Repairs for RRRR No. 10


Raritan River Railroad caboose No. 10 has been a part of the Tri-State collection since 1986. The caboose was restored by volunteers in 2013. However, insufficient repairs made by Conrail have recently warranted further repair to the caboose. After its last excursion, volunteers found evidence of water leaking through the roof. In late October, volunteers removed the ceiling to find much more damage than was anticipated. We surmise the leakage is due to the roof's lap-seam design, compounded by old moisture laden insulation and holes crudely patched by Conrail.

Our volunteers made quick work of removing the old ceiling and fiberglass insulation. Volunteers are currently working to stabilize the roof and replace the ceiling before next Spring.


Railroad Museum [for a day]

Tri-State's last public appearance for 2017 was at the United Railroad Historical Society of NJ's "Railroad Museum [for a day]". The event, which was held on Sunday, September 25, served as a showcase for not only the URHS collection, but Tri-State's as well. Tri-State shares space with URHS in Boonton yard, which is leased from NJ Transit.

Tri-State's M&E 19 and cabooses were half of the open exhibits at the event, and Tri-State's volunteers had the opportunity to display their hard work to the public. Check out the photos of the event below! (Hover over for captions).

Lackwanna 896's "Second Restoration"


The first of Tri-State's three operating cabooses to be refurbished, DL&W 896, has fared well since it was fully-restored more than 20 years ago. Its high-quality DuPont Centauri paint job was applied by a professional automotive painter and has stood up well to the weather. That, coupled with its fully-restored interior, working oil lamps and coal stove, and like-new replica upholstery, has made it the crown jewel of Tri-State's collection for the past two decades.

However, as for anything stored outside, nature takes its toll. Before 896 hit the road in September, it was time for some improvements. 896's windows, roof, trucks, and under-frame were starting to show their age, which is to be expected after years of hauling passengers. All of that was addressed this summer.

Tri-State ordered new glass to replace the faded Lexan plastic that came with the window frames when the caboose first restored. Lloyd Leone, Jeff Jargosch, and Richie King took on swapping out and sealing all the new glazing, purchased locally from Snow's Glass in Dover.  It was no simple task. Hours of tedious work were needed to remove the cupola windows and replace the glass once the frames were on the ground. The new "real" glass now stands no chance of fading and is far easier to clean... and you can see out of them.

The radio antenna on the roof had also fallen victim to age. Erik Stenzel re-fabricated a new post for the antenna and welded it back to the roof. It may be a small detail, but when the caboose was built with "RADIO" emblazoned on its sides and cupola, it is an important one.

Kevin Phalon, with some help and equipment from member John Nolan, repainted all of the black on the caboose: trucks, stairs, and under-frame (which was formerly a steam locomotive tender frame).

All of that work, along with a wax job of the whole car body, resulted in 896 looking almost as good as it did 20 years ago. This is all part of Tri-State's commitment to not just high standards of restoration, but high standards of maintenance for the duration of our equipment's life in preservation.

Tri-State at "Celebrate Rocakaway Borough"


Tri-State hosted more than 800 passengers at "Celebrate Rockaway Borough" on September 17. In conjunction with the borough of Rockaway, Tri-State was again invited to provide free caboose rides to visitors of this well-attended annual street fair. Over eight-hundred passengers were carried over the course of fourteen trips.

Following the free trips for visitors, Tri-State hosted a longer excursion for its members, which traversed several miles of the line. The train stopped for photographs at one of the seldom seen bridges over the Rockaway River, near the Route 46 overpass, and at the Rockway River crossing in downtown Rockaway at dusk.

Tri-State's all volunteer crew. Rear L-R: Mike Del Vecchio, Jeff Jargosch, Kevin Phalon, Richie King, Michael Kaplonski, and Jim Hager. Front L-R: Erik Stenzel, Andy Dick, Duncan Mara, John Nolan, Lou Capawana, and Barry Levitt. Absent: Matt Herman.

Tri-State's all volunteer crew. Rear L-R: Mike Del Vecchio, Jeff Jargosch, Kevin Phalon, Richie King, Michael Kaplonski, and Jim Hager. Front L-R: Erik Stenzel, Andy Dick, Duncan Mara, John Nolan, Lou Capawana, and Barry Levitt. Absent: Matt Herman.

This was a significant day for Tri-State in many respects. Thanks to the Dover & Rockaway River Railroad, this was Morristown & Erie 19's first time hauling passengers under Tri-State ownership. M&E 19, along with Tri-State's Raritan River 10, Lehigh & New England 580, and Lacakwanna 896, made for a train of exclusively organization-owned equipment. This is a claim that only two organizations in New Jersey, including our own, can make.




Cleaning the C-424

Before and after comparison photos.

Before and after comparison photos.

Morristown & Erie No. 19 spent nine years, and several sporadic occasions thereafter, in dedicated service at the Bayway Refinery in Linden, NJ. The dirty environment of the east coast oil refiner took its toll on No. 19's appearance. Years of grit and road grime accumulated atop the locomotive's 1988 paint job. The locomotive's bright, glossy red paint soon turned to a chalky, dull pinkish color.

Upon taking receipt of No. 19, and after accepting an invitation to attend RailFest 2017, Tri-State volunteers determined to give the engine a long overdue cleaning. The stubbornness of the Bayway grime necessitated a combination of degreaser, soap and water, scuffing, power washing, and a whole lot of determination. Slowly but surely, and inch by inch, the old red paint began to show itself. A thorough buffing with an industrial grade compound truly breathed new life into the old red paint. 

The locomotive's lettering was also worn and battered from years of exposure to the harsh elements. Tri-State retained Walter Myers, the man who lettered the locomotive in 1988, to touch up the lettering. Myers, a professional sign painter, repainted all of the lettering in a single day... and solely by hand!

We thank all of our dedicated volunteers who made the cleaning of M&E No. 19 possible.