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 Post subject: Re: Has Kentucky Failed in the Steam Restoration Aspect
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2022 11:09 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 6267
A number of years ago, I rode the train at the Bluegrass Railroad Museum, and experienced the same extremely slow speeds that Rick and Trainman522 encountered. At that time, BGRM had a couple of wood trestles out of service, which I thought might have been the reason for the slow speed. I believe that those trestles have now been repaired and the train uses them during its run. Although Young's High Bridge at the end of the line is out of service, it IS an impressive, and very old, structure and reportedly a platform had been constructed for train riders to get off the train and view it. At one time, a member of BGRM used to post here on RyPN, and if he is still active there, perhaps he might want to address the issue of slow train speeds.

Les


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 Post subject: Re: Has Kentucky Failed in the Steam Restoration Aspect
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2022 11:31 am 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:21 am
Posts: 442
(BGRM side note - not to derail the main topic)
Quote:
The line is relatively short and unless Corman for whatever reason wanted them to run an excursion on their line, they have no where to go.

I have been told that NS/Corman has ceased service on at least a portion of the line connecting BGRM to the rail network, and that portion, now out of service, could be abandoned, leaving BGRM isolated. We will have to await more news as it occurs.

I have friends at BGRM, and I think they are running 10mph now, which has always been their target speed (not 15). Bridges are fixed, and track is OK.


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 Post subject: Re: Has Kentucky Failed in the Steam Restoration Aspect
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2022 3:11 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2018 6:56 pm
Posts: 88
Les Beckman wrote:
A number of years ago, I rode the train at the Bluegrass Railroad Museum, and experienced the same extremely slow speeds that Rick and Trainman522 encountered. At that time, BGRM had a couple of wood trestles out of service, which I thought might have been the reason for the slow speed. I believe that those trestles have now been repaired and the train uses them during its run. Although Young's High Bridge at the end of the line is out of service, it IS an impressive, and very old, structure and reportedly a platform had been constructed for train riders to get off the train and view it. At one time, a member of BGRM used to post here on RyPN, and if he is still active there, perhaps he might want to address the issue of slow train speeds.

Les


A good friend of mine used to mark bad ties in need of replacement at a museum with red surveyor's tape, tacked into the tie. He once commented that there wasn't enough red tape available in the world to do BGRM's track.

As bad as the current reviews of bgrm are here in this topic the place has come light years from where it was even 25 years ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Has Kentucky Failed in the Steam Restoration Aspect
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2022 8:05 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:05 pm
Posts: 78
Quote:
I have been told that NS/Corman has ceased service on at least a portion of the line connecting BGRM to the rail network, and that portion, now out of service, could be abandoned, leaving BGRM isolated. We will have to await more news as it occurs.


The lightbulb plant shutdown and the only thing left is a distribution warehouse that uses trucks for everything. Corman no longer has any reason to go beyond the transload facility on main street in town that's next door to the restaurant in the old Southern depot. The "Gulf and Ohio" days when there were several customers is long gone. Texas Instruments and the transformer plant moved out and 84 Lumber quit taking loads by rail leaving the whole north tail of the "wye" on the north side of town out of service. The only customers in Versailles left are the transload facility and a graphics company that takes a handful of carloads in the old Rand McNally plant. I don't see how Corman justifies keeping the branch open past the Lexington customers.


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 Post subject: Re: Has Kentucky Failed in the Steam Restoration Aspect
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2022 11:56 pm 

Joined: Tue May 18, 2021 1:28 am
Posts: 1
Fiscal transparency – the comprehensiveness, clarity, reliability, timeliness, and relevance of public reporting on the past, present, ...

Transparency is the name of the game when it comes to any steam program. Lets be honest, there are only a handful of organizations that have/had steam programs and those who are actively restoring locomotives in the Commonwealth. KRM owns two of which one has been substantially funded. The other "leased" engine by another 501(c)(3) has had the engine for 6 years ............. In fairness of fiscal disclosure, KRM has repeatedly displayed transparency of numbers. The other group representing the other engine certainly has not.

In putting comparison to likewise organization in a contiguous state transparency has clearly attributed to a robust investment group, BOD, capital allocations, exceptional communications and a nearly 70% completed locomotive. May we also add the talent's of a CMO to the likes of Bill Purdie; I believe that's how Jim referred to Shane. Regardless, both big engines were pulled from their perspective locations of slumber with relative restorations started at the same time.

The emphasis of transparency and dedicated funding is certainly worth mentioning. While the New Haven group has done well with work in disclosure of the 4-6-2, the 4-8-4 would be certainly be in question. Bottom line is exactly that, dedicated funding and disclosure of the numbers equals progress for a program and its investors. New boiler, running/valve gear and drive tires all CLEARLY shown by the group in New Haven. But, aside some firebox work and cowing removal one can certainly question the progress being made in Eastern Kentucky.

