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 Post subject: Getting Proactive Folks.
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:25 am 

Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:49 am
Posts: 253
Location: Cambridgeshire UK
Howdy;

Over the past few years, the railway preservation movement is increasingly finding itself under attack from NIMBY’s, Rails to Trails groups, Local and State Governments, and even from people in our own community. With recent events in New York State, Indiana, New Jersey, and Texas, we have lost opportunities to save railroads and equipment, some now lost to scraping or to further neglect. People within our own preservation community are finger pointing and blaming each other in a less than constructive way, with cases of “I’ll rather scrap (fill in the blank) than let (fill in the blank) have it”.

This is now the 21st century, what has been done in the past is now something to learn from. We should start using RYPN as a way to work together, starting a proactive dialogue on where we go from here, what we all can do to save equipment, dealing with local and state governments, working with both the NIMBY’s and the Rails to Trails people, and ourselves. We need to learn from our mistakes in the past and start asking “what can we all to as a whole to make this happened!”

Hats off to Jason Sobczynski for what he was able to accomplished in just a few weeks, lets learn from what he was able to do, and from what he could not. Anyone have we ideas how we can take things forward?

Have fun - David Notarius, some guy who used to clean out the flues of BR&W 60, now in the UK


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 Post subject: Re: Getting Proactive Folks.
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:24 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1331
Location: Youngstown, OH
This is one of the reasons why I have been such a supporter of RYPN. It is a great resource and one that more people in the preservation community should utilize to network and work together.

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Rick Rowlands
J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
"The shortest and narrowest Railroad in Ohio"


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 Post subject: Re: Getting Proactive Folks.
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:33 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:09 pm
Posts: 353
I think one way everyone can be proactive with the community is the one thing so blatantly overlooked all over.

CLEAN. YOUR. PROPERTY!

Simple as that.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting Proactive Folks.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:51 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:41 am
Posts: 32
Location: NW Ohio
Nova55 wrote:
I think one way everyone can be proactive with the community is the one thing so blatantly overlooked all over.

CLEAN. YOUR. PROPERTY!

Simple as that.


This.

I have harped on 2 of the tourist RR groups that I have helped out. Cut the damn grass at least...


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 Post subject: Re: Getting Proactive Folks.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:07 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 10:34 pm
Posts: 681
I agree about cleaning up our grounds. But there are two sides to most solutions, problems and stories. To a person not mechanically inclined "just clean it up" and "get rid of all that rusty iron" is without doubt the 11th commandment and needs to be adhered too. But discretion is needed. We have pulled parts, tooling, jig/fixtures out of our scrap bin put there by people who either meant well or thought they were making a statement. Yes clean up your tourist areas the public has permissive access too. But if you don't know what your looking at admit it. We had a scrap drive {just like WW2, put money into the coffers} and some good wheel sets were scrapped and junk ones saved. Person in charge "got'er done".

"Mow the damn grass". Did you offer to do it? Does the manager have someone to mow the grass? Maybe it was pure negligence I don't know, playing the devils advocate here. WE, myself included, are willing to be proactive by giving advice to what needs to be done. Nothing wrong with that. But once again we all lead by our example of being the one that set aside our plans and mowed the grass or picked up the pavillion area or cleaned the bathrooms. Sometimes it is pure negligence. Sometimes and probably most of the time not enough bodies or money to accomplish the obvious. Sometimes we just get used to junk lying around too.

Not trying to be snarky by any means. Just pointing out that being proactive is a good way for us to take charge of some things that need to be done. By leading by example. Or asking for help and two of you take on the job that nobody wants to do. Not into martrism. By asking for help even a crap job can be more "fun" with another person involved. You both gave a working example on productivity and probably enjoyed it simply because you didn't resent being the only one cleaning the ash pit, mowing the lawn, degreasing parts, salvaging steam fittings or the zillions of other important things that go a long with operating a railroad. I am very guilty of being one dimensional myself and that is why I feel compelled to offer my 2 cents. With two people pulling in the same direction even a crap job can be rewarding if nothing else but for the camaraderie. Guess I am a dreamer that we could actually learn to pull together eh? Of course some outfits do, and as if by magic, they appear to be moving forward rather than stagnant or rolling backwards. This is on us as individuals as well as management. If management isn't into allowing creative solutions letting members or employees take on these tasks and says "your not qualified" you can say you tried. Maybe your not qualified to run the lawn mower or weed whacker? But as individuals we can make a difference despite the overwhelming odds. Again please do not take what I said as being snarky that is not my intent. Regards, John.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting Proactive Folks.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 1:47 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 174
A good manager will figure out how to get the grass mowed.

Is there a budget for routine maintenance? hire someone.

