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.
February 10, 2023
January 29, 2023
New update and AGM
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.
December 30, 2022
Happy New Year!!
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…
November 28, 2022
GIVING TUESDAY is here!!
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.
October 15, 2022
October 15th work day
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:
As a reminder, next Saturday, October 1st, is our final open day for this season. We will be open 10-2.
August 27, 2022
August 27th work day
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.
August 20, 2022
2 years ago today, on August 20th 2022, we successfully relocated Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo Railway Carpenters Boarding car X759 from its long time home at the Robbins farm in Fenwick, to the Museum. The car has been on display, open to our visitors, and should start to be restored in mid to late 2023.
The Robbins Family (donated TH&B X759) came out today with more items from the collection. We received about 25-30 lanterns from various manufacturers and railways, including New York Central, GTW, and TH&B. Some of the items will be put on display, including the air reservoir test card from TH&B Jordan Spreader X775 from 1972. This card will be added to the Jordan Spreader builders plates already on display. There were also 20 or so locks from TH&B, CNR, CPR, NYCS and PC, along with a ring of TH&B keys. All the items were put away, and will need to be sorted next weekend. The Niagara Railway Museum sends its thanks and appreciation for everything the Robbins family has done for us, and we hope we will be able to continue the work that Ken Robbins started all those decades ago. We have a few other projects on the go, and more info will be available when we firm.things up a bit more, but we’re definitely looking forward to adding some new things to the displays.
Wasn’t much happening at the shop today, but was still fairly busy. John was using the sickle bar mower to cut some of the weeds on the roundhouse foundation. We’ll use the bush hog next week to finish it off. The Museum made a new acquisition this week to aid in the neverending brush control. We picked up a new Stihl cutter to help out the weed eater. The Stihl Kombi system allows the user to change attachments for different jobs. Our unit has the trimmer head on it and it worked great around the towers and along the track. Ken Jr. was using the new machine, while Ken Sr. used the weed eater with blades to work around the building. Still work to do next time out, but it was a great start today. Neil was working on the Trackmobile with Mike while Rick worked in the office. Allan was out earlier in the week and worked on the flanger stairs, adding wheels to allow us to move them outside with the car, without using the forklift. He also added signs to the chains he installed to block areas of the shop off. A lot of progress continues to be made, and out next event will be here soon, RailDays on September 10/11.
Thanks to Ken, Mike, Neil, John, Rick, and Ken for the work today.
August 15, 2022
There wasn’t much planned for today, but the work that was planned, got done, and actually a bit more than was expected. As we prepare to move onto our next project, the rebuild of our CNR handcar, which was acquired as essentially the steel/cast parts 2yrs ago, all the pieces were moved to the shop and started to be disassembled. All the remaining wood was taken off (not without a fight either). Surprising how well the bolts actually came apart. All the bearings are good and moving as they should. There are some small parts that need to be replaced, but it is complete. We have plans for the car, and will be using those, along with photos to rebuild the car. Next step is to order the hardwood for the project. We also worked on moving our new work table to the shop, which includes a very big, very heavy vice.
Earlier in the week Neil and Allan were out working on a few things. Allan replaced the missing mudrail boards on the north track, and Neil was working on one of the drive chains for INCo 8.
Stuart Greig, a retired CNR Carman brought us out an air hose he’s had hanging on his fence for years. This hose was used to bypass brakes that were not functioning on a car, and is new to our collection.
Thanks to Ken, Neil, Jim, Nolan, and Mike for all to work today.
July 31, 2022
Progress report – July 30th
Despite there being a lot happening in Niagara this weekend (Stevensville rodeo, Canal Days), we had a great Saturday at the shop, one of our best this year. Patrick continued worming on the Plymouth air system. Using our external compressor, he’s been fixing any leaks and working on the lines to/from the brake stand. We found out today that the train brake does work, although the pipes were cut/capped years ago. That will be corrected at a later date, and the train air will be piped in again. By the end of the day the air gauges were showing signs of life, but the air cylinders still need some work. Neil recieved some of the fuel system parts that Ted Lucas of Lucas Liftruck Services Ltd. has been searching for. Still trying to find that elusive distributor, but the fuel system parts get us one step closer to getting INCo 8 up and running again.
Thanks to our crew for all their work today, Neil, Jim, Nolan, Mike, Ken, Patrick and Ken.