Volume 63 – Issue 8             1 August 2023

From the Brass Hat

July was a busy month and I’m glad that I got to see a lot of y’all out at the yard. It seems that we should have been equipped with life jackets and swim fins for the Brew & Choo. We had a pretty decent turnout and the vendors were excellent! The new Red Moose Brewery Emergency Taproom (Fire truck) was really something to see. In fact, ours was the first location to which it was deployed since being built. The food from Philly Grub food truck was most tasty too. Unfortunately, they all got washed out when the big rain storm hit. To the train and ground crews, BRAVO! Despite the hardest rain I can remember since Hurricane Fran came to town in ‘96, everyone stuck to the plan and took care of the customers and all our equipment.

Even more exciting than that event was, I am pleased to announce that the Board of Directors approved the NCRM Strategic Plan for 2023 – 2032. Many of you helped craft the plan over the past 12 months, and under the expert guidance of Chairman Jim Jatko, we got a very detailed and deliberate plan which will facilitate growth and longevity of our Museum for years to come. I would recommend that each member read the plan (only about 30 pages) to understand the approved priorities for the 1, 5 and 10 year planned goals of the organization.

I need to remind everyone that we have our annual election for members of the Board of Directors. Three of the Directors’ three-year terms are expiring this fall, so if anyone is interested in taking on the role of helping lead our team into the future, please contact the Nominating Committee Chair, Kevin Edwards at the following email address, [email protected] and provide him a short biographic summary. I must note that candidates must be over 21 and have at least two years full membership in the corporation to run.

It may be the beginning of August, but Halloween is a big subject looming large in my brain! We are slowly working on the things we can, to get ahead of the game
on Wednesdays, but the real push will be upon us before we know it. We are currently planning to load up the Ghost Train with all the decorations and drop them off all along the line (along with volunteers to set them up) on Saturday, 23 September. I would ask as many folks as possible to come out and help with this new approach to Halloween setup. We have a detailed instruction manual to facilitate success for anyone who wishes to help. Crew turnout will be critical!

We were always fortunate to have Shannon Curtin to prepare and set out meals for the crew during the very busy, long hours of the Halloween trains. If any member (or family member) would be able to help with the meals, it would be a huge plus for our working crews. Cindy and Gina are task saturated during Halloween train execution with the Gift Shop and Witches’ Path activities.

Lots of other items of interest follow in this newsletter for your information and edification. I hope you enjoy it!

Thanks for all you do for our Museum.

Respectfully submitted,

Chris Tilley
President, NCRM

A Brief History of CPRX 10009 (now NHVX 309)
by Victor Varney

In last month’s Telegrapher there was an article about CPRX 10002 and the spent nuclear fuel trains that operated in the Carolinas. This month we focus on the “newer” escort caboose CPRX 10009.

CPRX 10009 was built in October 1966 by the International Car Co. (ICC) in Kenton, Ohio for the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad. It was numbered 01510 in a series numbered between 01500 to 01514. It is very similar to CPRX 10002 as they were both built by ICC in the late 1960’s, but CPRX 10009 has an offset cupola while CRPX 10002 has a centered cupola. 01510 was originally painted in D&RGW’s “Prospector” colors – “D&RGW orange” with black and silver stripes. In 1973 D&RGW decided to install plywood walls in the interior to reduce the noise level in the 01500-01514 series cabooses. 01514 received this interior
upgrade in May 1973, and in the following month it was the first in the 01500-01514 series to be repainted in the new solid “D&RGW orange” with black lettering and the Action Road logo lettering scheme. We don’t have a picture of 01510 in its original paint scheme, but here are sister cabooses 01501 and 01507 showing how 01510 was initially painted. A second picture of 01507 shows it after repainting in March 1974 to the solid orange with black lettering scheme.












Here are a couple photos showing D&RGW 01510 as late as 1996 in storage in Pueblo, CO.







