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Niagara Railway Museum Blog

December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Niagara Railway Museum. All the best to you all.

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December 11, 2016

Less than 24hrs…

And the flanger is already getting worked on. Spent about 5hrs removing the old paneling from the inside the car to expose the original tongue in groove wall boards. This was necessary in order to inspect the boards for any serious damage, and to put a plan together for the restoration.  Luckily the interior is in pretty good shape, with only a small patch of boards that need to be replaced. The exterior will take more work, but one step at a time.

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The Flanger inside the Museum.

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Before the paneling was removed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lights were temporarily wired up and replaced with LED bulbs, which provided more than enough light to be able to work inside the car. We’ll be going over the electrical system to see what can be run off the generator. The walls were painted before the car was gutted and the original items that were mounted against the walls show in the paint. With the walls exposed, we can now put together a plan to fix up the interior, as well as the exterior. The 4th window was also reinstalled where the AC unit used to be. The car now also sports a CNR marker lamp.

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Halfway through the paneling removal, bad section is at the right.

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The finished product, all the paneling is gone and the car has been completely cleaned up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Flanger arrives!!

The Niagara Railway Museum Inc. would like to thank all the companies involved with the move of the Flanger. We obviously could not have done it without your help.

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There has been an incredible amount of things happening since the last update.  Our Fall Model Railway Show has come and gone and was a great success for the Museum. There has been constant work happening out at the site, with Wayne M finishing up covering over the upper by windows, which has made big difference in keeping some of the weather out. There has been track work, equipment maintenance and grounds work happening as well.  But the biggest news, and our early Christmas present, was the safe arrival of our 1935 ex-CNR snow flanger, #56323.

Countless hours of work went into the planning and execution of the move. The move involved a crane, specialized float trailer, fence removal, Airport cooperation, permits, and of course, general help. The move was all set up and planned for Friday, December 9th. So by 8am everyone was assembled at the Genaire Ltd. hangar at the Niagara District Airport in Niagara On The Lake and plans were worked through to make sure everyone was on the same page. First in was the crane, provided by Amherst Crane out of Port Colborne.

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An early morning start, 0745 on December 9th.

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Amherst has arrived and is starting to set up.

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Hovering over the ground, waiting for the trailer to be ready.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equipment Express from Ayr was the mover chosen for this job, and they had the perfect trailer for the job. Their crew knew the right route to take and we only encountered one low wire on the entire trip, which easily rolled over the car with the help of the wood skis we put over the car.  One of the stumbling points to the move was how to get the trailer into the property. We knew some fence had to be removed, and Greg from Peninsula Construction made sure that was looked after by sending a 2 man crew out to remove and reinstall the fence and barbed wire. Milton of Attar Metals in Fort Erie brought out the flat deck to move the trucks to the shop.  Milton managed to fit this into a very busy day, and was running later and later, but arrived at an almost perfect time and we had him loaded and gone quickly.

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After 40yrs, the track sits empty.

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Genaire loaded the trucks onto the flat deck provided by our neighbours Attar Metals.

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Milton and Dan picked the wheels up, and delivered them to the shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was definitely a bittersweet day for Lorraine and her staff at Genaire.  For almost 40yrs the car has sat out back of the Hangar, brought there by her father Gerry. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t much productivity at the plant that day, at least not until after lunch. Most of the staff took time to check out the move every once in a while.  Some stood outside watching, others watched through the windows. Lorraine’s son Chris, and Maintenance guy Al were right into it, assisting with the crane set up, blocking, and whatever else was needed. We were able to get Genaire to bring out the big forklift to assist with moving blocking and plates, and of course loading the wheelsets. Everything worked out very well for timing.  Because the crane had to go up 100ft, we were given a 2hr window from the Airport to get the job done. Once the car was loaded, the crane was packed up and sent ahead to get set up at the Museum.  Milton showed up for the trucks, and the permit adjustment allowed the crane and wheels to arrive before the car itself. The day would not be complete without a big thanks to Lisa and everyone that helped from the Niagara District Airport. Having a crane this close to the runways, and having to bring the truck through the airport property need special permission, and escorts on and off the property. The cooperation that happened with everyone involved was fantastic.  There was one small issue with the permit fo the car, as after loading on the trailer, it was higher than what was on the original permit.  Equipment Express made those changes, and after a short wait, we were on the road for Fort Erie at about 105pm. It was a longer route, taking us all the way to Hwy 3 at Gasline, then over to Stevensville Rd, and east onto Bowen. At the end of Bowen it was up into the yard and down the access road to the shop.

