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the DispatcherCentral Oklahoma Chapter

of the National Railway Historical SocietyOklahoma Railway Museum Ltd,

NARCOA Affiliate Member

Volume 49 Issue 7 July 2014

by Gary Githens

photo provided

Union Pacific Public Safety Trainin OKC on May 22nd

Left, Anne Murray Chilton and Jay Chilton, delegates from the Oklahoma Railway Museum, accept the Cultural Heri-tage Stewardship Award from Susan McVey, Oklahoma Department of Libraries Director, and Dr. Bob Blackburn, Oklahoma Historical Society Executive Director, along-side Representative Mike Shelton on May 1 at the Okla-homa State Capitol. (story page 2)

left to right Rep. Mike Shelton, Anne Murray Chilton, Jay Chilton, Susan McVey, Dr. Bob Blackburn

2014 "Top 10 Artifacts: Saving Oklahoma's Heritage

I had the opportunity to be a guest of the Union Pacific Railroad for a trip from near Bass Pro Shops to just past Yukon and return. The train consisted of three cars from their Heritage fleet. Riding in the observa-tion car Columbia was my first time ever in a dome car.

(continued page 6)

Founding member passes Edwin Ed King Birch, Sr.,

Sept 7, 1923 -June 13, 2014page 4

Page 2 the DispatcherOklahoma Railway

Museum, Ltd.

Board of DirectorsStan Hall, President

Larry Dodd, Vice Presidentand Program Chair

Drake Rice, SecretaryCharles Price, Treasurer

Bob Nantois, NRHS DirectorBob Cossairt, Director of Buildings & Static Displays

Bob Hussey, Director of Track Maintenance

Terry Birchett, Director of Mechanical Operations

Harry Currie, Director at Large

Greg Hall, Director of Museum Activities

Bob Cook, Director of Museum Displays

Ed Birch Jr., Train Show ChairGary Taber, Membership


Gary Githens, Dispatcher Editor

Stan Hall

The Presidents Column

Oklahoma Railway Museum 405-424-8222

Photographs and stories by Gary Githens unless noted otherwise

2014 "Top 10 Artifacts: Saving Oklahoma's Heritage

The Oklahoma Cultural Heritage Trust

The Oklahoma Railway Museum was recog-nized for its work to preserve and protect the Porter Steam Engine #7466, one of the last steam engines to operate in Oklahoma, and was accepted into the "Top 10 Artifacts: Saving Oklahoma's Heritage" program in a May Day ceremony at the Oklahoma State Capitol on May 1.

In addition to being accepted into the program, the Oklahoma Railway Museum was present-ed with a Cultural Heritage Stewardship Award signed by Governor Mary Fallin, Senator Con-stance Johnson and Representative Mike Shel-ton. The award recognizes the Oklahoma Rail-way Museums commitment to the preservation of Oklahomas rich culture and heritage.

The 50 ton saddle tank style locomotive built by H. K. Porter company in September 1942. Builders number 7486. Original owner was U. S. Army Corps Of Engineers - road no. 5006, PO 57198, C of E spec T-1557. Sold to Oklahoma Gas & Electric who used it at the Horse Shoe Power plant in Harrah OK. switching coal cars.

I want to thank Larry Dodd for running the parking lot for the Na-tional Womens Softball World Series Tournament. He did a great job of organizing the museum workers and parking the cars. We had a new addition this year, Harry Currie found us a new Lot to the East and cleared, cleaned and set up parking there. With more museum members, we parked there also. Overall the Museum received about $24,000 for parking and the members who participated had a good time with our visitors from all over the United States. We also had a good time visiting with each other after the lot was full.

The Members picnic was a lot of fun. Thanks to all of you who came to enjoy a lunch, train ride and see all the improvements since last year. Special thanks to chef Richard Robinson who was assisted by his daughter Angela and son Jonathan.

Page 3the DispatcherMuseum Update by Drake Rice

July is the 15th Anniversary of the purchase of the ORM propertyThanks to the many volunteers and donors that have contributed

If you can help, even once, with car hosting or flag-ging please contact Anne at 424-8222 on Thurs-days or Fridays to schedule

Day out with ThomasSep 26,27,28 and Oct 3,4,5

Please consider volunteering Your ORM needs your help.

