Monday, November 15, 2010

Wednesday Crew Works Wonders

Ed Leska, Tony Ramirez, John Green
and Doug Winter
With rare exception, Wednesday mornings at the railroad museum are a time when a group of men gathers there to tackle projects and problems in need of attention.

The group's primary focus has always been the Goleta Short Line miniature railroad. In fact, the group can be traced back to 2006, when Gene Allen began organizing volunteer  work parties to tackle the daunting task of expanding the miniature railroad from a six-minute, one-third-mile-long ride to a nine-minute, half-mile ride.

The head of the all-volunteer group is Ed Leska, who has been a museum member since 1993. Leska was one of the men recruited by Allen to help with the Goleta Short Line expansion, and Allen later tapped Leska to take over as the group's leader.

Ed Leska, Gene Allen and William Simpson
take a break during Goleta Short Line expansion.
In 2007, with this large project finally behind them, the group turned to other tasks, especially the maintenance of the enlarged railroad right-of-way and the miniature-train equipment, including a major rebuilding of the turntable. Eventually, Wednesday became the usual work day and the group's membership solidified, as Leska, John Green, Tony Ramirez, and Doug Winter became the team's regulars.

John Green welds supporting wire mesh
for the Visitor Center's overhead train.
Eventually, the group – whose background and training included carpentry, engineering, electrical and more – came to be called upon to perform other general maintenance, repair and construction projects around the museum. One major effort took place in 2008, when the Daylight passenger-train was added to the suspended railroad in the museum's Visitor Center.

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