Newsletter v6 No 1 2007

Page 1



April 2007

CHANGES IN THE MUSEUM OFFICE As the New Year dawned, several changes occurred in Museum personnel. Ralph Stenzel, who had been Executive Director since October 2004, resigned to go back to researching the history of the Falstaff Brewery and the town of Santa Fe, and incidentally, volunteering at the Museum. Morris Gould, long time member of the Board of Directors, was asked if he would assume the role of Executive Director, to which he agreed. Morris spent a long month getting acquainted with the intricacies of running the Museum - budgets, personnel, payroll, etc., assisted by Ralph.

Changes in the Museum Office ...................... 1 Obituaries .......................................................... 3 Your Museum in the Public Eye ...................... 4 The Most Beautiful Car in the Museum ......... 4 Volunteer Information ...................................... 7

Mrs. Sarah Chinn, featured in the previous issue of the newsletter, decided the time had come to retire and enjoy life. Her last day was 28 December. Her position was taken by Sandra Schneider. Sandi, like Morris, has been in overdrive since she arrived at the Museum, trying to master all the intricacies of her job.

MORRIS GOULD ASSUMES THE ROLE OF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Morris is a self-described engine freak. He loves engines, any kind of engine. The older the better. As you might imagine, he is right at home at the Railroad Museum where most of the engines and cars are older than he is and some of them are almost twice as old as he is. He comes by this love of engines honestly. His grandfather, uncles and dad all rode motorcycles, and Morris and his brother have kept up the tradition. Morris still has the first three cars he bought, a 1937 Plymouth 5 window coupe, a 1957 Chevy Corvette and a 1950 Olds Rocket 88, plus a collection of 12 motorcycles.

Morris Gould hard at work in the Museum office.

Morris got involved with the Museum as a volunteer in 1983. He helped restore engine 555, and was there the first time the fire was lit after it was ready to run. Morris said it was a cold evening and it took 4 hours to get a head of steam up. When they moved the engine the police showed up, wondering what was making all the Morris joined the Navy right out of high school and was assigned smoke. He has run everything at the Museum that will move, or has to work in the engine room and boiler room of a destroyer. In the moved, including the Air Force engine, the Fairbanks-Morse engine, 18 months he spent in Viet Nam, his ship, the Mason, was credited the Texas Limited, and, of course, engine 1303. He has also spent a with more near misses than any other ship in the Tonkin Gulf. lot of time repairing them, putting to good use what he learned in the The ship spent 30 days in dry dock having holes in the rudders boiler and engine rooms of the Mason. and smoke stacks patched. Morris came out of the service with the Vietnam commendation medal, the Vietnam service medal with When not up to his elbows in grease at the Museum, or working two stars, and the combat action medal. on his motorcycles and cars, Morris maintains and flies his Cessna Skyhawk (he holds a airframe and power plant mechanic license). After the Navy, Morris signed on with the University of Texas This is another family avocation – his brother owns a Skyhawk as Medical Branch and worked on pumps and boilers for the physical well as a MiG 17 jet plane. plant, and then moved on to work at the Amoco plant in Chocolate Bayou as an operator, where he got a lot of experience planning Morris has been married to Gloria for 35 years, and they have start ups and shut downs and supervising personnel. He retired two sons, Spencer, a Physician’s Assistant at M.D. Anderson in from BP-Amoco last year after almost 30 years of service. Houston, and Eric who flies a S3 Viking for the Navy.



When Mrs. Chinn announced she wanted to retire, Morris was faced with the prospect of the new kid on the block having to recruit someone to be his right hand person while at the same time learning his own job on the fly. Fortunately that person walked in the door to apply for the job. Sandi Schneider had not been in Galveston long, and the newspaper ad announcing the availability of the position appeared at a most propitious time. She and her husband had recently moved to the Island from Longview, Texas, after residing there for several months, and she was looking for a position. Sandi is a native of Indiana and most of her prior work experience – customer service representative, private investigator, property manager, cashier – occurred in and around Indianapolis. She says she loves history and so the Museum, being steeped in history, appealed to her greatly. When first hired, she spent a lot of time trying to learn everything she could about the cars and the buildings. Her honeymoon ended quickly, though, when two grant proposals had to been completed in quick succession in late January and early February.

April 2007 through the requisite training with the Boy Scouts and is a fully certified instructor. Larry’s scouting experience started when he became a Cub Scout and went on to become a Boy Scout. He earned Eagle and Palms, Order of the Arrow, and God and Country Citizenship awards. He was in a business emphasis Explorer Larry Highley Post until he graduated from high school. Later, after he had sons of his own, he served as Cub Master, Troop Master, and Explorer Advisor. So, off and on he has been associated with Scouting almost his whole life. Larry’s philosophy: “I think scouting is one of the best things a boy can do for his personal life development. I find myself using what I learned as a Scout every day in some fashion. I just don’t know how to do it any other way. If a boy is exposed continually to positive experiences as he grows, he usually will not fail in life.”


Things are really going right for the Museum. Don Harper, who initiated the Railroading Merit Badge class for Boy Scouts in 1997, retired from teaching at Texas A&M University at Galveston and returned to Pennsylvania from whence he came. The Museum needed someone to take over the class and that person just happened to come to the Museum in late 2006 and announce he wanted to volunteer. Little did Larry Highley know at that time he would take over the Merit Badge classes. Larry works at Home Depot on Galveston Island. His specialty is carpentry and the Museum has made good use of that skill. When he first became a volunteer, Larry built several new window sashes for the Robert E. Lee observation car and for the ATSF caboose. Since then he has expanded his volunteer service and has become one of the conductors on the Saturday caboose rides. When the Merit Badge instructor position came open, Larry quickly announced he would like to teach the class. He went


So, if you are a Scout, have a Scout in your home or school, or your next door neighbor is a Scout, or you know a Scout or Scout leader, pass the word. The Museum has a first rate Railroading Merit Badge class. Components of the class include aspects of model railroads, types of rail cars and their function, how steam and diesel engines operate, safety around railroads, how to read a timetable, the meanings of signs and signals, and the meanings of horn/whistle signals. A lot of time is spent in the yard with the Museum’s rolling stock, and one of the perks is a caboose ride.

Members of Boy Scout troop 21, Lake Charles, LA, embarking on their caboose ride. To inquire about having a class taught, you can contact Larry through the Museum office – 409-765-5700. Sandi Schneider will be happy to take your information and pass it on to Larry.


April 2007

OBITUARIES FORMER BOARD MEMBER BEN (“PAPA BEN”) PEARLMAN Ben Pearlman was one of the heartiest and most pleasant fellows one could ever hope to meet. Ben first came to the Museum’s attention when he began working at a model railroad shop in Houston that was frequented by several of the Board members who had model railroads at home. When that shop went out of business, Ben started his own store in a building he owned on South Street in Houston. He was heavily involved in the model railroading community for a long time. He was an avid N-scaler He served as President of the Lone Star Region of the National Model Railroading Association for 4 years and held other positions within the NMRA. Prior to his modeling business he was a cameraman for KRTK-TV, Houston, for a time. But that stint did not last long, as he formed his own film and production company - Pearlman Productions, that he and his wife ran for 28 years. During this time he was presented with numerous awards for his productions. When Ben sold the company he got into model railroading full time, culminating in the opening of his store, Papa Ben’s Train Place.

could, including placing a donation jar in his shop that has yielded over $100 for restoration projects. We were all stunned when Ben passed suddenly due to a massive stroke at age 63. Ben’s shop continues to operate under the aegis of his brother, assisted by several loyal employees. The donation jar he placed on the counter is is still there collecting money.

Ben was invited to join the Railroad Museum’s Board of Directors in June of 2002. While on the Board he ramrodded the December train show called Santa’s Whistlestop for three years. Ben left the Board in June 2004, but continued to assist the Museum in whatever capacity he

Ben Pearlman.

