The Oyster Bay Long Island Rail Road turntable property is now in the hands of the Town of Oyster Bay. Town Supervisor John Venditto made it official as he said, "This lease agreement is an important step toward the final goal of having a railroad museum in Oyster Bay hamlet. The Friends of Locomotive 35 can now proceed with the restoration of the turntable, and the town can concentrate on acquiring the old railroad station and surrounding plaza."
Ben Jankowski, Friends of Locomotive 35 board president, was pleased about the news and said there will soon be an official ceremony scheduled to acknowledge the turnover of the site by the Long Island Rail Road. "This is an official-unofficial notice so we can start to get some work done," he stated. He said the LIRR has granted the Town of Oyster Bay a 10-year lease on the land. The town then, is letting the Oyster Bay Historical Society and the Friends of Locomotive 35 run the indoor and outdoor elements of the museum. "We are the stewards of the equipment and the property under the aegis of the OBHS," said Mr. Jankowski, an Oyster Bay resident.
There are some minor things that need to be completed by the LIRR, some grading work and such, but this will let the Friends begin their work on the locomotive. "Now we have something tangible for those who would like to help our cause," said Mr. Jankowski. That translates into a request for donations. Funds are needed for the restoration of Locomotive 35 as well as for other pieces of equipment for the turntable area.
At the annual meeting of the Friends, board member John Specce displayed a model he made to show the way they envision the turntable area to look with their trains placed on the rails. (Please see photo.)
Right now there are a few things the Friends can begin doing said Mr. Jankowski. "The pedestal binders need to be placed back on the locomotive frame. They had to be removed to conform to the travel arrangements made by Nassau County. The locomotive was taken apart into five pieces to be loaded on trucks and brought to Oyster Bay on Aug. 2, 2002. The county paid for the work," he said.
The turntable will be eligible for state landmark status and that can lead to federal landmark status. That title will facilitate getting grants for the museum's work.
"There are lots of ideas about what we can do next, but the big need is manpower and money," Mr. Jankowski said. The manpower can come through volunteers, whose work can translate into matching grant money. The money can also come by way of membership fees for the group.
For more information about Friends of Locomotive 35 you can write them at P.O. Box 1335, Oyster Bay NY 11771.