Newsletter v10 No 2 2012

Page 1

DECEMBER 2012

VOLUME 10, ISSUE 2

THE GOOD NEWS JUST KEEPS ON COMING by Morris Gould, Executive Director funds needed to acquire the FEMA funds.

THE ONGOING STRUGGLE TO BRING RAIL PASSENGER SERVICE BACK TO GALVESTON By Dr. John Bertini, Board Member, and Member, Rail Passenger Committee

Friends, members and long time followers of what is happening at the Museum will be happy to learn that BNSF is considering donating a switch engine to the Museum. This new engine will replace SP 1303, the workhorse of the Museum until she was flooded by Hurricane Ike and rendered inoperable. She was sold and her parts were salvaged. We were all sad to see 1303 go. She was a dependable engine for switching cars and for hauling the MP caboose on for the Saturday train rides. An additional plus to this donation is that the Federal Emergency Management Association allows funds allocated for one project to be moved to another project if a donation is made. So, the funding that would have been spent on a new switch engine can instead be used to build a new maintenance building. This building will replace the ramshackle old shop across 28th Street from the Museum’s gates. Once that old structure is gone, the City of Galveston will rejoice. But, besides the new switch engine, there is plenty of other good news emanating from the Museum. Repairs and restorations of the rail cars and buildings are mostly complete. A new O-scale model railroad display has come on line. Two new F-units, painted in Santa Fe colors, arrived at the Museum in November (see article on the Funits below). All in all it is a great time to be associated with the Museum. Visitor attendance is back to pre-Ike levels. The Museum is indebted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and to the foundations and individuals who collectively provided the 10% matching

Forecasts for the Houston-Galveston region indicate that rapid multi-county population and employment growth, and the associated rapid suburban expansion and increasing freeway congestion. There is also limited transportation and infrastructure funding to meet these growing needs. Freeway expansion projects along US 59, IH 10, and US 290 are an attempt to accommodate this growth. Often, this is controversial due to right of way acquisitions and multi-year, construction-related impacts on the traveling public. The IH 45 Gulf Freeway, as the oldest freeway in the region, also has been continuously in one state of reconstruction or another over the last 50 years. The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County’s (METRO) commuter bus services, which are at or near capacity along the IH 45 Gulf Freeway corridor, provide some relief from freeway congestion. More recently, the Texas Department of Transportation has indicated it will soon move into the planning stages of IH 45 Gulf Freeway improvements inside Beltway 8. The gridlock associated with the Hurricane Rita evacuation in the summer of 2005 indicates surface transportation system capacity needs often exceed even the daily commuter needs. Since 2002 the board, volunteers and staff of the Museum have been part of a group of consultants, participating in a Intelligent Transportation System Federal Grant Program to study commuter rail into Galveston. The study report was prepared by The Goodman Corporation of Houston and issued in December, 2011. The research centered on the use of the Galveston, Houston and Henderson (GH&H), now Union Pacific (UP) Galveston Subdivision line which parallels State Highway 3. The GH&H is an ideal route, passing through several major population centers between Houston and Galveston. It’s current level of fright traffic could allow time segregation of freight verses passenger traffic to allow the use of the rail corridor to transport people onto and off


Galveston Island for work, tourism and emergency evacuation. The cadence of stops north of the Island would include La Marque/Texas City, Dickinson, League City, Clear Lake (Webster/Nasa), Ellington Field, South Houston and Houston. The group’s work reveals the contribution this rail line can make to traffic congestion relief, improvement in air quality, economic development and hurricane evacuation. The line is divided into a Northbound Phase (Dickinson to Downtown Houston) and a Southbound Phase (Clear Lake to Galveston). During the work week the terminal in Galveston would be on Port of Galveston property just across from UTMB, while during weekends and holidays the railroad museum’s Track 5 would serve as the terminus link to a planned multimodal facility being planned on the south parking lot of the Shearn Moody Plaza. The cost to fully establish the line is in the $412 million dollar range with annual operating costs in the $18 million dollar range, pulling nearly 12,000 cars off the roads by 2030. So what is next? The several hundred page detailed study report can serve as a guide to government leaders to plan the development, funding, implementation and operation of the commuter line. The interest level is high among the surrounding cities and counties. The Class 1 railroads have been cooperative. The infrastructural footprint for the upgraded line and facilities is in place. We will keep you informed on the progress.

