Newsletter v11 No 1 2013

Page 1

October 2013


THE MUSEUM IS ON TRACK FOR A RECORD YEAR by Morris Gould, Executive Director

The Museum is BACK and doing very well, thanks to all of you. Attendance records are being set as visitors to Galveston rediscover the Museum, and the treasurers it holds. As you will see in this newsletter, our Santa Fe caboose has been restored inside and out by a group of Boy Scouts. One of the semaphore signals damaged by Hurricane Ike has been repaired. The theater building has been fully restored with new lighting and display cases. Amanda Vance, Museum’s Curator and her assistants have assembled many eye-catching displays. In November, we are planning to start the exterior painting of the Illinois Railway Post Office car. This will complete this project. Restoration work was started in August on the four baggage display cars. These should be completed by the end of this year. This is the last large project to do at the Museum other than the replacement of a few Ikedamaged cars as we locate suitable replacements.

One of the Museum’s supporters, Larry George, has passed on and his daughters have offered us his 18’ x 12’ HO-scale model railroad to the Museum. It is large enough to replace the HO scale layout in Theater 4 that was destroyed by Hurricane Ike. I have seen the layout and the detail is truly amazing. And, he kept meticulous notes during construction and noted what worked and what The new sleeper car was refurbished and is at the Museum. It joins the two chair cars already at the Museum to form a 5-car consist. Board Chair, Dr. John Bertini, long didn’t and how fixes were made, a very valuable resource when the layout is being set up. It is so large a wall of the house will have to be demolished to get it out. On 21 October, we received the “Donald E. Harper, Jr.” (The former CN “Edwardsville” sleeper car #1117.) This rail car has been in Pete Messina’s rail car restoration shop since June of 2011. The Board is considering upgrading this sleeper to Amtrak standards so it may be used with our chair cars and dining car in excursion service. Board Chairman, Dr. John Bertini, long time advocate of rail passenger service is working diligently to have a demonstration run between Galveston and Alvin later this Fall. The consist will be our Warbonnet F units, the new chair cars plus the “City of Galveston” dining car. In December Santa will once again ride into the Museum on the back of the Missouri Pacific caboose. So, we encourage everyone to plan a trip to the Museum to see these special events, or just to come any time and have a good time. Remember we give caboose rides most Saturday’s between 11 and 2 PM. Boarding about every twenty minutes. ALL ABOARD! ANOTHER SMASHING SUCCESS TRAIN SHOW Board member, Steve Barkley once again put together another a very successful weekend train show for the Museum in October. Clubs from around the GalvestonHouston area brought layouts to display; these ranged

from Z- to O-scale. A special thanks to volunteers, Chris Hazelton, Joe Klages, Gwen Rivers and Bruce and Glenda Hehemann for their assistance during this event! Several vendors, including the Museum‘s long-time friend, Larry Nowak, offered their wares at the show On the following page are some photos depicting what you missed if you didn’t attend the show.

Visitors in the People’s Gallery.


The show’s ramrod, Steve Barkley

Folks lined up to take a caboose ride. If you missed the show this year, mark your calendars for the first weekend in October 2014 (Oct 4 and 5) when the next show is scheduled. Vendor, Larry Nowalk, displaying his wares.

THE GOOD NEWS DEPARTMENT By Don Harper, Board Member NEW O-SCALE MODEL RAILROAD DEDICATED On 30 January 2013 a new O-scale layout unveiled and dedicated at the Museum. The layout is housed in the newly renamed Sullivan Room (formerly Theater 3) in the Theater Building (formerly the Railway Express building). The layout honors Russell Sullivan, a mechanical engineer and O-scale enthusiast, who passed away in 2007. His wife, Fritzy Dean, donated nearly 400 pieces of Russell's collection to the Museum, allowing us to create the wonderful display you can see today. As before, large sheets of Plexiglas allow the visitor to see the entire layout from end to end. There is also a transition from day to night. At night stars shine in the sky above the layout. This display replaces the O-scale layout that was ruined by Hurricane Ike’s floodwaters. Visitors can push a button to activate 3 sets of trains that will make several circuits of the layout before a timer turns off the power. In addition, part of Russell’s collection is housed on

display shelves on the wall opposite the layout. The Museum is most grateful to Mr. Sullivan’s family for this extraordinary donation.

