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Orchard Park Depot 2023

March 2023
by Robert Snyder - Depot Co-Chairman

With the weather finally breaking, projects that we have been planning since last year, are finally coming fruition. On Saturday March 25th,  Erie Cattaraugus Rail Trail  organization had a meet & greet at the depot. Over 25 members and visitors listened to newly elected Orchard Park Village resident, Mary Brummer, who became the new ECRT Board President January 1st. The trail from Bank St. to Jewett-Holmwood is scheduled to open in May.

The gentleman that has been working on our semaphore motors gave us a call and said they are complete. He hopes he can deliver them the second week of April. He will also help with the installation.

In addition our new Freight House deck construction is supposed to start next month.

We also have two tentative rentals for later this year. We have a PHD graduation party planned for August and a wedding rehearsal in September.

April 2023
by Robert Snyder - Depot Co-Chairman

True to his word, the gentleman that has been working on our semaphore motors showed up at the Depot on Tuesday, April 11th. He brought with him, two "man lifts" to get the 200 pound motors up to the top of the semaphore mast. The man lifts were generously provided by John Wabick, a partner at West Herr Automotive Group, and our contractor, Jeff, brought the people to complete the installation. We can't wait until the wiring is complete and the "Order Boards" reinstalled to bring the depot back to its 1970's appearance.

On Saturday April 29th, the Orchard Park Depot Crew hosted a bus tour group of 26 members, from the  "Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum."  They were given a full tour of the Depot, Freight House, Baggage Car and our BR&P Caboose. After a brief history of the Depot, the R&GVRRM were free to explore the buildings, grounds and rolling stock. Everyone was very impressed with the pristine look of the Depot, equipment and our historical displays. The tour group was at our Heritage Discovery Center on Lee Street earlier in the day.

May 2023
by Jim Slominski - Depot Co-Chairman

National Train Day is celebrated as the day the United States was connected from the east coast to the west coast by the first transcontinental railroad.

It is held each year on the Saturday closest to May 10, the anniversary of the pounding of the "Golden Spike" in Promontory Summit, Utah in 1869.

Train Day at Orchard Park Depot this year was held on Saturday May 13th, 2023. The hours were 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The passenger station, the freight house and the BR&P caboose were open for public inspection. The passenger station had many visual displays along with a personnel presentation of BR&P movies by Brian Angevine. The freight house had a speeder, a velocipede, a set of restored 1950s passenger car seats, a steam engine bell that could be rung, and a non operating HO gauge train.

Our "Buffalo Rochester and Pittsburgh" caboose was opened at both ends for walk through viewing. On the trackside platform a garden railroad was set up and operated by the WNY Garden Railroad Society of Western New York. An information table was set up and maned by the Erie Cattaraugus Rail Trail Inc. on the platform next to the baggage room.

Train Day at the Orchard Park Depot was held in conjunction with the Orchard Park Public Library. The library had several activities for young children both at the library and at the train Depot.

Many people of all ages came to the depot for Train Day. The “Depot Crew” was highly complemented on the restoration of the depot, its grounds and for the chance to spend some time at our historic sight.

On the week of May 22nd, our contractor started on the freight house deck. The ground track side was cleaned up and leveled. A 12" post hole digger was used to make the holes for the deck footers. 12 inch "Sonotube" concrete forms were put into the holes and then filled with concrete. By the end of the day on 26th, the ground on the track side was covered with a thick layer of crushed stone. Work will not resume until next week Thursday, as our contractors' best two carpenters are unavailable until then.

August 2023
by Gary Ludwig - Depot Crew Member

After many months of waiting, on August 22nd our "Train Order" Semaphore is working. We were very impressed with all of the electronics that went into this project. The 120 volt alternating current from the Depot was dropped through a transformer down to 12 volts direct current, which the semaphore motors work on. They were then connected, through conduit in the crawl space under the Depot, electronically to the levers in the agent's office. It makes it look like those levers are physically moving the blades.

For now, the led lights are currently controlled by a circuit breaker in the Depot. The motors are running when the blade arm is in the vertical position; when you move the lever to the red or stop position the motor shuts off and the arm is allowed to drop down to the horizontal position by gravity. This is exactly how they worked up till 1977. The signals will be left in the Red position (no power) when no one is at the Depot.

Our electronics wizard, Ray Jolasa from Ohio, came up with an ingenious way of controlling the blade motors using the original mechanical levers in the agents’ office. Using "micro switches" mounted under the Depot floor, when either the East or Westbound lever is moved, it activates the respective motor to give a "high green" or stop. In the photo you can see the
original control arms that used to make the blades move mechanically. Bill Arber from Alden, added extra support for the installation.

September 2023
by Robert Snyder - Depot Co-Chairman

On Monday evening, September 11th, we received a phone call from a concerned OP resident who was driving by the Depot. She explaned that one of the support posts under the portico roof was severely cracked. I called the OP police immediately and then called Jim Slominski and asked him to meet me at the depot. We looked at video from a camera on the freight house, which is pointed at the front of the depot. Eventually we found the incident it at 8:39 am that morning.

It seems a novice bus driver misjudged the length of her school bus and backed into the post. The driver reported the accident to her boss and wanted to turn in her resignation. The school district couldn't afford to lose a driver so the boss said "No," LOL! This was just an unfortunate incident so now its just an insurance thing. A replacement estimate for materials and labor is in the works. The 6"x 6" post is still in place so it is not a hazard. We'll see how long this will take to play out.

On September the 22nd, a beautiful Friday night, one of our itinerant skillful photographers, Geno Dailey, was at the Depot to capure its beauty in the dark. Using a Canon EOS 90D Camera, Canon 24mm f1.4L Prime Lens, a Canon 24-105mm f4.0L Zoom Lens and a Sunpak Flash, he captured the subtle details of the Depot not often seen in the daylight. Our recently electrified semaphore really shines in the dark with a "high green" welcoming visitors. Thank you Geno for your impressive work!

November 2023
by Robert Snyder - Depot Co-Chairman

After a very busy summer, our contractor resumed work on our Freight House deck in mid September. Triple pressure treated 2x10 posts and joists were added to the concrete footers and the deck frame was added above. Fiberon© Composite deck boards, in architectural correct grey, was screwed into place on top. The rickety stairs to the front door are now safe to use. Railings will be added soon. The look is very impressive. No news yet from our insurance company reguarding the damaged portico post.

They also replaced all the decayed eaves so new gutters can be hung correctly. At the end of the trackside loading dock ramp, a new concrete pad will be poured with a transition to the waiting platform bricks.

December 2023
by Robert Snyder - Depot Co-Chairman

On Saturday December 2nd, the Orchard Park Depot welcomed the community from 12:00 until 4:00 pm for "Christmas at the Depot." The Orchard Park Garden Club and Pollinator Group gave away wreaths and sold baked goods and tiny center pieces. The Erie Cattaraugus Rail Trail people were busy as well as the OP Historical Society at their tables.

Santa and Mrs Claus listened to Christmas wishes from the little ones. The Orchard Park Choral Group sang while one of their members played an electric piano that Jeff Sweet brought, they were terrific. Their director said he definitely wanted to come back and asked what activities they could participate in next year.

Our Orchard Park Fire District EMS Paramedic group sent a team to explain the services they provide and gratefully accepted can goods we had collected for the needy. A small Christmas Tree was decorated and donated to another family by the OP Garden Club.

I am also very happy to report that the "Help Us Light The Tree" campaign has been very successful. A local restaurant owner paid for the whole thing. Other donations are being put in a special account to maintain and add to the lights for years to come. Thank you all who donated to this wonderful tradition!

Work sessions will continue every Saturday morning from 9:00am to noon.

As winter approaches, so do routine chores that keep the Depot so attractive. We have plenty of low stress jobs for anyone interested in helping out. Please call our number, (716)-662-7002, and let us know you are coming.

This page was last updated: December 7th, 2023

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