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OBPA donates motor car to St. Lawrence Power & Equipment Museum

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MADRID - The St. Lawrence Power & Equipment Museum has received the donation of an historic railroad motor car from the Ogdensburg Bridge & Port Authority.

Wade Davis, executive director of the Authority, said it was “pleased to donate the car to the museum’s collection of historic items, where it will preserve a piece of the north country’s railroad history.”

The motor car was unveiled at the museum’s recent exhibition and was an immediate hit for the young and old. The motor car was built by Fairmont Railway Motors, Inc., perhaps as early as the 1920s. Its engine is believed to have been built by the Waukesha Motor Co. Motor cars were used to carry men and pull equipment to maintain the railways. In the early 1900s they replaced the open hand-pumped cars which exposed men to all types of weather and made for tiring return trips at the end of the day. Power from the (then) rapidly improving gasoline engines was a welcome relief to workers and it increased their productivity. Beginning in the 1960s motorcars were gradually replaced by regular road vehicles specially equipped with steel wheels that could be lowered for use on railroad tracks.

Delivery of the motor car to the museum was facilitated by the New York and Ogdensburg Railroad, which operates the authority’s shortline between Ogdensburg and Norwood. The motor car now rests on tracks provided by Knowlton & Sons, which the museum has bedded in gravel.

The museum recognizes the importance of early railroads to the region’s history and will develop a significant exhibit to help assure they are not forgotten.

The museum is located at 1755 state Highway 345 in Madrid. Visitors can see exhibits of the many implements and inventions that made life in the north country more comfortable and productive. You can tour the Collection Building, the timberframe Horse-Drawn Equipment Building, the Maple Sugar House, Granary, the WWII Farmstead, Schoolhouse, Gas Station, Shoe Repair Shop, and Sawmill from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every second and fourth Saturday. Groups are welcome by special arrangement by calling (315) 344-7470.

To make a contribution, become a member, or for more information, visit www.slpowermuseum.com, email info@slpowermuseum.com, or write SLPEM, PO Box 400, Madrid, NY 13660.

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