2012 Board Chair Doug Poole thanking Fritzy Dean for her donation.

The new O-scale layout. It has something for everyone. NEW RAILROADIANA DISPLAYS IN THE THEATER BUILDING Curator Amanda Vance and her assistants have been actively working on displays and have returned Theaters 1 and 2 rooms in the old Railway Express Building to their former glory. New display cabinets were purchased and better lighting was installed during reconstruction. These combine to give the visitor unrestricted views of the Museum’s collection of railroad china, the largest in the southwestern United States, and the many other railroad-related artifacts in the collection - posters, silver, plaques, etc.. Amanda and some of her creations are shown below. Amanda went on maternity leave in early September and will return in November. As the cake says, the Museum will miss her and her many talents.

Amanda Vance (left) and assistant Mary Firebaugh posing a display case of railroad silver service sets.

Mary Firebaugh poses with Amanda Vance (right) by one of the new display cases containing railroad china.

Amanda Vance posing with her “We will miss you” chocolate chip cookie.

RESTORATION OF SANTA FE CABOOSE 1642 Jordan Cartwright chose, as his Eagle Scout project, the restoration our all steel, end cupola, Santa Fe caboose (called a way car by the ATSF) #1642. The way car was built in 1927, the year the Santa Fe switched from wooden to steel bodies, by the American Car and Foundry Company and was one of 150 in its class (Class Ce). The car, as built, had a Ktype triple valve. It was rebuilt to its present configuration in 1976, and was renumbered to 999913. When the car was donated to the Museum, it was given its original number back. The car was last painted in the mid-1990s. The previous painting used an unprototypical red color, rather than the mineral brown used by the Santa Fe during the steam era. The red had faded to a light pink within a few years of the painting, and by the time Jordan devised his project, most of the paint was gone and the car was beginning to rust. .

Jordan recruited members of his BSA Troop 123 of the First Lutheran Church of Galveston TX, and a number of parents, and he led the restoration effort. Jordan and his father first power washed the way car, inside and out. The Scouts and their adult sponsors then sanded away what remained of the old exterior paint and applied a brown primer. At the same time the interior was painted prototypical gray. As you can see in the series of photos below, the car was turned from an unsightly mess into a fine example of the way Santa Fe way cars looked back then.

Scout helpers working on the left side the way car.

ATSF 1642 in the mid-2000s after the red paint had faded to pink. Scout helpers working on the right side of the way car

Jordan Cartwright on the steps of way car 1642 before work began on the car.

B-end of the way car with all old paint stripped away.

Scouts painting the way car interior.

Santa Fe way car 1642 interior repainted prototypical gray.

Jordan Cartwright (center) and his fellow Scouts pose outside the way car after a day’s work.

Jordan Cartwright standing on the steps of the newly restored way car.


The support crew and tent. Working on rail cars in July in Texas is not for the faint of heart.

The Museum had two semaphores out in the yard, one by track 5 and one between tracks 2 and 3. Hurricane Ike’s winds did not treat either one of them well. One of them, dating from 1914, was repaired and restored by Broom Welding and Machine, Galveston. The other is being worked on.

Santa Fe way car 1642 in primer brown.

The semaphore pole being restored.

Newly refurbished semaphore blades and color _______

The semaphore reinstalled between Tracks 3 and 4 WIGWAG INSTALLATION When the Museum was being restored, ED Morris Gould had wiring run to the front entrance. His long-term goal is to have one of the Museum’s wigwag signals, formerly used at some grade crossings, installed so that it greets visitors and they enter the Museum parking lot.

The semaphore control box being restored Example of a wigwag signal. This one is in the People’s Gallery.


repainted CB&Q 14118 as a FW&D caboose and gave it number 107.

The oldest car in the Museum’s collection is currently closed to the public because of safety concerns. Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (CB&Q) caboose 14118 has badly deteriorated porches and end sills that make it dangerous to climb on the car. In addition, areas of the exterior walls are dry rotted. Some restoration was effected following Hurricane Ike’s flood, when termite riddled wood was replaced inside the car. But the exterior was not renovated, hence the effort to secure funding to finish the restoration.

Damage to the conductors seat box from termites.

Left side of the CB&Q 14118 showing dry rotted damage to the exterior boards.

Calvin Wehrle, who has restored several cars in the Museum, estimated the cost would be around $40,000. To secure this funding, two grant proposals have been written, one to the Herzstein Foundation in Houston, for $25,000, and the second to the BNSF Foundation for $10,000. A board member has pledged to provide the remaining $5,000, if it is needed. Chicago, Burlington & Quincy #14118, was originally constructed by the Burlington & Missouri River (a CB&Q subsidiary) and given the number 21. It is a CB&Q class NE1. It was built in 1880 (the earliest date found on any of the castings when the caboose was rebuilt in the early 1980's was 1898) when rail cars were mostly constructed of wood. Even part of the truck sideframes are made of wood.

