Thank You Volunteers!
Merry Christmas Eve team,
As you can already tell, we're on a little break due to snow, and we will be off this weekend as well. But as we approach the end of this year, I wanted to send you all a note of appreciation.
This has been a remarkable year for Boonton Yard. Despite a months-long hiatus due to Covid, we still did a tremendous amount of work. That is a feat to be proud of. More importantly, we did that work safely, without incident, and without anyone getting sick as a result of their volunteering with us. That is the most we could ever ask for, but that's not the least of what we accomplished...
• This year started with the Raritan River 10. We took was was a rust hole-laden, roller paint job, and finessed it to a near-perfect finish. We have easily a few hundred hours in that job alone, and the work has paid off. Come the spring, we will start right off by debuting a finished restoration!
• The F7 salvage project has been arduous, but it has also been well worth the effort. We have helped out several museums by supplying hard-to-find parts, and we've brought in revenue for URHS that will go right back into the restoration of the rest of our collection.
• Certainly the most notable accomplishment has been the restoration of the Erie wreck crane. Only a few months ago, we couldn't even work with parts that we couldn't carry by hand. Today, we're capable of lifting the roof off of a locomotive. That is something most museums can't even say, and it is something to be grateful for. That is to say nothing of the fact that we've breathed new life into a noteworthy artifact, thanks especially to Erik's work.
• There are the dozens of smaller projects as well: totally cleaning our front yard, installing security lights, repairs to the Hickory Creek and 43, repairs to M&E 19, finally being rid of the box car, bringing home the Swift Car generator, and clearing a whole 500-foot siding to get ready for track work, just to name a few. There were so many hands on so many projects, and I wish I had the time to mention you all by name.
• And then there are the new folks we've picked up along the way. This volunteer list has grown tremendously. And new guys like Evan and Alex have not just become volunteers, but have become integral to the whole operation.
These accomplishments are important, not simply because the work was done, but because it demonstrates what we are capable of. If we can do all of that while working outside in the elements, imagine what can do as we build up out volunteer team and expand our resources.
2021 is going to be a huge year for us. We are finally going to be able to bring in the public to showcase the whole collection (at least key portion in Boonton). In URHS's 30+ years of existence, that has never happened. As equipment begins to return from Cape May Seashore Lines and Iowa Pacific, our showcase is going to become better and better.
The Hickory Creek and 43 will be back on the road next year. As you may have seen, we are already booked to be on the Autumn Colors Express in West Virginia in October. And once we know we can safely operate at full capacity, we will start scheduling Hudson River excursions out of New York City.
Also next year, we will be moving into our shop in Boonton. There are hurdles to overcome first, but finally having access to our building will be another paradigm shift in how URHS has worked for the past 30+ years. The day will soon come when we are not forced to base our work schedule on the weather or the time the sun sets. We will more than quadruple our space for tools and equipment. Most importantly, we are going to create a work environment that our volunteers deserve, and that helps us attract new talent.
It has been a hard year in so many ways, but we also have so much to be grateful for. Thank you, thank you, thank you all for your contributions this year.
See you in 2021.
President, United Railroad Historical Society of NJ
104 Morris Ave, Boonton, NJ 07005
~Ken :: Fairmont ex-UP/MP C436 MT-14M1 ::
Black River Railroad Historical Trust