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Orchard Park Depot 2017

January - February 2017
by Robert Snyder - Depot Chairman

         Nothing substantial, other than a new mail box, has been happening at the depot these last two months, however, the Depot Crew still meets on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 till noon. Our time has been spent in meetings for the projects and fund raisers we will be having for 2017.

The Orchard Park Railroad Depot once again has its own mail box. On January 21st, not one of our usual winter days, OP volunteer Bob Reynders attached a new mail box to the side of the passenger station. Our mail should now be addressed to 395 South Lincoln Street, Orchard Park, NY 14127. We no longer have an Orchard Park post office box.

Our schedule so far this year:
• We will continue to provide a place for the Native Offerings Co-op farm market which is held at the depot on Tuesdays afternoons from 3 to 6.
• The Orchard Park Garden Club will have its annual plant sale on May 20th at the depot and they may have a flower show at the depot on • August 26th, details for that show have not been finalized yet.
• The Orchard Park Depot Crew will have its first annual "Touch a Truck" fund raiser on Sunday July 2nd.
• The Village of Orchard Park will have its annual Ice Cream Social at the depot on Friday July 28th.
• The Orchard Park Depot Crew will have its annual chicken BBQ on Sunday August 20th.
• The Village of Orchard Park is tentatively scheduled to host its second annual Octoberfest at the depot in early October.
• And the Village of Orchard Park is scheduled to hold its annual Holiday in the Park at the depot on Saturday December 2nd.

The BR&P caboose still needs roof repairs. That will be our top priority when it comes to major projects. We also will be getting an estimate on repairing the Southeast corner of the passenger station. The bricks in that area are loose and are ready to fall off of the building.

Come join us Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 to noon at the Orchard Park Railroad Depot. Our phone number is 716-662-7002.

March - April 2017
by Robert Snyder - Depot Chairman

As the warmer weather starts to creep into Western New York chances to do some outside work at the depot have gotten better. Twice in March the Depot Crew tried replacing a few of the depots outside lights. On March 18th Bob Reynders did the work while four Depot Crew supervisors gave moral support from ground level. That work is due to continue in May.

         Early in April a smaller Depot Crew consisting of Bob Reynders, Alex Trank and Jim Slominski picked up yard debris from the lawn next to the station. Then in Late April we had a local brick worker David J. Schiedel from DJS Masonry replace a part of the upper South East corner of the passenger station wall.

Much of our inside work has been devoted to our July 2nd, 2017 "Touch A Truck" fund raiser. We have been in the planning stages for several meetings now and will be until the event happens. So far we have secured a good assortment of vehicles, food trucks and "WestHerr Automotive Group™" is our corporate sponsor. Much has been accomplished but there is still plenty of work left to do. Click the image for a full size print and read our "Press Release" here for a complete list of all the trucks you will see at the Depot. Or visit our  "OP Depot Facebook" page for a video of our Depot Chairman, Bob Snyder describing the event.

The annual Orchard Park Arbor Day tree planting was held Friday April 28th in the park next the passenger station. This year the tree was planted in honor of our good friend and depot supporter Fran Hogenkamp. Fran was chosen for his many years of service to his community. Gary Ludwig and I attended on behalf of the society and because of our endearing friendship with Fran.

         Thank you to all of the society members who have donated funds to help us maintain and restore the Orchard Park Depot. Recently one of our hardest working Crew members personally donated the funds to replace the mechanical light timer for the passenger station with a new digital electronic device. No more having to reset the timer due to a power outage or because of daylight savings time. He then installed it as part of the deal. Thanks to our own Bob Reynders for another one of his most appreciated projects.

May - June 2017
by Robert Snyder - Depot Chairman

The Depot Crew was very busy at the depot during the months of May and June. May 13th, the Orchard Park Garden Club held its annual spring flower sale at the depot. The Garden Club ladies kept things hopping before, during and after the sale. And even though some of our May work days were on the cold side, while the plants were being sold, the Depot Crew managed to finish the relighting on the inside of the freight station. That project was headed up by our
master electrician Bob Reynders with help from Dave Mallory, Gary Ludwig, Jim Slominski and Duane Warchocki.