B end of CB&Q 14118 showing missing parts, due to dry rot and termites, of the end sill. CB&Q 14118 is not currently carrying that name or number. When the Museum was in its formative stages, Joe Bailey, the genius behind railcar restoration in the early 1980s, decided that the Museum should have a representative of the Fort Worth and Denver Railroad, so

A end truck of CB&Q 14118 showing wooden and metal sideframe.


RPO 100 in the mid-1980s.

An example of a restored CB&Q caboose in the same class as the Museum’s.

The most recent photos of the car show how badly the repainting is needed. The olive drab livery in which it was delivered has faded to a light blue. And, vandals got inside the compound and tagged the car.

If the two funding sources agree to provide support for the restoration, the CB&Q caboose should be open to the public by this time next year. ILLINOIS CENTRAL RAILWAY POST OFFICE CAR 100 IC Railway Post Office (RPO) car #100 is a 60-foot heavyweight car built in January 1914 by Pullman as part of lot #4183. It was one of 10 identical all-steel post office cars built for the Illinois Central. The car was remodeled in 1935 to conform to Railway Mail Service specifications adopted in 1929. #100 was still in service in December 1948 and may have continued to as late as 1968. All RPO cars were removed from the IC roster by March of 1971. A grant proposal, requesting $13,000, is in preparation to the Dailey Foundation to fund cleaning and repainting the exterior of the Railway Post Office car. When brought to the Museum in the early 1980s, the car’s paint was already fading and some of the primer was showing

RPO 100 in August 2013. The interior of the car has been completely restored thanks to funding by FEMA following the Ike flood. Once the exterior is completed the car will be as rebuilt in 1929.


With the death of George Mitchell on 26 July, the Museum lost a great friend and generous benefactor.

Mr. Mitchell was born in Galveston on May 21, 1919. He graduated from Ball High School and attended Texas A&M (then the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas), graduating in 1940 with a Petroleum Engineering degree. Using the knowledge acquired during his education, he pioneered the technology of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, using it to tap oil and gas in the Barnett Shale of North Texas in the 1980s and 90s. He was said to have an uncanny ability to find oil. He participated in drilling around 8,000 wells, including over 1,000 “wildcat” wells - those drilled where there were no proven reserves and where the driller operates on gut instinct. He formed Mitchell Energy & Development, later sold for $3.1 billion, which was responsible for more than 200 oil and 350 natural gas discoveries. Mr. Mitchell’s visionary ability created another very successful venture - “The Woodlands,” a development

north of Houston that offered housing to low-income residents, as well as wealthier purchasers. In addition to homes, the Woodlands incorporated trails, parks and retained many of the trees, rather than bulldozing them, as was the practice in many housing developments. His vision of a new type of neighborhood has led to the creation of a beautiful residential area that has attracted many small businesses. Mr. Mitchell also single-handedly revived Mardi Gras in Galveston. The Galveston Mardi Gras celebration dated back to as early as 1867. The celebration was ended by the lack of men and material caused by World War II, but brought back in 1985 by Mr. Mitchell and his wife Cynthia. The event has continued uninterrupted since then. Mr. Mitchell gave generously to Texas A&M, including the Physics Department. The department is located in buildings he funded. He created the Houston Area Research Center and used the organization to secure a federal grant to create a superconducting super .

collider near Waxahachie, Texas. This device was to search for the elusive Higgs boson. The project was deemed too expensive and was scrapped. The honor of finding the Higgs boson went to the Large Hadron Collider in Europe. Finally we come to the Mitchell’s generosity to the Museum. Another of Mr. Mitchell’s projects was the “Texas Limited” train that ran from Houston to Galveston and back, powered by two F-units painted yellow. Poor condition of the track and roadbed along Highway 3 restricted the train to very slow speeds. The venture eventually ended and Mr. Mitchell donated the F-unts and two chair cars to the Museum. He also donated funds generously for various projects. The floodwaters of Hurricane Ike completely ruined the F-units and the chair cars, all of which were sold. The Museum secured two F-units and had them refurbished and painted in Santa Fe Warbonnet colors. In honor of the Mitchell’s generosity, the units were named the “George P. Mitchell” and the “Cynthia Woods Mitchell.”


