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 Post subject: Re: rail preservation vital to nation
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:07 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:34 pm
Posts: 243
It's been more than ten years since this thread was originally posted and this country has gone far south. You know I always thought as a kid that such barriers in our future could be solved but with every moment it seems just to be the contrary. I thought the railroad museums of the future would all interconnect with a common goal, community and standard. People could clearly see the benefits of helping one another, if only I realized then that I lived in America not some foreign utopia.

Unity is a strong tool, we've lost too many fine operations in the past because we lacked the will to use it. Instead of asking what we should of done maybe we should ask what can still be done. The NRHS didn't speak out for Catskill Mountain nor did the IRM, Strasburg or ATRRM. Imagine what one influential voice could have done for this cause if we had not been so selfish. The change starts here on this forum.

Cameron


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 Post subject: Re: rail preservation vital to nation
PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:43 pm 
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Cameron Wolk wrote:
It's been more than ten years since this thread was originally posted and this country has gone far south. You know I always thought as a kid that such barriers in our future could be solved but with every moment it seems just to be the contrary. I thought the railroad museums of the future would all interconnect with a common goal, community and standard. People could clearly see the benefits of helping one another, if only I realized then that I lived in America not some foreign utopia.

Unity is a strong tool, we've lost too many fine operations in the past because we lacked the will to use it. Instead of asking what we should of done maybe we should ask what can still be done. The NRHS didn't speak out for Catskill Mountain nor did the IRM, Strasburg or ATRRM. Imagine what one influential voice could have done for this cause if we had not been so selfish. The change starts here on this forum.

Cameron


I wish I can say that this is purely a railroad preservation issue or a transportation preservation issue but it's unfortunately an issue that is plaguing us all right now, from house museums to rural America museums and major museums in large cities. Some us have similar issues and some have completely different issues. Nevertheless I firmly believe that we must all make a valiant attempt to be an active and productive member in our communities on both the local and national stages. I also firmly believe that preservation societies no matter what our subject materials are should work together as a whole to accomplish our common goals. We should absolutely be exchanging our knowledge, our support, and potentially excess resources so that we can cover our vast history and enlighten those whom are in the dark about our absolutely incredible history as a nation and as a civilization as a whole. That being said I'm seeing it happen slowly with some organizations but it's moving too slow in my honest opinion. I don't believe we should wait around for someone else to make those connections for us.


Daniel Barnett
Historic New England


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 Post subject: Re: rail preservation vital to nation
PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 6:51 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:40 pm
Posts: 794
Cameron Wolk wrote:
Unity is a strong tool, we've lost too many fine operations in the past because we lacked the will to use it. Instead of asking what we should of done maybe we should ask what can still be done. The NRHS didn't speak out for Catskill Mountain nor did the IRM, Strasburg or ATRRM. Imagine what one influential voice could have done for this cause if we had not been so selfish. The change starts here on this forum.

Cameron


I call BS on trying to blame either IRM or Strasburg. IRM is a museum entity, with no interest to protect in upstate NY. Same can be said for Strasburg, except that it is a corporation.

As for NRHS and ATRRM, unity is not the proper word. Both are fragmented and occasionally parochial. Neither has the money or the personnel to get into the middle of such a fight, much beyond issuing press releases and declaring being alarmed.

The inconvenient fact remains that the USA is not England, which some apparently think is the valhalla of rail preservation.

Anyone who takes an unbiased, realistic and unemotional look at the situation in the US cannot avoid the conclusion that interest in rail preservation (indeed in most forms of transportation preservation), at all levels is miniscule. I use the term "interest" to include financial support.


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 Post subject: Re: rail preservation vital to nation
PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:33 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:08 am
Posts: 60
Lincoln Penn wrote:
Cameron Wolk wrote:
Unity is a strong tool, we've lost too many fine operations in the past because we lacked the will to use it. Instead of asking what we should of done maybe we should ask what can still be done. The NRHS didn't speak out for Catskill Mountain nor did the IRM, Strasburg or ATRRM. Imagine what one influential voice could have done for this cause if we had not been so selfish. The change starts here on this forum.

Cameron


I call BS on trying to blame either IRM or Strasburg. IRM is a museum entity, with no interest to protect in upstate NY. Same can be said for Strasburg, except that it is a corporation.

