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ORCHARD PARK DEPOT 2016



Orchard Park Depot 2016

January - February 2016
by Robert Snyder - Depot Chairman

         Work at the Orchard Park Depot gets done year round. This winter season we did not have major issues with snow removal so getting in and out of the depot was much easier this winter.

         Our Wednesdays and Saturdays were spent indoors except for the two times we moved railroad items and archival materials to the HDC. From left to right we see Jim Slominski, Bob Reynders, Don Owens from the HDC and Gary Ludwig unloading Bob Snyder's car.

         This year we did not have to clean up after the Village's Holiday in the Park Christmas celebration. The new village mayor moved the event to the old bowling alley on North Buffalo Street. I'm guessing they call that Holiday in the bowling alley now. Not sure how that worked out but they are welcome to come back to the depot if they so choose.

         Working indoors gave us the chance to do clean up in both buildings. January 9th we went through the two filling cabinets in the basement of the passenger station. Any items that were not of necessity at OP were stored for transport to the HDC or discarded. Then on February 13th and 17th the Depot Crew spent time searching through everything in the freight house. Once again items not necessary at OP were stored for transport to the HDC or discarded.

         The Depot Crew (Gary Ludwig, Bob Reynders, Bob Snyder, Alex Trank, Jim Slominski, Roger Smith and Duane Warchocki) is dedicated to putting the freight station back to original design when it was a working freight house. A part of that project has been the dismantling of the shelving on the track side of the interior. Here we see Bob R. working hard to make that happen.

Work sessions will continue every Wednesday and Saturday mornings from 9 to noon. Anyone interested in spending some time at the depot please call our number, 662-7002, and let us know you are coming.


March - April 2016
by Robert Snyder - Depot Chairman

         In early March, one of the wind storms that hit our area blew out the furnace in the passenger station at the Depot. Bob Reynders relit the pilot after we discovered the problem while Alex Trank planted a donation of trees on the O-scale layout once the building warmed up.

         Some of our work projects at the depot have shifted from inside to outside now that the warmer months are upon us. Landscape chores have taken up most of our time as we make the property look presentable.

         We brought out our lawn tractor after its long winters nap. Alex Trank, Gary Ludwig and Bob Reynders did the prep work to get it ready for this season. The Depot Crew then spent time raking debris from around the Depot. Cleaning up on the street side of the Depot are Duane Warcocki, Jim Slominski, Alex Trank and Bob Reynders.

JOHN WILSON MEMORIAL - By the time you read this report a special tree planting by the Village of Orchard Park and an unveiling of a special plaque by the Orchard Park Depot Crew will have taken place at the depot. Arbor Day, April 29th, is a day for remembering our dear friend Mayor John Wilson. John loved the Depot and he appreciated the work the society was doing to save it. He visited the Depot often and always received a warm welcome whenever he came. John loved the Depot and he appreciated the work the society was doing to save it. He visited the Depot often and always received a warm welcome whenever he came.

         He was an advocate for the Depot's restoration and maintenance and he had a big part in promoting the Depot as a place for Village activities. He was always at the Ice Cream Social and at Holiday in the Park. Whither John came in a professional capacity, as in the time he presided over the wedding of Depot Crew member Jim and wife Maureen Slominski's daughter Katie, or just as a friend, John was one of us. His good humor, his friendly conversation and his enthusiasm for our cause will remain with us forever. John passed away suddenly on November 5, 2014 while walking his dog just a block from the Depot.


May 2016
by Robert Snyder - Depot Chairman

         May in Orchard Park got off to an exciting start with many changes occurring at the Depot. A scouting crew from a film company was interested in using the Depot in an upcoming movie. This required that the Passenger Station be returned to its original 1940's appearance to fit the period of the movie. All of our displays, showcases and O-gauge train layout, had to be removed and stored out of sight for future filming.

One of the displays that needed to be removed was our 1927 New York Central, General Railway Signal type "SA" signal head. This dual head signal was rescued in 2002 by Society member Scott H. after a CSX derailment on September 23rd near Wende Road in Alden, New York. After restoration by Scott, it was placed in the Depot for "temporary" display in 2004. The Heritage Discovery Center was only a dream back then and now was a perfect time to move the signal to its permanent home.

