• Railroad Museum of Long Island happenings?

  • General discussion related to all railroad clubs, museums, tourist and scenic lines. Generally this covers museums with static displays, museums that operate excursions, scenic lines that have museums, and so on. Check out the Tourist Railway Association (TRAIN) for more information.
General discussion related to all railroad clubs, museums, tourist and scenic lines. Generally this covers museums with static displays, museums that operate excursions, scenic lines that have museums, and so on. Check out the Tourist Railway Association (TRAIN) for more information.

Moderators: rob216, Miketherailfan

  by Paul
452 card wrote:
The bearings I am referring to are on the axles, not the crankshaft (which the 39 doesn't have). Threw my CFR out when I retired, but I think it may be found in part 217. Not really sure if that is the section, though.
That's the funny thing about plain bearings. I know you were reffering to the axles, my point is perhaps 90% of locomotives in America today operate on plain bearings. With the exception of the few traction motora that I mentioned in my earlier post, traction motor support bearings are of the plain type. I am wondering if you are mixing up the AAR interchange rule in place of FRA rules. Please, I do NOT mean this in a disrespectful manner in any way. It happens to me all the time. :-D
  by pennsy
Well, that tells us about # 39, and really is somewhat upsetting. Could it be that # 35 is now in better shape and might just be restored and back on the rails before # 39 ?
  by M1 9147
Even if the Muesum was taken over by the Transit Muesum, still the stock there is not in running condition at all, so what purpose would the TM have in that at all?
  by hrfcarl
M1 9147 wrote:Even if the Muesum was taken over by the Transit Muesum, still the stock there is not in running condition at all, so what purpose would the TM have in that at all?
First and foremost publicity. Signs/brouchures and MTA website: "Check out annexes at Riverhead & Greenport....take LIRR". HOPEFULLY this publicity leads to greater patronage. Maybe some become volunteers or donors.

Next should come greater credibility: Applying for grant/donation with TM leaderhead/logo might make a better impression. HOPEFULLY this leads to more funding. BTW, how is TM's stock maintained?
  by Dave Keller
Hi Paul:

Don Bender was a retired LIRR engineer, and, according to BMC in his post, a road foreman. He was a volunteer at RMLI, where I met him at my book signing.


P.S. Regarding the museum . . . . .to keep somewhat on topic . . . . . I donated to them thousands (yes, thousands!) of form 19 train orders (office copies) issued at "PD" tower, Patchogue between the years 1933 and 1947, minus the war years which were not included in the orders when I acquired them. Those orders must've been shipped to Jamaica during the war years for special storage and later destruction. :( Anyhow . . . I figured they'd be doing railfans more service there ON LI in the museum setting where they will, hopefully, be preserved, than sitting in boxes in my closet, taking up valuable space and serving no purpose whatsoever. If those orders aren't visible, or accessible, to the general public, someone please speak up and find out WHERE they are and WHY they're not available to viewers. There were so many that, even if they wanted to, they could GIVE several to EVERY visitor who walked through the exhibits and still have enough for display!!!! DK
  by BMC
As always Dave you remain the true gentleman, Don's death was quite sudden though he had been in declining health recently . He still proudly wore his museum 'trustee' jacket to our weekly LIRR retiree breakfasts.

He was a quiet guy, but always willing to lend a hand. If anyone is interested, donations were made in his name to the American Diabetes Association.
  by buxtonmach

Yes I too have questioned what is going on with the museum. About 12 years ago I was out at the museum and took the tour, and at that time was told of the "infighting" , that the "old-timers" and younger blood could not agree on anything, therefore nothing was getting done. I'm happy to say that since that time I have made several trips to Riverhead, and have seen some progress, most of it in the form of further aquisitions, but little in the form of preservation.
It wasn't until several months ago that anything had been done with the website either. Until the recent update on the boiler going to Strasburg, the site had not been updated in about 2 years, the exception was the promotions for the custom painted Lionel cars.
PAUL mentions that many times he tried to gather a group together to work on 1556, but at every turn he was stonewalled by one individual. Why isn't something done about this one individual? OR DOES NO ONE REALLY CARE?
I remember reading in the paper years ago that RMLI was awarded a grant of almost $1,000,000 for the restoration of #39. Then there were several articles later on stating that certain criteria had to be met before the funds would be released. Apparently the conditions were finally met , funds released, and the boiler went to Boilermatic in Medford, and now Strasburg, but what about the rest of 39? What exactly needs to be done? I thought the drivers had been turned before Grumann left the island?
Obviously RMLI and the #35 group both have a common goal to preserve and restore ex LIRR equipment, both are in need of funding and volunteers, but little will happen if the public doen't know they exist. People need to be informed of what's going on in their backyard if you want to stir up some interest. I have lived on the Island my whole life, climbed on #39 at the Stony Brook museum when I was a child, and watched it leave for Riverhead, but when I talk to people about #39/RMLI or #35, I get the same reaction THEY DIDN"T KNOW THEY EXISTED. I don't feel that making RMLI an annex of the Transit Museum would be a good idea, but does the Transit museum make mention of, or promote RMLI in any way? You need Publicity, Publicity, Publicity...... in this day and age of the internet there is no reason why someone should not be able to find updates about the happenings at RMLI or #35 group at least on a monthly basis.
Take a look at the forum for the Catskill Mountain Railroad or at their website which is linked to NERAIL.....almost every week there are updates and photographs of their progress, plans, etc. Several years ago they were on the verge of loosing the right-of -way to rails -to -trails, but they got their message out to the public, stirred up interest, and drastically increased their membership. The increase in volunteers has allowed them make progress on many fronts in leaps and bounds. So why if they can do this , why can't RMLI?
I myself am planning to join RMLI as a volunteer in the near future, time and money permitting. I am a welder and machinist by trade, and feel I could bring a lot to the table, but hope that I too do not get stonewalled at every turn. In the meantime it would be nice to know what is going on in Riverhead and Greenport at least on a monthly basis.
  by nyandw
[quote="452 card"]BTW-

"....Anyone notice that the 39s' boiler is missing? It is being held hostage at Boilermatic in Medford. When the first rebuild attempt from the late 70s to early 80s went south from being left unused, the unit was sent out to be professionally done. It got condemned, and then the repair/replacement cost was off the wall so now its in limbo...."

Got the dough for one of those, Steve? Should run about $300,000 or so..."

Right after Otto posts to behave..... My post was completely neutral. A map, some photos, and a link to a web page for others to use, etc. Did I really discuss, endorse, complain, etc. on the issue raised by the previous posters?

Yet, 452 card wrote this crack: "...Got the dough for one of those, Steve? Should run about $300,000 or so..."

Did I state I wanted to restore any of the rusting hulks? Rather then a positive comment on Anthony's work or solid input on the problem, I receive this childish line?

Then to top it off: 452 card wrote:
"...Anyone notice that the 39s' boiler is missing? It is being held hostage at Boilermatic in Medford...."

Otto saves the day: "...No one noticed because it's not "missing" at all.

See photos: viewtopic.php?f=63&t=24417&p=573168#p573168..."

Last edited by nyandw on Fri Nov 14, 2008 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by Otto Vondrak
hrfcarl wrote:First and foremost publicity. Signs/brouchures and MTA website: "Check out annexes at Riverhead & Greenport....take LIRR". HOPEFULLY this publicity leads to greater patronage. Maybe some become volunteers or donors.

Next should come greater credibility: Applying for grant/donation with TM leaderhead/logo might make a better impression. HOPEFULLY this leads to more funding. BTW, how is TM's stock maintained?
Did you read my last post responding to your MTA save-all? Publicity is not the issue! Credibility is not so much an issue! Letterhead? a logo? Those do not generate funding. Museums succeed when you have dedicated volunteers, with a lot of time, and a lot of fundraising skills. Time. People. Money. :-) That's how it gets done.

