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 Post subject: So Who Should Preserve an Amtrak AEM-7?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:10 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8302
Location: Baltimore, MD
With the replacement ACS-64 "class unit" now in revenue service, the time to plan for preservation of an Amtrak AEM7 is NOW.

Let's talk this out a minute:
We have at worst two years to get a strategy in order, assuming introduction of one a month for 70 months, unless that accelerates. It would be foolish to "kick the can down the road" for six or eight years, when all of a sudden the fleet shows up at Naporano or Larry's Truck & Electric.

It is possible--albeit unlikely--one could be preserved in operable condition. If this is planned, expect to have to pay a premium for the retention/installation of technology such as Positive Train Control. We know of no major environmental issues addressing preservation of one intact. (Reliability of electronics, parts, etc. is another matter.)

The AEM7 is a significant locomotive in Amtrak and American railroad history, but nowhere near the same iconic status of the PRR GG1 that ended up "overpreserved." Absent an operable example, only one or two would rightfully warrant preservation as static exhibits.

That said, where?

Let's throw out some nominees/possibilities:
  • Railroad Museum of Pa. Locos operated through Pa., and the bodies were built by Budd at Red Lion, Pa. But they have a glut of electrics already, though one would certainly fit the mission statement by far.
  • URHS New Jersey. Fits mission; but no good museum grounds/site yet, and don't they have NJT electrics they could go after?
  • B&O Railroad Museum. It would be nice to show that railroading continued after, say, 1975. But it isn't B&O.
  • Bowie, Md. RR Museum. A perfect fit in many ways, but no covered storage (that can be changed). Right beside the same tracks they ran on for decades.
  • Harrisburg, Pa.: either under the station shed along the GG1 and PRR caboose, or next to Harris Tower. Problematic but not out of the question, and they did run to Harrisburg routinely.
  • Danbury Railway Museum/Railway Museum of New England: an excellent fit, as they operated to New Haven and eventually to Boston. Similarly, the Connecticut Trolley Museum.
  • An "electric" museum in Pennsylvania--Electric City, Rockhill, or Pennsylvania Trolley Museum--or Maryland (National Capital)? Not likely to happen, just brainstorming for speculation's sake.
  • Baltimore Streetcar Museum: Not going to happen (wrong gauge and wire, for starts), but fun to speculate about, especially if they should ever manage to get that Ma & Pa roundhouse for display acreage. It would be a very short move if done--several hundred feet up a street.
  • Static display on a panel of track at Wilmington, Perryville, Trenton, or a half-dozen other possible station locations.
  • Museums with a national scope. For the most part, we're down to three or so that could justify such an acquisition for display: National Railway Museum in Green Bay; Illinois Railway Museum in Union, and National Museum of Transport in St. Louis/Kirkwood. Of these, the Illinois Railway Museum would have a sensible case, as the locos were assembled at La Grange. But either of the other two could easily make a case (and, at the same time, for a still-lingering Amtrak F40PH).
  • Something completely out of nowhere--an Amtrak Preservation Society, a private owner, a Kickstarter fundraiser, etc.

Questions to raise:
  • Can Amtrak donate one to the "right" home, or at least ask scrap value? Is there any resale value to any agency (MARC, NJT, SEPTA, M-N)? Can one be acquired intact, or will there be monetary value in the salvage of components (transformers, converters, signal systems, etc.)?
  • Is there any barrier, legal or technical, to the operability of one in preservation, aside from simply the track access, expense or voltages?

Previous thread from two years ago: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=32671


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 Post subject: Re: So Who Should Preserve an Amtrak AEM-7?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 8:36 pm 
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No one because "I remember when they first came out and if they are old then that means I am old and I am not old I just bought a sports car" Most museums are run by old guys who value Alco switchers over stuff that is really historically relevant. A switcher that switched cars for Penn Central in some railroad yard is of UTMOST IMPORTANCE! but a electric new fangled locomotive that hauled millions of people in the northeast is of little reverence. From what I have seen of F40PHs with some even being sold for parts by the Tennessee Central Railway Museum (talk about poor stuarts of artifacts) one rusting none operable at another museum (though under cover), and one slowly being Vaselined in Portland Or. The AEM7s will probably end up like there nicknames as toasters, and other goods from china.


