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 Post subject: Help with Soo Line 2719
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:17 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:28 am
Posts: 7
Here is a chance to help preserve Soo Line 2719 and help keep it in Duluth. All the fans I have talked to think it is a crazy idea to return this engine to have it stuffed and mounted in Eau Claire. However, both the city manager and head of the tourist bureau have said they hope to have it possibly run again out of Eau Claire. Of course, the only railroad serving the city is UP, and CN just to the north in Chippewa Falls, so this is pure fantasy.

If you want to get involved, you can contact the local newspaper and the city council and let them know your feelings. We might not be able to change their minds but we can sure point out it is going to be a very expensive proposition. The visitors bureau estimates their fundraising effort to be between $50,000 and $200,000, but the railroad museum estimates it will cost well over $120,000 just to move it. The city has no plan on where they will put it, so that's an additional expense.

Here's some talking points you might like to raise:

* If its goes on display in Eau Claire it will never run again. At least in Duluth it has a chance to, and a railroad it will run on. If the city wants it to run again, there are no railroads in the area that will be willing to run it.

* The city did no maintenance on the engine when it was in Carson Park from 1960 to the mid 1990s, nor when it was stored outside in Altoona before the museum stepped up to save it and move it to Duluth. What will be different this time?

* The engine now belongs to the city again, and they can do with it what they will. Everyone is very excited about 2719 right now, as were cities that received donated engines in the 1950s. But dozens of steam engines now sit derelict in parks. What will the city do to keep this engine in good shape 10, 20 or 50 years from now? In other words, what's the long-term plan? We can cite the experience of Louisiana & Arkansas 4-6-0 No. 503 for example.

* Under the contract the city had three years to buy back the locomotive, but it waited until less than two months before the contract was up to do anything. Right now the city has no solid plan for moving the engine or a building a shelter for it, even though they had three years to do so.

*The expense of rebuilding the engine if they want it to run again will be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Is that a good use of city money (if they actually do it) when the Lake Superior Railroad Museum will do it at no cost to the taxpayer?

I'm not a psychic, but as rail enthusiasts we've all been down this road before. We know what's going to happen. Everyone is excited right now to get the engine back, but you can bet 10 or 15 years from now it will be rusting away and the city will say they have no money to maintain it. It's always possible some concerned citizens or fans will step up and keep it in good condition, but that's the exception rather than the rule. The best bet for the long-term preservation of 2719 is for it to stay in a legitimate railroad museum Duluth.

Here are some contacts:

Letters to the Editor
Gary Johnson
Eau Claire Leader Telegram
701 S. Farwell Avenue
Eau Claire, WI 54701

Television:
Lisa Patrow
WEAU-TV
1907 Hastings Way
Eau Claire, WI 54701
Lisa.patrow@weau.com

Here is a link to the Eau Claire City Council and its members. The person who led the charge on this was Councilman David Strobel.

http://www.ci.eau-claire.wi.us/governme ... il-members

As I said, we might not be able to change any minds, but we can at least let them know how the rail preservation community feels. Engines aren't supposed to be pulled out of museums and put back into parks.

Thanks,

Steve Glischinski
steve55126@yahoo.com


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 Post subject: Re: Help with Soo Line 2719
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:20 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:44 pm
Posts: 101
For those who decide to do this, let's also be mindful of another lesson learned from Port Arthur and the 503: politicians listen to constituents first and foremost. Someone from outside the community telling them what to do has a very fine line to toe if the goal is to change minds and not alienate. Keep in mind there are individuals within the community of Eau Claire who spoke very eloquently for keeping the locomotive in Duluth. Be smart about it if you do.

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 Post subject: Re: Help with Soo Line 2719
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 3:43 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
Posts: 2086
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Also don’t forget all the attention might perversely inflate their sense of value of the locomotive.

They are in the reality distortion zone and the destination is preordained.

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Steven Harrod
Lektor
Danmarks Tekniske Universitet
Institut for Systemer, Produktion, og Ledelse


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 Post subject: Re: Help with Soo Line 2719
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:02 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
Posts: 2086
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
What is the local election cycle in Eau Claire? How much of this is just grandstanding to the fall election?

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Steven Harrod
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Danmarks Tekniske Universitet
Institut for Systemer, Produktion, og Ledelse


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 Post subject: Re: Help with Soo Line 2719
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:29 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:44 pm
Posts: 101
softwerkslex wrote:
What is the local election cycle in Eau Claire? How much of this is just grandstanding to the fall election?


The current council was elected this spring. Only 1 council member who voted to repurchase the locomotive was on the council back in 2015 when the decision was made to sell it to the Museum, and that same individual has spearheaded the current effort. Council voted 7-1.

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 Post subject: Re: Help with Soo Line 2719
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:26 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 5:41 pm
Posts: 208
Location: Colfax,WI
Before everyone starts to castigate the City of Eau Claire's actions for redeeming the 2719 and returning it to Eau Claire they need to consider ALL of the facts in the situation.

