Completed Museum Projects
The North Alabama Railroad Museum
is proud to announce the completion of the following projects:
of 1.5 Miles of Donated Track
Museum members worked diligently on
the installation of new trackage on our property that extends eastward to Naugher
Road. To complete this task is a great accomplishment and extends our trackage
to provide for a 10 mile round trip. The run-around track at this terminus allows
the locomotive to run around the train and couple to the other end of the train
for the return trip to Chase. An informal ceremony was held soon after the track
was completed in the winter of 1999, and soon after a Golden Spike ceremony was
held. A little history on our line, when Seaboard (what is now CSX
Corporation) discontinued service on their line, the museum bought a portion
(roughly five miles) of the right-of-way and named it the Mercury & Chase
Railroad (after two stops that were originally located on the line). Other
track projects museum members have also built include: Over a mile of track
that had been partially removed before it was purchased by NARM, several storage
tracks, display tracks and run-around tracks as well.
of Southern Caboose Ex-3087
This caboose was donated by the Lurleen
B. Wallace Center in Decatur through the State of Alabama and was trucked some
30 or so miles to the museum. At the Wallace Center, it had been used as a commons
store and had been painted inside in several different non-railroad colors and
motifs. Members worked hard to return the inside of the caboose back to its original
look. It is probably the museum's best and most complete example of a working
caboose. It is on prominent display where visitors can see it best upon arrival
at the museum.
of Our Museum Library
Our museum library started out inside
the Chase Depot but has been moved to the old Chase Nursery Office building. Before
this could happen a very old and fragile tile roof had to be removed. After that
was complete a new metal roof was installed on the building by members, which
was no small task. Then partitions were added, bookshelves assembled and
painted and a new floor was put down. Here members can browse in style and
comfort through a collection of historic railroad books and instruction manuals
as well as a large assortment of rail related video tapes. Members are allowed
to check out selections from the library as well.
and upkeep of Alco S-2 locomotive No. 484
One of the museum's flagships is our
1949 American Locomotive Company (ALCo) S-2 locomotive. No. 484 is proudly
wearing the colors and paint scheme of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis
Railway (the parent railroad of our present line). Of course No. 484 still retains
it's Mercury & Chase lettering as well. We rely on the "old gal"
so much she has become like a working museum piece with a need for frequent attention.
Our 1000 horsepower, turbo-charged
ALCo S2 locomotive 484 was one of a group of seven locomotives built in June 1949
for the Delaware Lackawana & Western Railroad. The locomotives were numbered
482 through 488 and were re-numbered 541 through 547 in the Erie-Lackawana merger.
No. 484 became No. 543 and was sold to Reynolds Aluminum in Sheffield, Alabama
prior to 1968. While there, the E-L diamond was painted over but the number and
yellow nose still remained on the locomotive. After our museum acquired the unit,
it was painted green with yellow trim. When time came to repaint her, it was decided
the scheme would be fashioned after the N., C. & St. L colors. The locomotive
has had one major change mechanically since the museum has owned it. The original
wheels were worn so badly that it was decided time had come to replace them. The
decision was made to install roller bearing wheel and axle sets and remove the
friction bearing boxes from the Blunt trucks. This was a huge undertaking both
physically and financially, but one that will last for years to come. No. 484
was donated to our museum by Reynolds Aluminum in the late 1970's and has found
what we hope is its final home at Chase.
of the Railway Post Office Car
The museum's Railway Post Office car
was bult in 1928 by Bethlehem Steel Corporation and was owned by the CNO &
TP and later the Southern Railway. It was operated by U.S. Postal employees until
retired from service sometime in the 1950s and last operated along several routes
in North and South Carolina. The car number is 3585 and it is a 60-foot combined
baggage and R.P.O. car with one end devoted to each function. Recent restoration
began in 1991 when members removed all non-R.P.O. items from the car and cleaned
it enough to see that a lot of work was needed. Work began with the oak boxes
that are suspended from the ceiling which were used to sort flats (flat packages
larger than standard envelopes). As layers of built-up paint were removed, a beautiful
oak finish was discovered. That work extended through the first years in confined
spaces combined with noxious fumes. That part completed, four coats of polyurethane
varnish were applied. Then removal of cabinets and fixtures was begun, carefully
recording the details to ensure proper re-installation and as a record of the
car's history. The ceiling and overhead vent doors along with light fixtures and
heavy electrical conduit appeared at first to be a most daunting task. However
all surface rust and loose paint were removed and resulting bare surfaces were
primed and the entire ceiling spray painted with an original cream color. Meanwhile,
the outside and baggage section of the RPO was being restored. The rotten wooden
window frames were rebuilt and the glass was replaced with Lexan plastic to prevent
vandalism. The windows are capable of opening and appear identical to the original.
Rust was removed from the car exterior and two coats of highly durable paint of
the original Southern Railway color (Pullman green) were applied. Finally the
car was lettered "United States " and "Southern Railway"
giving it that finishing touch.
On Thursday, May 22, 1997, a momentous
celebration was held and the R.P.O. was officially dedicated. Real cancellations
were made by postal officials just like in the "good old days". The
cancellation stamp was approved and created by U.S. Postal representatives and
will be controlled by them to ensure that the stamp will be destroyed after 1500
cachet envelopes are hand cancelled.
special letter covers honor both the history of working railroads and of the U.S.
Postal Service and are available for sale at the North Alabama Railroad Museum.
They are also available by order. An order form has
been prepared for those interested to print out and send in for your convenience.
An enclosure giving a brief history of this RPO and the Railway System, together
with a photograph of the RPO, is included with each cachet.
of No. 139 Baggage Car
baggage car has been repainted inside, rewired, and had special lighting installed.
This car has been granted a new lease on life since it also saw excursion duty
on the Southern's mainline on the museum's Chattanooga excursions. Now it is happy
to give riders on our Mercury & Chase Railroad a chance to stretch their legs
and take in the fresh air as well as purchase railroad souvenirs. Several depot
style benches have been installed for passengers to ride in and enjoy the scenery.
This car has even been used as a dance floor for a wedding we once had on the
Other Completed Projects:
to provide covered area for picnics and birthday parties. It also serves
as a good train watching location with a train track on either side!
- Plevna Depot, at one time located in the Plevna community.
Originally called a "Prepay Freight Station and Passenger Waiting Shelter",
it now serves again as a shelter from those passing rain showers.
latest addition to the museum structures is a train observation platform. Built
by museum volunteers, it is strategically located next to the Norfolk Southern
mainline and makes a really good place to relax and enjoy the rail traffic