Frank was one of the most stalwart volunteers the Museum has ever had, and Engine 555 was his baby. He spent many hours painting and repainting 555 so she gleamed for visitors to the Museum. Frank began volunteering at the Museum in 2004. He would drive a

180-mile round trip from the Northwest Crossing area of Houston on Saturdays to labor in the hot sun. For some reason he fell in love with Engine 555 and his entire volunteer service was devoted to painting the engine and tender. Frank was born April 5, 1944, in Newton, Iowa. While working in his father's store, he developed his love of trains, which would grow and develop throughout his life. Frank and Diane married in 1964 and moved to Palmdale, California, where he was stationed in the Army, and then returned to Des Moines, Iowa in August of 1967, where their children, Jeff and Becky, were born. Frank and Diane moved to Bartlesville, Oklahoma in 1984 and then to Houston in 1995. Frank retired from Graebel Van Lines in December 2012. Frank was diagnosed with cancer in about 2005, but that didn’t slow him down. He was a trained CanCare volunteer and, while battling his own cancer, was a huge source of encouragement and support to many others. He also continued to come to the Museum to work on 555 until about 2010. Frank is survived by his loving wife, Diane; his son, Jeff Mohler and wife Anissa; daughter, Becky Walston and husband Shawn; and granddaughters Katie Mohler and Summer Walston The family requested donations be made in Frank's memory to the Galveston Railroad Museum, to be used for the kinds of restoration projects Frank loved so well.

Frank Mohler painting the cab of Engine 555.

Frank beside SP 314, on of his beloved engines. Note how e the boiler shroud shines.

VOLUNTEERS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME The lifeblood of any non-profit organization is the volunteers who give 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. Check out the types of jobs listed below and see which ones interest you! Archives Volunteer: Assist Amanda Vance with cataloguing and care of materials located in the Museum’s archives. Create new displays for artifacts. Some prior experience helpful. Times needed: weekdays and weekends. Docent: Assist Andrew Ridenour to conduct guided tours of the Museum grounds and watch over Museum displays. A one-day training session to familiarize the docent with railroad history and the Museum equipment and grounds is required prior to beginning tours. Times needed: weekdays and weekends. Education Volunteer: Assist Jeremiah Thalheimes in presenting educational material to merit badge classes, Pullman Parties, and school groups. Should enjoy interacting with children ages 4 through 17. A one-day training session to familiarize the volunteer with railroad history and the Museum grounds and equipment is required. Availability year around is a plus. Grounds Volunteer: Assist the groundskeeper with cutting grass, and planting, watering and weeding flowers, and picking up trash and leaves. On the job training is available if needed. Times needed: flexible to fit your schedule. Publicity Volunteer: Generate publicity notices for local newspapers and provide copy to same. Assist in keeping the Museum’s mailing list for special events and newsletter mailings up to date. Assist in preparing and mailing newsletters. Times needed: flexible to fit your schedule. Model Railroad Volunteer: Assist Stephen Duncan and Joseph Maytum to keep the model railroad display in Theater 4 running by cleaning tracks, engine and railcar wheels, replacing worn out parts, and keeping structures on the layout clean. Also act as a docent and answer questions from visitors while working on the layout. Times needed: flexible to fit your schedule. Rolling Stock Maintenance Volunteer: Assist in restoration, conservation and maintenance of rail cars and engines. Includes painting, woodworking, and upholstering, as well as metal, mechanical, and electrical work. Should have suitable work clothes and work shoes. Safety equipment can be provided. Times needed: weekends and weekdays. Way and Track Volunteer: Assist Scott LaPointe in railway track maintenance and in keeping the Museum yard and right of way clear of weeds and grass. Should enjoy heavy work. Should have suitable work clothes and work boots. Safety equipment can be provided. Times needed: weekends and weekdays. Conductor. Assist Chris Hazelton and Jim Boone with passenger control during rides on Saturdays. Must be able to repeatedly climb on and off the engine or caboose. Special Events Volunteer: Assist the Museum staff during events such as the annual train show, Hobo Night, the Santa Train, Mardi Gras, and other such events. Volunteers need only to enjoy interacting with

Board of Directors, Galveston Railroad Museum Steve Barkley Dr. John Bertini, Chairman Tommy Blackburn Kenneth Douglas Dr. Stephen Duncan Dr. Don Harper, Secretary

Patrick Henry Leroy Hermes Steve Letbetter Joseph Maytum, Vice Chairman Vic Pierson Doug Poole

Jim Royer Greg Smith Bobby Theriot George Williamson Kenneth Zimmern, Treasurer

Galveston Island Railroad Museum & Terminal 2602 Santa Fe Place Galveston, TX 77550 409-765-5700

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