VOLUNTEER JIM SWINDELL Jim’s affiliation with the Museum was all too brief. He contacted the Museum in November 2005 and expressed interest in volunteering. He had extensive electrical and electronic experience from many years working for the ARAMCO Services Company in Houston, Texas, Den Haag, The Netherlands, and Yambu, Saudi Arabia. He took on the task of wiring the panel formerly used to control train movements across the railroad causeway to and from Galveston so the button lights worked. He finished that and was planning the electrical connections between the control panel and the motor of a bascule bridge model donated by David Stea. Had he accomplished this, visitors could see how raising and lowering the bridge was controlled. Sadly, in mid-December 2005 he was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer and that ended his volunteer service at the Museum. He moved to Houston to be closer to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and he passed away on 9 September 2006 at the young age of 66 (born 1 June 1940). While still able, he came back to Galveston a couple of times to visit and to ride in the cab of 1303 as it made its runs along Harborside Drive. He loved railroading and the Museum.

his life at the Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, Connecticut, in the Theatre Department of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, and at Stages Repertory Theatre and Main Street Theatre, Houston, Texas, sometimes doing lighting and other technical tasks back stage and other times managing the front of the house. Jim was also an accomplished playwright with several of his plays produced by theatres, and an opera libretto set to music by his friend and composer, Mark Warhol. The memorial event was at Ovations, a theatre in Houston, Texas, and featured a production of one of Jim’s plays for the enjoyment of his friends. Jim was a renaissance man and an all around good guy. The Museum deeply appreciates everything he accomplished. He is missed by all of us.

Jim had a diverse background. He assisted the Medical Examiner as an orderly while in college. In the Air Force he worked on electronics on the Distant Early Warning line. He repaired radar systems on oceangoing ships, often under a lot ressure as they were required to have two working and couldn’t go into port without them; if they were late, the fines were enormous. He also worked on electronic equipment on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, a job that involved a few harrowing trips in helicopters. A memorial event was held in Houston to commemorate another aspect of his life - his love of the theater. Jim worked at various times in

Jim Swindell and the bascule bridge control board 3



The Railroad Museum as a Rail Passenger Service Terminus On January 29th a very complimentary article ran in the Houston Chronicle reporting on a study group’s effort to return commuter rail passenger service to Galveston. The Museum would be the terminus of the run on weekends and patrons could then walk through the Museum and board the trolley on 25th Street. Board Chairman John Bertini is a member of the study group. The essence of this plan thus far is to run trains on one of Texas’ oldest rail lines, the Galveston, Houston & Henderson, now owned by Union Pacific, that parallels State Highway 3. To begin the process, trains will run between League City and Galveston. Service would subsequently be extended to Houston and ideally would mesh with the light rail system in that city. Regularly scheduled rail passenger service returning to Galveston has been eagerly awaited by a sizeable contingent of the Galveston population that works in the downtown area. During weekdays the train would travel on Galveston Wharves tracks and

discharge passengers near the University of Texas Medical Branch. The obvious benefit, if commuter service returns, is the removal of numerous cars, many occupied by a single person, from the roads during rush hours. An added benefit to the patrons of a commuter train is the luxury of being able to ride in comfort and read the paper, or a book, or maybe get some extra sleep, while being transported to and from his or her job. The patrons would arrive relaxed instead of harried because there was a wreck on the Causeway Bridge that backed up commuters for miles and caused many drivers to be late for work, or because some jerk traveling 60 mph cut them off. The Union Pacific Railroad has already bought into the concept. South of League City, interruption of freight traffic would be minimal. Once the commuter line extends to Houston, other details with the railroad will have to be worked out.

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CAR IN THE MUSEUM ATSF TANK CAR 100221 by Don Harper, Museum Advisory Board The tank car was invented in 1865 by Charles P. Hatchm who worked for the Empire Transportation Co. The first tank car, designed for use in the oil fields of Pennsylvania, was a flat car with wooden banded barrels mounted on the deck. This type of car was capable of carrying 3,500 gallons of crude oil. One of

these cars, sans tanks, is preserved at the Drake Well Museum in Titusville, PA. Shortly after, railroads switched to larger wooden tanks mounted horizontally. Wooden tanks tended to leak and were prone to split open in a wreck. They were quickly replaced by metal tanks mounted on wooden frames, the first produced in 1869 by Empire Transportation Co. Most tank cars were, and are, privately owned because railroads resisted purchasing specialized, one-commodity cars. Tank cars have been called pipelines on wheels. They are essentially tubes with caps on either end, having 1 to 3 compartments and having a comparable number of domes on top. The product is loaded through the domes; the domes allow for thermal expansion of the liquid they carry. Tank cars can carry a variety of liquid products from oil to sulfur to milk; the great majority carry petroleum products. John D. Rockefeller made great use of tank cars in transporting oil from production fields to refineries, a principal reason Standard Oil Company (now Exxon) became a major oil company

Oil barrel carrying flat car, sans barrels. 4


April 2007 The car’s paint was faded or missing in many places, and there was a lot of rust, including several holes that had rusted right through the tank body - no telling how long since the car had been treated with any care at all.

ATSF tank car 100221 in May 2005, as restoration began. ATSF tank car #100221 is a member of the TK-J class of cars. It was built by Pressed Steel Car Co. in 1915, one of 400 in the number series 99900-100299. It is a 38-foot, 10,618-gallon, 40-ton capacity, 1-dome tank car. The dome retains its original yoke-mounted safety valves and its screw-on cover with 4 holes into which pry bars were inserted to increase leverage when unscrewing the cover. It also retains its original placard holders on either end. Unlike many tank cars, Santa Fe cars were not equipped with dome platforms or ladders. Instead, a characteristic feature of ATSF tank cars is the running boards which are located much higher on the tank than other tank cars. These allowed workers to clamber up on the top of the tank without needing a ladder, although not without some difficulty, to which I can attest.

Stencils on the tank indicated its most recent use was to transport diesel fuel. In fact, Morris Gould said that the car had been used to store diesel fuel for the Museum’s locomotives. However, during cosmetic restoration, I found red bands beneath black paint and primer on the tank sides near the right ends (as you face the car) and on the dome. The ATSF used color coding from the mid-1940s to May 1977 to denote car contents. The red color band indicated the car had been used to carry gasoline; this use was confirmed when “GASOLINE” was found stenciled in white on the car’s left side over the red band on the car's left side. I decided to backdate the car and repaint it in this earlier color scheme. Beginning in May 2005, I sanded the car down to at least the primer, often to bare metal, including the entire frame, bolsters, and trucks. I treated the metal with rust converter, primed it, and filled in holes that had rusted through the tank with Bondo. Working part time, the surface preparation required almost a year and a half. Painting began in October 2006 and was completed at the end of December 2006. ATSF 100221 now sports its beautiful black paint job with red stripes and dome. Pat Duffin, a Museum volunteer, is making stencils for relettering and renumbering the car. Richard Hendricksen, ATSF historian, was very helpful in enabling us to restore the car to its 1950’s condition.

A major modification from the original car is the newer coupler pockets. The pocket pieces are held together with Huck rivets rivets secured by compressed metal bands. It is likely that the original coupler pockets were damaged or rusted beyond repair and new pockets were installed. As built, the coupler pockets were between extensions of the twin I-beam center sills. Another modification is the type of tank support. As built, the tank rested on wooden 2 x 6s that ran the length of the tank. These boards rested on 6 brackets attached to the car’s side sills. At some time, the boards on 100221 were cut off flush with the ends of the brackets. When the ATSF donated the car to the Museum, the car was painted black. By 2005, Galveston’s weather had taken its toll.

ATSF tank car 100221 in December 2006, after being restored.



April 2007

OTHER VOLUNTEER AND RESTORATION ACTIVITY AT YOUR MUSEUM As is the usual case in winter, outside work has slowed somewhat. Frank Mohler, long time volunteer, continues to drive from Spring, TX, to the Museum about once a month to work on the Triple Nickel, AKA Engine 555. Frank, assisted from time to time by his buddies, has managed to paint all the easy stuff and is now concentrating on detail parts. James Campbell came to the Museum recently and worked on the electrical system of 1303. The engine had been giving the engineers fits. Without warning, the power to the traction motors would die. A couple of times the Saturday train rides had to be canceled because of these electrical problems. James fixed those problems in 45 minutes. James also installed new voltage regulators on the Air Force engine, #1673, so that the alternators work properly. With both traction motors running properly, now all the engine needs is a new front facing air horn and a bell (the original bell was cut off with a torch while the engine was in transit from Barksdale Air Force Base), some holes in the mufflers patched, and some minor servicing of the engines. Once these are completed, the Air Force engine will be ready to pull passengers also. While he was at it, James repaired an air conditioner in the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy’s Silver Hours observation car. Just in time, too. Sandi Schneider’s marketing efforts resulted in two birthday parties being booked at the same time. Both the Silver