On May 7th, the Depot crew disassembled the over 200 pound signal, mounting hardware, bracketing and signage. We loaded it into Jim S.'s truck and headed off to the Heritage Discovery Center. where it was reassembled in its new display location.

         On May 11th, Lancer Glass of Depew New York, came to the depot and greatly enhanced the view by installing new glass windows in all four waiting room doors. After years of plywood as seen in the 2013 photo to the left, we can now see outside the doors on both sides of the Depot.

         In addition to the new glazing in the doors, Lancer Glass also made us a new ticket window counter top of plate glass which replaced an old scratched up sheet of plexiglas. With the new glass in the the doors and windows and the fresh paint we applied last year, the Depot really looks great!


June 2016
by Robert Snyder - Depot Chairman

Hollywood Comes to the Orchard Park Railroad Depot

         This past June saw a Hollywood movie company shooting scenes for the movie "Marshall" at the Orchard Park Railroad Depot. We got a call from the movie company's location department in April, asking if they could use the depot for a couple of days. After getting some specifics on what they planned to do, we discussed it at a board meeting and then quickly agreed to let them use the depot.

Saying yes to a Hollywood movie opened the Depot Crew up to a few unplanned projects. Anything that would not have been found in our depot, when it was functioning as a railroad passenger station in the early 1940s, had to be removed. We had to disassemble the O scale layout and move it out of the men's waiting room so we carried it over to the freight station for storage. Two glass show cases had to be moved from the ladies waiting room to the baggage room, a room not used in the movie, and two other show cases, a large one and another smaller case, were moved to the freight house. All signs, framed photographs and plaques were removed from all of the depot walls. The large NYC Signal was moved to its permanent home in the Heritage Discovery Center.

The movie preparation crew arrived on June 14th. They began prepping the depot inside and out. A plaque by the ticket window and two plaques on the outside of the building were covered over with movie props. The 4'x8' train announcement board on the wall across from the ticket window was changed to read "Clarksdale Station" by using a laser printer to produce a self-sticking paper banner.

A wooden box was attached to the wall for mounting an old rotary dial pay phone and another phone was mounted on one of the posts trackside. One of the prop people made a "Clarksdale" station sign which was hung from the depot portico. A camera dollie, crane, and tracks were set up for many of the shots.

Outside we disassembled our handicap ramp and moved it down to the freight house. We set our speeder trailer on the tracks by request so it could be used in a night scene to double as a steam locomotive pulling into the station. The movie people would rig it with a light and a smoke generator. I was told that during filming at night in the rain, it would look like the real thing. With the trailer on the track, Bob and Gary used it as a platform to trim low hanging branches further down the track.

         While all of that work was being done, the new cfl bulbs we use to light the depot at night were replaced with the old style incandescent bulbs. An important part of the movie would be shot at night and the lighting had to be period correct. Again by request, we brought our REA baggage cart out of storage from the freight house and located it on the trackside platform. We even set out our two original BR&P spittoons!

On Wednesday June 15th, the entire cast and crew came to the depot. All of the equipment trucks, gaffer, grips, actors and extras filled the entire area around the depot. Part of the library parking lot was used for tractor trailer trucks filled with movie equipment, cameras, props, electrical, rigging, lighting and sound equipment. An area was left for the "honey wagon." In movie talk, that's a snack truck with a canopy and three or four people serving snacks and hot or cold drinks.

St. John's Lutheran Church, the church across from the depot, was used as well. Their parking lot filled up with wardrobe trucks, a makeup truck and staff parking. The church itself was used for dressing rooms, wash rooms and a cafeteria.

"Filming" (there is no film any more it's all digital) didn't get under way until 3 pm. They shot inside the depot first before moving street side for a series of outside shots. After many takes, various camera angles and a rain that was just starting to come down at 9 pm, we heard "Cut!, that's a wrap." Many people applauded as everyone headed to the church for an excellent much deserved dinner catered by "Osteria 166."

          My 1939 Ford two door and Fran Hogenkamp's 1939 Dodge pickup truck were two of the nine vehicles that got casting calls. Fran actually got a driving part.

         That was by no means the end of the filming that day. Jim Slominski, Alex Trank and I headed back to our homes after 10:00pm and told the movie people to call when they were finished. At 3:18am, I got a call asking "do you have a garden hose?" When I told the caller "it's locked up in the freight house," they said "we'll call you back." At 3:22am, I got another call and was told that the prop people used a bucket and that I could come back to lock up the depot at 4:00am. I found out later that the night scenes involving the speeder trailer had just wrapped up shortly before I arrived.

