Volume 63 – Issue 2 1 February 2023
From the Brass Hat
Wow! What a month January was.
I am pleased to announce up front that Rob Grau, Tom Hutchinson and Jimmy Sumerell were inducted into the Order of the Rusty Spike for long-term service above and beyond the call of duty. Theyare pictured below. The Membership Meeting was successful with our own professional auctioneer, member John Martin, stepping up to conduct the auctionwhich brought in several hundred dollars for the Museum. Victor Varney provided a well-documented photo essay look at the Save the 10 project from start to finish.
The yard has been a beehive of activity with the usual Wednesday Crew activities competing for attention with replacement of the Daisey Street crossing, installation of new ties for a safety derail on the house track to protect the new repair shed, installation of air conditioners on the CP&L cabooses and site prep for receiving a newshipping container for the repair shed and relocation of another container.
To update you on other critical events, the Board of Directors finalized the full 2023 schedule and pricing, which will make tickets for the entire season available for sale to the public on our website within a few weeks. We are set to finalize the 2023 budget at the February meeting and work on the mandatory Rules & Safety training schedule for the year. First ride of 2023 is the 1&2 April Hop Into Spring!
Save the date! Crew calls to follow a few weeks prior. There is plenty of stuff going on at the yard, so come help if you can. Contact Chris Tilley if needed.
Thanks for all you do for our Museum. 2023 is going to be a great year!
New Member Orientation Session
The next quarterly new member orientation session will be offered on Saturday March 25 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. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to either Dennis Winchell or Victor Varney.
Back in the “Old Days” – The Dozer and the Bridge – as told by M. Gray Lackey
As you may well imagine, with our rail overpass bridges being only 13’2” above the roadway, the potential for vehicle strikes is oftenrealized. Usually, overloaded log trucks exceeding the height restriction are the culprits, but not always. A few logs on the ground is the usual result…Back in the not-so-old days, in July of 2017, there was a loud sound of metal hitting metal. Something had hit the bridge yet again. Somehow our member Scott Smith, who lives next door to the rail yard, either heard the noise or the commotion that followed and went to check out what had happened.
A dump truck with a tracked crawler loader had hit our pedestrian bridge. The bridge had no apparent damage, but the same could not said for the loader or the tilt top trailer it was being carried on. The loader had serious damage to the Roll-Over Protective System (roll-bar) and bent the fuel tank and operator’s platform, but it was operable. The trailer was damaged much more severely. The deck was collapsed in the middle where the tilt latch was located and the latch had been sheared. The shearing of the latch is what prevented even greater damage to everything involved. I wonder what the experience of the sudden stop was for the driver.
The driver stated that he has passed under that bridge many times with no problem, but it was found out that this wasn’t the trailer he normally used. His trailer was getting some repairs done and he borrowed one from a friend to move the loader. As it turned out, this trailer was about six inches higher than his trailer– OOPS.
That was not a good day, after damaging the loader, basically destroying a trailer, who knows what damage to the truck and likely getting a ticket of some type from the Highway Patrol. To add insult to injury (figuratively speaking), he had
to pay for engineering inspection cost. We certainly hope he had insurance.
The loader was in our parking lot on the following Saturday morning, but it got moved by a very apologetic owner before the next day’s rides. He was a very nice fellow and said he realized about one second before impact that the borrowed trailer was taller than his, but he couldn’t stop in time.
The Moral of the story: Know your load and don’t assume anything if something changes.
[Editor’s note: If you have photos or other info about long-ago events at the NCRM, please contact your acting 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]
Online Note: Check out the NCRM’s Webpage on the National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) Website.
Daisey Street Crossing Replacement
by Chris Tilley
After many months of measurements, assessments, coordination and follow-ups by our member Bob Roule, the crossing at Daisey Street is now upgraded. The work began with a Wednesday morning pavement sawing session followed by a Friday tamper delivery. Serious work began early Monday morning with the asphalt, rails, ties and ballast removed, leaving a knee-deep trench across the road. It was not long till all-new ties were laid, rails were Thermite welded (for a jointless crossing) and everything was prepared for installation in the crossing. Ballasting and tamping were going on by Saturday afternoon to facilitate early-week paving. We added some conduits under the pavement and under the tracks to allow for future expansion of our signals and/or electrical service. This crossing replacement was funded by NCDOT (materials) and the NCRM (labor).
Fuel Train Veteran Event 20 May 2023 Update
by Victor Varney
Plans are underway for the NCRM to host a very special and unique one-time event on Saturday May 20, 2023. This will not be a train ride day open to the public. It will be a private event.
It is intended to be a recognition of those Carolina Power & Light (CP&L, now Duke Energy), North Carolina State Highway Patrol (NCSHP), and CSX employees that worked on the spent nuclear fuel trains between 1989 and 2007. The event will also serve as a means for the NCRM to introduce these fuel train “veterans” to us, and allow them to share their stories with us. It is all about preserving and sharing, in this case, a very important but little -recognized part of NC railroad history. This was all made possible by our acquisition of the two fuel train cabooses and 4 pulpwood cars donated to us by Duke Energy as part of the Save the 10 Project.
What we expect on Saturday, 20 May, is to offer rides to the “veterans” in our two fuel train cabooses (now numbered 302 and 309) along with their guests in our regular trains. We need the two cabooses fully functional with their generators, back up batteries, electrical systems, HVAC, and lighting working by May 20. Good news is that new HVAC units have already been installed and we are now underway with the same company to complete full checkouts and service on the caboose generators followed by getting the batteries working. Of course, painting needs to be done to get them back to original colors and livery, along with the insides set up with displays to help tell the history of when these two cabooses served on the nuclear fuel trains as “escort vehicle”. While much work remains to get these two cabooses ready to go on May 20, we do appreciate all our volunteers’ focus on making sure that happens.
We have had great support from Col Freddy Johnson, Commander of the NCSHP, on this event. He rode on these cabooses earlier in his career with the NCSHP. He has already provided us with four blue plastic AR-15 practice rifles to be displayed in the rifle racks of each of the two cabooses, along with a number of photos from when they were in service. We aim to get these photos and other mementos from Duke Energy and CSX folks posted in each caboose by May 20 as well. After the two nuclear fuel train cabooses are inaugurated on 20 May, we will then put them into revenue service on the New Hope Valley Railway for our visitors to enjoy and learn about their history.
We are just getting started on inviting the fuel train “veterans” to this event on 20 May. As we proceed, we should have a better understanding of how many will attend with their guests. We know that in some cases, very few of these people are still working or alive, but we will work through Duke Energy, the NCSHP and CSX to get the word out to find these veterans.
The very preliminary plan is for the schedule on 20 May is that we open at 9:30 AM. A first train with the cabooses filled with veterans will depart followed by our regular train carrying guests at 10:30 am. The fuel train will set over in the New Hill Yard to allow our regular train carrying guests to take pictures of the veterans from the main tack. This train should return by noon. With a hour for lunch and maybe some presentations, the train rides will repeat approximately 1 PM with the veteran train going out first followed by the guest train right after. They should be back by around 2 PM and the event should be complete by around 2:30 to 3 PM.Gray Lackey promises to have an O scale layout with a fuel train running. Tom Hutchinson is aiming to run an equivalent train on our garden railroad plus a running version of our 25ton Duke Energy Little Critter diesel loco #10, too. More for the day is still TBD.
This day will need a good compliment of our volunteers to run the trains and organize the event. Please come out to support this so we can have a successful event. It will create a lot of goodwill forthe NCRM if done well, too.
Here are a few of the many pictures already provided by the NCSHP. There will be more to come from them, Duke Energy, and CSX veterans, too.
Stay tuned as more details come together.
NHVRY Uniform Shirts and How to Obtain Them
by Cindy Grau
The uniform shirt worn by most members is a khaki/tan short sleeved shirt with the dark green NHV logo over one pocket and your name embroidered over the other pocket. To order yours, you need to email Cindy Grau with your name, the name you want on your shirt and the correct size. As these shirts are custom made, they cannot be returned for a refund so please check your size before your order. The price will be $30.00 payable upon receiving the shirt at the gift shop. Long sleeve shirts are also available upon request for colder weather, but we don’t yet know what the additional cost would be.
I will be placing an order in February and hopefully they will be back in about 2 weeks. Also, If anyone is interested in a Wednesday Crew short sleeve T-Shirt,
there are a few still available. If there is a great enough demand, I can place an order for any size I might not have on hand.
Around the Yard Things Are Busy!
The new project container was delivered in the pouring rain and the one blocking the power company right of way was moved next to it in an astounding display of trucking precision. Even a mouse can’t go between those containers!
Meanwhile…. Only a few feet away, a large crew, armed with track jacks, pinch bars, shovels, ballast forks, tie tongs and a spatula, replaces ties to allow installation of a safety derail to protect the project shed track, also in the rain and mud.
The crossing is done! We still need a few lines painted on the street (which is a foot or so wider than it used to be) and some signal repair accomplished. No, the fancy ballast tamper is not ours. We just need it to be taken back to its’ rightful home.
Not to mention:
Air-conditioned cabooses. We have new HVAC systems installed in both of the former CP&L cabooses. Our friends at D&H RV Center recently installed the systems exactly as they were when the cabs were part of the fuel train fleet.
If you do not receive crew calls, please contact the crew caller if you are interested in participating!
February 2023 Museum/Operating Schedule:
7 February – 7-9PM Strategic Planning meeting – New Hill Community Center
16 February – 6:00pm Board of Directors meeting – New Hill Community Center
Finally: VETOED by those with no sense of humor!