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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:43 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:37 pm
Posts: 38
I just looked over ITM's right of way and although it does not have a connection to the rail system it does have a lot of track, crossings and bridges to maintain about 20 miles or so? That would be a large burden on any operation unless they good, solid sources of revenue and spent it wisely. It also looks like they might have had access to a wye north of Nobelsville. Also, there looks to be a turntable bridge around Fishers? If this is the case it could have been a nice feature for running their NKP steam locomotive.

The entire line looks good from several hundred feet up but I wonder what the tie, bridge, brush and crossing conditions are? As far as stored junk it does not appear to be more than other museums have and seems to be contained, possibly hidden by a fence? But the question is how much is operable ,restorable or should be scrapped? In addition, there seems to be a lot of residential property adjoining their track which probably indicates a lot of NIMBY attitudes?

Just a few observations.

exprail


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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:36 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
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Location: S.F. Bay Area
exprail wrote:
I just looked over ITM's right of way and although it does not have a connection to the rail system it does have a lot of track, crossings and bridges to maintain about 20 miles or so? That would be a large burden on any operation unless they good, solid sources of revenue and spent it wisely.

They have the first half, revenue is the lion's share of a million dollars a year, between the FairTrain and their big Christmas event. Can't speak to the second half. I know they have a full time paid staff of workers, mostly in MoW.

exprail wrote:
The entire line looks good from several hundred feet up but I wonder what the tie, bridge, brush and crossing conditions are? As far as stored junk it does not appear to be more than other museums have and seems to be contained, possibly hidden by a fence? But the question is how much is operable ,restorable or should be scrapped?

I've seen the line up close and personal, and brush and crossing are both excellent, they have pro grade weedsrpay done, the trackbed is well maintained and acceptable for *mostly* 30 mph with slow orders. Can't speak to the bridges.

Honestly if I were them, I would work a deal with the towns saying "give us 3 solid years AND WE'RE GONE." And then hire the guy who brought the rapid ridership increase to the Kingston group, and tell him "run that money train for all she's worth" for those 3 years. Throw almost all of it in the Buy A Railroad Fund (I know of one in particular), and a big kitty for the move.


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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:01 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:17 pm
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Some years ago, a man named Herb Sheldon ran the cars on the trolley operation. Herb was retired and in his younger years worked for Union Traction. His wife would bring him to the site and he would spend the days run the cars on the line. He really loved doing it and was a very pleasant man that just enjoyed talked with people about the old days and the cars currently being operated. His wife took over the operation of the gift shop, which never made any money, until she took it over.

As for the grooves in the street, the train never ran across the street, just half way into it. Somewhere I have a photo of a passenger car sitting in the street with it's coupler knuckle
just at the center line of the road.

They were switching one evening, still very light out, when the long consist got away from the engineer. Sitting at the end of the track at that time, was the Singer locomotive, this was before the special barn was built for it. The consist had enough speed and weight to it, that when it hit the little singer locomotive, it knocked it off the track and spun it around to the side.

It made the evening news. The engineer claimed that there was dew on the rail and it was too slick.

I will leave it at that.

Both of the former Union Traction car bodies were recovered from homes that were being torn down. Craig Pressler found them and they were trucked to the ITM.


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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:10 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:17 pm
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Also, this afternoon, the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority board met and recommended that the 2 top scoring proposals to operate the former NKP line be sent to the owners of the rail line for their consideration. This would be Hamilton County, Mayor of Noblesville and the Mayor of Fishers.

The top score was by Iowa Pacific which wants to operate the entire line with a score of 575 and the second was by Nickel Plate Heritage Railroad which only wants to operate from Noblesville to Atlanta with a score of 360.

The ITM was third with a score of 325.

The HHPA board would take no questions from the public after the announcement on the advice of their attorney, because of the law suite against them by the ITM.


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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:26 pm 

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Who is the Nickel Plate Heritage Railroad?


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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:24 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 24, 2013 3:25 am
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robertmacdowell wrote:
Who is the Nickel Plate Heritage Railroad?

Brenda Myers, President/CEO Hamilton County Tourism, Inc
Thomas G. Hoback, President, Atlanta Pacific Railroad, LLC
Stephen Nelson, Owner, Mr. Muffin's Trains/Atlanta on Track

Surprise, surprise. IPH put in a bid for the operation. Operator results can be found here:

http://www.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/1224/H ... or-Results


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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:49 pm 

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If Tom Hoback, retired president and founder of the Indiana Railroad has anything to do with this I would choose him over the others. That man knows how to railroad in a gentlemen's manner.

exprail


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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:54 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:38 am
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Interesting that the vast majority (roughly 50 pages) of the ITM proposal is proprietary.

Joshua

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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:10 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:28 am
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Location: Suffolk, UK
I was amused to see that Iowa Pacific describe themselves as the...."premier operator of holiday trains in the UK" in their proposal document.