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 Post subject: Re: So Who Should Preserve an Amtrak AEM-7?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:06 pm 

Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 7:42 pm
Posts: 147
Location: Newark, Delaware
Railroad Museum of PA sure makes sense. Imagine a line up of GG1, E60, AEM-7. Throw in a few early PRR electrics and perhaps a Metroliner and you have a pretty impressive display and story. Certainly we need a few Amfleet 1 coaches to go with with that AEM-7.

The obvious problem is that we keep making more history. But think about the number of pieces that we will need to preserve in the next 15-20 years. One can argue a whole lot of connection to RMPA. All of those Dash 8s and 9s that were built in PA. And legions of SDs and GPs that operated on Sandpatch and Horsehoe. That's a whole other thread.

I had often hoped that the Wilmington Shops would have saved a GG1 and put in on display next to the mainline. A GG1 and AEM-7 would look great there. Still some Gs available.


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 Post subject: Re: So Who Should Preserve an Amtrak AEM-7?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:09 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:22 pm
Posts: 67
RCD wrote:
No one because "I remember when they first came out and if they are old then that means I am old and I am not old I just bought a sports car" Most museums are run by old guys who value Alco switchers over stuff that is really historically relevant. A switcher that switched cars for Penn Central in some railroad yard is of UTMOST IMPORTANCE! but a electric new fangled locomotive that hauled millions of people in the northeast is of little reverence. From what I have seen of F40PHs with some even being sold for parts by the Tennessee Central Railway Museum (talk about poor stuarts of artifacts) one rusting none operable at another museum (though under cover), and one slowly being Vaselined in Portland Or. The AEM7s will probably end up like there nicknames as toasters, and other goods from china.


You singled out the group in Nashville - The F40's in question were never owned by TCRM, but rather by a group of investors that purchased them for the eventual commuter operation - Music City Star. TCRM was able to use them until the commuter service started. TCRM is also more of an operating group than more of a museum - they do have some original TC pieces, and many items native to the Southeast or Tennessee.

I'm not sure what you mean by Vaselined, but Dyna Rail has recently moved the 231 and the 644 from Portland, OR to a new home in Ogden, UT that is much safer....

Now, back to the toasters! I agree that it would be nice to see one preserved somewhere along the NEC in their native habitat. Maybe the future "Choo Choo Joe" Biden Vice Presidential museum would have space out back?


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 Post subject: Re: So Who Should Preserve an Amtrak AEM-7?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:54 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
RCD wrote:
(talk about poor stuarts of artifacts)


More of a fan of the House of Hanover?

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 Post subject: Re: So Who Should Preserve an Amtrak AEM-7?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:24 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 2:35 pm
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Location: Pacific Northwest
I'm hopeful that RCD meant "stewards of artifacts" rather than "stuarts". I 'm very confident that there are a lot worse places to preserve rail stuff than Portland. The evidence should speak for itself.


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 Post subject: Re: So Who Should Preserve an Amtrak AEM-7?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:10 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:54 am
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If the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania won't go after an EBT hopper, built and operated in PA, they won't go after an AEM-7...


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 Post subject: Re: So Who Should Preserve an Amtrak AEM-7?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:53 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Baltimore, MD
Allow me to point out one little point:

I was told, flat out, by a past RR Museum of Pa. administrator that the Museum and its staff are expressly PROHIBITED, by state regulations from formally/officially "pursuing" potential exhibits. The actual role of acquisition or donation falls to the Friends of the Railroad Museum or potential donors. He basically admitted that what happens is a "Kabuki dance" of epic proportions...."Wow. That's a historic railroad car! [whistles, looking at sky/ceiling].... would REALLY fit our mission statement at the Museum..... [whistles again, innocently]... They want HOW much? That's a steal.............too bad we can't go out and get one..... [whistles, walking away with hands in pocket, looking all innocent]...."

On the other hand, as a state agency, what can happen in the case of Amtrak or SEPTA is the specific, selective transfer of assets from one governmental agency to another, at only the cost of paperwork and bureaucratic time. This is part of how and why Amtrak F40PH's showed up at the state RR museums in California and North Carolina, and an E60 at the RR Museum of Pa. ($1 sales to the state transportation departments); I believe the Metroliner that showed up at the RR Museum of Pa. was a similar transaction, while volunteers scavenged the survivors for spare parts. Now, none of this is assured; I have seen similar transfers nixed on the basis of exactly which agency paid for what rebuilds under what programs, and where they had to go from there--the negative side of dealing with "free" government money.

You want the RR Museum of Pa. to get an EBT hopper? Start a fundraiser, coordinate with the sellers of an EBT hopper and the Friends of the RR Museum of Pa., and raise the money to buy and move one of them.

The general gist of my original post is that we're not going to see fifteen AEM7's preserved, so we need to pick and choose a "worthy" home for the one or two or three that do get saved. I'm realistic enough to say that the RR Museum of Pa. has enough on their plate, but not so realistic that I'm going to argue if a cluster of fans that hangs out at Bowie or Perryville or Princeton Junction gets the collective inspiration for a station exhibit...... or if Juniata Terminal or SMS Services decide to add an electric to the stable....


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 Post subject: Re: So Who Should Preserve an Amtrak AEM-7?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:54 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
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Quote:
The general gist of my original post is that we're not going to see fifteen AEM7's preserved, so we need to pick and choose a "worthy" home for the one or two or three that do get saved.


Unfortunately "we" cannot pick or choose a worthy home. That decision depends on the leadership and management of any of the owners and museum organizations mentioned here.

A grassroots campaign by RyPNers with the support of a willing museum that picks or chooses us is another matter.

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: So Who Should Preserve an Amtrak AEM-7?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:57 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
I agree with Mr. Paulson and Mr. Mitchell in principal.

One should be saved and the time to start thinking about that is now. Also, if one wants RRMPA to save one, or an EBT hopper, or anything else, it seems the best way to do it is the aforementioned grass roots effort.

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 Post subject: Re: So Who Should Preserve an Amtrak AEM-7?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:59 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:29 am
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There were or are talks according to milepost that RR museum of PA is in talks
with Amtrak to get 1 and septa to get budd MU


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 Post subject: Re: So Who Should Preserve an Amtrak AEM-7?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 6:26 am 

Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:19 pm
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Location: Bowie, MD
If Bowie could take a AEM-7, it would most likely to wait for a MARC unit that stopped at Bowie than an Amtrak unit.

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: So Who Should Preserve an Amtrak AEM-7?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:40 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
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Location: Danbury, CT
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
Let's throw out some nominees/possibilities:
  • Danbury Railway Museum/Railway Museum of New England: an excellent fit, as they operated to New Haven and eventually to Boston.


Point of clarification, not nit-picking......Danbury Railway Museum and Railroad Museum of New England are two separate museums. Railroad Museum of New England is located in Thomaston, CT. rmne.org

I can't say whether or not our museum would have an interest in such a unit. I'll leave it to the folks in charge of the collection to comment.

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 Post subject: Re: So Who Should Preserve an Amtrak AEM-7?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:58 pm 

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Great ideas all around, but the RRMofPA has become the defacto home of Northeast Corridor electrics. An AEM7 would fit right in. How one of them ends up there is open to discussion, zi guess, but as far as interpretation goes that is the best fit.

Rob


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 Post subject: Re: So Who Should Preserve an Amtrak AEM-7?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:39 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:45 pm
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Okay, I'll bite

Pick the two best examples, repaint them, ship one to the railroad museum of Pennsylvania, and ship the other to Illinois Railway Museum.

Why did I say repaint the one going to IRM? Simple, we'll get around to doing something with it sometime after N&W 2050 is returned to service. Until then, it can be parked behind the GG1.

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