Volume 64 – Issue 7                                1 July 2024

From the Brass Hat
In case nobody noticed, Summer is here! Thanks to everyone who came out despite some significant heat to run some successful trains. We had a pretty full train ready to leave the other day and another 74 people showed up, luckily mostly kids. We had just put car 201 back in the consist so we had room for them all.

We had a very busy Board of Directors meeting in June. We decided to deaccession the Nickel Plate Road steel bay window caboose and offer it for sale in order to clear some track space and to fund moving a much more historically relevant Norfolk Southern-built steel bay window caboose (converted from a boxcar) that actually ran on our rails over the years. The caboose has been located in Kings Mountain, NC as a meeting room for many years. If YOU are interested in purchasing the NKP caboose, please contact Tim Carroll, Museum Director, who was authorized by the Board to accept bids on the caboose.

Contrary to popular opinion, the practice of offering any deaccessioned items for sale to Museum members before offering them to the general public is not a mandated policy. Although we have done this in the past for smaller items, we were not able to find any written policy regarding the practice.

We also worked out a lease of our old tamper to the Denton Farm Park/Handy Dandy Railroad and donated a small, long-unused car mover to them. The final portions of the 2024 schedule were approved and we decided to offer a special “Buy one, get one free” offer for the July Brew & Choo to increase ridership and give the public a slight break on prices during the difficult economic times they may be facing.

As usual, many projects continue around the Museum and Railroad. The Board- approved re-roofing of two of the excursion cars began with car 201. Our Wednesday Crew removed the old roofing and refurbished the roof structure before the contractor came in to install the special membrane roof which should last for many years. Car 101 is next up for the same repair. More repairs to the running gear continue on Locomotive 17 and preparation for hot riveting the new smokebox to the boiler later in the summer. Watching installation of red-hot rivets should be an exciting spectacle to behold when it happens, since it is a very rare occurrence these days. More info and photos of these stories are contained below.

Nominating Committee Chair, Kyle Obermiller has not received any responses from candidates willing to run for the October Board of Directors election. We need some good candidates who are willing to do the research and make hard decisions to chart our best course moving ahead.
In other news, the NCRM sponsored our Youth Rail Crew member Patrick Cook’s attendance at NRHS Youth Rail Camp in Newark, Delaware. The intensive week-long program gives students in-depth orientations and demonstrations of many railroad subjects.

I need some stories from the old days! If you know of some old stories that have not yet appeared in these pages, please let me know. I don’t need a fully written story, but some basic facts that I can work with you to turn into a story for our readers. If not, you might get more silly pictures like this one!

As Always, Thank you so much for all you do for our Museum!

Respectfully submitted,
Chris Tilley
President, NCRM

Get to Know a Member
by Tom Hutchinson

Name: Kyle Obermiller
How long have you been a member? Since December 2010.

Where are you originally from?
I grew up in Hendersonville, NC on a strawberry farm, located adjacent to milepost 6 of Norfolk Southern’s TR Line to Brevard, NC.

What is your job in real life?
I am a Senior Ecologist at a stream and wetland mitigation company. I spend a lot of time in the woods, creeks, and swamps across NC doing survey work and stream restoration work.

Where do you live now?
Garner, NC

Any family…siblings, parents?
I have two older brothers and my parents still run the strawberry farm at milepost 6 of the Ecusta Rail Trail in Hendersonville.

How did you become interested in trains?
As a kid, my dad would make an arrangement for the NS local to stop for free strawberries during the season. Engineer John Mulkey always gave my brothers and I “train water” which was just NS branded plastic water bottles, and let us blow the horn. On a few special occasions, we even got to ride into town in the cab with them! My parents took us on many trips to Saluda and Asheville to witness the remaining hey-day of mountain railroading and I have been forever hooked since. I was introduced to steam locomotives visiting SOU 722 on display in Asheville, watching the 604 travel around Spencer, and trips to see 1702 on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.

What is your favorite activity at the New Hope Valley Railway?
My favorite activity at the NHV is lighting the fire in #17 and we’re working hard to make that happen again.

NRHS 2024 Convention in Harrisburg, PA
by Victor Varney

The annual National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) Convention for 2024 will be held in Harrisburg, PA from August 26 to 31. The Convention hotel is the downtown Harrisburg Hilton Hotel. NRHS members get a $134 per night plus tax special rate. This is a great deal for a really nice hotel.

This link will take you to the NRHS web page for more info and how to register.

Highlights for this Convention include a visit to the Strasburg Railroad and Pennsylvania Railroad Museum, a visit to the now running again East Broad Top Railroad and a scenic ride in RDCs (Budd Rail Diesel Cars) (like the one we have) on the Reading and Northern. There are two other tourist railroads you can also visit on Saturday August 31.

The NRHS organizes all the bus rides and meals to each railroad excursion from the Convention hotel. The Conventions are high quality and well-organized rail enthusiast outings which are not to be missed. Don’t overlook that you save money IF you are an NRHS member.

While you can fly or take Amtrak to Harrisburg, you can save more money by driving. It is only a 7-hour drive from Raleigh to Harrisburg.

