There is a URHS meeting Saturday in Phillipsburg. Will be inspecting equipment in Gilbert which has been sitting 20 years. Some will be scrapped, some may be moved if locations can be found. The E-8 unit (Future B&O 98) – out of money for restoration. About $10,000 to get it painted. If URHS decides to complete there will probably be a request to the member organizations for donations. GG-1 4879 has plenty of money left in grants. There is a renewed interest in a combined “Steam Boat/Steam Train” trip, that will be discussed. Boonton Open House September 16th – 2,000 to 3,000 people there, URHS basically broke even for the day. There were no complaints from the public at all.
Now that our 1st Annual NJ Transportation Heritage Festival is history, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Festival Committee (listed below) and the many other volunteers and participants who made the event a success. Even though we lost $52.53 on paper, it was still a major success, especially considering it was our first attempt and the many obstacles we had to overcome.
Some of the positive event outcomes are:
- 1. Actually we didn't have a loss as URHS sales table is now well stocked for future income.
- 2. John Ferante donated a large quantity of very old Trains magazines which we will sell at a premium in the future.
- 3. NJT Operation Life Saver people were extremely pleased as they gave out 600 pencils and 750 coloring books, booked another event and were amazed that their presentations drew so many people.
- 4. One of our kind and generous volunteers sent us a $500 donation after the event.
- 5. Many people were asking about and encouraging us to have the Festival again next year.
- 6. The Mayor of Boonton was most pleased that many attendees patronized other local businesses after our function.
- 7. Six new volunteers signed up and some old ones were resurrected.
- 8. We received nothing but positive feedback and NO complaints.
- 9. All member group sales tables and Canal Society stated they were happy with results.
- 10. The Military vehicle group raised well over $100 for their Toys for Tots program.
Other statistics: Attendance was approximately 2,400-2,500 or more. Income: Donations $2,126.84, Raffle $346, URHS Sales Table $1,907, Food Sales $1,349 and Sales table rental (NYCHS) $15.
Once again, on behalf of myself, the URHS and those who attended the Festival, I want to THANK all of you who worked so diligently, cooperatively and unselfishly and who together made our event a big success. Many, many THANKS.
Festival Committee: Frank Reilly – URHS President, Bill McKelvey – URHS Director, KC Smith – URHS Director, Frank Ball, Alan Bird, Steve Gerritsen, Larry Gross, Fred Heide, Carolyn Hoffman, Justin Kerstner, Dave Lindstrom & Matt Phalon.
Pete Hasler, URHS Event Chairman
By Frank Reilly, President, United RR Historical Society of NJ
This first of its kind event was held on Sunday, September 16 at the United Railroad Historical Society’s rail restoration and storage facility in Boonton. It was a huge success and the attendance was much larger than ever expected. Approximately 2,400 to 2,500 or more people attended, which was attributed to two factors; excellent weather (one of the 10 best days of the year) and extensive publicity.
Everyone who attended was delighted with the event, which included displays of electric and diesel locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars, an NS locomotive and caboose, a “Friends” NJ Public Service bus, vintage military trucks and jeeps, vintage trucks, a magnificently restored and operating carousal full band organ, a model trolley car operating layout, several tables of railroadiana for sale by the URHS and URHS member groups, some antique automobiles.
Throughout the day there were several very well received 45 – 50 minute presentations by noted NJ railroad historians Bob Bahrs (the final days of the DL&W’s old electric mu’s), Mitch Dakelman (PRR’s movies on GG-1s and other vintage movies), Kathy Fisher (The Dam RR in Boonton – Rockaway River & Montville RR), Bill Greenburg (Morris County Traction Co.), Bill McKelvey (Rails along the Morris Canal and another on NJ’s street cars), and Frank Reilly (NJ’s railroads ca. 1950s & 1960s) as well as the on-going NJT Operation Lifesaver presentations by Grace Mancini-Introna. Operation Lifesaver gave out 600 pencils and 750 coloring books and other items.
The historical presentations were so popular that all seats were taken for each presentation and there were people standing around the sides and back of the room and out into the hallway! The local nature of the presentations were a big attraction!
Several hundred hamburgers and hot dogs plus drinks and sides were sold at reasonable prices and dining tables were set-up adjacent to the recently restored PRR GG-1 #4877. What a great place to have lunch!
Special presentations of appreciation were made by event chairman Pete Hasler to URHS Boonton rail yard volunteers Alan Bird, Larry Gross, and Phil Francis; to Boonton Mayor Cy Wekilsky; to John Sobotka (who heads the Toys for Tots trains in northern NJ each year), and to Bill McKelvey.
No admission was charged, but large donation jugs with donation signs were placed throughout the site. As people entered and departed they were channeled through a narrow area to assure they had to pass next to a donation jug and this worked very well. A raffle for a $50 Shop Rite gift card and one for a dinner for two at The Station at Mountain Lakes restaurant, a former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western RR station restaurant generated addition donations. Many guests made another donation as they left because they enjoyed the event so much!
Boonton Mayor Cy Wekilsky was very impressed with the huge number of attendees who patronized local businesses after our event. The URHS also received two $500 donations from two of generous volunteers after the event!