75th Anniversary Gala Details Announced!

posted Dec 2, 2018, 12:11 AM by James Lilly

Three quarters of a century ago, a small group came together in Washington to create the Washington, D.C., Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. In 2019, we celebrate the remarkable 75th Anniversary of that event. Sunday, March 31, 2019 DCNRHS will host our Annual Gala Celebrating the 75 years of DCNRHS service and accomplishment as an educational philanthropic organization. We have a new venue for the event, the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia.  The event will begin at 6 pm. Our theme will be Railroading in 1944:  The World that Created the Chapter

The year of the Chapter’s founding was significant. In 1944, WW II had turned in the Allies favor, and it was generally thought that they would soon defeat the Axis powers and banish Fascism from Europe and Japanese  aggression from the Pacific. A year later, the Axis surrendered unconditionally, and railroads pivoted to what they believed to be a coming era of peacetime prosperity.

What, really, was the year 1944 like in the United States, and especially in the Washington, D.C., region? Why would a small group of railroaders and railfans think it was a good time to form a NRHS Chapter and think they could make a difference? That will be the topic of the keynote address. We are delighted to welcome noted rail historian John P. Hankey as our guest speaker for this special event. He brings 50 years of experience and perspective to the field of Railway History and Heritage. He also is a longstanding friend and supporter of the Chapter and uniquely qualified to place our 75th Anniversary into a larger context. John is known for his wide-ranging and challenging presentations, and we expect that he will leave us thinking about Washington’s railroad heritage in ways we never have before.

Please mark your calendars and plan to join us for a very special evening as we remember and celebrate the three quarters of a century of Chapter accomplishments! Tickets will be available from our web site soon.

BREAKING NEWS:  Attendees who have vintage World War II era Military Uniforms (U.S.) or vintage Railroad Uniforms are encouraged to wear them to the gala. 

Presidential Transition

posted Dec 2, 2018, 12:03 AM by James Lilly   [ updated Dec 2, 2018, 12:04 AM ]

After six+ years of faithful service and dedication to the mission and members of our organization, DCNRHS President Scarlett Wirt is stepping down at the end of her term (December 31st). On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, we wish to say thank you Scarlett for a job well done.  During her tenure as President DCNRHS restored 3 baggage cars, restored the Collinsville Inn to mainline service, repainted Dover Harbor, was the recipient of several grants, and worked hard to strengthen our financial processes. While many volunteers are involved in our operationsw, much of the credit for those and accomplishments is rightfully shared with Scarlett and reflective of her leadership, tenacity, and vision. 

In January, CAPT John Eldrige, USN, (Retired) will assume the role of DCNRHS President.  Welcome aboard John.  While leading an all volunteer organization that sails down the rails frequently in a 1923 Pullman car is probably a bit different than commanding a Los Angeles class Attack Submarine, we are excited to have you at the helm of the organization and are sure you are up to the task!

New and Improved Monthly Programs set to roll out in January

posted Dec 1, 2018, 11:49 PM by James Lilly   [ updated Dec 1, 2018, 11:52 PM ]

Throughout 2019, the Washington, D.C., Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society (DCNRHS), is sponsoring monthly programs featuring topics in transportation history by expert speakers. These programs are free and open to the public. For more information see our programs page.

Our 2019 programs will be presented at The Alexandria History Museum at the Lyceum, located in Old Town Alexandria at 201 S. Washington Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, a new venue for us. 

The Lyceum features free parking in their adjacent lot and there is also metered street parking available. The Lyceum is also accessible via the City of Alexandria's free King Street Trolley, which transports passengers from the King Street Metrorail Station (across the tracks from Amtrak/VRE). The free trolley operates seven days a week from 11:30 am to 10 pm. 

Celebrating 75 Years in 2019

posted Nov 7, 2018, 6:50 PM by James Lilly   [ updated Nov 7, 2018, 6:50 PM ]

DCNRHS is celebrating our Diamond Anniversary in 2019.  To celebrate, the Chapter Board of Directors commissioned a special 75th anniversary logo. The logo concept was developed by one of our members, Bill Adams. Can you find the diamond in our logo?  

