Author Topic: Railroad museum debates  (Read 2250 times)

CSX_CO

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Railroad museum debates
« on: August 15, 2006, 06:21:10 PM »
I'm not sure IRM is the 'ciity upon the hill' of railroad museums.  I was there last year, and while they have stuff that runs, most of it looks like crap.  They  suffer from the same problem of lack of direction, leadership, etc.  Also, Chicago is growing ever and ever closer to Union, in fact you are only about 30 minutes away from O'Hare from Huntley.  Rockford is also only about 45 minutes west, and that is a large city too.3

I *believe* Thomas is owned by Strasburg or some other Museum out east.  They are the ones in charge of setting up Thomas' itinerary, as he appears in Michigan also.  It seems, outside of the licensing, that if you could make your own Thomas you'd make a killing travelling around the country.

But back to IRM.  They have barns full of equipment in various states of disrepair.  That have entire backlots full of steam engines that are beyond all hope of even cosmetic restoration, let alone full operation.

What IRM needs is to evaluate what they have, and decide what is worth saving.  While no one likes to see something scrapped, the museum, and some of those steamers, would be better served by getting torched and using the money from the scrap to repair items that can be saved.

They have the DD40AX from the UP, which IIRC doesn't run.  It looks like hell too.  Even their center peice the Pioneer Zy...Zyp...Flyer thing is looking ragged.

The best museum I've been to is the National Railway Museum in Green Bay.  They have several center peices all housed inside.  The Big Boy, GG1, and Eisenhowers car are immaculate.  They rest of their equipment is housed in sheds, and doesn't look too bad.  They do have some items in the back that are pretty ragged looking, but they are tucked away in the back.  The train they run around the grounds looks good and looks clean.  It appears they don't over extend themselves, or they have a fantastic source of funds.  I was happy to see the WICT F's there, along with the BL2's from the WICT too.

I think most museums have a problem with saying 'no' to something.

Practice Safe CSX
« Last Edit: August 16, 2006, 12:39:45 AM by admin »

rich(Guest)

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Re: Fairtrain 2006
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2006, 09:46:11 PM »
IRM should scrap thier unused steamers?  Thank god they have more sense than that.  This late in the game NO steam locomotive should be torched up for the value of its metal.    That statement is without a doubt one of the stupidest things I have ever seen on this forum.

CIOR

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Re: Fairtrain 2006
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2006, 10:06:13 PM »
In todays climate, every museum has to take account for what it needs and what it wants.  
Example is having to much stuff in too little of space.  Or, not having a place to use it if you have it.

Each museum is only as good as the group the runs it and the group that keeps it going.  When you have Good leadership your museum will move forward.

I am caught in the museum vs railroad debate too.  
Its playing CHOOCHOO vs WORK.  As someone that spent alot of time on the railroad I can say I had NO INTEREST with anything trains while I was out there.  Now that I am away from trains, I have the interest SOMEWHAT.  
However, if I was to work/volunter at a museum, I would want one that had a good rule book.  To prevent things like what was said.  Rules are the way of the world.
As for the track and r-o-w, we all know what tight budgets museums have, its alot of money to upgrade track.  Even a mile of track can cost 6 digits.
As long as they can keep it at 25+, go for it.
I worked with alot of former IMC guys (NKPers that worked out of Peru/Kokomo/Indy and all told me the same story, that the line needed work back in the 1970's.

CSX_CO

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Re: Fairtrain 2006
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2006, 10:30:41 PM »
Quote
IRM should scrap thier unused steamers?  Thank god they have more sense than that.  This late in the game NO steam locomotive should be torched up for the value of its metal.    That statement is without a doubt one of the stupidest things I have ever seen on this forum.

So you would rather see a whole museum full of stuff that looks like complete crap verses a museum that has priorities and knows what it could save?  

You are telling me they are better off having 20 steamers that have no hope of being even cosmetically restored in the next 100 yrs, vs having the money to save what's worth saving before it deteriorates beyond repair?  And I'm not saying they need to scrap EVERY steamer, just those sitting out back seemingly out of the way of the public eye.

That's like saying I'll cut off my nose to spite my face.