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Leaving Genaire for the final time.

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Turning off Townline Rd.

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Arriving at the west end of the CN Fort Erie yard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The actual trip to Fort Erie was about 70minute trip, which was great time. With the crane already set up at the shop by the time the car arrived, the unload went very quick. The trucks were on the track in the right order, and only needed to be moved in to position. The slings and spreader bars were put into position and the lift began. Not much more than 15 minutes later, at 320pm, the car was reunited with its trucks at its new home. Once everything was in place, the crane and float packed up and left.  The flanger, weighing in at about 22tons, needed to go inside. However, the wheels were not all that free rolling.  Ken and Ken were left to move this car inside, and the only thing we had was our Ford 8n tractor. Somehow, the tractor managed to pull the car into the shop (with Ken using a manual car mover at the back), where it would spend the night inside for the first time in decades.

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Everything is in position at the shop.

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Up in the air, heading for the trucks.

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At 1520, the body was resting back on its trucks at its new home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our 2 flangers, CN 56452 & 56323 together outside the shop.

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As we were finishing up, CN came through enroute to Buffalo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to the crews from:

Equipment Express – Rich & Darren, and Tim & Roger with the float and escort truck.

Amherst Crane – Gerald and Derek (operator)

Peninsula Construction – Greg and Morgan & Justin

Attar Metals – Milton & Dan

In addition to the many companies involved, I also thank our members who came out to help, Ken, Ken, Wayne, Garry and Jim.

 

October 22, 2016

As the month of October moves on, so does progress at the Museum. Saturday was yet another busy day.

Wayne M. spent the day up on the roof, installing the metal siding, closing up the upper heavy repair bay windows. He has done a great job and is 3/4’s of the way along. This has made a very big difference when it comes to keeping the weather out.

Ken Sr. picked up a Ford tractor in Niagara On The Lake and brought that out to the shop to replace our Ferguson tractor which is currently out of service for repairs.

Wayne G. brought out part of our latest donation, a large collection of “old, new stock” of LGB G scale trains. The locomotives were put on track and tested and all ran great.  This was the first time any of them have been run as they are all brand new!  All the cars and locomotives have since been placed back into storage until the Museum re opens in the spring. There were also 2 large plastic models, one of a Northern Pacific 4-6-6-4 Challenger, and the other is a Canadian Pacific 2-10-4 Selkirk. These 2 models have gone on display inside the boxcar.

Ken Jr. visited Genaire in Niagara On The Lake to inspect the ex-CNR flanger and formulate a plan for prepping and moving the car. The car is showing significant signs of deterioration. so this has become a top priority for the Museum to get the car on site and inside as soon as possible. This will be one of the most fragile pieces of equipment the Museum has had to move, and we are seeking donations to help with the cost of moving this rare piece to the Museum. Donations can be sent directly to the Niagara Railway Museum, or can be made online through the secure site at Canada Helps. All donations over $25 are eligible for a Charitable Tax Receipt. Please consider helping the Museum with this project.

We are just one week away from the 13th Annual Fall Niagara Model Railway Show at the Merritton Community Centre, 7 Park Ave in St. Catharines. vendors from across Ontario selling model railway items in all scales, as well as paintings, pictures, and collectibles.  More information can be found at http://www.nfrm.ca/nfmrs.php

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Wayne M. up on the roof installing the metal sheeting over the windows.

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The metal sheeting over the windows of the heavy repair bay from inside.

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Great, the stenciled weight was left on the car.

