Albert J. Marro / Staff Photo
Allan St. Peter, left, and John Schaub work on a new model train layout at the Rutland Railway Association headquarters in Center Rutland.
The Rutland Railway Association is fixing up the Center Rutland Depot.
Club secretary Peter Fisk said the group will use a trio of grants totaling $24,000 to install double-glazed windows — which include UV filtering to help protect the rail museum’s contents — and repair the “very leaky” portion of the roof.
“Hopefully, we’ll make major reductions in our oil bill,” Fisk said. “It’s probably $1,500 to $2,000 a year, which probably doesn’t seem like much, but we’re only there two days a week.”
The organization maintains the building, which houses a museum on the history of rail in the area and a model train display. The property is part of the Center Rutland historic district, according to Fisk.
The association has received $1,000 from the Vermont Community Foundation for the roof repair and $3,000 from the Amherst Railway Society, a Massachusetts organization best known for putting on a massive train show each year, for the windows.
Another $20,000 from an “anonymous local foundation” will cover any shortfall in the first two projects, with any leftover money going to electrical upgrades.
“Probably new light fixtures and things like that,” Fisk said.
The building also needs a new paint job, but Fisk said that’s a project for another time.
“The roof is one of those things where, once you start, you don’t know where you’re going to end up, so you have to leave yourself some cushion,” he said.
The 100-year-old building is owned by the state of Vermont, which leased it to the Carris Corporation for 99 years.
“Henry Carris was delighted to do that because he was a real railroad enthusiast,” Fisk said. “A good portion of our collection is from his artifacts.”
Carris used the building as a corporate headquarters, building an addition that today holds the club’s model railroad set-up.
“Where the roofs join is where the drops come it,” Fisk said.
The company subleases the building to the railway association, which opens it to the public Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It also hosts school groups and out-of-state rail enthusiasts. Fisk said the museum has seen increased traffic in the last year or so.
Fisk said roofing work should commence with warmer weather. The association is getting estimates and reviewing technical details on the windows, which it intends to have in before next winter.
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