Council approves contract with RMI Railworks to restore Rocky Brook Rocket
By Rebekah Martin
The Opelika City Council approved a resolution at Tuesday’s meeting authorizing an agreement with RMI Railworks of Camarillo, Calif. to repair and restore the Rocky Brook Rocket. The Parks and Recreation Department began a campaign last June to raise the funds from private donors to complete the project without the expenditure of public funds. The miniature train, which has been in operation at Municipal Park since 1955, will require an estimated investment of $70,000 to be fully refurbished. A representative of RMI Railworks is scheduled to complete the initial inspection of the track and the Rocky Brook Rocket today. Matthew Battles, Municipal Area Supervisor for Parks and Recreation, said it will take approximately six months for the restoration to be completed and that the fully-restored Rocky Brook Rocket will be back in Opelika for use in the spring of 2016.
Original Article Opelika Observer
Afni, Inc. becomes Bronze Level Sponsor of the Rocky Brook Rocket Restoration
Afni, Inc.in Opelika, Alabama recently notified the City of Opelika that their company had decided to become Bronze level sponsor of the City’s energetic restoration project of the city’s historic “Rocky Brook Rocket” with their generous donation of $1,000.
Pictured from left to right: Matthew Battles, Municipal Area Supervisor with Opelika Parks & Recreation, Vince Jackson and Robin Goodman (holding the check) of Afni, Inc., Parks and Recreation Director Sam Bailey, Opelika City Mayor Gary Fuller, and Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Tommie Agee.
The Rocky Brook Rocket is scheduled to ship out to RMI Railworks in Oxnard, California around the first of September for restoration. They will be replacing the existing engine and drive system with a new,modern diesel/hydrostatic setup with air brakes. The restoration process will take approximately six months. The City anticipates getting the train back home sometime between late March or early April. In the meantime, RMI Railworks will be sending someone to Opelika to inspect the train tracks in Municipal Park, and to survey areas where the track could possibly be extended to run in the future.
Update on entire restoration project:
The whole restoration process is being filmed so that a documentary of the project can be created to document the city’s efforts to preserve one of Opelika’s unique treasures.
Above article taken from City of Opelika web site
Restoration bound, destination California
Posted: Friday, August 28, 2015 1:00 pm | Updated: 3:21 pm, Fri Aug 28, 2015.
Municipal Area Supervisor Matthew Battles and an employee of Scott Bridge Company prepare to derail the Rocky Brook Rocket to send to California for complete restoration
Municipal Park’s beloved Rocky Brook Rocket is West Coast bound, traveling from Opelika to California for a full-blown, vintage restoration.
The iconic Opelika train -- a staple in the community since 1955 -- was loaded off the tracks early Wednesday morning, and by Thursday, the Rocket was set to be en route to the Golden State for a restoration that officials said will aesthetically take it back to the 1950s, while equipping it with the modern technology it needs to remain in operation.
“It’s a complete restoration, so everything is going to be stripped down to bare metal. So, they’re going to come in and fix everything,” Municipal Area Supervisor Matthew Battles said. “They’re going to put a brand new engine in it, transmission. It’ll be a brand new train when it comes back – and with modern technology. It will still look like it was in the ‘50s when it came, but it will be brand new on the inside, which is what we want.”
Battles said RMI Railworks Industries, the California-based business tasked with restoring the Rocket, will also add a third car to the train, increasing its passenger capacity.
The restoration will cost approximately $70,000, all of which Battles said was obtained through private donations. By the time the train returns to the park, he said those who contributed to the project will be honored by having their names displayed throughout the area.
Battles said he expects the train to be back in commission by next May.
“I would like to have it back for public use and introduce it back to the city at Garden in the Park. So before, we’ll probably do some testing and something like that and get some people trained on it, but it will be back for public use at Garden in the Park in May.”
Tom Plott, an Opelika resident who came to see the Rocket off, said some of his best childhood memories involve the train, and he’s happy to see the city taking measures to make sure it stays around for another 50 years or longer.
“Next spring it’s going to be like brand new again, and hopefully we’ll get another 50 years plus.”
Does your park, zoo, shopping center or business have an old MTC railroad that is showing its age?
Do you have other miniature railroad equipment that is in disrepair?
If so contact RMI Railworks for refurbishment and bring it up to today's standards of quality and safety.
Let RMI Railworks make your railroad look good!