It is currently Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:49 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 4 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Penna. Announces "Green Transportation" Initiative
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:10 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8353
Location: Baltimore, MD
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has announced an initiative to attract a new generation of tourists to Pennsylvania with a "Go Green" state-funded program to promote petroleum-free, pollution-free "green" transportation and tourism.

Although further details of the program will be posted tomorrow morning (or perhaps automatically at midnight, as many government websites do) on the state tourism website http://www.visitpa.com, with initiatives such as the promotion of bicycle paths, canal restoration, and sailing, one near-immediate impact will be seen shortly on many of the state's excursion lines. With the help of the railroad division of the Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation, grants will be made available to short lines and excursion lines to convert to non-diesel, and even non-fossil, fuels. The railroad grants will be budgeted as an extension of the already-current grant program to underwrite the expense of "hybrid" locomotives being tried by, or on order for, short lines such as the Lycoming Valley RR.

Not every excursion railroad in the state appears eager to sign onto the program. The Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine in Ashland, for example, insists that its anthracite-burning 0-4-0T's, burning local coal in "very miserly" amounts, are "not only a more economical and ecological choice, but are vital to the historical interpretation of the local anthracite industry," said Gowan S. White, spokesman for Ashland Community Enterprises. Stanley Hall of the East Broad Top insisted that the railroad would have "nothing to do" with any government program that "would destroy the historical texture of the railroad and county." Similarly, a spokesman for the Oil Creek and Titusville RR I personally reached by phone who asked not to be named yet said "Oil is the very reason for the history of not only this valley, but the second half of the Industrial Revolution. It would be disrespectful to our history to turn away from oil fuels, no matter how expensive it gets." Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton is under federal jurisdiction and is ineligible for program participation.

Nonetheless, thanks to apparent pressure from state officials, at least some railroads are eyeing the initiative. The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum at Arden is apparently one of the first to take advantage of the program, having applied for funds to install photovoltatic panels to generate electric power to be stored in capacitors in a new substation to be built on the property. Pending installation, "green" electric power will be purchased from a new array of wind turbines being installed in rural Somerset County (close to the CSX ex-B&O main between Pittsburgh and Cumberland).

Reading & Northern Vice President-Operations Tyler Gloss said the railroad had long been examining conversion of at least some of its motive power to either an experimental coal-slurry/diesel blend or reactivating its two steamers, Pacific 425 and Reading 2102, to service. Instead, Gloss said, the railroad has confirmed a railfan-rumored lease/purchase of Chinese QJ 2-10-2, 7081, for demonstration and experimental operation, with reserve options taken out on sister locos 7002 and 6998. "The confirmation of the grant program through our state representatives was the key to our signing the dotted lines," said Gloss. "It reduces the railroad's risk exposure, and frees up our money for [research and development] to fine-tune the locomotives' performance to minimize pollution and increase overall efficiency."

The Wanamaker, Kempton & Southern, Middletown & Hummelstown, and Strasburg Railroads, also all in or near the heart of the nation's #8 tourist region of "Pennsylvania Dutchland," are the first tourist railroads to announce participation in the program. The WK&S is planning to apply for grants for passing sidings and conversion of their current passenger rolling stock to horse-drawn power. First in line will be the former "Berksey" gas motor car; future conversions will involve lightening the former Reading rolling stock, possibly with lightened frames and wheels.

The Middletown & Hummelstown is revitalizing long-dormant plans to electrify its seven-mile line, using both vintage ex-Red Arrow trolleys and a long-stored steeple-cab GE electric for both passenger and freight service. Power will be purchased from Pennsylvania Power & Light's Holtwood hydroelectric power plant to meet "green" specifications.

Also eyeing hydroelectric power from the same dam is the Strasburg RR, which has already taken the initiative to prepare for electrification by securing the last "operable" Pennsylvania RR GG1, PRR 4917, long stored by the Leatherstocking Chapter NRHS at Cooperstown, NY after its acquisition from Historic Red Clay Valley, Inc. (operators of the Wilmington & Western). A photo from yesterday's Lancaster New Era shows Strasburg's 7312 hauling the very derelict GG1, later Amtrak 4934, from Leaman Place to Strasburg. The railroad is also looking to lease from the Railroad Museum of Pa. its ex-PRR E44, 4465, and possibly B1 switcher 5690 and DD1 tunnel motors 3936/3937, should inspection prove fruitful.

"It's a type of engineering our shop is definitely not yet used to," said Strasburg president Linn Moedinger. "But we're confident that our shop can adapt to 1930s technology just as easily as they adapt to 1910 technology in the modern age." Until repairs to the loco are complete, the railroad is applying for another grant for a further "stopgap" measure, the conversion of steamers 90 and 475 to burn local manure. "Our coal contracts are coming up for renewal with potential sharp increases in costs, and it makes more sense to convert at least our two coal-hungriest steamers to burn locally produced fuel. #90 in years past burned lignite on the Great Western, a fuel almost comparable in BTU content, so there's at least a historical precedent for it in her case." Left unanswered was whether the conversion would also mean a return of 90's Great-Western-applied firebox extension, removed during routine repairs two years ago.


Further information on the grant program is available at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation website at its press releases list at:
[url]http://www.dot.state.pa.us/internet/pdNews.nsf/772a6bf1004a1be6/676f55b178a8_APRIL_FOOL_FOLKS!!!!_9e68852574180073fa8f?OpenDocument
[/url]

Photos show 4917 at Cooperstown last week before shipment south, and on its last lap to Strasburg. More railfan reports on the movement can be seen at: http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?2,1639637

Image

Image

Hey, moderators? How do I get the HTML turned on so the images load? In the meantime, you folks can copy/paste the image URLs.......)


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: PennDOT Press Release
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:51 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8353
Location: Baltimore, MD
Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation press release:

http://www.dot.state.pa.us/Internet/pdNews.nsf/PressOfficeHome?OpenFrameset&Frame=main&src=currentyear?openview

At the VisitPA.com website, look for the "Ready. Set. Go Green!" logo, and related links at the home page.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: April Fool = April Funny
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 2:13 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 1:24 pm
Posts: 348
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
the railroad is applying for another grant for a further "stopgap" measure, the conversion of steamers 90 and 475 to burn local manure.


I believed it all, up to that point.....NOT.

Excellent research however!


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Another potential program applicant?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 9:34 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8353
Location: Baltimore, MD
http://solarsteamtrain.com/cms/component/option,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/


Offline
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 4 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


 Who is online

Users browsing this forum: airforcerail, Bowmore, ekrwy2, Google [Bot], Majestic-12 [Bot], softwerkslex, Yahoo [Bot] and 43 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: