Summer Open House shortened by rain.
The long range forecasts of an "all day" rain event turned out to be wrong and we were able to satisfy our guests until the precipitation started to fall at about 3 o'clock.
Hosting an open house requires a good deal of prep work. Long before the first passenger boards the C&S a bevy of volunteers are busy preparing for the day. Despite it's size, when the Centerville and Southwestern Railroad equipment was designed and built over 50 years ago by Gene Becker, nearly all the components mimicked its full scale counterparts.... right down to the air-brake system originally designed by George Westinghouse in 1869. Our mechanical department performs pre-trip inspections to verify the essential systems on the engine and cars are working properly to insure the safety of our guests. If equipment is not working properly it is either repaired or a BO (bad order) is issued and it is removed from service. After the equipment safety checks are completed the train runs along our right-of-way from end to end multiple times to verify the integrity of the trackage. When all is deemed safe the train is moved to the platform for boarding.
While the mechanical department is conducting its tests, other volunteers are busy setting out signage, opening up the museum and setting out the benches for our guests. The protective panels covering the windows of the ticket booth (the very ticket booth that was on the Becker Dairy Farm in Roseland NJ) are removed and the ticket agent brings out the tickets and the Mike and Ike's we give to kids of all ages. A special shout out to "Just Born" in Bethlehem who generously donate this candy to us every year.
Despite the forecast, the open house started out to be an average late August day. After a week of high temps and very high dew points (well into the 70's) this day seemed quite bare able in comparison. The clouds and the mild breeze helped mitigate the heat.
We often have visiting equipment and / or displays to enhance the experience for our patrons. Local historian and PRRH member, Ron Luckock, brought a display of vintage photos of the Easton/Phillipsburg area for all to enjoy. Jim Danner, the Vice President of the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society brought his new rail car to run on our full size track. The North Jersey Electric Railway Historical Society was giving tours of Public Service trolley 2651 which is housed in our car shop.
We had a very special guest for this open house, Joe Iadanza was the head of the East Jersey Railroad and Terminal Company and was instrumental in our acquisition of the Tidewater Tank Car in 2005. Joe (right) paused for a quick picture with PRRH President Paul Carpenito.
We were keeping a close eye on the radar as the clouds thickened during the day. Just before three the word was given to start taking in all the signage and other items we put out in the morning. The C&S continued running until the rain started about 3 pm at which time it was put in the car shop and we called it a day. Ridership was on the light side for a summer open house but that was expected due to the forecast.
The Fall Festival is coming!
The big event of the year comes on October 22nd when we open in conjunction with the Phillipsburg Fall Festival. (aka The Pumpkin Festival) This is our biggest event of the year.
Don't miss our Santa Train!
Here's a formal invite to all you kids out there.... Our annual Santa Train is Saturday, December 3rd at 1 pm. Don't miss this joyous event. Our friends at the Phillipsburg Fire Department deliver Santa to our grounds in a fire truck with lights flashing and sirens blowing promptly at 1 pm. Santa will ride the first train then hob-nob with all the children for the rest of the event. The train will continue to run till 4 pm. Free cookies and hot chocolate for all, and gifts for the the little ones too. Dress accordingly as this event is outside.