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Altoona Railway Museum Club: Horseshoe Curve NRHS - Memorable Moments from the Past

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Memorable Moments from the Chapter's Past

This page was last updated on: March 06, 2017


 

January 2008 -  Annual Report for 2007

2007 marked the Horseshoe Curve Chapter’s 39th year of service and participation to the greater Altoona Area as well as the National Railway Historical Society.
Social events for the season included a February evening at the home of Dick & Toni Charlesworth in February [with a slide show by David Seidel]; the Chapter’s annual picnic hosted by Will and Diane Teeter at their Camp; a June social hosted by George and Joyce Thompson at Spring Lake Park, Bellwood; and the annual Christmas party at Deer Hollow Bed & Breakfast hosted by Joe DeFrancesco and his grandparents “Dink” and Rachel Gensimore.


2007 began with the display of the Chapter’s newly restored Railway Express Refrigerator car REX 7375 at Railroader’s Memorial Museum, but work also continued throughout the year on the restoration of the 1940 Chevrolet Railway Express Agency truck for Railroader’s Memorial Museum, much at the Chapter’s expense. The Chapter also had an “O” gage model of REX 7375 made by Weaver which was sold at Railroader’s Memorial Museum, and a car was also given each volunteer worker at Millenium Railcar Shop [Hollidaysburg PA] who restored the express car. Work also continued on plow repairs (Austeel Stamping Co.) for the 1946 Walter truck from the Altoona & Logan Valley Electric Railway, and the subsequent repainting of this original appliance as well as the mid-chassis scraper blade. The fully completed Walter Truck was exhibited at the Antique Truck and Machinery Show at Lakemont Park in July


Work projects at Railroader’s Memorial Museum included roof-coating of PRR Office Car “Duquesne” as well as PRR Railway Post Office Car “Robert E. Hannegan”. In anticipation of future work on PRR section car “Union League Club”, several chapter members traveled to Brookville PA to view sister car “Anthracite Club”, which was hosted by Kevin Moore, DMD. “Union League Club”, was displayed during 2007 on the turntable bridge at Railroader’s Memorial Museum until a permanent track location is assigned. Many Chapter members volunteer at the museum on rolling stock maintenance, as group-tour guides, library oversight (Bill Temple), or other supportive services as needed.


Chapter Director Dick Charlesworth developed a bus trip to the Strasburg Railroad and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in June, which included a trip on Amtrak from Harrisburg to Lancaster, PA. Chapter members were car hosts for excursions operated on the Everett Railroad in July for Spring Dam Days at Roaring Spring; a charter for the Hollidaysburg YMCA in October for their “Old Tyme Faire & Great Adventure” [3 trips with a train robbery/bandits on horseback]; and the very popular Santa Trains the weekends prior to and after Thanksgiving with all children greeted by Santa personally, and treat bags provided.


Horseshoe Curve Chapter members, as is traditional, worked to staff the annual Railfest Limited Train (Juniata Terminal Co. restored E-8 locomotives and first class cars) for Railroader’s Memorial Museum’s annual Railfest in July, which included staffing and coordinating the Amtrak Station boarding for 3 trips each on Saturday and Sunday.


The Chapter also assisted with planning and guiding area tours for the Toy Train Operating Society convention, Altoona, in August to assist host Alto Model Train Museum/Altoona Area Train Collectors Club.


Horseshoe Curve Chapter made contributions to Blair County Children & Youth Services and Toys for Tots for the Christmas season, including sponsoring a tree at the local Ramada Inn. Donation was made also to the Roaring Spring Historical Society for maintenance on the Roaring Spring Station, Blair County’s only surviving PRR Station.


Horseshoe Curve Chapter and Railroader’s Memorial Museum sponsored Joe DeFrancesco to attend RailCamp at Steamtown, Scranton, PA. Joe provided a comprehensive report of his experience to the Chapter membership in August.

 

January 22,  2008 - Regular Business Meeting

The minutes from the November meeting were read, a correction was made as to the meeting with Larry Sloane and Dick, Frank and Karin. A motion was made to approve by Larry McKee and seconded by Dick Charlesworth.  The Treasurer's report was given.  A motion was made to accept by Dick Charlesworth and seconded by Dan.

Frank called Jeff Yon; he explained the Rick Webber is waiting to hear from the Pres. Dave Turner of the new company WATKO, Inc.

Frank contacted Randy of TRS Roofing, and spoke with him about putting a rubber roof on the coaches; Randy will need to check the cars, but feels sure it can be done. He will give us an estimate once he looks them over.

Dick, Denny and Frank made a work list for Larry; some things will need Larry's approval. Neil also gave a brief report on plans for this year.

Trolley tapes and DVD's will be needed for the Museum gift shop. Frank will contact George Thompson to get this moving along.

Work progressing on the REX truck, body is stripped and being cleaned. It has been discussed to spray the truck with Rustj*Fender to protect it from rust. Jeff is working on the back doors. Frank's dad built the seat frame and reupholstered it. Denny rebuilt the speedometer.

Dick discussed the bus trip on February 23rd to a show with the Altoona Train Collectors; price will be $31.00 for members.  He is also planning a trip on May 3rd, riding the bus to D.C., touring the new Air and Space museum, Mt. Vernon and going to Union Station to return on the Capital Limited.  Meals will be on your own, price will be in the $80/$85 range. An email and cards will be sent as soon as plans are finalized. The proceeds from this trip will go toward the Duquesne.

Dave and Frank have been discussing the 40th anniversary of the Chapter coming in May. Plans are being worked on for a dinner at the Geeystown Fire Hall a slide presentation by Dave Seidel and a guest speaker. A date has been set for Saturday May 17th starting at 5:00 p.m.

Dave Seidel reported that Russ Swillnerton of the Conrail Historical Society contacted him, that they are planning a convention in October and would like to do a train ride on the Everett R.R. Dick and Dave will meet with their people to discuss plans. Dates will need to be discussed with Alan Maples to add an excursion on the schedule.

Chapter is paying airfare for Dick to attend the Directors meeting in Dallas; Frank made the decision to approve the money.

Frank presented Wayne Burket with his 25-year pin. Wayne was the first National Director for the Chapter and one of the last two Charter members.

Motion to adjourn was made by Wil Teeter and seconded by Cindy. Meeting Adjourned

ATTENDANCE
Denny Walls Karin Givler Larry McKee Cindy Morngenello Joe Harella Mike Walls Dave Seidel Wil Teeter Wayne Burket George Merritts Neil Myers Bill Temple Dan Morngenello Dick Charlesworth Frank Givler

 

February 26, 2008 - Regular Business Meeting

Minutes from the January meeting were read and a motion to approve was made by Dick Charlesworth and seconded by Joe Harella.  The Treasurer's report was given.  A motion was made to accept was made by Larry McKee and seconded by Dan. 

Frank spoke with Jeff Yohn on Monday and a meeting will be set within a couple of weeks.

Frank sent an email for approval to order 100 more cars and sending Joey to Rail Camp. The Rail Camp is in Nevada and all plans are set, we are waiting for an invoice for tuition from Barry Smith. The Chapter is paying round trip flight.

The Conrail Historical Society is coming here to meet with Dave and Dick.

If the $390.00 needs paid for an extra trip, this money can be added into the rental of the cars.  Dick gave a report on the Directors meeting in Dallas. The National is closing the office in Philadelphia. Fernley & Fernley will be taking over; Christine will be the sole contact.  Fernley & Fernley will be taking over the entire membership. Your Chapter dues slips will go directly to the member and sent back to Fernley & Fernley, they in turn will send the Chapter their potion of the dues money. Dick said this was tabled until the first of the year with more discussion to follow.

Our chapter has 15 non-renewals as of this meeting. 

The bus trip on May 3rd is sold out. Phone calls continued to come in plans were started for 2nd trip, however tickets for Amtrak cannot be purchased so trip was cancelled but Dick is looking into options to try and schedule a second trip.

Denny reported that menu is set for anniversary party, cost per person will $10.00. Final count will need to be turned in 10 days before date. Cards and email will go out and an RSVP date will be by May 7th.

With no further discussions a motion was made to adjourn by Don and seconded by Dan.

