June – July 2014 President’s Report
Something of interest to report this issue, but a little different. On Tuesday nights a group of us meet to work on building and maintaining various exhibits within the Museum. Director and Superintendent, Jeff VanWagenen decided Marty Grossman and yours truly should take a ride in the cab of a P&W stone train consist. Marty and I did, but Jeff didn’t. However, he picked us up at the end of the trip in Wilton to return us to the DRM (more information in this issue of the newsletter).
Late May and early June the DRM hosted over 500 third-graders, teachers and parents from eight local Danbury elementary schools. The classes visited the DRM after a morning visit at the Danbury Historical Museum. Some classes walked over while others rode in buses, but all arrived in good spirits and filled with enthusiasm. At our Museum, a short safety presentation on “Operation Lifesaver” was followed by a train ride on the Railyard Local, a spin on our turntable or a visit to our Railway Post Office car and then back to the Station. A gift of a pencil and discount coupon rounded out the visit. Some good weather and some not so good didn’t dampen the kids’ enthusiasm. Our second year cooperating with the Danbury Historical Museum in offering this program seems to be a success.
After an extended period of time that our pedestrian crossing into the yard has been a gravel walkway which easily eroded and had to be periodically maintained by the very busy Metro-North track crews, the crossing has had newly supplied rubber-style road pads installed! These pads will substantially enhance and improve the safety of our private crossing. Thanks and kudos to our Metro-North neighbors!
As many people living around the Danbury area are aware, work on the many Metro-North trackage road crossings are being worked upon. New drainage, ballast, ties, tie plates, clips, etc. are being installed under a multi-million dollar replacement program to rework a marginally functioning signaling system caused by drainage problems affecting correct signal operations and sporadic crossing protection operations. Road crossing closures, which of course aggravates drivers, reduced rail service because track is temporarily removed from service, aggravating commuters, and the need for buses to complete commutes, also disdaining to travelers, are only some of the frustrations impacting the project. On the construction side of the project, all is not great either. Extraordinary efforts by CDOT, Metro-North, Waters Construction and Rail Construction Corporation (most recently replaced by Railworks of New Jersey) have also had some issues with the track having the proper gauge, which was possibly caused by the incorporation of newly developed composite (plastic) ties. The solution…yup…back to good-ole’ fashioned wood ties. Work continues and it seems that progress is moving right along and ahead of schedule. Everyone involved are busting their rear-ends with long hours and weekend work to bring this work to fruition. So why present this information? Thanks to all the aforementioned entities, the Danbury Railway Museum has been the recipient of discarded gravel/fill, used railroad ties and other discarded materials which are obviously of great use to us. As an aside, the DRM yard has been utilized as a staging site for much of the preparation and assembly work, thus affording us the opportunity to get an education about the ups, downs and pitfalls of trackwork and rail construction in general.
On behalf of the Danbury Railway Museum, Wade W. Roese