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 Post subject: CP 2816/excursions: Officially Dead?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:46 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9282
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
The following text showed up in my inbox from two different "cowardly" sources this morning, both of the eager-to-rumormonger-but-refusing-to-let-their-names-be-attached-to-them school of railfandom. Then it showed up in the subscription-to-access Train.com forums (emphasis added by yours truly; RCP apparently refers to the Royal Canadian Pacific land-cruise luxury train):

Quote:
Hunter Harrison was in town today for one of many town hall meetings they have had across Canada. He and all the other big boys were here. It was held at the Poco Inn and Suites situated across the street from Coquitlam yard from 09:00 to 12:00 today. There were 80 to 100 people there in the audience, mostly from here but there were some from Revelstoke and Cranbrook. I and a couple of other recently retired pensioners attended as well as quite a few of my former co-workers and XXXX as he was off. He opened it up to a Q and A near the end. I got up to speak at the microphone and asked him what his position was on the Heritage program citing the Christmas Train; RCP and the 2816. I mentioned how the UP has had a steam program for 50 years and the NS had one until Bob Claytor retired and passed away. Hunter cut in and said to me right away, "And Bob Claytor managed to turn over a steam engine while he was there". Hunter doesn't miss a thing. I should have known he would have known about that accident many years ago although I don't think it had anything to do with the steam engine he was driving. He then said "I hate steam engines". The audience chuckled when he said that. "They are expensive to run; the liability is too high and they serve no useful purpose" He never did touch on the RCP. He did say he will continue to run the Christmas train. He then said the company contributed over a million dollars to the relief fund in New York City after Hurricane Sandy and was quick to point out that the Norfolk Southern only donated $100,000.00. He seems to have an answer for everything.


The Trains.com forum thread, for subscribers, is at http://cs.trains.com/trn/f/111/t/215166.aspx


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 Post subject: Re: CP 2816/excursions: Officially Dead?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:35 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1853
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Well at least he gave a straight answer and you know where he stands. I have a close friend who worked for him for a good while and he reports to me that as long as EHH is at the top you can totally forget about steam running on the CPRR.

Hunter's answer sure confirms that.

Thank goodness for Wick Moorman!!

Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: CP 2816/excursions: Officially Dead?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:36 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1203
Location: Back in NE Ohio
Mr. Claytor didn't turn over a steam locomotive, a track defect caused a wheel to pick a switch and derailed several coaches, if I recall correctly. After that incident, there hasn't been a serious mainline excursion accident in the U. S. since. (As far as safety is concerned, I'd rather be on just about any excursion train than driving in rush hour traffic in any major American city any day of the week.) He conflates the history of the locomotive (611 did indeed turn over in a regular service wreck in the mid-1950's) involved with the wreck he was recalling. While CP doesn't have to do anything it doesn't want to do, Mr. Harrison's comments at minimum make him sound like a sourpuss, which does nothing for CP's community relations. Not living in the Great White North, hopefully my comments will not hurt the preservation community up there - just the observations of an ugly American.


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 Post subject: Re: CP 2816/excursions: Officially Dead?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:03 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:57 am
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Location: Faulkland, Delaware
Mr. Harrison has a reputation as a ruthless cost cutting bottom liner who will push the limits of labour contracts, regulations, and his management staff. I've never met, worked for, or with him, but he lives up to his reputation it seems like the end of a lot of fluffy stuff. Corporate donations are different, whip out the checkbook and make sure the right people know where the money is coming form, they can have a lot of strategic impact well beyond the intended charity.

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 Post subject: Re: CP 2816/excursions: Officially Dead?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:31 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1821
"They are expensive to run; the liability is too high and they serve no useful purpose"

Old adage: Beware of people that know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. NS is buying an awful lot of goodwill with their 21st steam program, and doing it the right way-partnerships with specialists with proven operational and safety records.

And in other omens of the apocolypse, I find myself in absolute agreement with Ross.

