Hello VRA Members,
As you are all aware, this has been a very slow time for the VRA. The group has seen a
severe decline in participation, which has snow-balled into fewer events. With limited
volunteers, there are a handful of people trying to get everything accomplished, and that
handful can only take on so much. The Executive Committee has been wracking our
brains to try to come up with things to increase interest and involvement in the group
again, but WE NEED YOUR HELP!
This organization has been one of the most successful and prolific groups in NJ for
many years. We have made significant contributions to the restoration of equipment as
well as the preservation of our NJ railroad history since our creation in the early 1990’s.
We need to find ways for this to continue.
Below is a blurb about the NYS&W Boxcar #402 in Boonton. The VRA has decided to
restore this artifact for various reasons, but with one big goal in mind: Regaining the
involvement of our members. The loss of our motorcar trips took a toll on our
members in a lot of ways. We had hoped that a project involving full size equipment
would interest some of our members who weren’t as thrilled with staffing Santa and
Easter trains. Not everyone enjoys the same aspects of our hobby, so diversity in our
focus is sorely needed.
I am making the following request to ALL VRA Members – SEND US YOUR IDEAS!
The entire board’s email addresses are at the bottom of this newsletter. My personal
phone number is 862-763-0508 – if you don’t email then please call me! Leave me a
voicemail if I cannot answer. We need any idea, no matter how big, small, far-fetched
or crazy it may sound. Think out of the box! Reach out any way you would like to, but
please reach out to us!
As we move into 2016, let’s ALL make this a rebuilding year for our organization.
I look forward to hearing from you!
The VRA has chosen to continue something it has been doing for quite a few years
now, to support the efforts of the United Railroad Historical Society. Also, in relation
to our NYS&W Hawthorne Station home, we have decided to adopt the NYS&W #402
boxcar, owned by the URHS, and located in their Boonton Restoration Yard. With this
project, we continue our long tradition of seeing restoration projects take hold and see
through to the end. Work parties will be scheduled and held in Boonton and emails will
go out anytime a work session is held. So come out to Boonton for a work session and
have some fun with your fellow VRA members!
As many of you are already aware, NJ Transit has drastically increased the costs to charter a train. Add to that the costs of toys and giveaways, costumes (either rental or purchase as ours are tired to say the least), food for the volunteers, ticketing costs, advertising, etc. and we come out of it with very little profit. As was mentioned above, the lack of interest from our volunteers makes staffing the train extremely difficult as well. With all these things considered, we have decided not to run a Santa train this year and revisit the costs for Easter. This does not mean we are sitting idle however! Currently, we are looking into hosting a Pancake Breakfast – location and time to be determined soon. Keep an eye on the Yahoo group as well as the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/VolunteerRailroaders) for upcoming information!
Saturday, December 5 th (Times to be Announced)
Hawthorne’s annual Santa parade which ends at the Library. We will have the station open as a Toys for Tots collection site, with snacks available.
Saturday, December 12 th – NYS&W Run
Times will be released shortly. We’ve had to rearrange some dates, but the train will stop in Hawthorne that morning!
Dec. 5 th – M&E Flanders, Dover, Rockaway, etc.
Dec, 6 th – Kuiken Bros. Lumber, Succasunna
Dec. 13 th – M&NJ Warwick to Walden
Our annual Santa Claus Train Ride returns to Glen Rock this year on November 29, 2014. Once again we will be running 4 trains at 9 am, 11 am, 1 pm and 3pm. Positions are open for Car Hosts, Elves, Santa, other costumed characters, and parking lot staff.
Signs and banners are going out over the last week, along with paper fliers. More fliers will be available at the station for anyone who can put them out.
A big thank you to KC & Carol Smith for running all over with banners the weekend of November 1!!
The walkway at 80 Royal Avenue is completed and looks fantastic. Unfortunately we have had a few of our bushes die due to the transplant, but they can be replaced. Downes Tree Service has offered mulch to us, free of charge, we just need to come pick it up. This will be used down either side of the walk.
Continuing the theme, we will have a workday on Saturday, November 15, beginning at 9 am. KC Smith as head of the Hawthorne Station Committee will be leading the day’s efforts. Hopefully the building can be power washed, the windows cleaned, and the interior cleaned in preparation for the upcoming holiday events.
After the work session we will have our 4th quarter membership meeting at 7 pm. Being that it is the last meeting of 2014, we will need to begin identifying candidates for the Executive Committee as well as one Board of Directors position.
On Sunday, September 21, 2014 the URHS held its (now) annual Transportation Heritage Festival in the Boonton Yard. Once again, the event was a resounding
success! This year the URHS unveiled the New York Central 4083 in beautiful Century Green, the last surviving engine of its kind to ever wear the color. Also new this year are the restored GG-1 #4879 and a former hospital car from the US Air Force Strategic Air Command hospital car.
The SAC Car was used all day by Bill McKelvey for various movies and presentations. Visitors also enjoyed tours through the NYC #43 and world-famous Hickory Creek cars, as well as several other pieces of equipment throughout the yard.
On the evening before the URHS sold spaces for a special nighttime photo shoot in the yard. Attendees got a sneak peek at the new equipment and the chance to take unique photos lit buy various means.
As many of you may have seen already, the URHS also welcomed home #3372 after a long time away. The last U34CH made its way to Boonton on October 29 to be restored there. Fundraisers are ongoing for this project. Shirts with the project’s logo are available for purchase as well as other levels of patronage are available at http://urhs.org/
Operation Toy Train kicks off again on December 6 th with a trip up the NYS&W from Rochelle Park to Butler. The train will be parked in Hawthorne from 10:20 am to 11:00 am that morning.
Also that day is Hawthorne’s Santa Parade through town. The parade kicks off at 10 am and should be finishing near the Station at about 10:45. We are speaking with the Chamber of Commerce to find the best way to tie the two events together.
Donation of toys can be made at any of the stops listed here!
Also keep an eye out for news on upcoming projects! I am going to start using the Yahoo group HEAVILY for announcements and events. If your email is not updated please do so.
The VRA has some exciting things coming our way… Stay tuned!
Thank you all,