I am writing this on the Thanksgiving weekend, and I am most thankful for all our volunteers who do all sorts of wonderful work, both at the Museum proper and behind the scenes.
It’s definitely fall with the cooler weather, the honking geese flying over, and the fields in the area cleared of grain. On the topic of grain, the most recent addition to our collection encourages us to “Take an Alberta Break visit … Edmonton”. The grain car was shuffling back and forth from the Battle River Railway at Camrose to the coast. When it was mentioned the Alberta hoppers were being scrapped, we sprang into action to start the preservation. A huge thank-you to Alberta Transportation and Alberta Infrastructure for the donation of this grain hopper car, the next step in grain hauling, from the Agrium box car, and the smooth sided hopper car.
On the topic of new additions, the Rus family (who live on the site of the former Carbondale NAR station) have gifted the Museum with two kittens (Jinx II and Sparky II) to keep our elderly cat Smokey company.
September has seen a continuation of the flurry of restoration activity from the summer.
NAR steam locomotive #73 is undergoing a cosmetic restoration. She has been pressure washed and the first coat of paint applied. Her headlight and number board are being restored. Next up is the NORTHERN ALBERTA lettering for the side of the tender. She is definitely looking sharp.
The wash car’s foundation was repaired earlier this year and now the boarding around the bottom has been put back on. Landscaping around the bottom of the car has been completed to ensure that water flows around, as opposed to under the car.
Other landscaping news includes the replacement of the culvert at the front gate under our road. No longer will you have to swerve around the barrier when you arrive at the gate.
Work continues around the Museum on a variety of other projects. Track work on track 1 started after the move of 73 into the shop. Painting and preparation of one of our empty baggage cars for displays has also begun.
Behind the scenes we have been busy writing grant applications, and working on the Alberta Museums Association “Recognized Museum” renewal. The Board of Directors meets once a month and Kevin, our treasurer, presents us with a financial update. While finances remain tight, the Museum is in reasonable shape for the winter, thanks to individual donations and a grant from the Canadian Heritage Emergency Support Fund.
I would like to thank all of our dedicated volunteers for their work on all of these projects and others. I would also like to thank our summer staff members for their work on displays, programming, painting and grant writing. Be sure to check out the virtual tour of the Museum: https://albertarailwaymuseum.com/virtual-tour/
No further news on a casino date, at this point it will depend when table games resume at the Starlight Casino at West Edmonton Mall. We may receive short notice of a date from Alberta Gaming.
I hope you and your families are healthy. Stay safe. I am thankful for your support and encouragement of the Museum and our activities.