I believe the barristers would call this "hearsay", but when you look on CP's website and click the button for "Historic Steam Train"

http://www.cpr.ca/en/our-network-and-fa ... team+Train

You are provided with a box that allows you to see if the HOLIDAY train is coming to your area. I'll make another less than beyond a reasonable doubt observation: inoperative website buttons are a favorite tactic of corporate managements that want things to go away quietly. (Our acrimonious disapproval is "quiet")

Unfortunately, it's unlikely that Bill Ackman, the "activist investor", (that only means that the media likes you, otherwise they call you a "corporate raider") who orchestrated Harrison's installation is likely to engineer his removal anytime soon. Since Harrison took over, CP's stock price is up like a rocket, blowing the doors off other railroads and the popular indices.

Whether or not the rise is attributable to Harrison and his policies, (He was named Chm & CEO on 6/29/2012) it is coincident and that's the kind of thing that gets your face on the cover of Fortune and Forbes and not let go.

They could always return the engine to Steamtown if they don't want it.


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 Post subject: Re: CP 2816/excursions: Officially Dead?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:48 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9282
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
And now, "The REST of the story," or at least official dispute/denial, as being reported by Trains Newswire:

http://trn.trains.com/en/Railroad%20New ... versy.aspx

I won't reprint the entire content of the Newswire post, but there's one "money quote":
Quote:
Contacted by Trains News Wire about the comments, CP spokesman Ed Greenberg said he talked with others who were at the meeting taking notes, and what their notes show does not line up with the comments made in the email.


And now you see why I called the sources "eager-to-rumormonger". (One who e-mailed me the "anonymous" quote is a byline frequently seen in rail magazines and NRHS photographs.)


Last edited by Alexander D. Mitchell IV on Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: CP 2816/excursions: Officially Dead?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:53 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
Posts: 2528
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Lest we forget.....

Mr. Harrison is employed by the Board of Directors ("BOD") of Canadian Pacific ("CP") to run the railroad. I cannot think of a single CEO or executive-level railroad officer who was hired for the explicit purpose of bringing a steam program to the railroad.

Steam Programs are a luxury. The reason we have been able to enjoy the UP and SOU/NS and the current NS program is because those railroads were historically PROFITABLE and well managed. Mr. Harrison was brought on board because investors felt that CP was underperforming. There have been some excellent articles in Trains by Don Phillips about this. It appears that CP performed rather mediocrely under their last leader, with many inefficiencies. The BOD owes a fiduciary duty to the stockholders to manage the company in a way that benefits the stockholders. In other words, CP exists to make money for the stockholders by providing a service (hauling items from Point A to Point B). It does not exist for your aesthetic enjoyment, so that you may snap photos of pretty red diesels pulling strings of freight cars through the Canadian Rockies.

We can sit here and discuss until we are all blue in the face how steam programs help corporate image, etc. However, as true as that may seem, the only long-lasting corporate steam programs were operated by railroads that were historically profitable and well managed. SOU 630 and 722 owe their continued existence as much to Big John Hoppers, D.W. Brosnan, L. Stanley Crane and the birth of unit trains as much as they do to Graham Claytor. Claytor was able to do what he did because the stockholders were very happy, and SOU was making money at a time when many railroads were not. The same goes to UP and the Harriman family, which played a big role into at least the 1960s, keeping the railroad a strong force in the industry.

If NS or UP were to suddenly become unprofitable, I can imagine what some of the first items cut would be. Stockholders would and should riot of those companies were not making money, but the company spent millions maintaining steam locomotives and an excursion program.

As gruff as Mr. Harrison sounds, as much as the brotherhoods do not like him, and as much as we can nitpick at the accuracy of what he (allegedly) said, the end result is that steam programs cost money. Keeping 2816 operating costs money. Right not, at least, that money could probably be better spent improving the competitive stance of CP. Sure, donations cost money too, but sometimes you cannot do both.