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rich(Guest)

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Re: Fairtrain 2006
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2006, 11:06:28 PM »
There are plenty of smaller museums that would love to have one of those steam locos from the rear lot at IRM.  Will IRM ever fix them all?  NO!  But to even consider scrapping them when there are so few left is just plain stupid.  Anything can be fixed given enough will, time and money.  Those engines are at the back of the lot, and are safe.  The two 0-8-0 switchers at Galt  have a more bleak outlook, but I would hate to see them scrapped also.  Remember, there used to be three there. One left and got a cosmetic restoration and is now on display for everyone to enjoy.  IRM was fortunate to have been started when there was quite a selection of steam locomotives available, and they have saved many of them from the scrappers torch.  If a person doesnt like the looks of the ones on their back lot, simply walk away and go look at others that are in better shape.

BRC

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Re: Railroad museum debates
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2006, 01:49:28 AM »
O.K. I've got to get my two cents worth in again. First of all, IRM at least had enough of a game plan to put up pole barns to protect the equipment they have. Second, they have a far more active schedule and more serviceable equipment than ITM. I too agree with Rich that it would be ridiculous to scrap a steam locomotive simply to thin out the roster.
As far as the line rehab. debate, ITM should look into the possibilities of state/federal grants for a rehab. project. It would take someone with experience in dealing with grants, but this should be explored especially in light of the fact that public safety is an issue when a passenger train does operate over this end of the line. Not meaning to sound alarmist but once again this is the long term reality.
As far as Thomas goes, there is more than one Thomas engine running around. I found this out at Union a couple of years ago. ITM should contact WWV and work out a deal for the use of Thomas. Space the events about a month apart or whatever. It's not rocket science.
O.K. I'm done. Just got home from playing real railroad so have a nice evening.

CIOR

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Re: Railroad museum debates
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2006, 12:12:47 PM »
How is the ITM situation with the port authority?  Does the ITM outright lease the line, or do the use trackage rights?  What does the lease say?  Does it give maintenace to the ITM, or the PA?  
Alot of this has to do with legal rights.

No museum will ever be run the way everyone wants it, so if you don't like it you move on and find another museum.  Sad, but everything in life seems to work that way.

ITM Fan(Guest)

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Re: Railroad museum debates
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2006, 10:06:55 PM »
Dearest BRC--

Do you not get it??  Do you have something against the ITM?  I'll say it again for you--Don't worry your pretty little head about how the ITM operates or its condition.  Go play "Real Trains" as you say and leave us alone.

If your "Real Railroad" makes you an expert on the subject, congratulations.  You obviously know more about operations and public safety than all of us here.  

We have folks making a diffrence and keeping the equipment up and running.  Everyone works very hard and donates hundreads of hours.  Your digs against the museum really kills we are trying to do.

Maybe you'll step up and write for some grants since you are an expert on this too.

Shutup, Go Away, keep your two cents and leave us alone.

ITM Fan

BRC

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Re: Railroad museum debates
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2006, 02:26:39 AM »
Hey ITM Fan-
In keeping with the spirit of Mr. Bilgers request to keep this thread from becoming "flame engulfed" all I will say is that I feel sorry for you for the fact that you cannot accept other peoples ideas and opinions. The fact and the reality of the situation is that the south end of this line needs major work before a major incident occurs due to a broken rail, wide guage, bad cross level, bad road crossings, any number of things. A major incident would not only tank ITM, but would also cast all museum operations in a bad light. Other remarks have been made that the south end doesn't justify any work; it runs through a highly populated area and would get ITM good PR if they would start booking excursions to run on this end once again. The increased usage would justify the rehab. You're a railroad museum with a line of railroad you might as well take care of it and use it. As far as grant writing goes, ITM should seek out someone with these skills. As I've stated before, I only wish ITM the best and wish that they could grow to their full potential. I do feel very sorry for you in that you only seem to be able to attack differing viewpoints rather than offering your solutions other than "killing the messenger" so to speak. If nothing else, I hope this debate sparks some ITM members to think of ways of improving, expanding and maintaining ITM. If Union, IL can have a great operation with four miles, then ITM should have a world class operation on the order of Strausburg with forty miles. And I don't believe Strausburg has that many miles. In closing, ITM Fan, not meaning to further antagonize your senses, but why don't you contact someone at ITM and work on scheduling a Thomas event? Help to establish a Thomas commitee. This little tank engine is a gold mine. Besides that, a lot of little kids would be thrilled to death. Good PR for ITM, Forest Park and Noblesville. You could even take a portion of the Thomas loot and work a deal to get matching funds from the state, private sector, whomever and put it into the south end of the railroad. Mr. Bilger, I hope this wasn't too "flame engulfed".

indrr

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Re: Railroad museum debates
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2006, 09:41:24 AM »
Quote
Mr. Bilger, I hope this wasn't too "flame engulfed".
:D

ITM Fan, please keep things civil.  We all appreciate your passion.  Just tone it down a tad.

