Railway Preservation News

Age of Steam gets another one
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Author:  Atkinson_Railroad [ Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age of Steam gets another one

This forum thread; and the ~simmered down~ thread of [U.P. Steam Shop status of fleet?] authenticates for me the passion,
and romance for "railroading" that remains very much alive today.

I genuinely enjoy reading all the views on so many of the passionate subjects posted here.

What a academia, wise and scholarly group! All of You deserve recognition for your contribution(s) here.

You folks are by far, the most experienced ~gathering~ of people writing about what you think... on a forum... I've stumbled upon.
(And no, I don't have boots on ;)

The conversations we're all reading about here, have also rekindled (for me) the age old answer to how one gathers,
and gets to the root of any subject matter we're needing to know more about.

One has to actually step away from their comfort zone (in this instance) their computer screen, and go out into the real world,
and get to the facts they are looking for.

A phone call, an email, a letter, or better yet; an actual visit to a location to gather the most updated, useful information is... by far,
the most productive means of getting to the root, of what you/we seek.

Yes, I'm still curious about the stenciled DT&I tender trailing the Sturm & Dillard 105 steam locomotive.

Am I curious enough to go directly to the Age of Steam location and find out about it?

Well... stranger things have happened. ~smiling~~~

A Student of Observation, and totally enjoying the thinking going on here.


Author:  Rick Rowlands [ Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Age of Steam gets another one

wilkinsd wrote:

I find your histronics on this subject to be somewhat confunding and amusings. JJJ/AOS doesn't have to answer to us or anyone. We aren't some sort of "court of railway preservation righteousness" that can somehow pass an enforceable judgment on the whole plan. The whole plan probably hasn't been revealed. There's nothing preventing volunteers, or seeking donations, etc., in the future.

At the end of the day, none of us, either as individuals (JJJ, WM303, etc) or as museums really "own" the artifacts. We are custodians, working to ensure that the artifacts are enjoyed by future generations. Sometimes that means we don't own something very long, or we care for it long enough to find a better home. I cannot think of a single piece of equipment in the AOS collection that was in a better home, or had a better outlook before it moved to the roundhouse.

You just made two conflicting statements. Does AOS hold absolute title to the equipment and answers to no one, or are they mere custodians of historic equipment held in the "public trust"?

Author:  David H. Hamley [ Fri Jul 10, 2015 10:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Age of Steam gets another one

Who "owns" Jerry's collection? That should depend on whether title is held by him personally or by the foundation he has formed. And does that foundation meet all the requirements of an IRS 501(c)3 "charitable and educational" organization?

By law, anything in possession of a 501(c)3 is being held in trust for the public, the reward for which is being tax-exempt.

Author:  Tom Davidson [ Fri Jul 10, 2015 10:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Age of Steam gets another one

I'm not a lawyer and don't even play one on TV. But I understand Mr. Jacobson has an established record as an astute businessman, and I trust that he knows a few good lawyers who can take care of the legal details to develop this facility so that it will last far beyond his time on earth. We've seen people with big dreams before, and we've seen people with lots of money before. This is the first time we've seen somebody who has the dreams, the money, the resources, and the knowledge, to put it all together in such a way that it has a secure future. I don't see why I should need to know the details because I feel comfortable leaving them up to him. So far he's done just fine without my "expert" business/legal advice.


Author:  rock island lines [ Fri Jul 10, 2015 10:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Age of Steam gets another one


Author:  John Risley [ Fri Jul 10, 2015 12:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age of Steam gets another one

Tom Davidson I think you kind of nailed it. Kind of nice to read most of this, even some of the things I question. But in the end I think you nailed it pretty good. Think sometimes "musings" might be mistook for opinions and criticism. Sometimes it very well might be opinions and criticism? But I am with Tom on this one. I think AOS is on the way to PA where half of my "bucket list" of places to see are located. I hope someday to get there. That place is a dream to me. I am grateful that JJ has chosen to do what he is doing. I too will leave the details up to him on what to do with his organization. Cheers, John.

Author:  wilkinsd [ Fri Jul 10, 2015 12:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age of Steam gets another one

Hot Metal wrote:
You just made two conflicting statements. Does AOS hold absolute title to the equipment and answers to no one, or are they mere custodians of historic equipment held in the "public trust"?

I don't speak for AOS (you know that), so maybe you should ask them.

What I do know is that there is a company, named Age of Steam, LTD which is incorproated in Ohio as a FOR PROFIT company. AOS, LTD also registered Age of Steam and Age of Steam Roundhouse as trade names.

What I also know is that there is a Jerry and Laura Jacobson Foundation listed as a NON profit organization in Ohio. Their most recent IRS Form 990 is attached. It lists "gifts" to the foundation of several locomotives.

