The meeting was called to order at 7:04:44 PM on October 6, 2014 by Vice President Ken Dishman. In attendance were members Ken Dishman, Melvin Shuey, Andy Richards, Matt Fultz, Steve Dillon, Tom Milton, Ed Voigt, Cody Martin, Andy Cobaugh, Tom Canich and Dave Felice. Guests Steve Brezler and Tracey Durf were also in attendance.
Review of Minutes
September meeting minutes were reviewed. Tom Milton moved to accept the minutes as presented, seconded by Melvin Shuey. The motion carried without objection.
Our closing balance in August was $37,942.04. There was no change in the caboose fund currently $4,376.97. There were a variety of small incomes from phone and station ticket sales and expenditures for an inkjet printer, concrete and other material for the platform extension, advertising and ticket printing costs for Fall Foliage, and dues to the Central PA Visitors Bureau. Details are in the attached report. The combined closing balance to the general and caboose funds was $48,512.63.
We have outstanding obligations to the JRA for the siding rehabilitation and overages on the RDC rehabilitation project.
Tom Canich moved to accept the reports, seconded by Tom Milton. The motion carried without objection.
We saw 3,900 sessions, about 150 per day. On September 18 we saw a spike of 570 sessions, likely due to advertising campaigns starting around that time. Our bounce rate increased from 51% to 56%. We received 814 referrals from other websites, and 391 referrals from social media sites. Of these, 389 were from facebook.com. There were 2,900 hits on the Ticket Window page, 1,600 of these landed on the page directly.
Andy Cobaugh volunteered to assume the webmaster duties pending approval by President Durachko.
The tar paper on the snow plow is loose and needs to be reworked. A call for volunteers was made, none were forthcoming.
The pre-construction conference between BHRS, PennDOT, and the contractor is scheduled for 11 AM on October 7 at the Train Station. The contractor, RMS, has signed the contract and final paperwork should be completed at the pre-construction conference. We have agreed on a notice-to-proceed date of October 20. The car will likely be moved on, or soon after, that date by truck to the RMS facilities at Columbia, PA. The car should be returned to Bellefonte in late April 2015. Andy Richards presented some specifics about the project budget.
Ken, Melvin, Dave, Andy Richards, Andy Cobaugh, and Tom Canich installed 21 or 22 ties on Saturday, October 4. The new ties are not tamped or ballasted. A work party to complete this work and some weed eating near the private crossing is planned for Sunday, October 12 at 9 AM. 6 or more volunteers are sought to complete that work.
The platform was extended 28 feet using about 2000 bricks. Improvements were made to the station roof drainage system and some repairs were made to the apron.
We've sold about 1/3 of the seats across all trains. The Friday 6 PM ride is well sold, the 8 PM is poorly sold. An advertisement for the rides will run in the Centre County Gazette starting Thursday, October 9.
Andy Richards will look at advertising outside of the county on radio, in the Altoona Mirror, and the Lock Haven Express. Tom Canich will ask Dan to send another email to our previous customers list. Tom Canich moved we authorize $700 to fund these additional advertisements, seconded by Andy Richards. The motion passed without objection.
Doug and Jessica will be coordinating decorations for the Halloween Express trips. Volunteers are needed to help with decorating and for the parade of costumed characters through the cars. Costumes should be family friendly -- no gore, please. The trains should be available in Bellefonte for decorations after 1 PM on Friday, October 17.
Andy Richards reported that we've had a few encounters with the homeowners at the private crossing in Lemont.
Andy Richards moved that the officer should survey our property in this area, seek legal counsel, and take action, within reasonable cost, to establish and enforce our rights regarding the private crossing near Centre Concrete in Lemont. Tom Canich seconded the motion and it passed without objection.
Speeder Events During Christmas Market
Cody Martin shared an idea for a speeder event in Lemont during the Christmas Market at the Granary on December 6 and 7. The event would possibly collect donations for Toys for Tots along the line in Lemont. There was discussion about conflicting with the Boalsburg Fire Company Toys for Tots campaign and weather. Andy Richards will talk to the LVA. Cody will talk to Toys for Tots to express our interest and discuss possible conflicts with other State College organizations. Dave Felice will identify a contact with the Boalsburg Fire Company, should we need to contact them directly regarding coordination of effort.
July Publicity Event
Cody shared an idea for an event the second week of July 2015 along the tracks near the WHVL offices (across PA 26 from McDonald's at the Nittany Mall). The initial idea is to provide speeder rides on some stretch of track, which WHVL may televise. We discussed possibly using the RDC. Andy Richards will make contact and gather more details.
Ed moved to adjourn, Tom Canich seconded, and the motion carried. The meeting adjourned at 8:33 PM.