Train Day at the Library - Sunday, Nov. 25

posted Nov 7, 2018, 6:44 PM by James Lilly

Again this year, the Library Committee is hosting “Train Day” at Bowie Tower on the Sunday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 25) – the railfan’s favorite holiday. This is the day when Amtrak runs the most trains of the year as people return from the Thanksgiving “exodus,” and there will be lots of action on the Northeast Corridor, which is adjacent to the tower. The library will be open from 10 am to 4 pm, rain or shine. Enjoy cider and donuts courtesy of the Library Committee, view the Chessie System caboose, and browse the wonderful DCNRHS collections which are housed in the tower. When: Sunday, November 25, 2018, 10 am – 4 pm Where: Martin F. O’Rourke Memorial Railroad Library Bowie Huntington Railroad Museum 8614 Chestnut Ave., Bowie, MD 20715

Everett Railroad Charter Memories

posted Oct 8, 2018, 12:14 PM by James Lilly

On August 25, 2018, DCNRHS sponsored a charter photo freight on the Everett Railroad.  Our motive power for the day was a restored steam locomotive. Thanks to the generosity of several participants who shared their images of the event, and to Guerin Goldsmith who put together a wonderful 5 minute video, we share with you some memories of the trip. Reminisce with us, on a journey into yesteryear, on the Everett Railroad.

DCNRHS sponsors a variety of trips and events each year to help, educating the public about America's railroads and their rich and storied history!  Membership in DCNRHS is open to all. 

Everett Railroad Reminisce - 8 - 25 - 2018

The First Big Diamond Anniversary Reveal - Coming Soon!

posted Oct 3, 2018, 1:19 PM by James Lilly

Look here soon for the big reveal! We will be posting your first look at our 75th Anniversary Celebration Logo.  In 2019 DCNRHS celebrates our 75th year of service to the Washington,D.C. community and the rail heritage community at large. For nearly 75 years we have been providing and conducting educational  projects and programs on on subjects related to railroading and its rich and storied history.  We developed a special logo to help celebrate our Diamond Anniversary. 

We Did It Together!

posted Oct 3, 2018, 1:15 PM by James Lilly

Volunteers hard at work at the Paint Blitz
Thank you to EVERYONE who turned out on September 15, our rain date, for our baggage car painting blitz at Dover Park. After a few nervous moments, when at 8:10 am the clouds opened up and sprinkled everything with a misty morning rain, it cleared up and turned out to be a fantastic day. About 25 energetic volunteers put brushes and rollers to work and were able to finish the exterior painting of the two baggage cars that didn’t get painted last year. We have now painted all three of the cars and they are looking great! Although the baggage cars don’t go anywhere, they are critical support resources which provide work areas and storage for the equipment and supplies that are used to keep our three Amtrak-certified rail cars on the road. The baggage cars are long and it took a lot of paint to cover the approximately 2,600 square feet of exterior railcar surface and several thousand rivets. We ended up applying 11 gallons of paint while using about 20 paint brushes, 12 paint rollers and pans, 10 ladders, and scaffolding! The paint party started about 7 am when the first volunteers arrived and ended just after 6 pm when we locked the gates.

While the painting was going on, the Library Committee held a book sale and swap meet and quite a few people were observed browsing and selecting items to take home. As a result, we were able to raise some new funds for DCNRHS.

Special recognition goes to Wayne Poates and UPS. Wayne (who works for UPS) was instrumental in obtaining UPS participation and the $15,000 grant which funded the supplies we needed for the preparation and repainting of the baggage cars over the last two years. The grant also funded the new water service which we needed to get the cars clean. Wayne has driven up from Richmond numerous times and stayed the weekend at his own expense to help with the painting project. 

Chief Mechanical Officer Jim Lilly expresses special thanks to the members of the Operations and Equipment Committee who have spent several hundred hours over the past two years, cleaning, scraping, and priming the baggage cars and doing major body and sheet metal work. Preparation is the key to a successful paint job and their work made the paint party the success that it was. 

Photo by Mary Ries

Railcar Orientation

posted Oct 3, 2018, 1:08 PM by James Lilly

The DCNRHS Operations and Equipment Committee will host a hands-on rail car orientation session open to all DCNRHS members on Saturday, November 3, 2018. The session will take place on board the Dover Harbor at Washington Union Station from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm with a break for lunch. This is your opportunity to learn about the Chapter’s railcars, the practical aspects of moving them over the railroad, and how service is provided. Attendance is required if you would like to volunteer to be a steward or take on other crew assignments. New members and volunteers are needed and welcome! 


posted Sep 7, 2018, 3:04 PM by James Lilly

The painting blitz, picnic, open house, and book swap scheduled for 9/8/2018 at Dover Park has been rescheduled due to weather.  The new date and time are 9/15/2018 at 9AM.

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