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 Post subject: Re: NKP 759 History (includes the "freeze") for Record
PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2015 3:09 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 240
superheater wrote:
"her work with Superheater in establishing a "Friends of" organization, as it allows them to stretch their budget further."

I would be remiss if I did not point out that while I have been rather vocal about the organization, this is a TEAM Effort and somebody else (aka "Fearless Leader") took the lead in assembling that team. All of our meetings with the Superintendent have been attended by a minimum of six.

Right now, I just happen to have the most applicable technical skills for this phase of the journey.


Superheater - Thanks for pointing out my lack of clarity. I have edited my post accordingly. A good CPA always makes any organization better.


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 Post subject: Re: NKP 759 History (includes the "freeze") for Record
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:05 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:47 pm
Posts: 475
Scranton Yard wrote:
Three questions of import are:
(1) Can 759 be restored to operation more quickly than 3713?
(2) Can 759 be restored to operation more economically than 3713?
(3) Can 759 be operated and maintained more economically than 3713?


(1) It's possible, but given the the current state of 3713 and the NPS's mandate that everything be in as good condition as possible, if 759 were to take less time, it wouldn't be much less.
(2) Again, this all depends on what needs to be done.
(3) Most likely not. The bigger the engine, the more expensive it is to operate. Sure, there might be less wear and tear on 759, but in the end, it would need its 1472-day overhaul, same as 3713. Also, with an engine as big as 759, you'd probably need a guaranteed 12-15 car train every excursion to just cover operating costs. Steamtown's average when it comes to excursions these days seems to be about 4 cars. At that number, even 3713 is too big for the job.

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 Post subject: Re: NKP 759 History (includes the "freeze") for Record
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 2:36 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:10 am
Posts: 2332
Mark Z. Yerkes wrote:
Also, with an engine as big as 759, you'd probably need a guaranteed 12-15 car train every excursion to just cover operating costs. Steamtown's average when it comes to excursions these days seems to be about 4 cars. At that number, even 3713 is too big for the job.



You bring up a pertinent point, Mark. As much as I would love to see #759 back in action, the #765 trips of Labor Day weekend ran with a 12 car train (or so, I forget the exact count) and did not sell out for the weekend (Monday's ridership was very light).

I am sure there were many reasons (holiday, trip length, cost, destination, marketing, competition with other trips from Scranton, etc)... but the point being there was not a flood of people for a single weekend of long steam trains, no less signs of a market for a whole season of them.

Yes, #765 did run in the area two weeks before Labor Day and was supposed to run out of Scranton a week later, but those later trips were cancelled well before Railfest and that still did not result in two sell outs on Labor Day weekend.

Do I think there is a future for a large ridership increase? Yes, and I think there are many positive things happening that will contribute to that growth at Steamtown but even so, there are very few tourist rail operations where trains regularly run at lengths over 8 or 9 cars.

I think with train size and speed taken into consideration, it is hard to make a case for them needing anything more than a heavy Pacific right now.

It is interesting to ponder. It would be fantastic for Steamtown to need something bigger than #3713 or #2317. That would be the best situation of all!

Rob

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 Post subject: Re: NKP 759 History (includes the "freeze") for Record
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 3:26 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 240
Given the last-minute nature of the LWVRHS 3713 project fundraising trip cancellation, I have to imagine that a lot of people originally ticketed could not rearrange their schedules to ride on Labor Day weekend. So to better gauge interest, it would be beneficial to add a percentage of those folks who were originally on the 3713 benefit trips to Binghamton to the Labor Day ridership. That would make two weekends in a row of pretty well subscribed mainline steam events in the area.

Recalling the political interests that gave birth to the site in Scranton, the economics of any steam locomotive restoration to operation can not be measured by ridership alone. The politicians wanted the site in Scranton as a boost to the economy. Unless 759, or any other locomotive, is to be run under a shroud, the economic benefit of all the chasers and pacers buying meals, gas, possibly hotel rooms, and whatever else at local establishments should also be factored in.

Using the two current operational restorations as a baseline, the average operational restoration in Scranton is probably going to work out to be about 20 years from conceptualization to completion so, if growth is anticipated, mainline motive power planning for at least two decades should be in place. Thorough study, as suggested above, of the cost and time required to restore 759 to operation and the possibility of cost savings through a cooperative effort with the professionals who restored and operate 765, could be key to such planning.

I agree that, if Superheater and his colleagues can raise public awareness of the existence of the Scranton site, visitor numbers will improve. I am constantly amazed at the number of people I speak to in the originally intended marketing area who have no idea the place exists. Of course, mine is just an anecdotal sampling.