If you notice, in the 1996 pictures, side and end windows on 01510 are blanked off. Apparently, there was an FRA safety ruling in the 1980’s requiring all windows on certain D&RGW cabooses to be blanked over with steel plate (that when welded in left an obvious weld bead) or replaced by FRA approved projectile resistant glazing. During later shop visits, the steel plates and weld beads were ground smooth. The program to cover all the windows on certain D&RGW cabooses was completed by January 1986. (Source: UtahRail.Net)

The D&RGW discontinued using cabooses beginning in 1985. In 1988, the D&RGW was merged into the Southern Pacific Railroad. The SP retired the D&RGW 01500-01514 series cabooses around 1995. At some point after 1996, 01510 was acquired by a private individual in Pueblo, CO. We understand that he passed away in 2000 or 2001 after which 01510 was acquired by John Salisbury, a rail car broker, and subsequently sold to Carolina Power & Light Company in late 2001.

Here are two photos of 01510 taken while still in Pueblo, CO in November 2001 and January 2002 mentioning how it was being sent to Carolina Power & Light. (JFSX is the mark for the rail car broker.) The second photo shows 01510 getting power washed just before heading to North Carolina.

D&RGW 01510 arrived in North Carolina in early 2002. It was inspected and serviced by CSX for CP&L in April. The windows covered by the D&RGW were replaced with 4 new side windows and 1 on each end. It was then repainted in red and renumbered CPRX 10009. With the 12 years of modifications after modifications on CPRX 10002, all the “lessons learned” were applied to CPRX 10009 right away. For starters, the original Caban stove/heater along and smoke stack were removed (unlike in CPRX 10002).

Also, the original axle driven generator (a Dayton “V” belt drive unit generating 204 amps to charge two 12 V batteries) was removed and replaced with a diesel generator on a roll in/out platform to improve accessibility for servicing. (CPRX 10002’s generator doesn’t have this feature.) Other upgrades included a completely new 120V electrical system, backup battery system, two RV style HVAC units, separate 12V white and red interior lighting circuits, a Microphor railroad toilet, adjustable air suspension seats, and radios for CP&L and NC SHP. A long, padded bench was installed (where we believe there may have been bunk beds for the D&RGW crews) with lots of room for storage underneath. Desks with storage below the desktop, a large metal cabinet for more storage, and a refrigerator, water dispenser and microwave were all installed as well. Clearly, CPRX 10009 benefited greatly from all the “learning” with CPRX 10002.

CPRX 10009 served in fuel train service for Progress Energy (formerly CP&L) from 2002 to its last run in 2008. All its runs were to escort spent nuclear fuel trains originating at either the Robinson Nuclear Plant in South Carolina, or the Brunswick Nuclear Plant in North Carolina to be transported to the Harris Nuclear Plant. We believe around 2015 it was brought to HNP like CPRX 10002 to await scrapping.

Here are some pictures of what CPRX 10009 looked like when we first saw it at Harris Nuclear Plant in November 2019.









For comparison, here are some interior pictures of D&RGW 01501 in Colorado Springs, CO (photo courtesy Dan Quiat, Colorado Springs. CO). You can see a blanked off window and original Caban heater as 01510 had before coming to North Carolina.

Like CPRX 10002, the last crew left behind pretty much everything when they locked up CPRX 10009. Here are pictures from May 2022 after arrival at the NCRM as the contents were being curated. Items not left in CPRX 10009 were the radios, refrigerator, water dispenser, and microwave. Oh – and no Fig Newtons.

Over the year since CPRX 10009 arrived at the NCRM in May 2022 as part of the “Save the Ten” project, it has been meticulously cleaned and restored. CPRX 10009 along with CPRX 10002 were inaugurated on the New Hope Valley Railway in a “simulated fuel train” run during our Fuel Train Veterans event on May 20, 2023. At this point after initial optimism about its generator working, we discovered that mice had set up a nest inside and chewed some of the wiring on the armature. The next step is to remove the generator and have the problem assessed to determine if it can be repaired. Otherwise, an equivalent generator is going to cost about $15,000. For now, we want to prioritize CPRX 10002 to run in our trains and will consider running 10009 when the weather is such that AC isn’t needed due to only the doors and cupola windows being able to be opened. In the meantime, we do want CPRX 10009 to be repositioned to make it convenient for our visitors to see it and go inside.

From the Steam Backshop
by Mike MacLean

In June 2023, the Steam Operations Corp (SOC) team visited Bonsal and completed the following work:
Final prep on the first course patch was completed and the patch successfully installed. In addition, final prep on the front tube sheet patch was completed and that patch was also successfully installed. (Picture shows work at 80% completion.)

