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Orchard Park Depot 2019

January - February 2019
by Robert Snyder - Depot Chairman

  • FEBRUARY - Meeting with contractor - Wednesday 2/6 @ 9:30am - depot waiting room.
         Orchard Park Library "Story Time" Saturday 2/9 - 10am - depot waiting room.
         WNYRHS Winter Toy & Train Show, Hamburg Events Center - depot closed Saturday 2/16.

  • MARCH - Orchard Park Library "Story Time" Saturday 3/9 - 10am - depot waiting room.
          Removal of bricks from in front of caboose by contractor - date TBD.

  • APRIL - Orchard Park Library "Story Time" Saturday 4/13 -10am - depot waiting room.
          Restart of construction project on passenger depot by contractor - date TBD.
          Boxcar #2 - cleanout - 4/3, 4/6 "Depot Crew."
          Freight House- clean out, clean up, straighten up 4/17, 4/20 "Depot Crew."

  • MAY - Orchard Park Library "Train Day" - Saturday 5/4 - Freight House lawn.
          Orchard Park Garden Club "Plant Sale" - Thur, Fri, Sat 5/9, 10, 11 - Freight House lawn.
          Caboose #283 - roof & coupola rebuild by construction company - date TBD.
          Fox Run Rummage Sale - Friday 5/17 @ Fox Run - All Proceeds to OP Depot.
          Fox Run Coffee Hour @ Fox Run - Friday 5/24 @ 9:30am - depot talk & check presentation.

  • JUNE - Paint BR&P caboose inside and out.

  • JULY - The 20th Anniversary Thomas R. Gardner Memorial Scholarship Fun Run,
         Saturday July 6 10am - Freight House lawn.
         Village of Orchard Park "Ice Cream Social"- Friday 7/26 starting at 7pm.

  • AUGUST - OP Depot - "Touch a Truck" fund raiser - Sunday 8/11 tentative date. Freight House lawn.
          OP Depot "Chicken BBQ" fund raiser - Sunday 8/25.

  • SEPTEMBER - Orchard Park "Festival of the Arts" @ OP Middle School.
         Saturday 9/14 10am - 5pm & Sunday 9/15 - 10/am - 3pm.
         Orchard Park Chamber of Commerce Annual "Octoberfest." Saturday 9/28 - 5pm - 10pm - Freight House lawn.

  • OCTOBER - Annual landscape cleanup at the Depot.

  • NOVEMBER - WNYRHS Greater Buffalo Toy & Train Show - depot closed Saturday 11/16.

  • DECEMBER - Village of Orchard Park "Holiday in the Park" - Saturday 12/7 from noon - 2:30

  •           Last month, Joe Kocsis found a photo of our "Railmaster" Park Train on Facebook. The train was identified by one of the grandsons of the man who built it. Grandson Paul Raul emailed us that indeed that is our trainset and that his grandfather is sitting in the last car of the train. The photo to the left shows the train in operation at Liberty Amusement Park, which was in operation from 1949 until 1957.

    That park was located at the southwest corner of William Street and Union Road in Cheektowaga. That corner that is now occupied by a gas station, a medical facility and an insurance company. Upon seeing the old photograph trustee Jim Slominski sent the following. "I may be showing my age, but Liberty Park was my favorite park when I was young," Jim.

    March - April 2019
    by Robert Snyder - Depot Chairman

    In Memoriam - ROGER J. SMITH
    Farmer - Railroad Preservationist - 1942 - 2019
    By: Robert Snyder

             The Orchard Park Depot Crew lost a valued member this past April 4th, 2019. Roger was a regular with the Depot Crew for many years and he accomplished a great deal during the time he was with us. It was Roger who told us that we could raise the street side of the depot enough to level out the floor on that side of the building. He headed up that project and raised the depot. That's the kind of guy Roger was. No job was to big or too small for Roger. When we planted our gardens, he would show up with his wife Mary and the two of them would do all that they could to help us out. He went with us on our railfanning adventures and was with us when we volunteered for other society projects. His work ethic, his hands-on knowledge and his patience will be greatly missed. Rest in peace Roger. We thank you for all that you did at the depot, you will always be one of us.

             One of our many projects this year is the opening of our baggage car to the public. Baggage/REA Car, #2040 ex Conrail #489012, ex Erie Lackawanna #489012, nee Delaware Lackawanna &Western #2040. It was built by the Pullman Standard Car Company in 1925. In the early years of the society the baggage car was used as a storage place for many railroad and non-railroad related items. Those items are now being moved to other locations and space is starting to return to the inside of the car.

