Friday, March 7, 2014

Spring Updates (Long Overdue!)

Yes, we know we've been lax in posting here, but that does not mean we've been cooling our heels! We've just been too busy to sit down and write it all up! Thanks to JD Conrad for taking the time to write this up!

New Locomotive
Photo by Stephie Kolata /
Yesterday we were the successful bidder on another 80 ton GE locomotive, US Air Force No. 1606, last operated at an AFB in Utah. The main reason we bought it was that it has exceptionally low hours on it after a complete overhaul (albeit done back in the 80s', but it appears to be well cared for and stored in a dry climate). Also, it is a simple, robust design with which we are familiar and have spare parts for. Since we are running more evening trains (Essex Clipper and specials to events at The Lace Factory), it was felt that another backup locomotive would be prudent. Kevin is figuring out the best way to get it transported to Essex.

Keep an eye out for this new piece of equipment at Essex Station in the coming months!

Engine House Addition 
The Engine House Addition project has begun. The portion of track 7 next to the Engine House has been removed and building materials (re-bar, insulation, "new" rail for inside the building) are being piled nearby the work site. It expected that the construction company will begin digging out for the new pit next week; the addition will run teh length of the existing engine house. The addition will bring the servicing, inspection and repairs to the steam locomotives inside as well as overnight and long term storage. 
The schedule calls for the contractor to be finished with the concrete work and building frame prior to "Day Out with Thomas", so you will be able to see the work in process throughout the spring and early summer.

Photo by B. Coolidge / Passenger Car Photo Index
The DaCosta Parlor Car

We've owned the Dacosta, an old PRR Pullman (PRR 7068), for many years, and this is the year she will be returned to service, for the popular North Pole Express, as well as for general use as a First Class car and Dining Car.

After the sandblasting was finished, work began on removing rusted sections of the car body. New window sills and window post are being fit and installed. Repairs have been made to the side sills (frame). The steel work for the new sections of floor is in place, we expect to pour fiberglass reinforced concrete  to renew about 2/3 of the floor on Monday. Work is also progressing on rebuilding the brake rigging as well. New wiring is being installed throughout the car, although historic lighting fixtures will be used.

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