My guess is that JJJ is buying and gifting, and gifting already owned locomotives to the foundation as his plans progress.

Also, being held in the public trust doesn't mean you, as a member of the public, get to see everything in the collection, all of the time. You couldn't go see the Getty collection when they were building the new Getty Museum in California several years ago. The Met won't let you rummage through the basement. There was an art museum in suburban Philadelphia that for years was available by appointment only, until they moved the collection. In other words, holding for the public trust doesn't mean you get 24/7 unfettered access to a collection or site.

My guess, and it is an eduated one, but still a guess, is that given all of the construction on the site, over the past several years, the foundation has been wary to allow visitors. However, by their own statements, tours will soon be allowed, as they've built the depot-like building as a base for tours of the site.

My other educated guess is that the for-profit companies will eventually become a non-profit entity when construction is completed, with the foundation taking a role. It appears that the foundation has significant assets, with over $2mm in donations for the tax year 2013, though most of that appears to be in the form of steam locomotives.

Age of Steam Tradename.pdf [281.62 KiB]
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Age of Steam Roundhouse.pdf [312.68 KiB]
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Age of Steam Incorporation Information.pdf [205.22 KiB]
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Author:  wilkinsd [ Fri Jul 10, 2015 12:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age of Steam gets another one

Here's the Jacobson Foundation 990. The software only lets me attach three (3) attachments.

Jacobson Foundation.pdf [548.38 KiB]
Downloaded 120 times

Author:  wm303 [ Fri Jul 10, 2015 1:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age of Steam gets another one

"Does AOS hold absolute title to the equipment . . . "

Locomotives are not like automobiles. There is no such thing as a Certificate of Title. I did not get a title for any of the locomotives (10) I have purchased. What I DID get was a Bill of Sale. Locomotives are not titled or registered because they do not use public highways or operate on anything other than private property. All railroads own their own property. A farmer doesn't have to register his tractors because they are used "off road". Same with a coal mine or quarry.

Apples and oranges 101.

Author:  p51 [ Fri Jul 10, 2015 1:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age of Steam gets another one

wm303 wrote:
A farmer doesn't have to register his tractors because they are used "off road".
Not for a license plate, but some states really want those tax dollars, so a farm (or other) permit is required for many motorized vehicles not using public roads. So, in some states, they are indeed registered by the state.
But you overall point is valid for the most part.

Author:  Dennis Storzek [ Fri Jul 10, 2015 1:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age of Steam gets another one

I'm sorry, who holds title to the locomotives is a valid question, since the most basic definition of TITLE is:

"In Property Law, a comprehensive term referring to the legal basis of the ownership of property, encompassing real and Personal Property and intangible and tangible interests therein."

The use of TITLE to mean the document is just a subset of the right of ownership broadly referred to as title.

Not that I am questioning in any way what JJJ is doing... he's paid his money, gets to play it any way he sees fit.

I have seen in the past where people will buy something personally and hold it until later when the donation gives them a better tax advantage. There may be other advantages of having a for-profit entity build the museum site. So long as AOS isn't soliciting donations from the public (and it does not appear they are doing so) it's really none of our business.

I'm just happy to see someone putting large sums into railway preservation.

Author:  wm303 [ Fri Jul 10, 2015 2:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age of Steam gets another one

Then in lieu of the term "title", which infers that a document exists that ascribes the rights of ownership to an individual entity, the term "owner" would eliminate any confusion.

"I'm just happy to see someone putting large sums into railway preservation".

And be careful when using the term "preservation". It is only preservation when the entity doing the preserving is a 501(c)3.

Author:  Rick Rowlands [ Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Age of Steam gets another one

I just read the latest update from the Alaska RR 557 effort. I wonder if that group in Alaska would get as much enjoyment from the 557 if it was stored inside a certain roundhouse in Ohio? After all, it is ALL ABOUT the locomotive isn't it? Does the fact that an entirely new group of people have been exposed to steam technology have any importance? How about the maintenance skills that are being learned up there? Does that have any importance? Certainly AOS has way more resources than the 557 group does, so to follow the line of reasoning of a few of the commenters in this thread, it would be far better for the loco to be at AOS, right? The Alaska group should be able to get as much fulfillment and enjoyment by just visiting the 557 on a guided tour once every couple of years!

I hope I am making my point, that it is not only the physical well being of steam locomotives that is important, it is what they can do. Not entirely by running (that is the end goal), but by being able to rally people around them into teams that do amazing things. And I think it is this point that many people gloss over. Every time that a group of people attempt to restore a locomotive, friendships form, skills are taught, and new people are introduced to the hobby. I consider small locomotives to be the seeds that new preservationists grow from. Some projects succeed, many fail. But that seed has sewn some new people who will go on to work in rail heritage the rest of their lives. But, if the seeds are stored in a warehouse, how many new preservationists will grow from them? Just something to ponder the next time we get to discussing where the next generation of preservationists are going to come from.

I see that the train of thought regarding ownership has derailed. Some I guess missed that point too, but that is a side issue. I do not subscribe to the idea that historic artifacts are held in some sort of public trust just because the IRS has extended a tax exemption to non profit organizations. There is nothing in the tax code that places such a restriction. What Congress meant to do when it gave non profits tax exempt status was to promote the types of activities that non profits do. They saw that charities do things that the private sector would not do, and in order to promote those activities used the most powerful tool that govt. has at its disposal to help them along. We as nonprofits are free to do what we wish with historic artifacts, as long as the end result is something that the general public can benefit from. We can and do buy, sell, alter, scrap, dismantle and abandon equipment all the time, and none of us have lost tax exempt status because of it. That is because the equipment are mere props in the museum business. They are there to help tell the stories. The govt. trusts that we are professional and proficient in what we do, and allows us to make those decisions as to what is important to the missions that we placed on our Form 1023s.

I also dispute the idea that preservation can only be done by a tax exempt organization. "Preserving" an artifact can be undertaken by anyone. That word is defined by a series of activities, not who carries out the activities. I would argue that some private collectors such as Jay Leno carries out preservation to a higher degree than most nonprofit car museums do. Of course with a private collector there is some definitive end date at which the collection's future is uncertain, but it is fallacy to think that a nonprofit organization also does not have such an uncertain future. Actually, all it takes is one regime change for a nonprofit to deaccession, scrap or sell off what the previous administration poured much money and attention into.

Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Age of Steam gets another one

Though Brother Rowlands bring up some valid points in his latest contribution, I might respectfully add:

For every Alaska 557, we have a PRR 1361. Or, if you want to be less polarizing, a LIRR 35/39, a Western Maryland 202, an EBT #6, and/or a NdeM 3028.

And the corollary: For every Age of Steam, an East Broad Top.

Would we be better off without the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and instead have a dozen PRR steamers scattered hither and yon in parks, on excursion lines, or in local museums at places like Altoona, Harrisburg, Dennison, Northumberland, Reading, Renovo, Sewickley, and Huntingdon?

If the parties that feel "deprived" or whatever because of AoS's efforts have a better plan, let them bring it. Let THEM be proactive, set up a local foundation, training spot, etc., or a partnership with Strasburg, Cass, CSRM, East Ely, or wherever.

And to "wm303": Since the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (and, likewise, Nevada, Texas, North Carolina, West Va., and California) isn't a 501(c)3 group, does that mean that what THEY do for our avocation isn't actually "preservation"?

Author:  Dave [ Tue Jul 14, 2015 11:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Age of Steam gets another one

I think 303 was being a bit sarcastic with his remark about 501C3s....... How many of our oldest and most venerable institutions were based on private collections, after all, from art museums to the Library of Congress. I do see a certain thread of thought that the only legitimate and secure form of preservation organization is a 501C3 that seems to underlie a lot of postings here, probably due to a lack of familiarity with other forms. In reality, a private preservationist with means and knowledge can do much more actual quality preservation than a lot of marginal poorly managed 501C3s. Lots of voting people with separate emotionally driven agendas don't generally come up with a cohesive plan and prioritize resources towards narrow defined goals, but tend towards partisan dithering and lots of competing priorities so little gets done efficiently. There's no magic structure that will guarantee success.

That said, I think we're at the early phases of AOS in terms of its eventual contribution to the industry and general public. he's in the collecting phase now, working on the building phase plans, and the eventual product..... well, that's going to evolve I'm sure, and part of the collecting phase is setting up for whichever eventualities might result.

I completely get Hot Metal's bit of displeasure about the loss of an opportunity to recreate a piece of history - I had been endeavoring to build a war chest to bring the Decapod to NC to stand in for an identical sister locomotive that ran on the Durham and Southern, but found it impossible to gain support for a long term narrow goal. What's impossible is impossible....... and is displaced by what is possible. AOS is possible and competent and has the resources to make a lot of good things happen. The fact that they aren't my things or Rick's things isn't really relevant to anybody but us. Meanwhile, I've got other irons in the fire and Rick has the Ingot on Wheels to get done so neither one of us is lacking for meaningful work.

I'd hope that AOS includes public outreach, education, and a wide dispersal of benefits to the public in a lot of places. No reason the Gramlings need to carry the entire load of steam road show productions.


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