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 Post subject: Re: Nickel Plate Berkshire 757 Going to Bellevue, Ohio!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:05 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 4:03 pm
Posts: 719
Do you take issue with rationalizing a collection at this particular museum or in regards to rail preservation as a whole?

The big big big big difference here is that Bellevue's organization is not only related to the artifact by way of history, but that they've shown they are capable of taking on such a project and executing it.

From the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania's press release:

"Responsible stewardship of historic artifacts often requires making difficult choices about what you keep, what you acquire and how you invest your limited resources,” says Museum director Patrick C. Morrison. “Saying goodbye to the Berkshire will be sad for us, having been on our roster for more than 50 years. However, the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum has demonstrated their willingness to immediately restore No. 757, and we are very excited to see what they have in store for this important modern steam treasure.”

The Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum will be making its own arrangements for the eventual movement of the No. 757 to Ohio. Ownership of the locomotive will be transferred upon its removal from the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

“It is essential for organizations like the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum to work together to find ways to save historically significant objects like No. 757. No one organization can do it all and, in most cases today, it is quite literally a race against time to save these pieces from the ravages of time and the elements,” Morrison adds.

The New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad — also known as the Nickel Plate Road — built the Berkshire No. 757 in Lima, Ohio in 1944. The city of Bellevue, Ohio, a strategically important railroad center and hub, was offered No. 757 by the railroad in the mid 1960s, but did not have a museum at the time to preserve it. So, No. 757 became the first locomotive to be donated to the future Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, arguably saving it from an uncertain fate."


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Nickel Plate Berkshire No. 757 NR 073117.docx [93.48 KiB]
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 Post subject: Re: Nickel Plate Berkshire 757 Going to Bellevue, Ohio!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:23 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 238
Superheater - I'm not "missing your point" but, rather, I am disagreeing with you.

You claim that, "This is almost purely motivated by fiscal conditions" yet you advocate that some sort of exchange should have taken place. If the RRMPA could not afford to restore, preserve, and properly present the Berk for interpretation, how would it have funded the restoration, preservation, and presentation of an exchange locomotive?

I'm sure your concerns about PA's fiscal situation are well founded and well thought out, and I have to believe that the folks who operate the RRMPA have similar concerns especially when it comes to how all the politics impact their budget. They most likely have continuously lobbied for additional funding. They were presented with an opportunity to put this artifact in a place where it could be properly preserved and interpreted and they wisely chose to face the reality of their situation and see to it that the locomotive did not continue to rot outside.

You also refer to "the "other team's" cheerleader's pom-pom waiving and game commentary." Who or what is the "other team" that you are derisively referring to? Shouldn't all rail preservationists be on the same team?

The sort of artifact-first collegiality as demonstrated by the transaction between RRMPA and the MR&NKP should be applauded, embraced and emulated in rail preservation. Those who refuse to accept this are not worthy of public funding whether it be from private donations or federal, state, or local government tax dollars.


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 Post subject: Re: Nickel Plate Berkshire 757 Going to Bellevue, Ohio!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:38 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1604
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Makes a ton of sense to me. Perhaps part of Harrisburg's reluctance to increase funding for the RRMPA is the bad taste still in their mouth from the debacle at Steamtown with the 1361 which saw millions of Pa. tax payer dollars mismanaged on an epic scale by a team that knew just enough to be fatally dangerous.

I have a long time friend in Harrisburg who has told me that the whole 1361 fiasco has " cured" the legislature from ever " dabbling with steam trains again".

Let's hope the new owners are quickly successful in raising the funds needed to transform her from a rusting hulk into a thing of beauty.

IMHO-Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Nickel Plate Berkshire 757 Going to Bellevue, Ohio!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:11 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8356
Location: Baltimore, MD
My personal feelings: This is comparable to watching Kim Jong-un drive my just-won new car off a cliff.

On the one hand, this improves the future for 757 and "rights a great wrong," as it were. On the other hand, I am vastly opposed to diluting the non-PRR presence at the RR Museum of Pa.--and this was one of the prime examples, if not THE prime example.

And I share Superheater's sense of irritation. But this does, indeed, fall upon the Commonwealth's legislators more than it does the Museum management.

