Monday, July 14, 2014

What a day!

This past Saturday saw a flurry of activities and a huge crowd of current & new volunteers working together.
Steve "Nappy" supplied us with a "transporter" which allowed him to pick up and move #35's cab from behind the Ping Pong coach to a more readily open spot next to #35's boiler. This wasn't easy as there is no floor and plenty of rust, however, the unit hung together and we were able to set it down safely and sturdily.
Now comes the sheet metal replacement in order to use it as an interactive display piece.
Dinky #398-the yellow "Dashing Dottie" unit had some of the lower sheet metal removed due to major corrosion. This will be replaced next Saturday and then the next pieces cut out.
Also accomplished was more work on the steam engine.
If you remember, Conrad Milster from Pratt Institute and the Ct. Antique Machinery Association came out from Brooklyn and went over the unit to help us get it going. It is now a working engine that is having its "bugs" worked out.
There were major leaks around the packing glands and virtually all of the valve nuts. We also had to remove the head end and valve port  inspection covers to replace the gaskets.
The valve stem packing nuts were the first to be tightened in sequence, then the valve head nuts, then a new plug was installed on the head end after the gaskets were all replaced. There is still a small leak on the cylinder head on the connecting arm end as well as a persistent leak from one of the valve head nuts. I'm still working on these 2 points.
The biggest issue I still have is the connecting arm pin. It seems that the bushing is either broken in half or just needs to be re-set. Oh well, that's what next week is for.
I measured for the 2 new belts and will order them this week and now am researching for a grinding stone which will enable us to show the public just what one of these units was used for in an industrial-setting.
All in all-What  a day!

Try this

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

steam in action---almost!

Here is a video from this past Saturday's work session.
Our Civil war era steam engine in action. I posted it on my photobucket account.


What's up OBRM????

so far this season, our intrepid volunteers have been preparing parts from #35 to be shipped down for restoration to Steam operations corp. Some items have already been shipped and we are ready for shipment #3, this year.
Also, they have finished up caboose #50's bi-annual maintenance. Also completed is #12's bi-annual maintenance. We also kept up on the Worlds Fair Alco diesel cab, by repairing the air-horns, paint touch ups and waterproofing the cab, which is a maintenance headache! But we are getting to the finish line with this task.
We also were FINALLY  able to get out 1 cylinder steam engine running. We have been working on this for over 2 years and I was finally able to hook up with a steam engine "legend" Conrad Milster. Conrad Milster is the man in charge of Pratt Institutes power generating plant and works on engines like these all the time. He is famous for installing a steam line in the yard at Pratt every New Years eve and inviting the citizens in to hook up their whistles which they blow at midnight. Its been a tradition which I hope continues.
He also is a member of the CT Antique Machinery Association (CAMA)and within the past couple of years has removed an engine very similar to ours from the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park (NY Worlds Fair grounds) to bring up to CAMA and restore to operating condition.

He was able to get it running in about 15 minutes, although it does need quite a bit of small "tweaks" to get it running. The main issue that stymied us turned out to be that the slide valve was not seating and allowing all of the air around it to go right out the exhaust valve.
See!! It takes an expert and I am smart enough to know that I didn't know enough to get this engine running

Here is what he had to say about our engine:
It is a Civil Ware era single action pumping engine which may have had a feed water system attached to pump water into  another system.
The flywheel was probably used to power another set of machines and the governor was added on later, probably around the turn of the 20th century.
He also stated that his unit operates on 5-10 lbs of pressure & puts out between 10+15 horsepower.

When this unit was donated by the Old Bethpage Village Restoration a few years ago, we also received an add on unit on which we will install a grinding wheel to demonstrate how this engine was used for industry.
The take off from the flywheel is a leather belt which he said we can order from an online retailer once we get the correct measurement and we can also get a belt to power the governor balls from the same retailer.

We plan on having demonstrations of this engine on Saturdays beginning sometime in August.
This will be a hit with all.

Thank you again Conrad Milster, who is a genuinely nice guy.