All's well that ends well I suppose. The movie company cleaned up, packed up and left everything better than they found it. The depot was compensated for its use and we were given three new dark green window shades that were used in the ladies waiting room.

Would we do it again? Absolutely! Was it easy? Yes and no. Prepping the building required a lot of heavy lifting but the day the movie was shot we did a lot of standing around. We had to be available in case we were needed or in case we thought of something, like when Jim called the security company and asked them to shut off the smoke detectors. The special effects crew were making smoke in the station for atmosphere and that surely would have set off the smoke alarms ending up with the Orchard Park fire department showing up to put out a fire!

We are pleased and proud of what we did and hope that the depot scenes show what a great organization the WNYRHS truly is. We can't wait until the movie "Marshall" is released to see the Orchard Park Depot on the "big screen!"

July - August 2016

by Robert Snyder - Depot Chairman

         July and August proved to be business as usual at the depot this year. As soon as the movie business was over we had to put the depot back in order. Jim Slominski, Alex Trank and I moved the two smaller show cases back into the depot waiting rooms. Jim then cleaned them and refilled them with railroad items. Pictures and plaques were rehung as was one of the original station signs. Some of the projects outside were postponed due to the unusually hot weather and will be on the agenda again once the temperature drops back to normal.

Next came a little work on one of the support posts trackside. Gary Ludwig made some wooden wedges to fill a large opening that had appeared at the top of one of the trackside posts. This was due to the severe drought WNY is experiencing causing the soil to shrink below the post. Jim Slominski and Duane Warchocki tapped the wedges in place while Gary Ludwig and Alex Trank assisted. Gary was called on again to make another wooden wedge for our old wheelbarrow.
We reassembled the wheelbarrow in the freight station using the baggage cart for a work bench.

On July 29th we hosted Orchard Park's annual Ice Cream Social. The Depot Crew was really looking forward to the event this year due to the intense summer heat. A big turnout caused some flavors of ice cream to run out very quickly. As in past years the Depot Crew sold water, soft drinks and potato chips. The finale was the fireworks display which is set up on the grounds in front of the freight station. It was a spectacular display and no one left disappointed.

Sunday August 21st we held our Chicken BBQ fund raiser. We started selling dinners at 11 and beat last years sell out time by an hour. We sold our 240th dinner at 1:30pm. Special thanks go out to Judy Ludwig, Sue Koronowski, and Maureen Slominski and to all of the Depot Crew for their help making the fund raiser such a success!

Alex ran the cash register and also delivered the meals to our waiting patrons, they never had to leave their cars. Next up was a trip to bring back our speeder that was in storage down at Roger Smith's house in Concord, NY. Bob Reynders called Karyl Youngers for help with the move. Karyl brought a van and a trailer to pick up the speeder in Concord and from there we all drove out to Angola where the speeder was transferred
from the trailer to a big box truck. The truck was the perfect height to off load the speeder right into the freight house. The day started at the depot on Tuesday August 23rd around 10:00am and ended with the speeder stored in the freight house by 1:00pm.

September - October 2016

by Robert Snyder - Depot Chairman

         On Saturday October 1st, the WNYRHS was happy to host the 1st Annual Oktoberfest for the Orchard Park Chamber of Commerce at the Orchard Park Depot. From 4 - 11 p.m., attendee's enjoyed traditional live music provided by the Bergholz German Band from 4 - 7p.m., The Frankfurters from 7 - 11p.m. and The Schuhplattlers of S.G.T.V. "Edelweiss" dancing from 4 - 6 p.m. Delicious German cuisine and seasonal favorites by our local establishments was available. Admission and parking was free.

While the music, food and festivities were being held outside on a beautiful evening, our Depot staff gave tours inside the Depot. Some of the movie props were still in place from the summer filming of the yet to be released movie "Marshall," see June above. This venue brought many people who had never visited the Depot and they were amazed at how wonderful it was.


