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 Post subject: Builders plates from PRESERVED RDG FP-7s on eBay!!
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2003 1:06 am 

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 2171054504 EMD plate from Reading 903

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 2171055447 BOTH plates from Reading 900

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 2171054813 One plate from Reading 902

So what's the bloody story here? Were these stolen before the locos were preserved? Since the locos are still in existence, I can't see how the plates could have been legally acquired from the loco or its owners.

There IS an out: EMD WILL sell a replacement plate to a registered EMD's owner, or so I am told. But is this the case here? I sincerely doubt it. Besides, they charge a LOT.

Worse, this eBay member had the chutzpah to promote his auctions on the alt.railroad newsgroup!


lner4472@bcpl.net


  
 
 Post subject: Re: Builders plates from PRESERVED RDG FP-7s on eB
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2003 10:52 am 

Something like this needs instant action. The thief is fencing the "goods" on E-bay which has become nothing more than a criminal bazaar!

You would think that this crook would at least offer them to the owners of the engines in return for a charitable deduction. This creep most likely doesn't even file a tax return!!!!

If we do not do something about this then we are only condoning this kind of anti-social criminal behavior.

BTW, The UP turned us onto a sign company in Omaha that produces replica EMD "footballs" with all the correct data made out of vinyl. They are perfect, inexpensive, and have no mechancial fastening devices. A perfect solution!

v-scarpitti@att.net


  
 
 Post subject: Re: Builders plates from PRESERVED RDG FP-7s on eB
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2003 11:45 am 

> Something like this needs instant action.
> The thief is fencing the "goods"
> on E-bay which has become nothing more than
> a criminal bazaar!

> You would think that this crook would at
> least offer them to the owners of the
> engines in return for a charitable
> deduction. This creep most likely doesn't
> even file a tax return!!!!

Ummmm, Bennett, for Peter Cottontail's sake, CALM DOWN.

We are forced to acknowledge the distinct possibility that this person has inherited the plates from a relative, is only going off the data on the back written in wax pencil, and has NO idea the locomotives are preserved.

I took the liberty of examining photos of 900 and 903 taken during their last hours of Reading service in March 1976. I cannot find the plates. Moreover, I know where to look, as I can see them from a long ways off in photos from the 1960s-- on the sides of the cab, below the number, about a foot above the frame and forward of the cab ladder. My assumption is that these plates were misplaced or stolen off the locomotives either by an employee at the Reading Shops in Reading or by a "railfan" during the late 1960s or early 1970s.

I have e-mailed the seller courteously for an explanation; I have also attempted to notify representatives of all three locomotive-owning entities (Philly and Lancaster NRHS and RCT&HS). I ask your help in doing the same.

As of 11:45 am EDT the auctions haven't been halted by eBay or the seller. I would petition eBay to stop the auction, but I believe that is the responsibility of the loco owners.

lner4472@bcpl.net


  
 
 Post subject: Re: Builders plates from PRESERVED RDG FP-7s on eB
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2003 12:32 pm 

As a member of the joint Lancaster/Philadelphia chapter NRHS 902/903 restoration crew we most certainly would like those plates back. I'm sure the RCT&HS would want both the 900's plates as well. As far as I can remember the plates were missing when we began the restorations around 1985. They must have been removed just prior to that time behind the RRMPA at Strasburg or prior to that when I believe the 902 sat at Port Richmond on the Delaware River.

This is the kind of very unfortunate selfishness that detracts from professional preservation efforts and just plain gives railfanning a bad name.

Dave

dave.mcguire@juno.com


  
 
 Post subject: Re: Builders plates from PRESERVED RDG FP-7s on eB
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2003 1:43 pm 

Sandy,

This activity is just a prime example of why this advocation enjoys a somewhat less than stellar reputation.

Examine the facts:

Someone STOLE these plates. They cannot produce a purchase order! These locomotives were not scrapped, so the plates could not have been purchased from a "junkie".

If the are what they are claimed to be they are STOLEN. This is nothing more than what has happened at Strasburg and the B&O and countless other places.

This person may claim that he is a "holder in due course" but the fact remains that someone stole the plates and he is now is possession of them and trying to profit from the sale of the plates on E-Bay.

The plates belong to the parties that acquired the locomotive and if this person was really motivated he would see that they got back to the owner's of the locomotives.

Plainly there is no excuse for this!

This hobby sufferes for a distinct lack of respect for individual and/or corporate property. Anybody who participates on this list should be outraged by the audacity of a person trying to sell (or fence) artifacts for personal gain.

