It is currently Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:37 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 35 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: End of Canadian National's Steam Program
PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:50 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:16 am
Posts: 467
Location: Northern Illinois
[quote="PaulWWoodring"] Second, it struck me that probably the most attractive excursion of the entire long weekend was the Nebraska Zephyr trip on Sunday. I believe that is true because it was the only train that was not a dog's breakfast of whatever equipment could be found, but a truly pure consist that ran as it historically operated, in territory similar to where it ran. This is by no means a criticism of the way the festival was put on. You can't run an operation in this day and age for tens of thousands of people without massive compromise, and as near as I could tell, it came off with the barest minimum of any problems. Since this is a discussion of the possibility of operating a historically accurate semi-regular excursion operation, I'll stick to train sets that could still be put together today, and the Zephyr set is at the top of the list. I believe that the 75th anniversary of the train set is coming up in a few years, and wouldn't it be great to have a live, passenger hauling run on it's historic route, as close to it's historic schedule as possible for that anniversary.

Finally, since there seems to be a significant number of Milwaukee orange cars around, how about a semi-regular excursion with them as a matched set, find some F-units to match, or use 261 when it's rebuild is finished. I believe that Peter Lerro did, in-fact, run a photo charter like that several years ago, but this would be more of a passenger-centered trip.[/quote]



"Attractive" doesn't pay the bills. I fully agree that the Zephyr excursion was aesthetically the best if you were a chaser/photographer. The amazing E5 and five matched, stainless steel cars were a sight to behold but the lack of capacity of the train makes it a non-starter financially in most cases if you want to make the proposed excursions affordable and profitable. I think anyone who RODE the day-long excursions with the large trainset will tell you that the accommodations were comfortable and attractive although the car exteriors were in about five different paint schemes. You can recreate the Broadway Limited if you like but if the A/C doesn't work, the toilets fail and the interiors of the cars are ratty, you'll never get anyone to ride. I'm sure the photographers and chasers would find the experience wonderful but the operation won't last long with no riders.

The "significant number" of Milwaukee Road cars out there are in operation for one reason only - they are the property of the Friends of the 261. Every last one of them. They are there because of the desire to field a total Milwaukee Road painted consist eventually. This is in line with the thinking proposed in this thread. And there was a totally matched consist operated behind #261 as a photo charter shortly before the locomotive went down for her mandated rebuild. Stay tuned.

Don C.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: End of Canadian National's Steam Program
PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:50 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:22 pm
Posts: 67
I agree with Don that the consists for Train Festival were interesting, but no where near "dog's breakfast"!

Did anyone notice the "Mid America Limited" that arrived and departed behind the 765?

Great strides were made by both Friends of 261 and Mid America to have cars in similar schemes for the event.

There were only a handful of non matching cars present, but when you get cars from several sources, that's what you get. Having said that, since the event the tables have tilted to get closer to matching consists from each organization.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: End of Canadian National's Steam Program
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 11:22 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2008 11:45 am
Posts: 63
[ .

Finally, since there seems to be a significant number of Milwaukee orange cars around, how about a semi-regular excursion with them as a matched set, find some F-units to match, or use 261 when it's rebuild is finished. The "significant number" of Milwaukee Road cars out there are in operation for one reason only - they are the property of the Friends of the 261. Every last one of them. They are there because of the desire to field a total Milwaukee Road painted consist eventually. This is in line with the thinking proposed in this thread. And there was a totally matched consist operated behind #261 as a photo charter shortly before the locomotive went down for her mandated rebuild. Stay tuned.

Don C.[/quote]


As for where the F-Units could be located, IRM who owns the Nebrasks Zephyr also has an A-B-A set of Milwaukee Road F-units, one is an FP-7 that would fit this bill nicely and would make a great addition to the Friends of 261 if the desire for a matched set of Milwaukee diesels was ever to come to frution. They also have a pair of Milwaukee Road E-9's that are also waiting for their time to rise again. I don't think that there is another road except for maybe the C&NW that has so many E's and F's left in some form of preservation for an idea like this one. IRM's diesel department has done wonders in recent years, but their plate seems rather full now.