________________________________________________________ THE REGULAR GOOD NEWS DEPARTMENT by Don Harper, Board member ROLLOUT OF THE MUSEUM’S NEW F-UNITS The Museum purchased two vintage F7A units last year from the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT). These units will replace the two Texas Limited engines that that had deteriorated during years of sitting in Galveston’s salt air, then sat in the flood waters of Hurricane Ike for a couple of days. The salt water delivered the coup de grace, and the Limited engines had to be scrapped. The Museum decided to give the public an eye-treat, and had the engines painted in the famous Santa Fe warbonnet scheme (with the acquiescence of the BNSF Railroad, successor to the ATSF). The colors are absolutely striking. The crew at the Locomotive Power and Equipment Solutions of Greenville, SC, did all the restoration work. As luck would have it, I was going to be in Cary, NC, for my grandson’s high school graduation two days before the roll out, and because none of the other board members were available to attend the roll out ceremonies, I volunteered. It was a 4.5-hour run from Cary to Greenville, but well worth it, as I got to run the engines out of the paint

ATSF 316 and 315 right after the initial roll out for the public. shop and introduce them to the assembled throng. A You Tube video is available on the web at the URL: www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjSmuf8YGB4


The engines have been named the “George Mitchell” and the “Cynthia Woods Mitchell“ in honor of the Mitchells who have enthusiastically supported the Museum both in an advisory capacity and financially. Mr. Mitchell donated the Texas Limited engines and coaches to the Museum when they stopped running from Galveston to Houston. Previously in their history, both engines ran on the Wellsville, Addison & Galeton Railroad, and before that, for the Pittsburgh Area Transit. Engine 315 started life as a Southern Pacific engine and 316 was originally a Texas and New Orleans engine. Both were painted in New Haven Railroad colors when purchased from CDOT. After being refurbished, upgraded and painted at Motive Power and Equipment Solutions, Greenville, SC, they traveled to New Orleans. They were teamed up with two passenger cars, also purchased by the Museum to replace two Texas Limited coaches, and the City of Galveston dining car to replace the damaged NKP diner. The consist was brought to Houston, then made a grand entrance into Galveston on November 10.

wooden railings.

West Ticket Office approach ramp repair underway.

The approach ramp and railings almost completed.

The F-units in their previous life, in New Haven colors. NEW WOODEN DECKING Restoration of the Museum facilities continues. Among the last non-railroad car items to be tackled were the approach ramp to the West Ticket Office and the decking around the building. The ornate iron structure framing the Museum entrance below the decking was found to be corroded and was repaired. The original wood, while treated, had weathered badly and gaps between the boards made it hazardous for anyone wearing high heels. When the boards were pulled up, the stringers supporting the boards were found to have deteriorated, In addition, the iron railings around the deck were rusted in places, and some sections were entirely missing. Workers pulled up the old wood, installed new stringers, rust proofed the columns, and put down new boards everywhere on the deck around the West Ticket Office. The orange color of the iron framing in front of the building was replaced by a very pleasant green. The approach ramp wood was not in as bad shape and most was reused. The iron railings were replaced with

New wood stringers being installed for the West Ticket Office decking.

The completed deck in front of the West Ticket Office.


New deck bordering the Silver Hours Zephyr car.

Upon entering the parking area, the first thing one sees is Carol Harper’s memorial garden. The gloss black fountain with its blue basin is the centerpiece. It is surrounded by Ixora plants that produce beautiful orange flowers. The Ixora was chosen because it can survive Galveston’s climate, and because it should grow tall enough to hide the cement blocks on which the fountain sits. Around the Ixora Sandi planted multicolored Vinca. Walkways lead from the curb to the fountain so visitors can get an up-close look, and if they so choose, use the fountain as a wishing fountain. On either side of the garden is a manicured lawn equipped with two park benches painted red and blue and a flag pole.

NEW LANDSCAPING AT THE MUSEUM Sandi Cobb, the Museum’s marketing director, is also a plantophile, and it is her green thumb that keeps the landscape looking good. Board members John Bertini and Don Harper chipped in funds to improve the grounds even beyond what the Museum had already accomplished. Below are some photos of the finished product. These photos are arranged in the sequence a visitor would see from when he/she first enters the Museum grounds to the scenes in the Garden of Steam. As one approaches the Museum entrance gate, either along Santa Fe Place, or north on 26th Street, the first thing one sees is Engine #1 on its simulated turntable. But on either side of the wall separating the Museum from the street are planters, once were filled with weeds, that now sport bright arrangements of flowers.

