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Nov - Dec 2010 newsletter = Roger Austin

Switch Engine Cab Brings Railroad History to Museum

On November 16, about 20 members plus newspaper and television reporters and many others watched as the last remaining piece of Rutland Railway steam power arrived at the Museum. In 1951, the Rutland’s switch engine 100 was scrapped, but the cab had been saved. It changed hands over the years and was finally acquired by Jerome Hebda, President of the Green Mountain Railroad Corp. Jerry donated it to the Museum. The early Rutland line is now owned by the Ogdensburg Bridge & Port Authority and leased to and operated by the Vermont Rail System. It runs along the south side of the Museum’s property.

The cab had been stored at the Vermont Rail System’s yard where it was prepared and loaded by the Riverside Reload Center on a truck from Knowlton & Son, Inc. provided by Mike Knowlton himself. The NY & Ogdensburg Railway provided local rail support. Chuck Goolden, Treasurer, and Jim McGraw, Collections Committee Co-Chair, were on hand to welcome the old cab and thank all those involved in the move. All their services had been generously contributed to the effort.

The Rutland Railway 100 was an 0-6-0 steam switch engine, built by Alco-Cooke of Patterson, NJ in 1907. It was finally retired at Rutland, VT in 1951. In 1952, Howard Nash purchased the rear firebox section, complete with cab and appliances, and trucked it to his farm in North Bennington, VT. After Nash died in 1960, the cab went to the Edaville Railroad Museum at South Carver, MA. With the closure of the museum in the early 1990s the 100 returned to Bellows Falls, VT, was abandoned, and sold to be junked. Hebda rescued the 100 from the scrap dealer. The cab lay stored and almost forgotten at the Riverside Reload Center for over 20 years, waiting to be restored.

The old cab is in advanced stage of deterioration. Hebda said he and other railroad history supporters feel lucky to find an organization willing to take on the project, saving her from certain destruction. The Museum will restore the cab and use it as a focal point in a new railroad history exhibit. The cab was 9’4” high, 9’10” long and 8’ 4” wide. The iron weighs 10,380 pounds not including the box of parts weighing about 500 pounds.

A Railroad Exhibit Committee is being formed. It needs volunteers with a wide range of talent including railroad historians, iron workers, wood workers, exhibit designers, and researchers. If you are interested, please contact coordinator Jean Tupper at (315) 386-2162 or email jean_tupper@yahoo.com. The Rutland Railroad Historical Society publishes a quarterly newsletter. Museum members who might like to see a sample issue of the NEWSLINER should write to the RRHS membership chair, Rich Getty, PO Box 6262, Rutland, VT 05701. All you need to do is identify yourself as a member of the St. Lawrence Power & Equipment Museum.

Development of a railroad history exhibit will fill a significant void at the Museum. The arrival of the railroad in the mid-1800s brought rapid and reliable transportation to countless towns, creating a period of remarkable commerce and industrial growth. Today, only the main lines remain.