The Danbury Railway Museum Needs Your Help!!!
The Danbury Railway Museum Needs Your Help!!!
In June of 2013, the museum took ownership of two early American electric locomotives landlocked on Beacon Island in upstate New York. Beacon Island (no longer a real island) is situated just South of Albany, in Glenmont, right along the Hudson River. It’s home to a PSEG Natural Gas Power Plant, and neighbors The Port Of Albany, the port is just on the other side of Normans Kill.
How You Can Help:
The project cost is estimated to be in the upwards of $160,000 for the move alone. Our museum has received pledges of financial support, but the true final cost is unknown at this time, especially when we factor the cosmetic restoration of the locomotives. In-kind donations in the form of headlights, and bells are also appreciated as many railroad employees and collectors are known to have saved many such items when the units were retired.
We have kept many aspects of this exciting project under wraps for some time as to not draw attention to their location, but feel overwhelmingly confident given developments in the last few months that now is the right time to pull back the curtain. Given our museum’s proximity to the New York Metropolitan area and established collection of commuter equipment, we are confident these pieces will feel at home in our railyard. We have been offered an unsecured loan by a very generous benefactor to move these two locomotives, we are of course expected to pay this back and will continue to work to do so after the move, during the restoration, and after they have been placed on display here in Danbury.
The technology pioneered by these locomotives is reminiscent of what’s happening in our country now, not only when it comes to electric automobiles, but also public transportation. This trend is only amplified by the purpose of the facility to be built where the locomotives lay now adjacent to the power plant.
We ask for your donation to help preserve Americas industrial heritage, help us understand the past better so that we may look forward, and help close the circle of life of the train that left Danbury and was rear ended 120 years ago in New York City.
Photos from Alan Gruber, NYCSHS
December 10, 2022 Update
We are still very much looking for a way to move them and something will likely be decided in the next few days. If the dollars make sense, we can see them moved to a temporary storage area on December 20th. The first part of the rescue has significant funding. The question is will it be enough. The electrics get stored until the new access road is built . As of now, all donated money and some money from the museum reserves will be used for this portion of the move. Additional money is still needed unless we can find a way to do it more inexpensively.
Right now the Port of Albany development of the land the electrics sit on is 6 months behind and a couple hundred million dollars over budget. This is a multi national development to build off shore wind turbines that must be completed by the end of 2023. A lawsuit by local residents after they saw 80 acres of land cleared led to a lot of scrutiny of permits on the state and federal level. With work now resumed, the electrics are in the worst possible for location near where a new access road comes into the site and on the footprint of a 600,000 square foot building. This is a brown site if there ever was one with 2,000,000 tons of fly ash from the power plant dumped there from 1950 to 1980. To address this, 37,000 truckloads of stone need to be brought in to compress the ash. And they can’t work around the locomotives.
We had hoped to be able to move and load with sidewinders and go through the power plant. The owners of the plant were okay, but not the owners of a high pressure gas line that would have to be crossed. They wanted temporary bridging. The Port needed this road more than we did for delivery of building components that are now shipping. They needed to secure 90 acres of off site storage since actual construction which was suppose to start in October will be be started in late winter. Because we now have to wait for the access road, there is an additional cost for cranes. We could not used cranes to move them because they are very close to National Grid overhead power lines. The Port has the same problem. I think I heard the the lines re actually going to be raised but not in time for us.
In the next 48 to 72 hours, I hope to know about additional funding.
December 23, 2022 Update
The first taken by Jeff Van Wagenen shows the site on November 14th. The next shows the the site on Monday the 19th. That day there were 70 dump trucks being used to deliver stone, constant movement. In all, 37,000 truckloads are estimated to be needed. Evident in this photo are the overhead power lines that prevented us from getting a crane in and white vent pipes for the underground high pressure gas lines. By the way, the old D&H spur that the trains sat on was converted to the inbound access road. Third photo by Dave Pickett shows the electrics on swamp mats in the storage area. The last two are move photos. Hulcher was our contractor for the move.
February 10, 2023 Update
We are going to need more funding and awareness. Below is a photo of how the site looks today. We need to have some type of road built to get a crane and the trucks in. The manicured stone in the background is the surcharge on the footprint of one of the buildings. It is there for the sole purpose of compacting the fly ash down. Once that is complete, it will be stripped away and used elsewhere. But it could certainly be used for our purposes. Otherwise we are looking at a lot of mats. I am standing on the approximate spot where they were for years. That is not part of the south access road to the site.
To read the details of this project and what has been accomplished so far:
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