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Marty Phelps Memoriam 2017

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Firefighter - Railroad History Preservationist - 1941 - 2017
By: Robert Snyder

by Bob Snyder

I heard a diesel train horn sound just the other day,

It reminded me of a real close friend who'd recently passed away.

Remembering him I think about the way he chugged through life,

A passion for all railroad things it was his second wife.

His fire was stoked, his steam was hot and he owned the right of way,

A planner of the bigger things I used to hear him say.

Hop on board and ride a spell he'd con you with his smile,

No time to ride well that's OK I'll see you in a while.

Now he's off on his final journey

A train ride with no end.

I'm glad I got to ride a while with a guy I called my friend.

       Below are a few photos I took while driving to Marty's funeral Saturday May 6, 2017. During the drive to the church the funeral procession took over Batavia. Traffic was stopped throughout the city and at least four police cruisers stopped traffic at the numerous intersections we crossed. Passing one of Batavia's fire stations a line of firefighters stood at attention, in the rain, and held their salute as we passed by. A huge American flag was hung from the ladders of two fire trucks parked on the street in front of the church. After the mass his coffin rested at the back of a fire truck positioned by the church's front door. There a large group of veterans and firemen saluted Marty as he was given a twenty one gun salute. The railroad station trailer Marty had built for the Medina Railroad Museum was parked in the church parking lot next to the church. RIP Marty.

In Memoriam - By: Rick Henn
       The local preservation community lost a large presence with the unexpected passing of Marty Phelps. Marty was the founder of the Medina Railroad Museum but his passion for preservation went far beyond railroads. He was a life long fire fighter who had done years of fire investigations and fire safety trainings across New York and surrounding states. He was avid in his desire to recognize and preserve the history of fire fighting, police work and the armed services. His ultimate vision for the museum was that it would be large enough to house all of those things under one roof.

Marty dreamed big. He wanted a big museum and a big train. His dream was a ten car dinner train pulled by two New York Central E-8s. The amazing thing about Marty was that many people would say his dreams were not realistic and were unattainable. However, Marty very frequently proved them wrong. He never gave up. He was very vocal about preservation. One of his more recent goals was the preservation of the Letchworth State Park bridge, which dates to 1875 and see it repurposed as a vista for tourists to look at the wonder that is Letchworth State Park. The preservation community has lost a dear friend as have those of us lucky enough to have known him and called him a friend. Our condolences to his family and many friends.

       On Sunday June 25th 2017, The Falls Road Railroad operated a special Memorial Train to honor the memory of Marty Phelps. The train operated between Lockport and Brockport with a stop at the Medina Railroad Museum for a special ceremony for Marty. The railroad provided the locomotives at no charge and the Society donated the use of our coaches for the train. Over 250 people participated to honor Marty and his great legacy of preserving our railroad heritage.

Here is a link to "WNY Pages" covering WNY News that highlights some of Marty's many accomplishments.

At our Public Meeting on July 15th 2017 Marty's name was added to our "ROLL OF HONOR." 

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This page was last updated : July 22nd, 2017

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