It is currently Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:08 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 66 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Some thoughts on NKP 757
PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:51 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 3673
Location: Maine
Well off the subject of the salvation of a NKP Berkshire.

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


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Some thoughts on NKP 757
PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 10:47 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:37 pm
Posts: 215
As a former staffer in the Curatorial Dep't of the RRMPa (PA Historical & Museum Commission, hereafter referred to as "PHMC") for almost 18 years, I can add some context to the discussion on NKP No. 757. This engine has always been one of my personal favorites but clearly it has had a rough life over the last two decades. It was the first steam locomotive to join the collection, having been a donation made through special arrangements of PHMC Chairman James B. Stevenson by N&W President James Pelver around October or November 1966. Stevenson was a newspaper publisher in Titusville, Pa., and knew all kinds of business people and executives in the railroad industry. His western PA residence was not far from eastern OH so it comes as no surprise that an engine of little relevance to PA joined the collection early on as the Commonwealth was anxious to start assembling some kind of collection for the yet-to-be constructed state railroad museum and accepted almost anything that might fill that void. The engine had been shopped by the NKP at Conneaut and stored in Bellevue beginning in 1958, but got scavenged for parts and appurtenances over the next few years by junk dealers and souvenir hunters. The engine arrived at Leaman Place Jct., on a PRR local freight on December 2, 1966 and was towed to Strasburg by PRR D16sb No. 1223 in a snow squall. Noticeable was that the engine's back head was picked clean and had virtually no small appliances when it arrived. So the engine was bereft of parts from the get-go and was never a complete piece. In the years before the construction of the Rolling Stock Hall the engine was stored on one of two temporary tracks along rt. 741 where it soaked up road salt, ice and accumulated rust. No. 757's finger grates were borrowed by the High Iron Co. in late 1968 when HICo.'s Al Phillips removed same for use on sister No. 759 but had not yet been replaced according to a 14 January 1969 PHMC memo per Bill Richards, George Hart and J. Huber Leath. Then in early 1971 when NKP No. 759 blew a cylinder head at Hagerstown the High Iron Company made emergency arrangements through RR Museum Director George M. Hart to "borrow" on temporary loan the left side piston head, cover and rod from No. 757. The engine was towed by the Strasburg RR to the Bishop Road crossing where HICo's Joe Karal and others removed the parts using a bucket loader. To my knowledge these parts were never returned to RRMPa (written off twenty years later by the state as an insurance loss) and may very well still be on NKP No. 759 in Scranton. No. 757 continued to soak up rain and snow in the Museum Yard on turntable ring track No. 9 until 1982-83 when volunteers from the Reading Company Technical & Historical Society did a cosmetic restoration of the engine as the very first project that helped plant the seeds for the soon to be established the Friends of the RR Museum of PA! Interestingly a load of NKP coal was still sitting in the tender coal pocket after languishing for decades and was shoveled out by the volunteer crew! The engine was always a popular yard exhibit for tours where guides interpreted the engine as a prime example of modern final "super power" steam design from the WWII era--just its sheer size made it a great object to compare to the Alaska RR RS-1 and the PRR horse car exhibited alongside it. In the mid-1990s it was used "unofficially" as a bargaining chip to persuade the Western NY RR Historical Society as a trade for the PRR I1sa but the NY group would not acquiesce. Due to various reasons good and bad, during the late 1990s the Yard Collection soon doubled in size and the pressing restoration demands for other outdoor pieces took the emphasis off No. 757. By the early 2000s she began to show considerable wear and tear from the elements and from the starlings that nested in her jacketing and cab. Plus the RR Museum reevaluated its collections as part of a now moribund effort to apply for AAM Accreditation, including the assembly of a Collecting Plan that deemphasized the need to keep No. 757 permanently, owing to the weak presence of NKP in western PA. When the PHMC's budget was slashed by 43% in 2009 in the wake of the Great Recession the agency's staff and resources were dealt a crushing blow; just at RRMPa alone 6 positions were eliminated including some Restoration Shop staff as well as my own. With the state in a serious financial bind there were simply no resources to continue on the path on which it had formerly been. Plus the worsening economy made it hard to