Volume 64 – Issue 6                                1 June 2024

From the Brass Hat
Welcome to June, my friends! I hope everyone had a chance to take some time off on the Memorial Day weekend to enjoy some good weather, family and friends, and take some time to reflect on the sacrifices of those who lost their lives in the service of our great country. All gave some, Some gave ALL.

We have some important things to accomplish on our road to completing this year’s planned tasks contained within the current NCRM Strategic Action Plan. One really big item is to clear out stored items from the Goldston Depot so work can begin on the floor and other items. If you have anything stored in the Depot, please let me know what it is, where you plan to store it and how soon you can move it to that location. If there is no place you can put it, let me know that too, so we can coordinate to make a space somewhere on the grounds. I need to provide info the Board of Directors in about 60 days, so please let me know soonest.

I understand that some work has been started to move items out of the old Mansion house as well. If you have items stored therein, and need a space in which to store them, again, let me know. Some items may be available to repurpose, donate, recycle or otherwise dispose of. Of course, we need to be mindful of why, where and how we acquired them, but if they are no longer useful, disposal may be the best option.

As usual, many projects continue around the Museum and Railroad. The Board approved funding to re-roof two of the excursion cars by early summer. Repairs to the running gear continue on Locomotive 17 in preparation for mounting the new smokebox to the boiler later in the summer. She even got a bath! Other important stories wait below.

Please pay special attention to the request from the Nominating Committee Chair, Kyle Obermiller, for candidates for the October Board of Directors election. These are critical – deciding who will lead the organization into the future is a big deal. We need some good candidates who are willing to do the research and make hard decisions to chart our best course moving ahead.

As Always, Thanks for all you do for our Museum.

Respectfully submitted,
Chris Tilley
President, NCRM

Get to Know a Member
by Tom Hutchinson

Name: Harold Boettcher

How long have you been a member? Since 2013

Where are you originally from? Chester, VA just south of Richmond

What is/are/were your job(s) in real life? I grew up on a farm, spent 4 years in the Navy, worked in a stone quarry as a maintenance mechanic, worked for Reynolds Metals for 20 years in Product Development, Customer Service and Marketing and retired from Pepsi as part of the management team in Garner.

Where do you live now? I now live in Fuquay-Varina

Any family…siblings, parents? I’m an only child and have no relatives in this area.

How did you become interested in trains? When I was a kid, the freight trains from Richmond to Hopewell passed near my house. A friend lived along the tracks and we would watch the trains pass by several times a day. The Engineers saw us so often that they would throw us candy bars from the locomotives.

What is your favorite activity at the New Hope Valley Railway? There are many opportunities at New Hope Valley Railway. I try to be involved mainly in the mechanical projects and working on the MOW equipment but, also use my Sales and Marketing background to provide information and ideas where I can.

by Jim Jatko
You all know that this is a BIG celebration year for us at Bonsal, but even bigger is what is coming ahead as we work to double our existing museum exhibit space. This means that we are unpacking and pulling out from nooks and crannies all sorts of wonderful treasures from our collection of heritage railroad items which will require curation, restoration and preparation for exhibition. While none of us are professional curators, restorationists, or docents, we are learning this process together and invite as many of you who can to come and learn with us. If you are interested in researching history, in telling interesting stories or relating facts and figures, in working with and cleaning up rare (and often beautiful) items and getting them ready for display, then WE WANT YOU! While some of this work can be done from the comfort of your home, some of it will be at Bonsal. Of course, you may be interested in working with the crews that are now preparing these museum spaces in the 1884 Goldston Depot and the 1918 Atlantic Coast Line Express Baggage car next to it.

It’s a huge amount of work and our goal is to have it ready for Spring 2025. This work is currently happening on many different days – not just on Wednesdays, so let us know if you are interested and when you would prefer to help us. Contact: Tim Carroll, Museum Chair; Robert Middour; or Jim Jatko.

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 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 if you are interested in participating in train operations! We need all the help we can get to keep the trains running safely.

