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A Home For Main Line Steam
http://www.rypn.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=41074
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Author:  J3a-614 [ Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:06 pm ]
Post subject:  A Home For Main Line Steam

It'll take just a little money . . .

Oh, and it's not behind a paywall.

http://cs.trains.com/trn/b/staff/archiv ... eoria.aspx

Author:  Randall Hicks [ Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A Home For Main Line Steam

I have fond memories of watching the 765 pull a revenue freight train along this route back in 1980. As the article mentions, US 24 parallels nearly the entire route. Now all you need is an IPASS type of system to collect tolls, and maybe an extra lane or two. What could possibly be better?

Author:  J3a-614 [ Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A Home For Main Line Steam

I have a comment in the following section that is, I hope, worth looking at here as well:

Quote:
It's a grand idea, though I might pick some other locations for scenery potential.

Having said that, I would also argue that we would need more than just steam engines. We would need the whole experience, and we would need to do it RIGHT!

No Thomas the Tank Engine. No silly stuff. Air conditioning works. Restrooms work. Restored stations. Authentic cars, perfect condition. Professional crews, and not just in rail operations, but in full uniforms. Engine service facilities in authentic style. Sufficient freight equipment to alternately operate photo freights and for "props" on sidings. Get the whole atmosphere right.

What we are talking about should be almost like an authentic Civil War reenactment, with the operating crews being the reenactors, the passengers the spectators.

Now, compare this to what we too often see--an older diesel, used because steam is "too expensive" to run, pulling musty old commuter cars with sealed windows (those old heavyweights rusted out because nobody painted them or fixed the roofs), school bus seats (we can't pay for those good seats), a caboose (everybody likes a caboose), and of course a string of rust piles that are the cars you hope to get to when you get to them, on track that might be good for 15 mph.

Is that what's typical? Does this reflect what we would like to see ourselves, much less our customers?

Or do we just play with trains, as so many critics say we do?

Make no mistake, I can understand the challenges even a diesel, commuter cars, and 15 mph track can mean.

But are such operations sustainable in the long run?

Author:  nathansixchime [ Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A Home For Main Line Steam

It's not just a place to run.

You need things for your customers to do. A single train ride behind any assortment of mainline choos in the flatlands of Indiana and Illinois won't sell tickets long.

A good thought to create that fully immersive experience. I think there are some tourist railways in England that offer something similar, right down to the stations and signal systems and food served. It's a linear museum destination, of sorts - not unlike how Strasburg has developed in some ways.

But as far as the TP&W goes? It's ownership right now absolutely rules it out. A steam org, with enough monetary pull and influence, could possibly make itself a customer and pay special rates...but again, it's no good to build a destination like that if you don't own the dirt. The investment in both the railroad infrastructure, much less the amenities that would provide value and diversity would drive the initial investment right up.

Years ago steam friendly parties tried to purchase the line. They may even have a standing offer, still. That would change things.

Once you get over the fact of ownership, developing attractions/events/activities can fill the calendar. The immersive experience would set it apart -- go so far as to create a "1940s Main Street" or a drive-in venue and other non-train related themed attractions -- and it would be pretty nifty, but I'd try and stop short at planning tea parties on someone else's railroad.

Author:  Mark Jordan [ Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A Home For Main Line Steam

Maybe not for "big" steam, but certainly for "small to medium" steam.......

I'm talking about the very real and very "now" potential abandonment of 50 miles of good railroad, turntable, and roundhouse in Central Kentucky.

TTI Railroad

If someone has the plan, the money, or the resources, now is the time.

Author:  whjco [ Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A Home For Main Line Steam

[quote="Mark Jordan"]Maybe not for "big" steam, but certainly for "small to medium" steam.......

I'm talking about the very real and very "now" potential abandonment of 50 miles of good railroad, turntable, and roundhouse in Central Kentucky.

TTI Railroad

If someone has the plan, the money, or the resources, now is the time.[/quote]

Mark, an alternative would be to operate the TTI line between Paris and Carlisle, KY. It's 15 miles of 105 pound stick rail and it's the easiest section of the line to maintain. The facilities for doing a runaround in Carlisle are already in place. There's also a depot in Carlisle but I don't think the railroad still owns it. It's a substantial brick structure and was in good shape the last time I saw it.

The south end of the line has the turntable with shop and fueling facilities. In the late 1980s the drainage in the yard and shop were completely redone to meet EPA spill containment requirements so anyone buying the Paris to Carlisle segment would pretty much have a ready to operate railroad.

Bill Johnson, Lexington, KY

Author:  robertjohndavis [ Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A Home For Main Line Steam

The Great Central Railway is a good model to follow for giving big steam a place to romp. It is England's only double track mainline steam railroad. (It was also the subject of this week's earlier $14,000,000 preservation project).

http://www.gcrailway.co.uk

Currently about 8 miles long with mid-point stations, signalling and double track. It will grow once the bridge project is done. The line runs year round and has the potential to become a local transit resource.

