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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:43 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 3:12 pm
Posts: 75
I have a place nobody has even mentioned. The old Atlantic Coast Line route to Myrtle Beach. RJ Corman owns from Mullins to Chadbourne to Whiteville. From Chanbourne, it goes down to Conway. The section between Conway to Myrtle Beach is owned by Horry County. The wye track in Myrtle Beach could be rebuilt. There is also abandoned road bed for a wye track just south of Loris. Finally, Chadbourne also has a wye track. The depot in Conway is owned by the original Carolina Southern Railroad. Myrtle Beach depot is owned by the city. Pros: previously a passenger line, Myrtle Beach depot is located in downtown Myrtle Beach, busy highways everywhere, huge tourist traction, lots of parking could be close to the depot. Cons: lack of scenery north of Conway, Myrtle Beach is already a tourist trap, 9-10 car passenger trains tops due to space restrictions in Myrtle Beach.

You could do dinner trains, all day excursions, short 2 1/2 hour excursions, etc. Just food for thought.

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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 1:35 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3012
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
First thing, I'd like to thank ekrwy2 and Rob Gardner for their comments about additional potential locations for a home for mainline steam where the engines could stretch their legs.

All of this may seem foamy, and very likely will end up as just that, but if we are to have any chance for mainline power to run, it's going to have to be something like what's being discussed. As has been noted here and elsewhere, the freight carriers seem to be pretty allergic to us. Coming up with an alternative has to start from somewhere.

Texas Highballer commented that multiple venues would be worth pursuing, given the size of the country. The suggestions so far have all been Eastern. Are there any other possibilities further west? I must plead ignorance, having never been west of Columbus, Ohio. . .the only western location I can come up with would be Grand Canyon Scenic, with essentially a steam revival there. But would the current owners be interested in that, as it is one road that really doesn't need steam?

NS 2110 commented that Steamtown's former Lackawanna line should be good for this, yet as noted, Steamtown itself has fallen short on things for a variety of reasons. My own comments would agree with both the praises and the criticisms--it's a wonderful place with virtually unlimited potential (the roundhouse with its gallery makes you wish the railroads had built all of them that way!), but operationally it's been disappointing. When I got to ride the line behind Canadian Pacific 1293 to Moscow, the lack of speed which is a characteristic of our mainline trips was a pretty serious disappointment, considering the capabilities of the power and the past capabilities of the railroad itself. That made it "feel" like the other shortline roads we have. The solution, of course, is better track, and like so much else, that calls for a bit of money. . .a bigger bit than some of us have around!

Finally, I have to thank Dave for expanding my own view, reminding me that there were mainline operations at speed before we had mechanical stokers and superheaters, and that not all of them were on main lines as such. That does expand options for how the "immersive experience" might be had.


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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:17 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:57 pm
Posts: 31
Location: Honesdale, PA
I have 25 miles of very scenic class 2 track with an established tourist operation. I have repeatedly searched for owners of steam locomotives looking for a location to operate. Not one has came to me looking and few will even respond to correspondence.


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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:25 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5233
Location: southeastern USA
DLSGM wrote:
I have 25 miles of very scenic class 2 track with an established tourist operation. I have repeatedly searched for owners of steam locomotives looking for a location to operate. Not one has came to me looking and few will even respond to correspondence.


I think I remember your solicitation. Very sketchy information, no specifics. It's easy to come off looking flaky and foamy unless you show you are a legitimate and successful business. I'd encourage you to go to the convention this winter and network, bringing your business plan for steam and financials with you to see if you can't find a willing partner face to face. If not, at least you will become known as legitimate and through the network something is more likely to show up.

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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:54 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2050
DLSGM wrote:
I have 25 miles of very scenic class 2 track with an established tourist operation. I have repeatedly searched for owners of steam locomotives looking for a location to operate. Not one has came to me looking and few will even respond to correspondence.



Experiment and go to some of these places and have an excursion. Take a small engine and a few cars and let it fly.


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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:30 pm 

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 10:30 pm
Posts: 591
Location: Bucks County, PA
Dave wrote:
DLSGM wrote:
I have 25 miles of very scenic class 2 track with an established tourist operation. I have repeatedly searched for owners of steam locomotives looking for a location to operate. Not one has came to me looking and few will even respond to correspondence.


I think I remember your solicitation. Very sketchy information, no specifics. It's easy to come off looking flaky and foamy unless you show you are a legitimate and successful business. I'd encourage you to go to the convention this winter and network, bringing your business plan for steam and financials with you to see if you can't find a willing partner face to face. If not, at least you will become known as legitimate and through the network something is more likely to show up.


Well, if you look at his location, that should provide a huge clue as to the railroad. Then looking at his username, you can see the letters "GM". Then a little Google search should come up with the answer.

That being said, I think more specifics, made publicly by this individual, what they are looking for, who they are, etc, will go a long way...

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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:43 am 

Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:21 pm
Posts: 67
Folks, doesn't the Grand Canyon Railway already meet most of the requirements listed in this thread?

It's a 64 mile line of Class 3 track, Maximum speeds of 40 mph. Train ride is just over 2 hours each way.

Each terminus is a 'Destination', with interesting activities in addition to the Train Ride. Williams is a Rt. 66 town with a bit of western charm. We have a Wildlife Park (Bearizona) in town, with numerous other scenic attractions within an hours drive. And for the Northern Terminus, we have THE GRAND CANYON. (incidentally, visitation to the National Park is about 5 million annually)

There are nearby population centers. Phoenix is around 3 hours to city center, and Las Vegas is not much farther.

Steam operates on a regular schedule. Yes, it's only once a month most of the time, but if it drew more ticket sales, it would run more.

Some may not consider 4960 to be a 'Mainline' engine, and it's certainly not the 844, 3751, or 4449. But most easterners get plenty excited about 4501 or the engines of Steamtown, and there really is no difference of size and speed. And for those that have seen the 29 in operation, it may not be considered large, but it is definitely an impressive puller.

We have an outside connection to a class 1. 3751 has been here twice. Yes, BNSF is not the most supportive to operating on the Southern Transcon, but there may be opportunities in the right scenario.

The Arizona State RR Museum is beginning to take shape on 21 acres adjacent to the Grand Canyon Railway. Plans are to include a Turntable and Roundhouse, which could be used to house visiting equipment.

What else could you want?

Yes, it's dark territory, so one of the previous posts about running the New River Gorge with the signals changing from Approach to Clear is very appealing. And I've seen more train movements at IRM in an hour than we sometime see on GCR in an entire day. But that is all available for development if the need arises.

Eric Hadder


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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:03 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5233
Location: southeastern USA
Big Jim, I don't care who or where he is - but I'd always be happy to see another operating steam venue done well. Whoever needs to step up and demonstrate his legitimacy and ability before anybody with a steam locomotive to put to work would be wiling to trust him. It takes very little ignorance to cause some expensive damage, and a lot of skills to operate steam without doing so. It takes enough money to set up to do it right also. This needs to be a part of the ask, or you gets no answers.

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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:05 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 10:49 am
Posts: 632
hadder wrote:
Folks, doesn't the Grand Canyon Railway already meet most of the requirements listed in this thread?

It's a 64 mile line of Class 3 track, Maximum speeds of 40 mph. Train ride is just over 2 hours each way.

Each terminus is a 'Destination', with interesting activities in addition to the Train Ride. Williams is a Rt. 66 town with a bit of western charm. We have a Wildlife Park (Bearizona) in town, with numerous other scenic attractions within an hours drive. And for the Northern Terminus, we have THE GRAND CANYON. (incidentally, visitation to the National Park is about 5 million annually)

There are nearby population centers. Phoenix is around 3 hours to city center, and Las Vegas is not much farther.

Steam operates on a regular schedule. Yes, it's only once a month most of the time, but if it drew more ticket sales, it would run more.

Some may not consider 4960 to be a 'Mainline' engine, and it's certainly not the 844, 3751, or 4449. But most easterners get plenty excited about 4501 or the engines of Steamtown, and there really is no difference of size and speed. And for those that have seen the 29 in operation, it may not be considered large, but it is definitely an impressive puller.

We have an outside connection to a class 1. 3751 has been here twice. Yes, BNSF is not the most supportive to operating on the Southern Transcon, but there may be opportunities in the right scenario.

The Arizona State RR Museum is beginning to take shape on 21 acres adjacent to the Grand Canyon Railway. Plans are to include a Turntable and Roundhouse, which could be used to house visiting equipment.

What else could you want?

Yes, it's dark territory, so one of the previous posts about running the New River Gorge with the signals changing from Approach to Clear is very appealing. And I've seen more train movements at IRM in an hour than we sometime see on GCR in an entire day. But that is all available for development if the need arises.

Eric Hadder


I love the Grand Canyon. I've known several people who have worked there, and guest fired on a couple of occasions... but I am about to gore the ox...

While the GCRR fits almost all the criteria to make this a viable option, the absolute show stopper is the owners' committment to steam operations. If we are wanting all steam, all the time, then Grand Canyon would have to change their management philosophy regarding steam operations. Are they committed past the current 1472's of their locomotives? Are they committed to hosting other locomotives to return things back to the way things used to be?

As far as bringing in other power is concerned, plan a couple years out...the same way Feld Entertainment did with the circus train. It was never a surprise and the operations were handled with relative. The more it's done, the more everyone will get used to it and it won't be so much of a fire drill when steam engines do move around.

Remember, if it's not steam all the time, it doesn't count. Disneyland is not Disneyland without Mickey Mouse. We're going for Disney Land here.


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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:34 am 

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:31 am
Posts: 360
ns2110 wrote:
I rode the trip. It was great. I couldn't understand why nobody wanted to ride it.


To provide a direct answer, the trip was too long and the cost was too high. I really struggled with going or not, but I would have had to give up most of a day and as soon as I could rationalize that, I couldn't live with the ticket price.

I can't recall the exact number, but I know that it was over $100 per person to ride behind 765. Contrast this with the $24/pp I am used to paying at Steamtown (including behind 3254 when she was operable), or the $14/pp I paid to the R&N last year to ride behind #425. Yes, the trips were shorter, but with children the clock starts the minute you board. Longer is not always better, especially with fixed windows.

If 765 took one of the shorter Steamtown trips after the viaduct run was cancelled, at a more reasonable price, you can bet I would have been a buyer. And for multiple tickets.


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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:54 am 

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 10:30 pm
Posts: 591
Location: Bucks County, PA
6-18003 wrote:
ns2110 wrote:
I rode the trip. It was great. I couldn't understand why nobody wanted to ride it.
Yes, the trips were shorter, but with children the clock starts the minute you board. Longer is not always better, especially with fixed windows.

If 765 took one of the shorter Steamtown trips after the viaduct run was cancelled, at a more reasonable price, you can bet I would have been a buyer. And for multiple tickets.


Agreed completely with the "children" part of it. Brought my little girl with me and my wife on the train. She loves trains and train rides. She was way too young to make the all-day trip to the Water Gap and back - we even brought stuff for her to do while on the train, but that didn't do much for her. So we knew from then - for her age, maybe for the next few years or so - stick with the shorter trips. When she gets older, then the longer trips will be great.

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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:49 am 

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:31 am
Posts: 360
DLSGM wrote:
I have 25 miles of very scenic class 2 track with an established tourist operation. I have repeatedly searched for owners of steam locomotives looking for a location to operate. Not one has came to me looking and few will even respond to correspondence.



I was really hoping for a certain 0-6-0 to take you up on your offer. If her planned visit to a "neighboring facility" hadn't been squashed, maybe she would have.

I'll be honest, I live in a neighboring county. And, while I know advertising is expensive, I had to look up your webpage to see if you were still operating. Your prices are very reasonable, and I am going to make an effort to ride in the next few weeks. But if it wasn't for your post in this thread, it wouldn't have entered my mind (if that 0-6-0 was on the line, I would have made it a priority to visit, so I do see your point).


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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:45 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:57 pm
Posts: 31
Location: Honesdale, PA
You missed your opportunity to see the Viscose 6 here this year. It was not as big as we wanted but it gave us an opportunity to "test the waters" (which we found to have a problematicly high TDS) and gauge the level of interest locally. Our advertising is directed at target audiences in specific regions for different events and themed trains. That is why you will not see much advertising locally, the exception will be holiday events where we historically have as a majority local patrons. We have spent millions of dollars bringing this railroad back into operation, which can be seen in both the equipment we operate and the right of way. We are extremely proud of what we have done here, and will continue to invest in both the railroad and the community.
Since I'm on my soap box, I will add that ALL of the monies invested is private, and ZERO tax payer dollars were spent or even asked for. Hold on I'm not done, we are 100% American Vetran owned, and 66% of our work force are American veterans. If I was computer savy I would put American flags and Eagles right here but I'm better with a hammer. We are proud of what we have built here. If someone wants to come play in our sandbox that's great, if not we will have a larger steam locomotive in service in 5-10 year.

I look forward to seeing you on the train!

6-18003 wrote:
DLSGM wrote:
I have 25 miles of very scenic class 2 track with an established tourist operation. I have repeatedly searched for owners of steam locomotives looking for a location to operate. Not one has came to me looking and few will even respond to correspondence.



I was really hoping for a certain 0-6-0 to take you up on your offer. If her planned visit to a "neighboring facility" hadn't been squashed, maybe she would have.

I'll be honest, I live in a neighboring county. And, while I know advertising is expensive, I had to look up your webpage to see if you were still operating. Your prices are very reasonable, and I am going to make an effort to ride in the next few weeks. But if it wasn't for your post in this thread, it wouldn't have entered my mind (if that 0-6-0 was on the line, I would have made it a priority to visit, so I do see your point).


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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:30 am 

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 10:30 pm
Posts: 591
Location: Bucks County, PA
DLSGM wrote:
You missed your opportunity to see the Viscose 6 here this year. It was not as big as we wanted but it gave us an opportunity to "test the waters" (which we found to have a problematicly high TDS) and gauge the level of interest locally. Our advertising is directed at target audiences in specific regions for different events and themed trains. That is why you will not see much advertising locally, the exception will be holiday events where we historically have as a majority local patrons. We have spent millions of dollars bringing this railroad back into operation, which can be seen in both the equipment we operate and the right of way. We are extremely proud of what we have done here, and will continue to invest in both the railroad and the community.
Since I'm on my soap box, I will add that ALL of the monies invested is private, and ZERO tax payer dollars were spent or even asked for. Hold on I'm not done, we are 100% American Vetran owned, and 66% of our work force are American veterans. If I was computer savy I would put American flags and Eagles right here but I'm better with a hammer. We are proud of what we have built here. If someone wants to come play in our sandbox that's great, if not we will have a larger steam locomotive in service in 5-10 year.

I look forward to seeing you on the train!

6-18003 wrote:
DLSGM wrote:
I have 25 miles of very scenic class 2 track with an established tourist operation. I have repeatedly searched for owners of steam locomotives looking for a location to operate. Not one has came to me looking and few will even respond to correspondence.



I was really hoping for a certain 0-6-0 to take you up on your offer. If her planned visit to a "neighboring facility" hadn't been squashed, maybe she would have.

I'll be honest, I live in a neighboring county. And, while I know advertising is expensive, I had to look up your webpage to see if you were still operating. Your prices are very reasonable, and I am going to make an effort to ride in the next few weeks. But if it wasn't for your post in this thread, it wouldn't have entered my mind (if that 0-6-0 was on the line, I would have made it a priority to visit, so I do see your point).


I was there when Viscose #6 plied the rails - I enjoyed the short rides that the engine gave, and I heard quite a few people wishing that steam would go the whole line, especially the second half of the incredibly scenic line to Lackawaxen. For those of you interested... https://youtu.be/as8TFFO2aMI

Also - you've peaked my interest a bit - "larger steam locomotive in service in 5-10 year" - An unannounced acquisition? Or something in the works?

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 Post subject: Re: A Home For Main Line Steam
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:32 am 

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:31 am
Posts: 360
bigjim4life wrote:

Also - you've peaked my interest a bit - "larger steam locomotive in service in 5-10 year" - An unannounced acquisition? Or something in the works?


He doesn't want to say. I don't blame him. haha


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