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 Post subject: Is CSX's Attitude toward steam softening?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:18 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:09 am
Posts: 122
Alright, So I'm asking this question in light of recent events (With the C&O 2716 in particular) regarding CSX's attitude toward steam as a whole. So, according to the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corps., the group has built up a strong relationship with CSX, and have helped them with a ton of things, and this has gotten me curious as to why, as CSX has had of reputation of being particularly cold towards steam operations. All of this could just as likely to be a publicity stunt, heck, maybe even more so, than if they were actually going to be genuine. Now, I'm not bashing on the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp., or even CSX. But given CSX's previous attitude toward steam, it does make you wonder, doesn't it? Anyway, What matters most at the end of the day (for now, at least...) Is what you currently believe about the matter.

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 Post subject: Re: Is CSX's Attitude toward steam softening?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:14 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
The problem with companies is that they're in a constant state of flux. What is the top priority today might be the last thing they'll ever want to do, tomorrow.
You only have to see NS's steam program to see what I mean. Steam ruled the NS for many years, then the fires were dropped almost overnight.
Fast forward to a 'new' steam program and acceptance of 611 back on NS rails. Then fast forward to today, where NS isn't receptive to steam like they had just been.
The CSX lines flirted with steam off and on through my lifetime. Clinchfield and L&N steam scampered over the system for a brief while. Heck, even 614 got to do things along those routes. But today? Well, you already know.

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 Post subject: Re: Is CSX's Attitude toward steam softening?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:46 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 7:28 pm
Posts: 305
Location: Northern WV
Except for UP, I don't expect to see any more Class I steam programs in my lifetime. The "old heads" who lived through the steam era are dead or long past retirement age. The new shiny thing being embraced by most railroads (PSR) is mainly for the benefit of shareholders who aren't thrilled with spending money on any activity that doesn't contribute to the bottom line. That's not to say that exceptions might be made on a case-by-case basis. NS just recently towed ex-NKP 757 from Strasburg, PA to Bellevue, OH in a special move (plain bearings and all). CSX is supposed to move a former Nashville park engine a few miles across town on their rails in the coming weeks. They have also been very generous in helping the Kentucky Steam Heritage Center in Ravenna with facilities and a rebuilt C&O caboose.

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 Post subject: Re: Is CSX's Attitude toward steam softening?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:01 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:45 pm
Posts: 148
Also give CSX credit for the Santa Train, which so many people thought would go away. Remember 2017 when the F and SD45 let the train as a part of the anniversary event. When properly approached, CSX has been quite helpful lately to a number of railroad organizations. Often the key is a professional approach, clear goals and a detailed work plan, and clear benefits to everyone involved.


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 Post subject: Re: Is CSX's Attitude toward steam softening?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:35 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2005 1:27 pm
Posts: 432
Location: Milford,Mass
Hi
I don't really think that CSX Attitude is softening, towards Steam, I would like to see it, get better towards Steam. But I really don't think it will, because when I and a friend of rode the 94 New River Train, out of Huntington, WV, CSX could not wait to see Steam off its Rails.
The attitude of the CSX people that were on the train, and at the photo run by,was take your photo, and don't get out of the photo line. We have a railroad to run, to make money.
A friend of mine always said, all these Steam excursions are a HEARTBEAT, away from ending. And I do believe he was right, all it takes is a change at the top of management, who's running the railroad.
CSX helping the Kentucky Railroad Museum is one thing, they're just moving equipment, which is dead in toe.
We all know that Steam, especially Main Line Steam, is an attention attraction, and a people magnet. Some Railroads will not move a Steam in a dead in toe, because of that.
So just to get back to the answer, is CSX towards Steam any better, that answer can only come from, high-level Management. Who running the Railroad.


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 Post subject: Re: Is CSX's Attitude toward steam softening?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:47 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:16 pm
Posts: 51
I have to agree with the previous posts, the likelyhood of a steam excursion program hosted or operated by CSX or NS is just about nonexistent. However, the railroads seem to be willing to entertain moving a piece of historic equipment in tow, for suitable profit IF the party requesting the move does superb pre-move preparation. There is good public relations value in “helping” an organization transport a piece of large historic equipment. NS had its corporate photographers out in force to document the move of NKP 757. CSX made great use of it’s help transferring the shop to the Kentucky Steam Heritage group and also the refurbishment of the Chessie caboose. Hopefully these cooperative efforts will become somewhat more common.


