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 Post subject: Maybe the last year for "The Spirit of Traverse City"
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:01 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2011 12:49 pm
Posts: 13
This may be the last year that "The Spirit of Traverse City" a 3" scale 4-4-2 will run in Traverse City, Michigan. She was bought and placed into service in 1982 and ran on a track that circled the Clinch Park Zoo. The city closed the zoo around 2006 and the train has continued to operate since then. The former zoo is now Clinch Park with paths, benches, picnic tables and trees to provide shade.

My dad and I led an overhaul of the locomotive over the winter of 2004/05 and we rebuilt the valve gear, replaced both valves and made one new piston, added a mechanical lubricator for the cylinders, new blast nozzle, new atomizer and oil pan and the drive wheels were reprofiled and new axles were made by a local machine shop. Since then she has been running well each year and generally make around 35-50 trips a day (one trip is twice around the .45 mile loop)

Here is the official page for the train:
http://www.traversecitymi.gov/train/

and a couple of youtube videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OX6fd2WKJU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fD3s1dpmrHE

The plans are now to make the park better and make it more family friendly. Here are 2 quotes from the Traverse City Record Eagle from the article, "City Waits final OK on funds for bayfront work," in the March 15, 2011 paper.

"Plans include a natural play area and park at the site of the old zoo along with a "splash pad" that will consist of a flat service with a series of pumps that squirt water for children to run through."

"Those plans are expected to displace the Clinch Park Train, a family favorite for years. Local officials could put the train near the Traverse Area District Library on Woodmere, although nothing's been decided. 'Our intent is to keep it in the community,' Mayor Chris Bzdok said."

A side note about the area around the Library, it is a lot smaller that the 3 arce zoo/park where she is now and not a place where tourists would know to come.

Over the past decade or more the rumor about the train is that it is obsolete and no one knows how to operate or nor can parts be bought and no one knows how to repair it. I have been told that everything needs to be done on CNC and in 2006 while I was operating her, I was told that she was in very poor condition and could not make it around the track well when in fact she was running great and had made over 30 trips that day.

If you would like to see her run, this is probably the last year she will run. If you have ridden the train before, thank you. I enjoyed my years working on her and helping my dad after I moved away.
Jeff


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 Post subject: Re: Maybe the last year for "The Spirit of Traverse City"
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:36 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:37 pm
Posts: 109
"Over the past decade or more the rumor about the train is that it is obsolete and no one knows how to operate or nor can parts be bought and no one knows how to repair it. I have been told that everything needs to be done on CNC and in 2006 while I was operating her, I was told that she was in very poor condition and could not make it around the track well when in fact she was running great and had made over 30 trips that day."


Don'tca like all the experts?


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 Post subject: Re: Maybe the last year for "The Spirit of Traverse City"
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:22 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:49 pm
Posts: 53
Its a very nice little train. I rode it many a time during family trips "up north".

I hope it stays in TC and that it finds a good home if not.


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 Post subject: Re: Maybe the last year for "The Spirit of Traverse City"
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 5:04 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2011 12:49 pm
Posts: 13
On May 5th, the parks and rec dept met and talked about maybe relocating the train to another park. All of the parks they suggested won't work as they are A) not big enough, B) too far away from any other attractions, or C) the track would need to cross a public road.

The train will operate this year at Clinch Park, where it has since 1982, but after this year the train will not operate there. The reason is that the plan that excludes the train, has already been approved. It was also said that when the train was removed from the plans, no one said anything against it.
When it was brought up that the train had been included in the first 2/3's of the planning process and it was asked why it was removed. Those who were on the committee were silent.
It was said that the committee who was in charge of planning didn't know much about the train and, "I guess we should have asked someone about it back in 2010 when we were planning."

Later in the meeting it came out that the planning committee that decided the train should be removed from Clinch Park also did not plan anything in the budget for the tracks to be removed.

Over the past 9 days I have sent 3 emails to the Downtown Development Authority and over the past 2+ weeks I have sent 4 emails to the City Commissioners (including the mayor) inquiring about the train, their decisions and giving a detailed describing the rebuild and talking about how well the train is running now compared to when my dad and I started (when we started in 2004 the train was worn out completely and the engine did not run.) I only heard back from one city commissioner. No one else has responded.

Even the mayor, who in the article I quoted, said that it is their intention for the train to remain local, did not respond to his 4 emails.

This is the last year for the train to run at Clinch Park and by the way things are going, it is most likely the last year for the train to run in Traverse City.

My dad and I were asked to keep the train running (the average number of times around the track was 20-25 a day with a 1/2 hour wait in the station, we can do 35-50 trips (one trip is 2x around the track) and have a 3-5 min wait in the station for passengers) and I have enjoyed interacting with the passengers, rebuilding her and repairing her.

Thank you to those of you who have ridden and supported the train. I have enjoyed working on it and seeing in run very well these past 6 seasons.
Jeff


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 Post subject: Re: Maybe the last year for "The Spirit of Traverse City"
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 10:25 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 12:00 am
Posts: 526
Location: Dallas ,Texas. USA
Jeff,

It sounds like they would rather unload the train on someone than operate it, so profit from their carelessness. Offer the city $100 to buy it and remove all the track etc... then take it home and it will be your families once a year family-get-together-toy for the next 100 years.

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Loco112 (NarrowGaugeExchange Forum)

Our "paper" archives will be the future railfans only hope. We (yes you too!) should endeavor to preserve all the info needed to allow them 100% accuracy in the building of their recreations.


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 Post subject: Re: Maybe the last year for "The Spirit of Traverse City"
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 8:07 am 

Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2011 12:49 pm
Posts: 13
For any of you on facebook, here is a page that was started by some of the TC locals who are trying to save the train.
http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/page ... 42?sk=wall


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