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Niagara Railway Museum Blog

February 12, 2017

More work on the Plymouth

It was perfect working weather at the Museum on Saturday, very comfortable for working inside. Ken Sr. continued working in the office, finishing some drywall and sizing up the supports for the ceiling. Ken Jr. and Adam spent the day working on the Plymouth, starting to install the windows that were smashed out by vandals 6yrs ago. The first panel in front of the engineer was installed first, followed by the conductor side sliding windows. There is still some work on those windows as the bottom slide supports that lock the windows in place need to be installed. 4 more window frames (2 large. 2 small) need to be prepped and painted before the glass.  Hopefully another 3 work days and we’ll have this work done and the Plymouth will have a full set of windows again.

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The first new windows installed.

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The view from the Engineman’s seat through the new window.

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Still a long way to go, but the windows are a great start.

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The conductor side windows are in place, but still need to be properly secured.

July 16, 2016

Wood and windows

What was first imagined as a fairly easy job turned into something far more complex than initially anticipated.  Wayne M has spent a fair amount of time making repairs to the wood on the south track near the door.  The wood “mudrail” more or less had become deteriorated to the point where it became a major tripping hazzard.  Wayne was finally able to get the majority of the work finished and it’s looking great. A protective stain will be applied on the lumber to help protect it from the elements.

waynefloor1 waynefloor2 waynefloor3Other work happening in the shop included some grass cutting around property, patiently waiting for our big tractor/bush hog to be fixed. There are many ongoing projects at the Museum, one of which is the restoration of our Plymouth MDT40t diesel.  In our first 2 months in this facility, some neighbourhood kids broke into the shop and did significant damage to our equipment, including smashing out most of the windows on 2 of our motorcars, and the Plymouth diesel. The Plymouth is being restored to operating condition, but will likely spend the majority of it’s time as display and backup power to the GE. Progress has been a bit slow as we are awaiting the return of our air compressor. The engine does run, but without the compressor we haven’t yet had the locomotive moving under it’s own power. So, until that time, there is other work, including replacing the windows to make the unit once again weather tight.  6 New lexan windows were cut today, and will be installed when the frames are done being prepped. So all in all, another productive day, and some much needed progress made.

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4 new lexan windows have been cut and ready for installation.

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.

April 22, 2011

A very good Friday

The back of the Plymouth before painting

It was a very good Friday out at the shop.  Despite a small 4 man work party, a significant amount of work was done.  William and Eric worked on cleaning more debris out from some of the corners and from under racks, and by the end of the day, it was looking pretty good.  Ken Sr. was working on sealing up the office window panels, and did a bit more painting on the shop walls.  Ken Jr. spent the day working on the Plymouth and E-7.

Half of the back of the Plymouth cab was worked on,with the rust bubbles being removed and rough paint smoothed out. By the end of the day, a coat of grey primer was applied.

Primer applied

A set of ditch lights off an Ontario Northland F unit have been acquired and will become the new headlights for the Plymouth.  The Plymouth will also have a bell from a VIA F40PH added in the spring.  If all goes well the

rest of the back wall of the cab will be done by the May open house, showing good progress on the locomotive.  E-7 got a bit of attention, just testing out the paint remover.

A small section of the cab was taken down to bare metal and a coat of primer applied.

E-7 with the new dock plate and paint test.

We also cut a dock plate to allow safe passage between the work platform and the locomotive. This needs to be a bit wider for safety, but will be good for the volunteers to get over the 10″ gap between platform and locomotive.  The final thing was the donation of a large set of steel steps from Paletta International.  They are tearing down the old Chef Boy R Dee plant in Niagara Falls, and these steps were once used to cross over a conveyor system. They’ve been outside the plant for a while, and were donated this week.  While not suitable for public use, they will be good for members to use to work on equipment.

Our new work stairs.

CN SD70M 8927 at Fort Erie, April 22, 2011

January 30, 2011

Well, despite the winter weather, we are still working out at the shop.  With the lack of windows in the building, it cuts down on the length of time, and number of volunteers that come out, but we are still moving forwards.  The Plymouth diesel has had many of its air lines removed, inspected, and re-installed.  Some lines are being replaced due to rot.  There are some water issues in a couple of the air lines, and they are being thawed out, inspected, and replaced where needed.  If it’s a heavy snow outside, chances are it’ll be snowing inside, as the 2 photos below show.  These were taken at 12 & 2pm on January 22nd.  Oh well, it’s still better than working outside.

Cold, but very little snow.

And now theres snow

The next display for the Niagara Railway Museum will be at the annual Heritage week event held at Niagara Square mall on February 18th to 20th.  This event gathers groups from across Niagara to display thier historic artifacts.  Then, just 2 weeks later, the 11th Annual Niagara Falls Model Railway Show.  See the website events section for more details on both of these events.  The development of the CNR diesel shop into the Niagara Railway Museum relies on fundraising and donations, so please come out and support the NRM as we move forward to create a great railway attraction in the Niagara Region.  All donations over $25 are eligible for a charitable tax reciept. Donations can be made directly on our website through the secure server. www.nfrm.ca 

November 21, 2010

NRM’s Plymouth comes to life!

At 12:12pm on Sunday November 21st, 2010, the Niagara Railway Museum’s 1953 Plymouth MDT40t, returned to life.  After a few months of work, the 8cyl. engine, which has not run in about 20yrs, was turned over on Saturday November 20th, and fired up and idled on the 21st.

There is still a very long way to go before the actual locomotive is operational, but this is the first major accomplishment.  Most, if not all of the hoses will need to be replaced, as will all of the wiring, and probably the gauges in the cab.  We are also in need of new batteries, as the ones we had were on loan for the day.  The air compressor was severely damaged and is seized solid, and cracked.  The entire air system, which not only operates the brakes, but also the transmission, will have to be rebuilt.  We have managed to acquire a bell for the diesel, and will also add a set of  air horns, which once served on a CP Rail snow plow.  We are still raising fund for the restoration of the locomotive, and donations can be made directly to the Museum off the main page of the website.  As always, donations to the NRM are eligible for a tax receipt.

Revving up the engine!

I thank Bill McCraw, one of our newer members, for spending so much time and effort to get the Plymouth running.  Bill used to work on that type of motor for a living, and without his expertise, we would not have managed to get the engine running this soon.  Along with Bill, William, Scott, Eric and Steve also helped out when they could.  There were 6 of us working on it today to get it running and Bill’s friend Russell donated a set of batteries for the day, in order to make this happen.

On a personal note, when I founded the NRM in 1997, I always said the day we have an operating locomotive was the day I feel we have really accomplished a goal.  Today was that day.  Thanks to our members, donors, and Babcock & Wilcox in Cambridge who donated the engine to us 3 yrs ago.

October 17, 2010

Weekend Work Report

It was a very productive weekend at the Museum site.  Scott and I (Ken Jr.) spent some of Saturday working on the brake rigging on the Plymouth, and also spiked up some more of track 2.  We also looked around inside and out of the shop and made up a list of jobs to be done before winter.  Sunday saw 7 members out to work.  Bill worked on the Plymouth motor, replacing some of the missing parts as the test fire draws near.

NRM Member Bill McCraw has his head stuck in the hood of the Plymouth as he works on a gasket.

Steve, William, Scott, and myself worked on HEPC 46.  For the past 30+ years, it has been stuck in forward. With the help of a hydraulic jack, we were able to move the linkage back to its neutral position. It is still very tight, but a careful eye was kept on all moving parts to ensure that everything moved as it was intended. The reversing gear on HEPC 46 is now in neutral, instead of forward.

The reversing gear on HEPC 46 is now in neutral, instead of forward.

Ken Sr. and Ryan worked in the inspection pit on track 2, clearing out garbage and debris.  Next time there are more hands, all the debris from the pit, and the old washrooms will be removed from the shop as we continue to clean the facility to make it better for our members, and visitors.  As I was leaving, Norfolk Southern train 369 from Buffalo came into the yard.  The lead unit was a former SOO Line, followed by 2 NS, and a brand new CN GE ES44DC #2325.

NS train 369 enters the Fort Erie yard with brand new CN 2325, a GE ES44DC.

My thanks to everyone who came out today.  Still lots to do before the winter sets in.  And a reminder to everyone else, the Fall Niagara Falls Model Railway Show is just 2 weeks away, on October 31st, 2010.  The show is once again held at Optimist Park Hall, and is open from 10am-3:30pm.  Model railway vendors, layouts, and displays.  There will be something for everyone, so come on out and support the Niagara Railway Museum.

June 13, 2010

Plymouth gets a cleaning

A small crew was at the shop today, spending some time cleaning out the cab of the Plymouth diesel to allow visitors inside during our upcoming display. The loose flaking paint was scraped down, and the cab was vacuumed out. We hope to get a bit of paint on the roof before Canada Day, as people will get a chance to visit the cab and sit in the engineers seat. Next work session is Wednesday June 16th.

©2010 NRM