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 Post subject: Re: EAST BROAD TOP BEING SOLD PIECE BY PIECE
PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:00 am 

Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:11 am
Posts: 36
I am surprised that there doesn't seem to be a push by the Friends of the East Broad Top, febt.org, to rally funds together and try to purchase the East Broad Top. I could be overlooking something and there may be a push by them to purchase, but if so I would like to know. I'm my eyes they are a group that is focused on restoring the EBT, or at least their infrastructure, and has tangible results. In my mind the best thing that could happen for the EBT is for the Friends of the EBT and the Trolley Museum to work together to obtain and run the East Broad Top. If either of those groups were behind the takeover/purchase of the EBT, I would have a good feeling about it and be willing to give what I could to make it happen.

Jesse


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 Post subject: Re: EAST BROAD TOP BEING SOLD PIECE BY PIECE
PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 11:24 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 10980
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
In the past few days, I have received "back-channel" communications from folks whose names would probably be known here, and whom I trust as much or more than most here (with track records of making things actually happen), who say they have checked into the EBT Preservation Association with the goal of possible assistance,contributions, etc.

Their communications indicate full-blown dread and panic for the future of the EBT.

As one said, "This WILL end VERY badly!"

The precedent that seems to be raised here is the Flying Scotsman PLC, the publicly-traded "corporation" set up ostensibly to preserve the then-still-privately-owned London & North Eastern Railway 4472, Flying Scotsman. You can read the quick-and-dirty synopsis here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LNER_Class ... g_Scotsman In short, what started out as a way to make revenue to assure the long-term preservation of a "superstar" loco quickly turned disastrous, with the controversial result that the National Railway Museum had to step in with a £2 million purchase offer raised from donations and other sources. (The controversy over the current rebuilding/restoration is an entirely different, additional controversy, much like that of the rebuilding of PRR 1361 or the current state of C&O 2716.)

I sincerely hope my correspondents are wrong, wrong, wrong. But these guys have track records better than most of us do, and they're justifiably afraid of someone casually filing lawsuits or at least threatening them (we've seen that here before from the owner of a certain moribund 4-8-4), so they're not eager to speculate openly and publicly.

As Britain's rail preservation field (and underwriters) had to do with the Flying Scotsman and what became the National Collection and the National Railway Museum, and we in the States had to do earlier with Steamtown, Edaville, Cass, and the Cumbres & Toltec, we need to have a serious conversation in advance as to whether this is worth preserving, how much we can save, and how we're going to do what with whose money. I (and I'm confident many others) don't want the future of the EBT decided by who had the most cash in the bank at the time of the bank's or sheriff's auction. And until we are presented with a business plan that assures us otherwise (if we ever are), that's what we have to presume is going to be the deciding factor.


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 Post subject: Re: EAST BROAD TOP BEING SOLD PIECE BY PIECE
PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 11:38 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 10980
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
jdorn wrote:
I am surprised that there doesn't seem to be a push by the Friends of the East Broad Top, febt.org, to rally funds together and try to purchase the East Broad Top. I could be overlooking something and there may be a push by them to purchase, but if so I would like to know. I'm my eyes they are a group that is focused on restoring the EBT, or at least their infrastructure, and has tangible results. In my mind the best thing that could happen for the EBT is for the Friends of the EBT and the Trolley Museum to work together to obtain and run the East Broad Top. If either of those groups were behind the takeover/purchase of the EBT, I would have a good feeling about it and be willing to give what I could to make it happen.


The fact that we haven't heard from them publicly, in my eyes, is by far the most incriminating aspect in our skepticism of the EBTPA.

There exist very good reasons to segregate the "armchair," academic heritage preservation from the hands-on mechanical and logistical aspects of asset preservation. Consider the Ma & Pa Historical Society (models, photos, paper), separate from the Ma & Pa Preservation Society (Muddy Creek Forks village, track, rolling stock, right-of-way). The Baltimore Chapter NRHS decades ago was involved in rolling stock acquisition and operation; it gradually sold off some of the stock (Ma & Pa 20 to Strasburg, for example) and eventually helped spin off a separate group, Railroad Passenegr Cars, Inc., to operate the ex-B&O heavyweights for excursion service. The PRRT&HS has a nice station and archives, but no rolling stock--that's for PRR LLC, the RR Museum of Pa., Railroaders Memorial Museum, etc. And there are plenty of rail museums that were/are ostensibly operations of the local NRHS chapters, but are still functionally separate.