Either keep the remarks civil or don't make remarks at all. I'm looking in the direction of our new guests who have just registered.
  by n2qhvRMLI
Gentle Forum Members,

10lbReduction, welcome to the Forum as a new member on November 12, 2008. 452card, welcome to the Forum as a new member on October 9, 2008. buxtonmach, welcome to the Forum as a new member on September 29, 2008. It’s good to see you here and I look forward to your posts.

I welcome open discussion regarding our Museum, RMLI, and the state of railroad preservation on Long Island. Constructive, and even harsh, critical criticism can lead to a new view of things and a fresh perspective. Without this discourse, a solution to a challenge may be overlooked and no forward movement will come about.

That said, and I thank all of you for your thoughtful comments, following this posting you will find three lengthy posts that I had written between July 2007 and November 2008. Each of these postings deals with many of the topics presented in this current thread. I invite you to take the time to read these and see if they may satisfy some of your recent questions.

But, before you move to those three postings, a few informative comments particular to this thread are in order.

1. I encourage EVERYONE to visit our Museum site in our historic LIRR freight house at Greenport, New York. It is where we have the space for “exhibits” and the “fine” articles of our RMLI collection are displayed there. The exhibits are rotated and changed from operating season to operating season, May – October. There was a time that “fire cart” was on exhibit at Greenport – it was rotated out to storage in Riverhead. No doubt it will one day again be put on display.

2. . . . . “a lot of infighting and conceptual differences” . . . . Ahhhhhhhh. Gentle Forum Members, in any group, volunteer or paid, there will be differences of opinion on the direction the organization should take. In a “for-profit” enterprise, with paid employees and a rigid structure of owners, shareholders, supervisors and workers – you disagree with the corporate policy handed down from on high – you are out the door, fired! In a “non-profit” all volunteer organization – where every member is a valued asset – we don’t fire people unless there is a serious safety violation. If they become terribly disenfranchised, members may leave on their own. Generally we accommodate and tolerate differences of opinion and try to build a consensus of agreement to move the project or organization forward. This takes time and a great deal of patience on everyone’s part. Not every member is happy all the time, today’s disgruntled volunteer can be the organizations greatest champion in six months or a year from now when his or her pet project has come to the fore. An all volunteer Museum is a living breathing organism that struggles in its growth and feels pain when it contracts.

3. Bar car 2992 is privately owned and is not part of the RMLI collection. Flatcar 110, Jordan Spreader W-93 and cabooses C-64, C-63 and C-60 are the property of the Twin Forks Chapter NRHS. Sandite and Alcohol cars 2907 and W-85 are awaiting a licensing agreement for use by the Twin Forks Chapter. The remaining cars and locomotives on the map are all part of RMLI’s collection. Currently the M-1s are opened for visitors when the Riverhead site is open and a docent is available for a guided tour.

4. I will close this posting with comments on the need for staffing volunteers at our Museum sites.

5. As a Museum chartered by the New York State Education Department, the Trustees of the Railroad Museum of Long Island must be diligent and to the best of their ability protect all of the items and artifacts in the Museum’s collections for the education and knowledge of the residents of New York State. Although we “partner” and work very closely with the New York Transit Museum, there is no plan to merge with them. If for some reason the RMLI ceased to exist, due to its location on Long Island and its mission from the MTA, the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn would no doubt be the first “sister” Museum to be contacted by RMLI Trustees and the State of New York to receive and take over RMLI collections.

6. Brother Paul and especially Little Paul. Do not for one minute forget who closed down our efforts to work on 1556!

7. We at the Railroad Museum of Long Island dearly miss fellow Trustee Don Bender. For many years Don coordinated our Riverhead docents, gave excellent guided tours of the equipment collection, trained and certified our G-16 locomotive engineers and coordinated all large groups visiting the Museum. He was a cornerstone of the Riverhead operation and will be so hard to replace – but we must try!

