Saturday, August 24, 2013

New Life for the Gandy Dancer

For years a bright red handcar was the centerpiece of the Utah State Railroad Museum's maintenance-of-way exhibit. The replica, built in the 1980s for racing events, hadn't been used since the early 1990s, but recently was taken as a traveling exhibit to the Evanston Roundhouse Festival in Evanston, Wyoming. Now it has become the official traveling ambassador for the museum, and with the Golden Spike Chapter helping, has become a new way to experience railroading history. Below are two videos, the top being at the Utah State Railroad Museum and the bottom being at the Evanston event taken by Lee Witten. An inexpensive and removable horn was added for safety, but beyond that improvement it provides a neat representation of railroad travel before the internal combustion engine.

The plan is to not only travel, but to utilize it at special events such as National Train Day (when speeder rides were offered this past year) and during the regular Weber County RAMP-sponsored free museum days. A plan is in place to expand this concept to include the museum's own Fairmont speeders and eventually even one of the smaller locomotives in the collection.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Complications with the smokebox

Last weekend (May 25) the inside of the smokebox was needlescaled to remove the rust.
Unfortunately, because the stack was uncapped during the locomotive's tenure in Liberty Park, the bottom has rusted very badly. Not all the way through, but the smokebox is going to need some major repairs. This is not to be discouraging, however - all other aspects of the project are still on schedule. This issue will have to be taken care of when the boiler is sent to a contractor.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Utah State Railroad Museum Updates & National Train Day

Since Mr. Trentleman has taken over as official blogger for the Utah State Railroad Museum, most updates will be handled by him from now on, so that we can focus on the 223. However, here are some followups on projects mentioned in previous posts here.

In regards to security, both Ogden City and the Union Station Foundation have installed separate camera systems. The Foundation's is tied into the alarm system; the city's feeds into the Ogden Police Department's system. In addition, signs have been posted officially setting the closing time for the rail center. This doesn't secure things quite the same way as a fence, but it definitely decreases the chances of vandalism and theft.
The Union Pacific laundry building has unfortunately been condemned due to asbestos; however, a new garage door has replaced the old chain link gate that let the pigeons and cats inside.
National Train Day was a success, with speeder rides on Track 1 being very popular. Union Pacific brought not one, but two heritage units, and UTA offered a hi-rail truck to display for the event. In addition, there were model train layouts, the 223 shop was open and busy (Thank you everyone who purchased 223 merchandise!), and several exciting restoration projects were announced, which will be covered in their own posts later.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

D&RGW 223 Featured in Charles Trentleman's blog

Charles Trentleman, recently retired from the staff of the Ogden Standard-Examiner, has begun writing a blog of his own, called "The Retired Rambler" (after his weekly column he wrote for the nespaper, "The Wasatch Rambler". You can check it out here:

Mr. Trentleman has written many articles about the Union Station, Utah State Railroad Museum and the 223 project (which was featured in his blog post Rebuilding History One Bolt at a Time) for the newspaper, and now as a regular volunteer for the museum, is covering the everyday aspects of life in the Junction City's station.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Utah State Railroad Museum - update on security

The ball is rolling now, folks. Recently an agreement between the Union Station Foundation (operators of the USRRM) and Scott Pitman was signed, making Scott the contractor for large restoration projects such as rebuilding the Saltair open cars, or repainting the 1969 Golden Spike Centennial display car in the museum's collection. Scott has extensive experience restoring vintage automobiles, and as a fireman at Golden Spike National Historic Site. One of his first projects was to fix the fence surrounding the Eccles Rail Center. That's right, after months of debate and meetings money was set aside to fix the gaps in the fence to prevent people from sneaking in from the back. The front will be left open, but since it faces Wall Avenue and is well lighted it was decided to leave it alone for the time being.

The good news about this is that there have been no more cases of new broken windows for the past few months! The Golden Spike Chapter finished boarding over the already broken ones, and Scott is currently collecting money to purchase new glass to replace the damaged panes.

To combat the problem of visitors climbing on roofs and walkways and leaving every imaginable unsecured hatch open, Lee Witten produced signs that are attached to the grab irons of the locomotives with u-bolts, which are then locked on the ends to prevent people from just unscrewing them. As far as we've observed these have been effective in keeping most people off of the equipment, although as in any public operation, there are always those who will disobey a sign just for the heck of it...
One of the signs installed on the 833. The cab has been boarded shut, much to the dismay of the professional photographers and tourists (they can't get any hanging-out-the-window shots, but it's a necessary sacrfice). The damaged storm wall is still under repair.

In other news, two separate projects are underway. One, artist Tom Hudson is preparing murals in the Art Deco style to decorate the recently remodeled Browning Theatre in the old Postal Terminal building. The murals will depict UP 833's driving wheels on the storage doors under the stage, and the original GM "Train of Tomorrow" in the archways along the walls, a nod to the Moon Glow, which is in the museum's collection and is the last car from the trainset.
These are the arches so far - he's still working on the ToT artwork.
 The images of the 833 installed under the stage:
 And here's an extra image that is stored inside the restoration shop for the time being. These are combinations of photographs, 3-D renderings and digital painting. Tom worked as a roller coaster designer for many years, designing famous rides in Las Vegas and elsewhere.
Another volunteer is painting replica numberboards for the 5371 in the Rio Grande's "Railroad Roman" font used on the 5371 from the 90s until they were stolen in 2006. As such, both boards have been removed, leaving an interesting view that most people don't see: the bulbs that illuminate them.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Friends of the R&LHS

This year the Golden Spike Chapter/223 Project is listed on the Friends of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society fundraiser, right alongside the Pacific Coast Chapter (archives), Southern California Chapter (Outer Harbor Terminal #2), and Mid South Chapter (Leeds Depot Exhibit). If you are an R&LHS member, please contribute to any number of these great projects and help the R&LHS accomplish its goal in preserving railroad history.

More information about each project can be found here: Friends of the R&LHS So far (as of January 2nd) eight people have donated to the Golden Spike Chapter, which will be very helpful as we move on to some harder and (very) expensive steps in the restoration process, including coating the tender interior and rebuilding the boiler.

As a side note, Happy New Year everybody, and thanks for your support!