The Carol Harper Memorial Garden, that one sees when entering the Museum parking lot, in all its glory.

The opposite side of Carol’s Garden. Colorful planters framing the view of Engine #1.

Looking toward the Museum entrance.

The sign denoting Carol’s Garden was installed in December 2012.


Once inside the Museum, past the ticket office, visitors will see newly planted oleanders bordering a small fence separating the rail yard from the Engine #1 exhibit area.

Oleanders planted to hide the wooden fence leading to the Garden of Steam. But probably the most profound change is in the Garden of Steam. Long time members and frequent visitors will remember the trees that lined the central area of the garden, and perhaps the leaves that cluttered the garden in the fall. Hurricane Ike’s flood waters killed a total of 21 trees at the Museum. The 14 dead sycamore trees in the Garden of Steam were replaced with palm trees, giving the garden a stately tropical flavor.

Details of the sign denoting Carol’s Garden. After passing Carol’s Garden visitors approach the West Ticket Office. Besides the new decking noted above, small plants have been installed along the approach ramp.

New plants installed along the entrance ramp.

The Garden of Steam at ground level with new palm trees planted.

The Garden of Steam as seen by the occupants of Shearn Moody Plaza.


In addition, a hibiscus garden has been installed around the cement bordering the end of Track 2, on which sits Engine 314. All in all Sandi’s artistry with plants has improved the look of the Museum tremendously. If you have not visited the Museum since Hurricane Ike ravaged the Island, and the Museum, I urge you to do so. I think you will be very pleasantly surprised at the changes wrought by Morris Gould, Sandi Cobb and the other members of the Museum staff. If you are curious as to what the place looked like after Ike, the Museum has a DVD, shot by Morris Gould just after the water went down, available in the gift shop. Hibiscus planted along Track 2. Engine 314 is partly hidden by the plants.

THE GRAND REOPENING OF THE RAILROAD MUSEUM by Morris Gould and Sandi Cobb All of the changes, additions, and modifications described above were in preparation for the Museum’s grand reopening on November 10th, exactly 4 years and two months after Hurricane Ike inundated Galveston Island with its flood waters. Preparations for the grand reopening began last year, all centered around the arrival of the new F-units in Galveston. Board member Patrick Henry was chair of the planning committee. Board member John Bertini worked closely with Mr. Henry in planning the event as did Museum staff. To initiate the process, the F-units left Motive Power and Equipment Solutions, Greenville, SC, where they had been upgraded and painted in ATSF warbonnet colors, and were moved to New Orleans via Norfolk Southern rails. In New Orleans the units were transferred to Amtrak for movement to Houston. Two new chair cars and a dining car had been refurbished in Metaire, LA, by Pete Messina who owns and operates Private Railcars Restoration. These were joined to the F-units in New Orleans. Many of the board members and their families traveled to New Orleans and rode the chair cars to Houston.

On November 10th, the F-units, departed Houston for Galveston, with Warbonnet #315 on the point. In addition to these two units, the train consisted of an Amtrak engine behind the second F-unit (running backwards so it would be on the point on the return trip to Houston) the Museum’s two new chair cars and new diner, Creative Charters’ dome car and sleeper, an Amtrak chair car and a diner/lounge car, and a BNSF business car, the Santa Fe (this car carried Pres. Eisenhower’s body to Abeline, KS for burial). The consist carried almost 300 passengers who were treated to snacks and beverages during their ride. It was a truly festive occasion and everyone enjoyed the experience.

Board members and their families in the Warren R. Henry dome car.

The F-units in New Orleans.

After departing Houston, a scene no one has seen in over 40 years - two Warbonnets leading a train south along the BNSF (formerly the Santa Fe) line paralleling Highway 6 - unfolded. The consist crossed the new railroad lift bridge over West Galveston Bay, and the Funits were on Galveston soil for the first time. They were routed through the Union Pacific yard that has a more direct connection to the Museum lead track than does the BNSF yard, onto the transfer track between the UP yard and the wharves yard, and finally onto the Museum’s lead track to the terminal.