Next up on May 20th was a celebration of National Train Day. The activities staff at the Orchard Park Library filled the library show case with a display of information about the Depot and shortly after that the Depot Crew worked with them to celebrate "National Train Day." The depot was opened up to about fifty children and their parents who participate in a variety of train related activities both in the library and at the depot.

On May 24th Duane, Jim, Alex and myself replaced one of the old depot signs with a new one. Duane had two signs made up and the second one went up on June 10th.

Also in June the library was back for a Lego Day at the depot. This time a smaller group of about twenty children and their parents participated. June 21st saw Gary Ludwig, Jim Slominski and Dave Mallory replacing a broken drive belt on our riding lawn mower. On June 24th the Crew put up our Touch a Truck sign.
out on Orchard Parks main drag, Buffalo Street..., the work never ends.

July 2017
by Robert Snyder - Depot Chairman

"TOUCH-A-TRUCK" Comes to the Orchard Park Depot

Our Sunday July 2nd Touch A Truck fund raiser was the culmination of several months of work for the Orchard Park Railroad Depot Crew. For the seven of us it was a lot of planning, organizing, phone calls, paper work, leg work, sign making, and the inevitable clean up. Our corporate sponsor was West Herr Automotive Group of Orchard Park so they provided some funding and two brand new pickup trucks for the event.

The Orchard Park Department of Public Works fenced in the show field for us and provided us with their village snowplow. Orchard Fresh provided doughnuts and the Orchard Park Bee printed a great news story about the event. Olaf Fub in the Buffalo News wrote about us in his Friday June 30th edition of the paper.

The event was a huge success. The weather co-operated and by the end of the first two hours over one thousand people had paid $5 each to view the trucks. The list of trucks included an Orchard Park fire truck, an Orchard Park police cruiser, a United Materials pink concrete mixer, Rusiniak's Recovery Service sent a huge tow truck, a new NFTA metro bus, a semi-tractor trailer truck, the Buffalo Public Library book mobile, two motor homes, a Dave's Express Delivery box truck, a high railer and a Tom Greenauer Development dump truck. Also on displayed were three antique trucks a child's pedal truck and three food trucks provided a choice of good things to eat.

We ended the month of July with an equally successful Ice Cream Social. The Social, put on by the Village of Orchard Park, drew an estimated 1500 people. In addition to the ice cream a variety of activities were available for the children and of course, to end the evening the very impressive fireworks display. The temperature this year was cooler than usual for the end of July. It caused a drop in the sales for water and pop which the Village allows us to sell as a fund raiser.

A summer project that has needed attention for over a year were two leaky water lines servicing two of our outdoor faucets. One on the Passenger Depot and one on the Freight Station. Our newest Depot Crew member, Dave Mallory, headed up the work with the help of long time member Gary Ludwig.

August 2017


         August 17th, 2017 was a great day for the Orchard Park BR&P Depot! Senator Chris Jacobs announced today that he had secured a $150,000 grant to assist with the restoration and structural improvements to the trackside waiting platform. The brick platform base will be taken up, curbing will be reinstalled, drainage lines installed, the foundation for wood columns and the columns will be replaced and the brick will be reinstalled. The total project is estimated to be approximately $300,000 and will begin this year. With this grant, plus committed pledged of funding, over two-thirds of the required funds have already been raised to complete the restoration project to this historic building.

Along with Senator Jacobs, the Orchard Park Town Supervisor Patrick Keem and Village of Orchard Park Mayor Jo Ann Litwin Clinton joined us to celebrate the grant award. Our Depot Committee Co-Chairman Jim Slominski accepted the ceremonial check on behalf of the Society. Jim also expressed his upmost thanks to Orchard Park Village Trustee Fran Hogenkamp for his active support of the depot. Fran has been a great benefactor to the depot and the major fundraising arm of the depot committee. Fran has donated $50,000 towards the project himself and is working hard to secure the rest of the funding required. He currently has pledges for an additional $40,000 in support of the restoration. It also was Fran who initially contacted Senator Jacobs office to get the ball rolling for this grant.

