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 Post subject: Railroad Still Operating with the Most Original Fabric
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:27 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2604
I'm not sure exactly how to phrase this, but here's the general concept.

What operating tourist / preserved railway has the most "original fabric" left. i.e. It runs on the same line, has the same buildings, track structure is essentially un-altered.

I've got one in mind, but I'm curious as to what others think. A few potential candidates:

Strasburg Railroad, line is still original but the track has been upgraded significantly and the rolling stock is different now.

Cumbres & Toltec and/or Durango & Silverton? Could be a good one, same equipment for the most part and the line seems to be fairly original?

Nevada Northern? Lots of original fabric there.

East Broad Top would be another, if it was operating.

Anyone think of others that are older / have more original fabric?


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Still Operating with the Most Original Fabric
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:54 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 491
I would think Durango is the clear winner since the “Silverton” was an actual passenger carrying scheduled train. So original right of way, original wooden coaches (mixed with modern), and locomotives original to the railroad that owned the line, operating in between original depots....


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Still Operating with the Most Original Fabric
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:34 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 880
Bobharbison wrote:

Cumbres & Toltec and/or Durango & Silverton? Could be a good one, same equipment for the most part and the line seems to be fairly original?


Interestingly, according to an article about the C&TS in Trains Magazine that came out today (behind a pay wall http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/20 ... 0-complete) "[W]hen the states of New Mexico and Colorado bought the 64-mile line in 1970, the only passenger cars that existed on the former Durango & Rio Grande Western [sic] were used on the Durango-to-Silverton route. That left C&TS to build its own passenger cars." It goes on to say that "the design for the clerestory-style coaches was developed in the early 1980s, and those cars were built on the center sills and bolsters of standard gauge boxcars and flatcars. This is the design that the normal fleet uses now." So while C&TS certainly maintains the flavor, the car fleet at least doesn't have much "original fabric". Was a bit of a surprise to me, I assumed they had simply rehabilitated old coaches, but they had to play the hand that was dealt them.


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Still Operating with the Most Original Fabric
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:36 am 

Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:08 pm
Posts: 15
White Pass and Yukon


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Still Operating with the Most Original Fabric
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:23 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1701
Location: Strasburg, PA
Bobharbison wrote:
I'm not sure exactly how to phrase this, but here's the general concept.

What operating tourist / preserved railway has the most "original fabric" left. i.e. It runs on the same line, has the same buildings, track structure is essentially un-altered.

I've got one in mind, but I'm curious as to what others think. A few potential candidates:

Strasburg Railroad, line is still original but the track has been upgraded significantly and the rolling stock is different now.
Other than the right of way, the only original fabric we have is Plymouth #1, and the ex-Pennsy box car**. It's doubtful if we even have any rail still in place from the previous managment, other than the 155 lb PRR rail on our passing track and interchange at Leaman Place.

**Not counting the occasional link and pin that gets dug up during track work.

I would vote for the Nevada Northern. I don't follow them closely, but I don't believe that they have imported any offline equipment, or built any new equipment. Even EBT couldn't say that.

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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: Railroad Still Operating with the Most Original Fabric
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:42 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:37 pm
Posts: 234
No doubt, the Stewartstown RR falls into this category. Most of the right-of-way, equipment and bridges are intact, as are the records, etc. They have done some track work and added some new equipment but essentially everything is as it was 50-60 years ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Still Operating with the Most Original Fabric
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:43 am 

Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:33 am
Posts: 31
Kelly Anderson wrote:
Bobharbison wrote:
I'm not sure exactly how to phrase this, but here's the general concept.

What operating tourist / preserved railway has the most "original fabric" left. i.e. It runs on the same line, has the same buildings, track structure is essentially un-altered.

I've got one in mind, but I'm curious as to what others think. A few potential candidates:

Strasburg Railroad, line is still original but the track has been upgraded significantly and the rolling stock is different now.
Other than the right of way, the only original fabric we have is Plymouth #1, and the ex-Pennsy box car**. It's doubtful if we even have any rail still in place from the previous managment, other than the 155 lb PRR rail on our passing track and interchange at Leaman Place.

**Not counting the occasional link and pin that gets dug up during track work.

I would vote for the Nevada Northern. I don't follow them closely, but I don't believe that they have imported any offline equipment, or built any new equipment. Even EBT couldn't say that.


The two main excursion cars in the NN fleet are ex-commuter cars from another railroad (Illinois Central if my memory serves?). The original NN passenger cars are normally stored in the RIP building and are only used for special events. The SD9 on the line is an ex-SP unit, but I consider it authentic since it first came to Ely to work ore trains in the 90's during the brief freight revival on the line. Then there a few moribund ALCOs (one from Magma, Az the other two ex-army)used as part sources for the NN's operating fleet of ex-KCC ALCOs.

Other than the aftermentioned rolling stock, and a few changes like the recent work on the wye in Keystone; I'd dare say the NN is the leader in standard gauge 'fabric' that is still intact.


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Still Operating with the Most Original Fabric
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:06 am 

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:05 pm
Posts: 890
The Northwest Railway Museum is operating with almost all of the rail and ties that were in place when they got the line from the BN in the 1970s. A few sticks of rail date to the line's construction in the late 1880s. Three original buildings are still on the line as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Still Operating with the Most Original Fabric
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:07 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:07 pm
Posts: 558
Location: B'more Maryland
K.R. Bell wrote:
No doubt, the Stewartstown RR falls into this category. Most of the right-of-way, equipment and bridges are intact, as are the records, etc. They have done some track work and added some new equipment but essentially everything is as it was 50-60 years ago.



This is the absolute right answer.

That place is like a time capsule.


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Still Operating with the Most Original Fabric
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:29 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:50 pm
Posts: 151
Location: www.easttroyrr.org
The East Troy Electric Railroad Museum in East Troy Wisconsin. It has been in continuous operation since 1908 from Mukwonago to East Troy. The original length of the line stretched all the way to Milwaukee until it was cut back in 1939, after which the village of ET purchased the last 7.5 miles to keep freight service for local industries. The original substation building is still in existence and used as a station/gift shop. The original interurban passenger station which was also the station agent's home, sits along side the tracks as a private residence.

https://www.easttroyrr.org/


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Still Operating with the Most Original Fabric
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:20 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 358
Location: Clayton NC
I haven't researched these so I don't know:
How original are Cass Scenic and
Georgetown Loop?

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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Still Operating with the Most Original Fabric
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:24 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 358
Location: Clayton NC
If you want to think outside the US, the Isle of Man's railroads, streetcars and horsecars sure are top contenders in this category.

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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Still Operating with the Most Original Fabric
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:32 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 951
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Durango and Silverton, Cumbres and Toltec, WP&YR and EBT are certainly the most original fabric as all of the rolling stock, locomotives and facilities are original to the properties. Yes, even the coaches on the C&T can be considered original as they were built on freight car frames that are historically connected to the property. Strasburg (while a first class railroad) would be a couple of places lower as the route and structures have been altered significantly and few, if any of the rolling stock or locomotive were built for the original Strasburg Rail Road. The only significant historic fabric is the railroad's charter.

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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Still Operating with the Most Original Fabric
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:48 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9278
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
Two other potential nominees from abroad:

Ffestiniog and Tallylyn, both Welsh narrow gauges with lots of original locos and rolling stock, augmented by some new-construction rolling stock (of which some was built on the premises).

Even in Britain, it's fairly hard to get the holy trifecta of original right-of-way/stations, locos that worked the line (or we'll take the same exact class), and original rolling stock. But there are lines that come darned close--Kent & East Sussex, Bluebell, Isle of Wight Steam Railway, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Still Operating with the Most Original Fabric
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:59 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 951
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
Two other potential nominees from abroad:

Ffestiniog and Tallylyn, both Welsh narrow gauges with lots of original locos and rolling stock, augmented by some new-construction rolling stock (of which some was built on the premises).

Even in Britain, it's fairly hard to get the holy trifecta of original right-of-way/stations, locos that worked the line (or we'll take the same exact class), and original rolling stock. But there are lines that come darned close--Kent & East Sussex, Bluebell, Isle of Wight Steam Railway, etc.


So true. I picked up an updated directory of UK steam locomotives and Ffestiniog is building ANOTHER Double Fairlie! That and there are at least two or three more new steam locomotives under construction.

I believe that the Snowdon Mountain Railway might be another candidate.

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"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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