It would be wonderful if the EBTPA approached the FEBT for an alliance--indeed, I would say they can't do it without the help of the FEBT. But there has supposedly been some "bad blood" between the FEBT and actual corporate EBT in the past, reportedly from the FEBT overstepping its boundaries. I would still think that a "We're the FEBT, and we approve this effort" sanction would do wonders for the credibility of a group/association(?) we have serious questions about.

But such approval shouldn't come overnight.


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 Post subject: Re: EAST BROAD TOP BEING SOLD PIECE BY PIECE
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 12:45 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:59 pm
Posts: 24
you saying the EBT will never run again?? i hope thats not true...


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 Post subject: Re: EAST BROAD TOP BEING SOLD PIECE BY PIECE
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:55 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 2289
"you saying the EBT will never run again?? i hope thats not true..."

Let's assume that the skeptics (me included) are abolutely dead wrong, the "doctor" is an able and experienced physician, appropriately trained, not a tribal shaman, mindful of the potential for introducing iatrogenic morbidity or mortality and not somebody just hoping to harvest organs.

While what is being proposed is somewhat nebulous, and the public appeal is the saving (purchasing?) the railroad (minus the hoppers for sale on at least one internet site).

There's no mention of running it again, the appeal is just saving it. When it last ran, only one engine had been operable-actually that was thwe case for several years-a sign of a program of deferred maintenance. In addition the buildings and rolling stock need stabilization and rehabilitaton. The locomotives, while relatively small, are still not amusement park Crowns or Forneys. Somewhere I have a picture of my only visit (2007ish) and there is a noticeable bow or sag in our coach.

In another time and place, the PHMC might have been the white knight, but given the fiscal pressures on the Commonwealth and the cuts to that agency in recent years, that seems unlikely.

To indulge my medical analogy, it seems the task is get the patient admitted to the ICU and stabilized, not running a 5k.

I'm glad I visited when I did, it was (is) an amazing place. I first learned of the place when my late grandmother visited there October 23, 1976 (I know because I wrote it on the 45 of EBT whistles she bought for me) and that vinyl spun saround on her Zenith many, many times. It shouldn't have taken 31 years to get there, although unfortunately, as close as I was a few years later @ Penn State, the kids that had cars had no interest in railroads.

I really, really hope my fears and skepticism are unfounded and I'm eating crow, served cold in a few years.

P.S.

The proposed Commonwealth of Penna Budget shows a 3.8% year over year for PHMC.

http://www.budget.state.pa.us/portal/se ... dgets/4566

2013-14 Proposed Budget Line-Item Appropriations, line 420


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 Post subject: Re: EAST BROAD TOP BEING SOLD PIECE BY PIECE
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:38 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:59 pm
Posts: 24
maybe some hope? from the Friends of the ebt facebook page. (comment on one of the photos)

Quote:
Friends of the East Broad Top Resumption of operations is a process that is ongoing between Kovalchick Salvage and the EBT Preservation Association. FEBT is not directly involved, rather we continue our work to preserve and restore the EBT for the future that we know is coming.
14 hours ago · Like


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 Post subject: Re: EAST BROAD TOP BEING SOLD PIECE BY PIECE
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:30 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 12:37 pm
Posts: 444
Location: Missoula MT
It could also be that the EBT Preservation Association had arranged a right of first refusal in their operating contract with the Kovalchiks, and that that must be satisfied before anybody else can do anything.

The fat lady hasn't sung yet.

Michael Seitz
Missoula MT


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 Post subject: Re: EAST BROAD TOP BEING SOLD PIECE BY PIECE
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:43 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2590
Location: S.F. Bay Area
superheater wrote:
"you saying the EBT will never run again?? i hope thats not true..."

Let's assume that the skeptics (me included) are abolutely dead wrong,

Still, misusing that word.

No, in an environment of little data, the skeptic is going to be ASKING questions.

It's a CYNIC who looks at little data and reaches a conclusion. (and frankly the conclusion says more about the cynic than the situation.) The cynic is in far greater danger of being proven wrong down the road. He's numb to the pain of that, whereas he associates "I don't know" with pain. The skeptic is fine with "I don't know".