The issue isn't necessarily of has "Kentucky" failed in steam programs. The issue is not policing dedicated monies allocated to steam programs (period). Better yet, fiscal disclosure of campaign funding for dedicated projects let alone fiscal transparency of raised funding in general.

Failed leadership of not policing funding or providing transparency will certainly attribute to failed steam programs. So to say that Kentucky has failed in the steam restoration aspect would be to say, "Only if we don't hold programs fiscally accountable for public private transparency in monies provided to them."


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 Post subject: Re: Has Kentucky Failed in the Steam Restoration Aspect
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2022 11:14 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 2:28 pm
Posts: 392
Kentucky Steam is restoring a 2-8-4, not a 4-8-4 (I got confused and thought of the Nashville team). I'm not sure what kind of disclosure you're (nssteam89) looking for-can you elaborate?

The news page for Kentucky Steam has a number of articles. Perhaps the issue is one of context. Kentucky Steam is looking to not just restore 2716, but has a much broader mission, one that could take years to come to fruition.


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 Post subject: Re: Has Kentucky Failed in the Steam Restoration Aspect
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2022 11:29 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2018 6:56 pm
Posts: 88
nssteam89 wrote:
Fiscal transparency – the comprehensiveness, clarity, reliability, timeliness, and relevance of public reporting on the past, present, ...

Transparency is the name of the game when it comes to any steam program. Lets be honest, there are only a handful of organizations that have/had steam programs and those who are actively restoring locomotives in the Commonwealth. KRM owns two of which one has been substantially funded. The other "leased" engine by another 501(c)(3) has had the engine for 6 years ............. In fairness of fiscal disclosure, KRM has repeatedly displayed transparency of numbers. The other group representing the other engine certainly has not.

In putting comparison to likewise organization in a contiguous state transparency has clearly attributed to a robust investment group, BOD, capital allocations, exceptional communications and a nearly 70% completed locomotive. May we also add the talent's of a CMO to the likes of Bill Purdie; I believe that's how Jim referred to Shane. Regardless, both big engines were pulled from their perspective locations of slumber with relative restorations started at the same time.

The emphasis of transparency and dedicated funding is certainly worth mentioning. While the New Haven group has done well with work in disclosure of the 4-6-2, the 4-8-4 would be certainly be in question. Bottom line is exactly that, dedicated funding and disclosure of the numbers equals progress for a program and its investors. New boiler, running/valve gear and drive tires all CLEARLY shown by the group in New Haven. But, aside some firebox work and cowing removal one can certainly question the progress being made in Eastern Kentucky.

The issue isn't necessarily of has "Kentucky" failed in steam programs. The issue is not policing dedicated monies allocated to steam programs (period). Better yet, fiscal disclosure of campaign funding for dedicated projects let alone fiscal transparency of raised funding in general.

Failed leadership of not policing funding or providing transparency will certainly attribute to failed steam programs. So to say that Kentucky has failed in the steam restoration aspect would be to say, "Only if we don't hold programs fiscally accountable for public private transparency in monies provided to them."


Hi Andy,

You'd know a lot about fiscal transparency. Aren't you still bilking customers through your toy train business?


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 Post subject: Re: Has Kentucky Failed in the Steam Restoration Aspect
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2022 1:57 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 2095
trainman522 wrote:
So recently after seeing some posting related to the old K&T #14 project in Stearns, KY and the issues that arose with that, myself and a group of friends moved into a private discussion as to whether or not Kentucky overall has failed at steam locomotive restoration. Disclaimer, I'm in no way badmouthing any museums or organizations that own and operate steam in Kentucky. My question to everyone here is, in your opinion, has Kentucky overall failed at the aspect of steam locomotive preservation. In a sense, I would argue yes. While some locomotives are preserved and the care of certain locomotives is improving, let's look at the last 5 years or so.

L&N 152 at the KRM has been out of service since 2010 or 2011 I believe, which is over 10 years at this point. They have finally made some good progressing, removing the frame from the wheels and my understanding is that bidding for the boiler repair contract will begin sometime soon. However, it took them several years to raise the money either through donations or grants for the restoration. I've always questioned why fundraising was not started a few years before the locomotive was due to be removed from service, as Kentucky is not the best state in terms of getting donations (in high school we would do small fundraisers and often wouldn't get a single donation). We also have the L&N 2152 and the Louisville Cement #11 located at the KRM's grounds. Until the last five years or so, both locomotives were rusting away and sitting on sidings. I believe a group of younger volunteers had the #11 moved to the entrance of the museum and has since been cosmetically restored. As far as the #2152 goes, the work of a retired volunteer has almost single handled invest time (and probably his own money) into the cosmetic restoration of the 2152. It's still not fully finished, but looks 100x better than it did before. I have seen recent murmurs of whether or not the 2152 could be returned to operation alongside 152; whether or not that will happen is doubtful considering there struggles to get money for 152, but I guess we'll see. It would give them the title of having 2/3 L&N steamers running, plus the only running 0-8-0 in the U.S. So props to the KRM to really turning things around from what they were looking like 5-10 years ago.

The Big South Fork Scenic Railway in Kentucky had the K&T #14 restoration project, though the certain news fresh in everyones' minds, we all know what happened there. But I find it frustrating that after so many years and the resolution that Wasatch was directed to pay $720,000 to them (which won't happen but still) they haven't made any attempt to fundraise. Sure, it may take a few years and I'm unfamiliar with the mechanical shape that the 14 was in, but it's a somewhat smaller 0-6-0 and the interest among railfans would certainly be there to eventually get the funding for someone to do the work correctly this time. I've even reached out to the museum and asked if there are any restart plans or if there is any way that railfans such as myself and others in Kentucky could assist the organization with the locomotive. My emails were returned with some hostility last year, telling me that the locomotive's current status is not publicly shared at this time and they "are not accepting inquiries". I get that there's some legality there and somewhat of a sore spot, but that could really turn people away if there ever was big money wanting to get into the project.

There's also the Reader #11 out in Nicholasville, KY. It hasn't run in several years, but it is a small 2-6-2 Prairie type. I believe the city of Nicholasville owns it? I've seen people suggest it go to KRM, but I'll put out a more daring suggestion and inquire why the BGRM hasn't shown interest in it. Nothing against them, but when #152 is running again at KRM, it will probably the more "popular" museum out of two. Having the #11 moved and restored would give BGRM a popularity boost for sure, especially since the #11's career was cut short years ago and I've seen others inquire about the locomotive in the last couple of years. I guess the issue probably comes down to actually getting the money to restore it, plus the hassle of getting it from the city, or purchasing it from the city. From a logical standpoint though, it would be a good fit for the size of their line and would be a valuable asset. Unless they have previously considered attempting to acquire the locomotive, I don't see any disadvantage to at least reaching out to the city to see if they'd be willing to negotiate. Plus the moving distance is not all that great between the two locations. My point is that it is a small locomotive like that is a good candidate for restoration, assuming it is in sound mechanical condition, but no organizations in the state seem to want to take that opportunity.

My final organization of note is Kentucky Steam. They've seemed to make the most progress out of anyone in KY with the C&O 2716 restoration. However, I haven't seen them post any updates on the locomotive and the last photo I saw, the locomotive doesn't look like its made much progress in the last year. Perhaps you can't see the work from the angle of the photo, bit I'm assuming they've made progress on it, as they have a projected completion date of 2024, unless the project stalls. They also have the R.J. Corman QJ #2008 that was donated to them, but I don't believe it has been moved yet. They initially had it listed on their site as "being evaluated for a return to steam", but I don't know if that restoration after 2716 is still in the works or not. It was not run often at all by RJC, so it would probably need the bare minimum for its 1,472-day. I'm a little surprised they haven't moved it and attempted to complete its inspection before 2716 since (theoretically) it would be a quicker process and they could use it to make money towards the 2716, but I suppose the 2716 income will go to good use towards 2008.

I say that KY overall has failed in many aspects of steam restoration not necessarily due to incompetence, as the 4 organizations I've mentioned all have dedicated volunteers who know what they're doing, but I feel the state fails in restoration for financial reasons. I don't know what it is about Kentucky, but getting donations for anything is damn near impossible. Like I've said, we'd do fundraisers for different national and local organizations when I was in high school and we would do events, table in front of stores, car washes, etc., and would seriously sit for two - three days and get absolutely no donations or support from the communities we went to. I think the organizations lack in the overall advertising front to really draw in outside donations, which is what they have to rely on due to lack of "hometown support" in the state. When #152 was taken out of service, I didn't see any strong sense of advertisement and donation requests until at least 2-3 years after the engine was OOS. The K&T group (imo) also lacks in advertising. If they were to promote their organization and ask for donations on a more national scale, there is the support in place to eventually get the money for the #14 restoration.

On a personal experience, I've noticed a bit of a lack of ambition from organizations. When I used to volunteer at KRM every so often (this was about 8 years ago, so the mentality may have changed), I asked if they would be interested in restoring 2152 after 152. One of their mechanical staff answered with "we have one good running L&N steam locomotive, why would we want to bother with another?" I can understand this somewhat, especially given the history of 2152 in its later years of service, plus sitting in the Kentucky weather for multiple decades, who knows what shape it's in mechanically (I get the feeling not very good), but I feel that having that negative attitude is detrimental over time. I wouldn't have felt so put off if the answer had been "we don't have the resources or couldn't get the funding for the amount of work that would be needed for 2152" or "we just don't have a big interest in the locomotive, we want to focus only on 152".

I think the state as a whole is on the upward path, but I feel that there have been things that I've mentioned in the past years that could have easily be done differently to improve the state of things now in many aspects. Overall, I feel the lack of ambition and more state-related financial support (only relying on limited local donors or state grants) has really stunted the steam restoration industry in Kentucky over the last 5-10 years.




This is quite frankly, a bizarre post bordering on a rant.

1543 words dedicated to an indictment of an entire state, citing various complaints or speculations about different organizations that aren't under common control, don't have coordinated activities and are related only by location, and offered with admissions about lacking full information and an apparent expectation that private organizations are under some obligation to response to outside inquiries.

The word "failed" implies some definite and measurable unified coordinated statewide goals and objectives, but no there's no evidence that such things exist. Instead, what is cited are immeasurable and subjective complaints, in some cases bordering on ridiculously irrelevant accounts of perceived difficulties in high school fundraising.


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 Post subject: Re: Has Kentucky Failed in the Steam Restoration Aspect
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2022 3:30 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:55 pm
Posts: 895
Location: Warren, PA
Having been involved with the bid response to the 152 project and many others, it should be known that my motto of 'read your grant' really applies here. As this was a state-administered grant, one of the catches was that only a Kentucky registered corporation could even submit a bid proposal. That involved the full formal process of submitting corporate documents and fee filings in advance to the Kentucky Sec. of State before even attempting to competitively bid, with no guarantee of success.

I don't know of any Kentucky-based steam restoration contractors, some may be registered already but I rather doubt it. And if nothing else, it's a time consuming process. So that's the kind of 'keep the work in my state with local companies no matter what' logic that's been at the heart of several grant-based efforts in the past as an effort toward economic impacts. Well meaning, but the results don't show it. And not exclusive to Kentucky, either. Pennsylvania has a rather equally checkered past.

And some distant past involvement with K&T 14, again, the 'assumptions' built in to the bid spec package basically made sure that the low bidder - even it if was a suspect low bid (which it turned out to be) had to be accepted unless you had documented proof to disqualify a low bidder. That's just inherent in a bidding process, and is a burden built into a lot of grant projects that is no reflection at all on the sponsoring organization that can't change it. Your bidder disqualification or rejection language in the grant and bid package better hold up to challenge. Then you get into bid bonding - which is very difficult for some of the most qualified contractors out there simply because of their size, which is a difficult choice - do you get to pick based on reputation, or stuck with a low bidder, or waive the bonding and hope for the best? I can personally attest to throwing out a low bid based on past performance is a daunting exercise even when it's worth it.

It's just not that simple to lay blame in any situation without looking at all the moving pieces, and usually, if you do, you're a lot more understanding, and wiser for it.


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 Post subject: Re: Has Kentucky Failed in the Steam Restoration Aspect
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2022 7:53 am 

Joined: Sat May 07, 2016 1:12 am
Posts: 140
From my perspective Kentucky has not failed in steam preservation. What kind of talk is that anyways? Look at the bigger picture first on a national level. There has been God knows how many failed restoration attempts over the years due to cost, manpower, etc. Kentucky isn't singular in that regard. Every state has its own unique culture and economy and some of them are just more or less able to handle and support steam locomotives. My own state of Nebraska I consider a very good example of a state that has failed in the steam restoration criteria (aside from some obvious examples usually supported by cities or the UP).

Everyone can point fingers to places that failed railroading heritage and has succeeded. I see from a national perspective a growing importance on rail heritage and legacy due to the 'skip a generation' in regard to preserving vintage items. I think we are on the beginning of a renewal of younger generations becoming more interested in vintage railroading and THAT (IMHO) is why project like Kentucky Steam, Fort Waynes Riverfront Roundhouse, East Broad Top, UPs 4014, etc has gotten corporate support and public approval over years past where places like Steamtown was mostly just average folks shrugging shoulders 30 years ago.

This presents major opportunities to groups and organizations in heritage rail to grow and realize dreams become reality IF they sense the opportunity and play their cards right. That is why the EBT, Fort Wayne, Kentucky Steam, etc has become so successful in such a short period of time in what would have just been a pipe dream even 20 years ago

Regards


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 Post subject: Re: Has Kentucky Failed in the Steam Restoration Aspect
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2022 11:06 am 

Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2015 9:01 pm
Posts: 29
Ten years ago I wanted to re-certify my engineer card between jobs. I offered KRM $2,500 to let me do it on their operation but was turned down. Reason given was they didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings by expediting my process. Never seen an organization turn down money.


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