TWENTY QUESTIONS: A Member Survey by Jim Jatko
We know that the membership of NCRM are the best heritage and model railroad fans that there could ever be. Your opinions mean the most to us on the Board of Directors and in our committees, and your desires, efforts, and even gifts are what move this organization forward. So, I ask you to take ten minutes while you are on your phone, MacBook or Computer to answer as many of the following twenty questions in an email to me for this year’s update to our Strategic Planning. While there is no “secret” item behind these questions, your responses will continue to move us forward in the best direction. (Results will be tallied and reported in August) Thank you, so much.
1. Within the last six months, have you volunteered at Bonsal on a train ride day or as a member on a work crew?
2. Have you helped on a train crew, ticket office, gift shop, parking lot, G-scale, or as a volunteer on a facilities, Maintenance-of-Way, or restoration project?
3. If you are a volunteer, which day(s) of the week do you prefer to be at Bonsal?
4. If you are not a current volunteer, would you be interested in becoming one?
5. Have you ever curated a museum exhibit piece or restored a rare piece of history?
6. Would you be interested in being trained as a guide or docent at our museum?
7. How many times per year do you visit Bonsal?
8. Have you brought friends or family members to Bonsal?
9. If you have ridden any of our excursion trains, which is your favorite? Why?
10. Are you retired or still employed?
11. When you are at Bonsal, what do you enjoy doing the most?
12. What would you like to see more of at Bonsal?
13. What would you like to see less of at Bonsal?
14. What would do you believe would make our visitors’ experiences better?
15. Do you believe that we are accomplishing our mission of educating future generations about the heritage of railroads in North Carolina?
16. If we are not accomplishing our mission, what could we do better?
17. How do you think that the North Carolina Railway Museum could become more visible in the Triangle Region of NC?
18. Would you be willing to help spread our name in your place of business or community?
19. Would you be interested in helping us develop interactive educational exhibits for our museum?
20. Would you be interested in helping us develop play-based learning areas for younger visitors at our museum?

Please send your responses to the above questions to Jim Jatko, NCRM Strategic Planning Chair.

Welcome, New Members!
We are pleased to welcome the following new members this month: Raymond Brown, Mike Seawell, Don Marshall (renewed), and John Cummings.

Welcome to you all. 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]

Steam Locomotive 17 Progress
by Mike MacLean and John Morck
We are getting close to some big moves on the 17 reassembly. Steam Operations Corporation (SOC) is coming in early June to set the boiler back on the frame and prepare the smokebox for permanent attachment with hot rivets. After the prep, the boiler will go back on the trailer for a while before the riveting event happens. Prior to this happening, WE must have the springs and hangers back in place and the frame lowered back onto the wheels. Sounds like a small task? Not hardly! We had a crew of seven working all day just to get the spring hangers off so they could be buffed and primed for painting. Some of those parts were nearly impossible to take off the frame. A simple cotter pin took three people several hours and a drill press to get out so the hanger pin could be pulled out.

The volunteers worked scraping and wire brushing the parts prior to priming and painting. Did I mention that each of the four assemblies consists of sixteen parts which must not be interchanged with those of the other assemblies? Some of the pins required a press to get them out of their respective parts. None of these operations require any special training or qualification. Anyone with patience, muscle and determination can pitch in and help get all the
tasks done in time to meet the SOC visit timeline. Saturday and Sunday work will be happening 1 and 2 June and perhaps during some weekdays (in addition to Wednesdays).

If you are interested in helping this weekend, please contact Mike MacLean for details.

Let’s bring Scouting back to Bonsal and the North Carolina Railway Museum! Many of our members have been associated with the Boy Scouts of America or Girl Scouts of America, or the assortment of related scouting organizations in the past and may still have relevant connections with some of these groups. While it will take time to organize and begin making the appropriate connections, there is no reason why NCRM cannot host camping opportunities along with train rides, and educational programs to qualify scouts for the Railroading Merit Badge along with other opportunities for adventure and personal leadership development as early as 2025.

Along with other youth camp programs, our work with these organizations become attractive for fundraising from several financial institutions (banks, outdoor fitters, etc.). Please let me know if you are interested, and we can begin pulling thoughts together.

Jim Jatko, Co-chair Fundraising, Chair Strategic Planning (By the way, I am an Eagle Scout with palms (36 merit badges INCLUDING Railroading) and Order of the Arrow.) Contact me by clicking here. 

Murphy Strikes Again!
As we were preparing to receive the truck to take the Harsco Mark IV Tamper away, we got a phone call. The truck lost its transmission while enroute to our Museum. The Harsco is still on site, now with a 5 June date for it to depart. It certainly looks good, however. Thanks to the crew who got it running and ironed out all the details of the sale. Harold could use some help on 4 and 5 June. Click here to let him know if you would like to help.

Around the Yard