Volume 64 – Issue 1                            1 January 2024

From the Brass Hat

All Hail the arrival of a New Year! 2024 has plenty of promise for the NCRM as we celebrate our 40th Anniversary in Bonsal and the 120th Anniversary of the original railroad we currently occupy. There will be plenty more information about the events surrounding the festivities which are currently being planned for the occasion.

Looking back on 2023, we really had a great year. We had our 5th highest ridership of all time (just over 17,000), with our regular trains and special events making many happy memories for thousands of families. A huge amount of work was put into our restorations and repairs too. Progress continued on the ACL Baggage Car, our caboose fleet and locomotive 1640 went back in service. Number 17, our steam locomotive even had some work accomplished. A lot of sweat, busted knuckles and tender loving care were provided by our exceptionally skilled and dedicated members. We also completed the Daisey Street crossing replacement, several excursion car truck swaps and brake system repairs and tests as well. Our train is in great shape after all that.

We made some pretty significant progress this year on the administrative side of the coin as well. Our Strategic Action Plan was completed, along with an update of the NCRM Bylaws and development of an accompanying Policy Manual, improvements in our fundraising programs and the final steps of the Guided Organizational Assessment with the Executive Service Corps of the Triangle.

Read on for details about our Annual Membership Meeting on 20 January 2024. I hope to see all of you there!

Thanks for all you do for our Museum.
Respectfully submitted,

Chris Tilley
President, NCRM

Get to Know a Member
by Tom Hutchinson

Name: Scott Gagnon

How long have you been a member? Since 2014

Where are you originally from? Near Green Bay, Wisconsin.

What is/are/were your job(s) in real life? I am a retired Army Military Intelligence Warrant Officer CW5, with 31 years of service.

Where do you live now? I currently reside on the north side of Raleigh, NC with my beautiful wife, Mary Ann. She is also a retired Army officer with 26 years of service.

Any family…spouse, kids, grandchildren? The reason Mary Ann and I retired to the Raleigh area was to help our daughter, son-in-law, and three grandkids.

How did you become interested in trains? I fell in love with G Scale trains while serving near Fort Lewis, Washington. I saw these large trains in a hobby shop there and brought them home with me. My wife just shook her head and said it will keep him out of trouble.

What is your favorite activity at the New Hope Valley Railway? My favorite part of helping at the New Hope Valley Railroad is talking with riders, explaining the garden railroad hobby, how we set up our layout and many of the fun things to do on either side of the highway (big trains or little trains). Hopefully, they enjoy themselves and want to come back again and again. I always ask: “Would you like to have a photo with a celebrity?”

If you do not receive the operating crew calls, please contact the crew caller at if you are interested in participating in train operations!

Reminder: 2024 Membership Renewal
by Tom Hutchinson

The North Carolina Railway Museum membership of everyone who is not a lifetime member expires on December 31, so annual members need to renew their membership by then. There is a 60-day grace period after December 31 to maintain your membership in good standing.

In November, annual members should have received an email from our membership software program, Springly, inviting them to renew membership for 2024, and another in early December, as well as several reminders as year-end approaches. Or if you have misplaced or not received this email, please click here to renew.

Membership may be renewed by credit card this year in our new system, saving you a 66-cent postage stamp. If you have any questions, contact Tom Hutchinson. You can still renew the “old-fashioned” way by mailing your check to North Carolina Railway Museum, PO Box 40, New Hill, NC 27562…Attn: Membership. Be sure to indicate who the renewal is for. If you want to renew by cash, you will need to get your cash payment to Robert Middour as soon as possible.

Dues levels for 2024 are the same as for 2023: $20 for adult (18+), $5 for each additional family member (residing in the same household) and $15 for youth members (14-18). Spouses of members may register as Family members, but only the Adult member category can vote in our annual Board elections or any other issues voted on by members.

NCRM and NHV Need More Volunteers – WE NEED YOU!
by Jim Jatko

If you are reading this and have not volunteered at Bonsal lately on one of our many projects, we are looking forward to seeing you. 2024 will be a big year for our museum and railroad with anniversary celebrations, but more importantly the finishing of critically important work to show the public. It is no secret that most of our organization’s revenue come from the nearly 20,000 train riders we have annually, but for our facilities to be more enticing for half of those folks to return to us at other times of the year we want to get on the path of completing something major to show off every six months: like the Goldson Depot with our displays from the railway Express era, the 1918 Atlantic Coast Line Baggage Car with Doc Majors amazing collection of dining car tableware, railroad lanterns and memorabilia, our historic Steam Locomotive #17, and others.

While funds are needed for essential materials and contractor costs, the majority of the work is done by our own volunteers – whose numbers have been dropping since 2020. It’s time for you to come back and help; and if you have never joined our ranks of volunteers, it is time to show up. While it may be mostly true that volunteers are around on the 50 or so ride days during the year and most Wednesday, the truth is that many crews are working on our facilities, our cars, and our historic diesel-electric locomotives on many other days during all seasons – and on all of these days, visitors may drop in and we host them on tours of our
heritage railroad equipment. In fact, going through our volunteer attendance sheets for 2022, there were at total of 304 days where there was at least one volunteer working at Bonsal, 187 days where there was three or more volunteers working on tasks there and 120 days where there were eight of more volunteers working on tasks and projects – all while there were only 52 “Wednesday Work Crews” and less than fifty ride days. This leaves many opportunities of all sorts on which our volunteers can help. You just need to show up and ask, “How can I help?” We will help find something that fits your time, talents, and interests.

January through mid-summer is our most important time for accomplishing work on project, so please show up – every Wednesday morning and most Saturdays someone it there, but if you are unsure of who to talk to, please email me.  Thank you, and Happy New Year.

New Member Orientation
by Victor Varney

The next new member orientation session will be offered on Saturday March 30 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 share 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 first of two orientation sessions offered in 2024. The next one will be on Saturday September 14. If you are interested in attending on March 30, please RSVP to Victor Varney by Wednesday March 28.

[Editor’s note: If you have photos or other info about long-ago (or recent) events at the NCRM, please contact your editor. You can submit your own “Back in the Old Days…” or other 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]

20 January 2024 General Membership Meeting

The NCRM Annual Membership Meeting will be held on 20 January 2024 at 1030 at the American Legion Post 116, located at 1600 Johnson Pond Road, Fuquay-Varina. A meal is provided. Come catch up on all the latest information, relax with good friends and enjoy the Auction Fundraiser. We will have the silent auction portion like last year, followed by a live action auction by our own

Auctioneer, John Martin. Ballots for the New Member acceptance and ratification of the updated NCRM Bylaws will be due at the beginning of the meeting. Ballots are attached in this newsletter and also available at the door.

NRHS Convention Extra
by Victor Varney

The pdf links attached the the photos (click on photo for full article) cover extra stuff from my earlier Telegrapher article and the days I didn’t attend. This was a really great NRHS Convention in FL. Wish more NCRM members would join the NRHS and get to attend these annual Conventions.

The 2024 Convention will be the last week of August in Harrisburg, PA. Outings include visits to the Strasburg Railroad, Penn State Railroad Museum, the long under restoration and now back in operation East Broad Top, the Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad (they have at least one GE center cab like us), the Reading & Northern Railroad for a RDC trip on a rare mileage route, and other outings.

I encourage NCRM members consider joining the NRHS. After all, the NRHS was an important supporter in getting our organization started back in 1964 (as being promoted 60 years ago per our upcoming anniversary celebration year.)

Here is the link to join the NRHS.


Word Game?





We never did figure out what the letters were supposed to spell.




































Around the Yard