Thursday, November 15, 2007

And we're back

After too long, we're back and better than ever, coming in over your FM dial. That last part's not right, but we're back nonetheless, so let's get you caught up on some recent events at your Virginia Museum of Transportation.

On October 27th, we hosted our first annual Iron Horse Tug of War, a joint fund raiser with Special Olympics Virginia. We were fortunate for some fantastic weather, coming off three consecutive days of rain. Six teams competed in the event, pulling our #611 in heats. We very nearly killed the first team. Despite tugging with all they had, they weren't able to budge the engine an inch. After some investigation, we discovered that one of the tender brakes failed to disengage, so the team was pulling a 800,000 pounds of steel with its brakes on -- ouch. After releasing the brake, we had no difficulties at all, and #611 rolled back and forth easily. Below are some photos from the event, taken by Mr. Martin Moorefield.

We had not seen these blue skies since early this week. We were glad to have them for the event.

Local band Key West played for us through the event.

The competitors and spectators line up as the final preparations are made.

Teams pose for pictures after the awards are given out. Awards were given for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams, as well as the last place team which earned the "Caboose Who Got Loose" award. Our thanks go out to Creations in downtown Roanoke for helping us with the awards plaques.

Just two weeks later, we hosted a lecture and book signing by Rush Loving, Jr., author of The Men Who Loved Trains. This event was the first in a series of collaborative efforts involving the N&W Historical Society, the C&O Historical Society, the Blue Ridge and Roanoke Chapters of the NRHS, the O. Winston Link Museum, and of course, your Virginia Museum of Transportation. Attendance was, admittedly, light. Despite the small crowd, Mr. Loving fielded excellent questions, and took a tour of the museum after signing copies of his book. We thank him for his time, and hope to have him back soon.

In other news, the first step in bringing the Zoo Choo to VMT is underway. Next week, we hope to receive the track upon which the train will run. Because the Mill Mountain Zoo will be replacing its train, they opted to keep their track in place, and simply purchase a new train. Their old train comes to us, along with brand new track that we'll lay down in our rail yard outside. We'll be renovating the Ellett Station, and old combination freight-passenger station formerly used on the Virginian Railway, as our ticket office. Check back for more information on this in the coming weeks.

There's one last topic brewing that needs to be addressed, but this isn't the right post for it. Look for another post soon on a more serious subject. I'll give you a hint -- it starts with "M," rhymes with "honey," and is synonymous with "somethin' we ain't got."

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