December 2008 Presidentís Report

By Ira Pollack

††††††††††† This month I would like to wish you all a pleasant holiday season. I also would like to thank our volunteers for all of the hours that they have given to our Museum. ††††††††††††† Overall we have had a good, busy year with many people coming through the Museum seeing and enjoying what we have to offer. What makes the Museum unique is all the diversity both in the yard and the building. I still get a great feeling watching our guests and seeing their excitement as they walk through our facility, discovering a piece of equipment or looking at one of the displays in the building. It makes all the hard work worth it to see those reactions from our guests.

††††††††††† On November 1st we experienced our first railfan excursion in many years. Our trip to Kent, CT was a grand success, with many different people attending this unique event. This excursion took over six months of planning and much communication among Metro-North, the Housatonic Railroad, and me. Way back in April I began the collaborations and proceedings with these two entities with the hope of making this turn into a reality. Although it started very slowly, we had almost 500 people signed up by the end of October. I would like to thank all the people who helped pull this event together: within the two railroads, people in Kent, and, of course, our own organization. My thanks also go out to Pete McLachlan for delivering his informative narrative during the trip. I think we should look at these kinds of excursions every year, but try to head different directions to avoid boredom or excursion burnout. Unfortunately this is what happened to us years ago with our New York City trips. I also think that collaborating with other rail museums might be feasible for an event, and use Metro-North for the vehicle to get us to that location. Surprisingly I have been approached by officials in several towns because they would like us to come to their town by rail, and have this kind of event again. We also gave out a questionnaire to ticket holders on the November 1st trip. The majority of the people responding would love to do this again. Virtually the only complaint was that we did not spend enough time in Kent, and the day went by too quickly. I think that in the future we will try to leave Danbury a lot earlier in order to allow that extra time at our destination point. This is part of our learning experience from doing this kind of event. We appreciate the feedback from those who filled out the questionnaire.

††††††††††† Every month I talk about our work load and the need for volunteers to help in the yard with varying projects. I would like to list some of the things that are going on to give you an idea of our challenges and what we must do to keep our yard safe, neat, and clean both for our guests and our members who walk through it. Some of these projects are top priorities, some are general maintenance, and some are continued progress in keeping up our exhibit areas. Of course we can always use your help on Saturday mornings, weather permitting. Some of these things will get done, but the list is ever growing and there are only just so many people around who are able to assist. There is no priority listed with these items. It is just for your information and to let you know what it takes to keep things running in the yard.


1. Move picnic tables into protected area

2. Fold up inflatable and put into trailer

3. Move E-9 grills into the E-9

4. Move RS-11 steps off platform to east end of the yard

5. Put tamper in boxcar

6. Secure speederís front door and replace zippers

7. Spike two small sections of rail together for display

8. Replace CN caboose cloudy window

9. New window for #1455

10. Rebuild gas shed

11. Stack 107 lb. rail

12. Stack frogs and points

13. Install highway posts and reflectors next to switches 18 and 20

14. Dig out two ties next to the turntable unload area

15. Grease the backhoe

16. Finish burning at the east end of the yard

17. Pump old fuel oil out of the New Haven MUís and RS-11

18. Properly dispose of 12 batteries

19. Properly dispose of 10 old propane tanks

20. Paint door to trailer

21. Put away tarps for the winter

22. Mount dwarf signals on tie-wire for display

23. Fix flat tire on Chevy plow

24. Clean work area near turntable

25. Weld door hinge on ballast regulator

26. Weld wheel stops for new displays

27. Start new metal scrap pile

28. Clean old seats out of New Haven gondola

29. Take wood cribbing indoors

30. Put wheel stops at end of Track 18


††††††††††† This is just a general list of things to do. It is an ongoing list. What ever help you can give the Museum is always appreciated. Just give me call.


††††††††††† Once again, Happy Holidays!