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Niagara Railway Museum Blog

July 14, 2016

July open weekend

Our second big event of 2016 has come and gone, and everyone was pretty beat at the end of it all. We didn’t have the same advertising as May ,but we still had a decent turnout for the 2 days. Our night photo shoot had one photographer show up, but he was quite pleased with what we had to offer and wants to come back. So with that, we are now planning to hold another one on Saturday, September 10th.  More information will be made available as we get closer to the event.

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The GE 25tonner and HEPC 46 outside.

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HEPC 46 “under steam” and outside.

We did manage to get a bit of work done during the weekend.  Wayne M continued painting the cinderblock walls, with most of that being about 85% complete now. We also took some time to temporarily install one of the couplers on HEPC 46 to make it easier, and safer to move her in and out of the shop. The wood buffer beams will all be part of the cosmetic restoration, which we call Project 46.  Project 46 is the fundraising initiative to help complete the restoration. 46 and the GE were posed outside for the night photo shoot.

The open house itself went very well. A big thanks to Bill and Garry for once again bringing out the Ontario Northland Historical Society display, which includes HO models of ONR equipment, photos and artifacts. Also thanks to our members who came out on both days to take care of our visitors as they toured around the shop. We received lots of great feedback from our guests and everyone understood that the Niagara Railway Museum is a major work in progress. There were  a few new items for display as well.

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Our display cases, custom built by Dave Torbett, were returned and placed back into the display car.

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Running a few new trains on the G scale layout, including this narrow gauge Whitcomb and cars.

The rain managed to hold off except for a short time during the night photo shoot. 46 got a much needed bath thanks to Mother Nature!! Despite a push from our friends at the Welland Historical Museum,  the weather did keep our night photo shoot to a very small affair.  JW Vraets from Grimsby came down and spent about 3hrs with us, taking pics of many of our pieces.  Once the rain let up we were able to get outside to the GE and 46. It was a good time with some neat pictures, and was definitely a learning experience.

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HEPC 46 and the GE 25tonner outside under the quarter moon.

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NRM President Ken Jones at the controls of HEPC 46.

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Inside the cab of CN 9173.

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The last pic of the night, looking towards the east end of the shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to everyone who came out to support railway heritage in Niagara. We do this to keep one part of our Regions history alive for the current, and future generations. We will continue to expand and interpret our collection. We try to make changes throughout the year to rotate some of our collection through the display. Our next big event is September 10/11, 10am to 4pm both days, rain or shine. However, we are also open every Saturday from 10am -2pm until the end of September.

July 7, 2016

Open Weekend – July 9th and 10th

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HEPC46 has had some work done, and will soon be undergoing a cosmetic restoration.

This coming weekend is our second big event for the year. We have been working hard on new displays, and to fix some other issues in the shop itself. Some of that work is ongoing, but we’re ready for our visitors this weekend. Saturday night from 8-10pm we will be having a mini night photo shoot at the museum.  We do ask for a $5 donation, with all proceeds going towards the cosmetic restoration of HEPC 46, our steam locomotive. Photographers will be required to bring whatever they need for the shoot. Different angles will be available with both our GE diesel and steam locomotive.

As always, admission to our open weekend, which runs from 10am to 4pm rain or shine both days, is by cash donation. There’s lots to see and do for all ages. 2 operating train layouts, Thomas play table, equipment displays, with some equipment open for visitors. And don’t forget our 2 display cars and our Museum store.

For more information visit www.nfrm.ca or call 905 357 6539.

 

May 21, 2016

Opening Weekend

Sorry for the late posting on Opening Weekend, but here it is.

On May 14/15 the NRM had it’s opening weekend under rather poor weather conditions, experiencing wind, rain, sun, and even snow!  However, the weather didn’t keep the visitors away, with 2 very busy and steady days.

Our guests were treated to a fairly new Niagara Railway Museum.  Inside there were many changes, as we’ve been reporting over the last few months, including the major lighting upgrade inside the office area. Our 3rd boxcar was converted to a second display car, and also had a permanent store added to 1 end.  We are working on increasing our stock, but for now, it’s decent as it is.

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Thanks to Dave Torbett for building us 2 new cabinets for the display car.

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Wayne M got a little painting done on the middle door during the open house.

