Friday, July 11, 2008

The Law

Good morning People!

Well I am sad to have been informed. Due to Michigan law, I was removed from my position of Brakemen due to my age. It has saddened me, as the burning want to do railroading as it is stuck in me blood now.

I hope MOW is somewhat like it... though I do doubt... I liked it while my other job lasted.

Thanks guys!


Friday, June 27, 2008

Coopersville & Marne

Hey Folks!

Today Im gonna share information about the Coopersville and Marne. Taken from the website, so its a little easier on me :P

(From the C&M webpage)
A General History of C&M
"The Coopersville & Marne Railway Company was incorporated on July 13, 1989. The initial purpose of those involved was to purchase the old Grand Trunk right-of-way between the towns of Coopersville and Marne, just to the northwest of Grand Rapids. The idea was to preserve the track for future use and to provide vintage passenger service. The purchase was made on December 14, 1989. Most of the cost was covered by the sale of shares of stock in the Company.

The line has a long history. It was chartered as the Oakland and Ottawa Railroad Company on April 3, 1848. The purpose was to build a railroad from "Oakland via Fentonville to Lake Michigan in Ottawa County". The railroad was merged with the Detroit and Pontiac Railroad Company in 1855, and the name was changed to the Detroit and Milwaukee Railroad. The track through Marne and Coopersville was first laid down in the summer of 1858. The first train into Grand Rapids arrived there in June of 1858, with the first train into Grand Haven arriving there in September of that year.

There were some additional corporate changes, and in May of 1928 the railroad became part of the Grand Trunk Western Railroad Company. In 1987 the Central Michigan Railway Company purchased most of the line, and it is this company that sold the line to the Cooperesville and Marne. Later on the C&M Ry. also purchased the rest of the line from Marne into Grand Rapids.

The Coopersville and Marne Railway Company began operations on July 4, 1990, using a leased locomotive, a leased passenger car, and a borrowed caboose. The traffic that summer was enough to warrant obtaining the use of a second coach. In 1991 we leased a third coach, and in 1992 we leased one additional coach. We now have four coaches, with room for 300 passengers.

In 1993, in conjunction with the Coopersville Downtown Development Authority, we obtained a new train boarding area and a small depot, in downtown Coopersville.

Three of our coaches originally were commuter cars, two from the East Coast (DL&W), and one from the Canadian National Railroad. The coaches are heated in the cold weather, and cooled by opening the windows when it is warm. Plans are in the works for air conditioning in some of the cars. The coaches are restroom equipped for passenger convenience.

Our train usually is pulled by a 125 ton General motors SW9 switcher locomotive, number 7014. This locomotive had been owned by the Grand Trunk Western Railway and served in Battle Creek, Michigan. The 1200 horsepower diesel engine turns a generator, which feeds electricity to the traction motors, which are geared to driving wheels. As much as possible, we stress vintage operation of the equipment, including proper dress for members of the train crew.

Our operation is carried out for the most part by volunteers. These people must complete an appropriate training program before they may participate as a member of the train crew. Other volunteers help us with track work, equipment maintenance, ticket sales, painting, and the like.

During the summer months, we run regular trains on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Prior to Easter, we run our Bunny Trains on Saturdays. Other theme trains are the Troop Trains for Memorial Day, the Great Train Robbery, The Famous Pumpkin Train, and The Santa Train. And, of course, throughout the year we run our charters for a variety of groups for a variety of reasons.

The Coopersville & Marne Railway does run some freight service. At the present time we contract with the Grand Rapids and Eastern Railroad for handling our freight service.

As you look around our property in downtown Coopersville, you will see some other equipment. We do have a smaller back-up locomotive, a wrecking crane, some cabooses, and various track equipment to help us keep our track in shape. We even have a switch tower, which was moved to Coopersville from Greenville, Michigan, and restored. You may even spot a steam locomotive (not running)!

We hope that if you're in the area, you'll stop by and ride with us. If you've already ridden with us, we hope you enjoyed the trip!"

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A New Era

Hey folks!

This is my official last post for this blog, I wont surrender it over, nor will it jsut 'disappear' but it will change to something new. The official blog of Former VMoT man: Connor D. :), So you all can stay in touch and know what Im doing.BUT to start... I got a new railroading job, as a trainee Brakeman for the C&M, or Coopersville and Marne Railway company. It is fun, exciting, and keeping history alive, in a way I was unable to for the VMoT (That does not mean it is better... NOT BY A LONGSHOT!)I hope you all stay in touch with me :) post comments, come visit, do wahtever :) Ill get shots of it one of these days :D

Thanks Guys,
C&M Brakeman
Former Yardmaster/Intern Curator of VMoT

PS: If you ever need anything I can answer about the museum (Both C&M and VMoT) Im still able to do that, not so much in person anymore, but i still might be able to get the help you need :)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The End of the Line

I must sadly say... On march the 31st, of 2008, I officially leave the museum as Yardmaster, and Intern Curator. I am forced to move with my family to Grand Rapids, Michigan. I will miss everyone here, ill stay in touch if you wish, Ill see what i can post... maybe random historical articles... and such... I am the senior volunteer of the museum, im the last from before Bev came into the museum as Director, and will be the last, before another steps into my place. I wish all who came in contact with me happy lives, many best wishes. I wish to stay in touch with each and every one of you, ill answer questions all i can, and so on.

