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 Post subject: B&O William Mason/Erik Ledbetter Q
PostPosted: Sat May 08, 1999 8:58 am 

a couple of questions regarding the brief on the B&O suspending rail operations, what sort of ridership did that have and what kind of fare was being charged? also, does his end the tank engine's overhaul and/or preclude any operation of william mason just for show?? <br><br>



Wrinnbo@aol.com


  
 
 Post subject: Re: B&O William Mason/Erik Ledbetter Q
PostPosted: Sat May 08, 1999 9:21 am 

Regarding Jim Wrinn's question, I hope that the B&O Museum does not give up the of running the "Mason" or the "Tom Thumb" or "Layfayette" replicas. These are great opportunities to draw more than just the usual crowds of railfans and rail historians to this museum. <br>My family and I attended both "Live Steam Weekends" this past year and got to ride behind both the "Layfayette" (in the Imlay Coach replicas) as well as the "William Mason" (aka "The Wanderer"). I also got a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream to ride in the cab of a steam locomotive- and it happened to be the one that starred in one of the first movies I saw as a liitle kid- "The Great Locomotive Chase" ("William Mason" as "The General") I thank engineer Harold Dorsey for his hospitality and readiness to answer all the questions I showered him with. <br>I saw many more such families there introducing their children to the lore of railroads and their history. These kids are the future railfans, historians and museum patrons of tomorrow. Live operations at a museum is a definite plus and an added draw for any museum. I applaud the B&O Museum's decision to move on with the restoration of the 0-4-0 to establish regular steam operations, but am dissappointed in the suspension of their rail operations for these reasons. <br>



JMFouchard@aol.com


  
 
 Post subject: Re: B&O William Mason/Erik Ledbetter Q
PostPosted: Sun May 09, 1999 3:47 pm 

I would expect that you'll still see the Tom Thumb, Lafayette and/or Wanderer operate at least two to three time a year. Harold Dorsey and Dwayne McCoy are both qualified trainmen and engineers, and George Harwood, the increadibly talented master mechanic and usual engineer for the replicas, are all still on the paid staff.<p>Moreover, though public excursions will cease, the Museum will have to do a minimum of workaday operating just to manage the collection-- the tracks are so jammed with equipment that you have to switch half the yard to get one car into the roundhouse or the shops building. This means that there will surely be diesel operations to support museum collections management and probably therefore a nucleaus of qualified volunteer crewmen as well.<p>All of that said, a few days of ceremonial operation and some slow speed local switching in the immediate yard area are a long way away from a regular interpretive operating program over the First Mile. My suspicion is this suspension is going to be a lot longer than three years-- maybe even permanent.<p>Among the questions: it'll still cost about 500K to really refurbish a coach to the standards both the riding public and preservationists have a right to expect: where will the money come from, esecially with no current operating program to demonstate the need? 2. The St. E's 0-4-0 is a truly tiny engine-- I'm not persuaded that it can haul enough tonnage (say, even two full lightweight coaches) to be economical itself. 3. Track is like cars, boats, stationary engines, and all manner of other technology-- the best way to keep it usable is to use it and maintain it. Suspending regular operations makes it tempting to defer trackwork-- making the resumption of full-scale operations less rather than more likely.<p>In other words, though reported the Museum's plans and hopes in good faith on behalf of RyPN, personally I have my doubts. You may be able to see switching with 1st-generation diesels if you're lucky, and catch a short shuttle ride behind the small steam once or twice a year, but the museum's systematic program of iterpreting the mid-twentieth-century era of railroading<br>through operations is, I fear, going to be squandered.<p>Perhaps it most be-- perhaps the budget really won't stretch that far. It's a defensible position. But at the moment I'd view the carrot of future operations with steam as much less probable than the stick of current suspension.<p>Sorry for the hard words, but I feel a bit blue about this all.<p><br>



ledbetter@rypn.org


  
 
 Post subject: Re: B&O William Mason/Erik Ledbetter Q
PostPosted: Sun May 09, 1999 3:51 pm 

Sorry Jim, you did ask some specific questions and I gave you a monologue instead. The excurstion fare this past year was, I beleive, $2.00 in addition to $7.00 for admission to the Museum itself. I will try to confirm. Unfortunately I have no ridership statistics, but I'll try to get that as well. <br>



eledbetter@rypn.org


  
 
 Post subject: Re: B&O William Mason/Erik Ledbetter Q
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 1999 6:59 am 

Eric and Jim,<p>The above figures are correct.<p>Kevin<br>



kevingillespie@usa.net


  
 
 Post subject: thanks erik, but it seems....
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 1999 9:38 am 

erik, thanks for the info, and also for your sermon and i want you to know i dropped my change in the collection plate when i renewed my B&O membership the other day; as far as cutting goes, it seems that ending a potentially lucrative revenue source when one is in the hole doesn't quite make sense; i know that at spencer, our on-site operation is a major part of our annual budget; perhaps it needs to be better promoted instead of ended? <br>



wrinnbo@aol.com


  
 
 Post subject: Re: thanks erik, but it seems....
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 1999 1:58 pm 

I second Jim Wrinn's comments. My family's attending the Live Steam Days at the museum, as well as the fact that the museum became a popular half day trip for us finally got me to cough up and pay for a membership. But the live rail operations, whether diesel or the steam specials were an attraction for us, particularily my son (thus the family membership). Can we write and express ourselves- or is it too late?<br>



JMFouchard@aol.com


  
 
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