Newsletter v7 No 2 2008

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RAILROAD TIES NEWSLETTER OF THE GALVESTON ISLAND RAILROAD MUSEUM AND TERMINAL August 2008

VOLUME 7 - ISSUE 2

THIRD ANNUAL TRAIN SHOW A RESOUNDING SUCCESS The Museum hosted its 3rd annual Spring Train Show during the weekend of May 17 and 18. Steve Barkley, event chair and member of the Board of Directors, devoted a lot of time and energy to ensure the show was the success it was. Every attempt was made to ensure a large turnout. In addition to placing advertisements in local newspapers, the Museum purchased a mailing list containing the names of 5,000 people who had attended train shows in the Houston area and sent them flyers.

G-scale layout under the overhang.

Steve Barkley, ramrod for the train show. Steve rounded up model railroad clubs from the Houston-Galveston-Beaumont area to set up their modular scale layouts ranging from G to Z. Larger displays were placed outside, under the overhang facing the Garden of Steam. Smaller displays were set up in the Peoples’ Gallery.

Birds eye view of the layouts in the Peoples’ Gallery.

Visitors examining a 3-rail layout. HO Scale layout set up outside under the overhang.


And of course, engine cab and caboose rides were offered both days during the event.

Some happy model railroad railfans. In addition, Steve recruited the largest number of vendors at any such event in recent Museum history to come and display their wares. Some vendors were set up in the Peoples’ Gallery, but there were so many that a tent was set up in the Garden of Steam to accommodate the large number.

Vendor Larry Nalewak and some of his wares.

Vendor tent set up in the Garden of Steam.

An excited young engineer on the steps of 1303 while Ray Wells, the real engineer, waits for the signal to go.

Visitors waiting for the next train ride. Note the recently repainted Robert E. Lee on Track 4.

Off they go on a caboose ride.


FOURTH OF JULY Museum staff went all out during the 2008 Fourth of July celebration in Galveston. The Museum teamed up with the City of Galveston to host a gala event on the Museum grounds celebrating the 232nd anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

time for everyone who attended.

Everything and everyone was decorated in red, white and blue - people and machine. Museum staff wore patriotic costumes, courtesy of Sam Hallows. The mini train, dressed up with American flags, led the parade through downtown Galveston, with the engineer dressed as Uncle Sam.

Some of the 750 guests in the Peoples’ Gallery.

Gloria Gould, Sandi Cobb and Sam Hallows all decorated for the 4th of July.

Food tables set up in the Garden of Steam. The efforts of the staff paid off. The Museum won first place for being the most patriotic group. Sandi Cobb and Morris Gould display the certificate and blue ribbon, below..

The mini train, decked out in red, white and blue, leading the 4th of July parade through downtown Galveston. Following the parade, 750 citizens of Galveston returned to the Museum to continue the celebration. They consumed 1,000 hot dogs and 7 gallons of lemonade, and 240 of them went on train rides. It was obviously a fun


THE GOOD NEWS DEPARTMENT by Don Harper, Advisory Board Member Slowly but surely, historic cars in the rolling stock collection are being brought back to their “in use on the railroad” appearance. First was the DRGW flat car, restored by Eagle Scout Philip Hyde and his volunteer group. Then Engine 314, followed by the KCS gondola, the MP short, bay window caboose, and the ATSF tank car. This issue features two other cars that are being restored, the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul (AKA the Milwaukee Road”) stock car, and the Denver & Rio Grande Western 36-foot boxcar. C.M.& St.P stock car Over the years, the climate in Galveston caused a lot of the wood on the stock car to deteriorate. Eventually several of the boards in the door became so rotted they literally fell off.

Victor Garcia repairing the stock car roof. In March, during a 4-day visit to the Museum, I cleaned and primed the left side, B end, truck and wheels.