I remember when I was in college and I bought my first number plate from the PRR (6494) that I received a receipt from the PRR which I have today.

The engines from which these plates were taken still exist, the plates belong on the engines!

Frankly, I have seen so much of this that I do not have much tolerance for giving anyone the "benefit of the doubt".

The answer is simple. Return the plates to the owners of the engines and take a charitable deduction!

v-scarpitti@att.net


  
 
 Post subject: Sadest part of it all!!
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2003 4:16 pm 

Even if they they got the plates back they would be REAL DUMB to put them back where they belong. some as@hoL@ woould swipe them again. On top of it all if he got injured doing it he would sue and get money. WHAT A SHAME!

irss@eriecoast.com


  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sadest part of it all!!
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2003 7:19 pm 

I have to agree with this post 100%. I have been able to locate some plates over the years and get them back to the original or current owners. I always recommend that they keep the originals in a secure location and have reproductions made up. Of course, I have seen the reproductions stolen at a later point. It is simply a sad situation that has developed over the past 35 years or so. When you list on ebay, you are exposing yourself to a world wide market and we can finally spot some items that have been gone for years. I am still looking for those Strasburg plates, but it will most likely by years before they re-surface if ever.



steamfan@crusoe.net


  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sadest part of it all!!
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2003 8:28 pm 

Jack,

We would not put them back on the locomotives. As Bennett suggests there are reasonable alternative plates to use for temporary display on the locomotives. Its just the fact that they are part of the original historic equipment the chapters would like to have. If we do finally secure them they would only be shown separately on display to the public under a most watchful eye.

Dave

dave.mcguire@juno.com


  
 
 Post subject: Re: Builders plates from PRESERVED RDG FP-7s on eB
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2003 11:38 pm 

> So what's the bloody story here? Were these
> stolen before the locos were preserved?
> Since the locos are still in existence, I
> can't see how the plates could have been
> legally acquired from the loco or its
> owners.

Whoa fellas... let's hold off on the lynch mob mentality here for a moment. Does anyone really have proof of when and how the plates disappeared originally? What if the RDG removed the plates themselves in a shop, and tossed them into the dumpster? Would you all be in such a huff if the plates were indeed rescued from the trash heap instead of becoming razor blades?

I simply do not see how a locomotive failing to be scrapped "entitles" the preserving group to parts that have been removed prior to purchase. What makes builders plates any different than prime mover parts, horns, bells, headlights, air brake equipment... or other assorted pieces that the owning RR may scavenge or remove prior to disposition? The group is buying the equipment as is, not a deed to every part that was on the locomotive when it left the manufacturer's shop floor.

It would be an entirely different story if those plates were conclusively documented to have been on the locomotives at the time they were purchased for preservation, and THEN they walked... but nobody has presented any proof of that being the case. Heck, I know of many groups who will seek out "liberated" items to replace the ones missing from their own locomotives!

The question becomes... how does one draw a distinction between a preservation group purchasing a scarce part with unknown provenance ... such as, let's say... a discontinued M5 air horn... that was removed from another locomotive of the same class prior to scrapping, from one removed, in exactly the same manner, off a locomotive that was eventually saved?

Heck... if we're going to go so far as demanding all original parts on our equipment, what would happen if paperwork surfaced that showed SP 4449 actually has SP 4460's original tender... with 4449's having been scrapped with the engine SP swapped it out with? After all, large railroads swapped steam locomotive tenders somewhat frequently, and it's not out of the question that many were mixed and matched. Would it be out of line for the folks in St. Louis demand their tender back, with the Portland group having to take a substitute of lesser condition?

As emotional as an issue as this is... we also need to think rationally. Going around and demanding that auctions be shut down, and legal action potentially initiated, based on assumptions is misguided... especially when it could have been as simple as a shop foreman (who often has authorization to modify or alter rail equipment) telling a worker to "remove all those silly stainless steel plates and throw them in the trash." We simply do not know enough facts as to how they were separated from the equipment they were originally attached to, and if a theft was the actual cause.

I'm not defending thieves... but without proof as to when and how specific parts disappeared, missing plates are only part of the equipment's history. It's not up to us to try and make up for it with our own idea of justice based on what we "think" happened...

Fiv4HghStk@aol.com


  
 
 Post subject: We're talking builders plates--with a serial #....
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2003 12:41 am 

Only one problem with your analysis: In the case of either a locomotive's builders plates or a number plate, there is irrefutable proof that the plate belongs to said locomotive (abberations such as PRR's renumbering 8063 as 7002, 3750 as 1737, and Don Wood's officially replicated CNJ 774 plate are being ignored for the sake of discussion clarity!). Items such as air horns (which were ALWAYS an aftermarket add-on supplied by another manufacturer), steam whistles (ditto, except for shop-built jobs), seats, marker lights, etc. were and are considered interchangeable, and frequently got changed, swapped out, repaired, etc.

