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.
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!
Hickory Creek – On the weekend of 9/15 – 9/16 the Hickory Creek will be taking a paying family up to Montreal. This is a one way trip, so anyone interested in meeting up with the train on the way back can ride for free. 21 people maximum – The trip is free, however you must make your own arrangements to meet the train. It will be on the south bound Adirondack train. Please contact KC Smith for further details and possible meeting locations. Since the spots are limited please let KC as soon as possible to ensure a spot. Please notify no later than 9/9/2012.
CNJ Room (In the Freight House building)
10:00 – Rails along the Morris Canal – Bill McKelvey
10:30 – The Dam RR (Rockaway River & Montville RR) – Kathy Fisher
11:00 – 1937 Yellow Coach Restoration Project – Bill McKelvey
11:30 – The GG-1 1930’s Publicity Film by the PRR – Mitch Dakelman
1:00 – Morris County Traction Co. – Bill Greenberg
2:15 – Short Lines Railroads of NJ in the 1950s & 1960s – Frank Reilly
3:00 – DL&W-EL-NJT: Final Days of Electric Trains – Bob Bahrs
4:00 – Clang, Clang, Clang went the Trolley! · NJ’s street cars – Bill McKelvey
Erie-Lackawanna Room (In the Freight House building)
hourly Operation Lifesaver · for children & adults, free books. – Grace Mancini-Introna
11:30 — Railroading in NJ in the 1990s to 2013, Part I – Kevin Phalon
1:30 — Railroading in NJ in the 1990s to 2013, Part 2 – Kevin Phalon
2:30 — Railroading in NJ in the 1990s to 2013, Part 3 – Kevin Phalon
3:30 — Railroading in NJ in the 1990s to 2013, Part 4 – Kevin Phalon
Fill In — Trucks in NJ’s Transportation Heritage – Bill McKelvey
Lackawanna RR Room (In the Freight House building)
10:00 am – 4:30 pm — Exhibits (Free) and Sales of Memorabilia & Antiques, Books, etc.
Outside in the restoration yard
10 am – 430 pm:
Trains: Historic, old electric and diesel locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars and track cars. Some have been restored and some await restoration. Feel free to walk around and get a close look at these giants of the rails.
Military vehicles, antique trucks, and vintage buses.
Giant Military Band Organ (one of a few remaining in the USA) owned by Rusty King
Trolley Car model train layout by Tony Hall
Noon — Special Awards Presentations at the Pennsylvania RR #4877 electric locomotive
10:00, Noon, & 4:30 — Diesel locomotive air-horn are blown one at a time.
(Joe Mele) I would like to offer the following updates on the URHS activity. Below are a couple of newsworthy items:
The Boonton Yard shop building construction has begun; hopefully the building will be completed in the next couple of months.
Star Trak is continuing to work on our equipment at Boonton yard.
URHS signed a lease agreement with the Black River Historical Trust for the Erie SW-9 #436. The locomotive was picked up by Norfolk Southern RR from the NY&GL Railway and interchanged in Garfield, NJ at the end of April. The BRHT will be using this locomotive for the 2012 operating season for their passenger trains on the Black River & Western Railroad.
The Liberty Historic Railway (LHRy) will host an open meeting on Sunday, June 10, 2012 at Liberty State Park, in the Central RR of NJ, Jersey City Terminal, Blue Comet room. All members of the URHS member groups are invited to attend. Please see the meeting flyer in this issue.
The following supplement was provided by Steve Gerritsen (Ed.)
A shop has been erected in the URHS Boonton Yard over the past few months. At this time it is nearing completion, with only some roofing work and doors to be hung. Once completed, Star Trak can resume work on the URHS equipment, but in the mean time they are painting an engine for the Black River & Western Railroad.
…The Black River Historical Society will be making minor repairs to Erie SW-9 #436 and placing it into service…
Work continues in the yard to clear more brush and trees, to allow us better access to equipment. Brush is a never ending battle, but is necessary so we can get to the fun stuff: working on trains.