    Most items are now being moved to the Heritage Discovery Center on Lee Street and space is starting to return to the inside of the car. The work actually started on a cool Wednesday April 3rd in one of our B&O boxcars. We needed to make space on the freight house floor for anticipated baggage car items so anything on the floor that needed to be saved had to be moved into the boxcar.

    On Saturday April 6th, work started in the baggage car and with a two man crew moving and labeling items. All hands were on deck for Wednesday the 10th. We even had Society President Caryl Youngers with his 36,000 lb box truck on location. Caryl was a huge help moving several large items from the baggage car to his truck. There is much work to be done on this project but we are off to a great start!

    After several days of rearranging and removing stored items in the baggage car the week before, we began work on the wooden floorboards. The floor in the car is very soft in many places, so soft that it is unwise to stand on it. After cutting through the flooring by one of the sliding doors it was discovered that the underlying wood flooring was completely decomposed. Water had worked its way into the car and over many years caused the wood floor to decay. Even the steel part of the car underneath the wood flooring is in need of some repair. Work will continue on the car this season.

              On Friday April 26th the Orchard Park Arbor Day Committee held its' annual Arbor Day celebration in the Orchard Park Depot. This year the committee honored Orchard Park depot crew members past and present by planting an oak tree in our name. Every year, in recent history, at least one tree is planted in what is now called Steinwach's Grove on Arbor Day. (Steinwach's Grove is the grassy area between the passenger station and Buffalo Street) The tree was dedicated to us for our service to the train depot and to the community of Orchard Park. The ceremony started at 4:30 in the Depot. Fred Piasecki, town Highway Superintendent, was the M.C. and after he spoke about the dedication he called on yours truly to speak briefly about the history of the Depot.

    Next up was State Senator Chris Jocobs, who has a history of saving old historical structures, he presented us with a proclamation from the State of New York. He was followed by the Village Mayor of Orchard Park, Jo Ann Litwin Clinton, who gave us a proclamation from the Village and then she was followed by Fred who gave us a proclamation and a plaque from the Town of Orchard Park.

    About 30 people attended the ceremony, which was held in the Depot do to the rain. Light refreshments were made available by the Slomionski family after the ceremony. A special thank you goes out to all of the Depot Crew members and their families who were able to be at the ceremony and to society Vice President Marty Vicisiano and his wife Kathy for their attendance. The plaque will be hung on a wall in the Depot and the proclamations will be framed and made available for public viewing.

    BR&P CABOOSE - A contract has been let for the repair of our BR&P caboose. Two sections of roof need to be replaced as does the wood on the cupola.

    ICE CREAM SOCIAL - The annual Village of Orchard Park Ice Cream Social will not take place at the depot this year. The Ice Cream Social committee has decided to stay clear of the new construction work and has moved the social to Green Lake Park on Friday, July 26th.

              On Tursday, April 30th, Jeff Rosser of Lemur Construction Corporation brought his company back to work after a winter hiatus. Their first order of business was removing a huge pile of bricks by the BR&P caboose. Next up was the demolition of the curbing around the corner gardens followed by the removal of the retaining curbs holding the brick walkways in place.

    The curbs turned out to be deeper in the ground than anyone expected. Instead of the standard 18 inches deep they were a good four feet deep and they got wider at their bases. That's just for the brick walkway retaining curbs between the stations. All of the original construction from back in the day was grossly over built. The concrete after being removed was piled on the driveway and broken up before being hauled away.

    May 2019
    by Robert Snyder - Depot Chairman

    Instead of the half inch rebar used today, imbedded in the concrete was rebar of one inch thickness. Notice one of the workers standing in the hole by the bumper. An old electrical cable was unearthed. It was not connected to anything and was buried between the Depot and the Freight House. It was also enclosed in some type of a rubber hose. However, Jimmy Hoffa has not been found yet and Al Capone's gold has not been found either, Ha!

    By the end of the day on May 2nd, all of the old platform concrete had been removed up to the Rt. 277 bridge end. The old Catalpa tree in front of the Depot was diseased and had to be removed as well. On the 21st, Lemur's crew had cut the ovehanging limbs for safety and then dropped the tree and removed the stump. We were very sad to see it go and it's loss really changes the landscape.

    On Monday the 20th, Lemur workers dug around one of the footers used to support the roof posts. What a surprise. This place was built like a fortress. The footers have a pad of concrete that they are resting on and then a large concrete pyramid support. Way more than we expected. Iron straps sucured what was left of the rotted out bottom of the posts.

