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 Post subject: Re: U.S. Rep. Joseph M. McDade passed away on Sept. 24, 2017
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:33 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1604
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
I am always grateful for anyones concerns for my overall well being,.... including members of the small but dedicated troop of DD's. I'm pleased and grateful to report that my mental health is excellent and that my distaste for the wastefulness of our federal gov't. is not limited to the $ 6M/year they pour into the black hole in Scranton but extends far beyond that to many other equally poor performers throughout the NPS. While Scranton is near the top of the cost per visitor list there are lots of others that come close.

As to the list of questions regarding my friendship with Nelson Blount I am pleased to share that we became friends when I offered him a deal wherein I ( High Iron Company) would lease his operable 4-6-2 for mainline excursions out of Jersey City,NJ on the CRRofNJ and pay his Steamtown Foundation $ 1 per ticket sold plus pay all expenses of getting the locomotive to/from Vermont and carry proper insurance on it. And, ( this was the clincher) I would do my best to see that he got as much throttle time as possible when we were on the mainline. We shook hands on the deal and that was the start of the relationship.

One of my fondest memories of Nelson is upon our arrival back into Jersey City on the 2nd. trip to Jim Thorpe ( he ran the engine all the way from Easton,Pa. to Jersey City with stops at Plainfield and Elizabeth, under the watchful eye of RFE Charlie Strunk) he came up to me and said " that's the best time I've ever had railroading and I will never forget it". He had tears in his eyes and was very emotional about it.

When the early HICO trips proved very popular and we could have sold many more seats than the Pacific could pull, Nelson and I agreed to extend the deal to his NKP Berk # 759 which we then moved to Conneaut,Ohio for restoration and so she could power the Golden Spike Centennial Limited train in 1969.

After Nelson's tragic death, his Foundation selected a total nut job to become the Exec. Director and he insisted upon imposing some unacceptable conditions upon the 759's lease ( i.e. he wanted heavy tarps hung from the running boards on both sides of the engine so railfans along the right of way could not take " free" photos, he wanted a minimum dollar figure for each train the 759 pulled vs. the $ 1/ticket which was my deal with Nelson, he wanted a minimum annual fee paid to the Steamtown Foundation whether the engine ran or not, and other ridiculous conditions) so I steamed her up and ran her back to Vermont and ended the deal.

After that I had nothing to do with the Steamtown Foundation which in a few short years after we returned the 759 had run her into the ground and basically bankrupted the operation. As is always the case, the geographic cure of moving the collection to Pa. didn't work and it was nearing a bankruptcy liquidation when Cong. McDade saved the day by making the NPS adopt the collection via a new National Historic Site it didn't want, but had no choice but to accept. The rest is history.

I do agree that my continual stating of my angst regarding the abject failure of the place from a steam lovers perspective is no longer productive nor helpful and detracts from the valuable function that this forum provides. Therefore, I shall do my level best to refrain in the future from such postings.

Thanks, Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: U.S. Rep. Joseph M. McDade passed away on Sept. 24, 2017
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 7:10 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 2165
Location: Thomaston & White Plains
RE: Steamtown Foundation line of succession for Executive Directors--

After FNB's death, Edgar T. Mead (another Pine Creek/Jay Wulfson alumnus) took over as ED. Mead lasted up to about 1970-71. ETM leased the 1278/127 to Cadillac & Lake City in Michigan; it returned in mid-1972.

Robert Barbera (son of HICO/DL&W/EL engineer Andy Barbera) became ED in early 1972. Barbera was the one who came up with the "cover them in tarps" idea, which actually never occurred. There was lots and lots of bad mojo emanating from Bob B.

About 1979, the Foundation board hired Don Ball (famed railfan book author/photographer) to replace Barbera, and to find a new home for the collection. Ball presided over the sprucing up of the collection and return to operation of a couple of engines, in Vermont. He also oversaw the move to Scranton, but was not kept on as ED after the move.

Side note: about 1978, the Foundation announced grand plans (renderings, press releases, etc) in conjunction with---- ULSTER COUNTY, NY!!! Location was to the "meadow" area just east of the NY State Thruway, along the Ulster & Delaware. Yup, the same county that 35 years later would go to war with the Catskill Mountain people.

I may be slightly off on some of the dates, but this is off the top of my (old) head, without reference to my files.

Howard P.

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"I'm a railroad man, not a prophet."


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 Post subject: Re: U.S. Rep. Joseph M. McDade passed away on Sept. 24, 2017
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:46 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 458
Howard P. wrote:
Ball presided over the sprucing up of the collection and return to operation of a couple of engines, in Vermont. He also oversaw the move to Scranton, but was not kept on as ED after the move.
I thought Don Ball Jr. passed away while he was running Steamtown?

The NY Times published an article about his death on October 19, 1986, which says he was the director of the Steamtown Foundation.


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 Post subject: Re: U.S. Rep. Joseph M. McDade passed away on Sept. 24, 2017
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:39 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1604
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
IIRC Howard has it pretty closer to perfect. I do think I saw a photo of the 759 running in an excursion somewhere in Vermont after we returned her in 1972 under Bob Barbera's watch with the running gear covered so the damn railfans couldn't get "free" pictures of her?? Perhaps someone on here has a photo of that event???

Yes, Bob Barbera made lots of enemies and was the principle ingredient in the infamous 759 freezing episode.

Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: U.S. Rep. Joseph M. McDade passed away on Sept. 24, 2017
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:51 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 238
Howard P. wrote:
Robert Barbera (son of HICO/DL&W/EL engineer Andy Barbera) became ED in early 1972. Barbera was the one who came up with the "cover them in tarps" idea, which actually never occurred. There was lots and lots of bad mojo emanating from Bob B. Howard P.


Wasn't the father, Andy, also an engineer on the Morris County Central with Earle Gil? My recollection is that Andy was involved in an incident at some point in this career in which he was badly burned by boiler steam. If anyone can confirm or correct this, I'd appreciate it.

Bob's idea to cover 759 with a tarp to prevent chasers from benefitting from the excursions without paying was a desperate and ill-advised "solution" to an issue that still is discussed in rail preservation today. I've heard that some operators sell "chaser tickets" so anyone who wishes to chase can voluntarily contribute to the cause without incorrectly impacting ridership counts.

I often wondered if it would make sense for an operator to identify the best chaser route and then secure a parade permit in all the localities in which the chaser route passes. Then the operator could charge chasers to be in the "parade" with the added benefit of the public safety of having the chaser/parade route closed to general traffic.


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 Post subject: Re: U.S. Rep. Joseph M. McDade passed away on Sept. 24, 2017
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:36 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1734
"Bob's idea to cover 759 with a tarp to prevent chasers from benefitting from the excursions without paying was a desperate and ill-advised "solution" to an issue that still is discussed in rail preservation today."

Agreed.

There's Nobel Prizes in economics been awarded for solving problems involving externalities and other transactional assymetries. William Vickery revolutionized auction pricing.

http://www.baltimorechronicle.com/maverick.html

n a perfect world, we'd be able to charge all beneficiaries for benefits received. It's not a perfect world, but perhaps some imaginative phenom will figure this out without resorting to flailing like that.


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 Post subject: Re: U.S. Rep. Joseph M. McDade passed away on Sept. 24, 2017
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:48 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1240
Location: Strasburg, PA
Chris Webster wrote:
Howard P. wrote:
Ball presided over the sprucing up of the collection and return to operation of a couple of engines, in Vermont. He also oversaw the move to Scranton, but was not kept on as ED after the move.
I thought Don Ball Jr. passed away while he was running Steamtown?

The NY Times published an article about his death on October 19, 1986, which says he was the director of the Steamtown Foundation.

Interesting side note. I learned the next day that Don Ball had stopped in to chat with our gift shop manager just hours before he unexpectedly died. One quote she took away from their conversation? "Choosing Scranton as the new home for Steamtown was the biggest mistake of my life."

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"It was not easy to convince Allnutt. All his shop training had given him a profound prejudice against inexact work, experimental work, hit-or-miss work."
C. S. Forester

Strasburg Rail Road Mechanical Department


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 Post subject: Re: U.S. Rep. Joseph M. McDade passed away on Sept. 24, 2017
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:32 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 238
Chris Webster wrote:
Howard P. wrote:
Ball presided over the sprucing up of the collection and return to operation of a couple of engines, in Vermont. He also oversaw the move to Scranton, but was not kept on as ED after the move.
I thought Don Ball Jr. passed away while he was running Steamtown?

The NY Times published an article about his death on October 19, 1986, which says he was the director of the Steamtown Foundation.


As good a reason as any to not keep him on as executive director.

Kelly Anderson wrote:
Interesting side note. I learned the next day that Don Ball had stopped in to chat with our gift shop manager just hours before he unexpectedly died. One quote she took away from their conversation? "Choosing Scranton as the new home for Steamtown was the biggest mistake of my life."


Most likely, yes. Although Ball's ownership of Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western 565 was also very problematic for him.

Hey Supe - the article in the OP states that, "The federal government spent more than $70 million to turn an abandoned train yard into a National Park Service site celebrating the nation’s railroad history." I've seen this number tossed around before. Is this the total that the feds spent on physical plant improvements before the grand opening, some sort of running total, or a fabricated number? Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: U.S. Rep. Joseph M. McDade passed away on Sept. 24, 2017
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:41 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 2165
Location: Thomaston & White Plains
Scranton Yard,

Andy Barbera was engineer on Rahway Valley 2-8-0 #15, during an August 1973 railfan weekend at Riverside/Bellows Falls, when a boiler tube let go during the day's operations. Andy was standing in front of the firedoor when this occurred; a 12-year old girl was on the right-hand seatbox at the time. That was the last day #15 was under steam.

The figure I had heard, from reliable sources (at the time of the Grand Opening in July 1995), was $80 million spent on the project by NPS to that point.

Howard P.
Dim Distant Past, Conn.

_________________
"I'm a railroad man, not a prophet."


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 Post subject: Re: U.S. Rep. Joseph M. McDade passed away on Sept. 24, 2017
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:43 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1734
"Hey Supe - the article in the OP states that, "The federal government spent more than $70 million to turn an abandoned train yard into a National Park Service site celebrating the nation’s railroad history." I've seen this number tossed around before. Is this the total that the feds spent on physical plant improvements before the grand opening, some sort of running total, or a fabricated number? Thank you."

I think that number often relies on this GAO Congressional Testimony from October 1991.

Kind of fascinating that they anticipated charging $5/adult; 3$ child for the Moscow Excursion.

http://www.gao.gov/assets/110/104163.pdf


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 Post subject: Re: U.S. Rep. Joseph M. McDade passed away on Sept. 24, 2017
PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 4:40 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2017 10:32 am
Posts: 55
From pictures I've seen, although Andy Barbera was indeed burned when the boiler tube blew on Rahway Valley 15, upon his recovery he continued as an engineer at Steamtown up until I believe about 1980. I've seen pictures of him in the cabs of the G5s after 1973.


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 Post subject: Re: U.S. Rep. Joseph M. McDade passed away on Sept. 24, 2017
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:02 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 238
superheater wrote:
"Hey Supe - the article in the OP states that, "The federal government spent more than $70 million to turn an abandoned train yard into a National Park Service site celebrating the nation’s railroad history." I've seen this number tossed around before. Is this the total that the feds spent on physical plant improvements before the grand opening, some sort of running total, or a fabricated number? Thank you."

I think that number often relies on this GAO Congressional Testimony from October 1991.

Kind of fascinating that they anticipated charging $5/adult; 3$ child for the Moscow Excursion.

http://www.gao.gov/assets/110/104163.pdf


Hey Supe - thanks for the link. Very interesting reading, especially the indications of some of the planned site improvements that never happened such as the storage sheds. The way the Park Service allocated the initial funds towards the building of the museum displays and not towards protection for the collection indicates a bias against the artifacts from the Foundation.

Scranton Yard ... "making a run st[sic] the title of most irrelevant keyboard warrior on RYPN" - RobertJohnDavis


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