June 2007 President’s Report

By Ira Pollack

            This month I would like to report on some of our progress with various projects in the yard.

Trackwork -

            We have made tremendous progress on Track 34 restoration over the last six Saturdays. Work crews have replaced approximately 15 ties through the curve, including replacement of single flanged tie plates with doubles where needed, and regauging and widening that area. The regrading and recontouring of the surrounding roadbed continues to help with drainage of the areas adjacent to Track 34. About 40 yards of stone and cinders have been removed from this area for eventual sifting for future reuse. Approx-imately 500 hours have been expended by our volunteer crews to date. I must also comment on the level of cooperation and attitude with our volunteers on this project. They have worked together as a team and are to be highly commended for their grand efforts. What remain now are stone backfilling, possibly replacing one or two more ties, then final tamping and compaction of about 200 ft. of the refurbished track. I will also add that member Dan Carleton has purchased two pneumatic spikers which have added to the project’s ease and completion. Dan has also recommended purchasing the tamping machine in Hatfield, MA that I had talked of in the past. We have offered scrap value for this machine to its owner, and I too am very supportive of acquiring it for the Museum’s needs. We will be making the accommodations to move it to Danbury in the near future. We are in dire need of this kind of machine to aid us in track work.

FA-1 0428 -

            As you may well know now, the locomotive was seated on the trucks this last Sunday, May 13. I would like to thank Wade Roese for heading up this long overdue project, and seeing it through. After many false starts on this project over the years by the Museum, Modzelewski Towing made short work of lowering the precariously perched engine on to its wheel sets with his crane service. Mr. Modzewleski, who has a strong sense of community spirit and willingness to share his expertise, has helped us achieve a significant financial savings on this expensive project. I am very grateful and relieved at closing this chapter on the project. The Mechanical Department has no immediate plans for restoration of the locomotive at this time since their schedule is already full with many needed projects.

            We have been using our wheeled equipment vigorously this season for all of the construction going on in the yard. Many thanks to Bob Andrews and J.R. Mitchell for keeping the backhoe and lowboy dump truck running through it all. These are vital pieces of equipment for the Museum, for without them we would not be able to proceed on any of the lifting or digging jobs that we have.

            As always there is much ahead of us, but we are making progress. Hopefully in the next several weeks the work on Track 34 will be completed and we will begin reconstruction of the turntable lead switch. This, too, will be a large project but I am very confident in the efforts of our volunteers. As I have said before, we have pulled together and are working as a team.

            Looking ahead to the near future, the Museum will be sponsoring “The Little Engine That Could” event. Please come forward and sign up to volunteer for this event. The Little Engine is our big event for the year, and we need your help. I look forward to seeing you at the Museum, of course to volunteer, but you are always welcome to come over to talk or just visit and see what’s going on.