8. It was, at one time, a mystery to me why the population of Long Island didn’t “know we were here!” Recently, I presented to the Board of Trustees some fourteen or fifteen pieces of print media, paid advertisements, feature articles, published photographs, (some on the front page of periodicals), local and Island-wide newspapers and free newsprint magazines hawking the RMLI this 2008 season! We have had excellent news and feature coverage all over the Island, we have been on New 12 L.I. and on numerous radio stations. Our website has been redesigned, made more user-friendly and our new webmaster is keeping it up to date. An October video of work on #39’s boiler at Strasburg is on the home page! Our secretary regularly sends out public relations announcements to close to two hundred media outlets!


Let’s face it, the public does not read and it does not absorb what is written. Information overload desensitizes the population to all but the most titillating news releases of the day. Museums are nice, but like a library, we struggle to pull people away from social activities, sports, entertainment and shopping. Even the prestigious Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium in Centerport NY may have to close its doors due to lack of funding and interest!

Finally, Long Island’s commuting residents have a love/hate relationship with the Long Island Railroad. Just read the Forums! When so many ride the trains every they are not generally interested in seeking out the “horrible old ways” of rail transportation at a Museum – they already know everything they need to know about trains on Long Island!

That leaves railfans - whom we never seem to please – and families with small children. Kids still love trains and drag their parents, grandparents, siblings and friends to our Museums. Families spend time and MONEY at our Museums. They are our lifeline in the 21st Century to keeping our doors open. We must pay attention to this market and to a large degree cater to it for survival. Only then may we continue to function and try to restore our collection and move forward. Government funding and grants can not sustain the Museum, we must be supported on a local basis to weather the fluctuations in the financial world. And unfortunately, even when they are happy, railfans are notoriously “cheap,” sadly they are not going to do it for us.

9. In closing this post, I want to touch on Museum volunteers and docents. We need them. We need you! On Sundays and Monday holidays Riverhead was closed during the 2008 season. We had no volunteer staff. We desperately need a Volunteer Coordinator for Riverhead in 2009. We need new volunteers in Greenport. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas I will be sending out personal invitations to RMLI members living in Suffolk County. They will be invited to an informational meeting in January to try and recruit more docents, volunteers and a Riverhead Coordinator. You, Gentle Forum Members, new members and the public will be invited. Those who want to “turn a wrench” can volunteer too. We need mechanics, machinists and welders! It will be everyone’s opportunity to support the RMLI and hopefully make a difference. If you are interested, please drop me an e-mail at [email protected] and I will put you on the invite list. buxtonmach, e-mail me so we can talk, we have wonderful volunteers who can work in wood but very few who know steel!

I look forward to your comments. My three older postings follow:
de Don n2qhvRMLI

Don Fisher, President

Railroad Museum of Long Island
440 – 4th Street
P.O. Box 726
Greenport NY 11944-0726

Restoration Site & Visitor’s Center
416 Griffing Avenue
Riverhead NY
Last edited by n2qhvRMLI on Mon Nov 17, 2008 1:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by n2qhvRMLI
July 14, 2007
Yes, as you have seen, the RPO has been dismantled and scrapped. As the center section was prepared for moving onto the flatbed, it collapsed in on itself! The car's entire body had settled down below the center frame as there were no longer any serviceable cross members holding it up. The body was literally resting on the trucks' bolsters and LIRR supervisors had deemed the car unable to be moved.

As a last ditch effort, throughout winter '06 - '07, we had attempted to find another Museum or private preservationist that wanted to take the car. We had inquiries from as far away as California and Tennessee, but alas, no one wanted the bucket of rust.