A new year- a new start

50 years ago, "the world came to Queens".
Today at the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum, we are celebrating a milestone in New York as well as the USA.
Any of you old enough to remember this year, remember it VERY fondly.
It was the year the Beatles came to America, right here in NY. It was also the year that the world was introduced to the Ford Mustang and America to the delights of the Belgian waffle. It was also the year that one of my favorite wineries began. Sterling Vineyards in Napa California.
But most of all, it was the first year of the world famous 1964/1965 NY Worlds Fair.
So many wonderful memories, so many years ago.
So, the board of directors of the OBRM, knowing that we have such a valuable and tangible link to this amazing time, in our collection, decided to install a 50th anniversary celebration of the NYWF.
Utilizing memorabilia in the Visitors Center, we were able to show  people just how much fun this time period was and remind them of how far we have come as a culture since then.
AND, because we are a railroad museum, of course the collection was heavily skewed towards transportation.
Since the LIRR was the host railroad of the area, they got into the fair with their own pavilion featuring a full size cut down diesel cab which was used as a photo feature. This is the same diesel cab that we have in our collection. The pavilion didn't show off new age technology like some of the others, however, it did show off Long Island and the LIRR by allowing the visitors a uniquely Long Island experience.
An incubator where LI Ducklings were hatching showed off this industry as well as the duck pond where the ducklings  were transferred to begin their lives in the water. A windmill similar to the famous,  Hampton windmill anchored the corner. A huge tent which held an HO scale model railroad of Long Island and the "tent of the four counties" of Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk. Beautiful park landscaping and of course, the 2 jewels int he crown, the Allen Hershell G16 model ride on scale train, which is still on LI and in operation at the Railroad Museum of LI in Riverhead AND our very own WF Alco Diesel cab simulator. This simulator has been "spiffed up"and has operating diesel horns as well as a sound system installed in the nose. The LIRR also built an operating interlocking cabin on the pavilion-Fair cabin.
The most interesting part of our display may well be the 1/4 inch scale model of the actual LIRR Pavilion as modeled by me. Using hundreds of photos supplied to me by many LIRR & NY Worlds Fair Historians, such as Bill Cotter, David Morrison, Steve Lynch, Dave Keller and Dick Maksie, I was able to kit-bash and/or custom build EVERY building on the grounds of the pavilion. I was also able to build an operating G16 scale ride on train and found a 4 car set of operating R36 World Fair subway cars for the layout.

This was a labor of love for me and most of the NYWF collection is mine  as are almost all of the NY Mets collection.
We plan on having this display up almost until the end of the year when we will change it out for the Holiday Express.
I hope that you tell all of your friends of this and pay us a visit.
Many thanks to all

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Here we go again

HI folks-long time no see-
Sorry but life is getting in the way again.
Lets get to it!
last weekend, August 10+11 Scott LIndsey of Steam Operations Corp of Mobile Alabama came up to visit us in Oyster Bay and our work session focused on the picking and loading of various locomotive part from #35's running gear.
These were all smaller parts such as the grease cellars and various valve linkage parts which we were able to load into Scotts pickup truck.
 This was load #2.

Future work sessions will focus on removing more of the valve gear & linkage pieces for transport to The Steam Operation Corps shops.

On a side note-
I finished the HO Scale model of the Oyster Bay rail yard from milepost 31 to the end of the line and it is on YOU TUBE for those who may not be able to make it down to the Historic Oyster Bay Train Station. The module is quite large but can be broken down into 3 parts and includes almost every era from the lines inception in 1889 until now. I followed the Bob Emory maps to figure out what went where and I scratchbuilt and kitbashed  most of the models on the module. Some buildings were built from kits as-is and the Train station was a resin model that I complete re-worked.
I did this mainly as an exercise to amuse myself but realized that it would be better to show how the rail yard eveolved through the years.
the link at YOU TUBE is-Oyster Bay Module.

I do hope that you enjoy the tour


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

wait until the summers gone

This is a song from one of the bands I used to see at "SPEAKS" a club in Island Park.
As I get older, I seem to reminisce more. I had a great time and wouldn't trade anything I have done.
But why reminisce? Simple. Besides #35, #50 holds a memory for me.
This is the first piece of equipment that the "Friends of Locomotive #35 inc." rescued and restored ourselves.
We were a bunch of kids just farting around, but this car got our juices flowing to really learn how to restore trains.
After 16+ years, the weather has taken its toll and #50 was looking worse for wear.
After some major efforts by our volunteers, 3 sides of #50 are looking reat!
One more side to go and we can wrap up this job for the year.
Even though we have new projects, we still have to be able to maintain what we have on site and this seems to take up alot of time, but its very necessary, especially when everything is out in the weather year round.