Steve


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: End of Canadian National's Steam Program
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 11:55 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2423
The mainline steam thing worked well for many years in another Canadian venue, the Royal Hudson out of Vancouver, BC was extremely popular, so much so that it was featured prominently in much of the city's tourist advertising over the years.

As for the current discussion... OK, so you eliminate the steam and put diesels on the point, due to expense, reliability, insurance, crews, availabity of parts, need to fuel and water, etc. etc. All good reasons and totally understandable.

So, now you have a first class train with nice looking diesels on the point. You run it out of GCT or wherever and cater to high end tourists...

Today's assignment for the class: Compare this proposed operation to the American Orient Express / Grand Luxe and whatever the "failure to launch" version was going to be called. What would be the same? What would differ? Most importantly, how would you succeed when 3 or 4 other operations, all with significant financial backing, have failed?


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: End of Canadian National's Steam Program
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 2:57 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 3674
Location: Maine
Bob, perhaps the "cache'" of a name train restored to the grand days of operation, including sleeping car porters, dining car service, china instead of plastic. I wonder if a restored "20th Century Limited" behind E8's would cut the mustard. Regular screenings of "North by Northwest" would be required on the tele in advance would be mandatory!

_________________
"It's only impossible until it's done." -Nelson Mandela


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: End of Canadian National's Steam Program
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:10 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2423
Richard Glueck wrote:
Bob, perhaps the "cache'" of a name train restored to the grand days of operation, including sleeping car porters, dining car service, china instead of plastic.


Name Train? For the general public, it doesn't get any better than "The Orient Express".

The American Orient Express and it's various incarnations also had first class everything, lovingly restored coaches, fabulous on board service, and though I never had the "scratch" to ride it, I'm pretty dang sure there were no plastic plates in the dining car.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: End of Canadian National's Steam Program
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:32 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 3674
Location: Maine
American name train. "Orient Express" conjures visions of Hercule Perot solving murders during the night. In honesty, just the name turns me off in the USA.

_________________
"It's only impossible until it's done." -Nelson Mandela


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: End of Canadian National's Steam Program
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:52 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3015
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Been watchin' an' listenin,' thought I might add a few pennies here;

I'll start with Frisco 1522, who thinks the timing is bad due to the current economy. A lot of people think that, and I doubt the business would be started by anybody here, but I also recall that Ralph Budd of the Burlington, in a more challenging time than now, once stated that the advantage of a depression was that it gave you time to think. I suspect his thinking, and the thinking of a lot of other people, laid the groundwork for when times would get better, and in their case, they did get better with a bang called WW II, at least as far as traffic levels went.

In short, it wouldn't hurt to be prepared, and have some thought as to how to make this work, or to even find out if it can work.

Richard Glueck brought up the idea of a heavy freighter, specifically the 1218, on a regularly scheduled photo trip with coal trains. I won't say it's a bad idea, but how would it benefit Norfolk Southern? How would they get the money to operate a type of locomotive they got rid of because it cost more than what they use now? In short, how do you pay the extra it would cost to run a steam coal train that would be handled cheaper with diesels? Or, to put it another way, how would NS get some of that money from the people buying gas and restaurant meals and hotel rooms? Would there be enough to keep the 1218 hot?

Tex Highballer said he could get us a scenic road with lots of traffic and an urban terminal anchor for $15 million. That would be a real bargain if it was real! I can't but help wonder if he wants the $15 million to tell us to use the Cuyahoga Valley and to fix up that B&O roundhouse! Still, the idea has merit; didn't someone around here suggest something similar, along the lines of a traction museum that started with the barn instead of the cars? Would this not be the same thing as what the Australians did, as recounted by U-25b?

For now, I'll close out with the comments on the Nebraska Zephyr. One thing that was brought out about it is the limited capacity. This is a later articulated Zephyr, in many ways akin to a "motor train" like the Pioneer Zephyr, the Flying Yankee, or a train of Budd cars (including the Roger Williams), although it does have a separate locomotive. The question then becomes, "Where can you use a motor train in service like this? Can you use a motor train anywhere?"