We had w new display cases made by David Torbett, and they were installed in the new display car in time for the weekend. We have a bit of tweaking to do on them before the next open house, but they were definitely a great addition to the car. They are used to house the Van Alstine and Mills collections.

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The new display on the Van Alstine twins on the CN.

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Tools of the trade for the display about Fred Mills, ex CNR Carman.

The new store is a great addition as well, as it now gives us a semi permanent area to sell Museum goods throughout the season, without having to set it up and take it down every time. We will be adding new items, such as NRM t-shirts and sweatshirts before the July open house. Also inside the display car was a case showing some pieces of railway china from CN & CP, both hotel and railway.

The Cab of CN 9173 was open for visitors, and is undergoing some work as we installed covers over the openings inside the cab  where the windows and such are.  This will receive another coat of paint over the summer, and will hopefully also see the damaged front window replaced.

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The Ontario Northland Historical Society brought their display out once again.

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The HO layout from The Hobby Shop, along with the old trolley coffee bar were a hit as well, as people reminisced about the store. Here a taxi had a bit of an incident.

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Our small G Scale layout was up and running as well.

Bill Woods and Garry Eller brought the Ontario Northland Historical & Technical Society display out to the shop as well. Bill & Garry are both members of the NRM, and have been displaying with us at our train year model railway shows, and our Museum events for 16yrs. The other new displays for this year were the items from the former Niagara Central Hobbies in St. Catharines. People were able to sit at the trolley and see some of the pics that were displayed on the various activities over the last few months, as well as watch the trains run on the layout. Our small G Scale layout was also running with new trains on loan from the Jones family.

 

As far as equipment goes, HEPC 46 was moved forward to allow for some better pictures, as she is usually back beside the work platform.  We will be starting up our Project 46 fundraising campaign again this year as we work to raise funds specifically for the cosmetic restoration of the locomotive, starting with the cab. She will also hopefully receive a new coat of paint. The ex-Atlas Steel Porter Fireless will also receive some new paint this year, once some metal work is done on the body. The plan is to repaint her back to the yellow she wore at the plant and upon initial arrival at Fort Erie.  She currently wears black with white trim, which was only applied to match 6218 when it was at the Town owned museum. The GE 25tonner performed perfectly after having a set of new batteries installed just days before the open weekend. The GE will be getting some front end work at some point, as we believe there is some spring damage.

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HEPC 46 was moved forward for display.

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The GE tucked away for the night.

 

The Niagara Railway Museum would like to extend its thanks to everyone who came out to support us over the weekend.  We had a great time, and hope you all did as well.  We received a lot of very positive comments from new and repeat visitors. We will continue to work hard to improve the visitor experience and hope to be able to announce some good news in the coming weeks.  Thanks also to our dedicated members who came out to help run the event.

Our next big event will be July 9 & 10, 10am to 4pm rain or shine. However, the Museum will also be open Saturdays from Fathers Day weekend to the end of September, 10am to 2pm. Admission for all events is by cash donation with every bit of it going directly towards the Niagara Railway Museum.

August 31, 2015

A Very Busy Summer

I’ve been a bit slow updating the actual news site of the page, as we have been doing a lot on our Facebook and Twitter feeds. It has been a very crazy summer for the NRM. Our Saturday open days have been very well received. We’ve added some great new displays and had 2 busy open weekends.  Our next open weekend is September 12 & 13, 10am to 4pm both days, rain or shine. There will be a few new display items in the display car, and as well as in the office display area. We’ve been working hard to get 2 of our tracks connected to allow us to move the 3rd boxcar inside for the winter. Much of this track work has been made easier with the help of hydraulic track tools that have been loaned to the Museum when needed from Trillium Railway Company in Welland. This has allowed us to progress with the track construction at a much quicker pace as opposed to the alternative way of manually spiking the track. Within the next month we hope to have the tracks connected, with enough room past the temporary turnout to allow 2 pieces of equipment plus the small Plymouth diesel (when restored) or the Trackmobile.

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The Barco speedometer installed in the cab of #9173.

We still have a lot of work to do, but we are making progress. HEPC electric E-7 and the Hydro Plymouth diesel have both had work done on the interior of their cab, with new paint and cleaning to make it a better visitor experience. The cab of CN F7a 9173 has recently had a replacement Barco speed recorder and air flow meter installed, which were donated to the NRM by Don Brown in Rochesterm NY.  These 2 items bring the cab close to completion. The cab is accessible for viewing, so be sure to climb up the stairs and have a look.

The year isn’t slowing down anytime soon.  Our next open house is September 12/13, and the Museum’s Summer Saturdays will be extended right through to the end of September. October will see the start of the new railway show season, with the Niagara Model Railway Show in St. Catharines on October 25th. There is a lot more going on, so come on out and see the amazing progress we continue to make, as we work towards acquiring the property and creating a fully operational Railway Museum.

 

 

January 16, 2014

NRM Open House Weekends

We have finally set the dates for the Open House displays for 2014.

Our first display weekend will be May 10th & 11th, followed by the second one on July 5th & 6th, with the final show on September  6th & 7th.  Displays are open 10am to 4pm on all days, and 3 weekends run rain or shine.

There may be other times the shop is open, and those days/times will be posted on here.

2014 is shaping up to be a very busy year for the NRM. All new displays, and additional equipment displays will kick off the year in May. Returning again will be the Southern Niagara Model Railway Club and Ontario Northland Historical Society.  We also hope to continue our relationship with the Fort Erie LaFrance Association Museum with the display of one of their beautifully restored LaFrance Fire Engines. It is still early, and more information will be posted as things are finalized.

September 23, 2013

A late update

I know this is a bit late, but work and life sometimes gets in the way.  Anyways, it’s been a very busy couple of weeks.  We had a very successful open house on September 7  & 8, 2013. With all the recent press from Niagara This Week and Cogeco, attendance was excellent. New and repeat visitors were impressed with our facility and the progress we’ve made. The Fort Erie LaFrance Firefighting Museum paid us a very short visit on Saturday. Unfortunately just after they arrived with their 1947 LaFrance Imperial Pumper truck, it started to rain.  Because their equipment is restored to perfect condition, they had to get the truck back to their Museum and out of the weather. However we look forward to working with them and having them at our site next year. We also gained some great donations, including 60+ photos of CN at Niagara Falls, including the visit of the famous Flying Scotsman. Steve Konig donated an HO model of Bridge 17 at Dain City built by the late Wilf Pierson . This model joins the G scale Flanger and Spreader also built by Wilf. The Ontario Northland Historical Society also joined us for the open house with their HO layout and artifact display. Despite the rain on Saturday afternoon, it was still a great turnout, and Sunday was even better.  A big thanks to everyone who came out to support the Museum and Railway history in Niagara.

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The Fort Erie LaFrance Firefighting Museum’s 1947 LaFrance Imperial Pumper on display before the rain came in.

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The Fairmont M19 on it’s first trip to the new end of track, which was extended by 50ft in August.

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Condensed HO Scale model of Welland Canal Bridge #17 at Dain City.

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NRM’s HO scale model of the Niagara Falls Station on Bridge St. Constructed by Brian Vasselsue.

Other work that has been progressing has been the windows, and the Whiting 2TMA Trackmobile.  The transmission is in the pit and ready to be placed into the Trackmobile in the next 2 weeks. We hope to have the machine back in service in the next month. We also picked up a switch stand and a used Racine rail drill, which will be very useful in our continued track construction.  We have also been offered about 30 sticks of 80/85 & 100lb rail, which we are currently looking into moving to the Museum site.

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Racine Model A rail drill.

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CPR style switch stand.

Lots of things happening at the Museum.  We thank everyone for a great 2013, and look forward to seeing you at the Niagara Model Railway Show on October 27th, 2013 at the CAW Hall in St. Catharines. Our next full open house will be in May 2014. However, visitors are always welcome if someone is at the shop on Saturday.  If you’d like to visit the Museum, please contact us to arrange for a tour.

September 2, 2013

Open house less than a week away.

Our final open house is only a few days away. There’s been a significant change in the appearance of the shop.  A lot of the graffiti is gone, and the windows are starting to get covered. The grass has been cut, and the shop prepared for visitors.  The only thing remaining, the visitors.  Come out and see all the work that has been done since July.  Our members have been working hard to improve our guest experience. Come out and support the great railway heritage that Niagara has, and see what we have in store for 2014.