Amtrak engine 18 preparing to pull the consist back to Houston. The Gala Train on BNSF rails heading to Galveston.

The Gala Train entering home rails from the UP yard.

The Board of Directors agreed the Gala event would be a good time to recognize a few of the people who contributed greatly to the museum by naming the rail cars and locomotives on their behalf. The chair car Alonzo H. Harter was named after Dr. John Bertini’s grandfather. The George H. Gould was named for Morris Gould’s father. The former Santa Fe Dining car, #3109, was named after the City of Galveston; dining cars are traditionally named after cities. In early 2013 the Museum’s sleeper car restoration will be completed and it will be delivered to the Museum. This former Canadian National sleeper, the Edwardsville, will be renamed after Dr. “Donald E. Harper, Jr.” Don has been a long-time board member and tireless worker and supporter of the Museum for many years.

THE NOT SO GOOD NEWS DEPARTMENT by Don Harper, Board member It is with deep regret that we announce the demise of SP 1303, a 1949 vintage NW-2 class locomotive. 1303, as Morris Gould noted in his lead article, was a very good engine, the workhorse of the Museum. We used it for shifting cars, teaching beginners like me how to run an engine, and for pulling the MP caboose for train rides on Saturdays and for special events.

Two views of Engine 314 before serious dismantling began. I have many happy memories of first helping with switching operations when 1303 was being used, and then running 1303 for switching and giving rides. My grandson got his first train ride and engine running experience at age 6 while sitting on my lap in the cab of 1303. Unfortunately, when Hurricane Ike flooded the Island, the 8-foot storm surge not only ruined the traction motors,


it also got up into the cab and basically destroyed the entire electrical system. The engine was sold and the new owner had intended to rebuild her, but on inspection, she was deemed too far gone to repair and has thus met the scrapper’s torch. But some of her components were salvaged and she will live on in another locomotive.

Engine 314’s prime mover exposed now that the shroud has been removed.

As noted in the previous issue of this newsletter, caboose ride power is now a new GE center cab engine, and this will continue for the foreseeable future, at least until another switcher comes on line at the Museum. The Museum’s GE 80-ton center cab engine was also sold. The new owners repaired her and she is running somewhere in South America.

The old GE center cab on a flat car awaiting transport from the Museum.

MODEL TRAIN SHOW RESUMES AT THE MUSEUM by Steve Barkley, Chair of the Event For several years before Hurricane Ike the Museum hosted a model train show in October. This annual event came to a screeching halt in 2010 because of the mess Ike left behind. Three years after, the train show reappeared on the Museum schedule of events, and we hope, this time there will be a long uninterrupted sequence of train shows. The weather cooperated and over 1100 visitors took advantage and toured the Museum. Six hundred and twenty eight tickets were sold for train rides. Seven new members were signed up during the event. Twelve vendors displayed their wares. Seven model railroad clubs brought in their mobile displays to set up in the Peoples’ Gallery and under the overhang outside the Gallery. All in all it was a very good day for the Museum.

A G-scale layout set up outside the Peoples’ Gallery.

An S-scale layout set up outside the Peoples’ Gallery. Show-goers lined up for a ride on the MP caboose.


Bird’s-eye view of the Peoples’ Gallery showing the

Folks enjoying the interior of the newly-restored Robert E. Lee observation car.

An N-scale layout inside the Peoples’ Gallery. Steve Barkley, chair of the train show event , at left, relaxing over lunch with some of his buddies.

THE MUSEUM HOSTS TWO IMPORTANT CHARITABLE EVENTS This year the Museum has hosted two charitable fundraising events. The first was annual fundraiser held by the Ronald McDonald House on May 19th. The honoree was Dr. Joan Richardson, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at John Sealy Hospital, University of Texas Medical Branch, in Galveston. She is also the Distinguished Chair in Neonatology and Director, Division of Neonatology.