The BR&P Depot, built in 1911, is listed on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places, and has been owned by the WNYRHS Inc. since 1990. It was the setting for a scene filmed in in summer of 2016 for the movie "Marshall," the courtroom thriller about a case involving Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court justice.

On August 20th we held our annual chicken Bar-B-Que at the depot. The weather was perfect and so were the dinners. Wendel's does our chickens and this year's order of 240 dinners sold out in record time. We started selling at eleven and were finished at eight minutes after one. That beat last year's record by seven minutes.

A big thank you goes out to the ladies who stepped up to help us prepare the meals, Judy Ludwig, Maureen Slominski, Katie Slomonski, Susan Koronowski, and Ann Chrzanowski. Our runner for the day was Depot Crew member Alex Trank's younger brother Spencer. Spencer did the leg work collecting money and delivering meals as our customers who never had to leave their automobiles. Thanks also go to Depot Crew members Gary Ludwig, Jim Slominski, Alex Trank and Dave Mallory.

During the BBQ a visitor showed up to see the depot. Dudley Bauerlein used to live in Orchard Park and as a 10 year old boy he and his friends used to visit the depot as often as they could. That was about 84 years ago. Steam was king and trains ruled the transportation world. It was good to hear Dudley reminisce about those glory days at the depot. He had many stories about the way we were.

A new addition to the event happenings at the depot this year was a program put on by our neighbors at the Orchard Park library. A preschool story time was offered this season and conducted by one of the library's activity coordinators. The well attended sessions attracted a loyal following on Wednesdays from 10 to 11. A bonus for the little ones was our O scale layout. Their day was not complete until the trains made their trips.

One of our ongoing rentals at the depot is the "Native Offerings Organic Co-op." Every Tuesday from 3pm until 6pm, the Co-op drew a large number of people to pick up their farm fresh fruits and veggies. This market goes on year round inside and outside of the depot depending on the time of the year. Right: Bounce House at the Ice Cream Social.

September - October 2017

by Robert Snyder - Depot Chairman

         The movie "Marshall" is now showing at movie theaters in our area. I saw it on a Tuesday, November 24th at the Walden Galleria theaters and enjoyed every minute of it. It's a good movie. The acting is superb and the photography is stunning. Not only did I see my cars in the movie (don't blink when they're on or you'll miss them) but our Orchard Park Depot is shown in the movie several times. The depot segments are on long enough to really appreciate what you are seeing. There are track side scenes, interior scenes and street side scenes. The Whites only drinking fountain scene is in there but so are several others. In a track side scene you may notice an actor at the agent's desk as you look through the bay window, our mannequin didn't make the cut. In another scene a walk on
visits the ticket window as the star is making a phone call in the hallway. Our homemade speeder trailer can't be seen but the result of using it can. In a track side scene the star waits as a steam train glides past the platform. You only see the headlight and hear the engine but it looks and sounds like the real thing. The steamer was our trailer. My favorite is the final scene of the movie as Marshall and company walk out of the depot street side. The shot was done with an overhead camera and the depot fills the screen in the final moments of the movie.

         Congratulations to the Orchard Park Depot Crew for prepping the depot for the movie and especially to Jim Slominski for his work the day the movie was shot. Jim played a crucial role during the filming. A special effects crew was in the depot using a smoke machine to add atmosphere to an important scene when Jim realized we might be in trouble. Nobody expected smoke in the depot as part of the action. The smoke would have set off the silent smoke alarm and the fire department would have shown up to put out a suspected fire. What a mess that would have been. Thank you Jim.
On September 18th a home school group with their parents and teachers did a tour of the depot. Our continuing partnership with the Orchard Park Library has brought us several more visits for story hour which the children throughly enjoy.

Coming up in no time at all will be our Greater Buffalo Train and Toy Show on November 18th and 19th. 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 2nd. As always, there will be tree decorating, a parade, dancing and a visit from Santa! This year the time will be again from 12:00pm until 3:00pm and the Depot will be open to visit.