June has continued to be busy with a lot of activities at our museum. We have had two operations weekends with good turnouts on both and then the special mem-bers train during the Annual Members Picnic. The Annual Members Picnic had a good turnout for grilled hot dogs, chips and soft drinks. A special thanks to Richard Robinson and his teenagers for the cooking and serving. ORM has enjoyed the working signals on NE 36th Street crossing. The signals have made a difference and helped improve the safety. Charles Price has becoming our signal switch person to active the sig-nals at the crossing when the trains are preparing to cross. In addition, Bob Hussey and Company has installed signals at the Grand Avenue crossing. Wir-ing will need to be run to provide power to the signals and we will be looking forward to Larry Dodd and John Emery getting the relays hooked up and activating the signals in the future. The overall plan is to get the signals at NE 30th op-erating and then signals at NE 16th Street. We have signals for NE 16th and we will need to make im-provements to the NE 30th Street signals prior to put-ting them in service. So we still have a lot of work to do and as always the museum could use help with these projects, so if you have some time we always welcome help.

In the shop, work continues on the Rock Island Caboose rehab work that has been ongoing for over a year. Work is nearing completion on the exterior that will allow paint-ing in the future and the carpentry department is working on the inte-rior. The caboose will look like new when completed and will allow us to have a Rock Island Caboose that can be used for special occasions. The mechanical folks are nearing completion of the work over of ORM 301, the 45 Ton GE switch-er. Brake work is completed and new batteries have been received and will be installed and the engine will be ready to leave the shop after its six months of rest on track one.At the present time the area in front of the shop is the location for a lot of construction. The improvement will take care of drainage issues that have been occurring where in heavy rail, water runs in the front of the build-ing and or stands in front of the Murray Shop building. Once the drains are installed then asphalt will be put down which will help keep gravel from being kicked in the building by our visitors especially during DOWT. As always, we hope to see you at the museum where there is always a project needing some help.

Page 4 the Dispatcher

All rail fans owe a debt of gratitude to Ed Birch, Sr. A group of modelers began meeting at his house back in 1968. From that group the Central Oklahoma Rail Fan Club was formed which later became the Oklahoma Railway Museum and the Oklahoma City Train Show was started.

During his years of working for the railroads Ed had his camera busy. His library of railroad photographs is outstanding and appreciated. Thanks for his contribu-tion to rail fans.Gary Githens

In memory of Mr. Ed Birch, Sr.

Sept 7, 1923 -June 13, 2014 Edwin King Birch, Sr., 90, of Oklahoma City, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Friday, June 13, 2014. He was born September 7, 1923, in Pittman, NJ to Edwin and Helen Birch. He served in the Army from 1944 to 1946 and was a World War 2 veteran. He married the love of his life, Beatrice, on May 28, 1948. She preceded him in death earlier this year. Edwin spent 30 years working in the railroad for the Santa Fe and Rock Island companies and 30 years working at Whistle Stop Trains. He had a love for photography and was always taking photos of his family and trains. Edwin is survived by his three children, Edwin Birch Jr., Wayne Birch, and Darlene and Greg Shoopman; nine grandchildren (including spouses) and seven great-grandchildren; all of the Oklahoma City area. Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 18, 2014, at the Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens Cem-etery at 8701 NW Expressway in Oklahoma City.

I recall going down to Union Station with my dad around 1962 interested in getting information on what trains were running on the Frisco, and Rock Island. Ed was working the ticket window in those days. He provided plenty of timetables and then introduced us to the stationmaster who took us on a grand tour and provided a fat envelope labeled educational materi-als, all of which I have to this day. He was a treasure trove of information, had a fond-ness for and knew all the eastern lines, was always helpful in finding that unusual photo you might be looking for in his collection. Steve Davis

Ed Birch Sr. realized early on that America's trans-portation system was going to change. Fortunately for us he did not stand idly by while it happened. He painstakingly documented that change with his cam-era. Because he did so, we now have his collection of photos to enjoy and remind us of what came before.

Although Mr. Birch is departed from this life, his leg-acy will remain in crystal clear black and white (and some Kodacolor) images. Even though he took a great manyimages of rail equipment, sadly he did not spend enough time in front of the camera for some. Let's all take this lesson with us. While out photo-graphing, be sure and get images of your friends and fellow railfans. You never know.Larry Dodd

Ed Sr. was a great guy and I enjoyed his photo work. He always had a great photo of somethi


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