It has been my Honorable Pleasure, to serve each and everyone of you, over the two years of dedicated service to the Museum, and for what it stands for. I hope the museum well, and hope it will continue into the future, teaching all those, who i once vowed to teach. I hope someone good replaces me, if anyone, as the museum really needs a workman for their yard and archives. I hope them well.

It has been, and always will be my pleasure to serve you, those who still read and ask questions ;)
Your faithful yardmaster,

PS: ill end my reign, with some posts here ;) just had to post this ahead of time

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Lost Engines of Roanoke

-bows- I am back ladies and Gentlemen, i must aplogize for my absence, and am happy to post that i am back.

Today's post, (More to come, i owe you all snow cat pics :) )

Is on the Lost Engines of Roanoke.... This is the story of two diesels and 4 steam engines, lost to the scrap torch, only to sit quiet in their resting place till we received ownership of them.

(Thank you to for the article below)

The Norfolk & Western Railroad is perhaps most famous for its mighty articulateds, the A and Y6 classes. However, in the early years of the 20th century, the majority of N&W's freight trains were pulled by humble 2-8-0 and 4-8-0 types. The engines in the Roanoke scrapyard are the last surviving examples of three classes of freight engines built for the N&W between 1901 and 1911; the W2 class 2-8-0, and the M2 and M2a class 4-8-0's.

The grand old lady of the scrapyard engines is no. 917, a W2 class 2-8-0 built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia in 1903. She was delivered to the Norfolk & Western on March 10 of that year. The first engines of this class were built in 1901 in Roanoke, and others came from Alco-Cooke and Alco-Richmond as well as from Baldwin. The last ones were built in 1905. Only no. 917 survives today. She arrived at the Virginia Scrap Iron & Metal Company yard on June 16, 1950, and has been there awaiting her fate ever since.

For most railroads, the next logical step up from the 2-8-0 was the 2-8-2 'Mikado' type, but not for the Norfolk & Western. Instead, they went with the 4-8-0, also known as the 'twelve-wheeler' or 'mastodon' type, starting with the M class in 1906. Although they weren't the only railroad to use 4-8-0's, the Norfolk & Western did have more engines of this type than any other railroad. The M2 class engines were essentially a large-boilered version of the earlier M class, and were the heaviest 4-8-0's ever built. The first fifty engines (nos. 1100-1149) were built by Baldwin in 1910. Engine no. 1118 was delivered to the Norfolk & Western on September 29 of that year, and fellow survivor no. 1134 arrived in October. In 1911, another eleven engines (nos. 1150-1160) were built to the same design by the N&W's own Roanoke Shops, sporting a number of improvements such as Baker valve gear and mechanical stokers. The first of these were designated class M2a. This included no. 1151, which was delivered on June 6, 1911. Later engines of the Roanoke batch included other refinements and were designated class M2b and M2c. Most notably, the M2c class featured Type A superheaters, making them the first superheated 4-8-0's on the N&W. The M2a's and M2b's were then upgraded to match the M2c's, and thus all eleven Roanoke-built M2's were eventually designated class M2c.

Originally, the M2's were intended as heavy freight engines, but were soon displaced by larger engines and relegated to local freight and switching duties. By 1950 they were among the oldest engines on the N&W roster. With the delivery of modern 0-8-0 switchers in the late 1940's and early 50's, many of the elderly M2's and M2c's became surplus to requirements. All of them were sold for scrap, the last ones going in 1957. The modern 0-8-0's that had replaced them would join them only a few short years later, victims of dieselization. The M2's that survive today in the Roanoke scrapyard had been among the first ones sold. M2 no. 1134 and M2c no. 1151 both arrived there on June 12, 1950, joined by no. 1118 a week later. Although two of the smaller M class engines survive in preservation (no. 433 as a park engine in Abingdon, VA, and no. 475, also a VSI&M scrapyard survivor, in steam on the Strasburg Railroad), none of the M2's or M2c's have been preserved... yet.

(end of the article)

BUT! A new day is dawning, since 1950, all four steam engines, have sat, saved from the scrappers torch. They sit quietly awaiting their fate on a old trestle, next to a Norfolk Southern main. Below are pictures i took for the Museum archives records.

*Above* The four steam engines, sitting quietly in their resting place, along with two diesels, and two aux. water tanks.

*Above* This picture contains the grain mills, two aux. water tenders, and the cab of one, of the two diesel engines.

Here are the rest of those photos!

Your yardmaster,

Im back!

After a long, and hard few months, ive come back to the Blog, i must aplogize for my disappearance. As ive been busy, and family, and with work related things. Im gonna get a post up today, about 'The Lost Engines of Roanoke'


Friday, December 7, 2007

Funny thing happened when I was at Work today....

Well today we received an interesting piece of history, painted orange, A Snow Cat, I plan to get photos and things next time i get to work, its a nice looking piece of history, which i believe is going to be running so enough!

Ill be back later today with pics and more info!