OLD TIME TRAINS was formed in May 1967 by R.L.Kennedy as successor to RAILFANS UNLIMITED. At this time a new direction was taken, whereas previously steam excursions were the main activity (along with a small newsletter covering C.P.R. Toronto motive power), interest now turned to preservation. Previous efforts in 1960 to establish a small tourist railway in suburban Toronto using C.P.R. 3422 and 3632 (2-8-0's) along with the wooden combine and three wooden coaches from the Tripleheader were ahead of their time. Lack of funds and sufficient interest resulted in the scrapping of two good steam locomotives just removed from service following the last day of regular freight operations on the C.P.R. at Port McNicoll on April 30, 1960. (3422 had light usage following its last overhaul at Angus Shops). Another effort to save C.P.R. 2559 (4-6-2) also failed for the same reasons. Railfans were not willing to put up the money, about $7,000 at the time, for a working passenger engine!
PRR 4666, a Brill (model 660) Doodlebug, was the first preservation and restoration project undertaken. (It had a Hamilton 425HP diesel with a small Hercules auxiliary diesel, and could haul trailers at high speed on the Pennsy.)This car was acquired (unserviceable) in May 1967 from Penn View Mountain RR, a tourist railroad in Pennsylvania. Doodlebugs (self-propelled cars) are actually rarer than steam locomotives; only a handful remain and fewer still are in running condition. Such a project was less costly than a steam locomotive and, by running it on an existing short line, it made the project simpler. It was intended to operate to supplement and extend the steam excursion service on the Arcade & Attica in upstate New York. This failed due to a change in the A&A director's attitude towards what they felt was competition. The 'Bug was sold (7/71), repairs finished and it operated for a while on the New Hope & Ivyland and eventually wound up on the Black River & Western in 1979 where it has operated for some time. Trains Magazine Article
4666 on the BR&W Ringoes, New Jersey, April 1976 Harv
Last run of PRR 4666
May 29,1962 saw the last run of PRR 4666 between Red Bank and Trenton, New Jersey. Seen here slowing to get orders from the towerman at SG (Sea Girt), then going on to the branch toward Freehold for the last time. Three photographs by Jeff Asay.
C> 405 and 501
The next project was to save another rare Brill (model 250) Doodlebug, this time former NYC M-405 long-stored on a small short line in the Gaspé area of Quebec. The Canada & Gulf Terminal was taken over by the C.N.R and, after years of waiting the chance came about to save it.
In good condition due to indoor storage, it had been re-engined by the C & GT with a 250HP Cummins diesel to replace the gas engine. The lightweight trailer had been converted from a gas-mechanical car built new for the C & GT by Ottawa Car to Brill model 75 design. Intended for a tourist train operation along the waterfront of downtown Toronto, the project was defeated by the refusal of co-operation by the C.P.R. who along with the C.N.R. provided freight switching to industries along the Toronto Harbour Commission's railway. The two car train was sold (9/76) to the Wolfborough (tourist) RR where it operated for a time. It then (1978) went to another tourist line Old Colony & Newport Ry. in Rhode Island, and later to an isolated tourist line in Arkville, New York, the Delaware & Ulster Rail Ride where it is still located.
D&URR 405 "The Red Heifer" July 1987. Steve Myers
Since then, and continuing to the present, Old Time Trains has assisted in the preservation of many pieces of equipment including operating steam locomotives and historical diesels in both Canada and the United States. Finding new homes for endangered equipment remains a priority.