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 Post subject: Re: The Lonely Locomotive of Waterbury
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 4:48 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 6:12 pm
Posts: 94
[quote="Cameron Wolk"]Going back to the topic I find it quite interesting that a museum with the mission of preserving "New England" rail history has both an ex-CP 4-6-2 and a 2-6-2 from Alabama. Taking in all there was you missed the most important piece of history, the one locomotive that represented the story of your hometown. I don't have anything against the RMNE for this fault but it feels like a bit of negligence nonetheless. An outsider from afar should not be finding something missed by the local preservationists I'm very sorry. [/quote]

As a matter of fact, RMNE's permanent collection currently includes Yankee Gas 52, (ex-Hartford Electric Light Co.) a GE 25-ton locomotive built in 1952 that spent its working life at the Waterbury Gasworks property in the southern end of that city. Having secured a representative example of a 4-wheel internal combustion locomotive with a known local industrial provenance, it's hard to imagine why declining to preserve a second example, in derelict condition and with little or no known long-term local connection, should "feel like a bit of negligence nevertheless." Of course, neither example has/had any known connection to the brass industry, which was in fact "the story" of Waterbury (RMNE's facilities are actually situated several towns away, in Thomaston).

With respect to the two steam locomotives mentioned by Cameron under the guise of "going back to the topic", it's neither "interesting" (whatever he really means by that) nor all that unusual for railroad museums with a defined regional collection scope to nevertheless hold additional items for utility or demonstration purposes, and these two items are recognized as such in the Collections Policy that has been enacted by RMNE's Board of Trustees.

Besides, if Cameron is able to use his Google Earth skills to locate a more historically appropriate NYNH&H I-1 pacific, as used for decades by the New Haven on the Naugatuck line, I am sure that the RMNE would be happy to hear from him. As it is, RMNE has an example of each passenger car typically used on the line during the 1930s-1950s period, including the actual baggage/RPO car that made the run daily, and has also preserved New Haven 529, one of the regularly-assigned RS-3 units that displaced steam locomotives on this run.

I would consider the latter examples, and the preservation of a better specimen in every way of the "critter" in question, to be remarkable cases of local preservation, which rank in terms of such relevance with the Nevada Northern collection, or in traction terms with Branford's several "native" cars or several of the interurbans still on home rails at the Western Railway Museum.

But not good enough for Cameron, evidently. And having heard the "today's wayward youth are tomorrow's preservationists" argument many times, experience tells me that a railroad museum is better off worrying about and developing strategies to makes its collection relevant and interesting to the 95% (or more) of the population with no real interest in trains, finding necessary financial resources, and recruiting volunteers with actual, relevant skills (in all manner of areas) than to waste five minutes responding to such nonsense from an incorrigible junior foamer.

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