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 Post subject: Re: KCS #503 in jeopardy
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:55 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:45 am
Posts: 1103
Location: Beaumont, Texas
To update Randy Patterson's comments on this engine, and how it got to where it is today. Until Hurricane Rita, I also lived in the area, and went to church only a mile away from this engine; I visited it many times during the decade we lived there:

Preservation is not all cut and dry; and this engine is a typical example. The Texas State Railroad wanted to acquire this engine at one time and restore it to operation; as at least person has said; it would be the perfect engine for such an operation.

But, a local historian did get involved; and said the engine should stay where it is. They also arranged to have it repainted; the attached picture was taken about a decade ago; not long after it was repainted.

But, no long term plans were made for it -- no shelter, no asbestos abatement; just a rickety fence. Then, the unthinkable happened -- Tropical Storm Harvey dropped several feet of rain on SE Texas; flooding Port Arthur and the surrounding community with several feet of water. Apparently, some oil and asbestos leaked from the engine during the flood; nevermind the fact that it was a once-in-a-century event; the city now wants it gone. (Reading the above posts. it sounds like Harvey was the straw that broke the camel's back in this situation.)

Someone got involved in this case; but they did not put in place long term plans to preserve this engine. In reality; it probably would have been better off to go to the TSRR; where it may be preserved and maybe operational today.

Just getting involved is not enough; there needs to be a long term plan for our remaining industrial artifacts. We are also entering a new era where city leaders and society no longer appreciate the "old landmarks" of our industrial past; they now look on them as a blight on the landscape. Any engine or other artifact just sitting like this in the open, rusting away alone with no signage or means for people to understand why it was important to preserve it in the first place, is vulnerable; they are all too unsafe to be the playground equipment they sometimes were. They need more than an impassioned plea to save them; they need a long term plan to protect, preserve, and help a public that never knew our industrial past to understand why we think it is important to preserve them.

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 Post subject: Re: KCS #503 in jeopardy
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:25 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:45 am
Posts: 1103
Location: Beaumont, Texas
Update from another forum; I don't think they will mind me reposting it:

Quote:
Hi all....

Just when everyone thought that "TZ" was down and out and couldn't go head to head with another city municipality over saving a steam locomotive, all I can say is "I'm back!".

OK, after spending much of the afternoon on the phone with the fine folks down in Port Arthur discussing their plan to scrap their L&A steam locomotive here is what I have been able to find out.

First of all, I called their city manager's office, who then said that I needed to speak with "Latrice" with the City's water department, who then said that I needed to speak with the city attorney's office, who then directed me back to the city manager's office.

Yes, in case you're keeping score, that's where I first started.

Suffice it to say, Latrice was caught off guard when I called the water department about the engine.

Anyway, after playing a shell game with these folks I was finally able to speak with a woman in the city manager's office. Here is what she said. She stated that what caused this action in the first place with the fine folks in Austin with the TCEQ (Texas Center for Environmental Quality) who had visited Port Arthur shortly after Harvey hit and was upset to find that a steam engine was in town. Naturally since the whole town was flooded there was water that had reached the steamer. The TCEQ was then upset because of the asbestos in the locomotive. The end result is that the TCEQ has given the city until March to get rid of the asbestos, the engine, or both.

Here is where things start getting dicey. Supposedly both the TCEQ and the folks in Port Arthur are under the assumption that there is literally asbestos contained all throughout the locomotive and tender and so the only way to abate it is to basically tear it all apart. The city has already set aside $24,000 for the asbestos abatement and has a contract with a company that will abate the asbestos for the $24,000.

But I was able to get out of them that the contractor is also being allowed to salvage out what is left after it's all been disassembled and that he can sell it for scrap. The woman also admitted to me that although she helped draw up the contract that she had never one seen the locomotive or visited it. She added that the contractor has stated that the only way to get rid of the asbestos is to tear the locomotive down, part by part all the way to the ground and that when this happens that he's willing to haul off and dispose of all of the scrap metal.

Does anyone see where this is headed? Can you say $$$$$$.

So the contractor has basically sold them on the idea of his needing $24,000 for the abatement, but that he gets the salvage of the loco as the city has given it to him as part of the contract.

