Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum prepares for season

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Windham - posted Tue., Mar. 22, 2011
Contributed
Museum member Rolf Johnson, of Rhode Island, gives the five-foot window a last minute examination prior to its removal. Photo by Robert A. LeMay. - Contributed Photo

As the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum prepares for another season, volunteers have started work on the last item to be repaired from the November 2009 vandalism spree. The five-foot diameter round window high up in the gable end of the roundhouse  was originally donated by the Savings Institute. Other items, such as smaller  windows, torn screens, graffiti, and damage to the gift shop, have long-since been dealt with. But the window has been left for last because its replacement will be no small task. 

The repair project involves getting up to the window, both inside and outside, taking the 600-pound, custom-made window down, taking it to the glass shop and having it rebuilt. “Then the work begins in the reverse,” said museum representative Adrian Atkins, “bringing it back to the museum, hauling it high up and reinstalling it to its original splendor. This window in itself is a wonderful replica of old-time craftsmanship.”

The recovery from the vandalism has been a slow process. “The public response has been terrific in terms of monetary donations, moral support and actual physical help,” said Atkins.  “This public support sends a strong message to the museum volunteers - the museum is going in the right direction in recreating history and preserving it for the future generations.”

Unfortunately, efforts to repair the damage over the last two years have meant less time spent working on new projects.  But volunteers have been able to devote some time to new ventures. Projects currently in the works include:  completing restoration of pit number two in the roundhouse; continuing work on restoration of the Central Vermont 4052 wooden center cupola caboose; and having the life-size replica of the huge “Gallows Signal” ready for dedication on May 21.

“This winter’s activities were halted by the snow,” said Atkins, “but volunteers are now back on the grounds preparing for the opening.” The seasonal grand opening for 2011 is scheduled for Saturday, May 7, at 10:00 a.m. The program for that day includes the Annual Metal Fest, featuring blacksmithing and other metal-working demonstrations.  Local band “The Electric Trains” will be providing music.

For the model railroad enthusiasts, the popular Spring Train Show will be held at Windham High School on April 17, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. “This is always a fun time for everyone,” said Atkins. “There will be operating model railroad lay-outs on display.”

The CT Eastern Railroad Museum is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from May 7 to the end of October from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. For more information see their website at www.cteastrrmuseum.org.


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