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 Post subject: Re: NKP 759 History (includes the "freeze") for Record
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 3:43 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:31 am
Posts: 399
Scrantonyard, I just don’t see it happening. I think there is a chance for growth in terms of more frequent or varied excursions, but not necessarily in terms of riders per trip. The park has found, over many years, the formula that works for them. If that formula demanded an engine the size of 759, they would be doing as you suggest.


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 Post subject: Re: NKP 759 History (includes the "freeze") for Record
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 3:49 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:10 am
Posts: 2332
6-18003 wrote:
Scrantonyard, I just don’t see it happening. I think there is a chance for growth in terms of more frequent or varied excursions, but not necessarily in terms of riders per trip. The park has found, over many years, the formula that works for them. If that formula demanded an engine the size of 759, they would be doing as you suggest.


Exactly.

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The long memory is the most radical idea in this country. It is the loss of that long memory which deprives our people of that connective flow of thoughts and events that clarifies our vision, not of where we're going, but where we want to go. B. Phillips


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 Post subject: Re: NKP 759 History (includes the "freeze") for Record
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:35 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 240
6-18003 - I agree, the formula Kip Hagen put into place many years ago has worked well for relatively flat visitor numbers. The key question is, with proper public awareness and more to attract people to the site (operating steam - Baldwin 26 for example), and with the "Friends of" marketing efforts, will the visitor totals reach a point where a different formula may work? If the answer is "yes" or "possibly" over the next two decades, then the business analysis I suggested in my response to Mr. Gardner's post could be very relevant.

One advantage of considering operational restoration of 759 vs. any other locomotive in Scranton is that there is a well-established specific extant knowledge base for the S2 class and for 759 in particular, and so good estimates as to the 759 side of the inquiry should be easier to obtain.

While a discussion of the Park Service's site in Scranton is related to 759, I do not want to go too off the topic of 759's history, condition, and the possible technical and economic requirements for operational restoration.


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 Post subject: Re: NKP 759 History (includes the "freeze") for Record
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:51 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:54 pm
Posts: 271
In my honest, uneducated opinion, 759 will run again at Steamtown. 3713 will return in the next few years and Steamtown will focus on returning another locomotive or two to service. Their superintendent has stated that the park will need 4 operational steam locomotives in order to fully serve its purpose. I have no inside knowledge, this is just purely speculation and intuition. Every institution goes through rebuilding years from college football to the railroad museums themselves, but eventually they return as good if not better than before. We must be patient. Steam locomotives absorb extreme amounts of money and time before a match is struck, so have patients and faith in the Steamtown crew, and be thankful for the work they are doing.


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 Post subject: Re: NKP 759 History (includes the "freeze") for Record
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:09 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 2170
Location: Thomaston & White Plains
Of all the locomotives available for possible service/rebuild, 759 makes the most sense from an operational and financial standpoint:

A locomotive that will be under-stressed in most any operation at Steamtown; it's roller-bearing equipped on the driver journals, has a cast engine bed as well. Lots fewer running gear bits to work loose/go wrong/heat up. Working locomotives to capacity, or nearly so much of the time, uses them up quickly.

A locomotive that is a known quantity-- as much as that can possibly be. Comparatively low miles since a real railroad overhaul, reasonably careful storage since last operations, has not been robbed for parts (that has been a situation with many Steamtown locomotives, dating back to Vermont days-- 3377 is a prime example).

A locomotive that, when all else is taken into account (see above) is probably no more expensive to operate over a 1472-day term of service than one of the older, smaller locomotives such as 2317 or 3254 or 790.

My personal opinion, I have no skin in this game. But I have been around the block a few times in the last 45 years.....

BLE 26 is a real gem. NPS Steamtown has much to be proud of there.

Finish B&M 3713. Everyone should bear in mind that it was totally used up when B&M parked it in 1955. It did not get better in the subsequent time, until 1995 and the start of work.

Then, do the smart thing and put 759 though the overhaul process. That locomotive might just have enough "old friends" that fundraising for the work may not be so onerous.

Howard P.

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 Post subject: Re: NKP 759 History (includes the "freeze") for Record
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:11 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:31 am
Posts: 399
Scranton Yard wrote:
6-18003 - I agree, the formula Kip Hagen put into place many years ago has worked well for relatively flat visitor numbers. The key question is, with proper public awareness and more to attract people to the site (operating steam - Baldwin 26 for example), and with the "Friends of" marketing efforts, will the visitor totals reach a point where a different formula may work? If the answer is "yes" or "possibly" over the next two decades, then the business analysis I suggested in my response to Mr. Gardner's post could be very relevant.


The public is well aware of Steamtown, or at least the locals who would be your repeat customers. To the public at large, the park is just something to do on a weekend; the same as an aquarium, or the crayola factory, or a minor league baseball game. With some hard work you can probably fill the empty seats on the cars that are already going to Moscow. Now, they DO seem to respond to steam over diesel, the numbers have shown that. But the wheel arrangement of the engine doesn't matter, they just want to hear the whistle.


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 Post subject: Re: NKP 759 History (includes the "freeze") for Record
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:18 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:30 am
Posts: 84
I believe that 759 will run again in the not too distant future. If only the water tubes that froze and blew out then i think that is the main problem. however 759 does need the 1472 day overhaul. 759 have several things going for her is she was stored indoors although I don't know for how long it was so it be in better condition than many others. There are experts in the S2 class like the ones with 765. Also 759 is quite large so if friends of 759 would be created with in steamtown 759 will have better chance to be restored to operation much sooner. 759 can operate on class 1 railroads more effectively than 3713. Yes 3713 is the best choice for small excursions however 759 can raise awareness that Steamtown does exists and could bring in more visitors to the site. I don't know that any of their cars can operate at high speed anymore that I don't know most likely the answer is no. I do want to bring that to perspective to have a steam locomotive to run on class 1 railroads to attempt to bring in more visitors to the park. your thoughts


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 Post subject: Re: NKP 759 History (includes the "freeze") for Record
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:25 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:31 am
Posts: 399
steamfan765 wrote:
I believe that 759 will run again in the not too distant future. If only the water tubes that froze and blew out then i think that is the main problem. however 759 does need the 1472 day overhaul. 759 have several things going for her is she was stored indoors although I don't know for how long it was so it be in better condition than many others. There are experts in the S2 class like the ones with 765. Also 759 is quite large so if friends of 759 would be created with in steamtown 759 will have better chance to be restored to operation much sooner. 759 can operate on class 1 railroads more effectively than 3713. Yes 3713 is the best choice for small excursions however 759 can raise awareness that Steamtown does exists and could bring in more visitors to the site. I don't know that any of their cars can operate at high speed anymore that I don't know most likely the answer is no. I do want to bring that to perspective to have a steam locomotive to run on class 1 railroads to attempt to bring in more visitors to the park. your thoughts


Please explain to me what part of the Fort Wayne program SNHS can emulate. We are really getting to the pie-in-the-sky level here.


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 Post subject: Re: NKP 759 History (includes the "freeze") for Record
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 11:12 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:47 pm
Posts: 475
I personally do not see 759 being restored anytime soon. It does not suit Steamtown's needs, nor do I see them putting in the effort to restore her based on the possibility she'll bring in more visitors. I highly doubt Steamtown is contemplating mainline trips on the scale of what 765 does. They are focused on what they do now, which are trips as far as the Gap and Carbondale. With that in mind, anything bigger than 3713 or 2317 isn't worth the time or money. The logical plan would be to finish 26 and 3713, then finish something medium (I vote 790), then 2317 or 3254/3377 (logical to me, at least, but what do I know?).

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 Post subject: Re: NKP 759 History (includes the "freeze") for Record
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2015 7:44 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1607
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Remember folks that Steamtown was created by Cong. Joe McDade as a jobs generator for the depressed Scranton area. "Steam trains" just happened to be the conveniently available vehicle.

As a jobs corp. its been a big success creating dozens of high paying federally funded jobs in a very sad economically depressed area. As a steam locomotive restoration facility its been an abject failure when you consider that since its inception over $ 200 MM ( yes, that's $ 200 MILLION taxpayer dollars) have been spent and not a SINGLE locomotive has been restored to service.

Always remember it's a Federal gov't. operation. The employees get paid the same whether there's zero visitors ( which is often the case in the winter off-season) or a full house. In fairness to the current work force only a tiny fraction of their annual $ 6MM annual taxpayer funded budget goes to restoration/maintenance....the majority goes to payroll and G&A.

The chances of S'town restoring the 759 ( or any other engine) are less than zero.

Sad but true.

Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: NKP 759 History (includes the "freeze") for Record
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2015 8:00 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:30 am
Posts: 84
good point Ross i was just trying optimistic about 759 as were does 759 relate to 765 is that the members or FWRHS has knowledge about the S2 class and can share it to the ones who are interested into restoring 759. However if steamtown are not going to do anything about restoring their equipment then maybe they should start to open to offers of selling locomotives or donate them to groups who are interested to preserve and or restore them. just a thought.


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