Sunday, 17 June 2018

Connecticut Eastern Railroad Don Janes

Willimantic, CT 

      While attending the Enfield RPM meet on June 2, Bill Moore and I ducked out of the show on Saturday afternoon and headed over to Willimantic to visit the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum.  The last time I was there with George in 2014 while attending the Collinsville, CT RPM meet we stopped by on a Friday only to find the Museum closed, being open only on weekends.  This time we made sure to visit when it was open.  We were two of only about 10 visitors so we had the place pretty much to ourselves for photography and browsing around.  
    There is a very nice new brick six stall roundhouse built on the original footprint of the old New Haven structure.  Inside was a fully restored Central Vermont USRA wood caboose #4052 still waiting to have the correct lettering applies. Also inside was a CV long wood caboose in terrible shape, hopefully on the list for restoration in the near future and an old CV wood boxcar in pretty good shape. This is where restoration work is carried out.  It was interesting to see some of the original brick lined inspection pits still preserved.
    Just as we arrived they were running an old EMD SW8 which had just been fired up that day. It sounded really good. Wondering the grounds we found quite a few exhibits in various states of repair.  Being a volunteer organization progress is limited to the amount of time people can spend working at the museum.  There were several old railroad structures that had been moved to the museum and restored to excellent condition with displays inside.  There is also a working turntable with the original stone block pit used for turning equipment.
     While stepping into the roundhouse, just as the heavens opened up with a torrential downpour I met long time museum volunteer Art Hall, who by the way follows this blog.  Art was very knowledgeable about the museum and northeastern railroading in general.  He gave us lots of information about the museum and the history about the surrounding area.
     I am glad I finally got to visit the museum when it was open.  The volunteers are doing a great job restoring equipment and making this a great place to visit.  The following photos give an idea of the various equipment and structures at the museum.
This SW8 was fired up when we arrived at the museum. Not sure of its origin.
The roundhouse and turntable
GE 44 Tonner and Chaplin Station display.  A very nicely restored display.
Interior view of the station
Some of the equipment is still in need of repair
Here we see a little GE 45 Tonner lettered "New Haven Terminal Inc."
This old CV train order signal was very interesting. It once seved Willimantic
A restored section shanty and Fairmont Speeder inside
CV 8081, an ALCO S4 has been nicely restored and can be made to run again at some point
New Haven FL7 2023 is open for display
CV 8081 as seen from the cab of 2023
CV USRA caboose 4052 has been beautifully restored inside the roundhouse. It still needs some interior work and lettering to be applied
In contrast this Conrail, ex New Haven caboose is showing the effects of sitting outside exposed to the elements.
A trackmobile is moving a CV wood caboose in the roundhouse.  This caboose is in really rough shape but hopefully someday will look like the 4052

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