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 Post subject: Re: mainline steam in 2022
PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2021 8:28 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:36 am
Posts: 418
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
During normal times a large part of the the Alaska Railroad's business is passengers and they have been a strong ally during the restoration of ARR-557. We are hoping to do some testing and training in late 2022.


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 Post subject: Re: mainline steam in 2022
PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2021 8:57 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
co2707 wrote:
steamfan765 wrote:
I'm sure insurance play's a role in operations too.


The insurance requirement is just a smoke screen and an easy way to say "NO".


Not necessarily.
If we legitimately consider the actual possibilities of another Great Dismal Swamp derailment, even if it were to occur from a broken rail or a truck plowing into the train at a crossing, even the "sky-high" insurance demands of a railroad like CSX are inadequate in a litigation-heavy nation. People in this business have claimed that had the Dismal Swamp wreck killed someone and/or had been a public rather than employee excursion, not only would there be no hope of mainline steam excursions ever again (save the UP-style show train of 4014 with no riders), but we might not even have Strasburg, Grand Canyon, Durango, EBT, etc.

It is a railroad legal department's fiduciary responsibility to reduce financial risk to the shareholders. It's up to their superiors--the Claytors, the Moormans, the Lewises, etc.--to overrule them if they desire to.


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 Post subject: Re: mainline steam in 2022
PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2021 10:11 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:10 am
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Book a trip to England in the Summer of 2022 and there will be more mainline steam at high speeds than you could possibly see in one trip.

If you want ride at over 40 mph on legendary routes, it’s your best bet unless Metra trips return.

The U.K. is where it’s at for mainline steam right now. There are some interesting things happening across Europe and - apparently - Russia, but nothing on the scale of the U.K.

Rob


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 Post subject: Re: mainline steam in 2022
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2021 2:49 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
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Location: Sackets Harbor, NY
Two points;

1. Liability Insurance is far from a trivial matter. Unless a trip is run under the Amtrak banner and Amtrak allows the sponsoring entity to " piggyback" on its insurance coverage and liability limits set by Congress protecting the class 1 railroad, the amount of liability insurance needed ( absolute minimum of $ 300 MM with very small (( $ 10K )) deductible) if purchased in the commercial market will carry a premium that will make the excursion fiscally unfeasible. In other words let's say you're able to find an underwriter for a one day, $ 300 MM liability policy with a $ 10K deductible and it agrees to the coverage including the railroads multi page " hold harmless" stipulations ( which basically say that ANYTHING bad that occurs will be the fault of the sponsoring group, not the railroad ) they're going to want a premium somewhere between $ 25,000 and $ 75,000. So, if you've got 500 seats to sell the insurance alone will run you somewhere between $ 50 and $ 150 a seat JUST for the insurance policy.

In today's climate I highly doubt you'd be able to find a willing underwriter as the " hold harmless" language is so onerous that no one in their right mind would agree to it.
In street language it says that if there is a horrible wreck caused by a combination of inferior track, an unqualified crew and malfunctioning signals the railroad will not be held responsible but rather the sponsoring outfit will be.

2. Rob's post above is spot on. If you hunger for mainline steam that runs without diesel(s) in the consist and at track speeds up to 90 mph then do yourself the favor of booking a week or two in the UK this summer and make reservations on a host of mainline steam trips run the right way. Many of them carry 1st. class cars including beautifully restored and operated dining cars serving really great meals. If you so desire you can ride a different mainline steam trip nearly every day you're there. Many sell out so book your space asap.

Safe travels, Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: mainline steam in 2022
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:07 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
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Quote:
Book a trip to England in the Summer of 2022 and there will be more mainline steam at high speeds than you could possibly see in one trip.


Further afield, the Atlantic Steam trips from Cape Town to Simon's Town in South Africa are as close to vintage Southern steam program in the US as you will find post Dismal Swamp. Open window first generation coaches are pulled at track speed by steam on a busy commuter mainline.