The opposite of "optimist" is "cynic". Skeptic is not on that scale.

Think Mulder and Scully: The opposite of a skeptic is a true believer, "I believe it for lack of evidence". Oh, hi :)


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 Post subject: Re: EAST BROAD TOP BEING SOLD PIECE BY PIECE
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:09 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 2289
Still, misusing that word.

"No, in an environment of little data, the skeptic is going to be ASKING questions. "

Robert, I know you relish excursions into logomachy that surely are depressing Sominex sales among other readers, and I realize you have an unparalleled distrust for specialized professions, but in the public interest, I'm going to cite the definition of "professional skepticism".

Professional skepticism is an attitude that includes a questioning mind
and a critical assessment of audit evidence. The auditor uses the knowledge,
skill, and ability called for by the profession of public accounting to diligently
perform, in good faith and with integrity, the gathering and objective evaluation
of evidence.


http://www.aicpa.org/Research/Standards ... -00230.pdf

It doesn't stop at asking questions. Part of that knowledge, skill and ability (bluntly, that you do not posess) would be for example, a consideration of management integrity-which is so important that if there's a (public) record that impeaches it (prior audit opinions, lawsuits, bankruptcies, etc could all have bearing) you might not even bother with the engagement.

http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/5f3 ... f3fab68/24


It also demands an active consideration of the potential for fraud, and the controls against fraud (codes of conduct, segregation of duties, etc) Who enforces a code of conduct in a one man band? How do you have segregation of duties when there's nobody else? Who actually ensures that adequate effort and sufficient results are made at the job or even that 45K of travel is valid? Who reviews executive performance when there's no BOD? On and on it goes.

When there's nothing forthcoming from the client, you issue a qualified (that's bad in this case) opinion, or if the responses are so limited, insufficient or inadequate- an adverse (hellfire and damnation)opinion.

In a courtroom, there is a presumption of innocence. Not so in in evaluating financial information, where it's "prove it", prove the amount, the quality, the title, the absence of impairment or pledging. Of course this isn't an audit, I'm just viewing it from the public. I see no business plan, not even a statement of objectives. What I do see, I don't like.

But I'm supposed to hear "give me a lot of money" when the "organization" is one person, apparently moonlighting, not involving others with a direct interest in EBT, with a very public history of contentiousness (no, not the internet postings, the court filings) and no plan, no continuity and I'm supposed to suppress my gag reflex and sing kumbaya, because some heterodox on the West Coast might think ill of me?

Not a chance, Faux.


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 Post subject: Re: EAST BROAD TOP BEING SOLD PIECE BY PIECE
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:57 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 2289
Found this:

http://www.repfleck.com/NewsItem.aspx?NewsID=13719


So, what was that figure that was quoted as "already raised", Two mill right?

In other words, the only money raised has been a government grant.

By the way, for those who don't know, in PA, RACP grants have a bit of just a bit of infamy, including being used as funding source for that unmentionable standard gauge locomotive reportedly now in Orbisonia.


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 Post subject: Re: EAST BROAD TOP BEING SOLD PIECE BY PIECE
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:46 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:07 am
Posts: 328
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
I just posted this to the Baltimore Chapter NRHS page: a ca. 1954 view of the yard in Mt. Union.

Image

...


Just to compliment the shot above, here is one from almost the same spot, taken 1945:

Attachment:
ebt_1945.jpg
Photo credit: Denver Public Library
http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/si ... 905/rec/54


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 Post subject: Re: EAST BROAD TOP BEING SOLD PIECE BY PIECE
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:35 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 2:54 am
Posts: 972
Location: Califoothills / Midwest Prairies / PNW
Last week Alexander said:
Quote:
It would be wonderful if the EBTPA approached the FEBT for an alliance--indeed, I would say they can't do it without the help of the FEBT. But there has supposedly been some "bad blood" between the FEBT and actual corporate EBT in the past, reportedly from the FEBT overstepping its boundaries. I would still think that a "We're the FEBT, and we approve this effort" sanction would do wonders for the credibility of a group/association(?) we have serious questions about.

But such approval shouldn't come overnight.


Note that the bad blood between EBT (Kovalchick) and FEBT was early in its existence, when it was eager to take action and poor on past performance, and acting in official authority without permission. I believe trees were cut on a section of ROW without permission of the railroad. Since that time much of that section of track has been cleared, and FEBT had built a great reputation with careful actions, full permission, and proper insurance, etc.

