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 Post subject: LIRR 39 update
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:22 am 

Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2004 3:11 pm
Posts: 371
Some of you may have already seen this, but I just found the following update on Long Island Railroad 39. I don't pretend to be an expert on steam locomotive restoration, but the $1.8 million figure to complete the restoration floored me. As I recall they have already spent $500,000 so are we to believe this will be a $2.3 million restoration?

On a topic I am familiar with, this year has been the toughest I have ever seen for grant giving. Private foundations have seen their endowments take a huge hit and thus drastically reduce their giving, especially to new and hard to explain the benefits of proposals.

Quote:
August 15th, 2009

Thank you for your continued interest and comments. Let me bring you up to date on a few developments since my last comment on June 17th.

On June 29 and 30, Linn Moedinger, Rick Musser and Kelly Anderson of the Strasburg Railroad Company did an extensive survey of #39 at Riverhead. This engineering survey, funded by the current ISTEA grant, allows the Museum and Suffolk County to have a current cost estimate and develop a scope of work for continued restoration of the locomotive.

The outcome of the survey: the locomotive is in very good condition and an excellent candidate for continued restoration. Primarily, deterioration of the locomotive is from environmental exposure, had it been stored inside for the fifty-four years since it was retired it could have been put back in service in about eighteen months once the boiler/firebox strength issues had been addressed. The estimate for restoring #39 to operation over the next five years is $1,800,000.00

On July 20 we were denied our grant request from one foundation we had applied to.

On July 27 another private-sector industry we had applied to denied our request based on the current state of the economy.

On July 30 a meeting was held with government officials to explore additional funding to keep the project going. A summit meeting of Federal, State, County and RMLI officials will be convened in the weeks ahead to brainstorm for additional sources of funding.

Other private sector and foundation sources of funding are being explored at this time.

I do not wish Brother Glueck his demise - but I am heartened by his willingness to assign his estate to the RMLI for use in restoring Engine #39. Dick, did you speak to your wife about this development?

OK, that's the news on the ground at Riverhead. We are nearing exhaustion of the original ISTEA grant and we continue to pull out all the stops to attract additional funding, even in smaller increments, to keep the work going at Strasburg. We've got to git 'er done!

I am also pleased to see what I will call a "cautious acceptance" on the railfan community's part to the idea of running Engine 39 off the Island for a period of time.

The RMLI Board of Trustees have taken a hard look at the expense and logistics of running Engine #39 on Long Island. The costs and logistics are enormous, not to mention a geographical lack of skilled operators, mechanics and backshop facilities. Remember folks, steam engines are Maintenance Hogs!

The Museum Board has, with much soul searching, developed a business plan that anticipates a call for RFPs from qualified tourist railroads to contract with the Museum to operate a restored Engine 39. A call for RFPs will not be made by the Museum until Engine #39 is near full restoration. That will, no doubt, be years in the future.

The Museum will be looking for a tourist railroad that is within a days car ride to and from the Long Island/NYC area. The Museum expects the locomotive to be accessible to families living in the area in which it operated. The tourist railroad will be a proven road with a good experience factor of operations. The tourist railroad will have experience with steam operations and have the backshop facilities and maintenance personnel necessary to keep the engine in good operating order. The Museum will be looking for favorable revenue sharing proposals from the interested operators. Additionally, if the logistics can ever be worked out with the MTA and the LIRR, we will ask for proposals to periodically return the Engine to Long Island for occasional fan trips on home rail.

This gives you an idea of where our thoughts are leading. We have come to realize the RMLI does not have the physical or financial resources to operate a steam locomotive service at this time. As a New York State Museum, we can not - and we are not going to - sell Engine #39. It is our responsibility as official stewards of a New York State historic artifact to get the locomotive restored and operational to support our Museum's Mission. We don't have to actually pull on the throttle - we are authorized to contract with someone who knows how to pull on the throttle to run her and thereby advance the educational experience for patrons and citizens of New York State.

As developments arise I will comment on these pages. Feel free to ask questions and I will do my best to give you clear answers. Keep the interest high and don't give up!

Don Fisher, President
Railroad Museum of Long Island

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 Post subject: Re: LIRR 39 update
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 11:22 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
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Location: southeastern USA
It does seem to contradict the description of it being "in very good condition and an excellent candidate for restoration." On the other hand, we aren't privy to the depth of information that drove the estimate. Perhaps somebody with full data could break it down.

2.3 million ought to build a new replica. Of course, over $900,000 was spent making an operating 0-4-0T continue to operate a couple years ago. Perhaps there are ancillary things involved as a condition of the grants that require expenditures not directly involved in nuts and bolts. I recall one other proposal requiring paying "the prevailing local wage rate" and another with very expensive historic documentary requirements.

dave

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 Post subject: Re: LIRR 39 update
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:49 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:13 pm
Posts: 151
Location: Southold NY
Good evening Gentle Forum Members,

If I may. At the end of this month we will have exhausted our 1996 ISTEA grant of $800,000.00. The body of #39's tender has been restored and her firebox will be up to FRA compliance. The boiler still has to be addressed. Combined with the latest estimate of $1.8 million to complete the restoration of the locomotive, if realized, the total cost will be $2.6 million to get Engine 39 back on track.

Since the Strasburg estimate and scope of work did not include crane, rigging and transportation charges from Riverhead, NY, our Board of Trustees is looking to secure $2 million over an eight year period to complete restoration of the locomotive. (The additional $200,000.00 over estimate will cover crane, rigging and transport considerations.)

As an example of the fiscal realities of functioning in the New York Metropolitan area: three years ago an estimate for the pick of a LIRR Ping-Pong car in Bridghampton, NY came in at $13,000.00. That was for crane service alone and did not include transit charges for truck-trailer and high & wide permitting. Needless to say, the car was scrapped in place.

We are very comfortable with the estimate and scope of work Strasburg has prepared for us. As noted in my August report, the locomotive is considered in very good condition and is a prime candidate for restoration. There is a tremendous amount of costly skilled labor necessary to put #39 into operation. Labor that equates to jobs for Americans. The locomotive is apart but whole in inventory, therefore the cost of materials is minor compared to the labor costs of skilled mechanics and craftspeople.

We are also pleased that Strasburg has been very thoughtful in estimating this job and has allowed for fluctuations in materials costs and labor rates over the term of the project. It is my personal observation that early #39 restoration organizations followed by RMLI restoration committees underestimated the monies needed to restore this locomotive. One critical example of this was the belief that volunteers would be allowed to perform the restoration work on the engine. Under the auspices of the County of Suffolk and the State of New York, we were informed after receiving the ISTEA grant that all work had to be done by contract workers on Long Island using prevailing wage standards. Ouch! And those were 1996 dollars, not 2005 - 2009 dollars. As you can see, Dave is on to something - the Devil is in the details!

As we have prospective funding meetings scheduled in October and November, I am not at liberty to go into the details of the scope of work and specifics of the estimate. I can tell you that even in these hard times, the Museum is actively working to secure funding to keep the project alive. We would be pleased to secure funding on a year by year basis, both private and public, to keep the skilled craftspeople on the job.

Watch for the winter issue of the "Keystone," journal of the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society. Editor Chuck Blardone has been delving into the nuances of restoration of the Pennsy K4s #1361, (fall issue), and will now tackle the LIRR G5s #39. I have written a detailed article outlining the history, (1994 - 2009), of the RMLI's efforts to restore #39.

In closing, after five years of being intimately involved with Engine #39's restoration I have learned: that we never have enough money to do what we want when we want to do it; government forces will take you places you never imagined, you have little or no control over your project; and every "armchair restoration specialist" must walk a mile in my steel toed boots before they can second guess any locomotive restoration project, anywhere!

I thank you for your interest and continued support of this project,
Don Fisher, President
Railroad Museum of Long Island


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 Post subject: Re: LIRR 39 update
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:13 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:13 pm
Posts: 151
Location: Southold NY
PS,

Kudos to Dave on another cogent point.

There are tradesmen in my hometown who generally refuse to work on "restoration" or home remodeling projects. If it's not clean new framing, they don't want to touch it. New construction only!

To build a G5s brand new from the ground up might well indeed be cheaper, easier and a whole lot cleaner in conforming to the latest FRA standards. Just like my friends who refuse to do "restoration" construction, the British rail community successfully built the Tornado and are now planning another engine from the ground up. Why not us?

It's not in the cards with these historic locomotives. Engine #39, (and #35 too), is a part of New York State history and deemed to be a "historical artifact" by the New York State Department of Education, Division of Museums, in the stewardship of the Railroad Museum of Long Island. We can't sell it, we can't scrap it, we have to preserve it in one manner or another for the people of New York State. That's the law. As Trustees we take our stewardship seriously, we want to see Engine #39 restored and in steam for the enjoyment and edification of the people of New York State.

As a matter of fact, for all the people living in the stomping grounds of "The Standard Railroad of the World!" Engine #39 is an Altoona stallion! Born, bred and created in the Master Mechanic's Building of the Pennsylvania Railroad and built in the Juniata Shops! #39 ran her race on Long Island, but the G5s Class Locomotive is significant throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. One or more of the remaining three must be saved and put in steam.

Thanks for reading,
Don Fisher, President
Railroad Museum of Long Island


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 Post subject: Re: LIRR 39 update
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 5:48 am 

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:29 am
Posts: 316
Location: Schuylkill County, PA
As far as I'm concerned, #39 has a Keystone on the front, and that makes her a part of Pennsylvania's history as much as New York's. I find it reassuring to see that your group has tempered lofty goals with realistic expectations of how it can be done and what is involved to not only do it right, but have something to do with the locomotive after pumping a cool 2 mil into her. I wish you the best of luck.


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 Post subject: Re: LIRR 39 update
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 10:42 am 

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While I applaud the efforts of bringing #39 back to the ranks of the living I must wonder if the cost of the project really makes it worth it when one considers the possibilities of her running on even a semi regular basis on the island. If operation cannot be sustained on Long Island, is it in the best interest for the continued funding of a New York based project if she will end up running elsewhere. Over $2 million is quite a chunk of change to any organization in the U.S. Can it be justified by the powers that be to give that out for occasional operation and possibly outside of Long Island or New York State? I’m just playing devil’s advocate so don’t shoot the theorist.

Kevin O


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 Post subject: Re: LIRR 39 update
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 11:19 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
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Location: Maine
Even if she operates outside of the state, off the Island, the locomotive remains the property of the state of New York, and so any investment in the engine really preserves an irreplaceable portion of the state's railroading heritage. It might sound a bit stupid, but two million dollars ain't what it used to be! I would love to see the entire restoration happen for half that or less, but inflation being what it is, especially as we now through around numbers like "billion" and "trillion" like we understood what they mean, is it honest to expect a locomotive which has stood cold for half a century to cost less?
If we were to raise that kid of cash for new build, say an NYC Hudson, would that money carry the project through? Do we have the economic stamina and fortitude to stick out the endless subscribing that the A1 Pacific "Tornado" had to endure to finish the job?

I would advocate the G5s be something every Pennsy group, fan club, railroad heritage service organization, get behind, and now. Next year it may cost $3,000,000 todo the same work. So send RMLI a check for $39. Remember, $39 ain't what it used to be.

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 Post subject: Re: LIRR 39 update
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 12:52 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:13 pm
Posts: 151
Location: Southold NY
Kevin O,

“Once I was a piano player at the firehouse and I was always reminding them not to shoot at me!”

Kevin, you make a very thoughtful comment on the wisdom of continued funding for the Engine #39 project. It is a line of thinking that has been discussed on more than one occasion and I know it will come up again and again. In April 2009 it was an issue during discussions with our Congressional Leaders, as a matter of fact it pushed the #39 project from their “front burner” back to a “we have to see what other priorities come up in the State before we consider funding this project.”

The other concern, (that interestingly hasn’t been voiced yet), I expect to hear any day now, is how can the RMLI seriously ask for $2 million when there are people without jobs, without medical insurance, with their homes being foreclosed and the US economy is in the tank?

I’ll give to you, gentle readers, my thoughts on these important issues. I welcome and look forward to your comments, pro and con.

To address the faltering economy issue: the continued funding of the Engine #39 project indeed creates jobs. Although they might not immediately be on Long Island – and that is a rub – keeping the skilled engineers, mechanics and craftspeople that do this kind of “dying art” work employed is a benefit to the United States as a whole.

Besides keeping these men and women employed and in their homes buying groceries in town, the United States, albeit in a small way, maintains some hands-on technical skills, skills that are leaving, or have left our Country for the sake of cheap off-shore labor. To the unsuspecting this might not be a serious issue, but to me, a technician, who has experienced having young men and women in college not know the difference between a slotted and Phillips head screw driver it is an important and frightening concern.

In the long term, if by successfully running the restored #39 at a tourist railroad we can demonstrate to the Long Island Railroad and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that an engine that ran on their ancient trackage for twenty-eight years can safely run again – then, and only then, might we have a chance at repatriating Engine #39 to home rails. Then the theory of Engine #39 providing tourist stimulus money to Long Island could be realized.

Why bother to sink $2.6 million into a LIRR steam locomotive that might never run on Long Island? My thoughts on this issue will again be a “big picture” answer, not necessarily a Long Island-centric one.

The Pennsy G5s Class steam locomotive is a uniquely designed, highly successful, industrial artifact. It holds great importance to American industrial history beyond the confines of New York State and Long Island. To my knowledge there are only three G5s Class locomotives extant among us, #39 and #35 on Long Island and #5741 at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Amongst steam engines in the Americas, one or more of this class locomotive should be preserved in steam for the education and enjoyment of the population. I know this is a pretty lofty comment, but truly, for those in this Country that study history, steam power, and the industrial revolution and beyond, the design, construction and use of the “Pittsburg Engine” is an important and interesting mark on the timeline of steam in the Northeast.

(In a separate post I will put up Ron Ziel’s commentary on the history and importance of the G5s Class steam locomotive. No one else could say it better.)

The comment has been made from time to time, “just stuff and mount her at Riverhead so everyone can come and see her.”

There was a moment about six years ago when that could have been a reality. We were on the eve of the County of Suffolk awarding the contracts for work on the tender and boiler/firebox. At that time Engine #39 was whole, the cab and boiler were still attached to her frame, to stuff and mount her would have been a matter of priming, painting and reattaching her rods and accessories in-place. The vote was to return the ISTEA grant in-whole and stuff and mount #39 or to proceed with restoration and never look back. The vote was unanimous to proceed with the restoration. We cast the die that night to restore Engine #39 and we made a pledge to see her run for the people of New York and by extension the people of the United States.

Opening and running a recognized Museum or Historical Society in the State of New York is not a light matter. Along with recognition comes the weight of stewardship of all the artifacts and properties entrusted to the governing body of the organization. I do not speak lightly when I discuss the responsibilities of our Trustees. The Engine #39 is a very valuable historic artifact that belongs to all the people of the State of New York. We shall present Engine #39 in what we believe to be the best possible way to tell and experience the historic story of railroading on Long Island. There is no better way to do that than to have this engine operational somewhere so those people can experience her and learn.

This is what the Railroad Museum of Long Island has embarked on. We will continue to work toward our goal. This Board of Trustees is cognizant of the financial and political issues that face the operation of Engine #39 on Long Island Railroad trackage. We have made the decision to avoid these pitfalls for the time being and focus on getting #39 in steam and then contract with someone who knows how to run and care properly for steam locomotives to present our artifact to the people of New York and the United States. I believe this public/private arrangement will be best for the locomotive, best for the preservation and presentation of industrial history to New Yorkers and not a waste of private or public funds.

I thank Richard for his comments. Besides the $39.00 donations, if there is anyone watching this project and knows of foundations or persons who would be interested in supporting this restoration, financially or with counsel, please contact me in confidence at dfisher@rmli.us It will be appreciated.

Thanks,
Don Fisher, President
Railroad Museum of Long Island


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 Post subject: Re: LIRR 39 update
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 12:55 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:13 pm
Posts: 151
Location: Southold NY
Gentle readers,

Here is Ron Zeil's most excellent description of G5s history. It is taken from his book, "Long Island Heritage, the G5 1924 - 1955"

Thank you Ron.

Don Fisher, President
Railroad Museum of Long Island



“By the early 1920’s, the Pennsylvania Railroad needed a more powerful locomotive to operate its commuter services on the branchlines which ran up into the hills surrounding Pittsburgh. Normal practice would have been to downgrade older mainline passenger locomotives for this prosaic purpose, but the 1900-era D-class 4-4-0s and E-class 4-4-2s were already proving themselves incapable of handling the heavier trains and K-4 class 4-6-2s, still being built by the hundreds for the mainline “Limiteds,” were hardly ready for downgrading – and wouldn’t be for three decades! The Pennsy’s great locomotive designer, William F. Kiesel Jr., decided on a solution which was probably unique in the history of American railroading; he laid out a brand-new locomotive, from the wheels up, intended specifically for rapid-acceleration commuter service.

Using the basic boiler of the E-6 4-4-2 and H-10 2-8-0 of the 1910-era, Kiesel adapted it to the 4-6-0 wheel arrangement, which itself had been virtually phased out of Class-one railroad designing offices years before. The result was the first G-5, No. 987, which rolled out of the PRR’s sprawling Juniata Shops at Altoona, Pennsylvania, in June, 1923. Built on proven theory with known components, the new Ten-Wheeler required little testing and within four months, forty were in service, the vast majority sent to alleviate the Pittsburgh branchline crisis. The chunky 4-6-0, the biggest, heaviest and most modern of this wheel arrangement to get into production, outclassed many more modern 4-6-2 types and soon became known to PRR men as the “Pittsburgh Commuter Engine.”

Meanwhile, the Long Island Railroad, by this time both the biggest commuter conveyor in the USA and a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania, was in need of heavier motive power, as it was rapidly phasing out its fleet of wooden coaches, on its way to becoming the first all-steel car fleet operator in the U.S., in 1927. Naturally, the G-5 was the Long Island’s answer. On the LIRR, however, the G-5 was to be the heaviest and most powerful passenger locomotive ever owned by that line, so the G-5’s were initially classed with the highbrow title of “limited express service” and assigned to the long-distance (106 miles) Montauk trains, a job they yielded to leased K-4 Pacifics beginning in 1931.

By February of 1925, the Pennsylvania had built 90 G-5 engines for itself and in January of 1924, four were built for the Long Island, followed by five more in January 1925 and ten more in 1928, and a final dozen in 1929. This is the story of those 31 remarkable G-5 locomotives – Nos. 20 to 50 – which served as the backbone of the motive power pool of the Long Island Rail Road through the Roaring 20’s, the Great Depression, World War II , and the Korean conflict. “Pittsburgh Commuter Engine” – that was the G-5; but on the LIRR, Jamaica was her home and every day for three decades, thousands of passengers rode to and from their New York City jobs and their Long Island homes behind the rough, gutsy, and reliable Ten-Wheelers.”


Last edited by n2qhvRMLI on Sat Oct 10, 2009 8:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: LIRR 39 update
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2009 9:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2004 1:41 pm
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Location: Bowling Green, KY
I would be very curious to find out what work is covered for 1.8mil. The 4501 is expected to cost about the same were it to be returned to 100% condition, this work includes new boxes, shoes/wedges, spring rigging and about everything else that is considered any kind of a wear part.

So, why is a much smaller engine that is "in good shape and a good candidate for restoration" supposed to cost as much as an engine that has had virtually all the life run out of it?


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 Post subject: Re: LIRR 39 update
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:13 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
I hate to be a downer yet again, but I see only two ways to justify this scope of restoration to operation: Either 39 would have to be permitted somewhat routine operation over the lines of the LIRR on weekend excursions, OR 39 would have to end up on a British-style "tour" to various excursion operations or opportunities for pay.

Think about this a minute: Supposing LIRR 39 were restored to operation at Strasburg, and then was allowed one season of operation at Strasburg while another heavy overhaul of a Strasburg loco were undertaken. Strasburg could guarantee operation on at least two weekends a month for several weeks or months. Those who want to see her in operation could. And you know it's ONLY going to be there for a month or two. Wouldn't you "drop everything" and run to see her? I know I would.

Then move 39 to another operation for a spell. Steamtown. Arcade & Attica. Display her under steam at Altoona for a month, and/or put her on excursions on the Everett. Western Maryland Scenic for an otherwise slow month. The Reading & Northern has former PRR trackage that saw PRR 4-6-0's. Heck, what about a mainline trip out of Pittsburgh? Trips on the Nittany & Bald Eagle, former host of PRR 1361 trips, now with their own passenger train to couple behind it? Ohio Central trips? Heck, there's reason to show this loco as far away as Chicago and St. Louis--the PRR ran these pluggers all over the system!

The idea behind this is twofold: The loco and its administrators get to recoup at least some of the cost of restoration, and the museums/operations in question get to show off a new celebrity, the latest thing--the next "Thomas" or "Polar Express". You could, if you had the guts, cosmetically restore her as a PRR loco temporarily. Showing off a LIRR loco in Pittsburgh or Buffalo means little, but present her as the class of loco that handled all the local commuter trains for years, and, well......


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 Post subject: Re: LIRR 39 update
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:33 am 

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[quote="Alexander D. Mitchell IV"]

Then move 39 to another operation for a spell. Heck, there's reason to show this loco as far away as Chicago and St. Louis--the PRR ran these pluggers all over the system!
quote]

Well, I've got to say that I like the IDEA at least. I believe the Pennsy ran G5's on the old "dummy"; the commuter trains out of Chicago to Valparaiso, Indiana. And Valpo is not that far from our museum. And the PRR was the major railroad that came through North Judson. PLUS, we do have a LIRR commuter coach (#2937) currently undergoing restoration. So if and when LIRR 39 does get restored.........!

Les Beckman (Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum/North Judson, Indiana)


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 Post subject: Re: LIRR 39 update
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 11:28 am 

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At some point we must come to the realization of what this stuff costs. If we are to be able to maintain steam in the future, we will need people who are knowledgeable and capable of that task. At this point it seems that the bulk of this capability will be sustained in the few shops that exist in the US today. While there are many very capable individual contractors extant today, who is training the young people? I would argue that this is primarily occurring at different levels in the shops at Durango, Essex, Chama, Strasburg, and other similar operations. How many of these shops have the capacity over and above their primary workload to take on outside projects and can any of them afford to do them on the cheap?

The British A5 cost over $4.5 million to build and there was probably a lot of skilled volunteer time in addition. You don't have to look far to find locomotive projects in this country that exceeded $1 million. How much has been spent on the Pennsy K4 and it's in a zillion pieces?

Labor is almost always the biggest cost today. Imagine if the people who work on this stuff were paid commensurate with their scarcity compared to let's say attorneys or accountants. How many $1.8 million lawsuits are settled every day, and what do they accomplish for society in general as compared to operating a G5?

Our industry was born of dragging not-yet-used-up steam engines out of storage, tinkering with them and firing them up. Because of their design and construction we could do this for very little money and with reasonable safety, but I am afraid those days are gone. Bottom line - $1.8 million doesn't go very far for anything of substance in today's world.

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 Post subject: Re: LIRR 39 update
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 11:48 am 

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Location: Maine
I must check the color of the moon tonight, as Alexander #4 and I actually agree on a feasible and intelligent idea for celebrating: A) An operational Pennsylvania RR design locomotive; B) Showing off a preserved Long Island Rail Road G5s (there are two, remember, and both are slated for renovation to service at some point); C) Finding a plausible way to underwrite the restoration.

We must remember that not all Pennsy locomotive were K4's, and we would eagerly accept any of those "standard" designs being brought back to service life. I think I can state, without too much fear of contradiction, the return to service of this locomotive would be the most anticipated steam revival of the next decade. Considering what the British do, and the excitement it generates among the railfan and non-railfan populations, such exultant praise might stir up a second mainline steam revival in our country.

Thank you, Linn, for voicing your expert opinion. Many of us anticipate Strasburg rebuilding the locomotive and operating it, though nothing of the kind has been decided as of yet. Thank you, also, Don Fisher, President of the RMLI, who has been a progressive voice in that organization, to find a way to make it happen.

It's time to subscribe to the #39 restoration fund at Rail Road Museum of Long Island, Riverhead, New York. The Brits have done this successfully and we should undertake a similar strategy.

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 Post subject: Re: LIRR 39 update
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 12:48 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 4:18 pm
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After reading this for a few days, I have a few thoughts:

1. To the RMLI: Good job of bringing the public up to date with a thorough listing of all the issues and costs. IMHO this sort of public information hasn't been very good to date for this project.

2. I agree that another $1.8M to restore the engine is a whopper, considering that at least $800K to date (the ISTEA grant), and probably a lot more than that if you consider volunteer hours, has already been spent on it. Hasn't this engine (and the 35) been under restoration for 20 or 30 years now? Was any work completed on it before the 1996 grant? And I have never seen these estimates come in low - if it is $2.6M now, what will it be in 10 years?

3. Why isn't the RMLI at liberty to go into details of the scope of the work and the estimate? Why the secrecy?

4. Throwing in the towel re: running in Long Island is a bigger deal than someone not from the area may anticipate. Long Island, due to its geography, is a very isolated place. Say the museum was in Albany, and agreement was made to run the engine in Utica: a lot of people would have no problem going to Utica to see it run. But, if the engine is someday operated in New Jersey, or Pennsylvania, I venture not many people from Long Island would go to see it. While I don't know the membership of RMLI well I presume this would be a major deflator to interest in the project.

5. re: Linn comments: when the 35 and 39 projects were first announced what seems like 30+ years ago these engines may have fallen into the not-yet-used-up category. That explains some of the frustration at the projected cost to restore the 39 now.

6. When 765 was recently restored, after going down the same path for fundraising as 39 is now, I think its total cost was considerably less than $2.6M. And it was a much bigger engine and worn out mechanically.

I don't want to sound shrill in my criticism, but I do want to consider if this is really the best use of time and money in this industry right now.

Chris.


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