Stock car before repairs. I began working on the car 3 years ago, but was sidetracked by the gondola and tank car. In December I resumed working on the stock car. I replaced missing boards on the door and finished cleaning and priming the remainder of the Z braces. In January, Museum jack-ofall-trades, Victor Garcia coated the roof to stop water from leaking inside.

Don Harper working on the stock car door.

Newly primed stock car truck and wheels. Work will continue during future visits to the Museum from my new home in New Wilmington, Penna. D&RGW boxcar The other car being restored, the Denver & Rio Grande Western 36-foot boxcar, was featured in the 20061 edition of this newsletter. 36-foot boxcars are very rare now, but once were the principal car for shipping goods that had to be protected from the weather. Based on the number sequences of extant 36-foot cars listed in the 1953 Official Railway Equipment Registry (ORER), at least 200,000 of them were constructed - the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central collectively had over 70,000 in their inventories at one time. Most were built before the mid-1920s, when the 40-foot boxcar became the standard, but they continued to be used into the 1940s and early 1950s. 36-foot boxcars were constructed entirely of wood, or with wood sides and metal ends, or of wood sheathed in steel. Many were ventilated. Many shippers did not like the 36-footers because of the smaller cargo space, and the numbers of these cars in service began to decline rapidly with the advent of the 40-


foot and, later, the 50-foot, boxcar. Data comparing the numbers of 36-foot boxcars in service on U.S. railroads in 1949 and 1953, according to the ORERs, show a significant decline in numbers in that 5-year period. In 1949, only 2.4% of freight cars less than 40 feet in length were wood and this number declined to 0.7% by 1954. The Galveston Railroad Museum is very fortunate to have one in its collection. In late 2006 I found original car stencils inside the car. They were under a light coat of paint, on the metal beams just below the roof and to the right of the doors, on both sides. From these stencils we now know the car was originally owned by the “D&RG”, that the car number was “62746” (one of 1500 in its class), that it was used for carrying “OATS” (only the bottom 2/3rds of the inside walls are sheathed) and that it was built in “9-09.” The D&RGW Historical Society web page indicates cars in this number sequence were rebuilt and received Murphy metal ends. As with the wood on the stock car, the elements contrived to rot the wooden sides, and the occasional visitor helped the situation by pulling off pieces of rotted wood. As can be seen in the photos below, large sections of the exterior planking were gone, exposing the framing and inner sheathing to the weather.

Some of the junk and oil drums stored inside the car. Note the interior sheathing is applied only about 2/3 of the way to the ceiling. Galveston carpenter and friend of the Museum, Calvin Wehrle, worked on the car. He stripped off the old siding, replaced rotted wood beams where needed, saved some beams by coating them with a penetrating epoxy, and then applied the exterior sheathing.

Some of the wood framing that had to be replaced. DRGW box car before repairs began. The car had been used for storage for years. There were some artifacts inside, but most of the contents were used oils and miscellaneous junk that had been crammed in the car by past generations of Museum staff. Prior to restoration, Executive Director Morris Gould had the car cleaned out. What was no good was thrown away. Used oil was disposed of properly. When the interior was clean, lumber for reconstruction was stored inside until used.

Car partly sheathed. The interior bracing also shows in this photograph.


sent two of his crew, Tim Vandewiele and Wes Housberg to Galveston to install the new set of louvers. As seen in the photos below, Tim and Wes, assisted by Victor Garcia, hoisted the heavy louvers up on the walkway, then worked them into place and secured them.

The newly resheathed left side in May 2008. Southern Pacific Rail Diesel Car (RDC) Museum volunteer Frank Mohler has repainted the letterboard and numberboard on the RDC. These are the only two painted areas on the car, and they have been returned to the bright red they wore when the car ran for the Southern Pacific. New “SOUTHERN PACIFIC� lettering was applied, replacing the old CTC Ry (Center for Transportation and Commerce) lettering. The number, however, was kept at 100, instead of the correct number 10 the car wore when in service on the SP.

Tim Vandewiele (in the green shirt) Wes Housberg ( in the blue shirt) and Victor Garcia installing the right side louvers.

The history of this car will be featured in a future issue of the newsletter.

Another view of the installation process.

Southern Pacific rail diesel car in her new livery. UP 403 About two years ago, the rusted-out louvers on the front of Fairbanks-Morse H-20-44 (a real rarity - only three of these engines remain: at the Galveston Museum, the San Diego Museum, and at the Illinois Railroad Museum) were removed by Museum staff, volunteers and Jeff Groves. Board Member Tommy Blackburn had a new set of louvers constructed in his shop, and in July, Tommy

The louvers installed on UP 403, awaiting painting.


Aggie Volunteers Who says today’s students are self-centered and just want to sit and play video games, or party all night, or just goof off? We have proof otherwise.

Track 5 and running power to it so that the light will operate. As always, the Museum is enormously grateful to the Gabryszwskis for all the work they have done to make the Museum a better and more exciting place to visit.

In May, several students from Texas A&M University at Galveston spent a day at the Museum doing volunteer work. One group polished silver housed in display cases in the Theater Building, while the other group cleaned up brush and trash on the Museum grounds. This was the second year that students from the nearby campus have done volunteer work. Many thanks to everyone involved.

New breaker box used to power the signal lights.

TAMUG students polishing silver.

Conduit being laid from the breaker box to the signal lights. #1 Museum Attraction in Galveston

Removing a stump from the grounds. New Power for Signal Lights and Semaphores The Museum will soon have a new asset - operational signal light and semaphores. Volunteers Vance and Janelle Gabryszwski (remember them from the previous newsletter edition having installed the SP signal light and made the light operational using a battery?) have dug a 400+ foot trench and laid conduit and wire from a new junction box and timer to light up the signal light along Track 5. They are also repairing the semaphore along

Executive Director Morris Gould was informed in June that the Islander Magazine, a glossy, well-edited magazine, had conducted a survey and asked what their readers liked about various attractions on the Island. Your Railroad Museum was voted the Number 1 museum attraction. The magazine did a special section on the Museum in July, and presented Morris with a plaque denoting the Museum’s #1 status. Morris, the dedicated staff and volunteers, and the Board of Directors are all to be commended for their Herculean efforts at turning the Museum around and making it a place that people like to visit.


THE BAD NEWS DEPARTMENT Someone tried to steal the switch stand from the Track 4-Track 5 turnout near 28th Street, just outside the Museum’s fence. The attempted theft was discovered by Carl and Sam Hallows when they arrived at the Museum on May 10th to get ready for the Saturday train rides. The stand was taken loose from the head blocks, but the perpetrators were not able to disconnect the stand’s tie bar to the switch rod. Museum staff respiked the stand to the head blocks to allow the train rides to proceed that day. But, one of the head block ties was damaged and had to be replaced. Given the current high price of metal, it is likely someone was trying to make a buck the “easy” way, at the Museum’s expense. When notified of the attempted theft, the Galveston Police Department said they would increase patrols in the area.

Switch stand on its side, still connected to the switch rod.

FEATURED RAIL CAR GLEN FEE - THE SOLE SURVIVING CAR OF THE 1947 AMERICAN FREEDOM TRAIN Two American Freedom Trains have traveled the rails across and around America, carrying documents important to the history of the United States. The first toured in 1947-49, the second in 1974. The original 1947 Freedom Train consisted of a PA-1 Alco locomotive and 7 cars. Of these, only the Glen Fee survives, and this historic car is located, and is open to the public to be visited, at the Galveston Railroad Museum. When a part of the Freedom Train, the Glen Fee was painted white with a blue stripe above the windows and a red stripe below. The Glen Fee was also one of the cars to which large eagle emblems were affixed.

