Written by D.F. Karppi Friday, 08 April 2011 00:00
A hint of spring was in the air on Saturday, March 5, when the volunteers and young railroad fans of the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum gathered at the display yard on Bay Avenue to begin the first work session of the new season. The task at hand was the laying of new railroad ties on the historic turntable, a project that has been years in the making.
The goal is to have the turntable fully operational by the beginning of summer. Under the able leadership of Shop Committee heads and board members Gary Farkash and Steve Torborg, it will be accomplished.
New railroad ties were ordered, custom-cut by Stella-Jones Industries of Pittsburgh, PA and delivered to the yard on Wednesday, March 2. A portion of the money for the ties came from Legislator Diane Yatauro’s community resource funds according to OBRM Chairman Ben Jankowski.
The ties come in three sizes, small, regular and extra large and were ready to be laid on top of the steel girders of the turntable.
The smaller ones are spacers between the regular ones and the longer ones form the support for the steel walkways on both sides. Once all the ties are in place and secured, they will be able to receive the rails; walkways; and electrical mechanism support mast.
While Gary was busy directing volunteers his cell phone rang and it was Alexandra Torres, the manager of the Museum’s Visitor Center at 102 Audrey Avenue, calling to see if it would be okay for visitors to come down to the yard to see the volunteers working. Gary advised that due to the amount of activity and heavy equipment being used it would not be possible as safety is their chief concern. If all goes according to plan, the yard will be open beginning Saturday, April 16.
As work continued on the turntable, two students from BOCES/Barry Technical School were performing welding operations on the historic Ping Pong coach. By using the skills taught in their classroom they received valuable “on the job” training at the museum.
More Good News
The “Spend a Day in Oyster Bay” tourism initiative is well under way according to Bill Bell, the OBRM director of development. This program is a collaborative effort by the museum, the LIRR, the Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce the Main Street Association; and the many local attractions that bring tourists to the hamlet and surrounding areas.
“I’m pleased to tell you that I had a conversation with Adam Diaz of the LIRR and they have endorsed our plan and will promote it through a variety of media including their brochure and website. The museum will also promote the program through its website and print media,” he said.
Mr. Bell added, “Adam indicated that our proposal was very well received and something we should feel good about. He was impressed with the synergy and organized sense of purpose displayed at our meeting and virtually all stakeholders identified in the OBRM Business Plan were in attendance, advocating for the success of the initiate.”
The Spend a Day in Oyster Bay program runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The LIRR will promote it in their travel brochure; website and will offer discounted train fares to Oyster Bay. Tourists will be met at the station by Oyster Rides minivans and be brought to the OBRM Visitor Center to receive their complimentary Spend a Day travel bag with brochures and discount coupons for eating establishments; attractions; and retail stores.
Self-guided walking tours available.
For a flat fee, Oyster Rides will take visitors to any historic location and attraction in the area including: Raynham Hall Museum; Planting Fields; Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, the home of Theodore Roosevelt. The Spend a Day program is available to any tourists, whether they arrive by train, car or boat. For more information on the OBRM, call 558-7036 or visit them on their website at www: orbm.org.