Meeting adjourned

ATTENDANCE
Frank Givler Karin Givler Dave Seidel Dwayne Miller Neil Myers Wil Teeter Leon Wagner Larry McKee Bill Temple Joe Harella Dick Charlesworth Don Goebal Bill Burket Dave Behe Denny Walls Mike Walls Dan Mornengello Cindy Mornengello

 

March 2008 - Regular Business Meeting

The March meeting was cancelled at the last minute because of the death/viewing date, of Catherine Venance (Maricq) Seidel, the Chapter Historian’s mother, Webmaster Chris Behe’s grandmother and member David Behe’s mother-in-law. 

 

March 25, 2008

Catherine Venance (Maricq) Seidel
 (Sept. 3, 1914 - March 23, 2008)


Catherine Venance (Maricq) Seidel, 93, Altoona, died Easter Sunday.

She was born in Etna, daughter of Louis J. and Christine (Gaiser) Maricq. She married William J. Seidel Feb. 25, 1936, in Altoona. He died Dec. 3, 1993.

She was predeceased by her parents; sister and brother-in-law: Bernice M. “Babe” Wahl and Joseph F. Wahl and a niece, Mary Jo Wahl.

She is survived by sons: David W. (Virginia) Seidel and Timothy R. (Sonya) Seidel, both of Altoona; daughters: Kay Alyce Lint and Christine (David G.) Behe, all of Altoona; grandchildren: Robert T. Seidel of Murrysville, Debra K. (Philip) Schreyer of Fallentimber, Karen A. (Lint) Claar of Roaring Spring, Christopher J. (Kelly) Behe of Severn, Md., Dennis P. (Nancy) Behe of Ebensburg, Brian J. (Nichole) Behe of Altoona, Timothy A. (Julie) Behe of Altoona; 12 great-grandchildren; and nieces and nephews: Ann G. (Wahl) Dixon (James) of Hackettstown, N.J., Susan R. (Wahl) D’Ambrosio (Philip) of San Antonio, Michele Schmitz (Bernie) of St. Paul, Minn., Scott A. Warner (Linda) of Modesto, Calif., Diane McClarty (Barry) of San Diego, Loretta Orr of Pittsburgh and Rita Csonka (Dale) of Pittsburgh.

She was a graduate of Altoona High School, Class of 1932, and Slippery Rock State Teachers’ College, 1934. After raising her four children, she taught at St. Leo’s Parochial School and then second grade at Fairview Elementary School until her retirement in June 1977, with 25 years of service.

Mrs. Seidel, upon her retirement, enjoyed oil painting and crocheting afghans and baby blankets for family and friends. She also was an avid reader and enjoyed crossword puzzles, board games and making greeting cards.

She was a member of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament Parish and the National Education Association.

A vigil for was held March 25, 2008, at The Stevens Mortuary Inc., 1421 Eighth Ave., Altoona. A funeral Mass was held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Altoona. Committal was at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Altoona.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to Altoona Area School District Foundation, 1415 Sixth Ave., Altoona, PA 16602.

 

April 10. 2008 - The e-Coal Bucket newsletter (by David Seidel)

IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER
 
April 12:  21st Anniversary of the inaugural run of K-4 # 1361 under Steam following  the 1986-87 restoration.
 
May 3:  Chapter bus trip to Washington DC (filled)
 
May 11:  40th Anniversary of Horseshoe Curve Chapter NRHS Charter.
 
May 17:  Chapter 40th Anniversary Dinner, Geeseytown Fire Hall, US 22, Geeseytown (2 miles east of Hollidaysburg, PA).  PLEASE PLAN TO ATTEND.
 
June 8:  40th anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s funeral train, utilizing Pennsylvania 120, from New York City to Washington DC
 
July 12-13:  Annual RAILFEST in Altoona with three excursion trains daily over Horseshoe Curve. 


 HORSESHOE CURVE CHAPTER 40th ANNIVERSARY
 
It is hard for ‘some of us’ to believe that 40 years have gone by.  Your historian/editor now has white hair, and Harley Burket hardly has any, so that must be the measure of the passage of time.
 
We recommend you visit the Chapter’s webpage and read the Chapter History segment to understand what has transpired in these 40 years.  In summary, a group of individuals formed to find a way to have some sort of a railroad museum for the Altoona area after the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania awarded such a facility to Lancaster County.  The nucleus of this initial group, formed under the umbrella of the Tourist and Convention Bureau under the Chamber of Commerce, was known as the Altoona Railway Museum Club.  The group began by collecting railroad memorabilia and exhibiting these collections in storefronts or at other community events.  In the first two years, the group became aware of an organization known as the National Railway Historical Society and subsequently applied for a charter.  This was granted May 11, 1968.
 
Almost concurrent with the granting of this charter, new arrivals in Altoona Ray and Elizabeth Garvin, took an interest in the Chapter.  Ray, a native of Bradford, PA, came to head up the Tourist and Convention Bureau under which the Altoona Railway Museum Club formed.  During the next four years, Ray, with his community contacts, assumed leadership responsibilities to form Railroader’s Memorial Museum, which was chartered in document form in 1972.  As the momentum for the development of the museum grew and fund raising began, the museum, of necessity, became an entity unto itself for non-profit status and development, ultimately opening its doors on September 21, 1980.
 
The Horseshoe Curve Chapter, National Railway Historical Society has always been involved with Railroaders Memorial Museum from the beginning.  In its formative and early years, approximately one-quarter of the museum board was comprised by Chapter members/officers. One could say, that Horseshoe Curve Chapter was instrumental in the seed-planting phase.  Forty years later, the Chapter maintains an affiliation with Railroader’s Memorial Museum as a support organization, assisting in the maintenance and further development of this remarkable facility. The Chapter’s most recent contribution has been a two-year project restoring the museum’s 1940 Chevrolet Railway Express Agency truck which is now painted in primer and almost ready for finish work.  What had started as a rusty hulk from an Iowa junkyard (excurse me…”junque”yard) is now the diamond emerging from the rough and will be a genuine asset to Railroader’s Memorial Museum. 
 
The National Railway Historical Society has been an excellent affiliation for the Horseshoe Curve Chapter.  Over the years, we have partnered with several sister-chapters in projects or joint-activities which we’ve all enjoyed, especially South Penn Chapter [at the ‘old’ Everett Railroad] (now disbanded), Lancaster Chapter, Harrisburg Chapter, Western Maryland Chapter and Cumberland Valley.  Horseshoe Curve Chapter has hosted two National Directors meetings for the society [which amount to mini-conventions] and played an instrumental role in the 150th Anniversary celebration of Horseshoe Curve and the placement of a bronze tablet at Horseshoe Curve National Historical Site for that occasion. 
  
Over the years, Horseshoe Curve Chapter has acquired rolling stock independent of Railroader’s Memorial Museum and continues to work on historical restorations, as well as operating three coaches in excursion service on the Everett Railroad nearby. With the completion of the new turntable at Railroader’s Memorial Museum in 2006, all of the Chapter’s rolling stock is now housed at the museum facility by invitation…and our projects continueon these as well as museum owned pieces. Three of the Chapter’s best pieces, as you may know, are the restored 1946 Walter Snow Fighter from the Altoona & Logan Valley Electric Railway; a PRR Class B-60 Baggage car; and the newest completion the Railway Express Agency Boxcar # 7375 (used in passenger service). Restoration was completed by Millenium Rail Car Shop in Hollidaysburg and the Chapter currently has an O-gauge model of this car for sale at Railroader’s Memorial Museum or through President Givler for $59.95 + tax + sh. 
 
Rather than insert many photographs in this newsletter, please visit your Chapter website developed by Chris Behe, which has photo-essays on all our Chapter activities and equipment.  We feel certain that Horseshoe Curve Chapter’s webpage is superior in form and content thanks to Chris Behe’s talents.
 
As noted in the dates above, we will celebrate the occasion with a dinner at the Geeseytown Fire Hall two miles east of Hollidaysburg on US 22.  We encourage all members and your families to join us for this special occasion.  Guest speakers will be Larry Salon, the new Executive Director of Railroader’s Memorial Museum and John Sweigart, NRHS Regional Vice-President. In addition, there will be a display of railroad memorabilia (no, you haven’t seen it all before) and a great evening of good conversation with your friends. We are still deciding about a slide show that might be of interest.  If you have some item(s) of special railroad memorabilia you would like to exhibit, please bring it along and arrive early.  Our dinner is on Armed Forces Day weekend, but most of those activities are earlier in the day.   We especially invite our out-of-town members and their families whom we rarely get to see or meet.  We guarantee NO SNOW in May, not that we had much this winter anyway.
 