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 Post subject: Re: Is CSX's Attitude toward steam softening?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:18 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:04 pm
Posts: 43
I would have to disagree that main line steam is disappearing and that Class ones and other railroad have a negative view on steam operations. Of course there is, and always will be railroads who want nothing to do with steam engines in any way shape or form and only care about raking in hordes of cash any way they can. But many do allow it and frequently fund and participate in excursions.

BNSF one of the largest railroads seems to have no problem letting the SP 4449 and SP&S 700 hit the main line for some excursions. Both the SP 4449 and the SP&S 700 returns the favor by pulling BNSF employee specials usually at Christmas.

Soon to be operational Santa Fe 2926 already has plans to do some running on the BNSF hardly used Raton Pass route from Albuquerque to Santa Fe and likely Las Vegas, NM.

We saw main line steam with the Iowa Interstate last year and we will see it again this year.

Norfolk Southern 611 was running main line steam less than 2 years ago.

Santa Fe 3751 was running main line steam in 2017 (currently down for FRA inspection)

Alaska railroad #557 will likely return to steam in the near future and will hit the Alaska railroad mainline from Anchorage to Palmer.

Not sure what is up with the Milwaukee road #261 but it is another frequent main line steam locomotive.

From my many experiences with the crews of these steam locomotives, the main reason they are not allowed to run is because of traffic on the railroad. It is even harder if they are running on a Amtrak route which has to be cleared well in advance or the railroad will get a fine. We all know from our many experiences with steam locomotives that they will likely have issues when during runs.

As far as CSX goes they should sponsor some steam excursions or have their own steam locomotive. Steam locomotives are a great public relations tool. They get people interested in railroading, they learn the history of the railroad that sponsors it, they bring attention to programs such as operation lifesaver and other programs. They provide a service that people enjoy, appreciate, and contribute to by running excursions. They give employees a sense of pride as well as showing them how the railroad used to operate.

Main line steam is far from dead. It has some hurdles to overcome (and it will) with PTC. Union Pacific will get a massive amount of media coverage with the Big Boy this year. If railroads are smart they will get in on this action and start showboating some steam locomotives this year. Norfolk Southern could get just as much hype by running the 611 to Utah.


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 Post subject: Re: Is CSX's Attitude toward steam softening?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:43 am 

Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:05 pm
Posts: 145
Quote:
It is even harder if they are running on a Amtrak route which has to be cleared well in advance or the railroad will get a fine.

Seriously????????

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 Post subject: Re: Is CSX's Attitude toward steam softening?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:09 am 

Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:36 am
Posts: 293
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
I believe Alaska Railroad is a Class 2.


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 Post subject: Re: Is CSX's Attitude toward steam softening?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:38 am 

Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:05 pm
Posts: 60
To find out if CSXT's attitude towards steam is softening one of the operators with a currently certified (NKP 765 or N&W 611 to cite two examples) engine should inquire about the possibility of running an excursion over one of their lines.

I understand getting insurance that isn't priced out of this world and suitable passenger cars is a major factor also. It's not just simple as "will railroad management allow a steam excursion to run?"

Can also see from CSXT's point of view where NKP 765 or N&W 611 would not be 'suitable' since they are predecessor railroads that became part of their main competitor Norfolk Southern.

There is Mr. Rowlands C&O 614 which fits the bill as a CSXT predecessor but far as I'm aware there have been no serious efforts to return it to service in the last couple of decades. The 614 is probably the closest pre-CSXT predecessor steamer in a "ready to go" condition today and I use that term very loosely knowing it would need a complete FRA overhaul first. Am also aware of planned restorations of C&O 2716 and NC&StL 576 if completed would be another way to see if CSXT would permit steam to operate on their system.

As someone else has posted much depends on if top management will support steam or not. By the time any of these engines are restored to operating condition it is likely a few changes in management would have occurred. So what is true today is not necessarily the case in the future.

My opinion is if any steam is allowed to run on a Class 1 today or tomorrow it would be limited to a couple of excursions per year and not a full public excursion program as has been done in the past.


