped to Canada in 1981. They were unloaded off a flatcar at the Park and moved to one of the warehouses on Stanley Ave, which is where they remained until July 4th. Many people knew they existed, but at the same time, weren’t really sure if they did or not. Some people saw them when they arrived, some were able to see them over the years, but for the most part, they were kept away from any viewers. In April 2023 we were contacted by the Holer Family about needing to dispose of these locomotives, and the did not want to see them go to scrap. We were asked if we would be able to take them or knew of a place that could. We were of course very excited to be asked and considered for their new home. The entire project had to kept completely under wraps with only a very few people from the Museum and the Park knowing what was happening. A lot of work went into the move, from our own volunteers working to get them ready, to James Petroczi coming down and building the panel tracks that allowed us to move them outside. Falcon Crane was called in for the lift, and we once again went with Pioneer Heavy Haul out of Welland to move them to Fort Erie. Both locomotives are in immaculate condition. They are complete, and would be ideal candidates for future restoration. For now however, we are happy just to have them on display. https://youtu.be/lRu46fE5ZNM?si=5VMaLjXjGfx9q0yJ
July 4th was moving day, and it was a very hot, and very long day for everyone, but the crew from Falcon Crane were out the longest. Dakota and Mark were excellent to work with, and they took great car lifting both locomotives. The same goes for Mel Jones and his crew from Pioneer. It took a little longer for loading as the blocking on the trailers had to be placed in just the right spots to protect the trailer decks, and to make sure no damage would be done to the locomotives.
During all of this work, we really have to give a huge amount of thanks to the Holer Family. It was Marie Holer that decided to donate them to us, and Peter Holer, their son, was instrumental in this entire move. Peter was at the warehouse to deal with the contractors looking at the job whenever we called him. He also helped us with prep work, brought over the big Cat D7 dozer to pull them outside, and brought over the forklift and telehandler to help move the track materials around for the panel track. This move would have been a lot more difficult without the amount of help Peter gave us. We are very thankful to the Management and Advisors at Marineland for making this happy, and the Holer Family for seeing it through.
Be sure to join us at RailDays on September 9 & 10 from 10am to 4pm both days (rain or shine). As of right now, it is planned to have all 3 steam locomotives outside together for the first time. We are still working on other displays for the event.
It has been a rather busy time for the Museum. We are just 2 weeks away from our 2023 Opening Weekend, and we hope you’ll come out to see what we’ve been working on over the winter.
Our Annual March Niagara Model Railway Show was a HUGE success, being out biggest show ever!! over 600 people attended the event (not including all the kiddos), and we really couldn’t be happier about that.
Work has been continuing over the winter months at the site as well. Rob has being doing an incredible job on the cab of CN 9173. The nose is once again round, and the grab irons have been straightened from the twisted mess that they were, and will be installed soon. The cab was covered by a tarp over the winter, and it was only recently we were able to see how great of a job he has been doing, when we removed the tarp.
CN Flanger 56323 is waiting to have roof work done at some point this year. Cupola repairs will be done after the roof is finished. 56323 was moved from track ED17 (north) to ED19 (south) for the upcoming season. Neil was working on the Woodings CBI Motorcar, as we are hoping to have that piece up and running for our open weekends this year. The Flanger is now coupled to the Trackmobile on ED19, and the GE 25tonner was moved back over to ED17 with HEPC 46. HEPC 46 has been receiving some work as well, as we prepare to replace the cab. Rob has been making new, accurate CAD drawings, and planning out the work in stages. While 46 will be on display, she will not be outside or have people up close due to the work happening.
The Museum store is fully stocked with all sorts of great new items. We have 4 new puzzle designs to choose from, along with our engineer bears, plush train, whistles, engineer hats (in Pink and Blue), and all sorts of other goodies for kids and adults. New in the store car this year will be an operating G scale train featuring some of our G scale collection, as well as Thomas, Annie and Clarabel.
We aren’t expected to have it ready for opening weekend (there is still a ton of work to get done, and we just don’t have a lot of time left), but we are working on all new displays inside the TH&B boarding car. This car will retain its current appearance, but will include new TH&B artifacts, freeing up some space in our display cars for other items from the collection. The NRM sends its thanks to the Robbins Family, who donated the car, and most of Ken Robbins collection to us. Thanks to Lance Brown from the TH&B Historical Society for sending along the explanation from the rule book for the Bunk Car sign.
There is a lot of excitement coming in 2023 and we hope you’ll join us on this adventure. Opening Weekend is May 13 & 14, 10am-4pm both days, rain or shine. Admission is by monetary donation. Come see the work our dedicated volunteers have been doing. Or, want to see more done? Why not consider joining us. Membership information can be found here http://nfrm.ca/volunteer.php.
Less than a month to go until the March Niagara Model Railway Show. Our first event of what is going to be a very busy 2023. Vendors from across Ontario selling all scales of model trains, railway memorabelia, and railway history displays. Something for everyone. For more information or to be a vendor, call or email.
Despite the lack of updates, there has still been a lot of work going on at the shop, sometimes 2 or 3 days a week. Our 2023 Annual General Meeting will be on February 25th at the shop.
The GE is currently out of service for the off season and is dead and drained for some much needed maintenance. There has been a coolant leak for quite some time, and a crack was found in the thermostat housing. That issue has since been fixed and the unit reinstalled. The cab heater has been removed and is getting a new fan motor before being reinstalled. The rotted floor under the heater has been replaced. The front headlight was removed and has had new wiring run to it, replacing the deteriorated and much spliced old wire.
Flanger 56323 is sitting for now, as we plan for the new roof, which was originally planned for the fall, but will be moved up to earlier in the year. The car has been set up for our meeting space to be ready for our AGM.
The Plymouth is waiting for brake cylinder seals, and work will resume when the GE is back in service shortly. Patrick has rebuilt one of the brake cylinders and will rebuild the second one when the first is complete.
CN F7a 9173 has seen Rob doing a lot of great work being done to it. With Allan straightening the badly bent grab irons, Rob has now managed to get the nose dents out and it’s really starting to come together. When finished, this will definitely be a centrepiece for visitors.
HEPC 46 is still be worked on, slowly. Young Nolan has been working on scrapping it down to be ready for painting. The cab is still in poor shape, and a new plan is being made to have it replaced. Rob is working on that as he deals with 9173.
Our 2 TH&B cars are idle for now. 2676 is outside with the other flanger as there’s just no room inside. The boarding car will have some TH&B displays in place for this season, but work will likely not start on this car until 2024.
There are other projects ongoing, including a new build handcar. This is an off season project and so far has seen the parts from the Robbins hand car cleaned and freed up. We hope to be able to have one of the motorcars operating this season as well, something that has been lacking for a couple of years. Outside in the yard, we are hoping to have James and Nick back to work on one of the turnouts, and change some ties. If we’re able to get some 100lb rail, we will also be changing some of the old 85lb to 100lb. There are also a couple of other items that are, at this point, not ready for discussion, but soon, soon, they will be announced, and we are looking forward to sharing the news with everyone.
The final day of 2022 is upon us. The year has had it’s ups and downs for sure, but for the most part 2022 was by far our best and busiest year ever. We celebrated our 25th Anniversary in July. Significant progress was made on CN Flanger 56323, which received all new paint and proper lettering before the 25th Anniversary event. Restoration continues with the Cupola windows being rebuilt over the winter with the cupola being worked on in the spring. In the Spring, thanks to James and his helper Nick, the North track was completed and fir the first time since the shop closed, all 3 tracks were able to be used, and equipment was moved around to different display areas. The can of CN 9173 had restoration started, and with the help of a new member, has progressed much further than expected, looking forward to seeing a new paint job, hopefully in the spring. Our Spring and Fall Niagara Model Railway Show returned with great turnouts for both events. We also gained some new members who have really made an impact around the shop. The Plymouth diesel is getting some much needed attention, and was fired up for the first time in almost 10yrs. There were many artifact donations made, including the remaining items from the late Ken Robbins, whose family donated the TH&B Boarding Car to the Museum. These are just some of the things that went on in 2022, and this work couldn’t be done without our incredible group of volunteers, who put so much time in at the shop, and behind the scenes throughout the year.
So, what can we look forward to for 2023? Well, we will soon be, hmmm, nope, can’t mention that yet. But we will soon be, nope, nope, can’t mention that either. Hmmm, what can we talk about? Our 2023 schedule is up on our website at http://nfrm.ca/events.php and we have another full year of events happening. Restoration work is continuing on many pieces, including CN 9173, CN 56323, the Trackmobile, Plymouth and GE diesels, steam locomotive 46, and electric E7.
On behalf of the Niagara Railway Museum Inc. we would like to extend our thanks to everyone who came out to visit and support us in 2022, you helped make our year amazing. And all the work at the shop couldn’t be done without our dedicated volunteers who put in countless hours making things happen.
