July 2006 Presidentís Report

By Ira Pollack

††††††††††† This month I'd like to talk about some of the things that have been going on at the Museum. By this time you probably know that the Little Engine That Could event has come and gone. It was a very big effort and commitment for our Museum and volunteers. We anticipated much greater attendance for this new event held by the Museum. There were many added attractions in addition to the Little Engine That Could itself. One significant problem was the weather; rain for three of the four days, and record heat the fourth. The people that did show up I'm sure had a very good time, and there were lots of smiling faces. Another positive was the way our volunteers pulled together and made the event a success despite all the other problems. Our volunteers who attended and ran the event acted very professionally and were able to route our visitors through the facilities smoothly. This kind of an event has a lot of uncertainties and we never really know if we'll do well or not, but I still feel very confident in our volunteers in whatever venture we might undertake. In the future we will have to look at this particular event closer and see if it's worthwhile to be involved at all. I'm sure many of our volunteers are relieved that we got through this in one shape or form or another, but the bottom line for me is that we pulled together as a team and focused on one goal.

††††††††††† In other news, in reality this time, I think, the 44-ton center-cab yard-switcher locomotives have arrived from Electric Boat in Groton, CT. It's hard to believe that they are actually sitting in our yard. I must tell you that until the very end of this project, I was truly doubtful that we would ever receive these locomotives. There were many obstacles in our way but we persevered and finally triumphed in the end. These two locomotives were graciously donated to the DRM by the submarine base. They had suspended railroad service in their facility and wanted both engines to go to a museum that would appreciate them. Unfortunately we had a time limit on these locomotives. They had to be removed from the Electric Boat facility or be scrapped in place. Initially the DRM tried to move them by truck, but failed in the attempt. Five months were spent negotiating the move with various railroad entities, to no avail. After the intervention and help of Congresswoman Nancy Johnson to save these from the torch, we were able to finalize the moves to Danbury. There were an incredible number of phone calls back and forth among the various railroads that would move them. The biggest problem was that these locomotives have friction bearings and the liability of moving over the Northeast Corridor was large. After many inspections and measurements and "kicking of the tires", the locomotives were moved outside of the Electric Boat facility for movement west. The move to Danbury basically happened in three stages - Groton to New Haven, New Haven to Derby, and finally Derby to Danbury. I want to thank everyone involved in bringing these locomotives to our Museum: from Electric Boat, Nancy Johnson and her office, Providence & Worcester RR, Housatonic RR, Metro-North, Amtrak, and our DRM volunteers.

††††††††††† For your information one of the locomotives is an ex-New Haven #0814 built in 1945; the other is an ex-Union Pacific (1947), actually the smallest that the Union Pacific ever had. What remains now is for our mechanical staff to give these engines the once-over, but I must also add that we did receive these locomotives in running order. I'm very pleased with the result of this long and arduous project, and feel that these two locomotives will serve the Museum for many years to come. I will keep you updated as to the progress of our newly acquired equipment.