 

 

 

 

 

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The south side is showing significant siding deterioration.

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The inside of the Flanger.

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One of the new LGB engines and some cars on the Museum layout.

 

 

 

 

 

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The model of Northern Pacific 4-6-6-4 #5141.

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The largest locomotives the CPR owned were the 2-10-4 Selkirks.

 

 

October 18, 2016

New acquisitions!!

The Niagara Railway Museum Inc. is continuing to expand in 2016.  We have already announced the first piece of equipment that we are working on moving, ex-CNR wood body snow flanger #56323, which has been donated by the Warner family in St. Catharines.  This car is currently used as a meeting/conference room, and will be a great useful addition to the Museum.

We now move on to our next piece. We have been working on this item since the spring, and are very pleased to say that the last gondola from the Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo Railway will soon be joining the collection. TH&B 2676 was built in February 1966 by National Steel Car in Hamilton. 2676 was a multi use car, hauling finished steel products, stone, scrap, pipe, and other metals in and out of Hamilton, with it’s final assignment being a load of scrap rail from British Columbia to Hamilton.  The car was removed from service once unloaded and stored, awaiting movement to the Museum. We are working with CP to get the car moved to Fort Erie, and we are now fundraising for the movement of both cars, as well as the restoration back to its original markings.

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TH&B 2676 in Fisher Yard in March 2003. (Lance Brown photo)

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Hamilton Yard in November 2015. (Lance Brown photo)

 

 

The Museum is looking forward to have these 2 items join our growing collection. If you would like to contribute to these 2 projects, you can send payment directly to the Niagara Railway Museum Inc. at 6521 Burdette Dr. Niagara Falls, Ont. L2E 5H4. You can also make a secure online donation by visiting Canada Helps. The Niagara Railway Museum Inc. is a Charitable Organization registered with the Canada Revenue Agency. All donations over $25 are eligible for a Charitable Tax Receipt.

In other news, the 13th Annual Fall Niagara Model Railway Show is completely sold out for October. This is the first time we’ve sold out at this hall, and we are of course very pleased with this. The show is Sunday October 30th, 10am to 330pm at the Merritton Community Centre, 7 Park Ave in St. Catharines.

October 15, 2016

New track for more equipment

Saturday was a very productive day at the shop with 5 members taking care of a number of tasks. Wayne M. was working on the sheeting covering the windows on the top of the heavy repair bay. This will go a long way to help keep some of the weather out. Ken was working in the office area, while John, Aaron and Ken spent the day working on the yard track realignment. This work included leveling and preparing the area where the turnout will be moved to, and by the end of the day, the south track was lined to a gentle curve and is now ready for the turnout. After that work was done the crew set about getting the new track panels for the north track in front of the heavy repair bay.  This is necessary as the current flanger frame (ex-CNR 56452) will be moved outside to allow the coming flanger (56323) to go inside. The other new piece of equipment, which should be arriving soon as well (we hope to have an official press release on that soon), will also be going on the new storage tracks outside.

It was a great day, and a big part of the track project is complete.  The next step will be to move the turnout into position, and some final prep work on the storage track. In the spring the new north track will also be extended west, and eventually into a turnout to connect all 3 tracks. There is still so much going on before the end of the year.  2 more pieces of equipment are coming to the Museum, and our 13th Annual Fall Niagara Model Railway Show in St. Catharines is just 2 weeks away.

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The new north track for storage, in front of the heavy repair bay.

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Looking east towards the shop, the middle and south tracks are ready for the turnout.

October 14, 2016

NRM acquires ex-CNR flanger 56323

The Niagara Railway Museum Inc. Is very pleased to announce that we have acquired ex-CNR snow flanger 56323 from Genaire Ltd in St. Catharines, Ontario.

We are now seeking donations to assist us with the  move from St. Catharines to the Museum site in Fort Erie. We would like to move the car before winter to avoid the car sitting outside any further.