Literally no budget? Ask for volunteers to be on a clean-up team that mows the grass, weeds the planters, etc. once a month. If you honor these volunteers and encourage them, that twice a month mow the grass could result in new flower beds / landscaping, new paint on buildings, pressure washed sidewalks, etc. If you allow employees/ volunteers to take pride in their work they typically will. But if you (management) take all the credit for getting the work done and treat them like they are low level and don't make a difference they won't do more than the basics.

Can't find a volunteer to mow the grass? Get out there and do it yourself.

Again.. I will be clear. A good manager will figure out a way to make their property look presentable.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting Proactive Folks.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 2:18 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:41 am
Posts: 32
Location: NW Ohio
I DO mow the grass...and a hundred other things that need to be done. Someone else does do most of the mowing now, because they see what a difference it makes (and so does the passing public, many who are getting their "first impression" that way). I lead projects and offer "suggestions" for members to participate in other ways. One place was more worried about what color to paint things than to keep the weeds knocked down.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting Proactive Folks.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 2:30 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:05 pm
Posts: 124
The above suggestions are good, but really just a very small start. Being proactive in as many areas as possible will go a long, long way towards avoiding large and costly problems, and help solidify a good future for our organizations. We don't just have to keep the visitor areas mowed as part of a good visitor experience, we have to be good neighbors and members of society too, and many of us have to keep our government landlords happy too. I'll add a few from my own bible here.

On keeping the grass cut, definitely hire someone to do it if you don't have the volunteers. It's worth it, and if you aren't taking up mechanical volunteer's time with it, they have more time to work on restoration and repair. And don't forget that finding/advertising for new volunteers should make clear that you need support in many forms, like grounds-keeping, administration, store clerks/ticket sellers, etc.

Previous threads have discussed restrooms, but they need to be in this list. Don't just have adequate restroom facilities, make sure they're cleaned, often. What's clean enough for your shop crew isn't clean enough for guests...

For that loose iron, way too many places look like the pics we saw of ITM's 'junkyard', or worse. They had some stuff on pallets, but it was scattered all over in apparent randomness. Palletize and/or buy heavy parts shelves. Indoor storage is better if you have or can afford it. Indoors or out, organize and line the pallets up, keep the weeds out, make it look like it it is worth something, not a junkyard. If you have a fair amount of track to maintain, get some used Jersey barriers and make 3-sided bins for tie plates, spike cans, etc. Stack rail properly as opposed to leaving it laying in the weeds. Tag/label everything. Our organizations are full of older people, and we lose people who know to health problems unexpectedly, and sometimes jobs force people to move away. You might only have one or two people who know what all those rusty hunks are, and they need to be labelled so that remaining people know what it is, what it goes to and how to use it. Document everything. Pictures often help. The cleanup crew needs to know what not to throw out, and labels/organizing will go a long way there, too.

Previous threads have also suggested 'public' databases for sharing of things like equipment/parts availability. If you we had such a thing (I haven't been following that closely), and you have surplus, list it for the good of all - you probably need the space (and the money).

Appearance is a very proactive area, and nothing says 'going concern' than paint. We've seen several major cases lately where your 'rusty RR junk' is a major cause for eviction or bad mojo with landlords and neighbors. Even if you're not doing a full restoration on a piece, keep it plastered with unbroken, reasonably unfaded paint. You don't need to put IMRON on it to keep it looking at least cared for. Slapping another layer of cheaper paint on is something that new/less qualified volunteers can do, and the effect is huge. A couple years ago a local official stopped by and commented that it was good we finally got rid of that really rusty 'train car' that sat next to the street for years. He had just commented on the nice 'new locomotive' parked behind the train. Two weekends work by a couple of volunteers transformed the rusty train car into a beautiful new locomotive, and the complaints went away. It matters. Big time.

Another grounds item is fencing. If you have fences, make sure tey're in good repair, not falling over or covered with unwanted vegetation. Again, it matters. Going concerns don't look like nobody cares. These days, you have to think Disney, or at least Strasburg.

Next, we live in an age where everything is regulated. How many organizations have modern hazmat programs? They are required and not grandfathered. Every liquid container needs to be properly labeled and stored. Spend a few thousand dollars on flammables storage lockers, spill containment for oil drums, spill cleanup kits, etc. and keep the drips off the ground. Do you keep Safety Data Sheets for all your chems/liquid products?. Are they accessible to employees/volunteers? The few thousand you'll spend on prevention will be MUCH cheaper than the landlord/local government going after you for testing and remediation.

Another safety item that needs to be proactive is PFE. Do you have an adequate supply of hearing protection, safety glasses, hard hats, hi-vis vests, etc.? Lawsuits suck, they're expensive and few organizations like ours can afford/survive them.

Organizationally, do you have proper accounting? Are your bylaws, etc. in proper order? Do you have a good lawyer - either retained or at least a relationship with one? Have proper documents on harassment, worker rights, etc.? All this needs to be handled before there's a problem.

Time for someone else to add....

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G.
______________________________________
Radio crackles - "What the #^(& did we just hit, over?"


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 Post subject: Re: Getting Proactive Folks.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:16 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:37 pm
Posts: 45
There is another way to be proactive. Build adequate storage capacity out of the weather.

Recently, I visited my favorite, operating, museum the Monticello Railway Museum and in talking with their Master Mechanic we discussed the challenge of grounds maintainence and storage of equipment. I had noticed that their grounds are always imaculate and I didn't see much derelect equipment on display. He commented they have gradually been "thinning the herd" of stuff and outside of a few, rusty, degrading (rusting away and not movable) display reefers (full of stored supplies) all the rest of the "someday to be restored(?)" equipment was in one of their many buildings.

Monticello is quiet operation which as a mature, organization has made many good decisions to further their longevity. Maybe other groups could learn a few thing from them?

exprail


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 Post subject: Re: Getting Proactive Folks.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:49 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:05 pm
Posts: 34
exprail wrote:
Monticello Railway Museum's Master Mechanic > He commented they have gradually been "thinning the herd" of stuff and outside of a few, rusty, degrading (rusting away and not movable) display reefers (full of stored supplies) all the rest of the "someday to be restored(?)" equipment was in one of their many buildings.


You may not be aware that at least one or two of those reefers is actually a home away from home for MRM volunteers. I know the one is fixed up on the inside like a home or camper so it is not filled with stored stuff. It is not "movable" under normal circumstances as it is tied into electrical power - just unplug the cord and move it out of the way so the reefer can be moved. That is not an issue as the track dead ends beyond said reefer and rusty low priority equipment is stored at the end of track. For the owner of that reefer it saves them a trip back home each night when working at MRM two or more days in a row.

Yes, I agree that MRM has done a great job at getting stuff under a roof. IRM (Illinois Railway Museum) has done the same. IRM has improved the appearance of their grounds and reduced the visible 'junk' piles over the years too compared to my first visit circa 1984. The real BIG difference for the public at both IRM and MRM are the restrooms as they were renovated a few years back with ongoing cleaning/maintenance of same which makes for a positive impression on visitors.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting Proactive Folks.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:16 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:37 pm
Posts: 45
Thanks, Robert for the update and use of the reefer.

I was aware of members being able to stay in the farm house/office which doubles as a "bunk house" but not aware of the reefer purchase/use. Reefers are my favorite piece of rolling stock with tanks a second.

exprail


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 Post subject: Re: Getting Proactive Folks.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5505
Location: southeastern USA
Nova55 wrote:
I think one way everyone can be proactive with the community is the one thing so blatantly overlooked all over.

CLEAN. YOUR. PROPERTY!

Simple as that.


Not always. Consider your property as a stage set and your operation and programming a production produced like any other, be it theatrical, athletic, musical, etc. Junk might actually be appropriate set dressing for your purposes. If you do decide it isn't, offer it here before calling in the scrappers.

_________________
Santayana: "He who does not remember the past is condemned to repeat it."
Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."


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 Post subject: Re: Getting Proactive Folks.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:52 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:20 pm
Posts: 176
get rid of all those rotten, ripped up, flapping in the wind blue tarps! Maybe look into a heat shrink cocoon system or some quality canvas tarps.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting Proactive Folks.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:45 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:09 pm
Posts: 353
By clean, I more lean towards the ripped tarps, various drums of mystery, empty paint cans, piles of rotted ties that never have a hope in hell of being used, etc. These things are environmental eyesores, and EVERYONE has a camera these days. I have seen the above at literally, every single museum setting. Find an old boxcar or container, and stash the stuff in there if you need to keep it. Nobody needs to be keeping 15 leaking drums of waste oil.

If you have a scrap pile, organize it a little bit, keep it out of sight, and thin it out periodically. Dont let it grow to an enormous feat that you need a fleet of dump trucks to get rid of.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting Proactive Folks.
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:51 am 

Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:49 am
Posts: 253
Location: Cambridgeshire UK
Ok, there are some more serious issues afloat. Mainly protecting the land and right of way your equipment is sitting on. Especially for those groups who do not own the ground that is under them. As we seen, working with friendly local governments can be unpredictable; they are subject to political pressures and agendas. Administration changes can overnight can find your operation the subject of termination of leases and lengthily (and costly) legal processes. Not to mention the increase pressure from the rails to trails lobby, which is becoming increasingly hostile to anyone who apposes their projects. So, where do we go from here? What options do we have? And as a preservation movement as a whole, what can we do to protect right of way and land for the future? Yes, keeping your equipment clean and the grass cut is important, but so is protecting the land under it.

Don’t forget to wear your safety goggles while mowing – David Notarius, Sneezing in England instead of Pennsylvania


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