The Glen Fee, and two other cars, the “Penn Square” and the “Central Plains” housed the 29 U.S. Marines who traveled with the train as guards and acted as interpreters. The Glen Fee Pullman sleeping car was built in 1926. This 86.5-ton heavyweight car was designed to offer more private accommodations for travelers than the common passenger cars having upper and lower berths in sections. The Glen Fee has 3 drawing rooms, one at either end, and one in the center. Each is a private room with a bathroom and couch. There are also 6 compartments, each a private room, but having less secluded sanitary facilities. The compartments all have interconnecting doors so passengers traveling in a group could visit back and forth. An ice-activated air conditioning system was added sometime during the1930s. In this system, an air duct opening to the exterior on the right side scooped air, pulled the air into the car, passed it across the ice, and the air was then directed into the passenger compartments. Pullman built almost 100 cars in the "Glen" series between 1923 and 1929. Glen Fee is one of 26 cars built to Plan 3523A, lot 4970, and bears the unique car code 2789. The Glen Fee was delivered on 27 July 1926 and operated on the New York Central's 20th Century Limited until about 1963. It was during this NYC tenure that the car was selected to be a part of the American Freedom Train.

The Glen Fee in American Freedom Train colors. The image is from the web page www.freedomtrain. org/html/ft_consist_7_glen_fee.htm.

When the American Freedom Train was disbanded in 1949, the Glen Fee was returned to the Pullman


Company’s pool of cars and resumed carrying passengers for the New York Central. After leaving the New York Central, she passed through a series of owners (Private Railway Cars, Inc., Bear Creek Scenic Railway, and

Railroad Town, USA) and was finally bought, in 1965, by the Oregon, Pacific & Eastern where it ran until about 1978 when the Museum purchased the car. The Glen Fee is painted dark blue (now faded) and has yellow lettering.

The Glen Fee as she appeared when delivered to the Galveston Railroad Museum in 1978.

The Glen Fee today. She needs to be repainted.

Arrows mark the filled in bolt holes where the eagle was mounted. This view may be seen by walking between the Glen Fee and the Robert E. Lee.

The interior passageway sparkles, having been cleaned by volunteers.

One of the compartments, also thoroughly cleaned.


Did you ever wonder how the Museum appears to a bird? Well, wonder no more.

1 – Shearn Moody Plaza, formerly the Santa Fe building; 2 – Shearn Moody employee parking lot; 3 – Track 5; 4 – 28th Street; 5 – Track 1; 6 – Museum visitor parking lot; 7 – Museum offices, formerly the machine shop; 8 – Theater building, formerly the Railway Express building; 9 – Garden of Steam; 10 – Santa Fe Place; 11 – 25th Street; 12 - The Strand; 13 – Harborside Drive.


VOLUNTEERS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME 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 reached by email: galvrrmuseum@sbcglobal.net or by telephone: 409/765-5700 at the Museum. 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: Assist with cataloguing and care of materials located in the Museum’s archives. Create new displays of artifacts. Some prior experience helpful. Times needed: weekdays and weekends. Docent: 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 Larry Highley 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.

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

Model Railroad Volunteer: Assist Stephen Duncan 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. 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: weekends and weekdays. Way and Track Volunteer: Assist 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 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, or the Artrain visit that occurs on an infrequent basis. Volunteers need only to enjoy interacting with the public: Times needed: during special events.

THE RAILROAD MUSEUM’S ADVISORY BOARD Dr. Stephen Duncan Ms. Joyce Dundee Mr. Jim Earthman Dr. Don Harper (Editor) Mr. J. W. Kelso Mr. Doug Matthews Mr. George Mitchell Dr. Tom Nichols Ms. Maureen Patton

Mr. Meyer Reiswing Mr. Phil Scheps Mr. Ralph Stenzel Mr. Jim Stephenson Mr. Toby Thoresen Mr. Ray Wells


Galveston Island Railroad Museum & Terminal 123 Rosenberg Galveston, TX 77550 409-765-5700 www.galvestonrrmuseum.com

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