On Friday September 16th two motor coaches of B&O convention people showed up at the depot for a quick look. I thought I'd kicked off the top of an ant hill. Those people where everywhere. Street side, track side, inside, outside up the tracks, down the tracks and anywhere else you could have imagined. It was intense but short lived. They were gone as quickly as they came. I'm guessing they were happy, we didn't hear any complaints.

The next day, after our usual Saturday work session (they're not parties anymore), I made it back to the depot around four so a newly married couple could take some of their wedding photos at our location. While the bride, groom and the wedding party were busy striking poses I spent the time talking with the limo driver. No donation, I think the young married couple had other things on their minds.

On Tuesday September 20th a friend of mine brought a velocipede to test on our tracks. The machine is being restored and needed to be tested before being finished. All of the original wood was replaced with handmade pieces and some of the metal parts had to be fabricated as well. All of us rode the three wheeler up and down the tracks.

Saturday October 15th was paint the baggage car roof day. With the help of all of the currently active depot crew the job got done. Bob Reynders and Jim Slominski did the painting. Gary Ludwig, Alex Trank and yours truly were paint handlers while Dwayne Warchocki moved the ladders. We went with a black semi gloss this time and the results look spectacular.

Coming up in no time at all will be our Greater Buffalo Train and Toy Show on November 19th and 20th. Our crew will be there maning the Society table and answering questions. After the Train Show, we will host "Holiday in the Park" on December 3rd. As always, there will be tree decorating, a parade, dancing and a visit from Santa! This year the time will be from 12:00pm until 3:00pm.

Work sessions will continue every Wednesday and Saturday mornings from 9 to noon. Anyone interested in spending some time at the depot please call our number, 662-7002, and let us know you are coming.

November - December 2016

by Robert Snyder - Depot Chairman

         What a year 2016 was at the Orchard Park railroad Depot. Looking back is something we don't usually do but last year was somewhat remarkable. The Depot Crew managed to do quite a bit. We're not patting ourselves on the back we're just happy we were able to do all of the things that happened on our watch. Here's a brief review.

• Prepped and manned the depot for the movie "Marshall."
• Painted the baggage car roof.
• Moved track switch machines, tie plates, rail joiners and boxes of railroad records to Lee Street.
• Moved crossing arms from Bank Street to depot including pieces of rail.
• Participated in memorial for deceased mayor John Wilson.
• Spring cleaned the property and hired Trugreen to spray entire property to kill weeds.
• Prepped depot for Orchard Park Garden Club plant sale.
• Repaired lawnmower for the mowing season and also repaired the wheelbarrow.
• Added additional scenery to layout.
• Worked on support posts track side of passenger depot.
• Prepped and manned depot for annual Village Ice Cream Social.
• Held BBQ chicken dinner fundraiser.
• Brought speeder back to depot from storage in Concord, NY.
• Cleaned and manned the depot for the B&O convention visit.
• Worked with Erie/Catt Rails to Trails to promote their project.
• Worked with Foit Albert on track side renovation plans.
• Opened and manned the depot for the first annual Orchard Park Oktoberfest.
• And in November we prepped the depot, disassembled the layout and moved it into the baggage room and cleaned the depot so the Orchard Park Garden Club could hold their biennial holiday sale.
• Moved and reassembled the layout and cleaned the depot once again so that the Village of Orchard Park could hold Holiday in the Park at the depot on the first Saturday of December.
• Also after every event there was always a major cleanup to be done.

         2016's Holiday in the Park was back at the depot after a one year hiatus. The event started at 11:30am with a parade complete with the Orchard Park High School marching band, fire trucks and horse drawn wagons. Mrs. Claus rode in a fire truck while Santa rode in a wagon pulled by a very excitable horse.

Once at the depot the Claus's listen to Christmas wishes from local children while their parents snapped photos. Everyone got to see the O scale layout as they waited in line to visit Santa. Alex Trank was at the controls of our O Scale layout.

The activities ended with a lighting of the Village Christmas tree at 4pm. This was the first time Holiday in the Park was held during the day. Public officials at the ceremony were, Mayor of the Village of Orchard Park, Jo Ann Litwin Clinton, Santa & Mrs. Claus (aka Mr. & Mrs. Fran Hogenkamp) and Town Supervisor Patrick J. Keem. Happy New Year from the Orchard Park Depot Crew - Gary Ludwig, Bob Reynders, Jim Slominski, Bob Snyder, Alex Trank and Duane Warchocki.




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