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 Post subject: Re: Is CSX's Attitude toward steam softening?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:25 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9057
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
The ONLY way we're going to find out is if an operation/group with a proven track record and professional approach goes to CSX management with a concrete, competent, comprehensive proposal to operate steam over their lines that addresses every possible concern, from liability insurance to PTC mandates to railroad route capacity to equipment standards.

Not some wistful, wishful railfans. Professionals. Seasoned veterans, whatever their own foibles may be.

How many are properly qualified to make such a proposal? Darned few. The New River Train folks, maybe the 261 group, Kentucky Steam, Tennessee Valley RR Museum.........

Incidentally, remember that the height of the "anti-steam" CSX stance/"paranoia" involved the explicit refusal in 2010 to allow Western Maryland 734 from Cumberland, Md. to Green Spring, WV and back (for a short stint on the Potomac Eagle line) on its own wheels--either under steam or dead in tow, for a mere 10-15 miles or so one-way. And I have also been told of a similar refusal to allow another line's steamer even shorter access (about 2 miles) through a different CSX yard to access a different line.

Refresher: www.rypn.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=29594


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 Post subject: Re: Is CSX's Attitude toward steam softening?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:38 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2005 1:27 pm
Posts: 432
Location: Milford,Mass
Hi All

A friend of mine was out to visit the work, being done on the AT&SF 2926, over this past summer. He was talking to one of the volunteers about the locomotive and where she could run.
The person from the restoration group said that the Grand Canyon Railroad would love to have the locomotive, running on their railroad. But there is one problem, The BNSF has refused to move the locomotive on their rails, live or dead, in a freight consist. The reason why was because of the locomotive is and an attention grabber, and a people magnet.
Maybe someone from the Restoration group of AT&SF 2926, could also post an answer.
The railroads of today, are a lot different than they were in the '60s '70s and '80s when Steam was plentiful and attitudes were different on the Railroads.
Today's railroads and management really have no need for Steam, for just that one reason, for the people magnet effect.
Again as I said in my last post, it all depends on upper management, and who is running the railroad.
One last thing, even if the locomotive, once ran for the railroad and was part of the railroad heritage, does not guarantee it will run now.


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 Post subject: Re: Is CSX's Attitude toward steam softening?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:01 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 4035
Location: Maine
If CSX has a change of heart, there's a gorgeous Greenbriar sitting close by. I do believe the owner would gladly offer her up for operation, given the green light to do so.

Management and circumstances in a particular situation have to come together with a reasoning that's beneficial for all parties concerned. Just bear in mind, forever is a long time, and the intrinsic beauty and complexity of steam operation never wanes.

Never say never.

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 Post subject: Re: Is CSX's Attitude toward steam softening?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:09 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:38 am
Posts: 943
Pat Fahey wrote:
The reason why was because of the locomotive is and an attention grabber, and a people magnet..


Unless there's been a system-wide shift, then why would the 4449 be permitted on BNSF rails? Perhaps it has more to do with the long relationship history and track record (pardon the pun) the '49 group has vs. the relative unknowns of the 29XX group.

Joshua

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 Post subject: Re: Is CSX's Attitude toward steam softening?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:12 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9057
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
BNSF's approach to steam has long been on a case-by-case basis. 4449 and 3751 (and I think 261) have operated on BNSF rails in past years.

The real problem with 2926 running through the sparsely-populated region between Albuquerque and Williams is much more likely to be the fact that this is 350 miles of not only some of the busiest main-line railroading in North America, but potentially the highest-value, time-sensitive freight railroad traffic as well. Train after train of high-priority container and TOFC traffic for UPS, Schneider, JB Hunt, FedEx, DHL, and now even Amazon run on near-"streetcar headways" over this line, some at speeds that would do passenger trains proud in other parts of the country.

Now, granted, the same excuse was one used for years to keep steam off Conrail/NS's former PRR Middle Division and Horse Shoe Curve, and that fell by the wayside when 765 showed up in the mid-2010s. (Note also a decrease in coal and carload traffic may have helped matters.)

Incidentally, I've long found that the answer one gets to a complicated technical question such as the one you asked often tends to depend on who is asked and how high up the "ladder" they are. Ask at the top and show that you understand the field, and you'll get a long, nuanced answer couched in a degree of diplomacy. Ask a young/new volunteer low on the ladder, and you'll get a simplistic (and often half-right or completely wrong) answer.


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