Dr. Richardson

The theme for the event was a “Jazz Night on the Rail.” Over 250 people were in attendance and with the help of their wonderful sponsors and donors they were able to raise over $93,000 for the House. Everyone enjoyed cocktails, rides on the train and wonderful food catered by Benno’s all the while the Mambo Jazz King provided entertainment for the crowd to dance under a star filled night. Since opening their doors 23 years ago, the Ronald McDonald House of Galveston has provided a “homeaway-from-home” for literally thousands of families. Many of their guest families are rushed to the Galveston medical community with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and prayers in their hearts that their children will be able to receive the appropriate care once in Galveston. The second event was on behalf of the Galveston Independent School District Educational Foundation. The Foundation’s annual gala, held on April 19th, had as its theme “A Trip Through Time.” The event highlighted historical happenings in the local community via a celebration of Galveston’s past and future. The importance of Galveston’s history was highlighted by displays that showed how the island’s legacy was embedded in the curriculum and education of its students. Executive


Director Eliza Quigley said. “The Museum is a great reminder of the roots of Galveston as a port city and trading center. The history of our coastal community will really come alive in this setting.” The Foundation board is a diverse group of individuals who have been educated on district campuses and/or have children enrolled in Galveston schools. They concentrate their efforts on fund raising. These funds are used to provide educational grants to children in the school district. The Foundation has raised over $1 million that has been used for grants. Grant monies have been used to pay for art supplies, theater, band, gardening lots, books for the library, equipment and supplies for a robotics lab, and many other projects, none of which are included in schools’ budgets. Dancers in Mexican dress performing in the Garden of Steam during the GISD gala event.

SANDI COBB AND RANDY VILLENEUVE WED AT THE MUSEUM Sandi Cobb, Marketing Director of the Museum exchanged wedding vows with her long time beau, Randy Villeneuve, in the Museum's "People's Gallery" on 12/12/12. The Museum was a wonderful venue for the wedding with the stately marble floors and pillars, historical structure and elegant murals and lighting. The life-like statues provided many wonderful photo opportunities. The nostalgic railroad ambiance enhanced her special ceremony. Her 100 plus guests were treated to a ride aboard the Museum's "Harborside Express' train and a Murder Mystery dinner. In the absence of her parents, Sandi was escorted by Morris Gould, Executive Director of the Museum. The ceremony was officiated by the Reverend Dr. Stephen Duncan, a member of the Board of Directors. Sandi's attendants were her daughter, Kelli Cobb and sister, Robin Morrow. Randy's groomsmen were long time friend, Joseph Nigrelli and Sandi's son, Jayson Altman. Requested by the happy couple, in lieu of gifts, that donations be made to the Museum.

Randy and Sandi in front of Santa Fe F-unit 315.

Morris Gould escorting Sandi through the Museum.

CONGRATULATIONS SANDI AND RANDY


END MARKERS RAY WELLS 1923-2012 by Don Harper

individuals were brought to the Museum and given rides in a restored observation car. The start up had to be gentle and Ray taught me how to do that. When the Museum purchased the two new F-units and repainted them in Santa Fe colors, Ray was honored for his contributions to the Santa Fe and the Museum. Both units have been lettered as follows: In Honor of M.R “Ray” Wells Santa Fe Engineer 1945 - 1986

Ray was one of the most dedicated supporters and friends that any museum could possibly have and the Galveston Railroad Museum was truly blessed with his support. Marshall Ramon “Ray” Wells was born on 16 August 1923. He had a long background in railroading. His grandfather worked as a blacksmith for the Texas & Pacific Railroad in Marshall, TX. His dad and uncle worked in the maintenance department for the Katy Railroad in New Uom, TX. They were also instrumental in starting the Marshall Elysian Fields and Southeastern Railway in the early 1920s. Ray said he hung out with them and learned railroading from them. Ray Wells had a 41-year career as an engineman for the Santa Fe, starting off running steam engines and ending his career running diesels. He ran the Texas Chief in the 1940s and 1950s. After retiring, Ray was brought on board to operate the Texas Limited consist that ran from Galveston to Houston and back. He was the engineer on a Santa Fe special that was brought to the Museum to celebrate the grand opening on 16 April 1983. When the Museum began offering rides on the Missouri Pacific caboose to the public, Ray was recruited to run SP 1303. He was also kind to rail fans. John Morris wrote after Ray’s death that one day he “was shooting photos of the Texas Limited pushing the equipment into the yard at the Galveston Museum, when Ray stopped the engine & said "Hey do you want to ride." I looked around & no one was behind me & I realized he was talking to me. It took me a half second & I was in the cab of the 200 engine.” Ray was a patient teacher. When I started running SP 1303 to give caboose rides, I only used the engine brake to stop the train. Several times, though, influential

Ray Wells being given a photo of the new F-units.

