usual. We had no snow again until January 21st, and that was gone the next day! The following weekend being rather mild, much of the October debris was chipped into mulch. Besides the M-1 coming back to the Bel-Del, other equipment was en route. Our first acquisition, diminutive Plymouth locomotive #18 was trucked onto the property where it is now getting some TLC. The preparation for new paint brought out the Morris County Central, and later GATX lettering. M-2 and M-4 plus another LIRR coach that is intended to become our #501 snack car arrived on March 13th and that put our entire collection there except for the static displays in Maywood. Hopefully, #501 will be readied as a snack car for Polar Express 2012. With M-1 on the Bel-Del property, there was a list The long winter of 2011 finally showed signs of ending on September 4th when the last of 83 staybolts was welded into place. Now it was a race to get the engine put sufficiently back together in two weeks time for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) inspector to be present for another hydro test of the boiler. Finally, what started as the winter maintenance program for 142 came to an end with its first 2011 appearance for the public September 25th. At last we could hear a whistle and see smoke drifting over the Delaware Valley just in time for the October pumpkin trains and the railfan events that were rescheduled for November 5th and 6th. But, in a bizarre twist, on the last weekend of the regular season, a freak snowstorm hit the northeast leaving several inches of heavy, wet snow on trees that still had green leaves. We were stopping so often to remove trees or large branches from the track, we couldn’t stay on time and the schedule was shortened. It seemed 142 had already returned to winter, but it was a rare opportunity for photos in the snow. Polar Express 2011 would go well and, after our review for Warner Brothers, we were renewed for three more years. Oddly enough, after the snow, we had four wonderful weekends for the event with warmer than usual temperatures. Despite the tradition of being snowed upon on alternate years, we had only one threat of snow showers the last weekend that didn’t pan out. In fact, all of winter, 2012 was warmer than of things that have to be corrected. Firstly was the floor. The reason for taking the car out of service was the deterioration, brought about by water leaks and the use of cheap plywood in the first restoration done by the Society. Now that the car was being stored outside, finding and correcting the leaks was first on the list. Everything was checked, from cracked seams in the sheet metal to dirt and debris piled so high in the “dome” that it ran over the top of the vents into the car. This time marine grade plywood was used before new floor tile would be laid on it and we want it to stay dry. The original paint job from the first restoration was also redone inside the car. Not only was the ceiling the wrong color, but the many passengers that rode since 1992 placed their wear upon the walls. A fresh coat of paint hides a world of sin. As for the seats, it was bad enough they were not the right color for this historic restoration, but the foam rubber deteriorated so much that when we last used it, we had to sweep up the yellow dust under them NYSWTHS #142 in the snow! Photo: Joe Hart every day. We needed to reupholster them and in the proper color. Fortunately, we have such a business nearby to us who has proved themselves worthy doing seats for the Long Island cars. This will hopefully be done by next summer. Sitting around for five years created other mechanical problems. An air intake to one engine rusted away and various mechanical parts froze or malfunctioned to some extent. The last service the car saw in winter conditions, the heat wasn’t adequate. Basically, every functioning part of the car needed to be inspected and, where found necessary, repaired. 18

19 Publizr Home

You need flash player to view this online publication