MILTON — Directed by co-workers keeping a close eye on his path, Butch Batdorf used a forklift truck to carefully and precisely lift a 13,000-pound replica railcar from a flatbed onto its new resting place in Milton.
“I am pleased to see this (railcar) back in the community where it belongs,” John Gummo said Monday, just after the railcar was placed in an area where it is now on display next to the Milton Police Department.
Milton Borough Council on Aug. 24 approved a maintenance agreement with the Milton Historical Society. The agreement paved the way for the society to have the replica railcar — which stood for decades at the ACF Industries property along North Arch Street — placed in the area of the police department.
The railcar was refurbished earlier this year by Gummo, at his own expense.
Gummo previously said the replica was built in the 1970s to showcase the earliest railcars built by ACF. The replica which is now on display in Milton is believed to be the only one of its kind in existence.
Milton Historical Society President Tim Bittner and board member Rob Jones worked recently to prepare the 12-by-20-foot area where the railcar is on display.
On Monday, Bittner explained the process of transporting the railcar from Gummo’s property in Beech Creek to Milton.
He said the effort started at 7 a.m. as Williamsport Crane Services loaded the railcar onto the flatbed of a truck driven by Lenny Yocum, of Milton.
“John (Gummo) called me about 8:45 and said they were on their way (to Milton),” Bittner said.
Yocum transported the railcar along Interstate 80, with it arriving in Milton just after 10 a.m.
“Because of the power lines (around the site) the crane service cannot be used to unload (the railcar),” Bittner explained.
He credited TIME Executive Director George Venios with contacting Acrow Bridge-Milton Steel to see if the company could provide the equipment and manpower to unload the railcar.
The company donated its services to assist with the project, even utilizing specially made ramps — placed over a curb — for the forklift truck to drive over while carrying the railcar to its resting place.
Greg Solomon, Acrow Bridge-Milton Steel plant superintendent, was among five plant employees assisting with unloading the railcar. He said it’s important for the company to give back to the community.
“We’re all for Milton,” he said.
Solomon noted the ramps placed to assist with the unloading process will be repurposed for other uses.
He praised Batdorf and forklift operator Frank Biddinger with the speed and precision in which they unloaded and placed the railcar.
“I’ve got two of the best fork truck drivers around,” Solomon said.
Bittner thanked the steel company for its efforts in assisting with the project.
“I’m very impressed,” he said. “Milton Steel went out of their way to make this work. They did more than I expected.”
Bittner said the Milton Historical Society provided $5,000 to assist with expenses related to transporting the railcar to Beech Creek and back to Milton.
In addition to noting historical society’s contribution and Acrow-Bridge Milton Steel donating its time to assist with the unloading, Bittner thanked several other individuals and entities which contributed to the project.
He paid special thanks to John and Joyce Gummo for donating the railcar to the historical society. The Gummos are also donating a historic baggage wagon, which will soon be placed at the site as well.
Transportation of the railcar from Beech Creek to Milton was donated by Mark Eyer and Daily Express, of Carlisle. Yocum donated his time to drive the truck carrying the railcar.
Bittner also thanked Milton Borough Council and borough staff for its help and guidance with the project, and for allowing the railcar to be placed on borough property.
The Milton Historical Society is seeking contributions to assist with the construction of a canopy which will be placed over the railcar. Funds are also needed for future site maintenance.
Donations, with railcar noted on the check memo line, can be sent to: Milton Historical Society, c/o Jill Moser, 914 Skyview Drive, Milton PA 17847.