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 Post subject: AC&J Scenic shuts down
PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:28 am 

Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 4:25 pm
Posts: 212
The following blurb appeared in the most recent issue of Railpace:

AC&J: Ashtabula Carson & Jefferson's passenger train operation, AC&J Scenic, shut down in June for the rest of the year after an FRA inspection found defects in some of the railroad's passenger equipment. The railroad is evaluating its options for either making the needed repairs or acquiring replacement passenger cars.

Does anyone have details on what the FRA found and what the AC&J intends to do?


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 Post subject: Re: AC&J Scenic shuts down
PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 4:41 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 9:19 am
Posts: 537
Location: Scottsboro, AL
It is my understanding the AC&J has decided to exit the excursion business and operate freight service only.

Alan Maples


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 Post subject: Re: AC&J Scenic shuts down
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:46 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 9:26 am
Posts: 42
Location: Princeton, NJ
Got this from my brother who lives in Jefferson:

Absolutely true. It has exited the business already for monetary reasons.

Google and the Star Beacon search are useless when it comes to this story. The Beacon has run two or three stories on the AC&J, but they do not come up in a search.

I know the guy who owns the business; I taught in the gifted summer program with him, but I can't even get his name to come up.


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 Post subject: Re: AC&J Scenic shuts down
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:54 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 4:25 pm
Posts: 212
I contacted the company via its website and confirmed what Alan Maples and Sandiapaul said. Here's the response I received:

Right now we are closing to work with freight. The passenger operation ran for 23 years and we are all tired. The cars are 87 and 89 years young and just require more maintenance than we have time or funds to accomplish.

In the end you still have old equipment after 'fixing' so it was decided to close down. Don't give up completely though we could be back.

Frank Rueter GM
AC&J Scenic Line


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 Post subject: Re: AC&J Scenic shuts down
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:38 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:45 pm
Posts: 91
Glad that I ran the charter with them last year. Stopped for some photos and covered a bit more track than normal. They were great to work with.


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 Post subject: Re: AC&J Scenic shuts down
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:23 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2399
Location: S.F. Bay Area
It may be a significant factor that they "operate on the general system of transportation" meaning share tracks with actual freight trains.

I find it no coincidence that almost all the passenger operations on general system tourist railways employ post-war-ish sealed window air condiironed coaches typically with HEP retrofitted.

And the 1920 era open window coaches seem, as a rule, relegated to non-general-system railway museums.


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 Post subject: Re: AC&J Scenic shuts down
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:47 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 2:54 am
Posts: 776
Location: Califoothills / Midwest Prairies
I did not know anything about this obscure Midwestern operation until this topic was posted. A pretty good photo summary can be found here, below, showing a number of closed window modernized heavyweights generally not included within the premise by RMacD. I wonder if it is simply general maintenance and other hassles of running a passenger train through yet another patch of woods and wetlands, that run against a dwindling middle class driving tourist population for thrills and dollars.
http://www.trainweb.org/chris/13asj.html
Image
"You can see the railroad's drainage ditch in this picture."


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 Post subject: Re: AC&J Scenic shuts down
PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:50 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 9:19 am
Posts: 537
Location: Scottsboro, AL
robertmacdowell wrote:
It may be a significant factor that they "operate on the general system of transportation" meaning share tracks with actual freight trains.

I find it no coincidence that almost all the passenger operations on general system tourist railways employ post-war-ish sealed window air condiironed coaches typically with HEP retrofitted.

And the 1920 era open window coaches seem, as a rule, relegated to non-general-system railway museums.


Well, in the east we have Arcade & Attica, Black River & Western, Strasburg, New Hope & Ivyland, just to name four right off the bat, all of which operate open window equipment and are common carrier railroads. Three Rivers Rambler in Knoxville, TN, has a mix of a/c and o/w cars, as do a lot of other places.

It is true, however, that many excursion trains that have started up in the last twenty years or so have used newer equipment. I would attribute this to the lack of decent open window cars on the market (the supply of 1920's era o/w cars has pretty much dried up); the high cost of moving older cars with plain bearings; a recognition that most customers prefer and expect air conditioned equipment in the summer; and the overall better condition, availability, and ease of maintenance that come with more modern (relatively) cars. Also most commercial tourist operations these days don't fool with steam engines and are less concerned about having matching era coaches.

AC&J had a mix of equipment, as I recall, which is typical for smaller operations that take advantage of what is available and within budget at the time.

Alan Maples


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 Post subject: Re: AC&J Scenic shuts down
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 5:03 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:45 pm
Posts: 91
The cars on my charter were:
ACJ 7133 - "Griggs Run", ex LIRR - commuter coach seats
ACJ 7136 - "Rush Creek" ex LIRR - sales counter and tables
ACJ 1022 - "Mill Creek" ex Erie - "modern" coach seats
ACYX 721 - ex GMO/IC - "modern" coach seats
ACJ 201 - ex-Erie baggage car/power car
ACJ 425 - ex NKP caboose

The TrainWeb material listed earlier is my charter and there are numerous equipment photos there.

They did have some other equipment on site, including an open bench car, which appeared to be out of service.

With the limited route and ridership, it is certainly a challenge to run a passenger train on such a common carrier freight railroad.


