Sunday, July 13, 2008

Oliver O. Jensen Gallery opens

Ellsworth Grant at gallery opening, July 11

A room at the former Dickinson Witch Hazel bottling plant, now known as "River Valley Junction" has been transformed into the "Oliver O. Jensen Gallery which opened July 11th.

Oliver was one of the founders and chief visionary of The Valley Railroad Company and for many years President and/or Chairman of the Company. His long time friend, Ellsworth Grant spoke at the opening, entertaining a crowd of over 100 with anecdotes about Oliver and the early days of the railroad.

The inaugural exhibit is "Faces of Essex Steam Train & Riverboat" by Caryn B. Davis. The show is made up of twenty two, large format color photographs of EST&R employees at their workplace.

"Bruce Edgerton, Locomotive Engineer"

The exhibit was inspired by Davies' "Chester, Poetry of Place" show. A committee selected the representative employees. JDC composed the scenes, scheduled the shoots and organized the lighting, etc.

The show will be open10:30-3:30 daily until Labor Day and then weekends until Columbus Day.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Out In The Sun

Dateline: Essex, Connecticut, July 10, 2008-

In a veritable frenzy of activity over the last couple of weeks, the repainting of No. 0900 is finished. Out in the sun after hiding in the shop for over two months, it spent this afternoon switching and is now on the point of the combined Essex Clipper Dinner Train/Laugh Tracks operation (think: Union Pacific's "City of Everywhere" in the pre-Amtrak days) for tonight.

The Friends of the Valley Railroad were out in force on Wednesday night painting the frame and steps. Scott Dimartino and JDC also worked on the frame as well as touching up the orange and green. Veronica Trudeau came in at the last minute to hand letter the unit.
The transformation of this once frumpy workhorse into a stylish passenger engine is truly amazing.
Thanks to one and all for your good work!


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Oklahoma Orange & JDC Green

Well, its' about time!

Valley Railroad No. 0900 is (finally) getting a fresh coat (two, actually) of paint.

No. 0900 is a General Electric 80 Ton diesel-electric locomotive built in March 1947 (construction No. 28689 for you numerologists out there) built by GE for use at their plant in Schenectady, NY. It was later sold the Berkshire Scenic Railway which in turn sold it to VRR in May 1991. It actually looked pretty good back then, but over the years it became a bit tatty and not really suitable for hauling "The Essex Clipper Dinner Train" our premier offering and No. 0900's usual assignment.

Early this year Scott Dimartino began by prepping (sanding & body work) and painting the cab with DuPont "Fulthane". This included removing all the windows which received new gaskets and were reinstalled by Middletown Plate Glass. The project languished until last month when our support group, "The Friend's of the Valley Railroad Company", volunteered to prep the hoods. They were assisted by VRR engineer Jim Miller and Locomotive Foreman Wayne Hebert. Once prepped "Friend" Chris Pakula primed and finish coated it with DuPont "Centari" (assisted by Tom Krulikowski).

The paint scheme is an "homage" to the dear departed "New York, New Haven & Hartford": orange hoods, green cab and black frame and trucks. But sorry New Haven fans, the green is a bit darker, almost "Pullman Green" as per the suggestion of VRR engineer Mike Camera (and the parsimonious nature of the CMO who mixed left over paint from several projects to come up with the final color).

Come to think of it, the locomotive's number too harkens back to the NYNH&H, whose early electric and diesel electric locomotives had their numbers prefixed with a "0" (zero) to distinguish them from their steam locomotives. Somehow I think that the crews would have noticed the difference, at least once they got into the cab.