At the Amherst Railroad Hobby Show (West Springfield, Mass., January 24-25, 2015), the Shore Line Trolley Museum was the proud recipient of two different grant awards with the same general end purpose: to restore Connecticut Co. suburban car 865 to trolley operation – this year! This 1905-vintage car was built by the Wason Car Co. (right there in Springfield) specifically for operation on the suburban lines of the New Haven Division, including the museum’s own F Line to Branford. We are pleased to be nearly finished with the restoration of this beautiful car with much local significance.
The Museum received the inaugural W. Russell Rylko Memorial Award from the Mystic Valley Railway Society. This $10,000 grant is named in honor of that organization’s founding and only president, who served for 43 years leading MVRS before his passing in 2013. SLTM is proud to accept this award and hopes it will help to honor Russell’s enthusiasm and life-long support for historic railway preservation. The funds will help fabricate and install new suspension bearings on the trucks of this car, which is the last major piece needed to return it to passenger carrying operation down the Branford Electric Railway. Accepting the award on Saturday afternoon was SLTM Director Nathan Nietering. Thank you MVRS!
The Museum also received grant funding from the Amherst Railway Society, as part of their annual railway heritage preservation awards program. Amherst has generously awarded grant funds to the Museum for the past several years to support several individual smaller projects to complete 865’s restoration. The funds which Amherst grants to organizations such as ours come primarily from the success of the annual Railroad Hobby Show, and other donations. This funding will be used to complete several small details which will enable the car to return to service this year. Accepting the award on Sunday afternoon was SLTM President Emeritus Bill Wall. Thank you Amherst Railway Society!
The overhaul of the car’s four Westinghouse traction motors and the new suspension bearings are the final “big-picture” items to make the car operational. The traction motors were all overhauled in 2014 as part of our FEMA motor restoration program, and are pending reinstallation under the car. We look forward to welcoming members of both organizations aboard car 865 later this year at the Shore Line Trolley Museum.