As summer winds down, we are now preparing for the Oyster Festival which is our largest revenue stream.
We will once again need many hands to help out at the food booth, visitors center, station and the display yard.
anyone who is interested in lendind a hand for a day or two can contact me directly at
or John Specce at john.
We hope to see you there on SATURDAY & SUNDAY October 13+14.
Keep it real folks!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hello, yeah , its been awhile-not much, how 'bout you....

HI all:
sorry I haven't been as vocal a poster as the last few years but time and work caught up with me and I haven't had the time to post. SORRY!!!!!!!
Lets get on with it then.
Just an fyi as to the title of this post.. If you are a child of the 1970's as I am, you might remember the song.
I'd really love to see you tonight by Dan Seals. I know, I'm getting old.

a long term project-the repainting of Caboose (hack) #50 began with touching up the rust spots and welding in a few new patches on tboth of the crash posts on the ends around the door frames. Everyone has been pitching in and when completed, the orange will look great. We still haven't been able to cure a pesky water problem plaquing the roof. Hopefully we can fix it before the ned of summer. The roof will be needing repainting and the re-placement of the roof walks and ladders-that will have to wait until we get the steel. NOT a priority-just a wish.

Also, all that is left for the crossing shanty is the replacement of the front glass in the door and the placementof the smokejack through the roof.

WF Cab-We added a sound system in the nose to make the unit really come alive. Its set for a diesel engine in idle. In the near future-next week(?) we will put the air compressor in the nose as well for air horn power!
This will really wake up the neighbors!!!!!

Ping Pong coach.
Over the spring our crew added the hanging signs on the center of the ceiling and installed all of the ceiling fans  and the roof ventilators. These were cut off to lower the height of the car so it could be moved "over the road".

#12- Mike E led the crew in repairing the stove and Steve T got the volunteers to level the car so the doors will open & close with no issues. I think that after next Saturdays session, #12 should be good to go.

Dinkies-Yellow #398-nothing but paint touch up has occured.
Blue& Grey #397-all of the batteries and spare engine parts from the cab have been removed. Plans call for the removal of the battery box which will be placed inside the Yellow unit. All of the batteries have been removed in the spring.
Also a massive amount of rust has occured around the perimeter of the cab base which will entail alot of steel patch panels to be welded into place.

M1 Simulator-Nothing new has occured.

Turntable-the portion that we as volunteers have worked on is complete and LIPA has visited the site to go over the addition of a new power line to the pole in our yard. We have to get permits to remove the trees on the east end of the turntable to facilitate the placing of the electric lines. Stay Tuned as this could take some time.

Steam Engine-We received this unit from Old Bethpage Village Restoration a few months ago and Leon & crew have built a strong platform for it to rest upon. I have been busy adding oil reservoirs and hooking up an air inlet line. I still have to add a 3 inch exhaust line and 2 new seals before I can start the engine up. Maybe next week should see it in motion!

EVERYONE has been hard at work getting #35's parts ready for moving day-
From what Steve, Leon & Wayne have informed me (and correct me if I'm wrong)- we will be sending out the frames of the engine & tender/all wheelsets & drive wheels/ and some pallets of parts already set up for transport. As we move ahead we will be removing parts from teh trailers and getting them ready for shipping to Alabama and may wind up wiht 1 empty storage trailer by the end of this years work session.

Interlocking machine(s)-YES, you are reading it right, machines.
To date we are now the proud owners of not 1, but 2 interlocking machines. Regardless of your personal feelings regarding the acquisition of these 2 machines, our museum goal has always been to convey the life of the LIRR through interactive displays.
The "armstrong" machine's restoration has not yet begun, but we saved the unit from being scrapped.
Now we have been blessed with a donationof the Model 14 electropneumatic machine from Valley Tower in Valley Stream. It was shipped to us last Friday (8/10/12) during the storm and delivered to the yard. Next day, I spearaheded the movement of the parts inside the train station and one pallet into the storage trailer.
Yesterday, I began to put the machines shell together and with only 4 pieces to bolt together it looks good. I will continue to add parts as time allows.

Keep it real