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: mainline steam in 2022
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2021 10:31 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
co614 wrote:
Two points;

1. Liability Insurance is far from a trivial matter. Unless a trip is run under the Amtrak banner and Amtrak allows the sponsoring entity to " piggyback" on its insurance coverage and liability limits set by Congress protecting the class 1 railroad, the amount of liability insurance needed ( absolute minimum of $ 300 MM with very small (( $ 10K )) deductible) if purchased in the commercial market will carry a premium that will make the excursion fiscally unfeasible. In other words let's say you're able to find an underwriter for a one day, $ 300 MM liability policy with a $ 10K deductible and it agrees to the coverage including the railroads multi page " hold harmless" stipulations ( which basically say that ANYTHING bad that occurs will be the fault of the sponsoring group, not the railroad ) they're going to want a premium somewhere between $ 25,000 and $ 75,000. So, if you've got 500 seats to sell the insurance alone will run you somewhere between $ 50 and $ 150 a seat JUST for the insurance policy.

In today's climate I highly doubt you'd be able to find a willing underwriter as the " hold harmless" language is so onerous that no one in their right mind would agree to it.
In street language it says that if there is a horrible wreck caused by a combination of inferior track, an unqualified crew and malfunctioning signals the railroad will not be held responsible but rather the sponsoring outfit will be.

2. Rob's post above is spot on. If you hunger for mainline steam that runs without diesel(s) in the consist and at track speeds up to 90 mph then do yourself the favor of booking a week or two in the UK this summer and make reservations on a host of mainline steam trips run the right way. Many of them carry 1st. class cars including beautifully restored and operated dining cars serving really great meals. If you so desire you can ride a different mainline steam trip nearly every day you're there. Many sell out so book your space asap.

Safe travels, Ross Rowland


So, statistically one of the problems here is the "one time" trip schedule. The risk exposure for one trip is X. But the risk exposure for two trips in the same time window (say 1 year) is not 2X, it is less. So operators who can justify and make economically feasible multiple copies of the same trip, are in much better position to obtain an insurance coverage than operators who wish to make a one-time, non-repeat excursion.

That is one of the reasons that Strasburg can get an insurance policy, but a mainline occasional excursion operator has challenges. The more unique, and unusual a trip is, the more risk the insurance must cover, and the more expensive the insurance policy. Likewise, the UK operators have more trip frequency to spread the insurance costs over.

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 Post subject: Re: mainline steam in 2022
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:49 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 2017
Location: Sackets Harbor, NY
Not really Mr. Harrod. Strasburg is an established, low speed operator with a long term track record as are the other established tourist short lines.

As I explained above the main sticking point with trying to insure a mainline excursion is the hold harmless language which really does say that no matter the facts at issue anything bad that happens will be the fault of the excursion sponsor not the railroad.

Frequency is not the issue.

Again, the only fiscally feasible way to run a mainline excursion in today's reality in the USA is to operate under either the Amtrak or a transit agency's banner. Other that that it won't work.

Sad but true. Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: mainline steam in 2022
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 3:32 pm 

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 10:30 pm
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Location: Bucks County, PA
mcgrath618 wrote:
Definitely don’t take anything for granted, but also don’t pretend like there’s nothing on the horizon. I know people are working hard behind the scenes to get steam running on the main line. Keep a close eye on places like Philadelphia.


This I'd find hard to believe. Aside from New Hope & Ivyland taking steam out on SEPTA once a couple of years ago, there's been - what - in mainline steam in the Philly area in recent years? Not a lot.

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 Post subject: Re: mainline steam in 2022
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 3:57 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
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Regarding insurance. My limited understanding is it’s not actually possible to buy the insurance. You have to be under Amtrak or the Mainline railroads insurance.


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 Post subject: Re: mainline steam in 2022
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 5:22 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:06 pm
Posts: 30
I believe the insurance is readily available, but as stated earlier they are annual policies. You simply can't spread the cost over enough passengers to make it work. It seems to me like the answer to the insurance issue would be some sort of a pooled policy among various operations. I'm not sure how that could be done legally and with minimal risk. Perhaps a third party could be formed to carry the insurance policy and serve as the operator of the excursions. Then then individual locomotives could be leased to run the trains.

In addition to insurance a 3rd party that is capable of running multiple series of excursions on various railroads could also go a long way in developing a good working relationship with the host railroads. There are a lot of underlying reasons why railroads want no part of excursions but one of them is perception amount management that they are dealing with a bunch of non-experienced guys/gals who want to go out and play with their choo choo train.