Once the first course patch was complete, work on test fitting the new smoke box could begin. First, the boiler was leveled and structural scaffolding was installed. Use of this scaffolding was donated by SOC. The scaffolding was used to lift the smokebox in place and fit it to the first course. In place, the rivet hole locations were transferred and drilled.

The smoke box door ring was also test fit, and the bolt holes for the smoke box front were located and marked.

The initial dry pipe fit up revealed that additional machine work was necessary. This work was completed at Teston Machine and the modifications were then test fit on site and final lapping completed.

When the boiler was lifted from the frame, one of the furnace bearers broke clean in two. The other furnace bearer had a pronounced curvature. After consulting Baldwin standards, we found the curvature of the furnace bearers to be beyond the recommended limit. With one broken and the other bent, the decision was made to replace both furnace bearers with new. Engineering is complete and drawings have been submitted to Teston machine for order. We expect the new furnace bearers will be delivered by the end of July. The furnace bearers will need to be test fit in the field with the boiler in place, and final machining work done before the furnace bearers will be ready for service. [Ed note: The furnace bearers are the movable attachment point for the back of the boiler which allows it to move a little bit due to expansion from heating. The front of the boiler is a fixed attachment. – CT]

Drawings for new, drilled air tanks were completed and are ready for a Stoystown Tank order. A new defect was discovered at the mud ring. Engineering work is underway and a repair recommendation is being developed.




Last 2023 New Member Orientation Session Scheduled
by Victor Varney

The next quarterly new member orientation session will be offered on Saturday September 16 from 10 am to noon. It will be held under the covered area behind the yard office, and include a tour of the property along with some of our ongoing projects. The new member orientation session is intended to give new members information about our history, bylaws, how to get information, who’s who, and most importantly how to get involved as a volunteer (and have fun). This session is open to those who have been members for up to 2 years. This is not a substitute for the rules and safety training sessions necessary to get involved with train operations, but we will explain how to attend those sessions, too. This will be the last orientation session offered in 2023. The next one will be early 2024. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to Victor Varney.

Get to Know a Member
Name: Paul Barth

How long have you been a member? Since 2018

Where are you originally from? Born in Pleasantville, NY. Moved to NC in 1984 from LaGrangeville, NY (near Poughkeepsie).

What is/are/was your job(s) in real life? I started as an auto mechanic. In 1969 I was hired by IBM. I had many job titles over my 36 year career. I was in IT, education, software development and marketing, services and finally desktop personal computer development. I was both a first and second-line manager. I retired as a Senior Project Manager on December 31, 2004.

Any family…spouse, kids, grandchildren? Married 56 years, 5 children (3 boys, 2 girls), 7 grandchildren (4 girls, 3 boys).

How did you become interested in trains? My older brother had Lionel trains that I use to play with when he wasn’t looking!

What is your favorite activity at the New Hope Valley Railway? Making children happy during the Santa Train Rides.

The NCRM Archive Needs Another File Cabinet
The NCRM Archive (a climate controlled large storage locker in Apex) is in need of another file cabinet (or two). To conserve floor space we need 5 drawer file cabinets, ideally already set up in each drawer to handle hanging file folders. We would appreciate a donation of a file cabinet in good condition. If you have one available to donate, please contact Victor Varney to coordinate getting it to the archive.
If you do not receive crew calls, please contact the crew caller if you are interested in participating!

Back in the “Old Days” – The Story of the NS Camp Car
As Told by Gray Lackey

The car lettered currently as ONS 901 was originally Norfolk Southern (NS – the FIRST Norfolk Southern) wreck train camp car NS 901, originally an RPO (partially) car on the Denver and Rio Grande Western.

At some point soon after the merger of the Norfolk Southern into the Southern Railway on Jan. 1, 1974 the Southern started “cleaning house” and ridding itself of much of the old antiquated equipment the NS had. Amongst many items disposed of was camp car 901 which was given to the Old North State (ONS) chapter of the NRHS. The ONS at one time had quite a collection of cars, most if not all being kept on the Warrenton Railway in Warren County.

