The weather has finally improved enough to get some much needed work done. On March 16 CN 9173 and INCo 8 had some sanding done to clean up more of the rough rust spots. Once the oxidation was cleaned up, the bright yellow came through on INCo 8. On March 17th, Ken and Neil spent some time at the shop working on CN Flanger 56323, managing to get a first coat of the final colour on the car, and it’s looking pretty good. The new paint goes on and covers well. This paint was recommended to us from our friends at the https://albertarailwaymuseum.com/ as they have used it on many pieces of their equipment. If it can stand up to Alberta winters, than it should be just fine for our needs.
Really pleased that we were able to get the first coat of paint on the car. Still a fair amount of work to be done with the paint, but a few good weather days, and some extra help, and this car will have the main body painted fairly quickly. Once the main paint is done, the lettering/number will be applied. The cupola windows are the final pieces of the restoration, and are currently being rebuilt by Alan at his home shop.
What a great return of the Niagara Model Railway Show on Sunday March 6th, with over 400 people coming out to the show. There was a line up before the show started, and by noon, we had already surpassed our previous show. We sold out of chili and hot dogs (after lunch, thankfully), which is actually a first. Our table count increased before the show opened as vendors showed up and realized they had more stuff than they had table space. The show was well and truly sold out. We could fit about 10 more tables in, but we do like having a few layouts for display, so people can see what the possibilities are. We had a lot of returning vendors, but quite a few new ones as well, and over half of the vendors are already booked back in for the October show. There were 3 operating layouts at the show, N, HO, and Lego.
A big thanks to everyone who came out to the show, your attendance was a big boost for the Museum. Thanks to our many new and returning vendors from across Ontario. We hope you all had a great show and we look forward to seeing you in October.
These shows couldn’t be possible without our amazing Museum volunteers. A lot of time and effort goes into making these shows possible. This one was put together in about a month. In that time, we have to find vendors, and get as much information out about the show that we can, to get people through the door. Ken and Ken deal with the majority of the vendors, be it phone, email, etc. Mike was also helping with the vendors before the show. Glen, Aaron, and Jim were looking after the Museum table while John, Rick and Chuck looked after the door. Nolan spent his time looking after his Lego train display. Our kitchen crew, Melody, Jane, Susan and Deanna make sure that our vendors and guests are served good food during the day.
Overall, this was definitely the show that we were hoping for. A good turnout, happy visitors and vendors, and great boost for the Museum. A great start for our 25th Anniversary season! For more information on how to become involved with the Museum, visit our information page at http://nfrm.ca/volunteer.php. You can also keep track of our events onsite and off site on our Facebook page, or at our events page at http://nfrm.ca/events.php.
With most of the focus on the upcoming train show on March 6th, there won’t be much happening until after the show. On Saturday, Feb 26th, Neil torqued all the nuts on the head of the Vulcan and installed the new spark plugs.. Allan was out on Sunday and installed one of the side plates on the flanger carbody, and prepped the one on the other side for installation.
As has been mentioned before, there are a lot of projects being worked on, and planned for completion as soon as the weather allows. Much of this work involves painting equipment. The work includes painting and lettering on Flanger 56323, which is at the point where this work can now be performed. Our GE 25tonner will have a new paint scheme and coat of paint, a variation of the old CN green/yellow. The Whiting Trackmobile will be returned to service for display/demonstration, and the cab of CN 9173, which has been receiving a lot of attention, will also get a coat of paint. One of the biggest projects will be outside the shop as we work to complete the trackwork in our yard. One turnout will be moved, which will allow for a better line on the north track. This is a fairly big job, and we are planning to start the prep work as soon as we can in April. There are still other projects planned, but these are the biggest ones that are really being pushed before the 25th Anniversary.
The Museum is always looking for new members/volunteers to come out and help, on site or off. Members don’t neccesarily need to get dirty working on projects. We can always use help with promotions off site at different shows, and also cataloging of artifacts.
We are in the final days leading up to the return of the Niagara Model Railway Show this coming Sunday, March 6th. The show runs from 10am to 3pm at the Merritton Community Centre at 7 Park Ave in St. Catharines. We are pleased to welcome 45 vendors from across Ontario, some new, and some returning. Show guess can expect to find model trains in many scales, from N to G, along with N scale, HO, and Lego layouts. Admission is $5. Food, drinks and snacks are also available.
Masks are 100% mandatory, and must be worn at all times. Other restrictions have been removed.
Despite Saturday being yet another cold day, the rest of the weekend turned out great. Not much went on Saturday, just some planning, discussing work projects for the spring. Allan was out on Sunday working on the Flanger, and managed to get all the fascia boards up on the north side of the Flanger. We are currently working on getting the proper paint colour and will be painting the car as soon as the weather allows. The rebuild of CN 56323 has been a lengthy one, but the work has gone much smoother, and faster with Allan working on it. The roof will need some significant work, but that will likely wait until the fall, after RailDays. We look forward to seeing the project completed.
