Volume 64 – Issue 5                                1 May 2024

From the Brass Hat
Hooray, Hooray, the first of May! It looks like April was successful, with the Anniversary celebrations getting some good media attention and great response from our volunteers to man the various displays as well as the trains. A lot of planning and coordination went into the celebration. I am told that the connections made with local “movers and shakers” outweighs the number of tickets sold. We had speeches from the Executive Director of the NC Transportation Museum and the Mayor of Pittsboro. We also continued our safety education campaign with a visit from the good folks at Operation Lifesaver. My hearty thanks to everyone involved in this months-long project which will continue to bear fruit far into the future! See Jim Whitten’s article below and photos for more details. During the Anniversary weekend, our friends from Steam Operations Corporation were on site, continuing the rebuilding of Steam Locomotive 17. Real progress is being made on the project. Some photos and information from Mike MacLean and John Morck are included below. We had our annual bridge inspection in April. We have some things to take care of, but no show-stoppers were identified. A detailed report will be issued by the inspecting engineers in the near future. 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: Jim Whitten

How long have you been a member? Since October 2015

Where are you originally from? Beaver, PA

What is/are/were your job(s) in real life? Product / Marketing Management and Technical Support / Training over 45 Years in the Data Communications industry

Where do you live now? Chapel Hill, NC

Any family…siblings, parents? Married with 1 Son in Charlotte who works for Wells Fargo, Mother and Brother in Orlando, FL and Brother in Garner, NC

How did you become interested in trains? I had O scale trains when I was young and wanted to learn more about trains in general, especially the steam locomotives. I am interested in helping us operate a Museum Railway to give upcoming generations some experience with railroads and equipment.

What is your favorite activity at the New Hope Valley Railway? I was recruited to work on the G-Scale layout, but there were issues with the ticketing and our computer network that needed attention. Etix ticketing management and triangletrain.com web page management continue to be a primary focus, making sure the information there is current and working. There were also several donated pieces of lawn equipment that needed work, so I have been mowing, trimming and maintaining the mowers since the beginning. As the Marketing lead, I do my best to fill the trains and generate interest from the local community and beyond in both the Museum and the Railway. The most enjoyment comes when everything is working, the place looks good, the customers are happy, and they come back for more.

40th/120th Anniversary: Successful Event Enjoyed by Many
by Jim Whitten

The NCRM/NHV celebrated our 40/120 year Anniversary on April 20 and 21 with some folks dressed in vintage clothes to get us in the mood. There was a private VIP event with speeches from our Apex and Pittsboro Mayors, Kelly Alexander, ED of the North Carolina Transportation Museum [Spencer], and a presentation from Jim Jatco on our 10-year plans for the Museum. After that, a snack of cake and fruit then a free train ride for everyone. The VIP event was well attended and the speeches were right on target, focusing on our value to the community and fund raising.

After the VIP event, we had 2 well attended rides on Saturday and 3 on Sunday (rain). There were raffles for nice 3D locomotive puzzles and a gift basket. We also had all our exhibits and projects hosted by experts doing the work to give attendees a real inside peek at how we are maintaining and restoring our museum equipment. From this we received some donations and new volunteers. Even the gift shop did very well! Marco Zarate introduced the new Adopt a Loco fund raiser to generate interest in specific equipment for our members and others.

We hope the long-term benefit will be to increase awareness and donations from the community and how important the NHV is to the families that ride with us. We also created a large timeline that will stay in the infield and a large diagram of our 10 – year plan that will get posted. We have a video of the speeches and many pics of the festivities that will be coming soon. We even have anniversary flags and patches, available for sale in the Gift Shop.

Thanks to all the members and the Anniversary Committee for putting on a special event for our customers.

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

Welcome, New Members!
We are pleased to welcome the following new members this month: Rudy King, Caleb Reeves and Juli Buker. 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

Large G Scale Donation – by Tom Hutchinson
On April 3, we received a very generous donation of G scale equipment from Helen and Mike Lewandowski, estimated at around $15,800 based on EBay research!

It includes:
Locomotives 27
Coaches 14
Cars 27
Trams/Trolleys/Streetcars 3
Eggliners 3
Buildings 2
Small Aristo Power Pack 1

It is all in excellent condition, over half in original boxes. We know that we would not run all of this equipment, so our next step is to identify what we need and what we can sell, then offer the unneeded items to the membership first, followed by offer to the general public.

The NCRM Board of Directors has approved the sale of equipment that will not be used on our garden railroad at the New Hope Valley Railway. This includes approximately 23 G scale freight cars and passenger coaches and 16 pieces of motorized equipment (locomotives, trams and an LGB track cleaning car). Any NCRM members interested in purchasing any of this equipment should contact Tom Hutchinson before June 1 for a list and asking prices. After June 1, the remaining equipment will be offered to sale to non-members. Proceeds will go toward the improvement of our G scale operating layout.

[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

After a lengthy engineering and manufacturing process, the new furnace bearers, which hold the back end of the boiler to the locomotive frame, have been test-fitted, drilled and installed. [the silver vertical bar with bolts showing in the photo to the right – ed.] This holds the boiler’s firebox to the frame, while allowing front-to-rear movement to allow for heat expansion of the boiler. As with most steam locomotive parts nowadays, it was built from scratch, using the original design documents from the locomotive builder.

Another significant development was the installation of the lower portion of the front boiler tube sheet. [the darker red portion with all the bolts showing – ed] This has been welded in place to the tube sheet and the next step is to replace the bolts along the bottom of the joint with rivets, which is sure to be a hot, noisy operation, one which is rarely seen these days. Also shown in the photo in the purple area is the joint for the dry-pipe, which has been precision-lapped for a leak-proof steam joint. There will be more member involvement in the process now that we have reached this point. We can begin some of the repairs which don’t require special training and certifications in our effort to get 17 back on the rails. Watch your inbox for more details!



Around the Yard