September 2020 Work Session Report

The September work session served to keep the momentum going with 40+ volunteers participating on Saturday and Sunday.  The weather was much more manageable with highs in the 70’s and only a few brief showers passing through on Sunday afternoon.

The window crew cut more glass panes in the stone house, while glazing and painting continued in the Foundry.  There was a large effort made to get all of the windows replaced on the bus garage.  A bit of overtime was put in on Saturday to accomplish this but the Garage really looked good at the end with all of the fresh white windows installed.

Track crews were completing various bits of track work on the south end of the yard on the track leading to the Paint Shop.  The sound of the jackhammer pounding in spikes was fairly constant both days. This seems to be one of the favorite volunteer activities since it is usually the first crew to fill up.

Work continued on Combine 14, with more hardware and vents being cleaned and mounted.  The ongoing task of stripping old paint was continued while new wood was also cut for areas that needed replacement.

The paint crew was again making large strides covering large areas of the east side of the Foundry and Boiler House. They were now employing a pressurized pot sprayer that sped the process up and allowed them to paint in the many crevices of these buildings.  They could be seen prepping the area in front of the machine shop including the large steel tank on Sunday.

The shop crew was split into three groups for the weekend to cover a variety of tasks.  One group hung gutters in the Shop alley, and by Sunday afternoon they had all of the gutters up with thimbles in place for multiple downspout locations.  Unfortunately, the elbows needed to install the downspouts are still on backorder, so this work will have to wait until they arrive. With the extra time at the end of the day Sunday, this group exhumed an old brick trough at the end of the alley to connect the alley drain troughs and downspouts to a drain that presumably heads to the Jordan Creek.  The second group was contracted to build steps down into the Roundhouse pits on Sunday.  They completed two sets and now have a good design that they can use to copy and order material for completing the next session. The remainder of the crew spent most of Saturday cleaning up debris and organizing the Boiler Shop.  The speeder that had been parked there for years was moved to the car barn with the rest. Steel was moved to other storage areas, and templates were hung around on the various nails and racks.  Tools were laid out on the benches and work centers that were appropriate.  The transformation of this space by the end of the day was incredible.  On Sunday this group began cleaning out the carpenter shop in preparation for another visit by the Woodford Brothers to right this building.  A few old non-original machines that had been thrown in there for storage were removed and given appropriate homes. A large pile of lumber was pulled out and transferred to the lumber shed late in the day once the track crew put away their work train that was blocking access to the Lumber Shed track.  Many pictures were taken to document locations of tools and plans made for storage of other artifacts that will also need removal before the building is rehabilitated. 

Even though this year is close to an end, and I’ve had the pleasure of writing several of these rather lengthy work reports now, I am still left amazed and humbled by the huge amount of work that is taking place at our beloved Railroad.  It continues to be an incredibly exciting time, and I’m honored to be a part of it.  It seems that Brad Esposito, the railroad’s General Manager, is always looking to add to that excitement and fan the flames of enthusiasm.  To that end he prepared a great surprise for those there on Saturday afternoon.  Since the last session he straightened and leveled the main line shaft in the boiler shop ceiling.  This allowed him to not only run the steam engine for us but also now turn this newly readied shaft to drive the enormous punch and shear that occupy the right side of that building. Wow, what a thrill !  It’s not often that you are able to see something that hasn’t happened in nearly 70 years. Thanks Brad for continuing to treat us to new delights.

Randy, FEBT Crew Leader