    Before any of the wood posts, concrete supports and footers could be removed, the very heavy tile roof had to be supported. Adjustable jack posts with steel "I-beam" tops were installed on both sides of every platform post to ensure no sagging occured in the roof structure. The jacks were turned just enough to release the weight on each wood post.

    During the last week of May, the footers for the columns holding the roof up were removed so that their replacements could begin. Five footers were poured and while they were setting up, the carpentry work began on the new redwood columns. The wood had to be notched for the supports and their corners had to be milled to match the originals.

    June 2019
    by Robert Snyder - Depot Chairman

    During the first week of June, new concrete footers for the platform support posts were installed and the replacement posts are being installed. There is plenty of work left to do including drainage, road leveling, brick walkway laying and landscaping.

    Construction work starting June 17th, saw the installation of six new posts. Lemur's crew are very professional and address every detail with care and skill. After the waiting platform posts are complete, work will begin on the remaining posts on the track side of the depot.

    June 24th - Lemur Construction Company poured the footer concrete on top of the pads they poured last week. The next batch will go up later this week. Work on our BR&P caboose is also moving along. The new roof is on and the trim work is close to being finished.

    June 26th - The concrete forms were removed from the six remaining footers on the track side of the depot. These were poured the day before. The concrete on these will have cured sufficiently by Friday so the new redwood columns can be installed. The OP Depot crew
    applied white primer to the eleven new posts on the platform side. Notice the masking paper used to protect the new footers from primer.

    July 2019
    by Robert Snyder - Depot Chairman

    OP Depot construction started up again on Monday the 8th after our long 4th of July vacation. The new posts on the track side are now all in place and the work has moved on to the west side of the depot. New footer pads were poured and new footers were too. Parts of the curb holding the bricks in place, on that side of the building, were removed. The depot's old oil fuel tank was partially exposed during the digging. Before we left today the workers were putting a coat of primer on more new posts.

    By July 17th, the contractor finished putting the last four posts in place on the freight house side of the passenger depot. All the posts now have a coat of white primer and some have a final coat of white paint. Two of the posts track side have new metal straps holding them in place. We expect back filling to take place soon.

    Mr. Bob Reynders was honored Wednesday July 17th for his twenty years of volunteer service at the Depot with a dinner at Mangia's Ristorante & Caffe in Orchard Park. Much of what has been accomplished at the depot is a result of Bob's work there. He was the person that kept us busy and inspired. His work ethic, skill and determination has no equal. Our regular days at the depot are Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 to noon and there were many days when Bob would be there by 7:30am.

    He always knew what to do and how to do it. Some of the work was all Bob. Like taking the plywood covers off of the broken windows on the DPW side of the freight station and then having those widows replaced with new ones. He pretty much did all of the work by himself and finished the job with protective plexiglass covers on the outside. For the 25 years I have worked at the depot, that was the first time I got to look out of those windows. His list of accomplishments is huge. There is very little at the depot that Bob has not worked on. Lighting, electrical, plumbing, heating, painting, cleaning, rebuilding, landscaping, lawn mowing, working events, decorating for events, building and tearing down, Bob has done it all.

    Just driving back and forth from the depot, Bob has logged over 56,000 miles. (It is a 28 mile round trip for Bob from where he lives in Lancaster and he has made at least 50 trips a year for 20 years).

    We honored him with a plaque and a memory book filled with over 260 photographs of him volunteering at the depot. Much of his family joined us for the occasion as did all of the Depot Crew and most of their wives. His cake had the Superman© insignia and his memory book cover featured the Energizer Bunny©, which we all felt was very appropriate to Bob.

    As of July 24th, all the work on the posts have been completed. All of the posts have new metal support straps. Backfilling around the depot and the waiting platform has been completed. The next phase will start soon to begin laying the platforms bricks.

    August 2019

    by Robert Snyder - Depot Chairman

             A historic event happened at the Orchard Park Depot on Monday August 12th when our DL&W baggage car was successfully moved down the siding it has been resting on for the past 30 years. The OP DPW provided a pay loader and a crew of two to help us make the move. The Depot Crew consisted of Jim Slominski, Bob Reynders, Gary Ludwig and me. Jim and Bob rode the car (getting some rare mileage) while it was pushed by a pay loader and they then applied the brakes once the car reached its new temporary parking spot. Gary and I were the ground crew assisting the DPW guys. Thanks to Rick Henn of the Car Department for assuring us that the car would move without any problems.