PLEASE RSVP no later than May 9th. Indicate name and number of guests. Menu: Turkey & Ham and all the trimmings. Telephone President Givler at Frank’s Auto Service (814) 943-4942 or at ottodocfacs@aol.com. Reservations can also be telephoned to (814) 944-2667 evenings;  OR Treasurer Denny Walls at d63w@aol.com.  Cost is $10.00 pp + gratuity. Please post your calendars now.
 
RAILCAMP 2008
 
As most of you know, Horseshoe Curve Chapter sponsored Joe DeFrancesco at Railcamp 2007, at Steamtown National Historic Site.  Because of Joe’s demonstrated interest, ability and participation in the many ongoing Chapter projects, we have decided to sponsor him at Railcamp 2008 in Nevada during July.  This is somewhat of a precedent for the Chapter, but we feel this investment in  Horseshoe Curve Chapter’s future leadership is validated.  With the results of the affirmative vote by the membership, Joe will head west in July for a week of study (and fun too).  Sunscreen required, Joe!
 
 CHAPTER WORK PROJECTS
 
Finish work will continue on the Railway Express Agency truck as needed. Now that it is in primer paint, there will be some finish sanding, but the heavy work is almost completed.
 
With improved weather, work projects are returning to Railroader’s Memorial Museum on Monday nights and/or Saturdays.  Work has begun to scrape, sand, and re-finish the PRR N-5 caboose along the entrance walkway which is in need of attention.  As projects are completed we will move onto other pieces in the museum yard.  Check with any chapter officer for info if you have a question or just show up. 
We anticipate many interesting projects for 2008 in conjunction with Railroader’s Memorial Museum, and we DO have a good time, and we DO get dirty.  Gloves are recommended.
 
MARCH MEETING
 
As you no doubt know by now, the March meeting was cancelled at the last minute because of the death/viewing date, of the Chapter Historian’s mother, Webmaster Chris Behe’s grandmother and member David Behe’s mother-in-law. 
 
A sincere thank you to all chapter members for your condolences at this time, especially the contribution made to the Altoona Area School District Foundation on behalf of our mother, grandmother and mother-in-law Catherine Seidel.  Mother and dad were both active in supportive ways to the chapters early years.  In those days when efforts were underway to start Railroader’s Memorial Museum, a popular culture of the 1970’s was the ‘pet rock’.  I can just hear some of you groaning and wondering just what that was.  But, to get seed money for the start-up of Railroaders Memorial Museum, a plan was devised to compete with the pet rock and JAR steam locomotive cinders and sell these for $1.00 per jar.
 Cinders were “recycled” from a location near MG Tower where they are still in abundance, and a campaign was launched to obtain baby food jars for the purpose.
 Lids were painted, labels applied and cinders scooped into the jars…and mother, dad and other family pitched in for this project.  It may seem insignificant, but the image of that “jarring experience”, and others, still lingers and is part of our history as well.
 
And, yes, I still have a jar of those cinders (steam locomotive exhaust cinders, NOT ash). Granulated black sand is a comparison.
 
THANK YOU ONE AND ALL.

RAILFEST 2008
 
Once again another year and another season is upon us.  As has been custom, the Railfest Limited Excursion train will provide three daily trips around Horseshoe Curve on Saturday and Sunday, July 12-13 2008, but activities will begin July 11 after 6 PM with food, drink and the Smick Brothers band on the museum grounds.  Chapter members will once again be needed to act as coach attendants and station attendants.  We hope everyone can plan for this time of years and be available for this great annual experience. 
 
The Railfest Limited will be powered by Juniata Terminal Company’s restored Pennsylvania Railroad E-8 locomotives # 5711 and 5809 in addition to parlor Warrior Ridge and the Pennsylvania 120.  It is anticipated that section car Kitchi Gammi Club will make a return appearance as well as SEPTA coaches.
 
There are many activities planned for this weekend and we recommend visiting www.railroadcity.com to stay abreast of all events on their calendar and/or for ticket ordering information. You may also e-mail: admin@railroadcity.com.
 
NOTE:  Horseshoe Curve National Historic Site has re-opened for the season and the Master Mechanics Building/main museum complex will open on or about May 1st.  The delay is due to pending repairs to the museum elevator which was damaged by a burst sprinkler near the elevator shaft during the winter months, and slow response by the insurance company.

CONRAIL HISTORICAL SOCIETY CONVENTION
 
The Conrail Historical Society will hold their annual convention in Altoona October 24-25-25, 2008.  Horseshoe Curve Chapter has already been active to assist the group with their arrangements.  The Conrail Historical Society is also interested in new member inquiries.
 
 
Your interest in railroad history may be influenced by your work history, general interest, or the generation in which you may have experienced Conrail’s operational years.  For more information, please contact:  Russ Swinnerton at russ.swinnerton@gmail.com, of Kristopher M. Klemick at conrail6055@comcast.net, or visit www.TheCRHS.org . The Conrail Historical Society is registered as a 501 3 non-profit organization and publishes a high quality quarterly magazine.  We welcome CRHS to Altoona (in advance) and recommend CRHS for your review.

BOOK RECOMMENDATION
 
Your editor has just finished reading “The Men Who Loved Trains” by Rush Loving.  It is perhaps the most definitive work which clearly outlines the progression into and through the PRR-NYC merger and its disastrous results. It also chronicles the subsequent years through Conrail and outlines how and why Conrail became divided between NS and CSX.  While it is a work of non-fiction, it does hold the reader’s attention.  It is a “must-read” for anyone who is interested in railroad history.  You can find this text at reasonable pricing on amazon.com.  New texts with jacket covers are also available at www.TheCRHS.com.

HORSESHOE CURVE
 
Your chapter historian has written a book entitled “Horseshoe Curve” which will be released one week prior to Railfest – anticipated for July 7, 2008.  This will be identical in format to the book “Altoona and Logan Valley Electric Railway” published in 2006 by Leonard E. Alwine and David Seidel, which continues to sell nicely, benefiting Horseshoe Curve Chapter. While publication is currently in progress, you will be able to find information at a later date by visiting www.arcadiapublishing.com and searching for HORSESHOE CURVE.  As most of you know, there have been many previous books and magazines printed about Horseshoe Curve, all very well done, especially Dan Cupper’s Horseshoe Heritage, and Dr. Dennis McIlnay’s The Horseshoe Curve-Sabotage and Subversion in the Railroad City.
 The Arcadia Publishing format is what differs in that all photographs (about 200) are black-and-white images.  It is affordably priced at $19.99 each + tax. It will be readily available at Horseshoe Curve, Railroader’s Memorial Museum and other outlets, as well as online via the publisher. The royalties have been assigned to Railroader’s Memorial Museum to fund their many projects, hopefully to get the Loretto restoration back in focus. Many people provided photographic material or information and are identified in the Acknowledgement section. Many thanks to these individuals or organizations.
 

April 22, 2008 - Regular Business Meeting

The minutes from the February meeting were read and a motion to approve was made by Dick Charlesworth and seconded by Joe Harella. The monthly meeting for March was cancelled due to the death of Dave Seidel's mother. The Chapter made a contribution to the AASH Foundation in his mother's memory. The Foundation received the check and a thank you was received from the Seidel's.

The Treasurer's report was read. 

Frank met with Randy about the roofing on the coaches; he recommends a spray roof coating that his company has used. He will get back to Frank with an estimate.  He thinks the cost could be approximately $2000.00 per car and this could possibly be done in September.  Frank ask the opinion of the members present if they would consider fronting the money to have the REX truck painted and then be reimbursed by the Museum. The cost would possibly be $3,000.00 to $3,500.00. This would keep the project moving forward and be ready for Railfest.  Dick made a motion that the Chapter forward the Museum the money up to $3,500.00 for the painting. Motion seconded by Don Goebel. All voted in favor.

Dick, Dave, Denny, Frank and Karin met with members  from The Conrail Historical Society to discuss their plans and offer help where we can. Their convention will be the last weekend in October.

