Well I can honestly say I did not think I would be back as a VP of the VRA, but I am looking forward to assisting Justin and the rest of the board to help lead the group for the next year. Having been a member for all of the 20 years the VRA has been in existence I can tell you that this year we are going to have the chance to get involved in some of the best projects we have ever done. I look forward to as much participation from our existing members as we can get and to all the new members we attract along the way.
We have a number of projects coming up in the coming weeks and months that will keep us busy, the first one being the May 11th and 12th National Train Day event on the CMSL that we are running to benefit the URHS and VRA. I know it’s late in the game, but we need all the volunteers we can get to make this weekend event go smoothly and I hope many of you can come out and help. Complete information can be found elsewhere in this issue or contact our co-chairs, Carolyn and Justin for more information.
One of the ongoing efforts is to complete the restoration of our Lehigh and New England 40B motorcar. Steve Gerritsen, Frank Ball, Kevin Phalon and others are working to finally get this car completed. The goal is to have the car done well before the URHS Boonton Open House, which is scheduled for September 22nd. In addition we have work to do on our A5 Brush car, which had an engine failure, and also on the A3 and the Fairmont Brush car we bought from the Middletown and New Jersey. Anyone who would like to volunteer on these cars should send an e-mail to our main address, firstname.lastname@example.org or call the station at 973-238-0555 and say you want to volunteer.
The major new item is that we have been asked to help manage the volunteers for The Stourbridge Line excursions that will hopefully start running in the fall over their Honesdale to Lackawaxen line. This will not only give our existing members a brand new opportunity to get their “hands dirty” it will also give us the opportunity to grow as an organization and pass along all the knowledge we have gained over the many years we have been operating trains to a new group of people. Because the effort to bring back the trains is a work in progress there is nothing firm that we can say regarding timing or what volunteer opportunities may exist but as soon we know something firm we will be sure to post the information to our web site and Yahoo group.
Speaking of our web site, I want to thank Mike O’Toole for all the work he has done and continues to do on vratrips.org and all the sub-sites that we maintain. In today’s electronic world our web presense is probably our most important tool to reach not only our members, but also the general public.
Another project we really need to get on is the landscaping at Hawthorne Station. A number of members have begun the process to not only update the landscaping, but also get the pathway with the personalized bricks and benches in their permanent places. We also have a few loose ends to tie up with the bricks around the station foundation and also the drainage issues that have developed. With the longer days of spring and even longer days of summer ahead of us, we should be able to do much of this work during the week after work.
A schedule of work days will be posted on our web and Yahoo pages as early as possible so you can reserve a few days to come out and help. Many of you already know this, but we are constantly told by residents and officials of Hawthorne, that the station is the best thing that has happened in Hawthorne in a long time. We need to make sure that we keep up the station and property so we can continue to be a bright spot in the center of town.
In closing I want to thank everyone who has helped make the VRA what it is today, it is my privilege to have worked with you all in the past and I look forward to many more years of being part of the best rail group I know.
Now let’s get our hands dirty,