Ray Wells examining a photo of the engine cab with his name on it. Ray turned 89 on 16 August 2012. He came to the


Museum and was given a photo of the inscription below the cab window. Shortly before the Museum's Board meeting on 28 November, Ray called and dictated a short letter, thanking the Board of Directors and Museum staff. He said it was without any doubt, a very great honor and the highlight of his railroad career having his name on the cab of the Museum's locomotives.

Ray Wells standing in front of his beloved Engine 200. Photo by John Morris.

. Ray in the cab of Engine 200. Photo by John Morris.

Ray Wells standing in the doorway of Texas Limited Engine 200. Photo by John Morris.

Ray Wells standing in front of Texas Limited Engine 200. Photo by John Morris.

Ray passed on December 7th after a short illness. He was a great asset to the Museum. His knowledge of railroading was invaluable to everyone - he forgot more about railroading than most of us ever learned. He will be missed by everyone.


THE MUSEUM HAS LOST ONE OF ITS MOST ARDENT FANS by David Ingram

Caleb Joshua Ingram Like many little boys, Caleb loved trains. Our home in League City was very near the railroad tracks, and from his earliest days, Caleb knew about trains. Even as a baby, he would respond to the sound the horn blowing as the train approached the FM518 crossing. As he grew older, if we happened to be "fortunate" enough to get stopped at the FM518 crossing while a train was passing, his excitement was uncontainable. He would make crossing gate bell sounds and pretend his arms were the gates. One of his favorite rituals was to get bagels and take them to the park to play on the caboose and watch the occasional train go by. He loved to watch and to play Thomas the Tank Engine, and his ever expanding Thomas collection was one of his most prized possessions. Trains were one of Caleb's true passions. Caleb first visited the Galveston Railroad Museum with his cousins in June, 2006, when he was 3. He was instantly amazed. His excitement at climbing on the trains, of pretending to drive the red caboose, and visiting the

travelers of days past in the people's gallery was so much fun to watch. The Rail Post Office car with its mail slots and mail bags was Caleb's favorite - he would want to stuff mail into the slots. Of course, posing with the RR crossing sign and lights was a picture he couldn't miss! We could only leave by promising to bring him back. One weekend in late September, just a few months later, was to be one of our return trips. Before the trip, however, Caleb had to undergo an MRI to diagnose some problems he was having with his eye movement. It seemed very routine. After the scan began, however, it was clear Caleb would not make the railroad museum that weekend. In fact, his whole life would change that day. The scan found that a large tumor - called a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), which afflicts mainly children - was strangling his brain stem. The doctors told us there was no cure for Caleb. This tumor would take his life within the year. We were all in a state of shock. Caleb's little 4-year old life became all about childhood cancer. He received palliative radiation treatments in Houston and traveled to Washington DC for an experimental drug study at the National Institutes of Health. His passion for trains, however, did not change! While he was fighting the battle of his life, he would find much joy in bringing the out of town relatives who visited him down to Galveston to show them the trains at the Museum. Over the months, as the tumor took away his ability to walk and to climb, he would want us to push him up and down the train platform, or, to carry him among and onto the trains. He found so much peace there. It was a way of escape from the world of cancer and into the world of his passion. Caleb passed peacefully to heaven on August 3, 2007 - the year before the devastation of hurricane Ike. He touched so many through his kindness and gentleness, his unique wit, and the peace that he had about him. The railroad museum was one of the most special places to Caleb on this earth, and it was such a part of his life during his last year. His family is forever grateful to all who made, and continue to make, this wonderful celebration of railroading possible. Caleb’s favorite number was 13. In his honor, mail box 13 in the Railway Post Office car has had a plaque installed bearing his namr, and dates of birth and death.

Plaque on RPO mailbox 13 in honor of Caleb Ingram.


