Newsletter v9 No 1 2010

Page 1


February 2010

DR. JOHN BERTINI ENDS TENURE AS BOARD CHAIR Under John’s tenure as Chair the Museum made dramatic steps toward upgrading and expanding the displays, cleaning and painting rail cars, increasing attendance, and making the Museum a pleasant and exciting place to visit. John also ran very tight board meetings that rarely lasted longer than an hour. Dr. Bertini’s railroad advocacy continues, as he is a member of the Rail Passenger Committee that is working to return rail passenger service to Galveston. In real life, he is a urologist and is Chief of Staff of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Houston. In recognition of his service to the Museum, John was presented with a plaque that read: The Board of Directors of the Galveston Island Railroad Museum and Terminal Gratefully Acknowledge the Outstanding Leadership, Dedication and Service to The Railroad Museum of Dr. John E. Bertini, Jr. During His Tenure as Chairman of the Board 2004-2009 TO OUR VALUED MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS by Morris Gould, Executive Director Since our last newsletter, three of our dear friends have passed away. Carol Harper, Vance Gabryszwski and Meyer Reiswerg. In their honor, Don Harper has written short bios for this newsletter.

Dr. John Bertini shows the plaque given to him in recognition of his service to the Museum as a 5-term chair of the Board. At the monthly Board meeting on 30 September 2009, Dr. John Bertini ended his 6-year membership on the Board of Directors of the Railroad Museum, five of those years as Chair of the Board. John continues his outstanding service to the Museum as a member of the Advisory Board.

In the summer of 2008, Don and Carol made a trip tothe loyal members, and the community. Because of this, Galveston from their new home in New Wilmington, PA. Thewhen the Museum reopens, it will be due to your continual Museum's staff and I had dinner with them and we had a mostsupport and dedication. enjoyable evening. The next day, however, I learned that Don took Carol to the UTMB emergency room after dinner, due to Two questions that are asked of us frequently every the extreme pain that she was experiencing. Not once duringday: "Are you open?" then, "When are you going to the course of the evening did anyone suspect the pain thatopen?" The estimate for restoring the buildings is 25 Carol was enduring. Carol was one of the most courageousweeks, so hopefully the Museum will open this summer. people that I have had the pleasure of knowing. She was aThe plan is, when the Museum replaces our NW-2 real trooper. locomotive, to resume offering train rides on the weekends with limited access to the Museum. Then, at a later date, I met Vance and Janell Gabryswski shortly after have an opening celebration and dedication. coming on board as the Director. Regular visitors to the Museum, as time went on they became more and more Board of Directors: The Museum had a change of Board involved with the Museum. Vance was truly a jack of all Members in 2009. The tenures of many of the longtrades. A Museum's made-to-order volunteer! Vance's serving members expired and new members were brought craftsmanship was admired by all of us at the Museum. on board. Please welcome on board, Dr. Stephen Duncan, Joseph Maytum, Greg Smith, Jim Stephenson, Meyer Reiswerg was best known for his Strand John von Briesen and Kenneth Zimmern. New officers surplus center, Col. Bubbies. Meyer was a "behind the have been elected (see list of directors). scenes" supporter of the Museum. If there were events/activities on the Strand, he was always involved to Grants: The matching FEMA funding has been one of ensure the Museum's participation was considered. the top priorities for the Museum. The Museum's estimated matching funds needed are approximately $650,000. Due to Our thoughts are with them and their families. Dr. Don Harper's grant writing skills, we have, to date, received over $215,000 in grants. This has unlocked over 2 million Where the Museum Stands: In the last newsletter, it dollars of FEMA monies. The Museum has also received over was noted that FEMA personnel would be visiting the $17,000 in donations from groups and individuals since Museum to assess damage. Initially, progress was slow; Hurricane Ike, a fact that is certainly not lost on FEMA. we had one FEMA representative assigned to us who also had numerous other FEMA assignments. After a Please accept my apologies for the delay of our quarterly preliminary list of damages was compiled, FEMA ramped RAILROAD TIES Newsletter. We hope you have been up their manpower and we had as many as nine following our progress on our website. Our web Master, Sam representatives on site at a given time. Our FEMA Hallows, monitors our website constantly and is quick to make damage assessment exceeded $8 million. To say the changes from the feedback that she receives. Sam also prods least, it has been very busy at the Museum; the staff has me regularly to update her, to keep our web "fresh". She is had to prepare individual files for each railcar, building, etc. constantly expanding the website avenues. The next few that sustained damage. months should be exciting times at the Museum with the reconstruction of our buildings, exhibits and the arrival of For the most part, once reconstruction is completed, replacement for the damaged rail cars! the internal appearance of the theatre building, west ticket office and the "People's Gallery" will change very little. Regards Our displays and exhibits will change considerably. Our model train rooms will be completely rebuilt. The biggest Morris change in the Museum will be the rolling stock. At some point, we are planning to replace all of the diesel locomotives and most of the passenger cars. We have already started the restoration on some of the freight equipment. The Museum's maintenance shop will have to be replaced. Let me, at this point, put in a plug for FEMA. All of their staff could not have been more accommodating with the damage assessment and protocol documentation for the rebuild of the Museum. A big part of the equation for FEMA support was when they reviewed our previous newsletters and website. They could see how active the Museum was and the support it had from the volunteers,

