Museum Happenings

This page will contain some of the latest exhibits, equipment, projects and special events at the Whippany Railway Museum.  Check here often to find out more information.

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In Memory of

Charles G. Berkemeyer

Historian, Museum Trustee, & Loyal Friend
June 7, 1938 - January 24, 2017

After a long battle with lung cancer, our good friend and Whippany Railway Museum trustee Charles G. Berkemeyer passed away Tuesday, January 24th at about 11:30AM.

Charlie has been cremated and his ashes will be laid alongside his beloved wife Cyndi during a private family ceremony. Charlie had missed Cyndi terribly after her passing in October 2004... her death just seemed to take all of the wind out of his sails. When he himself became ill some years ago, all he wanted to do was to be with Cyndi. Now, they are both together again.

Charlie was a great friend to all, and he was one of the most caring individuals anyone would ever meet. His knowledge on ALL things (not just railroads) was absolutely amazing. While he could be passionately opinionated on certain subjects (like politics !), he'd argue with you with a great wink and nod... always letting you know that all was still friendship, no matter the issues. He was ALWAYS quick with a hearty laugh, a grand smile, and a fatherly pat on the back.

Charlie's contributions to the Whippany Railway Museum are immeasurable. Always ready to share parts of his immense collection of memorabilia, many Museum exhibits over the years were enhanced by outstanding examples of Charlie's artifacts.

His carpentry skills were beyond compare. He was meticulous in simply everything he did. Many of us will remember his van, loaded down with tools of all shapes, sizes and vintage. The man was an absolute classic. We won't see his like again.

What many Museum members and visitors will remember about Charlie is his grand portrayal of Santa Claus during the WRyM Santa Claus Special trains. Charlie was our very first Santa in 1991... and if you ask ANYONE who came into contact with Charlie during those rides... he WAS Santa... there was NO doubt about it. Here was Santa in real life ! Charlie was an absolute HUGE hit with the crowds. He certainly looked the part and when he eventually grew in his own beard, he amazed the kids and adults alike. Every time you turned around, you could hear people say, "That guy is the REAL Santa Claus !" Charlie was always very proud of how much people enjoyed seeing him as Santa, and he put his heart and soul into each and every performance. Cyndi always made sure that "Santa" was well groomed and "watered" prior to each trip... she was just as an important part of the event as Charlie was.

Entering the later-1990's, Charlie began having health issues which ultimately prevented him from being our Santa any longer as the long days and great effort became extremely grueling for him. You could just see the sadness in Charlie's eyes when he could no longer don the Santa suit... but being the resourceful guy that he was, Charlie eventually came to the Museum site dressed as "Santa's Locomotive Engineer, Charlie Claus" and he would entertain the children as they awaited the arrival of their train.

It was Christmastime 2004... not very long after Cyndi had passed away. We took Charlie to see the newly-released movie, "The Polar Express". We figured it might brighten Charlie's spirits just a bit. As we sat in the darkened theater, we could tell that Charlie was enjoying the movie immensely. After the film ended and we walked back to the car to take Charlie home, he said, "I can still hear the bell..." If you've read the book or have seen the movie, you'll know exactly what Charlie meant when he uttered those words.

The time has now come for Charlie to be on his way to a better life... but the memories will always remain of a loyal friend and a kind and gentle soul.

Rest in Peace, Charlie... you were well loved.

In Memory of
Joan R. Terry
Museum Charter Member & Dear Friend
October 11, 1942 - September 24, 2015

Joan Terry A

A Memorial Celebration is being held today (Oct. 11th) for Whippany Railway Museum Charter Member Joan Terry who passed away on September 24th after a long illness.

Joan along with her husband, noted artist John Terry, ran the "Railroad Shanty Gift Shop" at the Morris County Central Railroad from 1972 through 1980. Joan was also a Board member of the Morris County Central Railroad, Inc. As a Charter Member of WRyM, she was a great supporter of our many restoration projects, and for that we are eternally grateful.

Joan was an extremely friendly and active person, involved with all manner of interests. She was kind to everyone she came into contact with and she helped countless people through her volunteering and charitable works both in New Jersey and West Virginia.

Joan will be greatly missed by all of us at the Whippany Railway Museum, and we send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to her family.

JOAN TERRY - Daily Record Obituary

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In Memory of

Thomas E. Hodupski

Museum Member, Trustee, & Loyal Friend
December 21, 1950 – February 7, 2015

The Whippany Railway Museum has lost one of its greatest supporters with the passing of long-time member and Trustee, Tom Hodupski.

Tom wholeheartedly enjoyed volunteering at the Museum and went so far as to have his home phone number end in "4039" in honor of one of our steam locomotives. In 1994 when the Museum needed funds to purchase that locomotive, he was there to provide a bridge loan, which was a very kind and generous gesture on Tom's part. He didn't want people to know of this action, but everyone should be aware of the huge part he played in helping No. 4039 come home to Whippany.

Tom also championed the building, maintenance, and operation of the Museum's outdoor G-Scale train layout, which will soon be renamed in his memory. Tom could be found outside operating the model trains in all kinds of weather for the enjoyment of our visitors... young and old alike.

A kind and gentle soul with a heart of gold, Tom will be greatly missed by all those who were lucky enough to call him Friend.

Rest in Peace Dear Tom, we really cared for you and we were always so appreciative of your kindness and steadfast support.

Whippany Fire Department / Civil Defense Siren

Federal Sign and Signal Corporation Model C3 1/2

 Air Raid Siren Close - Crop

The Air Raid Siren, once a common place signaling device used in communities across the nation. It could be used for alerting firefighters about an active fire, warning the public of a potential natural or man-made disaster, or for less life threatening things such as school closings or that the kids should come home for dinner.

Click HERE to read more about this now fading piece of vital infrastructure.


Crossing Gates - Lead Image

As America became laced with railroads in the latter half of the 19th century, it soon became apparent that safety warning signs and signals should be set up to protect people who wanted to cross the tracks.

Click here to learn about this important part of railroad safety, as well as some examples that are in the museum's collection



The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), “The Standard Railroad of the World”, constructed nearly 1,200 N6b class wooden cabooses (or “Cabin Cars” as they were called on the PRR) from 1914 to 1923.

Click Here to read more about the history of this clasic piece of Museum & railroading History

In Memorial

In Memory of

John A. Snogans

Museum Member, Railroader, Friend
January 25, 1952 - August 14, 2013

A Friend like John comes along but once in a lifetime... Those of us who knew him from both the Whippany Railway Museum and the Morris County Central Railroad have all benefited from his knowledge, compassion and zest for life.

Our lives have been forever changed for the best through our friendship with this unique and gentle man.

Rest In Peace Good Friend.

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Whippany Railway Museum
P.O. Box 16
Whippany, NJ 07981-0016
(973) 887-8177

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