Pre-Work Job Briefing

One of the most important things a group of railroaders do before starting their work day is hold a “job briefing”.  What is a job briefing you ask?  A job briefing is defined as a short meeting between all members of a crew or employees involved in a particular assignment so that everybody has a compete understanding of the task to be performed.  It gets everyone on the same page and lays out the work while assigning each member to a specific task.  So, that’s today’s railroad lesson for you, free of charge.

Now that you know and understand what a job briefing is all about, here’s your first one.  Now that Winter is over and the weather in Portola has been conducive to grunt work, the volunteers at your museum have come out of wherever they’ve been hiding out all Winter and are getting back to work.

Two of our resident “Go to” guys, Fritz and Poindexter, have been hard at work getting WP 917-D, our most popular Rental locomotive, back in service.  They have been meticulously cleaning and refurbishing electrical parts, as well as other tasks around the museum related to getting the gates open and the engines back up and running.

Gail McClure has, in addition to her new position of Treasurer for the FRRS, been busy getting new gift shop inventory counted, tagged, folded, and entered in the register computer.  Her and Rod spent a weekend down in Stockton at Winterrail, representing the museum and selling books, shirts, and other goodies to the rail buffs.  Gail was helped by brothers Tom & Tim Carter & Alicia La Brecque at the WPRM table.

A few personnel changes have taken place at the museum, the biggest being the departure of our Treasurer, James Mason.  James had asked us to find a new Treasurer at the August Board of Directors meeting, as he no longer wanted to continue in that role.  He did act as our “interim” Treasurer until Gail McClure was nominated and seated to the Treasurers position at the November meeting.  Gail has extensive experience and qualifications and is doing a fine job managing the FRRS funds and we have our complete confidence in her abilities, despite the rough economy the museum, and the country, is still recovering from.

Speaking of funding, Eugene Vicknair (FRRS Secretary) has been appointed “Fund Raising Department Head” as well as Historical Department Convention Manager.  Matt Elems (aka “Poindexter”) has been appointed editor of the “Trainsheet” newsletter, and I (Tom Carter) have been appointed Safety Manager.  You’ll notice this year a bigger shift towards increased safety both in the shop and in train operations both.  More on that as it is implemented.  Finally, my fiance, Alicia La Brecque, has taken on the role of volunteer coordinator and will be contacting both current, former and potentially new volunteers in an effort to rally the troops and get some work done.

Speaking of work, the list of approved projects for this year is:


  • WP 165 Restoration
  • Zephyr Project (Silver Plate work, WP 805-A work, Zephyr cab relocation)
  • Archives cataloging and related work
  • Archives utilization projects (coffee table book, etc.)

 Specific Projects:

  • WP 501 restoration
  • WP 563 restoration
  • WP 731 mechanical
  • WP 1503 painting
  • CCT 24 caboose
  • Perimeter Fence
  • Calendar Project
  • Silver Debris security improvements
  • Virgil Staff film scanning
  • FR&W Plymouth relocation and display

Yeah, this list is a long, ambitious one, but, with YOUR help, we can get it DONE.  Some of us are already at work on it, but this year, volunteer labor, monetary support, and, well, just MORAL support if that is all you can give right now, will help go a LONG way towards the FRRS accomplishing its goals this season at the museum.  

Now, if you’ll allow me to don my Director’s hat for just a second, I have said this and said this, and I’ll say it here again:  As Director’s of YOUR organization, we are VERY open to feedback.  Give us a call, or send us an email (you can get in touch with us through the museum phone number; leave a message and we’ll call you back, or send us a Facebook message or email and we’ll send you our phone numbers).  Let us know what YOU want.  If we’re on the right track, great, but if you feel we’re not, let us know.  Above all, ASK QUESTIONS.  We’re here to serve you, the member.  Get involved.  Give us input.  There’s no better way to serve the membership than to get feedback from them, so let’s hear it.

Matt, in taking over the Editor position for the Trainsheet, needs material for publication.  Articles, news and photos of recent work is very much appreciated.  This accounts for the lack of Trainsheet’s being published in the last year; we can’t publish blank newsletters.  Please consider taking a few moments to send Matt an article or news so he can get these out in a timely manner.

The museum re-opens to the public on April 26th.  We will be focusing a lot of effort to advertise and reach out to the Reno-Tahoe areas and are open for ideas to get the word out about the museum.

Come on out and join the “Willing People” as we preserve and present the spirit of the Western Pacific Railroad to the world.

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