BUT NOT BUILDERS PLATES. From what I understand from official sources, builders plates are considered must-have items at least until either the warranties expire and/or all equipment trusts, leases, etc. expire and the locomotive is considered by the accounting department to be fully depreciated. It's debatable whether the 900s had reached that point when the plates "fell off", as we don't know when it happened. (For the record, we have examined photos of the last runs of those locos under Reading control in 1976, and the plates appear to be missing on the locos we can find photos of.)

I have heard reliable reports that indicated Conrail prosecuted an employee in either Enola or Altoona that had two bad habits: an extra-large lunch pail and a cold chisel in his back pocket. So at least one railroad did care enough to prosecute.

I'm not in the tar-and-feather brigade here. I have asked the seller for a rational explanation; none has been forthcoming yet (ditto bids, last I checked). But I have personally managed to get "liberators" to turn over liberated items to subsequently-preserved locos in the past, and I know of others that have "done the right thing" after eventual preservation and returned builders plates--including one of the best-known names in railfandom!

lner4472@bcpl.net


  
 
 Post subject: Re: We're talking builders plates--with a serial #
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2003 1:13 am 

> Only one problem with your analysis: In the
> case of either a locomotive's builders
> plates or a number plate, there is
> irrefutable proof that the plate belongs to
> said locomotive (abberations such as PRR's
> renumbering 8063 as 7002, 3750 as 1737, and
> Don Wood's officially replicated CNJ 774
> plate are being ignored for the sake of
> discussion clarity!).

Yes... builder's plates are numbered... but that does not automatically entitle a preservation group to ownership of them if they were removed prior to that group's purchase.

For example... let's say an automobile enthusiast buys a vintage automobile from someone... one where matching serial numbers would significantly increase the value of the vehicle (such as a Corvette). The car was purchased without the matching engine and/or knowledge of how it was separated from the car... even though historical documentation indicates what serial number should go with it. The engine with the matching serial number suddenly shows up on eBay. Would you, as the group or owner of the car, contact the seller of the engine and demand an explanation or that they simply turn it over to you because you now own the automobile it "belongs" to? Of course not... it's the business of the person who owned the car when the motor was separated from it. It's just as ridiculous for the rail preservation community to advocate the "handing over" or "entitlement" of items they would like to see reunited with a particular locomotive. If a preservation group wants the plates to an engine they now own, and those plates didn't come with the engine when they purchased it, they can buy them and lock them in a safe if they want them bad enough.

The hows and whys of builders' plates disappearing is the concern of the entity who owned it WHEN THOSE ITEMS DISAPPEARED. To suggest that someone "owes" a group those items because they "belong" to the equipment said group bought second hand is downright silly. Nobody owes you, me, the current owner of the Reading FP7's, or any other interested party any sort of explanation.

Again... it's only the concern of the company owning the locomotive when those plates actually disappeared. To suggest that the seller have his auctions closed, be lambasted for dealing in stolen merchandise, or have to answer to outside persons or groups, when there is absolutely no proof that said plates were removed in an unethical manner to begin with, is just plain crazy.

Is the probability high that the plates were removed illegally? Yes. Does it make it right for us to try and correct the situation based on what we assume happened? No. That's for law enforcement or the corporation from which the property was stolen to concern themselves with...



Fiv4HghStk@aol.com


  
 
 Post subject: Re: We're talking builders plates--with a serial #
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2003 4:18 am 

I'm not saying this to make anyone mad, but Wait untill the last minute snipe the bid and get them back.
( I've sold quite a bit of car parts on E-bay, including a vette egnine LOL) Be happy you found them. They weren't there when the group got the engines. I maintain close to 30 Locomotives and have yet to see a Builders plate on all but one.And on that one the customer requested I removed the Army info plate before delivery. We bought it from the Golden gate group and resold it. And the unit is locked up when not in use so they will probally be safe.

irss@eriecoast.com


  
 
 Post subject: Re: We're talking builders plates--with a serial #
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2003 7:49 am 

Boys, boys, boys. Let's not get our knickers in a twist here. A of all, it's at least possible the plates were removed when the locomotives were run through the body shop prior to a paint job, since they would be a point to catch moisture and thus rust and a real pain to sand and fill around. And B, I don't believe the builder's plates were the authoritative identification of the locomotive. That was, rather, the frame number, found stamped into the frame at the right rear corner under the m.u. jumpers on F-style units and on opposite corners near the steps on switchers and geeps. Of course, even the frame numbers were often obscured by multiple layers of paint, adhesive striping, etc. In the years I was messing with diesel locomotives, I don't ever recall a sale document listing either the builder's number or the frame number, but rather the unit number at the time of sale. The way diesels were rebuilt, for instance during the Conrail era, often found major components, even cabs, prime movers and hoods, being swapped around, so who would know whether a particular builder's plate was the "right" one? And as for steam locomotives, I will point out that the builder's plate may have stayed on the locomotive, even when not a lot of the original locomotive to which it had been riveted still existed.

K4s1361@hotmail.com


  
 
 Post subject: Re: Builders plates from PRESERVED RDG FP-7s on eB
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2003 9:13 am 

Because there's detailed information about the location where the plates were taken from, I'm rather suspicious. Also, check out the fact that it's a PRIVATE auction with the bidder's id's "protected". There was apparently a lot of theft on the Reading once the word was out that the company was going to merge into Conrail. There is also one noted RDG employee/thief who tried to get anything that wasn't nailed down, and many things that were! Funny, his initials were similar to those of the seller. (I'm not accusing anybody here) It was amazing how all the diamond-shaped Reading Lines plates disappeared from the RDC's just around Conrail takeover time!

schwartzsj@juno.com


  
 
 Post subject: Re: We're talking builders plates--with a serial #
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2003 9:27 am 

> For example... let's say an automobile
> enthusiast buys a vintage automobile from
> someone... one where matching serial numbers
> would significantly increase the value of
> the vehicle (such as a Corvette). The car
> was purchased without the matching engine
> and/or knowledge of how it was separated
> from the car... even though historical
> documentation indicates what serial number
> should go with it. The engine with the
> matching serial number suddenly shows up on
> eBay. Would you, as the group or owner of
> the car, contact the seller of the engine
> and demand an explanation or that they
> simply turn it over to you because you now
> own the automobile it "belongs"
> to? Of course not... it's the business of
> the person who owned the car when the motor
> was separated from it.

1) The Corvette would be markedly less valuable with a different engine, and there's a darn good use for a Corvette engine elsewhere, powering a race car or whatever--and the Corvette's value goes up when the numbers match again. The ONLY use of a builders plate off a locomotive is as a hot dog platter or a collectible. And are we saving Reading FP7s as lease locos or "horsepower-by-the-hour", or are we saving history, including the plates it came with?

2) Believe me, we've been through this already. Many preserved British diesels were resold without any plates, and the certified-original name plates and number plates surfaced at auctions, bringing up to tens of thousands of dollars each. One of the originals for one of the Deltic Preservation Society's Deltics resides in the collection of the National Railway Museum in York!

It's just as
> ridiculous for the rail preservation
> community to advocate the "handing
> over" or "entitlement" of
> items they would like to see reunited with a
> particular locomotive. If a preservation
> group wants the plates to an engine they now
> own, and those plates didn't come with the
> engine when they purchased it, they can buy
> them and lock them in a safe if they want
> them bad enough.

*Fine and dandy. If he got them out of the dumpster, I'll pay his dumpster cost for a day or offer him a tax write-off for his donation. But paying (in this case) nearly $1000 for four pieces of metal that were removed from the locomotive under questionable circumstances at best only rewards collectible-raiding and will only encourage more thievery of plates, horns, etc. in the long run. Anyone who would pursue the acquisition of plates or other hardware from preserved locos for any purpose other than returning them to the custody of the loco owners, in my opinion, is practically in cahoots with loco hardware thieves. The ONLY justification they can come up with for "stealing" is either resale value or perverted "I'm keeping someone else from stealing it" collector-mental-illness.

By exactly the same token, if artifacts "taken for safekeeping" from the Baghdad museums during the looting in the past weeks turned up at auction at Christies in London a year from now, should we be glad that the "people of Iraq" had the opportunity to repurchase their treasures? "Oh, but we can't prove they were stolen--they were just liberated for safekeeping by some agents; if they hadn't, looters would have smashed them, you know........" Same "logic" at work. And the answer is "NO--hand them over, you skunk......"

The best thing that could happen, though, is that no one buys the plates at all, and after many rounds of offering the plates at auction with no takers, the groups can offer the seller a tax write-off of $5 each!


lner4472@bcpl.net


  
 
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