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.
Please join us in welcoming the Erie Lackawanna Caboose Number C-177 to our growing collection of vintage cabooses. The C170 series cabooses were built in March 1946 from “kits” at Dunmore Shops. In late-1985 Conrail retired the former Erie C177 and donated the car to the Jersey Central Railway Historical Society Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, whose members initially restored the caboose to its 1950's appearance. In the fall of 2016, the Jersey Central Chapter donated the caboose to the Whippany Railway Museum. The Museum will start the process of restoration and refurbishment and add this fine example to railroading history to future excursions.
Click HERE to read more information
On Five Spring and Fall days, you and your family can ride in a real railroad caboose for a 45-minute round trip. Trains will be departing from the Whippany Railway Museum in Morris County, NJ. You can get guaranteed tickets today when you order them online. Thanks for supporting the all-volunteer, non-profit Whippany Railway Museum!
Father's Day Train Rides
Trains depart the Whippany Station 1, 2, 3, & 4 PMand is a 45 minute, non stop, round trip.
Buy your tickets on line up until 2 hours before departure time.
At the present time there is still caboose seating available and very limited Club Car seating
Pumpkin Festival 2017
Train Rides and Halloween Crafts/Vendor Fair
Sunday, October 1, 2017
12:30 - 5:30 PM
RAIN OR SHINE - THERE IS NO RAIN DATE
Whippany Railway Museum
On Sunday, October 1, From 12:30pm to 5:30pm, you and your family can enjoy an afternoon amid the Color and Spirit of Fall in the Whippanong Valley of Morris County, New Jersey.
Autumn is a Season of Family Fun, and the Pumpkin, the reassuring signal of seasonal passage, never fails to bring forth the image of cool nights, bright harvest moons, crackling fires, and the warmth of family and friends. And when pumpkins appear, they take on a playful appearance, alerting everyone that the special magic of HALLOWEEN, with its goblins, ghouls, and witches lies just around the corner.
Closed for the Winter
The Museum is currently closed for the Winter. We will be reopening at the start of our Easter Bunny Express train rides in the early spring. Online tickets for the new season will be available in Mid January
We are asking for your help to reach our goal of raising $100,000 to cover the cost of the fire box stay bolts. Like all steam engines, the fire box is held in it's boiler by over 900 stay bolts. These bolts cost approximately $35 each or $100 each installed.
Please click on the Buy a Bolt link for more information as well as how to make a donation.