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DCNRHS Receives Grant for Dover Harbor

posted Sep 25, 2016, 3:03 PM by James Lilly
DCNRHS is proud to announce that we have been awarded a $10,000 matching grant from the John Emery Rail Heritage Trust. The grant is in response to a proposal developed by the Mechanical Committee to augment the Dover Harbor’s historic icebox with modern cooling, which we are calling the “Auxiliary Cooling System” project. 

The project design will preserve the integrity and look of the icebox and maintain our ability to continue operating in “icebox mode” when necessary. Although the original Pullman icebox is recognized as a unique, historical feature of our 1923 Pullman, its use has become more difficult operationally in recent times. Originally, the icebox was cooled by block ice delivered through an overhead hatch to an ice bunker running alongside the icebox. Today, block ice is rarely used, as it has become more difficult to find and overhead electrical lines in Washington Union Station prevent safe access to the hatch. Instead, the icebox is cooled by multiple bags of cubed ice obtained from the Amtrak commissaries. Obtaining the 100 to 150 pounds of ice needed daily from Amtrak is becoming increasingly difficult and less reliable. Therefore, DCNRHS has considered adding auxiliary cooling for some time, and this grant makes that vision possible. 

The mission of the Emery Trust is to “re-create and preserve…the rail passenger travel experience...from the ‘Golden Age’ of the U.S. rail passenger service…with an emphasis on organizations that offer the general public an opportunity to ride historically significant equipment over historic rail lines.” 

President Wirt commented, “DCNRHS is honored to have been selected for this grant, which embodies the spirit of both DCNRHS’ and the Trust’s missions. And we are proud of our sterling reputation as operators of historic rail cars.” The terms of the matching grant are straight-forward: DCNRHS will receive up to $10,000 based on our ability to raise matching funds on a 1:1 basis. We have until March 31, 2017, to raise these funds, and we appreciate any contribution you can make toward this goal. Donations to this project may be made directly on our website ( or mailed to DCNRHS, P.O. Box 230, Savage, MD 20763 (please note “Emery Grant Match” on the check). Questions regarding the details of the project may be directed to the Mechanical Crew Chief, Jim Lilly, at 443-253-2956 or