The Freemen Building Continues to get new paint on the outside. Dennis Harrington has spent countless hours over the past few weeks applying 2 coats of paint to the building on all 4 sides. Great Job Dennis!
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Over 2 years of hard work payed off today at RMLI Riverhead, when Mrs. Ron Freemen cut the ribbon officially opening the restored Historic Lionel Visitor's Center Layout formally of Lionel Trains in Chesterfield Michigan. It all started in the late 40's when Lionel had a showroom layout at their offices in New York City. When Lionel moved it was tragically lost and thrown away, an icon of the era lost forever. Moving forward a little more into history Lionel can be found in Chesterfield Michigan. In the early 90's a group of volunteer employees constructed a layout similar to the one that had previously been seen in New York City. It would be open to the public for 15 years before Lionel would again move, ironically back to New York City. When the museum found out about this and the fate of the second visitors center layout could meet the same as the first one, we stepped in and asked Lionel if they would be interested in saving the layout. Of course they would later go on to say "Yes" that would lead us on this long saga of moving a 7,000 pound layout from Chesterfield to Riverhead.
This seemingly impossible task was done as a labor of love by over 100 RMLI volunteers over the past few years. The layout had to be boxed up, cut up, moved, put back together and unboxed. 1,000's of volunteer man hours were put into the project with well deserved end results! The layout is a masterpiece and an amazing attraction for the museum and the East End of Long Island. On Saturday April 9th, we celebrated the hard work that Vice President George Faeth and his crew of volunteers put forth going above and beyond the last couple of years on this project. The historic layout is a new permanent attraction at the Riverhead site to be enjoyed by all! VIPs who attended the ribbon cutting ceremony included President Don Fisher, Vice President George Faeth, Tom Nuzzo Of Lionel Trains, Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walters, Suffolk County Legislator Ed Romaine, Jodi Giglio, Riverhead Councilwoman, Mrs. Ron Freemen and Edgar Goodale's daughter Laura VanHouten, of Riverhead Building Supply. Cake and Coffee were also served after the ceremony with actual Lionel trains as the cake toppers! Everyone also had the chance to get a ride on the World's Fair Train and tour some real trains. The Long Island Rail Road track crew was even out working, another treat for visitors. High Rails trucks and the Sperry Rail Car went past the museum through out the day.
Thank you to everyone that came out this weekend to come and see the new layout. The museum is now open every Saturday from 10am-4pm through Memorial Day. After Memorial Day the museum is open Saturdays and Sundays 10am-4pm through Columbus day. The layout will be open and ready for your viewing. The 1964-65 World's Fair Train is also available for rides weather permitting.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
It was another OUTSTANDING weekend here at RMLI Riverhead, where we were blessed to have over 26 volunteers working on projects that will help get the museum open to the public next weekend! One of the major accomplishments of the weekend was getting the first coat of white and green paint on the “Freemen” Building, which houses the permanent exhibit, “The Historic Lionel Visitor’s Center Layout” that will be having it’s grand opening and unveiling to the public next weekend. The new colors of the building are rather historic in the fact that they resemble the former colors many Long Island Rail Road stations wore in the early part of the last century. The white base color is complimented with a new green trim. This will become the new standard color for most of the buildings at RMLI. The Visitors Center, which houses the gift shop, will receive the same color, so the two buildings will match. Our two station lampposts also got another coat of black paint. Inside, the layout for the most part is completed and ready to open. There are still little details that need to be worked on, but they will be done by next weekend. Once again Francis spent the weekend on his hands and knees ballasting the track. It almost looks good enough for the Long Island Rail Road to run on! All the push buttons for the operating accessories work, with buildings and animations that will amaze everyone! Track lighting was also installed this week that will go through different cycles including day time, night time and the seasons so people will be able to enjoy the layout in different forms, Carpeting for the room will also go down this week.
The Long Island Garden Railway Society spent Saturday at the museum giving our G gauge train sets maintenance. They did a great job of weeding the layout, re-ballasting the track and landscaping the area. They are currently working on improving the track so we will be able to have a problem free year of operation. It is really starting to look great! This includes soldering the tracks together so they stay connected instead of having the tracks screwed together with clips.
The fences that are around the RMLI yard have all been repaired after being knocked over by the harsh winter. The snow fence that surrounds the G-16 World’s Fair Train loop was repaired and replaced in areas were it was needed. Other small fence repairs took place as well. The spread of woodchips was also completed this weekend. The gardens were all weeded with woodchips distributed, giving the museum a rather “classy” look. Among other things the parking lot was also cleaned up from winter debris caused by the weather and the construction of the new deck.
The World’s Fair Train is once again ready to whisk children and their parents back to the 1964/65 World’s Fair. All 3 cars were hooked up and got brake inspections and adjustments. The train again went on a series of practice runs with and without people on the train to test it out. With an expected high volume of passengers next weekend we will be running with 3 cars instead of two. All the coaches also got a bath this weekend and are nice and clean. I am also proud to announce that this year we have brand new seats for the train. The new Tuscan red seats replace the old green ones that were torn in a few places. This new comfortable seats look great and represent a reminder to our Pennsylvania Railroad Heritage! The GP38-2 Cab Simulator was shown some love this weekend as well in the form of touch up paint. Now that the Lionel layout is completed the Cab Simulator will be the next project, to be completed by the annual Riverhead Railroad Festival.
Thank you to all the hard working volunteers this weekend that did such an outstanding job getting the museum ready to open and completing the historic Lionel layout for our visitors this year! We look forward to seeing everyone next weekend, April 9th, at the Opening of the layout from 10am-4pm. The Museum will now be open every Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm until the weekend before Thanksgiving. Riverhead will be open Saturday and Sunday with the Greenport Museum Memorial Day through Labor Day!