November 2010 President’s Report

By Ira Pollack


            In this month’s report I would like to wish you all well and hope the best for you with the coming holidays almost upon us. I would like to thank you for all the help you have given to the Museum this year. We have had a good year overall, with the many projects moving forward at whatever pace is possible for them. Some of the things we do happen quickly, and some others do not and are very time consuming and drawn out.

            Track 24 – We have had a fairly good turnout of volunteers over the last several months rebuilding Track 24. Our crew has replaced over sixty ties in this area and has made really great progress on this rebuild. The hardest part of this project is getting dedicated volunteers who will show up on a regular basis for a hard day’s work. Let’s face it, this is very nasty, heavy and dirty work for us. We are doing this manually with very little mechanical help. My heart does go out to the people who have showed up to help with this project though. My sincere thanks go out to Bob Wolken, Tom Brown, Ed Holowinko, Stan Madyda, Jeremy Rice, Jim Teer, Chuck Sager, Jim Vigar, and Charlie Herman for their dedication to this project. I am sure that I have forgotten others who participated in this project and I apologize to them.

            Turntable – Progress has slowed down for the season with this grand project. I have met with a CDOT Structural Engineer for guidance and planning for rebuilding of the pit walls. This will entail cleaning of the loose concrete walls, installing a pin-and-mesh reinforcement system, and finally pouring a special bonding mortar. We have been collaborating with the State Historical Preservation groups to maintain a proper level of accuracy with the final pouring of the wall. I have also begun getting quotes on the actual work to be done. The range of these quotes is very wide, and I feel that the Museum should possibly begin a fund drive through our membership, the public, or even the City of Danbury to help support this phase of the restoration. We could be looking at somewhere around $15,000 for this work to be done. I have begun sending out requests for donations to some of the larger concrete vendors in this region hoping for an answer to our needs. Possibly our Grant Committee can help, too.

            NYC Caboose – Work has continued with the roof replacement on our wooden caboose. Gerry and crew have removed the rotted sections and are racing to beat the winter weather that is on the way. Gerry plans to install a temporary sheathing and then a tarp to protect the work that has already been done on the roof.  In essence Gerry and crew have fabricated many of the new parts using the originals as patterns. This has been quite a challenge and their workmanship really shows off that dedication to this project.

            Yard Lease – Progress has been made with our negotiations with CDOT/City of Danbury. A new map has been drawn up including the original and amended areas of the yard. What still remains is the extension of the time limits of the lease agreement. I am pushing for a minimum of 50 years, with several 10-year extensions. Time will tell though! My goal is to solidify a stronger future for the Museum along with a better working relationship among ourselves, CDOT and the City of Danbury. Communications had been vague at best in the past and I am hoping what I have done will clarify what our goals and the future may be, and nurture these relationship that we now have.

            In closing my report this month, again I thank you all for the help that you have given to our Museum and to wish you all a pleasant, healthy Holiday Season.