Dick briefed us on the bus trip to Washington D.C..  Tthe bus will leave the museum at 5:45 a.m, stopping for breakfast in Bedford and then going on to D.C. Lunch and dinner are on your own.  Dining car seating for dinner will be once we board the train.

Dick reported on the Director's meeting in Syracuse N.Y.

Frank mentioned that Wil and Diane Teeter would like to host the Chapter picnic again this year at their lodge. A date was picked for August 3rd. More details and information will follow.

The Hollidaysburg YMCA will hold their excursion trips from Canal Basin on October 11th with 4 trips that day. It is assumed they will do another train robbery.

Motion to adjourn Denny Walls and seconded Dan.

ATTENDANCE:
Joe Harella,  Dick Charlesworth,  Frank Givler,  Karin Givler,  Mike Walls,  Denny Walls,  George Thompson,  George Merritts,  Dan Morningello,  Don Goebel,  Len Alwine.

(Secretary, Karin Givler)

May 3, 2008 Washington, DC tour

To view photographs from the trip, visit the following link.  Photographs by Joe DeFrancesco, jadnrhs@aim.com

http://picasaweb.google.com/jadwebAlbums/NRHSHSCTRIPTOWASHDC

Additional photographs by David Seidel can be found at:

http://picasaweb.google.com/prrdave/AIRSPACEDULLESDCMAY32008MTVERNON

 

May 11, 2008 - Horseshoe Curve Chapter 40th Anniversary

The Horseshoe Curve Chapter, received its charter from the National Railway Historical Society on May 11, 1968. 

 

May 17, 2008 -  Horseshoe Curve Chapter 40th Anniversary Dinner 

An anniversary DINNER was held at the GEESEYTOWN FIREHALL, Saturday May, 17, 2008

Speakers included Mr. Larry Salone, the new Director of the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum, and Mr John Sweigart , Regional Vice President, NRHS.

The following link  is a vignette of Horseshoe Curve Chapter NRHS activities in the 40 year period dating from 1966 to 1968; then May 11, 1968 to May 11, 2008 and includes activities in the last ten years. The slide show presented May 17, 2008 at the 40th anniversary dinner, did not include all the material in this digitized version. The Horseshoe Curve Chapter's history is represented by these avocational activities and pursuits, documents the lives of many of our deceased members, and is a record of service to the community of Altoona and to Railroader's Memorial Museum.  

(REMOVED)  (David Seidel)

Photos by Chris Behe are as follows:

 

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L - R: XX, Virginia Seidel; XX; Trudy Dixon

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L-R: Joe Dixon, Paul McGrane, David Seidel; Jim Dixon

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L-R: Trudy Dixon, Virginia Seidel; Susan & Phil D'Ambrosio

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L-R: Joe Dixon, Paul McGrane, David Seidel; Jim Dixon

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-, -, Bill Temple

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L-R: Karen Givler, Denny Walls

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Morgan

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Christine Behe, Morgan

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L-R: Harley  Burkett; Kevin Burkett

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L-R: Harley Burkett, Bill Burkett; George Merritts; Dick Charlesworth

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L-R:  David Seidel; Jim Dixon, Trudy Dixon

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L-R: David Behe, Christine Behe

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L-R: Cathy Harella; Karin Givler, Frank Givler; Larry Salone

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Denny Walls directing guest to the Buffet

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Buffet Line

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Buffet Line

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The Cake

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View of the Head Table
L-R: Joe Harella, Cathy Harella, Karin Givler, Frank Giver, Mr. & Mrs Larry Salone; Denny Walls

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L-R; Dan Moringiello & Joe DeFrancesco,

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Duane Miller, Greg & Ruth Miller

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L-R: Bill Burkett, Harley Burkett

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L-R: Bill Burkett, Harley Burkett

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L-R: Karin Givler; -

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Larry Salone

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David Seidel Preparing for Slide Presentation

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Phil D'Ambrosio; David Behe

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David Behe

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Phil D'Ambrosio; David Behe

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May 27, 2008 - Regular Business Meeting

The meeting was called to order at 7:41p.m..  The minutes from the April meeting were read. A correction was made to the minutes that the roof cost would be $2,000.00. A motion was made to accept by Larry and seconded by Dick.

The Treasurer's report was given.  A  motion to accept was made by Dick and seconded by Joe.

The Chapter members present were made aware of the passing of Marge Goebel on Wednesday the 22nd.  Dick attended the viewing.  The Chapter will make a memorial donation to an organization of Don's choice as soon as we are able to ask him.

Cards and emails will be going out as a reminder of the Chapter picnic on August 3 at the Teeter camp.

Frank would like to do a work detail on at least one of the coaches, he will speak to Al Novotny to see about moving 103 to the Duncansville siding. Dick mentioned speaking with Allen Maples...the Everett R.R. may be doing Spring Dam Days and may be looking at leasing at least one coach. The decision was made to lease the coach. Frank will call Shannon at the office to set up details.

The REX truck should be going to Randy's for painting in June. It will not be completed but will be ready to display at Railfest. Dick suggested having a sign done to place with the truck.

Dick reported on the bus trip to D.C. on April 22nd. Bus sold out at 56 people. There are two more bus trips planned for this fall.... Sept. 13th another trip to D.C. $96.00 per person includes breakfast on the way, also an Aug.2nd trip on the Potomac Eagle....$96.00 includes bus and dinner.  Anyone present that is interested please see Dick before you leave.  Larry McKee wanted to thank Dick for a job well done on planning and organizing the trips for the Chapter.

Dick wanted to express how nice he thought the Chapter dinner went and the nice job Joey did on the poster.  Dick asked if a small version of the poster could be made available to the members.  Frank will check with Tracey for a smaller size.  Anyone interested should give Frank your name or he will put out an email on the cost and if you are interested send him an email to let him know.

Denny needs help moving the speeder that Lewis is donating to the Chapter into storage at Wendy's house. He will need a trailer and help loading and unloading. It was decided this will be done Monday night (June 2nd)...meet at the Fire hall at 6p.m.

With nothing further to discuss for the good of the Chapter a motion to adjourn was made by Cindy and seconded by Wil.

Meeting Adjourned

ATTENDANCE:

Frank Givler,  Karin Givler , Neal Myers,  Denny Walls,  Dave Seidel, Dick Charlesworth,  Dan Morningello,  Cindy Morningello,  Joe Harella, Wil Teeter,  Leon,  Larry  McKee,  George Merritts, Duane Miller,  Dave Behe,  Barry Kaufrnan,  Bill Temple, Guest: Pat McKinney

(Secretary, Karin Givler)

 

June, 2, 2008 - Donation of Tim Reese's "Mickey Car"

If you will check the chapter webpage under ‘Memorable Moments From The Past’, you will find many photographs of past member Wayne T. (Tim) Reese who was a very active and dedicated member of Horseshoe Curve Chapter in it’s earliest years.  This summer, his family, particularly Tim’s widow Ellen and son Lewis, donated to Horseshoe Curve Chapter Tim’s ‘mickey car’ or, ‘speeder’ as some call them today.  It needs some modest restoration.  In this view, the ‘gang’ is moving the car from Tim’s home to a storage site at Wendy Traxler’s nearby (east of Geeseytown). It will be a future restoration project once the Railway Express Agency Truck is completed this year. Moved on June 2, 2008. (David Seidel)

Assisting are: Frank Givler, Denny Walls, Mark Yingling, Dick Charlesworth, Scott Houseman, Dan Moringiello, Dave Seidel.

 

July 2, 2008 - Work Party at Roaring Spring

Chapter members are re-painting the Chapter coaches.

 

July 7, 2008 Book Signing

David Seidel, Founding Officer and current Historian with the Horseshoe Curve Chapter of the NRHS and Author of the new book published by Arcadia Publishing, titled,  "Horseshoe Curve", offered a book signing.  The book, carried not only locally by the Altoona Railroader's Memorial Museum and Horseshoe Curve gift shops but as well as Barnes & Noble is a great book. Dave has assigned all royalties from the book to benefit the Railroader's Memorial Museum.

 

July 11-13, 2008 - RAILFEST 2008

Railroader’s Memorial Museum hosted the annual Railfest.  Events kicked off Friday evening, July 11, with a concert in the museum yard which was well attended.  The highlight of the weekend is always the excursion train operations over Horseshoe Curve and through the Gallitzin Tunnels. As is customary, most of the car attendants and station attendants were members or supporters/friends of Horseshoe Curve Chapter.  It’s a busy and tiring time, but we all have a most enjoyable experience.

Particular thanks also to Harrisburg Chapter’s Fred Wertz who worked aboard the Warrior Ridge.

 

Those riding the Steel City Limited on Saturday to Pittsburgh, were treated to return trip on the Conemaugh Division Sunday morning.  This was a unique experience and un-scheduled. There hadn’t been a passenger train over the Conemaugh Division in approximately 50 years.  But, we had to depart Pittsburgh at 5:30 AM rather than the scheduled 7 AM.  But, we were up to it ! Thanks to Bennett Levin for this special experience. (David Seidel)

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Dave Seidel, and the 'Warrior Ridge' parlor car, Harrisburg PA, July 11, 2008

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Dave Seidel

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Steel City Limited approaches Horseshoe Curve. Photo by Joe DeFrancesco

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Service truck # 18 from the Altoona & Logan Valley Electric Railway. 1946 Walter SnowFighter. On display at Railroader's Memorial Museum, July 10, 2008

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Steel City Limited approaches Horseshoe Curve. Photo by Joe DeFrancesco

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Steel City Limited approaches Horseshoe Curve. Photo by Joe DeFrancesco

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Chef John Seely prepares the 7-course dinner for Warrior Ridge passengers traveling Altoona to Pittsburgh PA July 12, 2008

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David Seidel and Barry Kaufman, Horseshoe Curve Chapter NRHS

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Front: Leonard Alwine, Dick Charlesworth, Joe DeFrancesco and Amtrak trainman Rob Hammer; Back: Barry Kaufman, Gary Clare & John Seely.  Many others were elsewhere on the train or in the station.

 

June 24, 2008 - Regular Business Meeting


The meeting was called to order and the May minutes were read and a motion was made to approve by Dave Seidel seconded by Joe Harella.  The Treasurer's report was read.  A motion to accept was made by Larry and seconded by Wil.

Frank is uncertain when the work detail on the cars will take place.  Allen Maples is putting in a new siding at the Duncansville office and there will be no room.  Al will try and turn the car at Martinsburg but that will not be known for sure until Friday 6/27.  Frank will let everyone know when he hears from Al.

The REX truck will not be ready for Railfest.  Painting has been put on hold until Randy is free.  Dick mentioned that the Potomac Eagle and DC trips are sold out.  Frank had the poster that Joey drew reproduced in a smaller size, the cost is $1.00 each anyone interested see Frank tonight.  The Duquesne is all in primer and all the windows are in the cabin car. 

Dick will contact all those working Railfest for shirt size as the attire is being required for this year and a meeting will be held for all those working.  Dave Seidel brought the first appearance of the new book "Horseshoe Curve". There will be a book signing at the Curve on July 7th.  All royalties go to the Museum, and Dave asked that this money be used for the Loretto.

Neil reported that on July 2nd-7th the Norfolk Southern exhibit car will be on display at the Museum.  Railfest weekend there will be "special equipment on display.  He also showed a downsized print of the Bob Hunt painting that is on order now at the Museum.

Denny mentioned to the members present that the fire hall was having a carnival this weekend 6/28 & 6/29 and he was asking for show and tell items from anyone interested that had items on display for the anniversary dinner. 

With nothing further to discuss for the good of the Chapter a motion from Dave was made to adjourn and seconded by Bill.  Meeting adjourned

ATTENDANCE
Frank Givler,  Karin Givler,  Neil Myers,  Dave Seidel,  George Merritts, Denny Walls,  Mike Walls,  Larry McKee,  Wil Teeter,  George Thompson, Joe Harella,  Bill Burket

(Secretary, Karin Givler)

 

August 2,  2008 - Potomac Eagle.

Members enjoyed a daylong trip along the scenic Potomac River aboard the Potomac Eagle. (David Seidel)

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Karin Givler, XX, Frank Givler,
 Dwayne

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Virginia Seidel, Dick Charlesworth,
XX, XX, Karin Givler

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Virginia Seidel, Karin Givler

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Dave Seidel, Frank Givler

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Joe and Cathy Harella

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Joe and Cathy Harella

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Dick Charlesworth
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Karin and Frank Givler

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August 3, 2008 - Summer Picnic

The Summer 2008 Chapter Picnic was held at Wil Teeters Lodge in Frankstown Township.

 

Summer 2008 - Work party at ARMM

June 7,  2008 // June 9,  2008 // August 16, 2008 // August 23, 2008

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Dick Charlesworth, Dan Mornengello , Joe Harella

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Mark Yingling

Horseshoe Curve Chapter - PRR 7511- The Duquesne

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Dan M, Joe DeFrancesco, Frank Givler, Dick Charlesworth

Horseshoe Curve Chapter - PRR 7511- The Duquesne

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Dick C, Mark Yingling, Joe D.

Horseshoe Curve Chapter - PRR 7511- The Duquesne

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Mark Yingling, Dan Moringiello, Dave Seidel, Dick C

Horseshoe Curve Chapter - PRR 7511- The Duquesne

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Frank Givler

Horseshoe Curve Chapter - PRR 7511- The Duquesne

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Mark Yingling. , Frank G

Horseshoe Curve Chapter - PRR 7511- The Duquesne

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Horseshoe Curve Chapter - PRR 7511- The Duquesne

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Horseshoe Curve Chapter - PRR 7511- The Duquesne

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Frank Givler

Horseshoe Curve Chapter - PRR 7511- The Duquesne

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Mark Yingling, Joe D, Frank G, Dick C.

Horseshoe Curve Chapter - PRR 7511- The Duquesne

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Joe H.

Horseshoe Curve Chapter - PRR 7511- The Duquesne

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Dan Mornengello

Horseshoe Curve Chapter - PRR 7511- The Duquesne

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Horseshoe Curve Chapter - PRR 7511- The Duquesne

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Denny Walls

Horseshoe Curve Chapter - PRR 7511- The Duquesne

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RPO

 

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Horseshoe Curve Chapter - PRR 7511- The Duquesne

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Horseshoe Curve Chapter - PRR 7511- The Duquesne

Windows made by Joe Harella. Fank and Joe looking at paint shades to make sure they pass.

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RPO

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Scraping and Priming the Loretto

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Scraping and Priming the Loretto

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Frank G, Ron Givler

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August 26, 2008 - Regular Business Meeting

Minutes from the July meeting were read a motion to accept was made by Lany McKee and seconded by Dick Charlesworth. The Treasurer's report was given. A motion to accept was made by Dick Charlesworth and seconded by Joey DeFrancisco.

Dick reported that the bus trip on September 13th is sold out and will be leaving Station Medical Center at 3:45 a.m.

Frank reported on several items, first the Duquesne has been painted in Tuscan, the RPO is painted and the Loretto is scraped and primered. The metal brake and shear machine has not been purchased, Johnny is not satisfied with it and is looking at another at the same cost. Vestibule glass has been ordered, 9 windows except the motorman's window.  Three sides have been painted on the Erie cars, waiting for the Everett to move them to finish the other sides. TRS Roofing can do the Erie car roofs, the cost will be $2,050.00 per car.   They can possibly be done in October. It is a multi coat with little overspray. The coating does not come in black, the least expensive is white. Custom colors are more costly. The question was ask if gray or silver are available, Frank not sure. Dick Charlesworth made a motion to have TRS do the roofs in white but have Frank check on gray or silver within a 15% cost increase.  Denny seconded the motion.  All voted in favor. An email will follow with information.

Received a check from the Museum for the oldest invoice of post cards, trolley tapes and DVDs.  Karin thanked the Wil and Diana for a great time and their hospitality in hosting the Chapter picnic. Frank also ask Don Goebal if he had any thoughts on a memorial for Marge. Don suggested having a picnic table put at the Curve with a memorial plaque. The Chapter will work this out with Neil. The meeting was then turned over to Joey DeFrancisco..he gave a presentation on his Rail Camp experience. Motion to adjourn was made by Denny Walls and seconded by Karin Givler Meeting.  Adjourned

ATTENDANCE:   Joey DeFrancisco; Leon Wagner; Dave Behe; Dan Mornengello; Frank Givler; Denny Walls; Larry McKee; Duane Miller; Dick Charlesworth; Neil Myers; Karin Givler; Mike Walls; Wil Teeter; Dave Seidel; Joe Harella; Don Goebel; George Merritts; Len Alwine

Secretary Karin Givler

 

09-13-08 Washington DC Tour

  • Bus from Altoona to Mount Vernon

  • Bus to New Air and Space Museum near Dulles Airport..