Happy New Year!! All the best for everyone in 2023…
Giving Tuesday is a chance to give back to the Community after the busy Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. We know there are a lot of options out there to donate to, but we hope you will consider the Niagara Railway Museum Inc. with our many restoration projects. One of our goals is the cab restoration of our 1920 steam locomotive #46. This is a fairly extensive project, and any help is appreciated. We have many other projects on the go as well, and donations can be made securely online at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/niagara-railway-museum-inc/
The NRM is a registered Canadian Charitable Organization and all donations over $25 are eligible for a Charitable Tax Reciept.
Back at it today, working on a few things around the shop. Rob was back out to continue working on the cab of CN 9173. He’s been prepping for some of the body work as we work towards the cosmetic restoration of the piece. When we acquired an old industrial siding a few yrs back, all the OTM (Other Track Materials) were put in the TH&B gondola. With some recent thefts of items from the car, it was decided to remove the useful material for storage, and the rest (items that were damaged over years of service) will be scrapped. The GE doesn’t operate on track 2 very often as it does need some work. The other issue is the coupler on our other CN Flanger, 56452, doesn’t seem to close and lock properly, so we aren’t able to move the car around. To get the planned work done, the gondola was pushed into the shop to allow us to palletize the material. Once that was done, the cars were pulled back down the track, just before the rain started coming down. Other work was getting our items ready for the Woodstock show on Sunday, and working on the riding mower deck. Won’t need them anymore this year, but want to have them back together and ready for the spring.
During lunch, some of our members joined in on a Zoom call with Rocky Mountain Rail Society as they provided members with an update on the restoration of CN 4-8-2 #6060 out in Warden Alberta. Some major boiler work has recently been completed, and they are now moving on to replacing the staybolts. 6060 is a very well known locomotive in our area as she frequently ran excursions between Toronto and Niagara Falls, with side trips to Welland. We wish Rocky Mountain Railway Society the best as they work to bring this magnificent locomotive back to operation. If you’re interested in learning more, or would like to help, visit https://6060.org/
We are now 2 weeks from the Niagara Model Railway Show on October 30th. We may be able to squeeze a few more tables in, but for the most part, the tables are booked up. We are looking forward to the show, and out final event of our 25th anniversary year. The show features model railway vendors selling trains of all scales, railway artifacts, and railway history displays. Something for everyone.
September 24, 2022
Small group out today, but we still got things done. John was cutting some brush, until the cutter blew a belt. Neil and John worked on the machine, but didn’t quite get it back in service, but not a big problem, just a few bolts to go back on right now. Patrick was working on the Woodings CBI motorcar, having removed the Tecumseh engine 3 weeks ago for repairs. The motor was reinstalled today and hooked back up, and for the first time since we believe 2019, the car made its first runs in the yard. Still have some adjustments to make, but it was great to have this car back in operation.
HEPC 46 was moved to the end of the track, with the Woodings following it and backing into the North track. This is only the 2nd time that 46 has been to the end of the track. At the start of the day the crew was looking over the brake system (or lack thereof) on CN Flanger 56323. The air system was removed many years ago, and with that, the ability to have even a hand brake on the car. We have a plan worked out and will work on this over the off season. Just something out to be added to the ever growing list of things that need to be done before next May.
While we were doing this work today, some video clips were shot, and put together into a 7min video, which can be found here: https://youtu.be/TueDdkuRfAY As a reminder, next Saturday, October 1st, is our final open day for this season. We will be open 10-2.
Had a good turnout at the shop today and a fair amount got done.
Ken, Ken, John and Duane continued with the never ending task of cutting the grass/weeks. John was using the sicklebar mower to cut the weeds on the roundhouse foundation. Ken Jr was using the new cutter to clean up the track, getting rid of the weeds from there. Inside the shop there was a lot happening as well. Ken Sr., when he wasn’t cutting outside, was looking after our visitors.
Rob was busy inside the cab of 9173, continuing to work on pounding out the dents in the nose. It’s really looking good, and he’s definitely making great progress. Patrick was working on the brakes on the Plymouth, as we continue toe restoration to operation of that locomotive. Still having some issues, but he’s slowly working through them. These issues are somewhat expected, as this locomotive hasn’t had any operating air systems for likely close to 30yrs.
Also in the shop, Allan spent the day installing the rebuilt cupola window on the north side of the Flanger. It’s great to see the car will all the windows again (even though there are still 4 in the cupola that will likely need some work). At the end of the day we pulled the car outside for a pic. The Flanger has been our biggest restoration project in our history. It is good to see it coming together and every little bit moves it one step closer to completion.
Thanks to our crew that came out to work today, Ken, Mike, John, Duane, Allan, Rob, Patrick and Ken. Also thanks to all of our visitors, some local (Niagara), but some from Brampton, Mississauga and Midland.