August 2008 President’s Report

By Ira Pollack


                        Hope all is well with you this summer. As usual a lot has been going on at the DRM. I can tell you there is never a dull moment, that is for sure.

                        To start with, I have appointed Jeff Van Wagenen as the new Chief Mechanical Officer. One of Jeff’s first responsibilities will be categorizing and cataloging our equipment with the different mechanical issues that we have with each of them. Once we know what is before us, we can prioritize and proceed with an appropriate budget. Some of this work can be done in-house, but some will have to be contracted out because of our lack of work facilities and mechanical knowhow. In the past we weren’t able to see our work load as a big picture, and hopefully this will be a valuable tool for our progress, mechanically. I wish Jeff well in this endeavor and support him in these new directions.

            Work is proceeding on the SW-8 locomotive, fabricating new legs for the fan bearing pedestal. Skip Kern and Mike Miciukiewicz have graciously been helping Jim Poor fabricate and weld the new legs for the rusted base to the fan. Access to this area was difficult at best, requiring removal of most of the front of the locomotive, including the handrails, shutter assembly, and fan blade. Most of the hardware was original, so removal was almost impossible, but they did it with plenty of WD 40, heat and muscle. More to Follow!

            Also in the yard, Art Slothower has been diligently working on the CN 660, used as the DRM party car. To date he has primed both sides and one end, and has finished the roof. I must add that Art has done this work for the most part all by himself, day after day. I have much respect for Art’s diligence and dedication to this project, and of course, to all the other projects that he has been involved with.

            In other news, talking of dedication, Dave Roberts has repainted the semaphore shack and has taken upon himself to crackseal our driveway to the building. Dave, too, shows that dedication to our Museum and cause, and his highly commended by me.

            By the time you read this, the DRM will have experienced its second “Railway Days” event. The main theme of this year’s event will be to celebrate the history of the RPO cars, the #6563 in particular. This project was, and is, a success story for the Museum even right from the start. I say “success” in that this was a major pooling of our resources and volunteers all pulling together and making this car what it is today. I was there in the beginning, walking through the car during the winter, abandoned, with broken windows and left to rot away. I remember trying to close the doors and protect it from further abuse. What really sold me were the remaining mail slots, or pigeon holes, that had not been vandalized yet. It was still essentially complete. I felt whatever it might take, I must try to save this car, and we must add it to our collection. The Housatonic RR generously donated, then transported it to the DRM. I had known of this car, but had never seen it, and in my wildest dreams never thought it would end up like it has at the Museum, restored. Look at what we did though! Look at what positive thinking can do! We should all be proud of this success story.

            In closing this article, I will tell you I am very excited by our November 1st Fall Foliage Train excursion to Kent, CT. I am hoping for a good turnout of train buffs, DRM members and families for this unique excursion. The Museum is long overdue for this type of event, and I am hoping that you all will buy tickets for it. I know that the people in Kent and all along the line are excited by it, too. This will be a good exposure for the Museum and will promote tourism for the DRM and local region.

            In this month’s article I mentioned but a few of our volunteers. All our volunteers are the people who make us successful as a Museum. Please support them.