RAILROAD MUSEUM CREW WINS FIRST PLACE IN 2009 MARDI GRAS PARADE The Railroad Museum was once again asked to run the mini train in the fifth annual Firefighters’ Childrens’ Parade along Seawall Boulevard. Mardi Gras was especially important this year because the Island was beginning to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Ike. The parade theme was comic book heroes. Executive Director Morris Gould, wearing a Boy Wonder body shell

and mask, drove the minitrain. He was joined by Sandi Cobb (marketing director), Linda Mackey (FEMA representative), Christa Gould (Morris’ daughter-in-law), Stephen Duncan riding in the open car behind the engine. The ladies were dressed in red, white and blue outfits. Stephen was the conductor. (Children of members and friends of the Museum rode in the car

The minitrain was entered in the judging contest along with the usual floats associated with Mardi Gras parades. The Museum folks’ entry earned first place honors in the parade. The award, a large trophy bearing the purple, green and gold colors of Mardi Gras, now occupies a prominent place in the Museum office.

Sandi Cobb, Linda Mackey and Christa Gould in the minitrain and Stephen Duncan and Morris Gould pose before the parade began.

Linda Mackey, Morris Gould, holding the first place trophy, Sandi Cobb and Christa Gould. Stephen Duncan is sitting on the minitrain.

THE GOOD NEWS DEPARTMENT by Don Harper, Member, Board of Directors DRGW 63746, 36-Foot Box Car Repairs Very good news to report to the members. In April 2008, the Museum submitted a proposal to the National Railway Historical Society requesting $3,000 to help restore the Denver and Rio Grande Western 36-foot box car. We were notified in early August that our proposal had been funded. Inasmuch as local carpenter Calvin Wehrle had already completed most of the re-siding work, these funds were used to reimburse the Museum for costs incurred. The grant funds were supplemented by an additional $3,000 in donations.

proper configuration determined.






Still to be done is to replace rusted corner gussets on the body ends and corners of the doors, replace the wood on the doors, and clean the underside metal. And finally the car needs to be primed and painted, and the logo and markings replaced. Then we will have a virtually brand new car.

Hurricane Ike’s flood did not materially damage the car, except that some of the sheathing on the south side, that received direct exposure to the summer sun, dried too quickly and warped. These will have to be replaced. Currently, we are trying to determine exactly how the car’s roof was constructed. During the last renovation, galvanized tin was laid from end to end, but according to photos of a sister car at the Heritage Square Museum in Los Angeles, CA, this arrangement is not correct - the metal strips run from side to side and there are metalcovered ribs between the metal strips. To be determined is the rib material under the metal. In October 2009 Calvin and his assistant stripped off the metal, replaced rotted boards, and covered the exposed wood with felt until the

Rusted corner gusset on the A-end, south side of the DRGW box car.

Table saw in the ATSF box car The wooden FWD caboose was in the worst condition because of termite damage and both dry rot and water damage rot to the floors, walls and bunks. The windows are also being replaced. FWD caboose 107 started life as Burlington & Missouri River [a CB&Q subsidiary] #21. When donated to the Museum it was Chicago, Burlington & Quincy #14118. Joe Bailey, who oversaw, or did, the repairs early in the Museum’s history, thought it would be nice to have a representative of the FW&D, so repainted the caboose in those colors and markings.

Chris Salley repairing the DRGW box car roof FWD and ATSF Caboose Repairs Work has begun to bring Santa Fe caboose 1642 and Fort Worth & Denver caboose 107 back from the dead. Harold Schroeder’s car repair folks from San Antonio are doing the work. They have set up a workshop in the Santa Fe auto box car where materials are stored out of the weather and wood for various places, and Plexiglas for replacement windows, are cut to size. Before commencing on repairs, both cars were hydroblasted to remove the remnants of Ike’s silt. Then the cabooses were treated with mold killer.

Floor and bunk repairs in the FWD caboose ATSF caboose 1642 is essentially in the condition it was in when it worked for the railroad. Only minor repairs to wooden structures inside, and new windows, are needed, and a repainting and relettering.