It is with sadness that we are also scrapping the Combine as she too is nearly in the same state. She was offered to other interested parties with no takers. Please remember that with the extensive use of salt on our Long Island roads in the winter, (grade crossings), these cars rot from the undercarriage up. The P72's experience the same problems but we have started to stabilize the rot as Joe and Paul have eluded.

Richard is correct. The two cars, especially the RPO, had become a safety liability to the Museum and the only responsible action was to scrap them and get them away from the public. It speaks to that very issue that we have not made any announcements to date of their scrapping as we really want to keep the work area safe and free of unauthorized people.

The Museum has drawn up a very ambitious and beautiful set of plans for a shop and exhibit hall to be built on our property, the east side of Griffing Avenue. As always, money is the issue. We remain in Phase I of that plan, purchase and installation of a turntable and lead tracks. We have the turntable. Preliminary site engineering has been done but lack of money holds the project in a grip. Anyone having large sums of money to donate to the cause are welcomed. In the mean time we continue to raise money and keep what is an excellent regional all-volunteer railroad museum in operation.

Currently, temporary or semi-permanent sheds or pole buildings to cover the rolling stock are out of the question. The "yard" where our cars are located belongs to the MTA/LIRR and is still considered an active yard. No one is allowed to put up storage buildings over the rails in their active rail yard. Unfortunately the weather will continue to do its worst to our remaining cars until we see our way to building a permanent home on our own property.

The new windows for the P72's have been purchased and are in storage awaiting installation. The Board of Trustees have made a conscious decision to hold off on putting the windows into the cars until they are nearly ready to run. It would be unwise to put new Lexan in and have it exposed to the weather and sunlight for any longer a period of time than necessary before we use the cars in excursion service.

As for work schedules on the P72's, the Board of Trustees deemed the ongoing restoration of Bi-level car 200 and the metal work on Switcher 399 to be current priorities. Painting of the baggage mail car into Riverhead Railroad Festival "Circus Train" colors was also a priority for our August 25 - 26 Festival. Work on the P72's will proceed as time and money warrants. Anyone interested in working at the Museum on Saturdays is welcomed, you may not be able to work on your "pet project," but your labor and time spent will be helping to move the entire Museum organization forward. That is the BIG PICTURE.

Engine 39 continues its slow progress at BoilerMatic in Medford. We still estimate we need $150,000.00 to complete the drive train, air brakes and oil burner on the locomotive. With the costs of heating fuel, insurance and utilities going through the roof, (no difference than any of us at home eh?), restoration money continues to be elusive.

On a pleasant note, the photo exhibit "Many Hands: Representations of Railroad Workers" on display at our Greenport Museum site has been a great 2007 attraction with many positive remarks and happy patrons. Boy Scout Tony Breese, working on his Eagle Scout project, along with his entire troop, has cleaned and restored the Greenport turntable pit. After days of cleaning and landscaping the pit, yards and yards of GeoTex were spread and several inches of bluestone have been put down across the entire crater! It is beautiful and a work to behold. The 2007 Riverhead Railroad Festival is on track and with good weather will be bigger and better than ever. Our second annual Twin Forks Folk Music Festival and Hobo Gathering will be teaming up with the Hallockville Farm Museum and Folk Life Center Fall Festival this year. Rather than compete as we did last year, we will be cross endorsing each other and offering a reduced fare ticket so patrons may attend both Festivals on Saturday, September 29, 2007.

The Museum is going forward on many fronts, it just appears to some to be faltering as we each tend to look only to the project that interests us the most. If that's not where the action is at this moment, (or over the past few months or years), we are discouraged and frustrated. That's a human emotion and understandable. Please know we are working hard for the future of Long Island Railroading history and continue your support as we move along in the twenty-first century.

Thanks for the interest,
de Don, n2qhvRMLI
Last edited by n2qhvRMLI on Thu Nov 13, 2008 11:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by n2qhvRMLI
December 27, 2007
Gentle Forum Members,

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Eastern reaches of the LIRR Mainline! I must admit I am delinquent in posting anything new in this Forum or on RR.Net. My time on the Forums seem to be mostly “lurking” these days. Please forgive me, our Newsletter Editor at RMLI is also saddened with my lack of ink for the PostBoy, I pledge to try and do better in 2008!

Oh the trials and tribulations of the G5s LIRR Engine 39 restoration!!
Richard writes:

“In my opinion, and it is only my opinion, RMLI could have moved a little further in restoration of the cab and other smaller fixtures, rather than sit on their hands and wait for elves to finish the boiler.”

“Uninformed speculation is counterproductive, and only irritates an angry and open wound. I would request RMLI's board to publicly post a statement of the scheduled rebuild for LIRR G5s #39. If they don't know, what the Hell are they doing with custody of the locomotive?”

First, let me repeat what I have said in past postings, consider this my “legal disclaimer.” The Suffolk County Department of Public Works, as the “sponsor” and project manager of the $800,000.00 ISTEA Grant, (of which 20% or $160,000.00 is Suffolk County taxpayer’s money), from the beginning gagged the members and Board of Trustees of RMLI. Any and all announcements regarding the restoration of Engine 39 will come from the Commissioner of Public Works, Mr. Gilbert Anderson, P.E.

I can comment on what is obvious to the viewer who drives past RMLI and BoilerMatic. The tender restoration has been completed and it’s back at Riverhead. The boiler and firebox remain on the BoilerMatic property in Medford, NY. Beyond this, I must remain silent.

I suppose interested persons could contact Mr. Anderson directly at Suffolk County Department of Public Works, 335 Yaphank Avenue, Yaphank NY 11980. Phone 631-852-4010.

I haven’t encountered any “angry and open wounds” YET, though I have experienced allot of pensive and questioning folks who do deserve a detailed report. A report that I am not at liberty to make at this time. As a Trustee I have a pretty good idea of the current rebuild schedule of Engine 39, but I can not divulge that information at this time.

As for “what the Hell are they doing with custody of the locomotive?” I know Richard is being rhetorical here. I understand his frustration and accept his cry of wonder. Unfortunately, in this litigious day and age, I must quietly stand by in silence and watch him suffer.

I can freely comment on the “restoration of the cab and other smaller fixtures.” Here we go:

The RMLI Board is charged with operating a Museum, maintaining a collection of rail artifacts and presenting the history of railroading on Long Island. Each year we establish a budget and estimate our revenues and expenses. To that end, we have been doing a good job at operating the Museum, keeping two sites open at Riverhead and Greenport, and presenting the history of railroading on Long Island. We struggle with priorities each year, the cost of insurance, fuel oil, utilities and all the things necessary to keep the doors open continue to go up. Revenues have remained flat during these times. Our attendance figures remain pretty stable, even increasing during the season, but the patrons do not spend the money like they have in better years past. Our fundraising efforts have been good, but that money is sucked into operations right now. Little is left for restoration so the collection restoration and maintenance is far behind, including what we have to do on Engine 39.

Volunteers are an issue. We have trouble staffing the Riverhead site on Sundays. That means remaining open to run the 1964-65 World’s Fair Train attraction, give guided tours of the collection and operate the gift shop. We were very successful in completing a great deal of work on 39’s small parts, cleaning and stabilizing them and putting them in storage for application to the returning locomotive. That work cost us very little money, because of good labor by willing volunteers, work that they could do with the knowledge they possess.

The other work Richard speaks of is outside the scope of our members and volunteers. We need specialists who know how to work on the pistons, drive train, brake system and other mechanicals that are a priority before we do the woodwork on that cab. Those specialists and the work they must perform cost money that we do not have available right now. The Board consciously decides to hold off on this work since the boiler and firebox work moves slowly and there is no rush to get the “small stuff” done right now.

These hard decisions go for other major projects on the property as well. The P72 coaches are on hold for the same reasons. Work that requires little money and is within the scope of knowledge of the volunteers continues. Work on the body and painting of diesel locomotive 399 and the painting of the Circus Advertising baggage car are a couple of examples.

Hang in there gang. Know that the RMLI is doing all it can with the resources available to it at this time. We legally can’t report on the work that continues on Engine 39, only Suffolk County can do that. The Museum is still in good financial shape, we have no debt, we continue to open during the season and mount new and exciting exhibits. We are maintaining our properties and buildings and continue to serve the visitors and residents of Suffolk County telling the story of railroading on Long Island.

I know that I usually throw a pitch for funds. That resource will always be necessary and welcome. Today, let me add a new plea. The Museums are closed for the season, we reopen Riverhead on Saturdays in March and both Museums open Saturdays and Sundays in May. Restoration work continues every Saturday, year round at Riverhead, weather permitting.

One day a month during our season, especially Sundays at Riverhead would be a help. Docents, tour guides, gift shop and model train operators; engineers and conductors for the World’s Fair Train are needed.

Knowledgeable volunteers who know diesel mechanics, steam fitting, welding, metal working and the like would be helpful all year long at Riverhead. We need you to help lead the volunteers who don’t know what to do in these areas.

If you are interested in volunteering in 2008, please contact Dick Horn at 631-757-5577 or via e-mail at [email protected] Now is the time to sign up, get training and be ready for the 2008 season! Together we will get the job done!

Thank you for the continued interest, do not give up on this Engine 39 Project or the Railroad Museum of Long Island.
de Don n2qhvRMLI
  by n2qhvRMLI
November 14, 2008

We are very happy to have the Engine 39 project moving forward again after a hiatus of several months. That being said, as with any major steam restoration project there is never enough money to do everything we need or want to do when we want to or need to do it. Engine #39 is no different and I have stated on numerous Forum threads the need for additional funding to complete the drive train, brake system and locomotive frame components. Donations large or small for this restoration project will always be appreciated.

As for when and where Engine #39 will run, or as “Dump the Air” cries out for: “Just stuff and mount this damn thing and be over with it,” it is too early to say. Nothing would satisfy me more that to watch “Dump the Air” eat a fedora, but the truth of it is he may be six feet under before another generation may have to call in the mark on that boast.

I personally, as a Trustee and as a historic preservationist, have come to view the restoration and historic rescue of this locomotive as something more than a RMLI/Long Island thing. Currently there are no operating G5s locomotives anywhere. Engine 35 and Engine 39 are the best candidates to be a live fire breathing G5s. The importance of that design locomotive can not be underestimated. It was a short hop freight hauler for the Pennsylvania Railroad and its quick pickup characteristics made her a superb choice for passenger service on Long Island. Designed and constructed at the Pennsy Altoona Shops, this is one of the premier locomotives of the Pennsylvania system from the 1920’s through the “end of steam.” A workhorse. For future generations of Long Islanders and Pennsylvanians to come, a Pennsy designed G5s must be put back to work.

I do not lightly comment on “generations.” We are all getting older. The truth of it is many people who began work on restoring Engine #39 in the early 70’s have already “caught the westbound.” Men who were active mechanics at Riverhead through the 1970’s and 1980’s have grown weary and no longer have the strength to turn the wrench. Others who carried the restoration torch, turning a wrench during the 1990’s and filing for the $800,000.00 ISTEA grant have moved on to other jobs and locations throughout the country. In yet, to this day, there are those that still dream and plan for the day Engine #39 builds steam and turns a wheel. And I know some young men, (and maybe a young woman or two), who will keep the dream alive, carrying the torch into this 21st Century to “git ‘er done!”

