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 Post subject: TLE&W Railway Museum
PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:56 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:22 pm
Posts: 8
As usual the railfan rumor mill has been incorrect about much of what I have seen taking place on the Toledo Lake Erie & Western this summer. Looks like things are finally happening in a positive way on the TLE&W. The Museum is developing a actual museum site in Grand Rapids Ohio which to be honest has never looked better. The grounds have been cleaned up, DE #202 0-6-0 and AA #1 Whitchomb center cab are nicely displayed along with the Chessie caboose and B&O coach. Midwest Rails along with volunteers from the museum were able to fix the washed out culvert so the line should be reconnected again before winter with any luck from what I have been told. The line is currently getting all the right of way cleared of trees and brush. The Alco S-4 ex-C&O #5109 is getting ready for what I have been told will be a fresh coat of early C&O colors. Hopefully the old T&LEW blue will be a thing of the past-even my 8 year old said it looks like @#?!. I also heard that the 3 passenger coaches are to be painted in Pullman green and lettered for their original railroads-the Blue Bird train name will still be kept, it just won't look like bird @#?! anymore. The Chessie caboose has a new private owner and is going to repaint it. It is said he has loaned it long term to the museum for display purposes. The B&O passenger car in Grand Rapids is scheduled to be repainted in the traditional B&O blue & Gray and has been under going a rebuild into a museum display car-my family can't wait for it to open to the public, maybe before the Apple Butter Festival? This is the kind of Museum that the will bring many tourist to the area as soon as they can start running the Blue Bird again. I personally look forward to riding the train and maybe crossing the river on the 100th anniversary of the bridge next year? What I have seen take place this summer has me even thinking about joining for the first time to be part of what looks to be the new TLE&W.


Last edited by Chessiefan on Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: TLE&W Railway Museum
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:17 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:57 pm
Posts: 63
Anyone know the status of the Waterfront Electric Railway Museum in Grand Rapids?
Aaron Isaacs, editor
Tourist Railroads & Railway Museums


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 Post subject: Re: TLE&W Railway Museum
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:48 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2440
Location: S.F. Bay Area
I have been keeping an eye on the TLE&W for awhile. The work I have seen is impressive and I can affirm everything you say has been done. There have reestablished their rail connection (which was not severed, merely grown over, being out past the end of an NS branch line that has not been ripped out). It looks like some trackwork has happened. I didn't find the washout (immediately south of Ludwig Rd.) until recently, so I don't have a sense pf "before", but the "after" looks pretty good. They own the railroad and that is a big deal, just ask Catskill.

The outdoor "museum" area in Grand Rapids is definitely looking better. It could be a viable "come and check out the trains" park area, but it still needs a little tuning. When I checked it out earlier this month I felt like a trespasser.

It is just minutes away from Toledo. US-24 just got upgraded to full freeway, which taps Ft. Wayne, and plugs right into the US-23/I-80 mixmaster in Toledo.

They did a neat trick, they park their locomotive and a car in the short bit of railroad which is adjacent to the new freeway, so a bunch of people see their train.

I'm a big fan of running between two towns. The easy-access town (from the big city) has good parking and the farther town is a more interesting walkable tourist town, so that's ideal for the formula of "ride the train and layover". But 11 miles is a bit far... because it makes the round trip awfully time consuming (and thus the layovers awfully long) unless you move at IRM/WRM speeds, which would be cool but it's an awful lot of track to keep up. They are equipped to run from an intermediate "middle of nowhere" point (with decent freeway access) into the better town, and that would work pretty well.

Just before the far town is an incredible river bridge, one of the largest in preservation. That 1/3 of the railroad has fair scenery. The rest not so much.

They have taken great strides in getting rid of private owner equipment. Unfortunately this has involved a lot of scrapping.

The other interesting puzzle on that line is the Grand Rapids Electric Railway facility on the west end (on Saylor Rd.) This includes about 5 acres and a Brand New 140' x 3 track car barn, shop building and substation, all complete with track mostly constructed, plus a wye and more storage track. The GRERy was the Waterfront Electric Railway / Toledo Angola and Western. The facility was built with money from when the TA&W was evicted from north Toledo by a university expanding their facility. The WER equipment was scattered (mostly to NORM) and the site now sits vacant and for sale. I'm unaware of any activities to this end, but if TLE&W didn't end up with that facility, that would be a shame.

They are partnering with a for-profit company to try to develop freight service. That is a tax law danger zone, but there's also the risk of freight activity punting them from "FRA lite" regulation and into the general system of transportation, which is a fairly crippling regulatory burden for a volunteer group.

I took a cursory look at the three "main" coaches stored online, and they need a lot of man-hours of love, but nothing critical I could see., especially if they stay off the general system. They are all former EMUs including some very rare NYC ones. All the EMU apparatus is long gone, unfortunately, including the control cabs.

All in all it's like a lot of railway museums in that area: lots and lots of potential.


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 Post subject: Re: TLE&W Railway Museum
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:51 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:22 pm
Posts: 8
The members at the TLE&W are very friendly and have set up the equipment the best they could for visitors to view and take pictures with out having to cross any tracks. They always welcome visitors on the property in Grand Rapids as long as they act responsibly. Just keep in mind that the TLE&W is now under FRA regulations and is part of the gerenal system so you should not cross the track or climb on any equipment with out permission just as if it were the NS, CSX or any other railroad.

The FRA is not as bad to deal with as everyone makes out, they have very basic safety rules that everyone is required to comply with. The FRA still classes the museum operation as FRA lite because it only connects to the general system in Waterville, along with the fact that the NS does not actually run onto the TLE&W trackage and does not go much past Dutch Rd in Waterville on their own trackage. I have been told members now have to attend a safety class and past a test to be able to perform any job that has anything to do with working on the right of way.

As for the museum grounds in Grand Rapids there are many things in the works and planning stages such as a real parking lot, new display tracks so that the passenger train can load on the mainline where the equipment is currently sitting, asphalt passenger plateform and even a new depot like the old NKP depot last used in Grand Rapids. I also heard that the 3 passenger cars might get moved to where the Alco S4 and NKP caboose are sitting along the new US-24 so that it is easier to perform the work to put them back in service for what they hope is a regular passenger schedule in 2014. All it takes is money and volunteers to make it happen! And yes I have helped by doing both from time to time even though I am not a member at this time. Saturday is the best day to find members out working in both locations, but I have seen members out working on other days also.

As for the GRER. It for all intensive purposes is a thing of the past in Grand Rapids and most of the equipment is now at other museums, the property is also no longer listed for sale. Rumor has it that there is a chance that the one electric car still on the property maybe going back up to the waterfront in Toledo if things work out to build a line along the new dock area for visitors to ride.


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