Given that their only operations here are the Dartmoor Railway and the Weardale Railway, I think that is a statement that should be taken with a "pinch of salt" (or more like a covered hopper full.....). They have had success with "Polar Express" runs on both lines in the past, as nobody else has done that sort of thing here, but it is spreading to other operators now - the Telford Steam Railway are doing them in 2017. It totally ignores the established "Santa Trains" that every other line does across the Country and makes serious ££/$$ from!

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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:25 am 

Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:17 pm
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I was surprised to see the proposal posted on another site after I had made a posting about it on RYPN. They were not to be up until today.

What I found very interesting in the Nickel Plate Heritage Railroad's proposal, is how they propose to pay for their operation. I do not see where any of them are investing a dime of their own money.

They want to get a government loan and want the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority to loan them the balance of what they need.

They also want to offer their services to the HHPA to take up the rail where the trail is proposed to be and then use that material to upgrade the 8.5 miles of track they will run on.

They are also offering their services to dispose of the ITM's equipment and use some of it for their operation.

Some of this is very strange to me.

I am going to pay for the hard copy and see if it includes any more on the ITM proposal. I do not see how they can exclude all of the ITM proposal information, but since they have not recommended them as one of the two selected, it does not matter at this time.


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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:02 pm 

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AlcoC420 wrote:

I am going to pay for the hard copy and see if it includes any more on the ITM proposal. I do not see how they can exclude all of the ITM proposal information, but since they have not recommended them as one of the two selected, it does not matter at this time.


"They" did not exclude ITM's proposal, ITM excluded ITM's proposal. ITM decided to mark it "Proprietary and Confidential" to keep the public from looking at it. I find it ironic, as ITM supporters have wanted full disclosure of documents from the HHPA (as they should, government should operate in the open), yet fail to follow the same principles.

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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:37 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:17 pm
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wilkinsd wrote:

"They" did not exclude ITM's proposal, ITM excluded ITM's proposal. ITM decided to mark it "Proprietary and Confidential" to keep the public from looking at it. I find it ironic, as ITM supporters have wanted full disclosure of documents from the HHPA (as they should, government should operate in the open), yet fail to follow the same principles.


This is how ITM operates.

Looking at the one sheet with the total score from each board member is also quite telling. The Hamilton County Member Glenn Schwartz must be completely in ITM's favor and he could not make it more obvious. His score for ITM was the ITM's highest, he also scored big on IPH and completely negative on the others.

If you look at the 3 members from Fishers, they gave the highest score to the operation that only wants to operate the northern most 8.5 miles and help them tear out the section for the trail.

To be fair to them, they have their interest, as we each have our own. It would have been more fair, if they had someone completely out of the area evaluate the proposals, maybe even a college.

Sadly, I do not see any of the proposals as really qualified and I do not have a favored one. I want to see a qualified operator on this line and the railroad saved from destruction. But to really make this line a success, the local governments need to get behind it.

Getting any one of the two outside connections replaced, is going to take a combined effort from the local government, the state government, as well as our state congressmen. One little company or tourist railroad barely stands a chance with NS or CSX.


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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:24 pm 

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AlcoC420 wrote:
Getting any one of the two outside connections replaced, is going to take a combined effort from the local government, the state government, as well as our state congressmen. One little company or tourist railroad barely stands a chance with NS or CSX.

Carloads will fix that. How you run a railroad without obtaining ballast in mass quantity is beyond me. And importantly, taking carloads for yourself does not force you into the general system, so you still get to live in that sheltered "FRA Lite" tier of regulations.

Literally. NS could come the whole length of the line to drop ballast cars at the Fairgrounds, does not put them in the general system.

Other than the obvious need for track materials best moved by rail, I have no use for an interchange. Almost nothing I want is new enough to move on its own wheels, and I certainly don't want any riptrack surprises.


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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:30 pm 

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again coming down the railchicago wire...