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 Post subject: Re: mainline steam in 2022
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 5:29 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:03 pm
Posts: 16
Location: Southeast PA
co614 wrote:
Two points;

2. Rob's post above is spot on. If you hunger for mainline steam that runs without diesel(s) in the consist and at track speeds up to 90 mph then do yourself the favor of booking a week or two in the UK this summer and make reservations on a host of mainline steam trips run the right way. Many of them carry 1st. class cars including beautifully restored and operated dining cars serving really great meals. If you so desire you can ride a different mainline steam trip nearly every day you're there. Many sell out so book your space asap.

Safe travels, Ross Rowland


Ross, in summary, could you explain why there are so many mainline steam without diesels in the UK compared to the US?

Is it that there is more leniency/ greater interest from host railroads, not as strict PTC (or similar train control) regulations, or is there lower insurance coverage? Or a combination of those factors?

Not sure if this is an answerable question, it might be an 'apples and oranges' situation. Always appreciate hearing your wisdom and expertise in these discussions!


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 Post subject: Re: mainline steam in 2022
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:37 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
PRR8063 wrote:
Is it that there is more leniency/ greater interest from host railroads, not as strict PTC (or similar train control) regulations, or is there lower insurance coverage? Or a combination of those factors?

Not sure if this is an answerable question, it might be an 'apples and oranges' situation.


More like apples and unicorns. Or PC versus Mac.

1) Britain isn't litigation-overrun. Accicents are seen as accidents, not "lottery wins."

2) The legal and corporate structure of Britain's rail network is similar to that of most denationalised rail networks now, including most of the EU and Japan: The government owns the network through a quasi-public (like Amtrak) holding company, and companies acquire rights to operate over said lines. A rail excursion operator has to negotiate with the Train Operating Companies for such things as right, schedules, and fees.

3) The British steam trains (and even diesels, for that matter) now have to operate with an approved diesel for a combination of emergency back-up, ETH (Electric Train Heat, our HEP), and compatibility with their equivalents of PTC. This is usually handled on the rear of such specials--don't get any ideas of an observation car on the rear.

4) Certain steam specials like the well-known Settle & Carlisle or Fort William-Mallaig "Jacobite," might as well be running on the Grand Canyon Ry. or the Blue Mountain & Reading--they're on a dead-line off at the end of a lightly-used area of track, not anything like electrified territory or commuter districts.

There's a lot more to everything than just that, but that's a start............

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mainline_ ... at_Britain


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 Post subject: Re: mainline steam in 2022
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:57 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 2017
Location: Sackets Harbor, NY
Mr. Mitchell's comments are IMHO on target with the exception of the diesel matter. In 2019 ( last year of normal operations pre-Pandemic) about 55% of all UK mainline steam powered excursions ran without a diesel in the consist. Diesels on the rear of steam excursion trains are there on runs where there are no turning facilities on the destination end with the diesel providing the leading power to return to the origin point.

Nearly all steam excursions cars " vans" are equipped with a hybrid battery/steam system to provide lights/heat vs. HEP.

The Wikipedia linked page does a credible job and worth reading.

Again, if it's track speed mainline steam you crave make your way to the UK. You'll be glad you did.

IMHO-Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: mainline steam in 2022
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:16 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
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Location: Philadelphia, PA
How NH&I ran the steam train is interesting.

First both SEPTA and NH&I are passenger operators and are insured. It was on SEPTA's railroad with their operating crews. There was hourly regular SEPTA service in each direction.

At the time, PTC was not FRA mandatory but SEPTA had it in service on the Lansdale-Doylestown line. (CSS-ACSES) The steam engine (NH&I 40) was not equipped.

For the trips beween North Wales and Lansdale the steam train ran as a push-pull with NH&I 40 on the outbound end and a SEPTA hybrid diesel (CSS-ACSES equipped) on the inbound end. Each would pull in the appropriate direction. Regular service ran single-track between the Gwynedd Valley crossover and Lansdale on the outbound (No. 2) track. The steam train had exclusive possession of the inbound (No. 1) track.

Thus the engine on the end going toward the rest of SEPTA's railroad was fully PTC equipped and the engine on the end going toward the Bethlehem Industrial Track (dark territory) was not PTC equipped.

Phil Mulligan


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 Post subject: Re: mainline steam in 2022
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:41 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 971
BM765 wrote:
I believe the insurance is readily available, but as stated earlier they are annual policies. You simply can't spread the cost over enough passengers to make it work.


That’s not my understanding. I may be wrong though.


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