    September - October 2019

    by Bob Snyder - Depot Chairman

             The past several months at the Orchard Park Depot have been far from normal. Paramount Pictures paid us a visit this spring and wanted to rent the depot for a part in a movie they were doing here in Western New York. A chance to have the Orchard Park Depot in another movie and to earn some money for the second time in three years was too good to be true; however, it put everything on hold.

    This all started last May when a photographer was at the depot taking pictures. I asked if he would like to take pictures of the inside and he said he was primarily interested in the outside, but he would step inside for a picture or two. With that he handed me his business card. It read location scout for Paramount Pictures. Shortly after that Paramount reached out to us to rent the depot. They loved the depot inside and out. After passing it by our society’s board of trustees we accepted an offer by Paramount.

    The rental turned out to be long term. The depot had to have a certain look. That transformation took some doing. The carpenters working for Paramount built a train platform out of wood and then covered it with a material making it look like it was made of concrete. The interior walls were painted, and the hanging lights were lowered, a clock was hung by the agent’s office and they built a bench for the men’s waiting room.

    The actual video for the movie was all done in one day but it was a long day. Jim Slominski and I were in attendance in case the movie people needed us, they did for a couple of minor items. That day started at 7:45 am and ended twelve hours later at 7:45 pm.

    Our partnership with Paramount turned out to be a good one. All the movie people were first rate. They treated us very well and did all the things they said they were going to do. Nothing was disturbed at the depot and they left the building better than the found it.

    Bravo Paramount! Good luck with your production,  "A Quiet Place 2" which is supposed to hit the big screen on March 20th, 2020.

    November - December 2019

    by Robert Snyder - Depot Chairman

    Since the movie shoot, all has been pretty much quiet at the Orchard Park Depot lately, except that we did almost have a break in. Our security cameras caught two high school boys trying to get into the passenger depot through the coal chute. They got frustrated when they couldn’t get the chute door open wide enough to squeeze through so they gave up never knowing they were on camera the whole time. A police report was filed.

    Two of our “Depot Crew” got some rare millage over the old BR&P siding once again. You may remember our DL&W baggage car being moved down the siding away from the freight house this past summer, well we managed to get it back to its old resting place. With the cooperation of the village Department of Public Works, the car was moved on a cold morning November 20th.
    Dave Mallory and depot volunteer emeritus Bob Reynders rode the car in order to apply the brakes while Gary Ludwig and yours truly did the ground work.

    Construction Project - Shortly after the movie company left the Depot the weather changed. "Mud Season" was upon us, followed shortly thereafter by winter. This has precluded our contractor from restarting our reconstruction project. Construction will not restart until the spring of 2020. Meetings with the contractor indicate that he will be ready to restart construction as soon as the weather breaks and the ground dries out. Completion of the reconstruction work is now anticipated to be late June/early July.

    As the reconstruction work completion date has been pushed back, the scheduling of events at the Depot for 2020 has also been delayed. In the meantime, the Depot Committee continues to work on the paperwork needed to obtain our grant money from New York State.

    "Holiday in the Park," an annual village event which is held the first Saturday of December in Orchard Park, was moved to a new location this year. This time it was held at a store, close to the center of the village. The early reviews are coming in and a few people have taken to calling the event "Holiday in the Parking Lot". From what I have heard so far, nobody was impressed. Everybody said that there was no "Park" in the event, and they all want it back at the Depot, where there really is a "Park". Some people complained to Santa about the change in venue, and he promised them that it would back at the Depot next year.

    Men's Waiting Room Center Bench - Over the summer, through the generous donation of time, materials and labor from an anonymous donor a new Men's Waiting Room Center Bench was constructed. We are lucky that we had the original blue prints to work from and the replica bench is now installed in the depot. The craftsmanship is fabulous!

    We were so impressed with the results that the Orchard Park Depot Committee would now like to have a ladies waiting room bench constructed. In order to have this happen, the Committee is starting a fundraiser for the $2500 needed for the new bench. At the February 2020 Train Show, we will have information about the bench project. Please stop by the Society tables and ask how you can help. In the meantime, if you would like to donate to the  "Build a Bench"  project, checks made out to the "WNYRHS" may be sent to: Bench Fund, Orchard Park Depot, 395 South Lincoln Avenue, Orchard Park, NY 14127.

    Work sessions will continue every Saturday morning 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.

    This page was last updated: May 18th, 2020

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