Quote:
Indianapolis Business Journal

The Hoosier Heritage Port Authority has ranked a proposal from Iowa Pacific Holdings as the top choice among those submitted by potential operators of the Nickel Plate Railroad line.On Tuesday night, the Port Authority publicly released the five responses it received to its request for proposals. Four out of the five proposals outlined plans to use the full 37-mile stretch from Tipton to Indianapolis, despite plans from local governments to rip up a major section of the rails for a recreational trail.
The Port Authority is searching for a company to handle operations on the line because it terminated its policy-of-use agreement with the Indiana Transportation Museum in March 2016 amid concerns about the not-for-profit’s financials and maintenance of the tracks.
The owners of the track—Fishers, Noblesville and Hamilton County—announced plans in February to convert 9.2 miles of the track into a pedestrian and bike path called the Nickel Plate Trail.
But officials with the Port Authority, a quasi-government agency that oversees the railroad, said the trail is not a done deal and released a request for proposals for a new operator in April.The Port Authority collected submissions until June, and a committee made up of five of the six Port Authority board members and one representative each from Fishers, Noblesville and Hamilton County scored the responses.
The Port Authority voted Tuesday night to send the top two scoring proposals to the railroad owners for further review and possible interviews.
It will be up to the railroad owners to make a final decision.
The highest scoring proposal came from Chicago-based Iowa Pacific, which previously operated the Hoosier State service that runs from Indianapolis to Chicago. Iowa Pacific took over operations in July 2015, and while it increased ticket revenue, it saw a decrease in overall passengers.
The Indiana Department of Transportation ended the partnership on the Hoosier State line with Iowa Pacific on March 1. Amtrak now operates the service.
Iowa Pacific’s proposal for the Nickel Plate line would include using the entire corridor for passenger trains, freight and railcar storage. The plan is dependent upon reconnecting the railroad with the Norfolk Southern line in Tipton to allow access to freight and railcar transportation. The Nickel Plate Railroad was separated from the Norfolk Southern line in Tipton in 1997 and has been isolated from other rail lines since 2007.Iowa Pacific says it has nearly 200 passenger cars and locomotives in its possession and it would provide excursion trains, dinner trains and holiday trains along the Nickel Plate. In 2016, Iowa Pacific carried more than 400,000 passengers on holiday trains in the United States and United Kingdom, according to the proposal.The company also suggested pursuing a rails with trails development that would allow the communities to add a pedestrian trail without removing the railroad. That idea has been suggested by local railroad supporters, but officials have not been supportive of the proposal.Iowa Pacific requested a 10-year agreement with the Port Authority. It said it expects ito reinvest $2 million in the corridor over a five-year period and provide $380,000 per year for capital investments. Other estimated financials were not made public.
The second-highest scoring proposal was submitted by Hamilton County Tourism Inc. on behalf of Arcadia Arts & Heritage Depot and Atlanta Pacific Railroad LLC.
That plan calls for using only a 8.5-mile section of the railroad from Tipton to Arcadia as a tourist attraction. A not-for-profit called Nickel Plate Heritage Railroad Inc. would oversee the programming and the Atlanta Pacific Railroad, which is owned by the former president and CEO of the Indiana Rail Road, Thomas Hoback, would operate the trains.
“The Nickel Plate Heritage Railroad model is one like those in the airline industry,” the proposal says. “A railroad operation company will manage the equipment and track for the company that manages the programming and schedule, as well as marketing and ticket sales.”
Atlanta Pacific Railroad would acquire several locomotives and passenger cars with a minimum capacity of 200, which would cost an estimated $750,000.
The groups requested a 5-year agreement with the Port Authority, and provided financials that estimated a small operating surplus every year. Funding would come from grants, ticket sales, sponsorships and gifts.
The plan predicts the themed excursion trains would attract 25,000 passengers per year and operate 75 days out of the year, mostly on Fridays and Saturdays.
The Indiana Transportation Museum also submitted a proposal, and it was ranked third, but nearly all of its proposal was marked proprietary and confidential so it was not made public. Only a cover sheet and introductory letter were shared.
According to the letter, the plan involves using the entire corridor for excursions such the Indiana State Fair Train and Polar Bear Express, plus other year-round attractions.
Museum leaders have said they didn’t think their proposal would be considered fairly by the authority.
The fight between the museum and local officials has escalated over the past few months as the parties argued about the status of the tracks and best future usage of it.
The museum has filed a federal lawsuit against the Port Authority, Noblesville and Fishers in which it accuses the government of unjustly interfering in its operations, causing a critical loss of more than a half-million dollars in revenue.
The museum recently sought a temporary restraining order against the Port Authority in that lawsuit so it could regain use of the Nickel Plate in time for next month’s Indiana State Fair, but a federal judge ruled against that request Thursday.
The other two responses for the railroad were received from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Railway Co. of Indianapolis and Hoosier Heritage Railroad Inc. of Fishers. Both called for operating the entire railroad corridor.


The fact they mention the trail is not a done deal and many proposals would use the entire line is good news for the rail line in general and the rail line would not be ripped up. Iowa Pacific has a strong reperetroire and really I wonder if ITM has the financial fortitude, but the rail line needs a solid operator that may boost freight use as well.



Whoever gets this I hope ITM gets a strong relationship with the operator.


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 Post subject: Re: Indiana Transportation Museum Files Lawsuit
PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 12:33 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 24, 2013 3:25 am
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Joshua K. Blay wrote:
Interesting that the vast majority (roughly 50 pages) of the ITM proposal is proprietary.

Joshua

Also on the last page of the IPH proposal, it's listed that there was an additional "~40± pages of Consolidated Financial Documents" marked "Proprietary and Confidential by Proposer".


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