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P.O. Box 191, West Kingston, RI  02892        Website:



Winter  2004



Friends of Kingston Station Annual Meeting

7:00 PM, Tuesday March 2nd,

URIıs University Club,

Upper College Rd., Kingston, RI


You are invited to join us at the Friends of Kingston Station 2004 Annual Meeting.  The business meeting, which includes election of the Board of Directors, will begin promptly at 7:00 PM followed by our guest speaker.  A cash bar will be available and the Friends will provide hors dıoeuvres.  All past and present Friends members are invited to attend as a number of exciting activities are in the works.


Train and tugboat Expert to be Guest Speaker

Steven Cryan, of Old Saybrook, CT will be the featured speaker at the Friends 30th Anniversary Annual Meeting.  Mr. Cryan is a well-known rail and marine artist and is an expert on railroad tugboats of the Northeast.  He will provide an illustrated lecture after the business meeting.


If you plan on attending, please let us know:  Call Everett Stuart at 401-295-1311, or e-mail him at and let him know how many will be in your party.  A head count is needed to plan for the seating and hors dıoeuvres.



30th Anniversary of the Friends of Kingston Station


The year 2004 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the Friends of Kingston Station in 1974.  The original Friends was formed as a grass-roots community group devoted to the one-shot project of cosmetically restoring the then Penn Central, formerly New Haven RR, now Amtrak, station at Kingston.  After having the station placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, the original group dissolved.  In 1988 a near disastrous fire in the north end of the station brought members of the original group together in an alliance with other historical and railroad groups to seek complete restoration of the station.  After endless hours of work by many people, including Rhode Islandıs Congressional delegation, this effort climaxed at a grand rededication of the station in 1998 ­ complete with a steam locomotive.


This time the Friends did not dissolve, but has kept active as the ³godparent² to the station to assist with maintenance and improvements.   In addition, the Friends have established a small museum and participate in ³Operation Lifesaver², a national railroad safety campaign.


Itıs About Time for the Station


To mark the 30th anniversary of the Friends, The Board of Directors has decided to give a ³present² to the station this year.  Weıve concluded that an appropriate gift to mark the passage of these 30 years would be a clock ­ but not an ordinary clock..  We are thinking along the lines of the ³street clocks² that were so fashionable when the station was built in the 1870ıs.  These clocks, as befitting their size and imposing proportions, are quite expensive ­ perhaps as much as $15,000 with installation.  This will require a fund raising effort in the community and weıd like to generate as much corporate support as possible.  A lot of folks will be needed to help out ­ more details will be provided at the Annual Meeting.


News Headlines:


Ĝ    Around the station:


**   Projects around the station are very much a feast ­or ­famine affair.  Amtrak has started work on what will be an imposing pedestrian overpass, with completion scheduled for fall.  When it opens the now familiar little shuttle bus, used to ferry passengers to the track across from the depot, will become history.


**   The Friends hope the renovation and relocation of the old signal tower will be accomplished this year.  The Rhode Island Dept. of Transportation, which owns the signal tower, is undertaking this project.  The lower floor of the relocated tower will include much needed additional restrooms for rail travelers and bike path users.


**   We are trying to persuade the stationıs owner, RI Dept. of Transportation, that 2004 is the year to repaint the exterior of the station. It is starting to look weary.  


Wouldnıt it be something if the tower is moved, the pedestrian overpass is completed, the station is repainted and the new clock is installed all in time for the fall colors?  Now THAT would be cause for a celebration!


Museum Tours are Available


The Rhode Island Railroad Museum, which the Friends have established in the old south waiting room in the station, is open by appointment for any group.  A great way for children, students, scouts, seniors, and others to learn about railroad history.  Also offered are Operation Lifesaver presentations about safety around railroads.  Past visitors have been very enthused about our museum tours.  If you would like to see photos of past tours of the museum go to:     To schedule a tour contact us at P.O. Box 191, West Kingston, RI 02892 or send an e-mail to Frank Heppner at:



Learn More About Us


If you would like to get more involved with the Friends of Kingston Station why not attend one of the Board of Directorıs monthly meetings?  We meet in the south end of the station on the first Monday of each month at 7:15 PM.   Come join us to learn what is going on.  If you would like to be added to our list for periodic e-mail updates, send an email and request to be added by putting ³add me² in the subject line.  Contact Jack McCabe at:


New website address for the Friends:

This new website address is easy to remember and provides a wealth of information, including items for visitors to our area.   Give it a try!



RIOL ~ An Educational Trip To Boston



On Tuesday the 3rd of February, RI Operation Lifesaver (RIOL) presenters and guests boarded Amtrak train #86, operated by Amtrak Engineer & RIOL presenter Chris Perrone and headed to Bostonıs South Station.  After arriving in Boston the group went to the 5th floor where RIOL State Coordinator Jack McCabe held a short business meeting.  Upon completion of the business meeting RIOL presenter and Amtrak employee Julie Perkins gave a group tour of Amtrakıs Computerized Electrification and Train Control Center.  The Center is responsible for all train movements on the Northeast Corridor between Boston and New Haven, CT.   The group was shown computerized displays depicting trains moving along the line, the condition of the signals, as well what happens in the event the Center receives a call for an emergency within their territory.  This information is especially helpful for RIOL presentations , many of which are given to Emergency Responders who, unlike other citizens, are called to the tracks to provide assistance when an emergency situation arises.

        After the tour the group returned to the main concourse of the station and enjoyed a meal at one of the many restaurants.  The group returned to Kingston on Amtrakıs train 67 armed with new knowledge about railroad safety.

End | This newsletter was prepared by Board VP, Everett Stuart and Kristine Stuart. Photo submitted by RIOL Coord: Jack McCabe