As the NCRM’s NRHS Advisory Council representative since 2017, this year will be my last year to do so. If anyone would like to better understand and consider stepping into this important role for the NCRM with the NRHS, please contact me. The upcoming Convention would be a great chance for me to introduce you to the key folks in the NRHS and take over as the NCRM’s rep going forward,

If you have any questions, please contact me.

NCRM Seeking Nominees to Run for Board of Directors
by Kyle Obermiller

Calling all members! It is time to begin the search for candidates for our annual October Board of Directors election. There are three spots up for election this year and we are seeking qualified candidates to add to the ballot. Board of Director terms are for three years and would begin this November. Per NCRM updated bylaws, any “voting member” at least 21 years of age who has been a
“voting member” for no less than two years is eligible to serve on the Board of Directors. If you are interested in joining the ballot, please click here to send a short 3-4 sentence write-up of your volunteer story here in Bonsal. Thank you all for your continued support of NCRM.

If you do not receive the operating crew calls, please contact the crew caller by clicking here if you are interested in participating in train operations! We need all the help we can get to keep the trains running safely.

Welcome, New Members!
We are pleased to welcome the following new members this month: Kevin and Laura Von Der Lippe. Welcome to you all. Please attend the New Member Orientation and Rules Training coming up soon. I know you will have fun working with us! Please grab on to a veteran member and make them show you what they do. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me or one of the Board Members. – Chris

[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]

New Member Orientation
by Victor Varney

The next new member orientation session will be offered on Saturday, September 14 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, policies, 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. [See related story below. -ed] This will be the second of two orientation sessions offered in 2024. The next one will be scheduled for TBD in early 2025. If you are interested in attending on September 14, please RSVP to Victor Varney or Dennis Winchell by Wednesday September 11.

Rules and Safety Training 20 July at 9 a.m.
by Chris Tilley

The next Rules and Safety Annual Training session will be conducted on 20 July 2024 at the NCRM Gazebo, located behind the Dispatcher’s Office. I have a list of about 15 folks who are expired or will soon expire. Bear in mind that each member of the Operating Crew (Car/Train/Head Brakemen, Conductors, Engineers, Signalmen, Dispatchers, Switch Tenders) are required to attend at least one session every 365 days in order to maintain Federal Railroad Administration mandated crew currency requirements. For newer members, this is your first step toward advancement in the crew qualifications. Training will consist of “classroom” discussions of the rulebook, timetable, policies, how to interact with passengers and general railroad information followed by a “hands-on” portion covering brake systems, coupling the train, connecting the air brake lines and other yard activities. Come prepared to run a train! Lunch, Boots, long pants that can get dirty, rulebooks, radios (if you own one), gloves, water, etc. Rules tests, required every two years, will be given during lunch or after the hands-on session.

We have one other session, 5 October, prior to the Halloween/Santa Trains. If you need training before the end of the year and can’t make the October session, this is your last opportunity for 2024. Those who fail to meet the training requirement can still serve as Car Hosts or other non-crew-related jobs.

Steam Locomotive 17 Progress
by Mike MacLean

Here is how next Milestone of the steam restoration project is defined, in which we will be roughly 80% complete: Completion of the boiler restoration, including first course patch, tube sheet patch, dry pipe replacement and installation, furnace bearer replacement, smoke box installation (including riveting), and rigidly fixing the boiler to the frame. Completion of the leaf spring pack repair and installation. Installation of the front end, including branch pipe tee, steam delivery pipes, blower, exhaust nozzle and stack.

Our steam contractors, Steam Operations Corporation, were at Bonsal for a very productive work session June 6-11 (611??). During this time, contractors, working with NCRM volunteers, completed a tremendous amount of work towards our next milestone with the steam restoration project.

Finish welding was completed on the first course patch and tube sheet patch. The new smoke box was fitted to the front of the first course and bolted in place. Meanwhile, NCRM volunteers completed disassembly, inspection and reassembly of the spring rigging, including the repaired spring pack.

The damaged seal weld on the corner of the mud ring of the firebox was repaired.
The bolted assembly (boiler + furnace bearers + smokebox) was lifted off the trailer and back onto the frame of the locomotive.

Once the boiler assembly was placed on the frame, measurements were taken to determine the exact placement of the boiler. The rear furnace bearer was found to be fitted perfectly, however, the front furnace bearer required additional machining.

Special thanks to Scott Smith for running the 25-ton crane, in addition to making his machine shop and machining skills available to complete the final machining of the furnace bearers. This saved us thousands of dollars as we did not need to send the furnace bearers back to the machine shop in Savannah, and we were able to finish the boiler fitting in one trip. In addition to the final machining, Scott drilled and threaded lubrication lines in the furnace bearers.

Steve Morgan from SOC completed seal welding of the inside and outside of the door ring in the smoke box, as well as the upper seam of the smoke box. Remaining activities needed to reach our next milestone:

• Riveting of the first course, smoke box, and fire box side sheet.
• Installation of the dry pipe and throttle
• Rigidly fixing the boiler to the frame (saddle bolts)
• Installation of the front end, including branch pipe tee, steam delivery pipes, blower, exhaust nozzle and stack.

Murphy Mitigated!
As we reported last month, the removal of the Harsco tamper was delayed by a disabled truck. The tamper was eventually removed a few days late and moved to a rehab facility for eventual use by another railroad. Thanks again to the crew who got it running, moving and moved out!

Around the Yard