All this discussion here has not revealed much new information other than what FEBT and former RYPN leader Chris Coleman posted on May 3rd at NGDiscussion:

Quote:
It is not a rumor, Joe Kovalchick has stated explicity and publicly that his family will no longer operate trains at the EBT. The last time they operated the trains directly was 2008.

The East Broad Top Railroad Preservation Association operated the trains from 2009-2011. The existing EBT web site was built under the EBTPA, though it is not clear to me who owns the site now. The EBTPA, by name, seems to keep a low profile. There are no bylaws, no elections, no memberships, and it appears only Larry Salone and someone who works for him are on the board.

The monies mentioned in the Endangered Landmarks list is federal money administered through the state. It is just over 2 million and the strings and restrictions on the money is more complex than I understand, and I have tried. It is from three different programs awarded as two different times, both at least two or three years ago. They are for repairing track and purchasing of land for freight operations in Mount Union. Supposedly a third grant was immenent, but I haven't heard anything on it.

I do not beleive the sale incudes any of the timber/mineral lands formerly of the Rockhill Iron and Coal Company.

It is my impression that the EBT is in an area of PA that very little power or influence in state politics. That in addition to PA's recent budget shortfalls, monies coming directly from the state's coffers seems unlikely. The NPS was at the EBT in the late 80's and early 90's but backed away, prupotedly because they did not want two rail sites in the sames state (Steamtown.)

The FEBT and the EBT have cooperated during the time that the EBTPA was operating trains.

As far as I can tell the EBTPA has only been soliciting funds from government programs rather than the general publc (at least in any great quantity.) I'm not sure that the NRHS statement about sending donations to the EBTPA was even solicited. Donations might be better sent to the FEBT Preservation Fund which directlly funds the FEBT restoration work which continues to progress.

Chris states that the FEBT and EBTPA have cooperated in years past, but did not add any other details.

If we cross reference the NGdiscussion thread, an interesting allegation was made by "extra16south" , which if true, sheds some light on what might be a possible dynamic at play between FEBT and EBTPA.
Quote:
Nelson Bros Lumber Co. Wrote:
=======================================================
>
> Bottom line. Who else is doing something? The
> tougue waggers act like they're being robbed of a
> last chance to save the EBT. Who did this guy
> steal the railroad from?

There were other options on the table. But, when the shady individual who is currently "buying" the EBT threatens legal action against said preservation group, nothing went public, and the group went to the back burner.

Moral? Don't assume nothing isn't being done just because you don't hear about it.

So I wait to hear if more details or information might make support that statement. Or more information about EBTPA comes forth such that we really know what it is about and how it operates. My impression is that Salone knows how to work the political arena, and he must be a man of big kahunas in order to be so ambitious as to buy a money pit (historic railroad with huge maintenance needs in a depressed tourist market) with other peoples money. I suspect he will succeed at taking over the Mount Union Connecting Railroad (standard gauge) and may even operate his own narrow gauge tourist operation in that town on the dual gauge track. Meanwhile I hope FEBT continues its success on its mission in Orby and at points south. And that the two continue to cooperate.


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 Post subject: Re: EAST BROAD TOP BEING SOLD PIECE BY PIECE
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:20 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:15 am
Posts: 16
I would like to ask the person who posted that color photo of the coal trestle by the Mt. Union enginehouse if he knows who originally took the photo and knows his contact information. I would think he has many other color photos of that coal trestle during operations, maybe even the whole trestle in the 40s and 50s.


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 Post subject: Re: EAST BROAD TOP BEING SOLD PIECE BY PIECE
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:56 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:15 am
Posts: 16
Yeah, are there any color photos of that coal delivery trestle by the engine house in the 40s when it was in better condition, maybe of even the entire trestle in the 40s? Remember I am looking for color photos of that trestle during the common carrier years.

Later,
Bob Mohler


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 Post subject: Re: EAST BROAD TOP BEING SOLD PIECE BY PIECE
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:06 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:15 am
Posts: 16
Maybe I should have said the person who posted the "1954 view of the Mt. Union yard." It included a view of the coal trestle and was in color. I would like to get his email so I could have private conversations with him.

Bob Mohler


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