July 29, 2003
On July 29, Dick Ray, Charlie Roselius, Larry Ten Hoeve, and myself cut some more brush up on the M&NJ. The weather was beautiful. We arrived at the car barn at 8 am and did some minor work to get the brush cutter ready. We left started mowing right around 9 am. Heading north and using both the sickle bar and rotary mower we had no problems, other than the thick grass and weeds growing in the farm field south of Slate Hill.
We reached Slate Hill around 10:30 and decided to continue north until 11 am. We were able to continue mowing north all the way to Janie’s (McBride Road?) We turned the car just north of the crossing using our portable turntable.
Right at the appointed 11:00 am time we were already heading south. At Slate Hill we ran into a little snag with out rotary mower, but with some ingenuity and luck got it running again. The farm field was tough on the return trip too but we managed to get through it. About halfway between Lime Kiln Road and Johnson the A-5 decided to overheat. We figure it must be some of the cuttings that got passed our screens and got caught in the radiator are impeding the flow. After a few minutes that engine had cooled enough to continue back to the barn. We got back to Johnson exactly at 1 pm.
This was by far our best day of mowing, we cut about six miles total without any mechanical breakdowns. (From Chris V)
July 15 th, 2003
On Sunday afternoon Will, Bill Kenley (who I once worked with long ago and have not seen since!), and I mowed from Ford Lea Road to Lime Kiln Road with both mowers. The system is working better all the time. We do have some minor improvements and one repair to make before the next trip.
The briars are coming back at Lime Kiln Road and need some hedge trimmer work. Not surprising since we have done nothing up there in more than a year. A few hour’s work would hold them off for another year. I would like to invent a holder for one of the trimmers so that briars could be cut well back using the A5 platform. (From Dick Ray)
August 15, 2001
Sunday, August 12, 2001 was the annual M&NJRHS annual picnic at the Slate Hill, NY Fire Dept. Activity started at 800 AM at Johnson, NY with the departure of 6 motor cars for a trip to Middletown, NY. After turning the motor cars we returned to Slate Hill accompanied by the M&NJ engine & NYSW caboose. As the picnic commenced we gave motor car rides to picnic patrons from Slate Hill north to Janie’s & return. Joel Williams brought along his homemade hand car and gave rides south of Slate Hill. Participants in giving motor car rides & flagging US Route 6 were Charlie Roselius, Bill Smith, Charles Smith, K.C. Smith, Paul Trabert, Joel Williams and Chris Vitz. A good time was had by all.
July has been a great month for progress on not only clearing the M&NJ in preparation for the picnic on August 12th but also for the resurrection of Joel Williams and Dick Ray’s “brush hog”. With the help of Charley Roselius and Chris Vitz, Joel and Dick have returned the hog to service after over a decade of sitting in Joel’s yard. The hog made short work of clearing almost anything in it’s path on July 14th and 28th. A few engine problems slowed the progress but both days were a great success. Joel and Dick have graciously donated the car to us and for that and all their hard work we thank them. Now lets make a concentrated effort to re-open and keep open the M&NJ now that it is soooo much easier.
The M&NJRHS hosted a great picnic on Sunday August 13th at Slate hill, and we were invited to attend. The day started out with a group of our members meeting at Johnson to get the cars out of the barn or off their trailers for a run to Middletown to meet the train. Bill Smith, Bill Nelson, Charley Roseilus, Frank Eichenlaub, Ken Brown and his wife and Scott (?) along with 5 motor cars set off north at around 8:15am. They met K.C. Smith at Slate Hill and picked him up along with making contact with John Deserto of the M&NJRHS who had gotten the gates open and would help flag some of the crossings. It was a great run to Middletown where 3 more cars and the train awaited our arrival. Just after 10, M&NJ #2, a GE 44 Tonner, was fired up and after a little TLC by mebers Bill and K.C. Smith pulled the NYS&W #0117 caboose off the siding and headed south. A few photo stops were made enroute with an arrival at the picnic just a few minutes after 12, almost on time. A great spread was put out by the M&NJRHS guys and we filled up on all sorts of goodies. After lunch Harold , from the railroad, said it would be ok for us to give some short rides to the crowd and so we fired up the 8 cars and for the next few hours ran down the out of service track towards Johnson. It was great to listen to the people saying how much fun it was to get to ride the rails and we even gave them a little history lesson on motor car operations. Just after 5 the whole group got in place for the return North to Middletown behind the train. By the end of the day we had done 2 round trips to Middletown, given almost one hundred people the chance to see, learn about and ride in a motor car, met some old and new friends, had a great meal and had a fantastic time doing it all. We can’t wait for next year.