I don't think one needs 50 miles of track. 10 miles of functional mainline maintained for high speed running would be plenty, and still be somewhat manageable. Something of this nature in the US would require either a wealthy benefactor or cooperation among a team of like-minded groups/people unlike anything seen to date.



Rob

Author:  70000 [ Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A Home For Main Line Steam

robertjohndavis wrote:
The Great Central Railway is a good model to follow for giving big steam a place to romp. It is England's only double track mainline steam railroad. (It was also the subject of this week's earlier $14,000,000 preservation project).

Rob


The GCR is well situated in the East Midlands of the UK, so has a good catchment area of potential customers. When the line is at its full length of 18 miles you will have Leicester (348,000 population) at one end and Nottingham (321,000 population) at the other, apart from all those people who will drive a reasonable distance to get there (I'm 136 miles away, and it takes me a 2.5 hour drive).
It works here with the higher population density, but I would imagine that you would have to be very selective as regards a likely location in the US to get a similar situation.

Although the GC is a former main line, the rules and regulations here in the UK limit the maximum speed for passenger operations to 25 mph (used to be called a "Light Railway Order"). To go above this brings about a completely different set of regulations/conditions and, to date, none of the UK schemes have gone beyond the 25 mph barrier for passenger services.
However, the GCR is allowed to run up to 60 mph for non-passenger workings subject to various conditions. They are able to hire out the line to commercial operators who wish to test rolling-stock (another source of revenue) and at some of their Gala weekends, they have an RPO demonstration picking up mail at speed, (as shown below) which they have to run at around 45 mph to get it all to work properly!
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One other attraction they specialise in is the operation of demonstration freight trains at several events such as this one
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At this years Freight event in June, they managed to put together 4 different sets of freight stock to operate, as well as the 3 normal passenger sets.
The only standard gauge demonstration freight operation I have come across on visits to the US was on the Conway Scenic a few years back - Do any other lines do them?

Author:  daylight4449 [ Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A Home For Main Line Steam

If I understand correctly there's still rail down on the Central Mass between Berlin and Wayland, MA. I can imagine that it would need some work at this point though...

Author:  PCook [ Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A Home For Main Line Steam

I wonder what happened to the group in Europe a few years ago that was going to develop a modern "environmentally friendly" steam locomotive for the commuter rail market. It was mentioned a few times on RYPN and then disappeared. There have been dozens of RFP's since then from agencies all over the US for new commuter rail power, and I have never seen anybody marketing that kind of product show up at a prebid meeting or even apply to be a bidder.

PC

Author:  TrainWatcher [ Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A Home For Main Line Steam

We had that already... it was called the Ohio Central and run by Jerry Jacobson. And he sold out to G&W like the rest of the local shortlines. Next....

Author:  Frank Hicks [ Wed Aug 30, 2017 2:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A Home For Main Line Steam

70000 wrote:
The only standard gauge demonstration freight operation I have come across on visits to the US was on the Conway Scenic a few years back - Do any other lines do them?

Tangent alert: The Illinois Railway Museum runs demonstration freight trains a few times a year, generally as part of a larger event. Power is either steam, diesel, or electric based on the event with which it's associated. IIRC during at least one recent Diesel Days event there were two different freight trains, one with "old" (1940s-1950s) freight cars and one with "new" (1960s-1970s) cars.

It strikes me that what people are looking for isn't terribly dissimilar from the main line of the Western Railway Museum. Granted, about a third of it is under trolley wire and the scenery is largely dominated by wind farms, but other than that...

Author:  Overmod [ Wed Aug 30, 2017 2:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A Home For Main Line Steam

Quote:
"I wonder what happened to the group in Europe a few years ago that was going to develop a modern "environmentally friendly" steam locomotive for the commuter rail market."


I think you mean the group that Andreas Schwander and Roger Waller of SLM/DLM were participating in, in Switzerland. The locomotive was being designed for a particular commuter operation, but was being designed for more general service with an eye toward costing down the design costs, parts provisioning, etc. to make subsequent orders less expensive.

http://www.modern-steam-hauenstein.ch/

This was discussed on the steam_tech Yahoo group, and if I recall correctly the original service proposal foundered in the wake of the 2008 recession and the locomotive plans stopped with it.

Of course, there is the Mackwell Locomotive Company in New Zealand, but that isn't for most of the commuter services in the United States...

Author:  NKP779 [ Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A Home For Main Line Steam

TP&W would be an unsustainable choice for a mainline steam "home", and I was involved in planning and executing the NKP 765 visit in 1980. There is no scenery and no tourist base, plus it is still in service by G&W. US 24 being parallel for most of the route is terrible - few chasers actually contribute to the steam operator. It is human nature..........

Author:  colfaxstation [ Fri Sep 01, 2017 10:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A Home For Main Line Steam

The Nashville & Eastern comes to mind as a possible line for steam. It already does long excursion runs with the Tn Central Railway Museum.

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