All things to be thought out--and maybe this is as good a place as any to think them out. . .

To be continued. . .


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: End of Canadian National's Steam Program
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:27 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3015
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Bob Harbison brings up an interesting point:

"As for the current discussion... OK, so you eliminate the steam and put diesels on the point, due to expense, reliability, insurance, crews, availabity of parts, need to fuel and water, etc. etc. All good reasons and totally understandable.

"So, now you have a first class train with nice looking diesels on the point. You run it out of GCT or wherever and cater to high end tourists...

"Today's assignment for the class: Compare this proposed operation to the American Orient Express / Grand Luxe and whatever the "failure to launch" version was going to be called. What would be the same? What would differ? Most importantly, how would you succeed when 3 or 4 other operations, all with significant financial backing, have failed?"

Perhaps the first thing to do would be a sort of post mortem of AOE/Grande Luxe.

I remember the inaugural run of the AOE, which started out as extra cars added to Amtrak's Capitol Limited. Later, it ran briefly as a stand-alone service on the same route that hosted the Cardinal (and with CSX F-units for part of that time). Later the equipment would be sold and operated as something like a cruise ship.

For what it was, I think the first routing may have been the best, but perhaps not good enough. Maybe a revived 20th Century Limited, at least in terms of routing and timing, would have worked better. The second routing was possibly too long and slow for a luxury service like this; it also was, in my opinion, not really tuned to the route, as my own steam proposal was intended to be. It was also attempted to run this service year round, something I would not have done on this particular route.

There was also a matter of bad luck (at least one grade crossing incident and one derailment, fortunately at low speed). Things like that cost money, and possibly your reputation. I have also heard reports (not verified) that at least part of the management was more interested in its salaries than in running the service.

Finally, in the case of the Grande Luxe, we have a variation of the circus again--all special moves, relatively high costs because of the nature of special moves, the equipment and crews essentially having to live for months at a time away from a repair shop and home. . .hard on equipment and people. . .and of course, more bad luck, in the form of insurance costs and what I would assume to be management problems between Grande Luxe and some of the host roads (I noted that in later years, this equipment never ran on CSX). . .and the whole thing was frighteningly expensive. . .

Richard Glueck and Bob Harbison had some comments about how the Orient Express was a great and known train name, but that it may have been misapplied here. I'm inclined to agree with this viewpoint. You can get great food and cool architecture and art and music and a somewhat exotic language in Paris--and you can get all that in or New Orleans, too, but you wouldn't bill New Orleans as Paris! That's because New Orleans isn't Paris. By the same token, we wouldn't have an Orient Express in America (even if we did once have an Oriental Limited).

Those are the things I would have not proposed. What we would have had, what I would still suggest today, would be:

A day train, one that takes you out to a destination of your choice, and then brings you home again.

A day train operating on one route, on a regular if seasonal schedule--not a bunch of special moves on as many routes, not a circus on rails (no insult intended to Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Combined Shows).

A train that would have a home at night--and its crewmenbers would have a home, too.

A day train that would be affordable. This is not a knock at Ross Rowland and the Greenbriar Express; rather, this is a statement that this proposal would have been pursuing a different market or market segment.

A day train tuned to its route, to making stops geared to its customer base, not following the stopping pattern of Amtrak (unless Amtrak happened to stop at the same places); a train that ties its travel experience with its territory.

Finally, just for fun on my part, steam power and heavyweight cars. I still recall that those big 12-wheelers, both on the Chessie Steam Special and the Southern's excursions, are the best riding cars around. And of course, you need to have windows that open to let in the sound, and to be proper, the cars would be Pullman green, with the locomotive painted black and burning West Virginia coal. . .

Huh? Huh? Grrrr, grumble, grumble, what did you wake me up for? Can't a fellow get any sleep around here?


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: End of Canadian National's Steam Program
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:22 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3015
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
An alternate point to consider--we do have luxury trains that do make money, though both are outside the continental US. They include the Rocky Mountaineer services in Canada, and a variety of car services in operation in Alaska.