Missouri Pacific Caboose 13895 Repairs Recall from the previous newsletter that Joseph Maytum and Carl Hallows thoroughly scrubbed and washed the Missouri Pacific “transfer� caboose with fresh water immediately after the flood waters receded. The hack was a money maker used in caboose rides; saving it from the ravages of rust and mold were essential to its continued use. The water-damaged journals, however, could not be scrubbed. Brand new trucks and wheels have been installed, again to make it possible to move the car off the Island in the event of another storm.

Window replacement in the ATSF caboose

A crane prepares to lift the MP caboose off its truck

Damaged floor boards replaced in the ATSF caboose

Preparing to move the replacement truck under the caboose body. Illinois Central Railway Post Office #100 Repairs Floor under crew table replaced. Both cars have been equipped with updated wheels and ABD brakes. This is so the car can be pulled off the Island in the event of another hurricane.

Restoration of the IC RPO 100 began in late 2009. Workers removed the termite damaged wooden floor boards and discovered major rust damage to the steel subfloor. What had been thought to be a minor repair project immediately escalated to the status of a FEMA major repair effort. Repairs are underway.

Rusted subfloor of IC 100 exposed after about half of the wooden floor was removed.

Major rust damage in the IC 100 storage area

THE BAD NEWS DEPARTMENT Theft of Items from the Museum Shop ED Morris Gould arrived at work on November 3rd and discovered someone had, during the weekend, knocked down the south-facing wall of the shop and had stolen over 3,600 pounds of metal - tools, superheater tubes for engine 555, and other items - and sold them to a scarp yard in Santa Fe, TX. The items were sent off to be shredded before the theft was discovered and tracked. The Whale Belly Tank Car Meets its Demise Members will remember that during Hurricane Ike,

the whale belly tank car floated up off its trucks and ended up lying on its side in the Shearn Moody Plaza parking lot adjacent to the Museum. Inasmuch as the whale belly was one of a kind tank car, Union Tank Car Company, who constructed the car, was contacted to determine if they could give the Museum an assist in getting the car back on its trucks. After some deliberation, the company declined. Shearn Moody Plaza began agitating to get the car out of its parking lot, so the only option available was undertaken - to cut the car up for scrap. The steel body was ž inch thick. It took the crew 3 days to cut the car up and cart it off. .

Demolition crew marking the car for cutting.

A chunk of the car’s top has been cut away. Note the thickness of the metal.

END MARKERS Within the past year, the Railroad Museum lost three individuals who were dedicated to its success, Carol Harper, Meyer Reiswerg, AKA “Colonel Bubbie”, and Vance Gabryszwski.


assist the Museum. She painted rail cars, assisted at special events, helped edit this newsletter, and designed a display of railroad silver dinnerware for the theater building. But the one thing she accomplished for which she was received the most personal satisfaction was designing the garden around the fountain outside the Museum office she selected the plants, dug the planting holes, and installed the plants. As a hedge around the fountain, she selected Natal plum because it was extremely tolerant of harsh conditions and would grow thick enough to hide the concrete blocks and plumbing under the fountain. Between the Natal plum and the perimeter rim she planted sage. All this came to naught, though, as the salt water from Hurricane Ike’s flood killed all the vegetation. A replacement garden is planned in her memory.


Carol clowning around while gardening. Carol Harper lost her 18½ year battle with metastatic colon cancer on 29 November 2008, at age 70. During her working career, she had been an insurance agent for Prudential, a Delta stewardess, a self-taught bankruptcy paralegal, a marketing assistant for several NASA contractors, and, finally, a secretary at Open Gates, the former home of the Sealy Family in Galveston, now owned by the University of Texas Medical Branch. She left her husband Don, stepdaughter Susan Smith, husband Chris, and 3 grandchildren. Carol was a volunteer who did whatever she could to

Meyer Reiswerg died on 7 May 2009 on his 77th birthday. He was a member of the Advisory Board of the Museum. In real life he was owner of Col. Bubbie’s Strand Surplus Senter, that he and his wife Suzie, founded in 1972, from which they sold an eclectic mixture of authentic military surplus equipment. The store was so well known that movie productions ordered equipment from him. At the time of his death, the store had the distinction of being the longest running, single owner business on Galveston’s Strand. Meyer was a jovial man who never met a stranger. His banter with customers was legendary. And he never hesitated to speak his mind if he thought something was

good for the City. Or the Railroad Museum for that matter. Meyer would invariably respond with a comment if asked about a proposition being considered by the Museum.