I do not know the entire history of the 901 travels, but only from the late 1980s to present. The 901 had somehow wound up on the Horry County Railway (Conway to Myrtle Beach SC) and was in danger of being scrapped. Our late Member Melvin Best bought the car for $500 and gave it to the group.

Arrangements were made to put the car on the Laurinburg and Southern railway if they could use it occasionally (yes that’s correct – use it). A small group went to South Carolina to ride the car to the Mid Atlantic railway interchange in Conway. We found the train in Red Hill and the crew let us on. Let’s say that was quite an olfactory experience. When we got to Conway, the first item of business was a trip to a grocery store for garbage bags and rubber gloves. We filled most of the railroad’s dumpster with trash and other items that shall remain un- named. The biggest shame of it all was the car still had the original dark green mohair mattresses on the beds in the sleeping quarters. I’ll let everyone imagine why they had to go in the trash (remember the olfactory experience).

The car made its way to Laurinburg by way of Chadbourn NC to Mullins SC on the Mid Atlantic Railway and to Laurinburg NC by way of Dillon and Hamlet on CSX.

The car remined in Laurinburg for several years and was used by the Laurinburg and Southern to offer train rides to the employees of their largest customer Libby-Owens-Ford (now Pilkington) glass at their company picnic, normally staying tucked out of the way inside the plant perimeter. At one time the L&S had the car moved to Rocky Mount on the CSX A line for use on their newly acquired Nash County Railway with some of our members helping out. In all the moves there was never a mechanical issue.

At some point when the L&S was contemplating selling out (which they ultimately did – to Gulf and Ohio Railways of Knoxville, TN), we were told the car needed to go. So it was arranged to put in Shearon Harris. After all the previous movements on CSX, the CSX car inspector decided he didn’t like one wheelset. L&S had a carshop and said they would do the work if we supplied the wheelset: now where to find one? Lo and behold one was found in Richmond, VA where some cars had been scrapped, but the good wheels kept. I took my F350 truck and hired a wrecker to load the wheelset and away south we came (making sure to use the back roads to stay away from the VA and NC weigh stations.

The wheelset was delivered to the L&S and all was well, or so we thought. Somewhere L&S had lost a piece of the draft gear. When the L&S called, they said the car would have to be scrapped as there was no way, anywhere that any parts for Sharon draft gear were (Sharon draft gear is a very old, small and obsolete type of draft gear). But all was not lost, as a sister car was in Raleigh near the old Farmers Market being used as on office, never to turn a wheel again (wonder if it’s still there?? Somebody go investigate), the part was obtained, L&S put everything back together and the car was ready to go.

The car was to move on Laurinburg and Southern to the Aberdeen and Rockfish at Raeford NC, A&R to Aberdeen Carolina and Western at Aberdeen. Aberdeen, Carolina and Western to Star and on to the Carolina Power and Light Cape Fear plant (sound familiar?) at Brickhaven (near Sanford, NC). A CP&L move through the plant to CSX at Moncure and then on to Shearon Harris. Jim Meade and myself rode the car from Laurinburg to Raeford and rode the engine when we went to switch the JP Stevens textile plant at Wagram (RARE MILAGE!!).

And now, after Save the 10, NS 901 finally has made it to Bonsal.

[Editor’s note: If you have photos or other info about long-ago events at the NCRM, please contact your editor. You can submit your own “Back in the Old Days…” article with pictures
about anything (within reason) from our past for the Telegrapher. If you can rough out the ideas, we can work with you to craft an article to benefit the entire membership. – CT]

Saturday Work Crew for 12 August

For the next 3 months, we are going to continue to conduct monthly Saturday Crew Work Days between 9 am and midafternoon (we may start earlier on hotter days). Mark your calendar now for Saturday Work Days on August 12, September 23, and November 4.

These Saturday Crew Work Days will offer increased opportunities for volunteers to come out to Bonsal while still fully employed M-F, the more the better. By no means do these scheduled monthly Saturday Work Days limit any project teams that wish to organize to work on a specific project on any other day of the month. I will reach out to everyone a week before June 10 to see what projects to put a project on the list for that day. Chris will then get that list out to everyone. After trying this out for the next 5 months, we will assess the results and determine how to continue Saturday Work Days in 2024.