So after hearing all of this, and being that I'm such a nice guy (just ask the Amarillo City Attorney when I halted the Madame Queen sale) I through in my two cents.

First I started discussing the steam locomotive itself by attempting to explain that there isn't asbestos all throughout the loco, tender, inside the boiler, etc. I carefully explained that the asbestos lagging is basically only between the boiler and the boiler jacket and that all they really need to do is to go ahead with the abatement, but once the lagging and jacket was removed to just leave the rest of the loco alone and that in reality the boiler would be in better condition having the jacket and lagging removed as it holds water.

I explained that the TCEQ probably doesn't understand this although other steamers have have the jacket and lagging removed while not scrapping the loco.

Next I went after the Harvey angle. I explained that if the big problem with the TCEQ was because of Harvey, that Federal funds were available for things like this (as I'm sure they already know). I asked if the city had applied for any Federal funds to manage this and the answer was no. I then told the story of what happened at Galveston after Ike. Lastly I told how bad that it would look if the steamer was scrapped because of Harvey and that the city never attempted to get Federal funding to help save it. In the giant scope of Harvey, $24,000 isn't much. So I explained if they went on this angle that instead of Port Arthur would not be the one to bare the asbestos abatement.

Next I asked if the city council had voted to dispose of the steamer. The answer was that the abatement and disposal of the loco by the contractor was all in just one action, voted on and approved by the council.

I challenged her on this point as well reminding her that the locomotive was city property and that what they are trying to do should require TWO actions and two votes. One to pay for the abatement and another separate action to sell, give away or dispose of the loco since it is public property. She seemed to really pay attention to this one. I also let her know that whoever this guy is that he is getting paid 100% to do the abatement and is also going to pocket any money for the salvage.

Next I asked if the locomotive had ever been offered to another group, museum, etc. She said that Port Arthur had offered it to the KCS but that the KCS was not interested. I asked her for any other names of groups that they had spoken with and she could not name any.

As a last ditch plea I suggested that they abate the asbestos and then relocate it downtown next to the reproduction of their KCS depot.

She asked for my name, email and phone number and said that she would be in touch after talking with the city manager and city attorney.

Short of me rolling my wheel chair all the way down to Port Arthur and chaining myself to the drivers there isn't much more than I can do. Time with tell if anyone for the city calls me. But at least I hope I was able to gum up the works some. Clearly this whole deal is FUBAR.

It would be nice to see if there are any Texas historical markers on site about the locomotive or if it's listed on the National List of Historic Sites. If so we might be able to buy some time.

Anyway, that's about it. I encourage everyone to make your own contact to those in Port Arthur including their local media, and if anyone out there represents any museum, etc. who might be interested then you need to act fast. I usually like to climb on my soapbox about how Texas hasn't done a very good job of saving our state's rail history. If this locomotive gets scrapped it will just be yet another sad chapter in what could have been and wasn't.

Steve Allen Goen - "Creating Unique Situations for Mankind since 1956"

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Hebrews 10:20a

Surviving World Steam Project - New Address!

International Stationary Steam Engine Society


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 Post subject: Re: KCS #503 in jeopardy
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:37 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 227
Location: Houston, TX
I am actively trying to contact the current owner (no longer the city) but although the city manager has been most helpful, the contact person who is actually in charge of the operation for the city seems to not want to return phone calls, despite me calling her multiple times. There is some interest in saving the engine, but only if I can actually get in touch with the current owner.


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 Post subject: Re: KCS #503 in jeopardy
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:56 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:43 am
Posts: 498
You don't know who the current city owner is? All the city records are online....


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 Post subject: Re: KCS #503 in jeopardy
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:05 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 357
elueck wrote:
I am actively trying to contact the current owner (no longer the city) but although the city manager has been most helpful, the contact person who is actually in charge of the operation for the city seems to not want to return phone calls, despite me calling her multiple times. There is some interest in saving the engine, but only if I can actually get in touch with the current owner.


The OP linked an article from the February 13th Port Arthur News which describes the situation, "With little spoken, city seeks to remove Engine 503". The article was written by Ken Stickney and the article gives his email address as Ken.stickney@panews.com so perhaps you can reach out to him and he may be able to provide you with more information and connect you with locals who may have an interest in steering the outcome more towards some type of 12th plus-hour save. You may also want to point out some of the possible legal and technical issues with this transaction as outlined in survivingworldsteam's post earlier today at 1:25 PM. If you can get a local beat reporter interested he may be able to make enough noise to slow the process a bit. Its a long shot but I wish you the best of luck.


Last edited by Scranton Yard on Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: KCS #503 in jeopardy
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:14 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1813
elueck wrote:
In a conversation with the interim city manager this morning, the city was told that it could cost up to $500,000 to remove the asbestos, so they have transferred title to the locomotive to a contractor who has until March 6 to clear the site and remove the locomotive in what ever way that he chooses. From what he told me, the only historical organization or railroad organization that the city talked to was the Texas Transportation Museum in San Antonio, and the interim city manager could not find a record of what they told the city, only that they had contacted them.


Wouldn't $50,000 be more realistic?


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 Post subject: Re: KCS #503 in jeopardy
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:16 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2004 1:41 pm
Posts: 825
Location: Bowling Green, KY
Unless you all want to see this locomotive get scrapped I highly suggest you back off.


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 Post subject: Re: KCS #503 in jeopardy
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:37 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:43 am
Posts: 498
perfect response, "we got this handled, go away". Just trust them. No wonder steam preservation is such a frikkin mess. How DARE anyone respond to the first public knowledge of this incident in a way that's not convenient to whoever's doing it. Nothing like working in a perfect vacuum.


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 Post subject: Re: KCS #503 in jeopardy
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:46 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
Posts: 329
Location: Danbury, CT
I have notified the folks at the KCS Historical Society. She might not be a “real” KCS locomotive, but the L&A was “part of the family”. They may be able to help spread the word.

Ruffling a few feathers isn’t necessarily a bad thing when done carefully and strategically. One of the sayings we had about use of force in the law enforcement side of the USCG was, “Apply only the minimal amount of force necessary to achieve compliance.” This has proven true through experience in other areas as well.

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Last edited by Mount Royal on Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: KCS #503 in jeopardy
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:03 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:32 pm
Posts: 169
jasonsobczynski wrote:
Unless you all want to see this locomotive get scrapped I highly suggest you back off.

Well, it'd be nice to have info on who has this handled. I wouldn't mind tossing a few bucks towards their efforts.


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 Post subject: Re: KCS #503 in jeopardy
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:51 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:26 pm
Posts: 90
Location: Pure Michigan
Someone should create a list of the most endangered steam locomotives in the US, to prevent further incidents like this one from happening again (or at least increase awareness).


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 Post subject: Re: KCS #503 in jeopardy
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:55 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
Posts: 329
Location: Danbury, CT
NS 3322 wrote:
Someone should create a list of the most endangered steam locomotives in the US, to prevent further incidents like this one from happening again (or at least increase awareness).



Sounds like a great idea. The topic would provide some interesting discussion. Go for it.

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 Post subject: Re: KCS #503 in jeopardy
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:06 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 227
Location: Houston, TX
A couple more things at the end of the day. I spent most of the day trying to make contact with the person at the city who is responsible for the project. No such luck. I had to go to Louisiana this afternoon, so I spent an extra hour and went by the engine. At this moment, the jacket and asbestos (as well as the number plate and one builders plate) are gone and the site has been cleaned up.

Since the locomotive actually belongs to the person who did the abatement, as part of his compensation, the only way that I see this going forward is to find out who that person is, and find out what it would take to save the engine. I am working toward that goal, and I hope that by being reasonable with him, that we can do something. Any of us being unreasonable will most likely result in the engine being cut up.


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 Post subject: Re: KCS #503 in jeopardy
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:33 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:50 pm
Posts: 390
Everett,

Best of luck in your quest to reach the new owner. Hopefully he will be willing to listen and reason with you.

Rob Gardner


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 Post subject: Re: KCS #503 in jeopardy
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:48 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
Posts: 329
Location: Danbury, CT
KCSHS says they’re aware and have been working toward getting engine hooked up with an interested organization. If the abatement and clean-up is completed, the city’s immediate concern is essentially taken care of. Who knows how long they’ll allow 503 to remain in the park? A call to the press could be beneficial.

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