RAILROADING MERIT BADGE CLASSES OFFERED BY THE MUSEUM Boy Scouts may take advantage of facilities at the Galveston Island Railroad Museum to study for a Railroading Merit Badge. The Museum holds the largest collection of railroad artifacts in the southwestern United States. In the yard are diesel and steam engines, a variety of freight and passenger cars, cabooses and maintenance of way cars. There are also display cars full of railroading artifacts. In the main building, which once contained the offices of the Santa Fe Railroad, is an operating HO-scale model railroad based around the Port of Galveston. In the former Railway Express office building is a brand new 700 square foot HO-scale model railroad. The Merit Badge course is divided into sections. For example, one section is an "Operation Lifesaver" presentation which discuss safety around railroads and rail cars. Another section allows the Scouts to visit the cab of a steam locomotive and an operating diesel locomotive. Another section compares several different types of railcars in the collection. Eagle Scouts interested in railroading can opt to adopt a car and supervise renovation. For example, a Denver and Rio Grande Western flat car, once used to haul granite blocks used in construction of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, was restored by Philip Hyde of Friendswood as his Eagle project. Scouts interested in railroading are also encouraged to become a member of the Museum. Student memberships are available for $35.00 annually. Merit Badge classes are coordinated by Museum Volunteer Larry Highley. Class size must be 10 or more. If fewer than 10, you will be placed on a will-call list, then notified when a class is scheduled. Classes last approximately 4 hours. Cost per person includes a box lunch and a caboose ride.

To schedule a class, call Sandi Cobb, 409-765-5700. The class prices are as follows: Scouts - $30 Adults chaperones - $7.50 As part of the class is taught outdoors in the yard, we suggest the best time to have classes is in the spring or fall. As with all Merit Badge classes, scouts should have purchased the handbook and have read it before attending the class. To obtain the Merit Badge, scouts must fulfill certain requirements listed in the back of the handbook. By agreement with the Bay Area Council, the requirements listed below in bold are the ones recommended. Any alternative requirements may be substituted if desired.

________________________________________________________ DID YOU KNOW…….. That back in the old days, that a rail car could be moved by an engine that was not on the same track as the car? If you inspect older railcars at the Museum, you will note circular indentations on each corner of the car ends. These indentations are called poling pockets. Before the practice was outlawed, crews would remove a wooden pole, usually carried on hooks under the tender body, place one end in a car’s pocket, and one end in the engine’s pocket, and the engine would move the car along an adjacent track. Why was this practice banned, you ask….. because the poles occasionally snapped if the engine suddenly pushed too hard, injuring the crew member holding it to keep it in the pocket.

‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡ That back in the old days, before safety rules came into existence, brakemen were assigned to ride on top of freight cars. You’ve seen the brake wheels on vertical shafts projecting above the roof of the car? The brakeman’s job was to turn the brake wheel to apply brake pressure when the train was going downhill and then release the brakes when the train reached level ground. Each brakeman was responsible for several cars, so on hilly terrain they were kept busy, jumping from car to car to deal with the brakes. The job was hazardous in the summer. Imagine what was like in winter when the running boards were icy. There was a fairly high turnover rate of brakemen - - mostly due to death. The Westinghouse air brake system made life a lot safer for these railroaders.


VOLUNTEERING AT THE MUSEUM The lifeblood of any non-profit organization is the volunteers who give of their time and money simply because they love what the organization stands for. There are many great volunteer positions available for YOU at the Galveston Railroad Museum. Amanda Vance is the Volunteer Coordinator and she would like to hear from you. She can be reached by e-mail galvrrmuseum@sbcglobal.net or by telephone 409-765-5700 at the museum. Leave your name and a contact number. Get involved! Types of Volunteer Positions Available: Archives/ Curatorial Docent/Education Grounds/ Maintenance Publicity Model Railroad Rolling Stock Maintenance Way and Track Volunteer Weekend/Special Events Volunteer

Different volunteer types require different time commitments. Contact us to find a position that is right for you. All volunteers will be required to attend an orientation. Hours volunteered are put towards earning membership, so join us today!

‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡ MUSEUM BOARD MEMBERS Dr. John Bertini Mr. Tommy Blackburn Mr. Ken Douglas Dr. Stephen Duncan Dr. Don Harper, Secretary & Newsletter Editor Mr. Patrick Henry Mr. Leroy Hermes Mr. Steve Letbetter Mr. Joseph Maytum Mr. Vic Pierson Mr. Doug Poole, Board Chair Mr. Jim Royer Mr. Greg Smith Mr. Bobby Theriot Mr. George Williamson Mr. Ken Zimmern

ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS Mr. Steve Barkley Dr. John Worsham Mr. Toby Thoresen


Galveston Island Railroad Museum & Terminal 2602 Santa Fe Place Galveston, TX 77550 409-765-5700 galvrrmuseum@sbcglobal.net www.galvestonrrmuseum.com

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