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 Post subject: Saving State Belt Railroad #25
PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:19 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:20 pm
Posts: 475
Another thread gave the news that San Francisco Belt Railroad is planning to render their 1945 Alco S-2 #25 inoperable by cutting its engine block in order to win a grant for a new, low emissions locomotive.

Since discussion in that thread has gone far afield, I want to start a thread focused solely on the locomotive (former State Belt Railroad #25) and approaches to saving it.

First, I want to establish that this locomotive is historic. The word "historic" is over-used in railway preservation. However, I think a good case can be made that this locomotive is historic.


Reasons why #25 is historic:

  • The 25 has worked the San Francisco waterfront on the same tracks since delivered new in July, 1945. It is part of the city's industrial and transportation history, much like the cable cars.
  • The 25 is part of an original order of six Alco S-2's (#20-25) for the State Belt Railroad between 1943-1945. It was just restored to operation last year, and is one of two remaining.
  • State Belt Railroad diesels played a role in World War II (Recall that Japan surrendered September, 1945). So it is just as important as the WWII Liberty Ship that is preserved in SF.
    "The new State Belt diesels were a big help in World War II. The war generated a large amount of trans-Pacific traffic, and the State Belt contributed greatly to the movement of materials. The State Belt also delivered trainloads of fresh troops to debarkation points, and picked up hospital trains and returning troops. The railroad moved 156 troop trains and 265 hospital trains in 1945 alone."
    Source
  • The State Belt Railroad is part of the city's cultural history, and has been featured in movies, like the film noire, "Thieves' Highway". Photos


How to stop the destruction of #25?

The City of SF has an Historic Preservation Commission. Their website says there is a legal framework in place for identifying historic resources. They review proposed changes to historic properties and decide whether the changes will have a "substantial adverse impact" to the historic property. Thus, you could make a case that destroying the engine block of this locomotive constitutes a substantial adverse impact to an historic object.
http://sf-planning.org/historic-preservation

The Port of San Francisco has to comply with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (Secretary’s Standards). According to a post below (1/12/18) this locomotive is owned by the port. If true, then you can argue that deliberately destroying the engine block of this object does not comply with the Secretary's Standards.
http://sfport.com/historic-preservation

I am sure there are other, better approaches. The above are just some thoughts.

Your thoughts are welcome. But please keep ideas grounded in reality. There are no Warren Buffetts among us.

Edited to add that the Port owns the loco per a post below.


Last edited by rock island lines on Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:35 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Saving State Belt Railroad #25
PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:40 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 4:08 pm
Posts: 29
Don’t know if this has any merit, but in the original posting on facebook it was stated the plan was to keep the 25 as a restored display in front of the port of SF main offices. Just without the prime mover. Yes she won’t be running anymore but at least the engine will be “preserved” so to speak.

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 Post subject: Re: Saving State Belt Railroad #25
PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:49 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1835
Quote:
As part of the terms of a local grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Air Management, we will be required to cut the engine block in one of our two Alco S-2's, currently slotted to be the #25.


Reading here it appears the other S-2 will not be similarly cut. One stuffed and mounted and one not sacrificed in that manner.

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: Saving State Belt Railroad #25
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:09 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1791
You might note that the individual that posted the information on the Facebook page stopped further commenting.

Apparently he expected applause for a program that insisted on the senseless destruction of a historic prime mover because he's getting a new toy.

It's a goner.


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 Post subject: Re: Saving State Belt Railroad #25
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:19 am 

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:22 pm
Posts: 198
superheater wrote:
You might note that the individual that posted the information on the Facebook page stopped further commenting.

Apparently he expected applause for a program that insisted on the senseless destruction of a historic prime mover because he's getting a new toy.

It's a goner.


I saw it. The figure he mentioned - $2,000,000.00 - is a LOT of money for a low-speed switcher! I guess it's good to please the Crown.

CD


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 Post subject: Re: Saving State Belt Railroad #25
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:33 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1791
CREEPING DEATH wrote:
superheater wrote:
You might note that the individual that posted the information on the Facebook page stopped further commenting.

Apparently he expected applause for a program that insisted on the senseless destruction of a historic prime mover because he's getting a new toy.

It's a goner.


I saw it. The figure he mentioned - $2,000,000.00 - is a LOT of money for a low-speed switcher! I guess it's good to please the Crown.

CD


Precisely. One should remember that one of the reasons that Baldwin/Baldwin Lima Hamilton is no longer with is is that they built diesels as small order, custom designed craft builds. EMD implicitly understood that one of the great virtues of the diesel locomotive was its flexibility and that mean large batch production of standardized designs would allow them to reduce production costs by producing a standardized design. This is covered in great detail in Churrella's book, "From Steam to Diesel.." (I wish there would be a 20th anniversary reprinting of the book (first published 1998)).

The problem here is that when government grants are funding craft-built locomotives there's no incentive to do that.

It's hard to believe that locomotive building is such a difficult market that EMD's inability to get Tier 4 for the 710 engine that granted GE a monopoly on the line-haul market (along with tenuous survival prospects for EMD as it attempts to re-enter the market with the rebooted four-cycle 1010) wasn't sufficient to keep GE in business, even with a brand new state of the art facility in Fort Worth (also paid for in part by government, as I recall).


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 Post subject: Re: Saving State Belt Railroad #25
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1791
wesp wrote:
Quote:
As part of the terms of a local grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Air Management, we will be required to cut the engine block in one of our two Alco S-2's, currently slotted to be the #25.


Reading here it appears the other S-2 will not be similarly cut. One stuffed and mounted and one not sacrificed in that manner.

Wesley


Only because the road in question is getting one KLW SE-10. If they were getting two, there'd be another 539 with a death warrant.


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 Post subject: Re: Saving State Belt Railroad #25
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:37 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:05 pm
Posts: 605
There is an easy way to keep everybody happy. Drain the oil out of the engine and run it until it stops. Then put it on display. Locomotive is intact but not operable.


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 Post subject: Re: Saving State Belt Railroad #25
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:11 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1791
John T wrote:
There is an easy way to keep everybody happy. Drain the oil out of the engine and run it until it stops. Then put it on display. Locomotive is intact but not operable.



It's still senseless destruction.


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 Post subject: Re: Saving State Belt Railroad #25
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:21 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:22 pm
Posts: 198
John T wrote:
There is an easy way to keep everybody happy. Drain the oil out of the engine and run it until it stops. Then put it on display. Locomotive is intact but not operable.


That destroys everything, the rule requires only the block be destroyed.

CD


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 Post subject: Re: Saving State Belt Railroad #25
PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:30 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:34 pm
Posts: 185
Well I'm sorry to report but there's no saving #25 as of today. In a call to railroad officials I tried to have them reconsider their decision but upon being told the locomotive itself was under port ownership there was no way out. More so because of this stature SFBR cannot donate the locomotive to a museum or third party group. The Bay Railroad desperately needs funds for new equipment and the state grant was a good offer they couldn't refuse. #25's prime mover will unfortunately be torched with the car body serving as a static display piece. Another Alco bites the dust a historic one indeed.


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 Post subject: Re: Saving State Belt Railroad #25
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:40 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:20 pm
Posts: 475
OP here.

Alright, I will take Cameron's word that the loco is owned by the port. Therefore I have amended my original post as follows:

Quote:
The Port of San Francisco has to comply with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (Secretary’s Standards). According to a post below (1/12/18) this locomotive is owned by the port. If true, then you can argue that deliberately destroying the engine block of this object does not comply with the Secretary's Standards.
http://sfport.com/historic-preservation


Let's see if one of the area museums can pull off a minor miracle. It's possible.


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