Vance Gabryszwski succumbed to a heart attack on 5 October 2009 at age 39. He leaves his wife Janell and two children, Jason and Carolann. Vance, an employee of Baptist Temple Church in Houston, was always a happy, upbeat person, and seemed to especially enjoy working at the Museum. Vance and Janell spent a very large amount of time volunteering at the Museum. They were responsible for installing the Southern Pacific signal lights beside Track 5, near 28th Street. They dug the foundation pit, mixed and poured the cement foundation, erected the signal mast, and wired the signal and dug a trench and installed an electrical connection to the nearest power source. Thus, the signal light was lit when visitors rode by on the caboose.

Vance doing acrobatics, working on the signals.

DEPARTURES AND ARRIVALS The Museum staff, before Hurricane Ike came ashore, said good-bye to Larry Highley who had been Volunteer Coordinator and Railroading Merit Badge instructor for 2.5 years. Larry moved to Louisiana to take a position at a Home Depot store in New Orleans. Museum staff held a farewell party in the Silver Hours car just before his departure. In addition to coordinating volunteer and teaching efforts, Larry also acted as conductor on the Saturday train rides. Larry said that while he is moving he is not leaving permanently, as he plans on returning from time to time to do some volunteer work for the Museum. We wish Larry the best in his new endeavors. His companionship camaraderie and good nature will be missed.

Larry and his farewell cake.

Carl Haglund

Larry, in the foreground, with Carl Haglund, Ray Wells, John von Breisen, Gloria Gould, Sam Hallows and Sandi Cobb The Museum welcomed Carl Haglund as the newest member of the staff. Before Hurricane Ike, Carl could be found at the newsstand in the Peoples’ Gallery selling tickets and all the other railroading paraphernalia the Museum offers. Carl also has taken over teaching the Railroading Merit Badge classes for the Boy Scouts.

Carl selling Museum memberships

GRANTS AND DONATIONS Morris mentioned in his letter to the members (pages 1 and 2) that the Museum needs to generate approximately $650,000 in matching funds to “unlock” all the FEMA funds needed to repair the Museum’s buildings and rail cars. Rest assured the Museum’s staff and Board have been striving mightily to raise the needed funds. To date the following proposals have been written requesting funds for FEMA match: To the Moody Foundation requesting $500,000. Awarded $100,000. To the Kempner Foundation requesting $10,000. Awarded $6,000. To the Mary Moody Northen Endowment requesting $35,000. This request was declined. To Trains Magazine Preservation Award requesting $10.000. This request was declined. To the Meadows Foundation requesting $150,000. Awarded $100,000 with the proviso that the Museum raise $100,000 in matching funds.

The following proposals are in draft form: To the BNSF Foundation requesting $10.000. To the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Foundation requesting $25,000. We are continuing to research foundations to locate potential contributors. In addition to the grants received, the Museum has received about $15,000 in donations. Bear in mind that donations can also be used as match for FEMA, and the $15,000 received thus far has unlocked $150,000 in FEMA funding. Members should also keep in mind that memberships can be counted as donations for FEMA purposes. If there ever was a time when the Museum needed support from its members, it is now. Members can greatly assist recovery from Ike by renewing now. And they can assist even more by becoming a member at a higher membership level.

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. This is especially true as the Museum strives to recover from the damage caused by Hurricane Ike. There are many great volunteer positions available for YOU at the Galveston Railroad. Sam Hallows is chair of the Volunteer Committee and he would like to hear from you. He can be reached by e-mail: 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 Carl Haglund 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 Dr. Stephen Duncan Dr. Don Harper (Editor) Mr. Patrick Henry Mr. Joseph Maytum (Board Secretary) Mr. Doug Poole (Board Vice Chair) Mr. Greg Smith Mr. Jim Stephenson Mr. John von Briesen Mr. George Williamson (Board Chair) Mr. Ken Zimmerman

Model Railroad Volunteer: Assist Stephen Duncan 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. 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, Hobo Night, the Santa Train, Mardi Gras, and other such events. Volunteers need only to enjoy interacting with the public: Times needed: during special events.

THE RAILROAD MUSEUM’S ADVISORY BOARD Mr. Steve Barkley Dr. John Bertini Mr. Tommy Blackburn Mr. Ken Douglas Ms. Joyce Dundee Mr. Jim Earthman Mr. J. W. Kelso Mr. Steve Ledbetter

Mr. George Mitchell Dr. Tom NIchols Ms. Maureen Patton Mr. Ralph Stenzel Mr. Bobby Theriot Mr. Ralph Stenzel Mr. Toby Thoresen Mr. Ray Wells

Galveston Island Railroad Museum & Terminal 123 Rosenberg Galveston, TX 77550 409-765-5700

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