  • Bus to Union Station - Ride Amtrak Capitol Limited to Cumberland ,MD.

 

September 2008 - Regular Business Meeting

Awaiting Information

October 2008 - Regular Business Meeting

Awaiting Information

November 2008 - Regular Business Meeting

Awaiting Information

 

November 2008 - Update

RAILWAY EXPRESS TRUCK
 
The 1940 Chevrolet REA truck project is nearing completion – a task expected to finish over these winter months. The truck has received it’s finish paint by Randy’s Auto Body as seen in the following photo:
 
Over the winter, glass, hood, fenders, and rear doors will be installed as well as instrumentation and operators seat. Exterior lighting and signage will complete the project which has been on-going at Frank’s Auto Service, Altoona, PA. Signage on the truck, which is the hallmark of all REA trucks appearance, will, of necessity, be reproduction style.  This is sure to be the showpiece for Railroader’s Memorial Museum and will become a fixture at parades and auto shows in the region.
 
The 1940 Chevrolet REA truck project is nearing completion – a task expected to finish over these winter months. The truck has received it’s finish paint by Randy’s Auto Body.
 
  
SANTA TRAINS SCHEDULED
 
The annual Santa Claus trains of the Horseshoe Curve Chapter are scheduled and ready to go as this goes to press.  Trips are on Saturday November 22nd and Saturday November 29th.  As of this writing, ticket sales are brisk and we are in need of car hosts for both occasions.  Trips are operating at 10:45 AM, 1:00 PM, and 3:15 PM.  This is the Chapter’s biggest revenue generator for the year.  Santa will ride the train, of course, greeting all the children and give them a treat bag from the North Pole.  Groups will sing Christmas Carols aboard the special trains and hot chocolate and cookies (Yum ! ) will be served at the Roaring Spring train station after each trip. 
SEE YOU AT THE TRAIN STATION OR THE CHAPTER CHRISTMAS PARTY.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING AND MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL !

 

WASHINGTON DC UNION STATION CELEBRATES 100TH BIRTHDAY
 
During late September 2008 I was made aware of a rumored move of GG-1 #4935 to Washington DC's Union Station.  Internet searches revealed Union Station was having its 100th Anniversary October 4 and 5, 2008.  An article on the Anniversary follows:

 "Washington's Union Station celebrates 100 years" WASHINGTON (AP) -- Less than 30 years ago, Union Station, the grand gateway to the nation's capital, seemed to be going the way of the steam engine.  The Union Station centennial falls on the 20th anniversary of the station's 1988 rehabilitation.  Like passenger rail itself, the Beaux Arts building was in decline, with chunks of the ceiling falling off and mushrooms growing on the floor.  Today, the 100-year-old building is a thriving transportation hub, a shopping mall and one of Washington's most visited sites with more than 32 million people passing through each year. The station will celebrate its centennial this weekend (October 4-5) with a display of historic locomotives and rail cars rarely seen in one place. "The history of this station tracks in some ways with the railroad industry," said Joe McHugh, vice president for government affairs at Amtrak. The railroad, which is headquartered at Union Station, is taking the lead in the anniversary celebrations. Amtrak was formed out of the ruins of once-grand private passenger rail service, which declined in the mid-20th century with the rise of air travel and the automobile. Recently, rail travel has undergone a modest resurgence. Some 25.8 million passengers took Amtrak in the last fiscal year -- the most since the government-owned corporation started business in 1971. The Union Station centennial falls on the 20th anniversary of the station's 1988 rehabilitation, and Amtrak is using it as an opportunity to showcase one of the nation's most successful makeovers.  "The restoration of the building gave us back one of the great architectural landmarks of Washington," said Dwight Young, who works for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  Daniel Burnham, the principal architect of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, designed the station to serve as "a monumental gateway to Washington," Young said. His creation opened in 1907, though it wasn't completed until the following year.  In the early decades, nearly everyone, including presidents and visiting royalty, arrived in Washington by train, making Union Station the first thing they saw.  On January 15, 1953, a runaway train crashed through the main concourse. The floor collapsed under the weight of the locomotive, but nobody was killed. Just four days later, the damage was hardly visible when a special train for President Eisenhower's inauguration rolled into the station, according to an official station history.  But as passenger trains fell out of favor, so did big train stations. New York's original Pennsylvania Station, a similarly grand, classically-inspired structure, was razed in 1964. Union Station survived, thanks in part to an ill-fated project to remake the building into a national visitor's center for the country's bicentennial. The marble floor was torn up to carve out a theater for an elaborate slideshow presentation.  The visitor's center was a flop, and soon the station was shuttered because of structural problems. Passengers used a makeshift Amtrak terminal behind Union Station, with a covered walkway around the building to get to the street.  A public-private partnership spent $160 million to restore the building. It reopened in 1988 -- once again a train station, but this time with high-end retail and restaurants. Amtrak has been trying to foster similar efforts -- albeit on a smaller scale -- around the country through its Great American Stations program. A renovated station can help spur development of neglected downtowns, advocates of such projects say.  Before Union Station's renovation, the thriving Capitol Hill neighborhood where it is located was "depressed," said David Ball, president of Union Station Redevelopment Corp., the nonprofit that holds a long-term lease to the building from the U.S. Department of Transportation. "We were sort of the catalyst." The centennial celebration is Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sunday, noon-4 p.m. The free event will feature an exhibit of historic locomotives and passenger cars from the heyday of rail travel, as well as modern Amtrak equipment. Visitors will be able to walk through the cars and even buy souvenir stamps inside an old railway post office car. Archival photos of the station will also be on display."

 

I then began watching railroad fan sites such as www.railroad.net and www.trainorders.com for rumors and schedules.  I learned that between September 30th - October 2nd, GG-1 #4935 moved from the Pennsylvania RR Museum in Strasburg to Washington DC, arriving on October 1st. The move into DC was made at night.  Not having a schedule, I was not able to catch it on the move.  During my October 2 afternoon commute on the MARC Penn Line I observed Amtrak 513/514 with #4935 sandwiched between gondolas sitting on Washington Union Station's lead tracks.  Bennett Levin's E-8's was scheduled to move on Thursday, October 2, 2008 (TRAIN 875; DP PHL 6:15 PM - AR WAS 8:05 PM; CONSIST: 2 PVT LOCOS (5711 LEAD, 5809 TRAIL, 4 PVT CARS: LITTLE JUNIATA RAPIDS, PENNSYLVANIA 120, MKT 403, WARRIOR RIDGE).  I went to Odenton MD Station with my daughter and observed the train traveling south, operating approximately 30 minutes late. Photographic opportunities were limited due to the late hour (darkness) and the train moving at speed.    On Saturday, October 4, 2008, my family and I went to Union Station.  We toured/viewed/photographed the displays which included:  GG-1 #4935; Superliner, Viewliner, and Amfleet tour on track 10; FRA track geometry car; Historic Cars: C&O CHESSIE CLUB, C&O GADSBY'S TAVERN HEAVYWEIGHT DINING CAR, Southern RPO, CANNON BALL, PRR GREENWICH HARBOR, MKT 403, WARRIOR RIDGE, PRR #120 (not open); Acela Express tour on track 11; Vintage PRR pickup truck; Gate B:  two Model Train Displays at Gate B, Amtrak display, MARC display, Operation Lifesaver display, NARP display, other concept displays, Station poster for sale - signed by the artist; Free kids coloring stuff - rulers, etc, trip giveaway; Photo exhibition of Union Station History in the West Hall; Outside: antique and new metrobuses. I took off work on Monday, October 6, 2008.  The GG-1 move had occurred during the night.  I caught the FRA Geometry car led by a P42DC and a baggage car traveling north at Odenton Station.  I also caught Bennett Levin's E-8 consist traveling north.  Unfortunately, the MARC Penn Line local commuter was in the station at the time so photo opportunities were limited.  Photographs of the GG-1 move, fan photographs and video, blogs, and other information can still be found at: www.railroad.net and www.trainorders.com . Post Script:  Odenton, MD, located on the electrified Amtrak Northeast Corridor has a robust railroad history.  Although most visible signs of that history are gone, Odenton's train station still stands.  The station was once utilized by the PRR and Penn Central.  It still sports the familiar PRR station "Keystone" sign "ODENTON."  Amtrak does not stop at Odenton but it is utilized every weekday by commuters on the MARC Penn Line. 