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.

December 2017

by Robert Snyder - Depot Chairman

The big end of the year event for the depot was "Holiday in the Park" organized by the  "Orchard Park Chamber of Commerce."  This was the second year that the event was held during the day on December 2nd under 44' skies. The event started at 12:00 noon with a parade complete with the OP High School marching band, fire trucks and Santa and Mrs. Claus arriving in a wagon pulled by two horses.

In addition to Santa and Mrs Claus arriving at the Orchard Park Depot, there was a Tree Lighting at 3:00pm, dance performances at the DPW by Mary Alice Dance Studio, face painting and more! The depot was used for visiting Santa and Mrs. Claus, the DPW (department of Public Works) building was used for food service and entertainment while the library was used for craft activities. Our O scale layout ran continuously during the event to the delight of all of those coming to visit Santa. Thanks go out to Spencer Trank for operating the trains and to all of the "Depot Crew" for their efforts. Bob Snyder and Colleen Baker from the OPCC captured just some of the fun in the photos below.

Society president Joe Kocsis stopped by the Depot December 12th, after a very successful fundraising event for the depot that was put together by the  Orchard Park Chamber of Commerce."  The goal of the fundraiser was to match the grants
that have been made to repair the 7,000 square feet of brick platform and the 28 roof supports. The estimated cost of the repairs is just over $500,000. Society member Geno Dailey captured a couple of beautiful night photos of the park Christmas Tree.

Orchard Park Depot Reconstruction by Jim Slominski Orchard Park depot Co-chairman

         Anyone visiting the Orchard Park Depot over the last few years has undoubtedly noticed the significant deterioration of the Depot's trackside platform.

Much of the platform's brick work has moved away from the building and crumbled. The support columns have rotted at their bases and moved causing the platform roof to acquire a distinctive "wave". This deterioration has seriously compromised the overall structural integrity of the Depot. Recognizing the safety issues that this deterioration has created, the OP Depot Committee has embarked upon a major fundraising drive to help reconstruct the Depot.

Reconstruction of the platform is a multi-faceted project. The old brick must be removed and replaced with new similar brick. Prior to the reinstallation of the brick, the land must be regraded; a new drainage system installed and the original curbing that held the brick in place must be reconstructed. In addition, the platform columns and their foundations must be replaced. All of this work is beyond the capability of the OP Depot Committee, and consequently must be done by outside contractors. Cost estimates to do this work are in the $500,000.00+ range.

The Depot Committee's initial fundraising efforts have centered on securing grant money and donations from local community leaders. Next year, the Committee will extend its fundraising efforts to the general public. The Committee hopes to start the reconstruction of the platform in late spring or early summer of 2018.

So far Senator Chris Jacobs has secured a $150,000 grant, a $40,000 grant from former NYS Assemblyman Mickey Kearns and $5,000 from Legislator John Mills. With the funds raised tonight, nearly $105,000 in private matching donations have been raised through the very generous efforts of Fran Hogenkamp, an Orchard Park Village Trustee. We're 75% towards the goal and very hopeful that we will reach our goal in the coming months. With the noted funding, the Depot Committee will start the reconstruction process by first replacing the support columns. The balance of the work will proceed as funding permits.

If you would like to help in this reconstruction process, please send checks to the WNYRHS, noting that the money is intended for the OP Depot Reconstruction Fund.

         On December 15th, the Society received special recognition of our restoration efforts at the Orchard Park Depot. Thanks to Representive Chris Collins for his commendation and to our dedicated crew of volunteers at the Orchard Park Depot for their hard work!

         Our co-operation with the Orchard Park Library continued on Saturday the 16th with another installment of "Story Hour at the Depot." Library activity co-chair Lori O. put on a very entertaining hour of reading, singing and dancing to a capacity crowd of young people and their parents. Our newest "Depot Crew" member Dave Mallory started and ended the fun event by running the trains, one of which is his own Polar Express.

From all of us at the Orchard Park Depot Merry Christmas,
Happy Holidays and the Best of the New Year to All!

This page was last updated: December 24th, 2017

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