Who am I, or who are you, to say this project will not get done? Who are we to say “but this engine’s, like some other things, time has came and went.” There are those who couldn’t “give a damn” for steam. I know some that think the only thing that should run on rails today should have a diesel under the hood. I respect their opinion, but as long as there are those who will strive to keep the steam engine alive for historic purposes, for the sake of not loosing another “art,” for teaching this country’s population about how its nation was built and the wonder and importance of the industrial age in America, I say we go for it and do all we can to save and restore what we can. And that includes LIRR Engine #39.

Let us not be naysayers. Let us not waste our precious time typing negative threads and trying to figure out what the “powers to be” know and are doing. You can not begin to fathom it and the “powers to be” are going to maintain a certain level of confidentiality in this litigious world we live in. The “powers to be” are diligent in their efforts to make this restoration a reality. That said; get behind the work being done at RMLI on Engine #39 and at the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum on Engine #35. It is important historical work and deserves support. If you know of philanthropic avenues we can approach, offer them up. Instead of crying and fuming on the Forums, have a bake sale and send the project a few dollars. Sound funny? I’m not kidding; every dollar we can put toward the project makes a difference.

OK, I’ll get off my soap box now.

My next visit to Strasburg will be over the weekend of October 18 and 19. I will prepare a report first for the RMLI Trustees and then offer up those observations to the Forum in the weeks following. Sometime in late November or early December the Trustees of the Museum hope to make a one day trip down to view the progress of work on the boiler. Maybe, by then, we will have some exciting news about additional funds that have come in to keep the restoration on track. With your collective support and hard work, it may be so.

That’s all for now on #39.
de Don n2qhvRMLI
  by nyandw
n2qhvRMLI wrote:July 14, 2007

Boy Scout Tony Breese, working on his Eagle Scout project, along with his entire troop, has cleaned and restored the Greenport turntable pit. After days of cleaning and landscaping the pit, yards and yards of GeoTex were spread and several inches of bluestone have been put down across the entire crater! It is beautiful and a work to behold. de Don, n2qhvRMLI
Thank you for the updates. As an Eagle Scout having had to complete an Eagle project, also, Tony has so well executed his, he should be very proud. As follows:

Photos 05/08/78 from Mike Kubiak of CSX that I stitched into a single photo.

http://www.trainsarefun.com/lirr/turnta ... ntable.htm 30% down the page: Greenport Turntable Section


Before: 12/15/2004


After: 2006

I bring this up as: I requested additional information via email, photos, dates, etc to give credit to Tony (his name was never mentioned, BTW) and received no reply. This is another issue RMLI needs to address. No replies = no $$$ in many cases. Basic marketing. Others have already had their say on the website.


BTW: http://www.trainsarefun.com/lirr/greenp ... enport.htm Is my Greenport site (with very visible RMLI links) that I should be able to post the current table status info on, also.
  by buxtonmach
Thankyou Don n2qhvRMLI for the enlightening updates .

I'm happy to see that work is progressing at RMLI afterall. Speaking for myself, I must say that I have been quite frustrated for the past several years because of the lack of information I was able to obtain on the museum and it's projects. It was not until recently that I discovered railroad.net which has in turn opened up a new world of information. It was from this frustration that I wrote my post, not with the intentions of it becoming a complaint, I was simply looking for some news and information, which I'm very happy to have received. I do feel that more can be done with the web site however.....in particular a mission statement spelling out the plans for the Riverhead and Greenport sites and the individual items in the collection.(as n2qhvRMLI has mentioned in this post} Also current maps of the two sites and proposed maps ( or renderings) of the facilities with the turntables and engine and car sheds installed would be helpful too. If you want to keep people interested you continually need to feed them new information.(And pictures are helpful too)

And OTTO....I disagree with you.....Publicity is needed.....Museums rely on the public, without them there would be no museums only privately held collections. If you want PEOPLE to come out and see what your all about, and donate their MONEY, and for the few, volunteer their TIME then they need to know that you exist and what your intentions are....that's where publicity comes into play. If publicity didn't matter than why does RMLI send out public relations announcements to close to 200 media outlets??? :wink: :wink: