Medina Railroad museum gets new engines

Medina Railroad museum gets new engines
Medina attraction hoping to run longer excursions with additions
Alan Morrell
Staff writer MEDINA - Back in the day, about 40 or 50 years ago, the locomotives ran on the New York Central route from New York City to Chicago.
Now a pair of E-8 Heritage locomotives are coming to the Medina Railroad Museum, having been retired from their posts on the Central route. The machines will be unveiled today in nearby Lockport, Niagara County, before moving to the museum in June.
Railroad buffs especially will be thrilled to learn the locomotives have their original numbers - 4068 and 4080 - and original paint schemes, said Railroad Museum President Jim Dickinson.
"You don't see to many vintage locomotives like that," he said.
The museum opened in 1999 in what organizers say is the one of the largest wooden freight depots in the country - 301 feet by 34 feet. The place now has more than 6,000 artifacts, such as railroad lanterns, keys and watches, as well as an enormous model train layout and diorama.
Marty Phelps, museum founder and director, not surprisingly has been fascinated with railroading since he was a child. He's 65.
"The toy train collection started in my basement in 1972," said Phelps, a retired Batavia firefighter who lives at the museum site. "I've been playing with trains since I was a boy. I was fascinated as a small child that someone could invent such big equipment that travels on a small rail."
The museum also has six coaches and two diesel locomotives that are used for 34-mile roundtrip excursions to Lockport. Those excursions, leaving Medina, start June 17.
For now, though, the attention is on the "new" locomotives. Phelps said each is 75 feet long and called them "stud-nose diesels" with a two-tone gray paint job and lightning-strike design. They were made in 1953, came from a railroad museum in Tennessee, and cost about $150,000, including transportation costs.
The E-8 locomotives have not run for two or three years and need some sprucing up, Dickinson said. Once that work is done, he hopes to offer longer excursions, to places such as Cleveland.
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To learn more For more information about the Medina Railroad Museum, go to its Web site at www.railroadmuseum.net.
http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070429/NEWS01/704290341/1002/NEWS
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