The car services are operated as part of an assortment of cruise ship lines, often operating in one train, with power supplied by the Alaska Railroad. The Rocky Mountaineer is interesting in that other than its modern equipment, it is an operation quite like what we would do--running on a host railroad, with our own equipment, including locomotives.

Oh, can you imagine what the Mountaineer would look like with classic Canadian streamliner equipment and F7s or FA4's? Can you imagine it in steam and heavyweight cars?

Oh, !!@#$%&!!! Shut off that !!&%$#@!!! alarm clock, will ya?!


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: End of Canadian National's Steam Program
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:43 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 3674
Location: Maine
Using a locomotive such as 1218 or C&O 1604, or doubling Berkshires for such a proposition is a risk, I'll agree. How would it help NS or CSX? First, they aren't losing revenue on this train, as they would be getting their freight from point A to point B just the same, except behind steam, not Diesel. Second, as this is a "stimuls" (don't hit me guys) type of approach, a managing agency of people dedicated to making it work, would plan the logistics of coaling and watering the locos. Economic statistics would be monitored by, say a university. Coal would be purchased locally. Businesses along to routing would be followed with regard to economic impact. Since this would be a regular, say bi-weekly event, a season or more's data would go into the stats.

This is an experiment, call it "Operation O. Winston Link". You go into it with a thoroughly digested plan with back ups. You have places for night shots planned. You have rest stops for photographers planned, you have coal and water supplies planned, you make plans for when the train waits for priority freights, you have Diesel pushers planned. You don't jump into this without state D.O.T. involved. Most of all, you make it painless for the participating railroad. This isn't a fan trip, it's a serious attempt to enhance the economics of a wide range of smaller communities who might otherwise be forgotten in tough economic times. It's about using the countryside itself to the benefit of all parties involved. It's not a race, it's a measured attempt to do what giveaway programs seem to fail.

_________________
"It's only impossible until it's done." -Nelson Mandela


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: End of Canadian National's Steam Program
PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:56 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3015
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
I've been mulling this one over (and have been a bit busy, too). I give credit for a great deal of originality and spending some time to think things through (sometimes it seems I'm the only one to do so, at least where I live).

I like the scheduled "plandampf" concept this seems to have. I'm also glad you wouldn't mind a bit of public money in this (although you seem shy of getting the Feds involved). Truth is, as nice as this sounds, it is too big for private fans to take on, or at least it seems so to me.

In fact, I'm not even sure a state government could take it on. The big problem is current railroad management, at least in some places. No matter how painless you try to make it, there are some people who will not budge; look at the recent experience with WM 734 on CSX as an example.

Like a number of other things, I believe part of this may be generational. Some years ago, I ran into a man who was identified as a former Western Maryland official in a hobby shop; he modeled his beloved WM in N scale. (I'm afraid I don't remember his name, but I wonder if he could have been George Leilich, who was in a recent photo posted by Howard P, with NKP 759.)

I had the chance to speak with him briefly about the aborted West Virginia steam train project I had tried to promote. His reply was that the managers who would have been interested in this were no longer working on the railroad, and current management wasn't interested in this sort of thing at all. His explanation was that when the people in management at the time started into railroading in their early 20s, steam had been dead for some time, and passenger trains were on their last legs. They were convinced--convinced!--that no one would ever be interested in steam again, no one would ever ride passenger trains again, and they had a railroad to run and no time or energy for such foolishness.

From his description and the time period, these cynical railroaders would have started working in the late 1960s or early 1970s. This would make them in their late 50s or early 60s now.

What's interesting about this is that it also fit the pattern of support and opposition to rail passenger service and rail transit service in general. I also attempted to promote a modern interurban as an alternative to a 4-lane highway project in my area (and I'm afraid I lost that one, too).

What was interesting about that was the age pattern I began to notice. Those who liked the idea of a modern trolley--er, light rail line, got to get with this modern language--were either under 40 or over 70, while those who hated it were between 40 and 70. Years later (it took quite a long time to hash all this out), I noticed everyone was getting older; the low end break point moved up to 50, 55, and is now, I think, just over 60; I assume the high break has moved up to about 90.