September 25, 2011

September Open House

We once again had great weather for the final open house of 2011, held on September 10/11.  We changed up the displays a little bit, showing off some of the other artifacts in the NRM collection.  We also added another motorcar for display, with our ex-CNR Fairmont M9g, being shown to visitors for the first time in about 4yrs.  Thanks to Bill Woods from the ONRT&HS society for coming out early Saturday to help set up, and to all the other NRM members who came out to help man the shop.  There was also a fair amount of work done out there on the Sunday, as Richard Berry still had his Caterpillar motor grader and gradall out there.  We’ve been wanting to do some preliminary work on the turntable pit, to see exactly what the condition is under all the fill.  A 10’x10′ test hole was dug, and I now know exactly where the roundhouse went after the fire in 1991. When the roundhouse was demolished, the remaining structure was used to fill in the pit.  A layer of topsoil covered the rubble. Preliminary inspection of the pit wall and base found it to be in very good condition.  The excavation of the pit itself is a ways off yet, but hopefully the rest of the pit is as good as our test hole.  We also graded the right of way for the continued track construction.  The north track of the shop has been graded about 125′ to allow a temporary track to be put in place in case we are able to move some of our equipment over during the winter.  This will be laid with 85lb rail for now.  The grading for the rest of the south and middle track was also done, and we hope to have part of the turnout to join the 2 tracks in place by winter.

July 23, 2011

A very busy July

We’re now well past the halfway mark in July, and a busy month it has been.  It all started with Canada Day July 1st at Optimist Park.  We had our normal 2 table display, and promoted the new location for the NRM.  It was a fairly decent turnout, but it didn’t seem as busy as previous years.  With Canada Day out of the way, we then focused on our second open house of the year at the NRM shop in Fort Erie.  We had very good weather for this open house, but our crowds were still down a bit.  The Ontario Northland Railway Historical & Tech. Society, and the Southern Niagara Model Railroad Club both had a display at the event, which is always great to see.  My thanks to the guys from both groups who come out and take part in our events.

ONRH&TS display

The locomotives were all kept indoors again for this open house.  46 once again had her headlight installed, and looked pretty good considering the deterioration.  While visitors couldn’t get into the cab on E-7, we did take some of the window panels off and allow them to see the inside.  Work on the interior has started, and if all goes well, the cab will be open for viewing in 2012.  The Plymouth was once again open for viewing, and is always a hit with the kids.

HEPC 46

The Museums HO Scale layout was also running again, this time with newly donated equipment.  The NRM secured a large donation of HO Scale Canadian prototype cars and locomotives from a local man in Niagara.  All of the equipment is currently in storage, and is being documented.  This equipment will be great for the model railway that we plan to construct.

HO Scale layout

My thanks to everyone who came out and helped at the event. Despite a lower than expected turnout, it was still a good weekend.  The next Open House is September 10/11, 2011, 10am to 4pm at the shop, 21 Warren St. Fort Erie.  For more information, please contact the Museum.

June 23, 2011

NRM Secures Museum Property!!

It is official.  After some 14yrs of trying to find a permanent home, the Niagara Railway Museum Inc. has secured a long term arrangement for the use of the former CNR diesel Shop and surrounding property in Fort Erie, Ont.  Plans are already underway for the rebuilding of the shop, starting with new windows to help keep the weather out. We have started our fundraising efforts, and are accepting donations for various projects.  The big one is the building fund.  The money raised for the building fund will go directly towards the upkeep of the shop itself.  The equipment fund maintains and restores our locomotives and cars, and the general fund goes towards everything else, like artifact acquisition and restoration.  If you would like to contribute to the NRM, please click on the Canada Helps like on our main page, for a secure online donation.

In other news, the next Museum Open House is coming up fast.  July 2, 3 & 4, 2011, 9am-4pm.  All 3 locomotives will be on display, there will be model train layouts, Ontario Northland Histocial Society, Southern Niagara Model Railway Club, motorcar rides, and other displays that are still being worked on.  Come on out and support Railway History in Niagara, as the Niagara Railway Museum Inc. works towards creating a Museum to showcase the vast railway heritage of the entire Niagara Region.

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