Hours and Southern dining car #3305 were used simultaneously to host these parties. Now that the cars have been cleaned and the air conditioning is working, Morris Gould has decided to open these cars to visitors. Sam and Carl Hallows continue to serve as conductors on the Saturday train rides, with Ray Wells still at the controls. Morris Gould has placed ads for these train rides in all the local papers and the increased publicity has been paying off. On a recent Saturday, 187 riders made the trip along Harborside and back. Brings to mind one of P.T. Barnum’s lesser known quotes: “Without publicity, a terrible thing happens: nothing.” Members are again reminded that members ride free when they present their cards to Betty Morris, dispenser of the ride tickets. And speaking of tickets, if you have not taken a train ride recently, you do not know that a souvenir ticket was designed by Don Harper. The tickets have two parts. The conductor takes the smaller end and the patron gets to keep the larger end for his or her scrapbook. Another restoration in the works is replacement of the gazebo in the Garden of Steam. Morris Gould is, as this is being written, about to let a contract to have a new one constructed. The old one finally gave up the ghost after being ravaged by time and the elements.

BE SURE TO ATTEND THE MAY TRAIN SHOW AT THE MUSEUM Mark your calendars. The Museum will host the second annual spring train show on 19 and 20 May 2007. Last year’s show was an outstanding success. The weather cooperated and thousands of visitors came to partake of the event. Board member Steve Barkley is spearheading the event. As he did last year, Steve has lined up numerous exhibitors. Vendors will be on hand with a variety of rolling stock, accessories and miscellaneous paraphernalia to sell. Model railroad clubs will be setting up their modular layouts. Several scales will again be on hand, including G, O, S, HO and N. Expert modelers will host workshops on various aspects of constructing and detailing model railroad cars, structures and scenery. And of course, there will be engine and caboose rides.




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. Larry Highley is chair of the volunteer committee and he would like to hear from you. He can be contacted through the Museum’s e-mail: or by phone at 409-765-5700. Give a call and leave your name and a contact number. Get involved. Check out the types of jobs listed below and see which ones interest you! Archives Volunteer: Assisting with cataloguing and care of materials located in the Museum’s archives. Creating new displays of artifacts. Some prior experience helpful. Times needed: weekdays and weekends. Docent: Conduct guided tours of the Museum grounds. A oneday 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 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: weekdays and weekends. Publicity Volunteer: Generate publicity notices for local newspapers and provide copy to same. Assist in keeping the

THE RAILROAD MUSEUM’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS Mr. Steve Barkley Dr. John Bertini Mr. Tommy Blackburn Mr. Ken Douglas Mr. Patrick Henry Mr. Doug Poole Mr. Bobby Theriot Mr. George Williamson

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 keeping 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. On the job training available if needed. 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: mostly Saturdays, some Sundays Way and Track Volunteer: Assist in railway track maintenance and 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: mostly Saturdays, some Sundays. Conductor. Assist with passenger control during rides on Saturdays. Must be able to repeatedly climb on and off the engine or caboose.

THE RAILROAD MUSEUM’S ADVISORY BOARD Dr. Stephen Duncan Ms. Joyce Dundee Mr. Jim Earthman Dr. Don Harper Mr. J. W. Kelso Mr. Doug Matthews Mr. George Mitchell Dr. Tom Nichols Ms. Maureen Patton Mr. Meyer Reiswing Mr. Ralph Stenzel Mr. Jim Stephenson Mr. Toby Thorensen Mr. Ray Wells 7

Galveston Island Railroad Museum & Terminal 123 Rosenberg Galveston, TX 77550



April 2007 Galveston Island offers everything in a resort destination - beautiful accommodations, entertainment, shopping and 32 miles of Gulf Coast beaches. Galveston’s festivals, special events and attractions are enjoyable for Islanders and tourists alike. One bit of advice - don’t wait until you have out-of-town visitors to tour the island’s many attractions. Be sure to visit the Museum during your stay.

For additional information, visit the Galveston Island Visitors Center at 25th Street and Seawall Boulevard or Galveston Island Railroad Museum & Terminal 123 Rosenberg Galveston, TX 77550

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