It seems to me that Mr. Harrison has targeted what he wants to do at the helm of CP. Steam may or may not be part of these plans. In the end, history and his employers, the stockholders of CP will judge him on his performance.

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 Post subject: Re: CP 2816/excursions: Officially Dead?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:55 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:30 pm
Posts: 217
I do hope this story is untrue. I love the 2816 and have seen her three times when she visited the Twin Cities, including her spectacular doubleheader with the 261.

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 Post subject: Re: CP 2816/excursions: Officially Dead?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:23 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:04 pm
Posts: 63
Of course, the question now becomes: What happens on the CP in the US as there is a large engine just rebuilt in the Twin Cities...................................... under Amtrak auspices or not?


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 Post subject: Re: CP 2816/excursions: Officially Dead?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:51 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9282
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
East of Eden wrote:
Of course, the question now becomes: What happens on the CP in the US as there is a large engine just rebuilt in the Twin Cities...................................... under Amtrak auspices or not?


(o.O)

In what way does that "become the question"?


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 Post subject: Re: CP 2816/excursions: Officially Dead?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:03 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:27 pm
Posts: 114
Location: Flat Rock, MI
MILW 261 depends on CP/Soo trackage to get to and from their locations Alex. However, with the break in runs scheduled soon, and her first public debut and trip in a few years coming in May, it does beg the question of what will happen in the future. I seem to recall MILW 261 break in runs were with CP freight in tow in years past. The Amtrak certification will more than likely cover Passenger Operations.

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 Post subject: Re: CP 2816/excursions: Officially Dead?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:10 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:04 pm
Posts: 63
That is what I was trying to express.


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 Post subject: Re: CP 2816/excursions: Officially Dead?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:56 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1821
"The BOD owes a fiduciary duty to the stockholders to manage the company in a way that benefits the stockholders. In other words, CP exists to make money for the stockholders by providing a service (hauling items from Point A to Point B). It does not exist for your aesthetic enjoyment, so that you may snap photos of pretty red diesels pulling strings of freight cars through the Canadian Rockies."

Counselor: While these duties are indisputable, we all know that they are fulfilled with a significant degree of latitude, and at least one commenter I have read (Bainbridge-of UCLA see Northwestern University Law Review in 2003 Vol 97 No 2.) supports something called "director primacy" that makes stockholders something between residual claimants (as a matter of course, not just in dissolution) and beggars-reducing their rights to buying and selling stocks and receiving whatever dividends the BOD sees fit to delare and pay; but never ever ever attempting to exercise ownership rights in the traditional sense. I don't agree, find the idea of director primacy to be a revolting attack on private property-making companies into little plutocratic enclaves.

My point is that everybody not associated with anticapitalist movements, anarchists and some people in high office agree that companies are to be run to benefit shareholders and not for unrelated people; especially those afflicted by a peculiar form of voyeurism, but the details and implications are very much in dispute.

It seems what you are saying is that since these activities don't generate revenue, but expenditures, its a tough case to prove that they enhance shareholder value.

Let's stipulate that is true. Why then is he bragging about the amount directed to a particular charitable effort, especially one outside the national boundaries of his company (albeit where it does business).

My point is, if it were true that the steam program is being suspended as a result of some fidelity to fiduciary duty, it's not being applied consistently. What you say about "pretty red diesels" applies to these charitable donations (that, let's be honest-accrue more to the benefit of the executives handing out novelty checks than shareholders). The latter in my judgment is worse, since it makes you a "mark" for further supplication. Most companies are not only expending far more in charitable contributions ( directly, diverting shareholder wealth, and of course by maintaining large staffs of people dedicated to identifying, assessing and dispensing money that they did nothing to generate) that it would cost to run 2816, but get dern little goodwill for it.

The defense here is rightful authority, not a presumption of fidelity to shareholder duty. But of course, we can lament the loss, if in fact it is occurring.


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 Post subject: Re: CP 2816/excursions: Officially Dead?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:12 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1853
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Gentlemen, We're burning a lot of bandwidth. It's real simple...if the CEO likes celebrating his companies heritage and believes that steam represents an effective way to do that, then steam lives on his railroad....if not, forget it.