Ken was out on Family day, taking advantage of the 10 degree weather to work on the cab of CN 9173. Things tend to start a lot easier when it’s not freezing cold out, especially the compressor. Working with the needle scaler and air sander, the cab nose lost the remainder of the CN noodle, and the old flaking paint. The cab is planned to have a new coat of paint, again, as soon as the weather permits. Still trying to figure out how we’re going to fix the huge dents in the nose from a previous move. We believe the grab irons were ripped out of the nose when someone tried to life the 17ton cab by them. The cab will be restored to the Orange/black paint scheme it wore when in service on the steel trains.
And as a final note, we are extremely pleased to report that the Niagara Model Railway Show is SOLD OUT!! This was far more than was expected, and we hope to get a lot of people through the door to support our vendors. The show is just 2 weeks away on Sunday, March 6th.
The Niagara Railway Museum is extremely pleased to welcome back the spring Niagara Model Railway Show to the Merritton Community Centre, after a 2yr hiatus due to the pandemic. We are doing our very best to make this a great show, and we look forward to welcoming back our vendors and guests. The show will be held on Sunday, March 6th, 2022 from 10am to 3pm at 7 Park Ave in St. Catharines. Admission is $5/person. More information, including the new show flyer and vendor form, can be found at:
It’s been a very long road, but the Museum is finally open for the 2021 season. Please join us as we welcome back our guests every Saturday from 10am to 2pm, rain or shine. Admission is by donation.
There is still so much happening at the shop right now. We have ongoing track work, which is allowing us to move between our shop tracks, and will soon allow us to move equipment around in the shop, creating some new displays. Inside the shop, work has been continuing on CN Flanger 56323, as we are nearing the home stretch of this lengthy rebuild. The first fully operable switch is now mostly complete. There is still some adjusting to be done, but we are able to run through the straight route with the locomotive, and both with the Trackmobile. A video of the first move through the new turnout can be seen here: https://youtu.be/_mE63XCu8pY
The Museum is always looking for new members to help work on our many projects. No experience is necessary, and information can be found at http://nfrm.ca/volunteer.php
Our volunteers have been working extremely hard to make everything right for our returning visitors. We are still working on some things, but it’s looking pretty good, and people have had nothing but great comments so far. Plan your visit to the Museum any Saturday until October 2nd. And don’t forget our Annual RailDays event on September 11th & 12th, Southern Ontario’s biggest railway event.
The website has been receiving some new pictures in the image galleries. Some new items have been added to Canadian National, TH&B and Structures galleries. Future updates will include the blueprints gallery as we are currently scanning hundreds of Michigan Central Railroad blueprints, and will be selecting different ones from around the region for inclusion in the galleries section. We are also working on a searchable database for many of these items, which will help get more of the unseen parts of our collection out for viewing.
We are hoping to get back to the regular work at the shop soon. While we are still out there working, it slows way down in the winter time, as there is just no easy way to get some of the projects done with the weather. We will also have news coming about opening weekend, and any other events through the year, as soon as we know what the restrictions will be going into the spring.
With the current restrictions in place, we aren’t getting a lot done out at the shop. Allan has taken a few things home to work on them at his home shop, including the cupola windows on the Flanger, and some of our woodworking tools. Elsewhere we’ve been working on planning what projects will be worked on in 2021. Obviously some of the projects have been pushed back a bit until we can return to full work force out there. New gauges are being acquired to be installed in the Trackmobile. The next step in the Flanger restoration, the north side boards, will hopefully finally happen in March. We were hoping to have that part done already, but there have been a lot of smaller items that have needed to be dealt with in preparation for the new boards. Here are some pics taken today, Jan 31st of some of the equipment at the shop. Decided to shoot them in black & white, just because. There is no doubt that 2020 was a challenging year, and has caused damage to everything, and everyone. The Museum is no different. We were not able to hold our many events in 2020, and as of right now, 2021 is shaping up to have the same issues. Our March model railway show will not happen, and while we do have dates for our other events, we are not sure at this time if any of those will happen. We will have more information as it becomes available to us.
As we look back at 2020, we see a year of extreme difficulties, a year where many have lost their jobs, their businesses, their loved ones. So many areas have been almost decimated by everything that has gone on. The Heritage sector is definitely one of those areas. While the Museum had a good year as far as work goes, we are entering 2021 in a very difficult position. We are looking into government funding to help get us through this very difficult time. However, in all the bad, there has been good. That is what we will be focusing on, all the good we managed to get done this year. It’s a VERY long post, so here we go!!
