Written by D.F. Karppi Friday, 24 December 2010 00:00
Barbara Minerd is eager for you to donate to the Oyster Bay Railroad Musem, and for a very personal reason. “My father, Penn Minerd spent his life building an N-Gauge railroad. My mother Jane, 90, donated it to the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum,” she said.
She said her father burned coal in the family fireplace when he ran the trains so that it smelled as if the N-Gauge trains were using coal in the engines. The family is really into trains.
Ms. Minerd said, “I helped to start the Railroad Museum in Greenport and designed a children’s area there.
“My brother-in-law is the first L.I. railroad engineer. He started right out of high school. Now retired, he was known as ‘Diesel Dan.’ He volunteers for a museum where he lives in Pennsylvania.”
Ms. Minerd wants people to donate to the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum so that it can mount an exhibit of her father’s collection. The N gauge system is a popular model railway scale/track gauge. The gauge is the distance between the rails, in this case 9mm (0.345 inch). An advantage of the N gauge is that it allows hobbyists to build layouts that take up less space than the HO scale, because they are about half their size.
The OBRM has accepted his collection and is looking forward to seeing it up and running, but John Specce, OBRM President explained, “A little history – Mrs. Minerd donated the N gauge layout of her husband after he had passed away. Due to its size our volunteers went to her house and disassembled it into pieces and transported it to Oyster Bay. Because it is quite large, it was not practical to place it in the Visitor Center, so it is in storage at the station.”
He explained, “In deciding to accept the layout, we believed that it would provide an experience that other railroad museums in the area have. The Danbury RR Museum has a layout and currently the Railroad Museum of Long Island is building a large layout in a separate building on their property. These are attractions in their own right, and are not duplicated on their sites. Therefore when we were approached by Mrs. Minerd the offer was accepted with the thought that in the future, once the Museum was fully functional at all locations, the layout could be reassembled and displayed in an appropriate location.
“Visitors to museums, especially children, are fascinated by these very realistic layouts. [The trains are exhibited on tables, at children’s eye-level.] This particular layout is not specific to the Long Island Rail Road as far as topography goes, but the rolling stock, locomotives, freight and passenger car could be used to give it a Long Island ‘feel’.”
Mr. Specce added, “Often we receive calls from individuals wishing to donate an item or two and the Board makes a decision to accept it based on the appropriateness of the item in fulfilling one of the missions of the Museum, in educating the public regarding the role the railroad played on Long Island and the region. This could be anything from printed material, historical photographs, railroad equipment items such as lanterns, etc.
“Josh Stoff, our Board member who is a museum curator in Nassau County, provides guidance and recommendations donations on in determining if they are appropriate for the Museum.”
Every Saturday and Sunday you can visit the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum / Visitor Center and Turntable Rail Yard. The visitor’s center is at 100-102 Audrey Avenue (just north of the gazebo/bandstand- on the right), where you will be directed to the turntable railyard- featuring a variety of refurbished train cars, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information and to lend your support to the Museum, call 558-7036 or visit http://www.obrm.org/.