Originally, there was a fund set up to return the engine to Eau Claire. When the Duluth Museum purchased the engine, it was the result of a 30 day RFP for proposals on what to do with the engine, pushed by Duluth. No one was able to determine what had happened to the funds to return the loco in the 30 day time frame. It was later determined that the funds had been disbursed to other nonprofits. The only entity that had sufficient time to address the RFP was Duluth, since they had the loco in their possession.

During the past year, there has been a growing interest in Eau Claire's rail community that culminated in the recent Rail Expo that had over 9000 attendees.

Whether 2719 will ever be returned to service, the leadership in Duluth has stated that the D&NE engine that was just refurbished is their focus. With AMTRAK's recent statements to refuse charters, the refurbishment and use of 2719 appears very remote, at best. Stuffing and mounting seems to be the fate of 2719 in Duluth or Eau Claire. The cost figures being thrown around by Duluth are self serving to insure the engine would stay there. The folks in Eau Claire have started fund raising and will address the costs as they are actually provided by reliable parties.

This may be an opportunity to increase awareness of our railroad heritage to another area that is showing signs of interest, rather than simply adding another loco to a museum's collection. Let's let the folks in Eau Claire see what can be done.

If they can't raise the funds, the engine is still in Duluth until it moves.

Herb Sakalaucks


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 Post subject: Re: Help with Soo Line 2719
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:38 pm 
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Posts: 313
Location: Orrville, OH
I'd have to agree with Herb here. The fastest way to get the council to dig in their heels and get them PO'd is to have a bunch of outsiders to tell them what to do. It seems something similar happened recently....

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 Post subject: Re: Help with Soo Line 2719
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:18 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:10 am
Posts: 2398
jayrod wrote:
I'd have to agree with Herb here. The fastest way to get the council to dig in their heels and get them PO'd is to have a bunch of outsiders to tell them what to do. It seems something similar happened recently....


You mean when Jason stepped in, saved a locomotive from imminent scrapping while raising $67K almost overnight? No matter what any of us think about Port Arthur's final decision, the irrefutable fact is that the only reason we aren't talking about #503 in the past tense is because of Jason's elbow grease effort to save her and the hundreds who stood up with him.

Had he not stepped up, there would have been nothing for the city to dig their heels into.

I can't find fault in that. - Rob

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 Post subject: Re: Help with Soo Line 2719
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:59 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 5:41 pm
Posts: 208
Location: Colfax,WI
The important thing to remember in this case, unlike #503, is that Eau Claire is not trying to get rid of an engine, but trying to get back part of its railroad heritage and do something with it. There haven't been too many examples recently of governmental units SUPPORTING railroad heritage. Eau Claire was a major rail center in western Wisconsin and #2719 was donated to them in the first place.

If folks really want to help, suggestions on how and where to properly display it in the Eau Claire area would be the best way to help at this point.

Herb Sakalaucks


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 Post subject: Re: Help with Soo Line 2719
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:48 pm 

Joined: Wed May 03, 2017 12:34 pm
Posts: 8
colfaxstation wrote:
The important thing to remember in this case, unlike #503, is that Eau Claire is not trying to get rid of an engine, but trying to get back part of its railroad heritage and do something with it. There haven't been too many examples recently of governmental units SUPPORTING railroad heritage. Eau Claire was a major rail center in western Wisconsin and #2719 was donated to them in the first place.

If folks really want to help, suggestions on how and where to properly display it in the Eau Claire area would be the best way to help at this point.

Herb Sakalaucks


Why is that the best way to help? We all know the #2719 will never run again if it goes to Eau Claire... at least in Duluth the chance will still exist.


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 Post subject: Re: Help with Soo Line 2719
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:48 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 10:34 pm
Posts: 674
At this point I don't see anybody needing help? Let Eau Claire do what they're going to do. It is their locomotive. If I bought it I would not like a bunch of people not involved trying to become involved. The locomotive is not on the chopping block to be scrapped it is on the slate to be preserved. How many times must it be said that both entities are honoring their own legal commitments that they both signed for. To me it already sounds like some on the internet is ready to pounce on Eau Claire for attempting to bring there locomotive back home? Those who think socialism is a good thing may disagree, but it is their locomotive and the decisions of both organizations is none of our business. If the loco was destined to be scrapped or was in danger of being scrapped then maybe we could justify intervention attempts? Jasons attempts did save the #503 and think we all agree that was monumental success.

There have been numerous attempts to learn something from the #503 event. I have seen very little attention given to the behavior of railfans towards the city council of PA. Jason won the battle for the locomotive in all but the final outcome of moving it to a location of "our" choice. So demonize the city council and local support of keeping it and then lament "We" did not get our way. Like posting your boss and company you work for are A-holes on Facebook and then wondering why your viewed as trouble at work? "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" I think applies to railfans as well as the rest of society. Think we make us look bad in this "rally around the flag" internet verbal lynching business like the #503 event. Freedom of speech might be upheld but it should also be done respectfully and maturely regardless of the end justifying the need way of approach. Been guilty of this myself by the way.

This will be watched closely as it is, do we really need to tell others what to do with their property. Imminent Domain by popular vote? Let this work out for the owners who could very easily decide in Duluths favor later on. If not it goes under a roof for preservation. Not a real bad worse case scenario. What my vote is for final outcome is not important to anybody but me and it shouldn't be either. Regards, John.


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 Post subject: Re: Help with Soo Line 2719
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 5:48 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:28 am
Posts: 7
Let me just address a couple of concerns. One item that Herb brought up about funding. I don't know about money going to "other non-profits" but when the engine came to Duluth, an agreement was signed with its then owner, the Locomotive & Tower Preservation Fund. Under that agreement, the museum set aside money to rebuild the engine and that money was deposited with L&TPF. What happened to that money the museum does not know. LSRM stopped paying the funds after it was determined by the Wisconsin Secretary of State that the L&TPF was not a legal entity. Indeed the money was being sent to a private checking account and that's when the museum stopped paying.

In terms of the expense of moving the engine, the museum contacted BNSF and asked them what they would approximate the cost would be. Then they asked a crane company about the cost of lifting it up onto flatcars. That's where the dollar figure came from. If Eau Claire can get companies to donate and move it more cheaply, then more power to them.

Of course, 2719 is legally now again the property of the city, and they may do anything they want with it. It would be fantastic if they built an all-weather enclosure and it was a source of civic pride. A great example of what can be done with a display engine is M&StL 457 in Mason City. It has a roof, everything lights up, it even has sound, probably the best park display in the country - and it was once one of the most derelict engines you ever saw, until concerned fans stepped up. Perhaps that will happen in Eau Claire.

But it is still just a display. 2719 came back to life and was an operating example of the age of steam. If it was at the museum, it would certainly be stuffed and mounted for a time since they have D&NE 28 running, but its time could and should come again. There is 27 miles of track waiting just outside the museum door and Amtrak policy change or not, it can run there. That won't happen if it goes back to Eau Claire.

I should add that one reason the museum began to focus on No. 28 in 2011-12 was because at the time 2719 would come due for its federal overhaul it was not owned by the museum. They wanted operating steam, and they could not justify putting funds into a steam engine they did not own, hence 28 got the nod. Plus Cloquet Terminal was willing to do a lot of the work on 28.

I just find it a little suspect that with only a month to go before the contract expired and the engine would have stayed in Duluth permanently, the only remaining city council member from three years ago and who opposed the contract in 2015 suddenly proposed the resolution to buy it back. Of course he and the city were within their right to do so, and they did. But they did so with no plan for the engine's future, which apparently they are only now working on. Knowing the track record of most cities and display locomotives, their actions don't exactly inspire confidence.

But we will see how it all shakes out in the end. My only reason for even bringing this up is IMHO an operating 2719 is better than a display 2719, and rebuilding an engine that has already been restored is a lot easier and less expensive than pulling one out of a park.

We will see what steps Eau Claire takes from here.


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 Post subject: Re: Help with Soo Line 2719
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 6:41 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 4:18 pm
Posts: 443
Location: Illinois
Whatever happened to the Locomotive & Tower Preservation Fund? Their six ex-CP coaches were sold(?) (donated?) to the Dennison Depot group in Ohio from what I have heard. Does the group still exist? They were a very active group back in the 1990s.

Chris.


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 Post subject: Re: Help with Soo Line 2719
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:27 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 566
On this map

https://wisconsindot.gov/Documents/trav ... ailmap.pdf

I note that UP still owns a ten or so mile stretch of the former Omaha Road line from Eau Claire to Chippewa Falls that originally went to Duluth (most of which C&NW sold to Wisconsin Central in the nineties which later combined it with the old WC Duluth line). Would it be possible to pick up this spur for excursion use? It also connects to another longer stretch of the Omaha Road Duluth Line now run by Progressive Rail, I'm not sure though how Progressive is about excursions though.


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 Post subject: Re: Help with Soo Line 2719
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:12 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 7:19 pm
Posts: 73
I think that helping the City of Eau Claire to understand the cost and specifications of a building that would house the 2719 might prompt them to reconsider the acquisition. Northwestern Wisconsin has a harsh 4-season climate and a building that would be capable of meeting local building codes would not come on the cheap. A modicum of climate control would help to prevent moisture accumulation via condensation with temperature swings that would cause rust over a few years.

A Trains article contained the following cost quotes:

Quote:
According to city documents, it would cost an estimated $31,000 to move No. 2719 from Duluth to Eau Claire on a flat car, and another $59,500 to build a shelter to protect it. Strobel said the cost could be born by the city and private donors. However, in 2015 when the city first considered bringing it back to Eau Claire, officials estimated constructing a shelter for it could cost as much as $135,000


http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2018/06/25-soo-line-no-2719-may-return-to-wisconsin-for-display

To me, $135,000 seems to be quite inexpensive - about what it would take for a simple pole-barn without very limited site prep.


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