Real life examples are there to see in both camps before our very eyes.

Nuff said.

Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: CP 2816/excursions: Officially Dead?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:33 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
Posts: 2528
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
superheater wrote:
"The BOD owes a fiduciary duty to the stockholders to manage the company in a way that benefits the stockholders. In other words, CP exists to make money for the stockholders by providing a service (hauling items from Point A to Point B). It does not exist for your aesthetic enjoyment, so that you may snap photos of pretty red diesels pulling strings of freight cars through the Canadian Rockies."

Counselor: While these duties are indisputable, we all know that they are fulfilled with a significant degree of latitude, and at least one commenter I have read (Bainbridge-of UCLA see Northwestern University Law Review in 2003 Vol 97 No 2.) supports something called "director primacy" that makes stockholders something between residual claimants (as a matter of course, not just in dissolution) and beggars-reducing their rights to buying and selling stocks and receiving whatever dividends the BOD sees fit to delare and pay; but never ever ever attempting to exercise ownership rights in the traditional sense. I don't agree, find the idea of director primacy to be a revolting attack on private property-making companies into little plutocratic enclaves.

My point is that everybody not associated with anticapitalist movements, anarchists and some people in high office agree that companies are to be run to benefit shareholders and not for unrelated people; especially those afflicted by a peculiar form of voyeurism, but the details and implications are very much in dispute.

It seems what you are saying is that since these activities don't generate revenue, but expenditures, its a tough case to prove that they enhance shareholder value.

Let's stipulate that is true. Why then is he bragging about the amount directed to a particular charitable effort, especially one outside the national boundaries of his company (albeit where it does business).

My point is, if it were true that the steam program is being suspended as a result of some fidelity to fiduciary duty, it's not being applied consistently. What you say about "pretty red diesels" applies to these charitable donations (that, let's be honest-accrue more to the benefit of the executives handing out novelty checks than shareholders). The latter in my judgment is worse, since it makes you a "mark" for further supplication. Most companies are not only expending far more in charitable contributions ( directly, diverting shareholder wealth, and of course by maintaining large staffs of people dedicated to identifying, assessing and dispensing money that they did nothing to generate) that it would cost to run 2816, but get dern little goodwill for it.

The defense here is rightful authority, not a presumption of fidelity to shareholder duty. But of course, we can lament the loss, if in fact it is occurring.


Mr. Heater, you can address me by my name, which I gladly post and stand behind. No need for "counselor." I just read that as you saying it with some form of contempt, which is bit ironic, since you do not disclose your name (for good reasons, or bad, not for me to judge).

I think we are really talking past each other. I was just preemptively striking against the chain of railfan comments that would stem from Mr. Harrison's (alleged) comments. "They NEED to run steam." "The need to restore a CP 4-8-4!" etc.

If in fact CP gave $1,000,000.00 to Sandy relief efforts, I feel that he probably decided the money would get more "bang for the buck" to those he perceives as "mattering." I'm just saying that a company like CP, which is viewed as underperforming, probably couldn't get away with running 2816, especially after the "shareholder revolt" that installed Mr. Harrison and his management team.

Mr. Rowland is also right. The direction any company takes depends on the focus and interests of management. Some railroads are interested in heritage, others are not. It isn't necessarily good or bad, but it shows that there are different management styles, different priorities, and different consequences as a result of these priorities. Just because a decision doesn't make the railfans happy, does not mean that it is bad for the company.

In the end, this is an academic discussion, as the veracity of the alleged comments are being disputed. I'm a bit surprised that Trains would quote such lightly-sourced information.

In the end, you should be grateful for those companies that do celebrate their heritage. You should also express your thanks, in writing to those in charge at those companies who do dabble in things that exist for your esthetic pleasure. I did this past summer after seeing UP 844 pass at speed through Kirkwood, MO.

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