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 Post subject: Re: AC&J Scenic shuts down
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:57 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:55 pm
Posts: 647
Location: Warren, PA
I'd say 'for profit' more than 'general system'. That is an completely different animal.

There were a lot of operators that over the years (particularly on publicly-owned right-of-ways) have done scheduled excursions to see if they could make any money at it. Some did, some didn't. A lot have certainly tried.

Many haven't exactly been located in prime tourism markets, so 8-15,000 riders per year may or may not be worth the effort to the bottom line. What I've seen lately is several operations that have suddenly found better opportunities on developing their freight services - and if you're making money there and barely breaking even on passenger, where do you want to spend your profits? The 'good news' on this is that in many cases, the shortline freight business is doing significantly better so that it can again carry the railroad singlehandedly.

The bigger looser here isn't always the railroad, it's the small community that suddenly discovers rather abruptly how many people were coming to town to ride the railroad and the impacts they created.


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 Post subject: Re: AC&J Scenic shuts down
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:09 am 
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Posts: 1640
Location: Seattle, WA - Land of Coffee
Bartman-TN wrote:
The cars on my charter were:
ACJ 7133 - "Griggs Run", ex LIRR - commuter coach seats
ACJ 7136 - "Rush Creek" ex LIRR - sales counter and tables
ACJ 1022 - "Mill Creek" ex Erie - "modern" coach seats
ACYX 721 - ex GMO/IC - "modern" coach seats
ACJ 201 - ex-Erie baggage car/power car
ACJ 425 - ex NKP caboose


As a result of the shutdown, the #721, which is privately owned by Jim Bacon (ACYX is for AC&Y Railroad Equipment Co.), is currently listed for sale on Ozark Mountain Railcar: http://www.ozarkmountainrailcar.com/detail.asp?id=1576&n=Illinois-Central-Coach-721--NEW

Car History:

Built in 1919 by Pullman in Lot #4520 as IC Specification P157 divided coach #3143, 1 of 8 such cars (#3142-#3149) built in that Lot. Converted to divided coach #3251, then converted to streamlined 52 seat chair #2678. Previously used by old NS steam program and Fort Wayne RHS. Was the #721 owned by Jim Bacon at that time, or another party?

Sources:

1. Illinois Central passenger car roster pages: http://icrr.net/passenger.htm (information for #721 is on page #6 under #3143)

2. Illinois Central passenger car diagram folio, June 1952, which can be found on Tom Parker's Illinois Central website: http://www.illinois-central.net/

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Ted Brumberg


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 Post subject: Re: AC&J Scenic shuts down
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:41 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:14 am
Posts: 168
It was depressing reading about this because I understand exactly the position they were put in. Sometimes I fear that our organization could easily succumb to this. The amount of work necessary just to maintain (not repair, update, or modify) the rolling stock is immense. The work to maintain 14mi of track with multiple bridges it immense. The lack of volunteer availability is depressing. It is so hard to get younger volunteers out who have the time and interest. The ones who have the motivation and work ethic to be volunteers usually need to put it towards their jobs to support themselves and their families, and you have to appreciate that now days.

We basically have one guy who does 90% of the track work, and sometimes gets help here and there. One guy who has been working on the car repairs, and does a darn good job (he is also on this board and I hope sees this. He is greatly appreciated). I basically take care of the power and any other equipment. I have a small handful of hard working people that help out, when they can, and we attempt to keep up on things. It is hard to keep a positive attitude about it all, but I try the best I can.


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 Post subject: Re: AC&J Scenic shuts down
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:26 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 4:25 pm
Posts: 212
Reactivating an old thread, I've learned that the AC&J's 7133 and 7136 are going to a start-up excursion operation on the Buffalo Southern. These two are tuscan red with silver roofs. A sister car, 7099, painted orange with a brown strip above the windows, is being acquired (or has already been acquired) by Delta Railroad Construction.

Pictures of the AC&J's rolling stock can be found here:

http://www.trainweb.org/chris/13asj.html


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 Post subject: Re: AC&J Scenic shuts down
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 3:23 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:34 am
Posts: 405
Location: Port Jefferson, NY (LIRR MP 57.5)
Tim Moriarty wrote:
AC&J's 7133 and 7136 are going to a start-up excursion operation on the Buffalo Southern.


From the photos they appear to be Long Island P54 "ping pong" commuter coaches. I know the last batch of these cars, produced by AC&F in 1927, were numbered in the 7000 series post-1954. Does anyone know if 7133 and 7136 are these cars' actual LIRR road numbers?

-Philip Marshall


Last edited by philip.marshall on Fri Apr 01, 2016 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: AC&J Scenic shuts down
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 3:27 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:10 am
Posts: 2263
Tim Moriarty wrote:
Reactivating an old thread, I've learned that the AC&J's 7133 and 7136 are going to a start-up excursion operation on the Buffalo Southern. These two are tuscan red with silver roofs. A sister car, 7099, painted orange with a brown strip above the windows, is being acquired (or has already been acquired) by Delta Railroad Construction.

Pictures of the AC&J's rolling stock can be found here:

http://www.trainweb.org/chris/13asj.html


Tim,

Any more details on the BSOR excursion start up?

Thanks!

Rob

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The long memory is the most radical idea in this country. It is the loss of that long memory which deprives our people of that connective flow of thoughts and events that clarifies our vision, not of where we're going, but where we want to go. B. Phillips


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