As for NRHS and ATRRM, unity is not the proper word. Both are fragmented and occasionally parochial. Neither has the money or the personnel to get into the middle of such a fight, much beyond issuing press releases and declaring being alarmed.

The inconvenient fact remains that the USA is not England, which some apparently think is the valhalla of rail preservation.

Anyone who takes an unbiased, realistic and unemotional look at the situation in the US cannot avoid the conclusion that interest in rail preservation (indeed in most forms of transportation preservation), at all levels is miniscule. I use the term "interest" to include financial support.


Funny story, it was the same in the 60s and 70s and even more recently in the UK as well, with councils and other invested groups trying to shut down or otherwise frustrate/thwart such efforts.

The story of the West Somerset Railway is of a line being re-opened despite the opposition of the local council and bus drivers union. If you suggested the same to a councillor in the region today they'd laugh in your face.

The Midland Railway Butterly, saw it's line truncated, denying it the ability to run to the tourist trap of Matlock Bath and despite requests to keep it in situ because of the A38's construction.

This same road also saw the destruction of the iconic Ashburton Railway Station.

The Welsh Highland Railway might never have been had Gwent Council's decision to deny the rail-line being rebuilt unless turned over by national government (though how much of this was the FR's plan to buy-to-shut and putting pressure on the council to deny the application, nobody knows).

The Brockham Museum Trust was denied by the local council who demanded ridiculous things of them to mitigate traffic impact.

Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway where the council demanded a 6ft high fence either side of tiny 2ft gauge locomotives.

Swansea Vale Railway was again, unfair and ridiculous lease requirements.

There's quite a few out there which were lost. Plenty which fought on despite the initial local opposition. It all comes down to determination, and widening your appeal to create a tourist spot which drew more people in.

As I keep saying, the US Heritage Railroads appear to be where the UK was 20-30 years ago, some councils and local authorities are clearly going to keep fighting against lines, others are going to encourage them. The biggest issue right now is advocacy and trying to make it seem like a mutually beneficial arrangement right at the get-go.

The only line which leaps to mind which actually placed that front and centre right from the get go is the Colebrookdale.


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 Post subject: Re: rail preservation vital to nation
PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:48 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:38 pm
Posts: 32
JDParkes wrote:
Lincoln Penn wrote:
Cameron Wolk wrote:
Unity is a strong tool, we've lost too many fine operations in the past because we lacked the will to use it. Instead of asking what we should of done maybe we should ask what can still be done. The NRHS didn't speak out for Catskill Mountain nor did the IRM, Strasburg or ATRRM. Imagine what one influential voice could have done for this cause if we had not been so selfish. The change starts here on this forum.

Cameron


I call BS on trying to blame either IRM or Strasburg. IRM is a museum entity, with no interest to protect in upstate NY. Same can be said for Strasburg, except that it is a corporation.

As for NRHS and ATRRM, unity is not the proper word. Both are fragmented and occasionally parochial. Neither has the money or the personnel to get into the middle of such a fight, much beyond issuing press releases and declaring being alarmed.

The inconvenient fact remains that the USA is not England, which some apparently think is the valhalla of rail preservation.

Anyone who takes an unbiased, realistic and unemotional look at the situation in the US cannot avoid the conclusion that interest in rail preservation (indeed in most forms of transportation preservation), at all levels is miniscule. I use the term "interest" to include financial support.


Funny story, it was the same in the 60s and 70s and even more recently in the UK as well, with councils and other invested groups trying to shut down or otherwise frustrate/thwart such efforts.

The story of the West Somerset Railway is of a line being re-opened despite the opposition of the local council and bus drivers union. If you suggested the same to a councillor in the region today they'd laugh in your face.

The Midland Railway Butterly, saw it's line truncated, denying it the ability to run to the tourist trap of Matlock Bath and despite requests to keep it in situ because of the A38's construction.

This same road also saw the destruction of the iconic Ashburton Railway Station.

The Welsh Highland Railway might never have been had Gwent Council's decision to deny the rail-line being rebuilt unless turned over by national government (though how much of this was the FR's plan to buy-to-shut and putting pressure on the council to deny the application, nobody knows).

