Record Setting Success at 25th Annual Santa Train

Tri-State operated its twenty-fifth Santa Train out of Wayne, NJ on December 9, 2017. Over 2,000 people, including parents and children, were treated to a 45-minute ride with Santa, elves, carolers, and a host of characters over NJ Transit’s Montclair Boonton Line. The Santa Train is Tri-State’s largest annual fundraiser, enabling the organization to fund operations, equipment restorations and maintenance, and events. 2017’s train was the most successful one of the last five years.

A light snowfall throughout the day blanketed the scenery and framed a most joyous, happy day. Each child received a special gift from Santa, a candy cane, and coloring book. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the Grinch, Snoopy, and Olaf the Snowman greeted families and posed for pictures.

Our train was staffed by a team of over fifty volunteers. Who are these folks? They are from all walks of life, including: a nurse, a pipe fitter, a hairdresser, a news cameraman, a painter, a professional ballet dancer, accountants, lawyers, and railroaders. Some of them were with us for the first time and some have been with Tri-State for decades. A great abundance of thanks is owed to all of them.

Tri-State's Holds First Year-End Dinner

Tri-State celebrated the successes of 2017 by holding its first "Year-in-Review Dinner" at Boonton Station 1904 on December 14. More than 50 of Tri-State's members filled the restored Lackawanna train station, now a restaurant and bar, to enjoy dinner, to look back on the last year's major projects and events, and to honor members and volunteers who were most instrumental to Tri-State's success in 2017.

Certificates of Appreciation were awarded to top donors to the organization. Those members included Eugene Graber, Andrew Dick, Leon Moreau, John Quinlan, and Brian Alesin. An award was also presented to Liberty Historic Railway, for their generous grant gifted to Tri-State which was used to purchase Morristown & Erie 19. 

The organization's first "Youth Volunteer of the Year Award" was presented to newcomer Matthew Herman, who had the highest number of volunteer hours of any Tri-State volunteer under the age of 18.

Lifetime Membership awards, inscribed with, "In recognition of your meritorious service to Tri-State Railway Historical Society and your enduring effect on the organization," were given to two long-time members and supporters of Tri-State. The awards were presented to Mark Krisanda, who donated his Erie C330 bay window caboose to Tri-State, and to William McKelvey, who's generosity was instrumental is Tri-State's acquisition of M&E 19.

View the gallery below for pictures of the event and this year's award recipients!


Tri-State Works with College Students

Part of Tri-State's mission is to be an active part of the community and provide educational experiences. Tri-State, in partnership with Alpha Kappa Psi Fraternity, the world's oldest and largest professional business fraternity, sponsored the case competition for the new AKPsi members at the Ramapo College of New Jersey. The case was to develop a marketing plan for an upcoming project for Tri-State.

Richard King, Tri-State's Treasurer, is a brother of the fraternity and served as educator for the new AKPsi members. King detailed Tri-State's operations and mission, and served as a liaison between Tri-State and the fraternity. It was the job of the students to conduct research and analysis into Tri-State's industry. Four different teams, comprising a total of thirteen students, gave detailed and comprehensive proposals. 

  • The M. J. Partnership
    • Michael Ward '19
    • Jason Spencer '19
  • Simple Ricks
    • Kenneth Rieske '18
    • Amirjon Hirojidinov '19
    • Michael Tuazon '19
    • Haley Ames '20
  • And Then There Were Two (Winners!)
    • Jessica Torres '18
    • Edwin O'Connor '20
  • The Cows
    • Alex Osowiecky '20
    • Gabriella Rosana '20
    • Jose Carrillo '19
    • Matthew Levin '20
    • Nicholas Juenemann '20

The teams delivered their presentations to King and Kevin Phalon, Tri-State's Vice President, on November 9, 2017 at Ramapo College of New Jersey. Each team did an excellent job of researching, developing their ideas, and articulating them to Tri-State's officers.

Tri-State thanks Alpha Kappa Psi, the Anisfield School of Business, and Ramapo College of New Jersey for partnering with Tri-State to provide this opportunity to educate young business students.


Winterizing No. 19

With 19's first summer with Tri-State over, it is time to store it for the winter. Locomotives, like your car, are liquid cooled. Unlike your car however, which does not hold over a hundred gallons of coolant, diesels use water, rather than antifreeze. Because of this, water can freeze inside the block in the winter without a block heater, which 19 has never had.

To keep 19 safe for the cold seasons, volunteers drained the several hundred gallons of water from the block, removing drain plugs, draining the cab heaters, opening drain cocks, and shifting the locomotive to make sure water made it out of the low spots and crevices.

In addition, Tri-State member Ron Thrum custom-built a stack cap to fit No. 19, and any upward-facing vents were covered to keep out leaves and snow.

Come spring, volunteers will continue to make improvements, make electrical repairs, and refill and inspect the engine to put it back in service for several planned public appearances in the summer of 2018.

Repairs for RRRR No. 10

Progress on Erie C330 was put on the back burner when Tri-State volunteers discovered some significant damage that needed immediate repairs in the Raritan River 10.

The 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 minor evidence of water leaking through the roof. In late October, volunteers found that minor evidence was a result of a major problem. Water entering the roof had caused significant rot between the roof and ceiling.

Several factors contributed to this. The caboose was built with a lap seam roof, meaning each panel overlaps the one next to it, leaving a seam through which water can enter. The caboose's original construction had fabric and fiberglass insulation which was pinned to the inside of the roof. This meant moisture could get trapped against the ceiling. Such a design would be a code violation in a residential home for that reason. Also, several patched (and leaking) holes were also found, which were presumably repaired by Conrail — during an era where longevity of repairs was far from a priority.

Tri-State volunteers made quick work of removing the old ceiling and fiberglass insulation. The plan will be to replace the ceiling with original construction and like materials, modifying the insulation so the same issues do not come about again. This work will be done over the winter so the caboose can be ready to roll in the Spring.