 "The History of Odenton In 1840, the steam-powered Annapolis and Elk Ridge Railroad was built across a sparsely settled farming community that would become Odenton. At the beginning of the Civil War, Union soldiers guarded this railroad because it was the only link between the North and the nation's capital. Rail traffic through Baltimore had been disrupted by Southern sympathizers, so supplies, mail and soldiers flowed through Annapolis and west Anne Arundel County to Washington. After the Civil War, Maryland Governor Oden Bowie, who was also president of the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad, built a steam-powered railroad from Baltimore to Washington and Charles County. The junction of the B&P and A&ER bears the name Odenton after Oden Bowie. A station and telegraph office were constructed, and train service began on July 2, 1872. The rail junction (today's MARC station) at Odenton Road, already a busy thoroughfare from Annapolis to Frederick, became the site of Odenton's first commercial center. The Watts and Murray general stores served the railroad workers and farmers, and in 1871 a post office was established. A town grew near the junction; houses were built for railroad workers, a Methodist church was dedicated in 1891, and a grade school opened in about 1892. Shortly after 1900, another company built an electric interurban railroad parallel to the B&P and also electrified the former Annapolis and Elk Ridge Railroad. Train service on these lines began in 1908. The Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Electric Railroad provided frequent passenger service and stopped at rural communities near Odenton: Severn Run, Gambrills, Waugh Chapel and others. Naval Academy Junction, the point where the two WB&A lines crossed, offered the best public transportation in central Maryland. This junction (today's Piney Orchard Parkway and Academy Junction Plaza) became the core of new "downtown Odenton" with Taudte's general store, Murray's general store, and the Murray Hotel. The WB&A employed many Odenton residents as conductors, motormen, tower operators and shop workers. The car repair shop for the entire WB&A system was located just north of Odenton. The WB&A ceased operations in 1935, and routes 170 and 175 were built on part of its right-of-way. Local passenger service continued on the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad, by then part of the Pennsylvania Railroad. In the 1980's, the State of Maryland expanded and upgraded this service. Today, Odenton is still a railroad town serving commuters and other local passengers. The Dennis F. Sullivan Maintenance Facility, operated by Amtrak and located in Odenton, maintains track, bridges and other structures on the Amtrak/MARC line between Baltimore and Washington. Prepared by the Odenton Heritage Society, Inc."  

Further information and photographs regarding Odenton, MD can be found at: http://www.odentonheritage.org/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odenton. Information on the B&P and the WB&A Railroads (and predecessor roads) can be found at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annapolis_and_Elk_Ridge_Railroad ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltimore_and_Potomac_Railroad ; and http://www.trainweb.org/oldmainline/wasaer1.htm.   Thanks to webmaster Chris Behe for this information

 

Rail Camp 2008 - Ely, Nevada

In our world today, railroads are just a sleeping dragon in our era of time. Railroads were once the main source of transportation. Today with the rising fuel prices and the demand for shipments railroads can provide quality and reliability for today’s corporate America. With this in mind, how to rail fan come to exist? In my case railroads have been apart of my family for generations. Staring in the early 1900’s with the Pennsylvania Railroad through Norfolk Southern. There for in my case I was born into a family of railroaders. Listening to my family tell the stories of railroading. And of course having interest in modeling. As a child it was common to receive Tomas the tank Engine and Friend toys and videos. As I grew older I became interested in the real deal. With the advantage of having the heart of the Pennsylvania Railroad near by, Altoona, I was able to view trains coming and going, getting repairs, and overhauls. Also I had the advantage to become educated of the heritage of the railroad in the Altoona area. I often would visit the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum and Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark, as my interest grew more and more, I became a volunteer, helped with various museum projects dealing with restoration of historic rail equipment. The volunteer core of the museum is the Horseshoe Curve Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, thus becoming involved with NRHS. By volunteering and being dedicated the chapter and the museum decided to sponsor me to attend rail camp at Steamtown 2007. With the continuing of my support of the chapter and museum the chapter once again decided to send me off to the NRHS Rail camp in Nevada 2008.
 
In spring of 2008 I received a phone call from our chapter’s Director Mr. M. Richard Charlesworth, regarding if I would be interested in going to Nevada for the Nevada Northern Rail Camp. I was quite astonished; I couldn’t turn down a chance of a lifetime. The answer was YES!!!  Over the next few months I consulted with Barry Smith and Gary Yanko on arrangements and paper work. And before I knew it I was on my way.
 
On Saturday July 26, 2008, we made our way to the Philadelphia Air port to board our 9:30 a.m. flight. When we arrived at the terminal, the airplane company moved our flight ahead and hour. Thus leaving a few campers behind. So Barry Smith decided to stay behind and wait for the other campers to arrive and Gary Yanko took Alssia Fleming, Janice Baurer, David Stavens, and myself to our flight, which was departing at 8:30 a.m. So half of us were on our way to Atlanta for our connecting flight to Las Vegas’ McCarran Air Port. At Atlanta we picked up Jarrod Reynolds and proceeded on our way to Las Vegas (Sin City) We arrived met up with another camper, Mike Mullins and proceeded to gathered our luggage and pick up the rental car. We headed to our Hotel that we were staying at for the night. After we settled in we decided to go out to eat at Joe’s Crab Shack. We enjoyed our meals and when finished we traveled down the strip in route to our Hotel.
 
On Sunday, July 27 we were up at 7 am to eat breakfast at the hotel and depart for Ely (Eil Lee) NV. About at 300 mile journey north. Only half would be making the journey at that time. Barry and the other campers arrived at 2 am that morning. So needless to say Barry was sleeping in. And he would bring the rest of the campers up later. The route to Ely was very scenic, traveling on strait, never ending roads through cascading rugged mountains with hardly any vegetation. Viewing the untamed land made me realize I was over 3000 miles away from PA. Thinking the whole time, where are the trees? As our day went on we adjusted to the climate. Which for being hot it was very pleasant since there is about 10 percent humidity. That after noon we arrived in the Small town of Ely. In Ely we checked into our motel the Four Sevens. After Check in we drove down to the East Ely Depot to look around at the sites. Then went back into town to the Hotel Nevada for a small meal to carry us over till supper. That evening once Barry and his gang arrived we meet down at the depot for an out door picnic and briefing on Rail camp Expectations and the rules for the Nevada Northern Railway. During that time we were issued our safety equipment. Hardhats, goggles, and gloves. With the conclusion of our day we headed back to the motel and spent time getting to know each other. Then it was off to bed.
 
During the week at camp we got up at 6:00 and met down at the Hotel Nevada for breakfast, the head over the to depot. For lunch we received bagged lunches from a local pharmacy. For most evenings we ate supper at a restaurant called the Big Apple. And back to the Four Sevens.
 
On Monday July 28, Mr. Mark Basset, Executive Director, NNRy Museum, took us on a tour of the grounds. Know to us campers as the Death March. We call it this because we walk the entire yard, and tour all buildings and shops. Mark explained in detail of the purpose of each building and the history. Along with the buildings we viewed the rolling stock and restoration projects. Mark explained how the NNRy dates back to 1907, and how it was a vital link in the transportation of copper ore to the copper mills in the valley. Along with hauling copper the railroad provided passenger service. By lunchtime we were pretty much familiar with the lay of the land. After we were done with lunch we went to a near by open pit copper mine that is in operation and owned by Quadra. Formerly know as Kennecott. We were escorted around in company vans and were taken on tours of the mill and shown the process the copper goes trough in order to be shipped off to plants to be turned into fine metals. Once completed with our mill tour we jumped into the vans and drove all around the pit of the min. Viewing large dump trucks and electric powered shovels that uncovered the raw material and placed its loads into the large trucks. The mine operates 7 days a week 24 hours day. The mine is much like a railroad it requires safety and making a profit. Also keeping the shareholders happy. We concluded our day back at the motel and spent the evening socializing with campers.
 
On Tuesday July 29, after breakfast, we traveled over to the depot had a brief meeting and learned who our groups were and where we were to report. My group reported to the Machine shop. Once my group reported to the shop, we were split up into 2 groups of 2. Janice Bauer and myself worked with Marty on Stick welding and metal working. We learned how to use acetylene torch to heat up metal. We made a handle by heating up a stick of metal and bending it several times to form 90* angels. After the task was complete we went with Charily the shop machinist. We learned how to use a leath and operated it to form a pin for NNRy locomotive 93. 93 was taken out of service a year ago to under go training rebuild. After lunch we headed back down to the shop to work on old 93. We climbed down into the inspection pit to scrape any left over grease in order to prepare the frame for a coat of black paint. After getting covered in grease we made our way above ground to scrape the frame on the exterior side to prepare it for a coat of paint. Once completed we began to paint. We finished the fireman’s side of the frame. Once completed, Charlie asked us if we would like to see the inside of a firebox. We all agreed and proceed to climb up the temporary latter into 93’s cab and crawled in, Head first. Three of use were in the fire box at one time, Charlie pointed out the greats, super heater tubes, bricks, and how to build a fire in the box the correct way. Then once we were out of the box we proceeded to clean and paint 93’s frame. Then we cleaned up and headed back to the motel for the evening.
 
Wednesday, July 30, our day started out at the East Ely Depot. Our group prepared for our day with the track crew. We filled our coolers with water in preparation for the day out in the heat. The track superintendent and his assistant took us out side to demonstrate using a high railer. We each took a turn putting the wheels down on the track. Once the high railer was ready we headed up the line to inspect track. He told us what to look for as we went along. For example: Broken rail, Broken Ties, Rail Joints, ect. Once we rod up the line to the nearest siding, we switched the high railer on to the siding. We were switched in order to allow the morning excursion train past. Once past we switched back onto the main line. We journeyed up to the wye at Keystone. There we inspected the switch and its mechanisms. The rail master demonstrated the operation of a switch and all operational parts. Then each of us took turns guiding the highrailer through the switch. Once back on the line, we traveled a bit then unrailed the highrailer and headed back to the depot for lunch. After lunch we regrouped and headed back to the line for repairs. For our hands on activities we were given the task to replace as many ties possible. While replacing the ties we used the old fashioned method; hand tools. It took our group the whole afternoon to replace two broken ties. I started out by taking a pick and swinging at the tie to break it apart. Then we would dig a bit around the tie in order to break it lose. Once the job was complete and new ties installed. We headed back to our motels to prepare for our evening treat at the Hot Springs. We spent the evening swimming and exploring the vast valley where the hot springs were located.
 
Thursday, July 31, once again back down to the depot. For the day our group were to work on the train with the crew. First thing, we had a safety briefing and spent time getting to know the train. First of all Conductor Gene showed us around the consist pointing out the major mechanical components. For example we checked the Journal Boxes for the oil level and the packing. Then inspected the break cylinders, valves, and air lines. We waited for our motive power to arrive. To our surprise, today were had the pleasure of being powered by the Alco RS 2. Once the engine was connected to the train, we conducted a crew briefing, then we did a brake test and made sure each brake valve released and applied. Then it was train time. ALL ABOARD!! Half of us went to the engine and the other half to help with the conductor on the train. I was with the group that went to the engine first. We meet with the engineer and fireman. They went over the safety devices on the locomotive and what their job and duties were. We got the high ball from the conductor and we were off. At each crossing the engineer would let us take turns blowing the horn. Also take turns being the fireman. As fireman we assisted the engineer with signals, grade crossings, and making sure that there was not any journal boxes were smoking. At the mid point on the trip the train stopped and the groups traded places. Now it was our turn to assist the conductor with the train. We collected tickets and made sure the coaches were in proper mechanical order. Also helped with any concerns the passengers may have had. As the conductor you are in charge of the entire train. You make sure the crew has been informed of the train movements and operations. Also made sure the train is running on time. Once the trip was over. We went to lunch. After lunch we took our safety test. All persons working for or on the railroad property must have taken and passed the test. I personally received an 87% (pretty good considering everything they do is western, when I’m used to the STANDARD way of things here back east). When the testing was over we went out to the yard to practice our hand signals and get used to the train movements. Each of us took turns guiding the engine for coupling on to the train. At all times we had to use proper hand signals and make sure the engineer acknowledged your signal. Safety First. As the conductor we had to go in between the cars to hook up the air hoses and apply the air. Then give the engineer the okay to take the train down the line. After doing the task we signaled the train to come back then we uncoupled the train and then some one else took their turn.   We continued to practice the rest of the day.
 
Friday, August 1, today the NNRy turned the campers loose. They gave each of us a chance to operate the train and move ore cars in the yard. The crew brought the Alco out of the shop for us to use. Each of us took turns operating the locomotive, guiding the locomotive and coupled ore car, and setting the switch for the train.
In the locomotive, a senior engineer explained each function of the controls, located on the control stand. He continued in explaining what his job was. And how he went about doing it. Then he put me in the seat. I waited for a signal from my trainman to see what way I was to move the train. Once received he told me to slide the direction lever in forward and  put my hand on the engine brake, ease it off, then put the throttle in noch1. Away we went. I took the ore car down the track past the switch where a camper aligned the switch and I received the signal to move the train in reverse. Put the car in its location. Then took the engine back to where I picked it up.
 
Now it was my turn to give the signal to the engineer and go in between the locomotive and car to align the couplers and motion the engine back. Then re- enter to connect air hoses and turn the air on. Each time entered I had to make contact with the engineman so they knew I was going in between the train. Then I spotted the train and guided the train to where the engineer needed to put it.
Next I went down to the switch where I aligned the points for the train. Once the train passed I again switched the points so the train could back down to another track.
The rest of the day was spent removing a rail that was fused with a joint bar and the other rail. With the help of 6 campers we removed the 18 ft piece of rail.
Then we went back to the hotel to clean up. Then we went out for our last meal in Ely. After that we came back to the hotel and packed our belongings so that we could depart on time.
  
Last day in Ely
 Saturday, August 2.
 Today the NNRy provided us with a private excursion train. We spent the morning riding up and down the line. After out trip we packed up our vans and set out for Las Vegas. Some campers would have to leave as soon as we arrived in Las Vegas. The rest of us (the ones who came out together) spent the evening by going out to Joe’s
Crab Shack and driving around town. Then back to the hotel for some sleep. Where the next day we would catch our flight and head east.
 
I would like to thank all the members of the Horseshoe Curve Chapter, the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum, Harold “Dink” and Rachel Gensimore, David and Virginia Seidel, Frank and Karin Givler, Joe and Kathy Harella, Dick and Toni Charlesworth, Dan and Cynthia Moringello, for supporting my attendance to the NRHS RailCamp in Scranton and Ely for the past two years.

THANK YOU 
JOSEPH A. DEFRANCESCO

 

EVERETT RR ACQUIRES H&BTMRR # 38

As many of us know from internet sources, Mr. Alan Maples, owner of the Everett RR at Duncansville/Claysburg, recently acquired by auction, the former Huntingdon & Broad Top Mountain Railroad steam locomotive No. 38. The historical significance of this acquisition is not lost on us locally, because the Everett RR is the direct successor to the former H&BTMRR and the locomotive can be said to be “returning home to it’s roots”.  This locomotive is in need of restoration, but has survived these many years on several shortline operations essentially intact.  Most recently, the locomotive was at the Knox, Kane & Kinzua which ceased operations in recent years.  Tragically, an arson fire consumed the engine house this year and damaged two steam locomotives and a diesel.  The most serious fire damage occurred to the Chinese steam locomotive and the H&BTMRR # 38, while having damage, was not at critical proportions.  This is the second steam locomotive acquisition by Mr. Maples, with whom the Horseshoe Curve Chapter enjoys a close working relationship for our excursion operations.  While we do not know what the future holds on this progressive shortline railroad, we look forward to these new developments and Mr. Maples can certainly count on our cooperation in these endeavors. H&BTMRR # 38 arrived at Claysburg on Nov 18, 2008 with placement by Saylor & Sons Crane Lifts.

December 2008 - Regular Business Meeting

Awaiting Information

December 2008 - Chapter Christmas Party

Awaiting Information


 


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(All photos are by David Seidel unless otherwise indicated.)