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 Post subject: More active steam locomotives to return at Steamtown?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 2:13 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:09 am
Posts: 55
I came across this article through Facebook, but it doesn't show the entire article. I'm not a subscriber to Trains, and I can't find Trains, or Classic Trains, magazines very easily. Is there any one that can give a good idea of what was said in the article?

Article in question:
http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/20 ... MTY3MjMwS0

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- Diesels are boxcars with an engine, but steam is an iron horse.


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 Post subject: Re: More active steam locomotives to return at Steamtown?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 10:10 am 

Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:26 am
Posts: 47
Quote:

Cliff Notes:

Park Superintendent Deborah Conway has been there 15 months. Has has to answer to people being disappointed that there's no operating steam. She instantly saw the draw for steam when 765 visited this summer and wants to get four steam locos in operation.

After shop crews restore the switcher, No. 26 to steam for the first time since the early 2000s, they are expected to turn their attention to Boston & Maine 4-6-2 No. 3713.....this winter, shop forces will start rebuilding the locomotive's firebox. They are hesitant to put a timeline out there as to when the locomotive will be running.

Once No. 3713 is back on the road, Steamtown officials hope to begin work on a third locomotive. While Canadian National 2-8-2 No. 3254 and Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 No. 2317 are obvious candidates, having only been sidelined a few years ago, Conway says the park is looking at other engines as well. Among the locomotives being considered is Illinois Central 2-8-0 No. 790. Conway notes however that decisions on which locomotive to restore next are still years away.


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 Post subject: Re: More active steam locomotives to return at Steamtown?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 1:12 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:31 am
Posts: 397
Don’t hold your breath. The mandatory Federal furlough is coming up, meaning that zero work will be accomplished for the start of the year. BLW 26 will definitely be up and running by the Spring, but as we all know she is not mainline steam. 3713 is years away from completion; despite stellar fundraising work by her non-profit support group, she remains mired in red tape.

My humble suggestion for the future of steam at SNHS: There is a new “friends of” group that is being formed which will, hopefully, gather all of the independent groups into one large, fundraising coalition for NEPA rail. Said group should purchase a derelict locomotive (where are the 1361 foamers?), transport it directly to Strasburg for a rebuild, and after about a years time, steam it into Scranton and donate it to the SNHS. To rely on the Feds for anything but maintenance of operable steam, especially under the current direction, is an exercise in disappointment.

This is no reflection on the hard work of the shop crew or the rank-and-file rangers, all of whom do their part to make your visit a memorable one. But it is reality.


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 Post subject: Re: More active steam locomotives to return at Steamtown?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 1:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:07 am
Posts: 660
Location: Philadelphia Pa
.....at least she is publicly stating a goal she wishes to attain. I don't think we have heard much from the prior directors in regard to what they'd like to see, verses reality of what was/is the current state of the place with regard to steam.

I'm impressed. She could have been just another nu.ber cruncher waiting to retire....


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 Post subject: Re: More active steam locomotives to return at Steamtown?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 4:04 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 3:37 pm
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Location: Pacific, MO
I must have missed something. I thought the 3713 already had the firebox work done?


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 Post subject: Re: More active steam locomotives to return at Steamtown?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 4:25 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
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Location: southeastern USA
4 steam locomotives isn't a plan - it's an element of a plan to provide for a specific amount of operation. I'd be very interested in reading the proposed scope of operation in all its specifics on which any decision about how many locomotives of what operating characteristics must be rationally based. I seem to recall a 4-6-4T which would be great for providing double-ended commuter train type operation of frequent short trains on rapid turnover..... which might be a good service for them to want to provide.

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 Post subject: Re: More active steam locomotives to return at Steamtown?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 5:00 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:11 pm
Posts: 270
If, by Furlough, one is talking about the December 12 potential for a shut-down, that would have no impact on the desire to get more steam at steam town. Also Congress appears to like a 2 year Continuing Resolution. If that route is taken, spending levels won’t change all the way through Fed Fiscal 2017 - so 10/1/2017 for an uptick in federal money if any. The best scenario, as mentioned above, is to get as many friends groups under one umbrella to simplify private fund raising and form a Board to set priorities and negotiate/deal with the Nat Park service. Leave the personnel, facility management, and insurance stuff to the Fed (don’t we all like dealing with employees, leaky roofs, and insurance company negotiations ;) )


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 Post subject: Re: More active steam locomotives to return at Steamtown?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 5:49 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1603
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Important to remember that old proverb.....all of life's disappointments are the direct result of unrealistic expectations.

With all due respect.... keep the hard cold facts in mind. Its taken them nearly 20 years ( yes years, not months) to restore a little 0-6-0, one can only imagine how much longer it will take to return a 2-6-4 to service. Unless you're very young probably not in any of our lifetimes.


Sad but true.

Ross Rowland


Last edited by Jeff Lisowski on Tue Dec 01, 2015 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Keep it tactful


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 Post subject: Re: More active steam locomotives to return at Steamtown?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 6:14 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1805
I was glad to see the Superintendent was pleased with the operation of NKP 765. I have long advocated for that Steamtown would be best served by hosting locomotives as in the recent example, as well as opening day in 1995(?) with MILW 261 and RBMN 425. As long as NS is a willing partner for ferry moves there is the opportunity for repeated success. I recall RDG 2100 is within a reasonable distance for a ferry move when that great and glorious day arrives. Meanwhile Baldwin 26 holds down the yard moves and entertains the average visitor.

Closer to home, I can validate the long view of Conway's plans. At our Museum, major restorations seem to have a life of their own and take x years as planned plus y years of additional work once you take the trucks apart and rip the canvas off the roof of a streetcar (see also TARS 678 and CTCo 27).

Your mileage may vary.

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: More active steam locomotives to return at Steamtown?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 2:28 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 6:41 am
Posts: 166
Location: Stockton, New Jersey
I really hope that there is some truth to this, but I think it is like trying to turn the Titantic around. The shop forces over the years have shrunk as retirees were not replaced. Restoring steam has not been a priority over the years. More funds were spent on new office furniture a number of times. As has been mentioned in the past, major repair projects were out-sourced when Steamtown has one of the best equipped shops around.

If this is the dawn of a new day, I will be VERY pleased and impressed. Time will tell!


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 Post subject: Re: More active steam locomotives to return at Steamtown?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 11:35 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 10:49 am
Posts: 634
I hope it is the dawning of a new day, and Steamtown will truly be that, no matter if they have their own locomotives running or not. If she puts out the invitations, who will it be? Who is going to pay for the deadhead to get there? What sort of agreement will she want to do? Nice in principle, but the devil is in the details. We'll see what she comes up with.


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 Post subject: Re: More active steam locomotives to return at Steamtown?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:08 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 3716
Location: Maine
What would such a plan entail?

First, adding a crew (maybe ten) of skilled steam-savvy personnel to the shop. making room for the exploitation of the machinery at hand. Completion of the B&M locomotive, pro-active maintenance of both the 26 and 3713. Selection of the next most easily (!) turned around steam locomotives and attacking them with a funded plan to tear them down and rebuild them. Money to accomplish all this without the interference of hostage-holding politicians. An ongoing short list of locomotives to rebuild to steaming capability.

Not being in the administrative loop at Steamtown, I have no impact - and neither do most of us. I can only watch and applaud when some is done to satisfy my hopes.

Still there is the potential for Steamtown to really be great in capability.

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 Post subject: Re: More active steam locomotives to return at Steamtown?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:10 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:47 pm
Posts: 475
Txhighballer wrote:
I hope it is the dawning of a new day, and Steamtown will truly be that, no matter if they have their own locomotives running or not. If she puts out the invitations, who will it be? Who is going to pay for the deadhead to get there? What sort of agreement will she want to do? Nice in principle, but the devil is in the details. We'll see what she comes up with.


This is where the new Friends group comes into play, as well as surrounding NRHS chapters and other rail groups.

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 Post subject: Re: More active steam locomotives to return at Steamtown?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:42 am 

Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2004 6:17 pm
Posts: 514
Location: Scranton, PA
I'll paraphrase a bit from a post I made to a Steamtown related facebook page when this came out a few days ago:

The question is "How".

What is the plan to accomplish this?

Is there a strategic plan with any kind of benchmarks?

Has funding been applied for?

Approved and allocated?

The Baldwin 26 has been down for 17 years next month, for a variety of reasons. Will there be a similar timeline for these additional restorations?

Some work on the 3713 has to be re-done, OK, but what measures will be put into place to make sure this disconnect does not occur again?

Steamtown is more concerned about looking bad than addressing the problem. Either the contractor erred or Steamtown erred in the specs given to the contractor. This in of itself isn't the biggest issue. The issue for me, as a donor, is accountability. The end result of the firebox fiasco? An internal memo to not discuss the issue, but no determination on how the work actually ran afoul.

In the last 5 years, Steamtown has gone from three operating locomotives (incl. 514) to zero. It's not a slam against people doing the work (I'm the first to stick up for them) but lets throw a dose of reality in here. The mechanical staff has been gutted time and again and the few that remain are often pulled to other duties.

Steamtown wants to run trains far and wide and needs people to crew them. The volunteer crew base often cannot cover them. Guess who has to cover the jobs? The shop. Sadly, the ridership numbers at Steamtown are abysmal (save for the short shuttle trips), so that the running of these excursions doesn't return any real money to the park. "Looking to continue valve work on the 26 today? Sorry, you have to be on a train with 18 passengers..."

I hope that the new "friends" is able to inject some funding into the park. I hope that the now-reinvigorated 3713 project gains traction. I hope that (as some have alluded) the park is able to contract out the "heavy lifting" in the shop. But all I've seen so far is pure "fluff".

The park has been "open" for 20 years now, and all its done is gone in reverse. Tell me HOW you're going to fix it and I'll be right on the bandwagon with everyone else.

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 Post subject: Re: More active steam locomotives to return at Steamtown?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:57 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1603
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Definition of insanity = doing or believing in the same thing time after time and expecting a different result.

For the umpteenth time....Steamtown is a federal jobs corp for depressed Scranton area. Nothing more nothing less. It has done that job well and unless we elect a Republican President next November (and the conservatives stay in control of both houses of Congress resulting in a drastic cut in Federal spending for FY 2018 and beyond Steamtown will remain a jobs corp with trains the convenient medium justifying its existance.

If 20 years ( and over $150 MILLION in taxpayer dollars) haven't clearly shown you the truth....well I'd guess you'll never get it?

The new Super may well have the best of intentions...but she's stuck in the same swimming pool filled with peanut butter as everyone else and she's got her career to think of first.

As long as S'Town is under the direct operating control of the NPS the chances of it really becoming a citadel for operating mainline steam are less than zero !!

Sad but true. Ross Rowland


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