staybolts. That would be the first time in years we had none. Annual testing and reassembly became almost routine for once only to find, on the last day of the season, the engine crew came in the shop in the morning and found a leaking staybolt in the firebox, knocking it out of commission from its last scheduled appearance of 2014. Even before the Easter trips, car #500, the gift shop, was sent out to Topton, PA to get body work and a new coat of paint. The Society board voted to paint the cars in Stevens (Institute of Technology, Hoboken) Red with black ends and silver roof. This is consistent with the 1942 paint scheme for NYS&W coaches. While the new color stands out sharply against the other cars, that edge should fade as the other cars start to match. We will send them out as funds and down-time permit. If you would like to speed up the process, click the “DONATE” button on our web site. Here too, a photo of #500 appeared in the last issue, before the lettering was applied. It should be noted the other class of coach we have, the gallery bi-levels, will step back an additional two years to the 1940 paint scheme. The Stevens Red will be applied to the lower section up to the height of the LIRR cars and will have a gray band for the upper windows, matching the power car that runs with them. Since the “Squeak” never had bi-levels, this is a bit of a stretch applying the 1940 scheme to them, but it is expected to make the train as a whole quite impressive when all the cars are painted and together. The 33 has to have the red touched up though to match the new look. As the test subject for this program, its color isn’t quite the same right now. Once all ten cars are done, it should not only match, but also hold down maintenance issues for some years to come. And then, six months later and the seasons reversed, the winter may have still been affecting us. Thomas the Tank Engine visited in July as usual although, on its sixth visit, it was one weekend later. We always seemed to pick the two hottest weekends of summer and the thought was to skip at least one of them, as well as avoid July 4th also sold out in hours. In order to accommodate everyone, we started a new boarding procedure where everyone had an assigned entry point, marked by a letter. The thirty trains were packed with nearly 3,000 more people than we would ordinarily carry and, aside from running a bit late the first Saturday (which always seems to be the case), the trips ran without a hitch. We took the rainy Saturday over the snow, so no makeup trains this time. The only snow was leftover on the ground the first weekend from an early cold snap and mild December weather took over. In fact, it rained several times until the last week of January when the snow and cold then stated in earnest. Meantime, the railroad’s latest acquisition was an SW-1500 switcher that had worked for NS in Altoona the as it was on a Friday. Well, something was missing this time – ninety degree weather. Summer, 2014 turned out to be cooler than usual, perhaps set up by the harsh winter, and the only 90+ degree day was on a Tuesday this July and not again until the very end of August and early September. The first Sunday was incredibly muggy but the thermometer stopped rising at 88. The Easton fireworks that night started a bit early and were rushed, for good reason. A severe thunderstorm wrapped up that weekend just as I got home after the fireworks. My count, taken from the Conductors’ reports, was 18,656 fares in those six days, 14,921 on Thomas and the rest on our “regular” train. Using two bi-level cars, 142 hauled 878 people to the mine on its best day. Dinosaur Train followed in August. Considered by many of our customers to be our best event, it none-the-less had a disappointing turnout and will not be a return event. Three of the four days, the weather was great. Only the second Saturday did we have to contend with rain much of the day. Finally, two years ago we installed conduit between the ticket office and station building with an access point in between only to have someone mistake the tubes as recycling ports. While one pipe easily blew its contents back out to run power, we finally had the time and ambition recently to clear out the second pipe in order to install communication lines between the buildings. The permanent PA system, internet, an intercom and possibly a phone are planned. Coming full circle back to Polar 2014; we thought selling out in a month was quick. This time, we sold out in four hours. Despite overselling the trains, we were still disappointing many customers who were shut out and, for the first time, we added a Friday pair of trips to the schedule, which 19 45 tonner belonging to member Don Chaudruc at Baer Yard. previous 20 years. It received a fresh paint job and was shipped to us for Polar. It is now the assigned locomotive for the Bel-Del and the Geep left shortly after Christmas. At the north end of the train with an also freshly painted caboose right behind, it made for an impressive entrance into the station. We found out the hard way it drops its water in cold weather rather quickly (to protect it from freezing) and it had to be shuttled between the power station at Kent and the train at the yard daily. The cold weather baby-sitting was none-theless easier. As you can see, into our second quarter-century, we’re not standing still. Like always, I invite you to come out and pitch in, even for a day. Every little bit adds up. Personally, during the winter we all could have done without, I found a project I could do in the comfort of my warm home, converting the LIRR car marker lights to LEDs, which makes them bright enough for legal requirements and more dependable. The light bulbs easily burnt out, but not before melting some of the red lenses. When we finally make Riegelsville, it will facilitate the runaround to just flip the switch for taillights, but they already came in handy when we did not use a caboose on the trains in 2014. See? Every little bit helps. Contact Mechanical@nyswths.org for information on how to help keep us moving forward.

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