April 2006 President’s Report

by Ira Pollack

            This month’s column features my address to the Danbury Railway Museum’s membership at the Annual Meeting on Wednesday, March 15th. It summarizes the past year at the Museum beginning last March.

            Tonight I’d like to look back over the year 2005 and talk to you about some of our successes. To start with:

            This past year is probably the first year that the Museum has worked within a planned, balanced budget. Although there were some small overspendings, for the most part we were able to follow our planned expenditures. This is a major accomplishment for our organization. My thanks to our financial officer, Patty Osmer, for her diligence.

            Our membership at this time stands at 592. We now have many different people who have joined. Many are families with children, joining our traditional railroad buffs.

            As always, we have many projects going on both outside and within the station. To list a few projects and accomplishments from 2005:

1) NYC caboose work continued up to the frost. Work on the north side and roof will continue this year.

2) Through a $4500 Meserve grant, we were able to enhance our signage in the yard and building. This is the best the Museum has looked since its beginnings.

3) The Wilton semaphore, while still needing electric wiring, is almost complete, and is an operational exhibit.

4)We have a regular crew of 5-6 people on Tuesday nights working on new HO layout and upgrading the O-gauge layout.

5) A G-gauge layout has been donated and is almost ready to be unveiled within the Museum.

6) Our turntable has been given Historic status by the federal government.

7) Two ACMU cars were donated by Metro-North; a Rail Post Office car was a gift from the Housatonic RR.

8) Large directional signs for the DRM were erected on I-84.

9) Through efforts from outside sources, unusable railroad ties were removed and rail was donated.

10)The DRM Library has grown to the bursting point. It has acquired many large collections through donations and purchases.

11) The birthday party room is now being used year-round.

12) Two 44-ton locomotives are being donated by Electric Boat.

            All in all, it has been a very successful year for the Museum. Unfortunately we have lost some key players in our operation, but we must continue to grow and move forward. We have many challenges to meet in these months to come. We have track work to accomplish: replacing ties on the turntable lead switch and tracks 34 & 42. These are major challenges for the Museum and its staff. We must remain positive and work on it methodically, even if it is a little at a time.

            We also must fill the open positions of Adver-tising Director and Operations Director, and add to the Volunteer Committee. These are vital positions to help our operations run smoothly, efficiently, and to market our unique product.

            As you well know, we have new events planned this year, including. Rockin’ on th Railroad and The Little Engine That Could. Rockin’ on the Railroad will be a fund raiser for the track work at the Museum. The Little Engine That Could will be a large event along the lines of Thomas the Tank Engine. This event will require the participation in one way or another of a high percentage of our membership.

            In closing I’d like to thank you all for your help during this past year. Always realize that it is you, the members, that have made this Museum what it is today.