As for fiscal responsibility: It has been alleged to me, by parties who claim to be in a position to know, that the RR Museum of Pa. is a net contributor to the coffers of the Pa. Historic & Museum Commission, or at least USED to be. If every state historic museum and site that the PHMC ran were run as private operations, the only ones that (supposedly) had a prayer of remaining self-sustaining were the William Penn Museum in Harrisburg (the "Smithsonian of the state") and the RR Museum of Pa. All others would be deeply in the red. Of course, there are many ways this argument can be made and distorted--capital costs ignored just like they are with Amtrak by people who only look at the annual operations appropriation, for example.
However, proper Museum stewardship does suggest that museums should trade assets of a substantial nature rather than give them away. But I struggle to think of anything that the MR&NKP group is in any way capable of acquiring for trade that would properly fit both the mission statement of the Museum and "a vacancy" in collection interpretation. The Lackawanna steamers, a Reading T1, etc. are simply not available for any price unless, possibly in a couple cases like CNJ 113, a Powerball winner waves a massive check--and that ain't happening.

Nevertheless, the reality is that this museum, like EVERY DAMNED operation/project we discuss here, has to "play the hand it's dealt," not the one it or its supporters fantasizes it has.

One final word of warning:
I wish no ill upon the Bellevue boys whatsoever, but I have personal knowledge of at least two cases where campaigns were announced to "rescue" or repatriate rail objects like this that ultimately fell through, leaving the object where it was--and if I think long enough, I can come up with a couple more. Of course, a hometown Berkshire is sexier and a better fund-raiser target than, say, a streetcar body or switcher. But I'm keeping my pom-poms packed until I hear NS, Amtrak, etc. give approval to the movement, the fundraising target close to being matched, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Nickel Plate Berkshire 757 Going to Bellevue, Ohio!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:35 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2004 10:51 pm
Posts: 87
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
co614 wrote:
Makes a ton of sense to me. Perhaps part of Harrisburg's reluctance to increase funding for the RRMPA is the bad taste still in their mouth from the debacle at Steamtown with the 1361 which saw millions of Pa. tax payer dollars mismanaged on an epic scale by a team that knew just enough to be fatally dangerous.

I have a long time friend in Harrisburg who has told me that the whole 1361 fiasco has " cured" the legislature from ever " dabbling with steam trains again".

Let's hope the new owners are quickly successful in raising the funds needed to transform her from a rusting hulk into a thing of beauty.

IMHO-Ross Rowland


One of the few bright sides of the state getting involved, is that two of my license plates feature what I believe to be the 1361 on them. It really is a pretty license plate!
Image

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 Post subject: Re: Nickel Plate Berkshire 757 Going to Bellevue, Ohio!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:45 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
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Location: Youngstown, OH
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
proper Museum stewardship does suggest that museums should trade assets of a substantial nature rather than give them away. But I struggle to think of anything that the MR&NKP group is in any way capable of acquiring for trade that would properly fit both the mission statement of the Museum and "a vacancy" in collection interpretation.


Actually we did sort of offer something in trade. The RRMPA would like to have their own diesel switcher that they can use to move their own equipment with without relying upon the Strasburg Railroad. Specifically something with engines that use antifreeze. I found a GE 100 tonner that was available for donation and made them aware of it. Ultimately it was determined that the expense was too great to move the 100 tonner to Strasburg.

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 Post subject: Re: Nickel Plate Berkshire 757 Going to Bellevue, Ohio!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:04 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2004 6:17 pm
Posts: 514
Location: Scranton, PA
Random Questions:

First: How does one assign "value" to a steam locomotive, particularly a non-operating one. Current scrap value? Are there any real benchmarks for what a steam locomotive is "worth"?

Second: Should a museum, primarily funded by tax payers, be more focused on getting a return dividend for their stockholders (in this case, the citizens of PA) or should they be primarily concerned with the long term care of artifacts in its possession?

I'm a PA taxpayer and I'm glad to see the artifact go where it can be properly attended to, as that was not happening in Strasburg.

As an aside: Over the years the museum has added steam, diesel and electric locomotives from The Reading Company, Lehigh Valley, MA & PA, Bethlehem Steel, Amtrak, PP&L and others to further tell the story of railroading in PA. I'd love to see a T-1, EBT switcher, Lehigh Valley GP-39 or the DL&W 952 there, but it isn't happening any time soon.

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 Post subject: Re: Nickel Plate Berkshire 757 Going to Bellevue, Ohio!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:25 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:58 pm
Posts: 874
this is great news for all involved.


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 Post subject: Re: Nickel Plate Berkshire 757 Going to Bellevue, Ohio!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:48 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:05 am
Posts: 24
Location: Quebec
First of all i am very happy for the Mad-River & NKP museum to get this Berkshire come back in Ohio

Second
Just defend the National Transportation Museum for not get back the DLW 952 to Scranton
Is just, maybe, a question of time Steamtown and St-Louis get a agreement on a loan is my feeling not a true story
But for the (National)Transportation Museum keep intact her national collection is the most important. Just see the condition of loan for the NW 2156. The Virginia museum has the duty to get back the locomotive in St-Louis after the end of the loan or get more years on the loan. Its not the onwers of the locomotive

At last
The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania has not denied his collection. Bellevue (the french of nice view loll) has in the first time get the 757 for his city right?? The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania has the plan B for save the 757. I just say the museum don't see the 757 in the future just look the new roundhouse i get to built.

David


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 Post subject: Re: Nickel Plate Berkshire 757 Going to Bellevue, Ohio!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:09 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1241
Location: Strasburg, PA
I am curious if a plan is in place to make the move, she's not in the greatest condition for a trip on her own wheels. See YouTube. That adventure was caused by a crosshead rusted solid to its guide. I have no idea about the condition of her roller bearings. All her other axles are plain bearings that may be corroded as well (or they may all be factory fresh).

I believe that the catenary on Amtrak is too low to haul her out by flat car, and that she is too big to haul out on a truck over Lancaster County's roads.

Hopefully all of those questions were worked out before an announcement was made. If not, it may be that all of the preceding debate was for naught, since she may not be going anywhere.

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 Post subject: Re: Nickel Plate Berkshire 757 Going to Bellevue, Ohio!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:21 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1735
Random Questions:

Focused Answers

First: How does one assign "value" to a steam locomotive, particularly a non-operating one. Current scrap value? Are there any real benchmarks for what a steam locomotive is "worth"?

The short answer is that there is no market value for a steam locomotive, because they are not ordinarily sold (and even when the market was fractured by the wide variation in design)- there's no market. By the way, while this may seem like economic minutiae; it is important to note that "no value" doesn't mean 0. Zero and null are different concepts. Scrap value would not apply because it is not scrap. The easiest way to deal with the question of value in non-tradeable assets is a "like-kind" exchange. The PHMC is not Larry's Truck and Electric, or any other sort of dealer-they are custodians of our heritage.

Second: Should a museum, primarily funded by tax payers, be more focused on getting a return dividend for their stockholders (in this case, the citizens of PA) or should they be primarily concerned with the long term care of artifacts in its possession?


No, they should not be concerned with "getting a return" in the ordinary sense of the word- cash, and that's not my opinion, that's the mandate of Title 37 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/leg ... HTM&ttl=37

Although PHMC runs the second largest "enterprise" fund-which is a government owned entity that sells good or services to the public-in the state (its museum stores; exceeded only by the Liquor Control Board) it does not ordinarily dispose of the things entrusted to its care.

"I'm a PA taxpayer and I'm glad to see the artifact go where it can be properly attended to, as that was not happening in Strasburg."

That lack of proper attendance as you call it is not a fact of nature, it's the result of decisions. You aren't describing some unavoidable external condition, but management decisions open to questioning. The elephant in the room here is that the locomotive has been pushed aside because it is disfavored. At some point one asks, is this discretionary allocation of limited resources or neglect.

They have had some issues with their operating budget and as I recall the Friends Group has incurred some drops in revenue, but they are planning a new construction in the neighborhood of 10.5 million bucks for next year, money they sought for a "growing collection".

http://rrmuseumpa.org/visit/about/

As an aside: Over the years the museum has added steam, diesel and electric locomotives from The Reading Company, Lehigh Valley, MA & PA, Bethlehem Steel, Amtrak, PP&L and others to further tell the story of railroading in PA. I'd love to see a T-1, EBT switcher, Lehigh Valley GP-39 or the DL&W 952 there, but it isn't happening any time soon.

You'll never see a Lehigh Valley GP-39, there were none.

Now as for the recipient. The Mad River has an existing collection, they've about broken even for the last two years where a 990 is available (2014 & 2015) and they are worth a little over a million. Look I get the idea that this would be a flagship acquisition for them, but I see raising $250,000 to move and cosmetically restore this engine to be a bit of a stretch. If I had $250K to spare, it would be going to 3713 or 5550.

If I were auditing this deal, I'd be seriously interested in how the locomotive got to its present condition, how the deal was arrived at and the financial and operational capacity of the recipient.

By the way, there's now legislation pending to give audits more teeth.


Attachments:
2015-341158289-0d6b3bd1-9.pdf [1.09 MiB]
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Last edited by superheater on Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Nickel Plate Berkshire 757 Going to Bellevue, Ohio!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:24 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1735
Scranton Yard:

"the RRMPA could not afford to restore, preserve, and properly present the Berk for interpretation, how would it have funded the restoration, preservation, and presentation of an exchange locomotive?"


Here we get to the crux of the matter. "Could not" or "would not"?


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 Post subject: Re: Nickel Plate Berkshire 757 Going to Bellevue, Ohio!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:43 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:10 am
Posts: 2332
FWIW (and not in response to any of the prior conversation), here are a few things that come to mind for me related to this long dreamed of plan coming true. I offer these in no particular order.

- The RRMofPA has one of the most professional and well-executed collection policies among US rail museums. Pieces come and go, and the collection gets stronger. #757 is hardly the only piece to leave in recent years, and she shouldn't be the last. A museum is a living entity, not a mausoleum.

- Have you seen what's going on in Ohio lately? It has become the indisputable hub of US rail preservation activity (and industrial preservation). This is due to a couple of factors which are worth a dedicated post. I can't look at the Ohio scene and not be impressed... especially with the cooperation and shared goals shown by a core group of preservationists. If #757 had to go somewhere, Ohio is the place. And, BTW, the Ohio "scene" also includes southern MI, IN and western PA, which are also home to some of this incredible preservation energy.

- No one gave two toots about #757 in Strasburg. She's one of many surviving Van Swearigen Berkshires and hardly ranked as a top 25 piece in terms of interpretive value or core historical value at the museum. While friends' efforts focused on several pieces, #757 wasn't high on anyone's list. With the roundhouse coming to protect the big (and rare) PRR steamers, the Berk was an orphan. The RRMofPA would have a hard time prioritizing funds for #757 over the M1, L1, K4, DD1, #4800, etc... all of which deserve attention before #757 (not for their PRR lineage but for their rarity and interpretive value). Moving her out puts her at the top of someone else's list. That's a big win.

- This clears up track space to get RDG #2101. ;-) (Just a dream, not a rumour.)

- The Mad River crew wanted #757 and for a long time... literally for generations. This is their dream. Unlike those of us who would like to see DL&W #952 back in Scranton, these gents figured a way to get #757 back to Bellvue. The historical impact is similar.

- Isn't it nice a home was found for #757 when Bellvue couldn't take it 50 years ago? This is a happier ending than the Lackawanna's gift of a Pocono to Scranton.

- And if it is very important to have a NKP S-class in Pennsylvania, there is one in infinitely better condition (and with indoor storage) in Scranton.

- I love to see artifacts returned to areas where they have the highest interpretive value.

- I hope this starts a trend.

- Who do I talk to get #4800 repainted into her ConRail bicentennial scheme for 2026? ;-)

Rob

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Last edited by robertjohndavis on Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Nickel Plate Berkshire 757 Going to Bellevue, Ohio!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:31 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:58 pm
Posts: 874
Just judging from the pics I've seen, 757 doesn't look in any worse condition than the 763 did. Hoping for a quick and trouble free journey.


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 Post subject: Re: Nickel Plate Berkshire 757 Going to Bellevue, Ohio!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:03 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:10 pm
Posts: 951
I am an active two day a week volunteer in the restoration shop at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. On a weekly basis, there are two full-time paid employees and anywhere from five to nine volunteers working. Between us, we can put in somewhere between 100 and 135 man hours per week. That's why it takes years to complete a major restoration. It's been estimated that we have about 50 years of work facing us, and none of us will live that long.

The collection includes approximately 33 artifacts currently outdoors. As things stand today, anything that is restored beyond the next piece in the shop will have to sit outside, where the cycle of weathering will begin again. Even if/when the roundhouse is built, it will house just six pieces, only one of which is currently in the display hall, freeing up space for perhaps one or two of the items now outside.

Don't get me wrong. I'd love to see a Reading T-1, that L&NE 0-6-0 and Huntingdon & Broad Top Mountain No. 38 in the collection, but I have no power to make any of that happen. I want to see the PRR steam locomotives restored, I want to see that DD-1 restored. But I am not the one who makes those decisions. The legislature slashed the PH&MC budget by over $1 million, and we don't know yet how that will affect the budget at the museum. But we are certain there will never be enough money to do all the things we'd like to do.

It doesn't matter who is to blame for the current state of affairs. The bottom line is this: in keeping with good museum stewardship and practice, if a piece can be deaccessioned to another responsible museum, it should happen. Several other pieces have been deaccessioned in recent times, though none has attracted as much adoration or approbation as NKP No. 757


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