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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:27 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5250
Location: southeastern USA
I never said NO. I said let's be rational about thinking this through rather than just everybody dropping in their favorite place they want to see something happen.

I'm not yet convinced that we as a country are willing to support the continued operation of such a place as a stand alone attraction. I think as a part of a greater contextual bundle of experiences and events, perhaps. As an occasional special event - not done so often in any particular place that it ceases to be special, most certainly given adequate market mass.

So, perhaps mainline steam not circa 1945 but 1895? Fast 4-4-0s with high drivers hauling lightweight wooden commuter cars passing wooden freight trains hauled by a slide valved 2-8-0? All done someplace that is already a successful turn of the previous century heritage site, of course...... or not, depending on reality. It would have to be studied to adequately define its sustainability potential.

The cost of maintaining many miles of mainline track in condition capable of having heavy fast steam operation over it is enough to sink the idea of a permanent location sustainable on occasional excursions and nothing else. We have to have a better plan.

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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:41 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3030
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Dave wrote:
I never said NO. I said let's be rational about thinking this through rather than just everybody dropping in their favorite place they want to see something happen.

I'm not yet convinced that we as a country are willing to support the continued operation of such a place as a stand alone attraction. I think as a part of a greater contextual bundle of experiences and events, perhaps. As an occasional special event - not done so often in any particular place that it ceases to be special, most certainly given adequate market mass.

The cost of maintaining many miles of mainline track in condition capable of having heavy fast steam operation over it is enough to sink the idea of a permanent location sustainable on occasional excursions and nothing else. We have to have a better plan.


Again, I concur. Kelly said we needed more things for people to do--in short we need destinations, not just a train ride. Although in a different context, Texas Highballer put it in the classic real estate terms, "Location, Location, Location." Locations with "other things to do" are are what made Grand Canyon Scenic, Strasburg, and D&S successful--and a big part of why the EBT never quite paid its way. (That might have been changeable, but I won't go into that just now). My own comments about the pearls that are along the twin steel strands of the New River also address just this.

We need more than a train ride, perhaps more than even an immersive one. Given that the TP&W is as flat as a pancake with not much outstanding on it suggests it would not be a best choice to me as well.

Quote:
So, perhaps mainline steam not circa 1945 but 1895? Fast 4-4-0s with high drivers hauling lightweight wooden commuter cars passing wooden freight trains hauled by a slide valved 2-8-0? All done someplace that is already a successful turn of the previous century heritage site, of course...... or not, depending on reality. It would have to be studied to adequately define its sustainability potential.


An interesting concept, and I have to say I like it!! That is almost the theme of those British operations.

The famous Strasburg excursions with PRR 7002 and 1223 were a glimpse of what this might look like. . .again recalling what I said earlier, we've had bits and pieces of the ideas talked about here, but never quite a full realization.

Oh my, how much would you like to ride behind this Gibson Girl on such a road? She's at the Henry Ford, no place for her to really run there.

https://www.thehenryford.org/collection ... F91572.jpg

I'd like to see her pick up those pretty heels!


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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:44 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3030
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
I iz a idiot. Should have remembered a trio of threads that also touched upon all of ths.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=31783

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=34312

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=39551


Last edited by J3a-614 on Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:16 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 2165
Location: Thomaston & White Plains
It might be good to reflect on the fact that Mr. Jacobson did not go out and purchase another railroad to operate his locomotives on (which he certainly could have done), but instead, used the considerable proceeds from the sale to G&W, to construct a very nice museum site. In many ways, he created what could have been done at Scranton. And no, I'm not tying to stir the Steamtown pot. Really.

Railroads are expensive. Consider that maintaining track to at least a Class 2 standard (25 mph freight, 30 mph passenger) averages about $9,000 per mile per year. And that does not include any upgrades (rail replacement, serious ditching/ROW work, bridge repairs, bridge redecking, grade crossing improvements, etc.). For higher speeds, Class 3 (up to 40 freight/60 passenger) requires semi-annual rail testing ("Sperry Cars Test"). Crossing maintenance/inspections/power averages about $300-350 per crossing per month.

Also important to keep in mind, the FRA track safety standards are MINIMUMS, not a maintenance standard. You want good Class 2 track? Use at least one class higher as your "standard" minimum.

So, in a really round number, let's call it $15,000 per mile per year to keep a line at Class 3, for 35-45 mph operation of excursion passenger trains (that's fast enough for most purposes). A 25-mile line is costing about $375,000-400,000 per YEAR in track maintenance alone. That's a lot of infrastructure to pay for, aside from stations, visitor amenities (good restrooms always are a plus), coaches, and locomotives. Let's not forget marketing and promotions, either.

The number might vary a little, based on how many bridges, grade crossings, grades, curves, etc. a given line has. But there will be serious amounts of money to spend, every year, on the railroad itself.

Howard P.

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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:21 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5250
Location: southeastern USA
No, you're not. I have given up on diverting people to previous threads and accepted that everything has to start over again and again and again.....

But we are getting a lot of reality injected into this thread now - which may prevent a lot of foamy dreamy stuff from taking over that will go nowhere.

So, where in the US can we build our version of the Keighley and Worth Valley, and what time frame should we aim to replicate? And, thanks Howard, insularity would be a plus.

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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:32 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 2165
Location: Thomaston & White Plains
Cross a public highway, operate within 25 feet of an active "general system" railroad, and insularity goes away. "FRA Lite" will govern, with only a few CFR 40 Part 200 items not applying.

For what's being proposed, no matter the era to be replicated, better plan on full FRA; it's coming anyway.

Howard P.

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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:11 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3030
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Dave wrote:
So, where in the US can we build our version of the Keighley and Worth Valley, and what time frame should we aim to replicate?


I can think of three right off, chosen because of familiarity. Keep in mind this is sort of foamy because of obvious ownership issues, but I'm tossing them out to illustrate the other features we would want or need, such as scenery and those "other things to do." You might say they are just to help ideas to come along.

1. C&O, New River line, mentioned earlier. It was even more grand before, when you still had penstocks for the weed spraying train, more existing stations, etc. So much has gone away due to the ravages of time and CSX. Suggested time period would be the 1940s, due to availability of several C&O locomotives that would have the performance needed for this.

2. B&O, Baltimore or Washington, to Cumberland, Md. Big traffic sources at either one, lot of attractions at either one, good scenery, and another touristy destination at Harpers Ferry, W.Va. Martinsburg, W.Va. would be interested in marketing itself to this as well. Time period could be either the 1920s or the 1940s, again based on available equipment (which isn't a whole lot, unfortunately).

3. PRR, Altoona to Gallitzin, Pa. The famous Horse Shoe Curve, which apparently still gets some tourist traffic, for the area. It has the advantage of being relatively short, and a fair amount of equipment is available, we just need to be a little more careful with money than has been the case in the past. Time period would be either 1920s or 1940s, again based on available equipment.

I'm not familiar with the rest of the country to comment on anything, but I do have what might be some ideas on how to approach this "immersive experience" we might want to shoot for.

Another way to approach this might be to decide on the "theme," and work from there. Let's consider Dave's proposed 1895-1905 alternative model. I'm thinking you would have to round up some of the power for it, and the passenger cars might have to be replicas along the lines of David Kloke's Lincoln car. You might wind up having to do the same for the freight equipment, which is what the narrow gauge Wiscasset Waterville and Farmington has done to a limited extent. Then you look for an available railroad that has the "other things to do" in the area, and hopefully hasn't been overdeveloped in recent years. You may wind up even having to build structures such as stations, but you would have the advantage of building what you needed in the style you wanted, rather than having to settle for, say a metal relay shed that's repurposed as a flag stop.

Finally, are there existing roads that might consider changing what they are now, or might be closer now, to what we might need to see? Although still with the branch line theme, a road that might get closer to this could be the New Hope and Ivyland, or possibly the Black River & Western. Time period for either of those roads might be either 1905 or the 1920s; keep in mind a lot of branch lines and secondary routes in that period could have operations comparable to a main line later on, with (1920s) infrastructure to match.

A bit of foamy indulgence here. . . replica engines and cars, as done by Kloke. . .a replication challenge for the whole environment. . .but how strongly would some of us like to step into this and take a ride on that train?

http://museumblog.winterthur.org/files/ ... tinent.jpg

Floor open for comments. . .


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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:19 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3030
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Going away for a while, and your brain keeps working, and something else comes up. . .

4. Adirondack Scenic, total length about 140 miles (including the track on a shortline to reach Utica), and about 60-odd miles in the center that's currently out of service (and the whole thing is under threat from trail interests), but the scenery is OK, you have a decent traffic source in Utica, you have at least one good main tourist destination in Lake Placid. Proper heritage equipment would be NYC, but there isn't much to be had, if it could be had at all.

That would suggest, at least for me, Canadian Pacific or Canadian National! Locomotives might be had, cars might be had, maybe (the late Jack Showalter's two G5s just recently went home). Those Canadian engines, up to 4-8-4s, were on the light side, which shouldn't overtax the track and bridges on the route. Time period would be either 1920s or 1940s, maybe even as late as the early 1950s.

Want to have some fun? Fly the Canadian maple leaf flag at the stations! You could then say, as Cass Scenic used to do about Bald Knob, that you had a bit of Canada gone astray!

A word about equipment choices here--One of the things that would help with the "immersion experience" would be for everything to hang together, to match. That's the reasoning behind my comments on things like this, to avoid the rainbow excursion look we often see with cars from half a dozen roads, all in different paint. One of the nice things about the first season of the NS 21st Century Steam Program was a string of matching red cars, followed by a string of stainless cars, suggesting, at least at a distance, a combined N&W-SR train between Bristol and Roanoke.

You may have other ideas on that. . .they might be interesting.

Floor back open again. . .


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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:29 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:10 pm
Posts: 950
Dating back to the New York Central days, I believe all steam locomotives that were operated on what is now the Adirondack Scenic were required by state law to be oil-burners.

As far as a home for main line steam, I think probably the closest we ever got was the former Pennsylvania RR Schuylkill Branch trackage as operated by the Blue Mountain & Reading in the 1980's. I have fond memories of riding behind and watching both 425 and 2102 romping up and down that line. I think that 12 miles or so certainly offered up a sample of how big-time railroading was done back in the day. To us rail enthusiasts, a 30 or 50 mile run might be attractive, but the average person would be far more satisfied with a 25 mile round trip. As Dave and a couple of others have noted, the key to success is two-fold. First an authentic experience, with people dressed appropriately for the era, amenities appropriate to the era, and a scenic ride. Second, a population center is nice but not essential, but a destination is.


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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:49 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3030
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
G. W. Laepple wrote:
Dating back to the New York Central days, I believe all steam locomotives that were operated on what is now the Adirondack Scenic were required by state law to be oil-burners.

As far as a home for main line steam, I think probably the closest we ever got was the former Pennsylvania RR Schuylkill Branch trackage as operated by the Blue Mountain & Reading in the 1980's. I have fond memories of riding behind and watching both 425 and 2102 romping up and down that line. I think that 12 miles or so certainly offered up a sample of how big-time railroading was done back in the day. To us rail enthusiasts, a 30 or 50 mile run might be attractive, but the average person would be far more satisfied with a 25 mile round trip. As Dave and a couple of others have noted, the key to success is two-fold. First an authentic experience, with people dressed appropriately for the era, amenities appropriate to the era, and a scenic ride. Second, a population center is nice but not essential, but a destination is.


It was a seasonal requirement, with engines converted between coal and oil, oil being used in the summer, coal in the winter. This goes back to at least the 1920s, suggesting the fire hazard was and is real in the woods up there.

This also applied to Delaware & Hudson, which was running there until about 1947 or so (and in fact, the last two stations on the Adirondack now are on former D&H trackage). That road had about six Ten Wheelers and a 2-8-0 (numbered 999!) that had narrow fireboxes assigned to this line, designed for firing either bituminous or oil They were rather unusual on the anthracite hauling D&H, which had Wooten fireboxes on almost everything else. Some of the 4-6-0s were retired earlier, but the rest of them, and the 999, were retired when the D&H abandoned its line to Lake Placid and sold the remaining segment to the NYC.

And yes, I recall the Blue Mountain experience. . .would have been improved with two things (both expensive, I know)--turning the engines at each end, rather than running tender first half the time, and of course, I wanted it to be longer, too!!

Sorry about the small size, but it's the only image I can find right now of D&H 999:

http://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/site ... 99.jpg?931


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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:14 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:37 pm
Posts: 31
While this is all a fun discussion in "what could be preservation railroading" the reality is, that after the hurricane damages in Texas and Florida are totaled upand paid for, there isn't going to be a lot of "extra" income for fantasies like this. I believe, the future of preservation railroading lies in small (5-10 miles) sustainable, well managed, well maintained railroads like The Conneticut Valley Line, Strasburg, Union, Monticello, Naugatuck, Duluth Northshore,Owasso, Spencer and a few others. Volunteers are few and "graying" and funds will be tighter.

The possibilities of big steam on Class 1s is evaporating daily and the best which can be expected is maintaining good connections rather than operations on them.

Okay, is this all "doom and gloom"? No, why don't we get behind the smaller operations with less but a better future and help them to grow and survive rather than try to design a new model ?

exprail


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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:17 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3030
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
exprail wrote:
While this is all a fun discussion in "what could be preservation railroading" the reality is, that after the hurricane damages in Texas and Florida are totaled upand paid for, there isn't going to be a lot of "extra" income for fantasies like this.


How long a time frame are you talking about? A year? Two years? Ten years? Are you talking about Texas, Florida, Georgia, or about the country?

I think something will be available in a reasonable time, if we can make a business case.

Quote:
I believe, the future of preservation railroading lies in small (5-10 miles) sustainable, well managed, well maintained railroads like The Conneticut Valley Line, Strasburg, Union, Monticello, Naugatuck, Duluth Northshore,Owasso, Spencer and a few others. Volunteers are few and "graying" and funds will be tighter.


We'll have those, at least I hope so (Is there any other road as well run as Strasburg?), but 5 to 10 miles is essentially where we've been since the Strasburg went into the tourist business with one car and a gasoline-mechanical in 1958. Your comments about volunteers becoming fewer and older are very serious, too. We need to grow if that's at all possible. This is one possible venue--and the principles, of authenticity, of the "immersive experience," apply to all.

Quote:
The possibilities of big steam on Class 1s is evaporating daily and the best which can be expected is maintaining good connections rather than operations on them.


That is correct. It's why the original post was talking about buying what might be called a regional railroad.

Quote:
Okay, is this all "doom and gloom"? No, why don't we get behind the smaller operations with less but a better future and help them to grow and survive rather than try to design a new model ?


No real argument against that, but rather, I'm looking not to retreat or stagnate, but to grow, beyond Strasburg's 4 1/2 miles, beyond "Thomas the Tank Engine."

As to whether it's a new model, is it, really? I said this in one of the three previous threads on this, which I should have remembered earlier. . .

Quote:
What I had in mind was what could be called the "Class I tourist railroad." Basically, this was to run mainline steam on a scheduled basis on a regular (if seasonal) route. The advantages would come from the basic definition of a railroad as a "transportation factory." This classic definition implies mass production, which on a railroad means some sort of regularly scheduled service; that's what successful railroading normally is, as opposed to the typical excursion program, which conceptually at least, is in some ways closer to the operation of a circus (setting up for a show in a town, then going to another show in another town). "Regularly Scheduled" operation is what Strasburg and White Pass and Durango & Silverton and Cumbres & Toltec and Hawk Mountain all do.


It's really only a difference of scale, at least that's how I would put it!

Now, whether it can be scaled up--and whether a really appropriate location can be had--might be something else!

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=31783

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=34312

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=39551


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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:51 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:50 pm
Posts: 364
I think one facility that is being seriously overlooked is the ex-CT&V Valley Line owned by the NPS between Cleveland and Akron. You can almost run anything imaginable there. All that is missing is usable turning facilities (they are largely intact but not under the control of the NPS) and they have proven to be dependable hosts for visiting power. There is even one more passing siding available for upgrade to help keep the line fluid during times of high traffic. Runarounds at the northern and southern terminuses would be a nice plus too if the funding could be found.

The CVNP is already a huge draw and the initial costs of infrastructure are largely already covered.

If you look 6 miles north, there is already a serviceable turntable and roundhouse with soon to be expanded stall capacity as well.

Just sayin'...

Rob Gardner


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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:32 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:40 pm
Posts: 709
Maybe I've had my grates shaken one too many times. Somebody help me out here, please.....

Is someone seriously proposing an immersive experience ca. 1895? Cars with wood-burning stoves to heat them in the winter, open windows for ventilation and "cooling" in summer, "bombs-away" toilets, little or no electrical lighting, an iced drinking water cooler with a community cup in each car, no ADA compliance, no glazing compliance, plain bearings, the most primitive air braking, no emergency escape plans or lighting, cinder ballast, a news butcher selling drinks and snacks, etc., etc.?

Man I can see the line waiting to get in on that, buying tickets and making the operators rich!

Actually, I can only see the line of non-payers taking photos.


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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:09 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
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Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Lincoln Penn wrote:
Maybe I've had my grates shaken one too many times. Somebody help me out here, please.....

Is someone seriously proposing an immersive experience ca. 1895? Cars with wood-burning stoves to heat them in the winter, open windows for ventilation and "cooling" in summer, "bombs-away" toilets, little or no electrical lighting, an iced drinking water cooler with a community cup in each car, no ADA compliance, no glazing compliance, plain bearings, the most primitive air braking, no emergency escape plans or lighting, cinder ballast, a news butcher selling drinks and snacks, etc., etc.?

Man I can see the line waiting to get in on that, buying tickets and making the operators rich!

Actually, I can only see the line of non-payers taking photos.


Well, Strasburg is mostly like that, and an excursion with traditional heavyweight cars has a lot of that, too.

Grand Canyon was like that for years with the Harriman cars and steam, and I think the narrow gauge roads are like that, too.

As much as I like Superpower steam and heavyweights, some things would need a bit of changing if you're running at speed. . .roller bearings and tightlock couplers among them. Those things, while improving safety considerably, don't change the experience. I don't think retention toilets change the experience much either, provided you have a restroom that looks like the period.

And Dixie cups were out about then, as I recall.

The news butcher was something I hadn't thought of. Well, you can get Hershey bars in nostalgic wrappers--Cracker Barrel sells them--but I wonder how well they would hold up in hot weather. Nostalgic newspaper reprints might be a seller!

Steam heat was largely available on main line trains by 1895.

As to the lack of air conditioning, well, coal smoke smells good in the morning!!

And the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington operates at decent speeds for a two-footer with no radio communications and no air, relying on brakemen, just like the 19th century!!


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