raise funds to fix anything else except the major project at that time, PRR 4-4-2 E6s No. 460. With only two Shop staff on the premises and a weekend cardre of volunteers (some of whom also came in during weekdays) just keeping the outdoor collection looking decent with a coat of paint and free of bird guano was akin to a medic on the battlefield. Then for the first time in over forty years, on Thursday, October 20, 2011, No. 757 was moved from track nine due to geothermal well testing in the vicinity of the engine--crews reported that the engine was solid rust. Around 2014-2015 the engine was carefully moved to its present location on the fenced "island track" near the staff parking lot at the front of the property, in advance of the roundhouse project which would occupy the footprint of its former perch. Around 2012, in light of dwindling resources, the PHMC instituted a Collections Assessment Project, or "CAP," to reevaluate all artifacts and objects statewide at all of its historic sites and museums. The criteria included the deaccessioning of duplicate, damaged and irrelevant objects, locomotives and rolling stock notwithstanding. This is a very careful, responsible and deliberate process done by all museums from time to time and is reviewed by museum directors, curators and archivists with great scrutiny before any final decisions are made. As a result the RRMPa has been successful in finding good homes for about a half dozen pieces of equipment that it can no longer care for. I commend the staff and volunteers for their efforts because it demonstrates that RRMPa is a responsible caretaker of that which is in their care. They acknowledge the reality of limited resources, and understand that they cannot save everything. To quote former Smithsonian Transportation Curator Jack White, "When you collect everything, you end up saving NOTHING!" As far as what the RRMPa collects, it was my experience that the Museum was not permitted to solicit donations directly but relied on donation offers, purchases, gifts, bequests, loans and trades made through external parties that approached us directly. Usually what was collected was dictated chiefly by offers made by private individuals, businesses or other non-profit entities in a random fashion, on a case-by-case basis. So even though there was a Collecting Plan in place that prioritized the collecting of certain pieces of equipment (from various Pennsylvania common carriers, not just the PRR) as dictated by clear interpretive goals, 9 times out of 10, whatever piece was added to the roster at the time was accepted at the recommendation of the Director and/or the Curator, reviewed respectively by the site AND agency Collections Committees and final approval authorized by the agency Executive Director. So to say that there was an inherent PRR bias in collecting at the time is incorrect--the donations came externally from various sources at different times for different reasons, and was thoroughly reviewed/vetted for inclusion by many discerning eyes. In closing, I wish the Bellevue museum great success in acquiring, transporting and cosmetically restoring NKP No. 757. There is no doubt they will provide this iron horse a much well cared for home on its home turf.


Last edited by K.R. Bell on Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:21 am, edited 10 times in total.

Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Some thoughts on NKP 757
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:53 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1597
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Thank you Mr. Bell for that comprehensive, factual history. Sure should be getting better treatment where she's now headed. Let's hope so.

Ross Rowland


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Some thoughts on NKP 757
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:33 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:05 am
Posts: 24
Location: Quebec
Good text Mr Bell. For a canadian like me is a good update to know

But i think now the best duty for the RRMPa is to preserve the Pennsy Collection only


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Some thoughts on NKP 757
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:15 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8301
Location: Baltimore, MD
Tune in next week when the California State RR Museum gets rid of everything that isn't Southern Pacific, and the North Carolina Transportation Museum gets rid of all the non-Southern stuff.

Coming next season: the Illinois Railway Museum gives all its non-Illinois stuff to the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay..........


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Some thoughts on NKP 757
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:07 am 

Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:29 am
Posts: 52
A very long road,if at all!!!


Offline
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 66 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


 Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Buslist, Google [Bot] and 37 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: