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.

M&E 19's Trip to RailFest

In partnership with the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, PA, the Tri-State Railway Historical Society agreed to send Morristown & Erie No. 19 to the park's annual RailFest event. The locomotive departed Boonton Yard on August 28, 2017. No. 19 was picked up by Norfolk Southern H02 as part of a special move to Washington, NJ. The following day, the engine was picked up by Norfolk Southern H-65 and taken to Allentown, PA. On August 31, No. 19 traveled with Norfolk Southern H-76 to Portland, PA where it was handed off to the Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad for transport to Scranton. The D-L delivered No. 19 to Steamtown in the late evening of Friday, September 1.

Tri-State at RailFest 2017

Tri-State was a proud participant at RailFest 2017. The event, sponsored by the Steamtown National Historic Site, was held in Scranton, PA on September 2 and 3, 2017. Tri-State sent Morristown & Erie No. 19 to RailFest as the event's only visiting locomotive.

After the 5-day-long trek to Scranton, 19 arrived at Steamtown no a moment too soon, at 11pm on Friday night. Early Saturday morning, before the event began, 19 could be found still in-consist on Delaware Lackawanna's train from the night before. The morning DL expeditiously handed the engine off to Steamtown.

As the event began, and throngs of attendees entered the park, visitors were treated to the surprise of seeing No. 19 moving into the roundhouse under its own power. 19 spent all of Saturday and Sunday on display between Steamtown's Illinois Central steamer and O&W Railway Historical Society's 44-Tonner No. 105.

Lackawanna 663 poses alongside Mattes Street Tower in Scranton. Photo courtesy of Dennis Livesey

Lackawanna 663 poses alongside Mattes Street Tower in Scranton. Photo courtesy of Dennis Livesey

19 wasn't Tri-State's only contribution to the event. DL&W No. 663 made a triumphant return to RailFest - as an operating locomotive - after a three year absence. The locomotive hauled caboose hops, positioned static displays, and served as a star subject of the night photo shoot. 

Tri-State's Steve Falco, Kevin Phalon, Richard King, and Diana Hassa greeted throngs of visitors at the group's table. Many people expressed their pleasure with Tri-State's efforts and M&E 19's visit to the park. 

At the end of the event, 663 was used by the cleanup crew to deliver 19 back to the Delaware Lackawanna. Again, as visitors looked on, Tri-State's two locomotives met for the first time, as 663 pulled 19 off of the turntable. Before leaving for the day, Steamtown's crew took the time to pose Tri-State's locomotives together for a photo finish that Tri-State members will not soon forget.

CANCELLED - Tri-State Train Show

This has been a busy year for the Tri-State Railway Historical Society. We've restored Lackawanna F3A #663 to operation at Steamtown National Historic Site, and made great strides towards the restoration of our Erie bay window caboose #C330. With overwhelming public support, we were able to purchase and repair Morristown & Erie C-424 #19, thereby preserving the first operating diesel locomotive in New Jersey in over two decades.

However, the Tri-State Train Show has not been met with the same level of public enthusiasm. Despite enhanced efforts by our events team, responses to our advertising for both attendees and dealers/vendors have been very weak. 

As an organization, Tri-State believes in doing everything 110%. Running our train show with a lack of dealers, attendees, or support would be a detriment to our hobby and Tri-State's mission. As a result, Tri-State's board has made the difficult decision to postpone the Tri-State Train Show until further notice.

Please direct any questions to info@tristaterail.org.

Lackawanna 663 Fired Up: Part 2

Early this summer, Tri-State fired up DL&W F3 No. 663 for the first time in two years after a substantial rebuild. Since then, Steamtown staff and Tri-State volunteers have worked on finishing touches before putting the locomotive back in service.

For volunteers, this meant the little details: Replica builders plates, thanks to Rich Jahn of Anthracite Railroads Historical Society, were installed. The flag holders were put back on (with a placement unique to Lackawanna F units). Aluminum-cast rear door steps were replaced with replicas, again thanks to Rich and ARHS. Some rust and and weathering was removed and the body was cleaned and waxed. The cab seats, which have seen more than their fair share of use, were removed and restored. Volunteers repainted the seat frames, and the cushions were reupholstered by Winfield Upholstery of Lake Hopatcong, NJ. (See below for photos).

With its excursion schedule delayed by contract negotiations, Steamtown National Historic Site began its excursion season in mid-July. On July 29, No. 663 was test-run for the first time with ARHS's 664. The following Monday, 663 went out on the "Scranton Limited" train rides for its first trip of the season. Steamtown expects both 663 and 664 to haul excursions for the rest of the Summer and Fall after 663 is broken in and okayed for road service.

Check out the photos below by NPS Ranger Tim O'Malley:

More photos of the restoration process: