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 Post subject: Re: How NOT to do rail preservation!
PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:22 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 7:16 am
Posts: 1379
How not to do rail preservation:

Failure to respond or very slow response when items for possible display are offered..........

Here is a many year list of possible display items that I saw offered to museums and they either responded too late, after the item was disposed of, or did not respond at all:

8-201A diesel engine, a clean warehouse spare
12-567 "U" diesel engine, clean, painted, and from an open house display
Numerous sets of EMD Maintenance Instructions from retirees collections
A clean disassembled EMD AR10 main generator with stands for the components
A brand new SD40-2 electrical cabinet with switchgear and wiring
A brand new SD50 electrical cabinet with switchgear and wiring
Many cutaway EMD engine components, power assemblies, etc.
A two cylinder end section of an EMD 645F crankcase and oil pan.
And (just three weeks ago), a superbly sectioned EMD trade show display turbocharger

These are just the examples that I remember right now. There were more. Some ended up being given to railroads for use in their own training programs, others went in the dumpster. But in each case a museum got the first chance and missed it.

Manufacturers tend to guard training center and trade show display items like jewels until someday a new general manager comes in who has no appreciation of their value, then it becomes a race to see if the employees can find a museum that will take them before the plant manager dictates that the material gets tossed in the trash.

Usually the museums lose.

PC

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 Post subject: Re: How NOT to do rail preservation!
PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:32 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:03 pm
Posts: 115
Location: Pennsylvania
I have always maintained that egos, personal vendettas, and power-grabs by leadership have no business at a railroad museum (or any volunteer organization for that matter).

Case in point, there is a well known museum in a New Jersey state park (not going to name them, but you probably know who I'm talking about) where the organizations leadership consolidated their power, giving little to no voice to rank and file membership, and then implemented a policy of maintaining the status quo and creating a hostile environment to the organization's most enthusiastic and passionate members by doing things such as,
(apparently) forbidding membership to take on new projects and effectively putting a stop on any effort of getting steam back.

I know a few people who have left this organization in recent years because they were sick of its leadership's BS, and the museum has become something of a joke among them. This is how museums die.


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 Post subject: Re: How NOT to do rail preservation!
PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:24 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:27 am
Posts: 389
Location: Winters, TX
One thing I haven't seen mentioned is the need to own the property that your museum sits on. The "Another Museum Is Being Broken Up" thread is a perfect albeit sad example of this. Renting or leasing space is problematical at best until the day comes when you are given the heave ho. And most of these organizations don't seem to have a contingency plan for when that day arrives. Plus we've all seen the value of city and corporate promises which may be good in the beginning but a change of leadership can turn that around in a heartbeat. Bottom line: If you're renting space start saving for a permanent home and make that your top priority.


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 Post subject: Re: How NOT to do rail preservation!
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:59 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2447
Location: S.F. Bay Area
railfan261 wrote:
A railway museum gets a railway line... but does not ensure a connection to the outside rail network.

Who cares?

I'll tell you -- Foamers. Foamers spend their days chasing freight trains. If you don't haul freight, you're not in the system, and you're of no interest. By their logic, if you lose your rail connection, you cease to matter.

And God help you if the foamers get into preservation. Because what they think is cool is the shortlines that do dinner trains, with their GP38s and former Amtrak HEP cars. (The only things the freight RRs will handle). They browse Ozark Mountain, and that's what they see, and that's what they get. This is the expensive way to do things, they're not great at business, so this often doesn't end well.

Anyway back to that rail connection, the freight railroads won't handle historic stuff. They don't want the haul, and we don't want them destroying it. The winning operations - especially the small ones - run with critters (or trolley), open window coaches, homebrew open air cars and cabooses, all of which are very low maintenance, and none of which can possibly move by rail these days.

Ergo, the rail connection is irrelevant.

Cameron Wolk wrote:
Unfortunately Rick not all of us have that luxury and have to deal with realities of everyday life. The majority of railroad museums in this country are not Fortune 100 businesses with bombastic tv ads and connections to people in high places. Money is hard to come by these days...


That's actually a great example of another thing not to do.

What's happening there is you're assuming some are, and and that ain't you. "We can't do as well as those lucky few, because they have outside advantages we do not." I had one jackass tell me "well, TVRM Chatanooga succeeds because they have 3.5 million people within a 2 hour drive." Except we have 7 million people within a 1 hour drive and ours are richer!

Here's the litmus test. That museum over there, imagine if you traded staffs. The TVRM team came to your place, and you ran TVRM. Both of you get to look at the other's business with fresh eyes. What do you think would happen? Would they fail while you succeeded? Or would you run TVRM into the ground while they broke all your sales records?

Imagine if by wild coincidence, Nick Kallas, Al Barnett, Dave Johnston, Kathy Taylor and Kelly Anderson all happened to move to Fremont, Nebraska. And they're sitting in a cafe and decide "let's resurrect the FEVR". Do you think this all-star team could do better than the last bunch? You bet your ass.

So it really is not a matter of where you are - but what you do. And the difference is, the best people know what to do.

Why would someone justify themselves into failure? Because they like the way they're doing things. They don't want to change. The result is poor performance, but if good performance means having to listen to the market and function in a different way, then no thanks!

Another betrayal of reality is the "lottery win fantasy". They don't want to hunker down and just work, so they piss away board meetings talking about money that's sure to come down the pike. The problem is, this assumes -- an extraordinary business opportunity will come... and they'll be aware of it... and they'll know what to do... and they'll act to exploit it... And they'll be highly effective... and they will not screw it up. All of which is competely unrealistic, especially the "not screwing up" part.

These lies are easily torn apart by someone who knows business and is serious about success. And that's exactly what happens with a revolving door of volunteers who leave, going "what the heck is wrong with you people?"

Each of us who have proper facilities are no different than you, we put our pants on one leg at a time. But when our pants are on, we work our butts off, and we put our goals FIRST, and we Git R Done, with a business attitude (as in "taking care of"). What does your organization put first?


Charlie wrote:
One thing I haven't seen mentioned is the need to own the property that your museum sits on. If you're renting space start saving for a permanent home and make that your top priority.

Absolutely. You're just treading water until you have that.


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 Post subject: Re: How NOT to do rail preservation!
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:49 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5254
Location: southeastern USA
Well, not entirely. You may own property that is in the path of development and the neighborhood could change in ways that make your operation PNG to the evolved new world around it. Likely to happen if you turn a blind eye towards taking part in the evolution of the change and intruding yourself into the creation of the vision and becoming an integral part of it - changing yourself into what will complement it in the process. If you are that inwardly directed, you will have nothing but high lawyers fees to pay in reacting too late to the greater power of the NIMBYs you will be dealing with.

Have you been having pleasant frequent lunches with the people doing things near you lately?

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 Post subject: Re: How NOT to do rail preservation!
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:20 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2096
Location: Northern Illinois
robertmacdowell wrote:
railfan261 wrote:
A railway museum gets a railway line... but does not ensure a connection to the outside rail network.

Who cares? ...

Ergo, the rail connection is irrelevant.


I just spent an enjoyable afternoon at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, which has grown impressively in the forty years since I was last there.

They have a connection, I believe, but it's of little use to a 5'-2 1/2" gauge operation.

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 Post subject: Re: How NOT to do rail preservation!
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:20 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:01 pm
Posts: 1438
Location: SouthEast Pennsylvania
Rejecting non monetary aid from local businesses and politicians because they aren't insiders on the Executive Board.


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 Post subject: Re: How NOT to do rail preservation!
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:22 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 4:08 pm
Posts: 26
JimBoylan wrote:
Rejecting non monetary aid from local businesses and politicians because they aren't insiders on the Executive Board.


Who would turn away free help from the community (and free money if available)? Especially in strapped rail preservation societies???

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(MTA) Metro North Railroad - MofE
Adirondack Volunteer Conductor/Engineer/Mechanical
SUNY Polytechnic Institute Alumni


Last edited by Ddatrainman on Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: How NOT to do rail preservation!
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:19 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5254
Location: southeastern USA
Fewer people than those who are simply not trying to get any despite their location in the wealthiest SMSA in their state....... which is also going on.

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