The Brockham Museum Trust was denied by the local council who demanded ridiculous things of them to mitigate traffic impact.

Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway where the council demanded a 6ft high fence either side of tiny 2ft gauge locomotives.

Swansea Vale Railway was again, unfair and ridiculous lease requirements.

There's quite a few out there which were lost. Plenty which fought on despite the initial local opposition. It all comes down to determination, and widening your appeal to create a tourist spot which drew more people in.

As I keep saying, the US Heritage Railroads appear to be where the UK was 20-30 years ago, some councils and local authorities are clearly going to keep fighting against lines, others are going to encourage them. The biggest issue right now is advocacy and trying to make it seem like a mutually beneficial arrangement right at the get-go.

The only line which leaps to mind which actually placed that front and centre right from the get go is the Colebrookdale.


Based on the above comment perhaps the difference between American and British rail preservation is more hingent on the eccentricities of their particular legal systems.


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 Post subject: Re: rail preservation vital to nation
PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:37 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:34 pm
Posts: 243
Since the demise of the group in Kingston I've had New Yorkers ask me why the preservation community didn't stand up for the railroad and it's disheartening I can't give them a valid response. The US and UK although appearing similar are vastly different in cultural norms. The truth of the matter is most people didn't care when a bureaucrat wiped some group off the map even if it had serious ramifications. Keep in mind the Adirondack Scenic and Catskill Mountain railroads are both FOR-PROFIT companies which retain paid employees. The worst act in human history is the act of doing absolutely nothing in the face of disaster which coincidentally has been demonstrated in the last 12 months. I know I did all I could out there but what I don't understand is why others couldn't follow through when we needed them most?


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 Post subject: Re: rail preservation vital to nation
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:17 am 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:40 pm
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Cameron Wolk wrote:
Since the demise of the group in Kingston I've had New Yorkers ask me why the preservation community didn't stand up for the railroad and it's disheartening I can't give them a valid response. The US and UK although appearing similar are vastly different in cultural norms. The truth of the matter is most people didn't care when a bureaucrat wiped some group off the map even if it had serious ramifications. Keep in mind the Adirondack Scenic and Catskill Mountain railroads are both FOR-PROFIT companies which retain paid employees. The worst act in human history is the act of doing absolutely nothing in the face of disaster which coincidentally has been demonstrated in the last 12 months. I know I did all I could out there but what I don't understand is why others couldn't follow through when we needed them most?


Exactly what did you expect other tourist railroads or even museums to do to "help" in these situations? What would you advise them to postpone or do without on their own lines in order to dump money and manpower into these?

Do you know if either or both actually reached out for, or wanted "help?"

How much do you think people from distant states could influence local politicians who obviously don't care much about what their own constituents think?

I think you are looking for someone to blame.


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 Post subject: Re: rail preservation vital to nation
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:44 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1821
Lincoln Penn wrote:
Cameron Wolk wrote:
Since the demise of the group in Kingston I've had New Yorkers ask me why the preservation community didn't stand up for the railroad and it's disheartening I can't give them a valid response. The US and UK although appearing similar are vastly different in cultural norms. The truth of the matter is most people didn't care when a bureaucrat wiped some group off the map even if it had serious ramifications. Keep in mind the Adirondack Scenic and Catskill Mountain railroads are both FOR-PROFIT companies which retain paid employees. The worst act in human history is the act of doing absolutely nothing in the face of disaster which coincidentally has been demonstrated in the last 12 months. I know I did all I could out there but what I don't understand is why others couldn't follow through when we needed them most?


Exactly what did you expect other tourist railroads or even museums to do to "help" in these situations? What would you advise them to postpone or do without on their own lines in order to dump money and manpower into these?

Do you know if either or both actually reached out for, or wanted "help?"

How much do you think people from distant states could influence local politicians who obviously don't care much about what their own constituents think?

I think you are looking for someone to blame.


LP, you've asked important questions, but there are people that seem to overlook the obvious-that in the grand scheme of things, our little interest isn't even a tempest in a teapot to a politician working schemes for re-election and contributions. Sometimes the complete naivete of the feral nature of the animals in the political zoo is frightening.


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 Post subject: Re: rail preservation vital to nation
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:03 am 

Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:34 pm
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Lincoln Penn wrote:
Cameron Wolk wrote:
Since the demise of the group in Kingston I've had New Yorkers ask me why the preservation community didn't stand up for the railroad and it's disheartening I can't give them a valid response. The US and UK although appearing similar are vastly different in cultural norms. The truth of the matter is most people didn't care when a bureaucrat wiped some group off the map even if it had serious ramifications. Keep in mind the Adirondack Scenic and Catskill Mountain railroads are both FOR-PROFIT companies which retain paid employees. The worst act in human history is the act of doing absolutely nothing in the face of disaster which coincidentally has been demonstrated in the last 12 months. I know I did all I could out there but what I don't understand is why others couldn't follow through when we needed them most?


Exactly what did you expect other tourist railroads or even museums to do to "help" in these situations? What would you advise them to postpone or do without on their own lines in order to dump money and manpower into these?

Do you know if either or both actually reached out for, or wanted "help?"

How much do you think people from distant states could influence local politicians who obviously don't care much about what their own constituents think?

I think you are looking for someone to blame.

I would expect these operations to at the very least show solidarity with the CMRR, some sort of recognition. If individual museum directors wanted to send letters to the county legislature that been a plus. Support from large entities like the NRHS could have made a whole 360 on Hein's part, politicians hate to be made a fool of. It was the CMRR and the citizens of Kingston on their own Lincoln and we did nothing as a community to help these poor people. I feel guilty that we didn't do enough is that hard to grasp. In the sum of all things I should of had our national committee run more candidates than we tried. I blame myself among others but I have reason to back that up. This sure was an embarrassing moment for the preservation movement and it doesn't seem like anyone wants to take responsibility.


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 Post subject: Re: rail preservation vital to nation
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:13 am 

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"to at the very least show solidarity with the CMRR"

What does that even mean?


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 Post subject: Re: rail preservation vital to nation
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:28 am 

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The entire membership of all formal RR-related groups that cal themselves historical preservationists is probably less than 10,000, especially if you allow for people who belong to 3 or 4 or more of said organizations at the same time.

Of that, probably a fraction of 1% matter to the people who do these things like this because they don't live anywhere near there and thus can't vote for or against. If you seriously think a letter from the director of the Flatwheel & Western Railroad Museum in South Nowhere, AZ is going to impress or influence a politician in some New York berg, you are most likely mistaken and are going to be repeatedly disappointed.


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 Post subject: Re: rail preservation vital to nation
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:15 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:08 am
Posts: 60
Lincoln Penn wrote:
Cameron Wolk wrote:
Since the demise of the group in Kingston I've had New Yorkers ask me why the preservation community didn't stand up for the railroad and it's disheartening I can't give them a valid response. The US and UK although appearing similar are vastly different in cultural norms. The truth of the matter is most people didn't care when a bureaucrat wiped some group off the map even if it had serious ramifications. Keep in mind the Adirondack Scenic and Catskill Mountain railroads are both FOR-PROFIT companies which retain paid employees. The worst act in human history is the act of doing absolutely nothing in the face of disaster which coincidentally has been demonstrated in the last 12 months. I know I did all I could out there but what I don't understand is why others couldn't follow through when we needed them most?


Exactly what did you expect other tourist railroads or even museums to do to "help" in these situations? What would you advise them to postpone or do without on their own lines in order to dump money and manpower into these?

Do you know if either or both actually reached out for, or wanted "help?"

How much do you think people from distant states could influence local politicians who obviously don't care much about what their own constituents think?

I think you are looking for someone to blame.


Or they're saying that organising into a better lobbying group and campaign might make others pause. Going old-school is also a consideration, even if it's a form style letter. It's a complete and utter annoyance (especially in an era of increasingly electronic communication) to receive even 500 physical letters.

It gives the impression that what they're doing locally is going to annoy people from further out of state. They can play the "local agenda only" game for a while... but then the spectre of other interest groups on the national level could fund or otherwise find ways of supporting someone who might be more sympathetic to their interests. If they're the usual political type, they will become more cautious as a result.


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 Post subject: Re: rail preservation vital to nation
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:57 am 

Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:34 pm
Posts: 243
JDParkes wrote:
Lincoln Penn wrote:
Cameron Wolk wrote:
Since the demise of the group in Kingston I've had New Yorkers ask me why the preservation community didn't stand up for the railroad and it's disheartening I can't give them a valid response. The US and UK although appearing similar are vastly different in cultural norms. The truth of the matter is most people didn't care when a bureaucrat wiped some group off the map even if it had serious ramifications. Keep in mind the Adirondack Scenic and Catskill Mountain railroads are both FOR-PROFIT companies which retain paid employees. The worst act in human history is the act of doing absolutely nothing in the face of disaster which coincidentally has been demonstrated in the last 12 months. I know I did all I could out there but what I don't understand is why others couldn't follow through when we needed them most?


Exactly what did you expect other tourist railroads or even museums to do to "help" in these situations? What would you advise them to postpone or do without on their own lines in order to dump money and manpower into these?

Do you know if either or both actually reached out for, or wanted "help?"

How much do you think people from distant states could influence local politicians who obviously don't care much about what their own constituents think?

I think you are looking for someone to blame.


Or they're saying that organising into a better lobbying group and campaign might make others pause. Going old-school is also a consideration, even if it's a form style letter. It's a complete and utter annoyance (especially in an era of increasingly electronic communication) to receive even 500 physical letters.

It gives the impression that what they're doing locally is going to annoy people from further out of state. They can play the "local agenda only" game for a while... but then the spectre of other interest groups on the national level could fund or otherwise find ways of supporting someone who might be more sympathetic to their interests. If they're the usual political type, they will become more cautious as a result.

Someone who gets it, thanks JD. I apologize to members if I sound emotional but this is a very emotional topic to be discussing. I expect higher standards from the community in future situations is what I'm saying. If we need to create a nationwide lobbying group for this line of work then so be it.


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 Post subject: Re: rail preservation vital to nation
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:59 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:10 am
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The forces that successfully work against us (especially the trail folks) tend to have a national group or lobby that lends credence and support to local activities.

Railroad preservation will continue to lose until we can muster some similar form of lobby.

I used to think that Internet communities like RYPN and AOTT could form a cornerstone of that movement, but I am not sure of that any more. The Internet has - unfortunately - become a smorgasbord for our age-old problem of “eating our own.”

The web is still a great way to meet folks, but the real work needs to happen offline among those who care - without flame wars and knee-jerk rejection of ideas.

_________________
Rob


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 Post subject: Re: rail preservation vital to nation
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:30 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:08 am
Posts: 60
robertjohndavis wrote:
The forces that successfully work against us (especially the trail folks) tend to have a national group or lobby that lends credence and support to local activities.

Railroad preservation will continue to lose until we can muster some similar form of lobby.

I used to think that Internet communities like RYPN and AOTT could form a cornerstone of that movement, but I am not sure of that any more. The Internet has - unfortunately - become a smorgasbord for our age-old problem of “eating our own.”

The web is still a great way to meet folks, but the real work needs to happen offline among those who care - without flame wars and knee-jerk rejection of ideas.


Well I wouldn't say "ALL IS LOST!" and all that and I actually don't think RYPN is really the place for that kind of advocacy. It's an excellent discussion board as we all seem to have a mature mindset when it comes to discussing matters.

The Heritage Rail Alliance seems to be a good initial stepping bloc to becoming a national advocacy group. The problem is it's still very cautious and still trapped in the "We're a railroad, so we'll talk railroads" only mind set.

That's certainly the impression I get from reading their newsletters and looking over a few other aspects. There's mention of them attempted to get onto another transport board... but curiously not finding ways or contacts with other groups and boards it could find influence in.

Being able to argue the environmental factor is another huge point I think a lot of railroads miss out on. Per passenger a full train is insanely efficient versus acres of cars, and it would ease pressure on small town, local roads by bringing in and out people en mass to a scenic area. This is pretty much how the Swanage railway in the UK operates. The roads down to the town are fairly narrow and parking space is limited and expensive.

Parking at the railway however? Completely and utterly free, the railway recouping the costs via ticket sales. It's the far more relaxing option than trying to pay $12+ for a few hours in the town itself.

Ok, you won't net every car and I wouldn't expect anyone to, but even a 10% reduction saves people gas for the return home and gives them an extra thing to do and experience.


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