The following are 4 new rules that we have instituted for the operation of motor cars on the M&NJ.
1. The operation of motor cars on the M&NJ will not start until after 8 AM and will not end later than 8 PM or one half hour before sunset, which ever is more restrictive. The only exception is in the case of break down.
2. When stopping at any location for more than a few minutes all cars must be shut down.
3. When returning to Johnson to put the cars away or back on a trailer, all cars must be shut down prior to crossing Rt. 22 or reaching the container siding switch, depending on which way you are headed. All cars are to be pushed into the container or onto a trailer.
4.The excessive use the horn is prohibited at any time. Special note: The use of air horns around homes or cattle is prohibited except in the case of emergency.
We are instituting these rules so we can continue to enjoy our time on the M&NJ. Remember, the best rule to keep in mind at all times is to be smart and to be a good neighbor.
On June 8, we resumed our weekday schedule of work on the M&NJ. Todays session was attended by K. C. Smith, Joe Weber, Charlie Roselius and Paul Trabert. We concentrated on clearing trees and brush near the newly built bridge south of Langlitz Road. We managed to clear enough brush to bring our motor cars to Waterloo Road. We have met Waterloo and it is ours! While inspecting the tracks south of Waterloo Road, we met Earl Smith of the Minisink Township Highway Department. He told us to contact the Town Clerk, Carol VanBuren who is a member of the Minisink Museum Commitee. Paul Trabert talked to her, and she will contact the museum historian and will try to determine the date of the last train ride on the tracks south of Slate Hill, NY. Earl Smith has also agreed to move a highway speed limit sign which is very close to the tracks at the Waterloo Road crossing. Our next goal is Dickison Road. This will probably be our final destination, since immediately south of Dickison Road is a missing rail. The gap can be seen just south of the crossing.
On Sunday, May 7th, 2000 a large group went up to Westown NY to help finish off the filling of the washout south of Westown. Included in the party were (alphabetically) Allen Alloco, Marie Bartiromo, Jim Conklin, Walter Conklin, Frank Eichenlaub, Scott Samuel, Mark Schmitt, Gregg Seuss, Bill Smith, Charles Smith, K. C. Smith and Paul Trabert. The Woodings & the Fairmont were pressed into service as well as Frank’s Fairmont. The dump truck on tool car was brought down from Johnson and rerailed at Westown.
We then shoveled dirt from a pile left over from the breakthrough which was piled alongside the track and ferried it down to the washout. On the first return trip the dump truck/tool car derailed at an out of gauge rail and had to be rerailed. After 4 or 5 trips, we managed to fill the washout completely. This added about 2 more non-revenue ton-miles to our VRA operating statistics. After that we took the three motor cars south of Langlitz Road to inspect another washout which was discovered recently. This one measures about 20 feet long just below the rails and is about seven feet deep in the middle. This one will most likely be fixed with a bridge constructed using tree trunks and ties. On our way back to Westown we spotted a large turtle in the middle of the tracks just south of Westown. We carefully picked it up and moved it outside the rails so we would not injure it. As the motor cars passed the turtle, it snapped at our wheels. All equipment was returned to Johnson NY.