A psychologist will tell you that the years you come of age--late teens through early twenties--is when your views of the world crystallize, when you figure out who you are, what you are, what the world is like, and as part of that, what the future should be like.

From what I can see, this suggests the older crowd--over 70 before, over 90 now--would remember how things used to be before Interstates and all that; they would have been born rather before 1930, some before 1920; much of this crowd would be the "greatest generation."

The younger crowd--under 40 before, under 60 or so now--would have been born in the early 1950s or later. This would be about the last two-thirds of the "baby boom" generation and what came afterwards. They would have grown up in a time when cars were as much a part of life as trains and trolleys would be to the older ones--and they would also grow up in a time of increasing environmentalism, and in a time of oil shocks, starting in 1973. They take cars for granted--and are also worried about their effect on the environment, and on how they now seem to be driving oil demand, which in turn drives terrorism and the effects to combat it. They also see cars as just a useful tool (maybe), and see the coolest thing as being a cell phone or camera phone, or some other electronic gizmo. This generational shift supposedly has the auto makers and auto insurance companies spooked--they've noticed this in their market research, and are worried about where they will get new customers in sufficient numbers in the future.

The group in the middle--between 40 and 70 then, between 60 or so to 90 now--would have been born between the later 1920s to about the late 1950s; this group would include the Depression babies, the war babies, and the first third of the baby boomers. This group would would have come of age in a time when the auto and the airplane were ascendant, and trains were supposed to go away like the stagecoach. For them, the future was supposed to look something like "The Jetsons," flying cars and all--and no trains, no trolleys.

It is interesting to note, in the case of proposed transit projects, including high-speed trains, that the people who rail mightily against it all seem to have grey hair, while the supporters tend to be younger.

This leads us back to this steam coal train or freight train proposal. How do you convince such stubborn people to come around? I think it would be an awesome challenge; I think this even derails such super salesmen as Ross Rowland. I certainly made no headway with what I tried to do--in fact, during the transit line period, I was accused of trying to take cars away and bring back the horse and buggy, and even of being a Communist!

Anyway, how does one float something like this in this atmosphere? Do we stand any chance at all, or do we have to "wait for the dinosaurs to die?"

I would like to see this while I'm still alive; it's too late to see it while still having most of my hair!


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: End of Canadian National's Steam Program
PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:18 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 3674
Location: Maine
I think the private side of the proposal will take care of itself. Businesses along the route will smell the potential and shoot towards meeting the response. Having a single Director with some competent assistants to work the scheduling, the fuel and water stops, the overnights, and local law enforcement, would be the management turn. Each of these under-administrators would have to report directly to the administrating Director. Regular problem solving meetings which draw in input from local authorities would be a must. The big deal is planning with the railroad - how to make this work to the company's benefit, how to move the freight, keep the main line clear, and show how such a partnership directly affects local economy.
Big? It's enormous! Not as bad as Mission Control at NASA, but a fair comparison. Do-able? I think yes. Worth it? Probably better than waiting for your fairy godmother to come solve the economic issues of our country.
Ross Rowland has quoted, and I like it, "With a Diesel, it's a train. With a steam locomotive, it's an event."
Make the freight haul weekly, bi-directional, and it's a weekly shot in the arm that businesses can count on.
We haven't yet heard Ross chime in; perhaps he's not in a position at this time to offer his view; perhaps he's not interested. Perhaps he thinks I'm nuts, as I know others do.
Still, I think it's better to try than to sit on your hands and sigh.

_________________
"It's only impossible until it's done." -Nelson Mandela


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: End of Canadian National's Steam Program
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:30 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3015
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
This new thread is interesting enough to be linked here; it seems to confirm Richard Glueck's concept as being workable, at least in Poland. But would it be possible to duplicate or reinterpret this here? I am totally confident the logistical and technical challenges are conquerable; I wish I was as confident of those that are institutional.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=31831


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: End of Canadian National's Steam Program
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:46 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1597
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Good things come to those who are patient.

Ross Rowland


Offline
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 35 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


 Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bill Reidy, Bing [Bot], Google [Bot], Jeff Terry, LeoA, thebigham and 46 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: