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 Post subject: 2015 Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 565 status update
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 8:44 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:38 pm
Posts: 527
Location: New Jersey, Central
The cessation of the Delaware Lackawanna &Western 565 2-6-0 cosmetic restoration program was initiated by the Park Service management. Then Superintendent Kip Hagen had Facility Manager Mark Birtel shut down the work on September 12, 2013. Kip told us this was necessary because Historian/Archivist Pat NcKnight had never done the 106 paperwork for DL&W 565, despite the fact that we had originally approached them in 2008 about working on the Shay and it was the Park Service management that redirected us to begin reassembly of 565.
>
> Our immediate response to the shut down was to offer to take full responsibility for all aspects of the project, including documentation (106 and Historic Structure Report). Our reasons for this were two-fold. First, as we explained to Kip, we saw 565 as a collaborative team effort with the Park Service. Kip had told us that Pat had not done the 106 paperwork for 565 and quite a few other projects at the Scranton site, some of which were completed or well underway. We were aware that staffing cuts were occurring and were offering to help alleviate some pressure on Kip and the Park Service's effort in Scranton by taking this work off Pat's plate. We also wanted full responsibility to be certain that we would not again be shut down because someone at the Park Service did not do their job, as Kip had explained had occurred in this instance.
>
> We were negotiating this with Kip up until his untimely death in December 2013. We spent many hours negotiating the same issues with Acting Superintendent Bill Leonard. In the end, Bill only agreed to give us full responsibility for the documentation after we told him we were done and would not return. After a considerable amount of thought and discussion amongst ourselves, we decided that it was too risky to expend a large amount of time, effort, money, and personal goodwill on a business partnership with the Park Service. We did not wish to continue to work with an organization that would think nothing of unilaterally and without notice terminating our program or that would only agree to work with us on management issues if we threatened to quit.
>
> When Debbie Conway was named Superintendent, we reached out to her to set up a phone meeting to discuss the project and maybe get it back on track. Given our experience to date, we were extremely skeptical but thought it was only fair to give the new adminstration the opportunity to work things out. We spoke with Debbie on 10-29-14. She was 23 minutes late to the call and had a hard stop that she did not tell us about until there were only 8 minutes left. She was unprepared to speak about the project as she was unfamiliar with the situation with 565 prior to the beginning of our work, with the scope of work that had been accomplished, with the circumstances of the shut down, and with the nature of the discussions with Kip and Bill after the shut down. She was totally disinterested in discussing any bigger picture issues as they related to the 565 work and fell back on the standard Park Service rationale that the issues up in Scranton are largely due to a lack of funding, particularly in the early stages of the establishment of the NPS site in Scranton.
>
> In her followup email that evening, Debbie stated that she would get back to us "in the next week or two." We have not heard from her since.
>
> When the Park Service took control of the site from the Steamtown Foundation, it assumed responsibility for three tasks in Scranton: the preservation of an urban industrial ruin; the preservation of a large and diverse collection of late 19th century and early-to-mid 20th century steam-era railroad related artifacts; and the use of the collection to effectively tell the story of the ruin. Kip told us many times that "We are not a railroad museum", yet the Park Service spent a lot of the start up funds building a railroad museum instead of stabilizing and preserving the ruin and stabilizing, preserving, and providing shelter for the collection. An appreciable part of the collection remains, after 25 years of Park Service stewardship, in a deplorable state of disorganization, disrepair, and exposure to the weather and parts thieves. The condition that 565 was in when we started the work in 2008 was a total disgrace. Parts were scattered throughout the site, mixed in with other parts, and even largely buried in the ground. This is all despite the fact that DL&W 565 is one of the few artifacts in the collection that has a direct connection to the urban ruin.
>
> As a result of our program with the Park Service, DL&W 565 is in a much better state of preservation than it has been in 40 years. It is stabilized and all asbestos has been removed. All known parts have been collected, many have been coated to mitigate further deterioration, and all but one, the cowcatcher, are inside and protected from the elements. The frame is no longer noticeably sagging and is better supported. The pilot truck has been largely reassembled in the best possible historically accurate manner considering the resources available. During our discussions with Bill, we provided him with an executive summary of all the subsystems and their status. This included a list of all major components that have been reattached to the locomotive, those extant but still detached from the artifact, those requiring repair, and those that are missing and need to be fabricated. Most importantly, we had slowly built a very good group of volunteers from five different states who worked well together, enjoyed each other's company, and got the job done safely and effectively.
>
> We are posting this so the preservation community knows the status of our work with 565 and so it has a full understanding of our reasoning. We are done and do not intend to go back. We did everything we could to assist the Park Service in its mission in Scranton. We were asked to leave and did not walk away. We spent many hours over a period of more than a year trying to work out a collaborative approach to the situation and were not willingly given the opportunity to work in a truly equal partnership. Our time up there has passed and so has a great opportunity to help the cause. This disappoints us greatly as, in the end, it is the artifacts and the important part of our nation's industrial history they represent, that continue to suffer.


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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 565 status update
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 9:04 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:47 pm
Posts: 475
This is ridiculous. Plain and simple.

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Mark Z. Yerkes
Amateur Rail Historian


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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 565 status update
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 9:16 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 4996
Afboone -

Sad, sad, state of affairs. Thanks for the explanation, and for all the good work that you and your crew did, and tried to do, for the DL&W Mogul.


Les


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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 565 status update
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 1:02 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:52 pm
Posts: 909
Hi,

When I visited Scranton in about 1996, I noticed that the focus was odd. They seemed to be operating a historic site and no one seemed to understand that a major part of the site was a railroad museum. The rides on teh turntable were administered like an amusement park merry-go-round.

That's too bad. NPS has MORE than a railroad museum BUT it is a raliroad museum.

I wonder what the current mission statment is. It might give insight as to what they think they have. They do good with battlefields and static sites but I think this is beyond them.

Sad.

DOug vV


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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 565 status update
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 3:29 am 

Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2007 8:03 pm
Posts: 905
Location: Brampton, Ontario
Kinda like the situation in Guelph, ON with 6167. The locomotive was handed over to a museum that has absolutely no experience in anything even remotely mechanically related, and a massive ego and inferiority complex to go with it...

Suffice it to say, I've moved on, at the expense of leaving an old friend to rot at the end of a dimly lit dead end street...

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CNR 6167 in Guelph, ON or "How NOT To Restore A Steam Locomotive"


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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 565 status update
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 9:46 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 9:18 am
Posts: 469
Location: Wall, NJ
Afboone:
While sad and frustrating, this is certainly not a unique situation. You have joined a large and ever growing community of talented and accomplished volunteers who have been screwed over by management. Shoot, here in NJ alone there are probably a hundred good people who have been the victim just as you have and spread across a half dozen or so organizations. Its not new at all, probably going back as long as there has been a preservation movement.

This is pretty much why I have sworn to never volunteer again nor to make any cash donations to an effort. Unfortunately I am not alone in such thoughts. So much good talent has been lost by various organizations, only to see those who were run off accomplish some amazing preservation feats independently and on their own nickel.

No you are not alone in your frustration. You just joined a very large club made up of very good people. In all seriousness, welcome to the club. You are keeping good company here.

J.R. May


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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 565 status update
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 10:41 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2005 9:50 pm
Posts: 157
Needless to say this is one side of the issue and as with any disagreement there is more than one side. There is more to it that has not been said. The NPS follows very serious procedures for restoring historic artifacts (which the 565 is classified as). Everything must be done using set materials and methods. This is all spelled out in some detail in the report which is done prior to work on the artifact. This is to keep the artifact as true to the original as possible. Yes this is a bureaucracy you need to work thru.
The original directive by some managers to go to work on the 565 before any documentation was in place was an error on their part which gives everyone a sour taste when it is done after the fact. It is my understanding that this paperwork is either done or just waiting signatures.
There have been at least three maintenance managers and two Superintendents since this project was shut down. You need to start fresh and have an open mind - these are now new people.

Rich


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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 565 status update
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 11:12 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1048
Location: Youngstown, OH
There is a glaring problem with the NPS approach to preservation. They set the bar so high on preservation work that the effect is that for every artifact preserved to their standards. a dozen or more rot into the ground with absolutely no work being done on them at all, due to "funding issues". Although they get more funding than many rail museums dream about, the inherent wastefulness of government assures that very little real work gets done.

NPS, by dropping the ball on the 565 project has poisoned the well and discouraged other groups from forming partnerships to care for the other ignored and dissolving pieces of equipment in their "care". This new superintendent should be fully versed on this project by the very fact that she has that position.

Bottom line is that whenever a government agency gets involved, expect that their goals are not going to reflect the best interests of the artifacts in their care. You don't get the supt. job at Steamtown because of a passionate interest in railroad history and preservation.

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Rick Rowlands
Steel Industry Preservationist, Narrow Gauge Railroader and ALCOhaulic


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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 565 status update
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 4:39 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 3:37 pm
Posts: 1058
Location: Pacific, MO
IMHO if the gubmint were involved with the Sahara Desert, there would be a sand crisis and shortage within five years.


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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 565 status update
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 8:15 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:52 pm
Posts: 909
"
They set the bar so high on preservation work that the effect is that for every artifact preserved to their standards.
"

Any beuracracy has a lot of overhead. A government who place so many conditions on something to be ultra safe and politically correct seems to headed towards impotance to do anything.

In the 1960s and 1970s, there were several in Congress who were great compromisers. The movement "to stand on our principles and never compromise" have forgotton that Government is about old fasioned horse trading and have ground things to a halt - afraid of "breaking promises."

The (in my opinion) over-reaction concerning the Great Dismal Swamp accident by Southern Ry and the "not my fault man so I am owed something" attitude of the populace has stopped almost everything.

The amusement park train (G16 I think) derailment in South Carolina was another possible example. Same as why many school districts no longer offer driver's education - can not afford the insurance.

Oh well.

Doug vV


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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 565 status update
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 8:52 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:38 pm
Posts: 527
Location: New Jersey, Central
arjay3, (Rich), If you are referring to the Stablization Report and as being complete. That doesn't meet the requirements for the 106. A 106 can be done as you go. We were doing that. We did the research and found this to be true. On an artifact like this that was torn apart before it arrived, no inventory was conducted and parts were lost at the park. With this type of restoration the regulations allow you to complete the 106 as you complete a major section/part. Before the next section could be started a general plan must be presented. It can be general in nature due to the condition of the artifact. Once that is completed you must document what you did, why you did it, and the reference you used to determine the correct configuration of the artifact.
We had a great plan set and we knew the year/month the engine would be returned to.


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 Post subject: Re: 2015 Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 565 status update
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 12:21 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1735
"When Debbie Conway was named Superintendent, we reached out to her to set up a phone meeting to discuss the project and maybe get it back on track. Given our experience to date, we were extremely skeptical but thought it was only fair to give the new adminstration the opportunity to work things out. We spoke with Debbie on 10-29-14. She was 23 minutes late to the call and had a hard stop that she did not tell us about until there were only 8 minutes left. She was unprepared to speak about the project as she was unfamiliar with the situation with 565 prior to the beginning of our work, with the scope of work that had been accomplished, with the circumstances of the shut down, and with the nature of the discussions with Kip and Bill after the shut down. She was totally disinterested in discussing any bigger picture issues as they related to the 565 work and fell back on the standard Park Service rationale that the issues up in Scranton are largely due to a lack of funding, particularly in the early stages of the establishment of the NPS site in Scranton.
>
> In her followup email that evening, Debbie stated that she would get back to us "in the next week or two." We have not heard from her since."


I have had EXTENSIVE conversations with Superintendent Conway, for matters and reasons I am not going to discuss here.

Her deportment is invariably professional, candid and with followup.

In short, my experience has been completely different than what is described here.















"


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