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 Post subject: Re: Age of Steam gets another one
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 11:34 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
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Location: Northern Illinois
Dave wrote:
....... How many of our oldest and most venerable institutions were based on private collections, after all, from art museums to the Library of Congress. I do see a certain thread of thought that the only legitimate and secure form of preservation organization is a 501C3 that seems to underlie a lot of postings here, probably due to a lack of familiarity with other forms. In reality, a private preservationist with means and knowledge can do much more actual quality preservation than a lot of marginal poorly managed 501C3s. Lots of voting people with separate emotionally driven agendas don't generally come up with a cohesive plan and prioritize resources towards narrow defined goals, but tend towards partisan dithering and lots of competing priorities so little gets done efficiently. There's no magic structure that will guarantee success.


I have in the past felt that the ultimate answer for preservation was a 501c3 organization, but having watched preservation for almost fifty years now, I'm not so sure. There are many not-for-profits that are failing, or have failed, to fulfill their mission statement.

It seems to me, at this point, it is good that we have private collectors who are willing to sink more money into their own personal collection than if they had to answer to a board of foamers. It doesn't even bother me that some of these collections are temporarily not available to the public... even if the length of that temporary period exceeds my lifetime. Nothing is cast in stone; those sheltered collections will become opportunities for public museums at some point in the future.

Better than having artifacts decay to the point where their next stop is an appointment with the ladle.

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 Post subject: Re: Age of Steam gets another one
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:01 pm 
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Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
For every Alaska 557, we have a PRR 1361.
Probably three or four is more accurate, if not more.
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
Would we be better off without the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and instead have a dozen PRR steamers scattered hither and yon in parks, on excursion lines, or in local museums at places like Altoona, Harrisburg, Dennison, Northumberland, Reading, Renovo, Sewickley, and Huntingdon?
I'm not sure, but your comparison isn't valid. Regardless of the condition of the locomotives within, The PRR museum at Strasburg can be visited by anyone with a few bucks to walk in the door. The park engines can be visited by anyone who can get to said parks.
AoS is a private collection that the public can't just walk up to see.
Certainly, inside a nice, new roundhouse would be best for the overall condition of the rolling stock, but not every loco is going in there, are they? Is sitting on a side track waiting for someone to get to it any better for a locomotive than sitting in a park? I could argue that point either way. I know of some locomotives that really were better off sitting in a park than where they eventually wound up (two examples: Fred Kepner's GN 1246 that was previously displayed at the Seattle zoo, or SP&S 539, now rusting in Williams after being bought by the Grand Canyon RR for a restoration that will probably never come).
For that matter, has any work been done on any of these locomotives to get them running again? I'm honestly asking the question as I don't know. I just keep hearing about what he's bought next and next to nothing about what he's doing to get them restored. When it comes to the Ohio Central days of his collection, all I ever see now are mentions of what he used to have running over there and how several of the locomotives haven't run in many years.
I agree that what he's doing is probably a very good thing, but my concerns have always been over the potential implosion of the effort someday. We've all seen or heard of big collections doing exactly that.
I wish the AoS nothing but the most amazing success they can have. Still, I do wonder about all this...

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 Post subject: Re: Age of Steam gets another one
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:30 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:18 am
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Please understand in regard to wm303, that his approach to the 501(c) issue is based of the fact that many people, on and off this site, have criticized his efforts as a non-preservationist activity due to him not holding a 501(c), and instead hauling freight in order to finance himself. His operation is still expanding as well, and I applaud his efforts to preserve a chunk of the WM as it would have appeared when in operation. 10 locomotives is certainly nothing to scoff at.

In regards to the AOS operation, they also have a great leader with JJJ, and I wish to see the collection last long into the future. The endowment and other monetary contributions to the project ensue this as long as it is handled properly, and with care to spend it to the best of their judgement and ability.


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 Post subject: Re: Age of Steam gets another one
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:36 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
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Location: Northern Illinois
p51 wrote:
I agree that what he's doing is probably a very good thing, but my concerns have always been over the potential implosion of the effort someday. We've all seen or heard of big collections doing exactly that.
I wish the AoS nothing but the most amazing success they can have. Still, I do wonder about all this...


I don't know... there have been some "implosions" of 501c3 organizations, too.

I look back... Dick Jensen's and Paulson Spence's collections were most definitely implosions, although it's never been clear to me if Spence intended his collection to be a preservation effort, an entertainment attraction, or an overgrown backyard railroad, and apparently his heirs didn't know, either.

On the other hand, most of Nelson Blount's collection still exists; the same with Zerbal's effort to preserve the LS&I Big Bay branch intact as a working railroad. When Mr. Zerbal died, his heirs couldn't shut it down fast enough, but of the dozen locomotives he collected, eleven still exist. His car fleet fared almost as well.

If the world would have waited for the nascent railroad museum organizations to do this collecting, all these engines would be gone.

Now we are faced with an overabundance of endangered derelict engines on display in parks and other places, where the owners are finally realizing that these things won't last forever out in the weather, and really, most of the public doesn't give a damn whether they are there or not.

I'm in support of anyone who will provide funds to give them cover. Public display is just the icing on the cake. Restoration to operation is out of the question, because the business model doesn't support it.

If you want operating steam in fifty years, with few exceptions you are going to be relying on rich guys getting their jollies.

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 Post subject: Re: Age of Steam gets another one
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:44 pm 

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 10:30 pm
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Location: Bucks County, PA
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For that matter, has any work been done on any of these locomotives to get them running again? I'm honestly asking the question as I don't know. I just keep hearing about what he's bought next and next to nothing about what he's doing to get them restored. When it comes to the Ohio Central days of his collection, all I ever see now are mentions of what he used to have running over there and how several of the locomotives haven't run in many years.


If you look back at a couple of the past updates to the website, you'll see the following:

http://www.ageofsteamroundhouse.com/Rep ... 15-02.html

"Firebox work to our huge, ex-Lake Superior & Ishpeming 2-8-0 #33 continues this winter, including the manufacture and installation of a new crown sheet, door sheet, partial side sheets and thermic syphons.

Because it would be less expensive to do such extra work now while #33 is disassembled, it was decided to replace additional square feet of firebox at this time. This means that less work will be needed when #33’s FRA-mandated, 15-year time limit comes due.

All other repairs on the locomotive’s “to-do” list have been completed, and when this boiler work has been accomplished #33 will be ready for service once more."

- and then -

"Locomotive #12, ex-Morehead & North Fork 0-6-0, has had all of its 2-inch boiler tubing removed in preparation for a thorough descaling and ultra-sound testing of the boiler shell, firebox and other pressure components. Boiler stud replacement and repairs to staybolts and staybolt sleeves are underway.

The boiler recalculation information is being gathered to meet the Federal Railroad Administration requirements for the 15-year/1472-service day requirements under the FRA’s new rules for steamers. Just received from a local foundry are a new smoke stack, stack base ring and exhaust nozzle.

We still need to machine the fit of these new portions, drill the mounting holes and attach them to #12’s now-empty smokebox.

This 1905 product of Alco’s Pittsburg (no “h”) Works has been a fun, yet challenging, project on which to work."

And so forth and so on. And that's only from the most recent "Roundhouse Report". Looking through other recent reports, you'll see other work has been going on as well. I'll admit, the website updates can be sporadic, but work on the engines are progressing - at this point, who knows how far along some of these other engines are (besides #1293, which is already operational) towards running again.

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 Post subject: Re: Age of Steam gets another one
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:05 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:20 pm
Posts: 455
Jiminy! Here we go again.

People only "rally around" a steam locomotive if there is funding to work on it. There are hundreds of neglected old locos out there that you guys are free to rally around and work on.

The AOS is the best thing to happen to railway preservation in my lifetime. The negative comments make me want to jump off the roof of the building.


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 Post subject: Re: Age of Steam gets another one
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:33 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 4:59 pm
Posts: 323
Location: western Maryland
"And to "wm303": Since the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (and, likewise, Nevada, Texas, North Carolina, West Va., and California) isn't a 501(c)3 group, does that mean that what THEY do for our avocation isn't actually "preservation"?

You have just advocated for the position I have held for years; that preservation is preservation, no matter which individual or entity is doing the preserving.

My angst and ire are fueled by those who maintain online directories and rosters of "preserved" locomotives who refuse to list mine because of the missing 501(c)3 charter.

As one contributor to this thread suggested: "it is good that we have private collectors who are willing to sink more money into their own personal collection than if they had to answer to a board of foamers". Amen, Dennis.

I get things done because I am in control. I only have to make my case to one person, and from that point on I make the decisions about how we proceed. If I don't have an immediate solution, I sit on it a while, and usually the right thing to do comes to me with a little thought. But the notion of presenting a concept to a committee and hoping that I get more "yeas" than "nays" is foreign to me. Not much gets accomplished like that. Anywhere.

One of these two SD35s is in a museum and one is privately owned. Which one is "preserved"?
Attachment:
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Attachments:
Baltimore and Ohio SD35 7402 B&O Museum.jpg
Baltimore and Ohio SD35 7402 B&O Museum.jpg [ 308.18 KiB | Viewed 2341 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Age of Steam gets another one
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:08 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2005 1:05 am
Posts: 400
rock island lines wrote:
The negative comments make me want to jump off the roof of the building.


I prefer the more proactive philosophy...

"The negative comments make me want to push the negative commenters off the roof of the building."


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 Post subject: Re: Age of Steam gets another one
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:29 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
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Location: Northern Illinois
wm303 wrote:
One of these two SD35s is in a museum and one is privately owned. Which one is "preserved"?


Just for sake of argument... If the nicely painted one is a movie prop which will be wrecked this afternoon, while the faded one is in the collection of the Smithsonian... But I get your point. Anyway, I guess the Smithsonian hasn't done all that well by some of the railroad artifacts they own.

The key that is often missed, is it's not so much what the artifact looks like today that matters, but what it will look like in fifty or one hundred years, although it is nice to see nicely maintained pieces, no matter what the details of their ownership.

All of us like to think that our 501c3 organizations will stand the test of time, and still be here, but no one can really know. Likewise, I'm sure that Nelson, Paulson, Dick, and John all thought their collections would be, too.

I suspect doing preservation from a variety of angles gives the best chance that some important pieces will survive long after we're gone.

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 Post subject: Re: Age of Steam gets another one
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 6:33 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:41 pm
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Location: Minneapolis, MN
wilkinsd wrote:
If this is just a grand failure after 20-30 years, as you seemingly want this to be, and there is an auction, and the collection is scattered to better homes, it will be a failure, but also a success, as several of the locomotives may not have still been with us, or in that good of shape had they not been part of the AOS collection.


JJJ will likely continue acquiring locomotives and just as likely continue to perform the needed work to bring them to operating status. Until the money is gone and he (or his successors) can't do it any more. Given this scenario, how can anyone take the eventual demise of the AOS as a "grand failure" when the collection of locomotives has 1) been preserved and 2) is still available to go to new homes? The fact is that AOS will be a far better steward of these locomotives than ANY museum that has to prioritize what it restores and what is left to rust, and then has to struggle to fund the projects that it has just prioritized.

At WORST, every one of these locomotives will be in better condition for having been a part of the collection and EVERY ONE will be available to go to the next organization lucky enough to have a chance to own an increasingly rare and important artifact.

Sounds like a resounding SUCCESS, to me!


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 Post subject: Re: Age of Steam gets another one
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 6:50 pm 
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Dennis Storzek wrote:
wm303 wrote:
I guess the Smithsonian hasn't done all that well by some of the railroad artifacts they own.
Good point. Now that you mention it, I think of the ALCO PAs they worked so hard to get. One is very close to running under its own power courtesy of Doyle McCormack (a major miracle, seeing what he started out with) and the other was given up on by the Smithsonian and given to that Texas museum...

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 Post subject: Re: Age of Steam gets another one
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 8:58 pm 

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Now that Jack White and Bill Withuhn are out of the picture, is there anybody at the Smithsonian Institution who knows any railroad ever ran in this country? And isn't the B&O Museum doing a bang-up job?

Sorry. Don't mean to send this thread off on a tangent.

Tom


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 Post subject: Re: Age of Steam gets another one
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:03 pm 

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From experience, there are several good people on the staff of the transportation area at the Smithsonian.

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: Age of Steam gets another one
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:39 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
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Location: Youngstown, OH
M Austin wrote:
rock island lines wrote:
The negative comments make me want to jump off the roof of the building.


I prefer the more proactive philosophy...

"The negative comments make me want to push the negative commenters off the roof of the building."


I suppose that I am the target of your desire to push someone off a building? Are my comments really "negative", or are they just bringing up alternative viewpoints and possible scenarios that any rational thinking so called "professional" should be thinking about?

Is this really how people who do not think in lockstep should be dealt with? We have an entire fringe movement who wants to make the confederate flag a hate crime, sandblast Davis, Lee and Jackson off of Stone Mountain and dig up Confederate generals. Your "push the dissenters off a building" sounds just as intolerant as the anti confederate crowd.

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 Post subject: Re: Age of Steam gets another one
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 11:44 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
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Location: Northern Illinois
Back to our regularly scheduled discussion...

hamster wrote:
JJJ will likely continue acquiring locomotives and just as likely continue to perform the needed work to bring them to operating status. Until the money is gone and he (or his successors) can't do it any more.


I should hope not... Because what you have just described is the problem with 99% of all railway museums, and private collections like Jenson's also... They just start to get ahead of the collecting part of it, and start to stabilize, conserve, and house the collection, when they find more "stuff" they jes' gotta have, and the vicious cycle starts all over again.

I would hope that JJJ has a vision of what his collection should be, has worked out a budget for the cost of acquiring it, the facilities to house it, and the cost for continuing maintenance; then funded an endowment that will earn enough income to pay for that maintenance in perpetuity. Then when he acquires all he has planned to collect, HE STOPS GETTING MORE STUFF, or perhaps adds a few million to the endowment fund to pay for his new, bigger collection.

That is the only way to ensure the collection lasts longer than his lifetime.

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