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March 17, 2024

Off season progress

With the unusually mild winter, there has been a lot of work happening during the off season. At the end of 2023, the office portion of the shop received a new roof thanks to an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant. This will allow us to once again use this as a public space for meetings and displays. Phase 1 was the roof, phase 2 will be the clean up of the old paint and such. We will be working on this area as the 2024 season goes on. It’s nice to finally have this area dry.

Other work has continued on many projects. Allan has spent a lot of time installing the new safety railings along the work platform and around the drop table pit. he has continued to improve the safety of the facility and equipment for our volunteers and guests.

Rob has also been busy, taking a bit of a break from CN 9173 to work on the GE 25tonner. 9173 is coming along quite well, and will be ready for painting in 2024. We are currently waiting for new rubber gasket material to make and install new number boards. This material will also be used to replace the old, cracked rubber around the windows on the 25tonner. At some point, the locomotive hit something which shifted the cab out of place. Rob and Allan have fixed a lot of that damage, with Rob continuing on the body work, smoothing out the dents, and cleaning the old paint off, and giving the cab a coat of primer. The doors have gotten the locks repaired and can now be used. Window work is still ongoing, and the body work and primer paint will continue on the hood.

Elsewhere has just been a lot of cleaning, for the most part. Work has been fairly regular on Saturdays, and even on Sundays now, so there is a lot of progress being made on things. The Spring Niagara Model Railway Show in March went very well, and was a good start to our 2024 season.

We have another busy year ahead of us in 2024. We look forward to showing all the progress we have made in the off season, and to share what we have planned. For Christmas, we did a test run of decorating JZ 62.118 with lights, just to see how it would work out for a potential future winter event. it went quite well, and we hope to be able to do this again during the holidays.

Thank you to all of our great volunteers who have done so much work during the off season to prepare us for 2024. We look forward to welcoming everyone back on Opening Weekend in May.