In January we moved equipment around the shop to allow us to get the GE over the pit for repairs, with the GE and Plymouth switching places so work could be done on the GE. The shop also got a new front door.
February, the new mounting bracket for the Trackmobile transmission was fabricated and installed and repairs continued through the month. The first part of our #7 turnout was delivered after being donated by OWS Rail Contracting. The end of February had us preparing for the 21st Annual Niagara Model Railway Show.
March 1st was the Model Railway Show, Our second best Model Railway Show ever, and would also end up being one of the last model railway shows to be held in 2020. At the shop, work continue on the GE diesel, and for the first time in decades the locomotive sat level after we removed some spacers under the rear axle springs. Work was also started on steam engine 46, cleaning off years of crud, as we prepared for a cosmetic restoration that sadly did not start in 2020. With some unseasonably warm weather, our crew also worked on the construction of the north shop track.
April was the start of everything shutting down, and the Museum started making plans to cancel our events for the year. We were still operating with a skeleton crew, and still making progress on restoration and repairs. The weather was decent at times so we were able to get some good pics of the equipment that doesn’t always get outside.
May started out with our cancelled Opening Weekend, which was good, because it snowed that weekend anyways. Work continued though and we managed to get a fair amount of track work done, The cab side of E7 was needle scaled and the Fairmont gang carrier was stripped down for rebuilding. Work also continued on repairing our Ferguson tractor, and the Trackmobile.
June Saw continued repairs on the tractor and the restoration of the gang carrier. it was a fairly quiet month overall.
July saw the cancellation of our Open Weekend event at the shop, but work continued. It was announced in July that we would be acquiring the one of a kind TH&B Carpenters Boarding car X759 from a private owner in Fenwick. One of our members built a small diorama showing the CN scale at Fort Erie, which is displayed on top of the original scale beam which was donated to us by Attar Metals. Equipment was also put back in it’s proper place in the shop, and this would be the first time all 4 locomotives were outside together, including our 2 locomotives from the Hydro Electric Power Commission Queenston-Chippawa Project.
August would turn out to be moving month. The main parts of the gang carrier were put together, just missing the step boards. Plans were also made to move TH&B X759 from Fenwick to Fort Erie at the end of August. The weekend after the new car arrived, all new stairs were constructed to allow our visitors to access the CN Flanger, Boarding car, and even the GE diesel. It was also decided that we would be able to have a slightly scaled down RailDays event in September.
September RailDays was a huge success and one of our best events at the shop ever, despite everything going on. It was also one of our busiest months of the year. With RailDays at the start, we finished up with a very busy track work weekend which saw the beginning of the construction of our #7 turnout thanks to James and Andrew from Petroczi National Rail Services. Work also continued on the north side of the CN flanger, and also saw all of the windows being rebuilt for the boarding car. Never did I expect to even see the turnout get started, let alone get to where it is now (see further down).
Moving into October and the work continued all over the place. We have gained some new members, and some much needed experience. All 9 windows for the boarding car were built or rebuilt, and all 4 side windows for the Flanger were also rebuilt and have all be put back in place. Grab irons and such have been reinstalled on the south side and the car is almost back together. More track work continued between other projects, including changing some ties outside the middle door, and bolting the rail together. Unfortunately our October Model Railway Show, our last big fundraiser for the year, was cancelled.
November definitely had some highs and lows. We were able to acquire a CP caboose, and started fundraising for it. Unfortunately we had to ultimately give up the car. The funds raised have been placed in a separate account to be put towards a future caboose acquisition. We were very hopeful, and very excited for this, but unfortunately, things ended up not happening as we had planned. It was very upsetting to have to make the decision to give up the car. However, November wasn’t a complete loss. The Flanger work has continued and is really coming along. The Museum took Diamond and Gold in the Readers Choice awards for 2020, our first time being nominated. James and Andrew continued working on the turnout, and a friend, Bill, came over with a backhoe and placed some rail and ties for us.
Which brings us to December, and the end of the year. James and Andrew came down a couple more times and have managed to finish off the turnout in just 5 trips. There is still a little work to go, the switch stand needs to be installed and 8 more tie plates are needed. Once that is complete, we will finish off the connection to the north track, build a small pull back track, and for the first time since the shop was removed from service, all 3 tracks will be connected.
On behalf of the Niagara Railway Museum Inc. I would like to extend my thanks to everyone who supported us in this difficult year, we thank you for helping us continue to preserve this part of our history. Also, a very big thanks to our very dedicated group of members who have come out when they can, to do what they could from a distance. Thank you for following the guidelines and helping make the Museum a safe place to work and visit. As we close out 2020, I can only hope for a better 2021, for everyone. We hope to be able to have some events at the shop in 2021 to allow our guests to see how much was accomplished in 2020.