Donations can be mailed to the Museum at 6521 Burdette Dr. Niagara Falls, Ontario L2E 5H4 or through our secure server Canadahelps.org on the main page of our be site at www.nfrm.ca. Please help the NRM preserve the railway heritage of Niagara.

ex-CNR snow flanger 56323

ex-CNR snow flanger 56323

October 5, 2016

Upcoming Railway show

Been having some minor issues with posting on here, but will soon have a full update from our Fall Rail Days in September, and other happenings around the shop.

It’s just a few weeks until the 13th Annual Fall Model Railway Show at the Meritton Community Centre at 7 Park St in St. Catharines, Ont. The show runs 10am to 330pm and features model railway vendors, layouts and historical displays from across Ontario.  Something for everyone, get your Christmas shopping done early! Food is available, including our famous railway chili.

The show is run by the Niagara Railway Museum Inc., and all proceeds go directly to the Museum to allow us to continue our progress in 2017.

Info can be found at www.nfrm.ca/nfmrs.php

September 3, 2016

Just one week left…

As we get closer to our final event, our Fall Rail Days, 5 members spent Saturday moving some of our un-restored maintenance equipment and cleaning the shop. 4 pieces were moved, including our 2 ex-TH&B motorcars, into our other building, and are tucked away, stored with 4 of our 5 ex-CN Fairmont A4d gangcars.

170163sm 170277smThe cars were purchased in a group a few years ago by one of our members. There were parts and motors included, but the cars are not currently in the plans for restoration at this time. One car originally had the Fairmont 2 cylinder opposed piston engine. Sadly, that was no longer with the car.

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Both cars tucked inside the other building.

After moving the cars, other equipment in the shop was repositioned and cleaned for display.  The floors needed sweeping, and the equipment will be cleaned off during the week.

 

Landscaping is a never ending job at the Museum, and with the big tractor down, everything is being done with the weedeater, push mower and riding mower.  The site is looking fairly decent, but we’re glad the season is winding down.  Milton and Clayton from Attar Metals came over on Friday and moved some old pvc pipes that have been sitting between the old roundhouse and turntable. This will allow us to cut more of the grass down and improve the look of the site. Some work will be done with the foundation of the old roundhouse in the off season, mostly just clearing some of the dirt, brush and grass so we can better interpret the history of the site.

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August 15, 2016

Still going…

Despite the lack of posts here, the Museum is still moving along.  With the recent high temperatures and dry weather some of our work days have had to be cancelled, but we have still managed to be open on Saturdays, and will continue that to the end of September. Our Fall Open Weekend is on September 10th & 11th, 10am to 4pm both days, rain or shine. Still working on some new displays for that one.

One of the projects we will be working on over the coming weeks is our yard track realignment. The track was constructed using whatever material we could get, and has served its purpose very well. However, after looking at some of the photos in our collection, we have discovered the track is not currently laid out the way it was when in service. We have a rather sharp curve that could cause issues in the future with wheel wear and moving anything larger from track to track.  So, starting this coming Saturday we will start the first part of that work with some dirt removal. The plan is to scrape down the excess material, cut the track where it needs to be cut, and slide it over towards the middle track.  At that time, we’ll remove rail/track that is not needed, and move the turnout up in one piece to join the 2 tracks at a better location. This will also allow us to finish off the turnout by installing the points and switch stand. The end result will see a much smoother operation between the 2 current tracks, along with a longer tail track for switching moves. The length of track will be fairly close to what it is now.

We have many things on the go right now, and we’re always looking for help, whether it’s labour, or materials, it’s all needed.  With the track realignment project, we are seeking 100lb rail. We have 22 lengths of 85lb rail to trade if the 100lb is good, but going to be scrapped. Can be unloaded/loaded right at our site. Also need the bars to go with the 100lb.

One final item we are still looking for is a caboose. We would like to acquire a CN or CP caboose (preferably not one that’s been destroyed/stripped inside), steel or wood. This is one of the main pieces we are missing at the Museum, and it is an integral item when it comes to the history of the railway.

Any information can be forwarded on to Museum personnel at info@nfrm.ca

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