BRC, thanks for keeping things more/less civil.

For everybody, make sure that you're not being redundant/repetitive.  If I get tired of reading the same things over and over, then I'm sure everyone else is as well.

I will leave this thread open for the time being.  I may not agree with what you say, but I will respect your right to say it.

PS...don't make me get the guys in blue hats involved...  :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 2006, 06:57:05 PM by indrr »
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Rick

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Re: Railroad museum debates
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2006, 11:10:18 AM »
Mr. Bigler

That has to be the funniest thing I have seen on here.   ;D
Well done and stated.

ITM Fan(Guest)

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Re: Railroad museum debates
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2006, 11:12:55 PM »
Dear "Someone"<---No flames here, see! Nobody knows who I'm referring to.

Interpret the defense of the people at the ITM as you wish.

The only differing viewpoint I have a problem with is a warrentless attack against us and our facilities as you have so carefully disguised as a "flameless" post.

Thousands of volunteer hours are spent making the place a viable, safe and fun operation.  I won't tolerate folks like "someone" casting a cautionary shadow over whats being done by trying to explain how major work is required, or how its just a matter of time before an incident happens.  If "someone" is so worried about it, "someone" should come back to the museum and stop blasting it on the web.

1 year of service was great, fantastic, overwheming and generous.  We can't thank "someone" enough, blah blah blah.  Its the poeple with 5, 10, 15, and 20 plus years of service that deserve "someone's" respect.  Not "someone" questioning how bad things are, how bad the track is and how public safety is at risk.  

Sure hope "someone" can further enlighten me on what my attitude should be and how to handle having my senses antagonized.  Thanks so much Dr. Phil, er I mean "someone".

Also, exactly how did you qualify to fire and run 587 in 1 year?  Don't know how things were way back when, but today we run just like a real railroad, kinda like you!!  Maybe we can get along after all!!!

Nope

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Don(Guest)

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Re: Railroad museum debates
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2006, 01:28:16 PM »
As a memebr of ITM, a financial contributer, and a sometime worker (I live in Los Angeles), the shortcomings of ITM are never far from my concerns. But I might add neither are the strengths.

There are lots of ways members interact at ITM. Some volunteer to do the dirty work like the quarterly equipment inspections as requird to run as a common carrier, rebuilding and repairing museum equipment and manning the museum position that come in contact with the public (coach attendents or gift shop). The museum is a business as well and runs on money and has a very big future.

So everyone gets the picture of ITM operations, every person who sets a hand to any operating equipment must take FRA required classes and pass FRA tests. NO ONE lays a hand on a throttle or a brake hose who has not completed these courses.

Though the museum may look like "week-end choo choo drivers" every one of them has a "license".

The museum is hindered by not owning the line on which it runs and the future of that line is subject to the political winds of the call for "mass transit". (Don't get me started on mass transit. Los Angeles, where I live, is a classic case study of too much performance promised, for too liitle money in too short of time).        

The museum has had line upkeep grants in the past but this year the money was sent to French Lick to improve that operation. They have a chance at freight operation there which is not being exploited by the ITM line owners.

For those who read the Indiana Railroads Bull Session who have helped at ITM, TAHNK YOU!!! If you think you can improve things at the ITM:join and volunteer to help. If all you can do is find fault with the ITM and think that helps, it doesn't.

What does help is to bring your critism with you to the museum and try to make a difference.  

I joined to make a difference. Look at the pictures of 426 being prepared. I'm the guy holding the sand blaster. I'm also the guy who got the locomotive donated to the museum. The day that picture was taken, I drive to Detroit to work. Stoped at the Burger King on the east side of Noblesville to eat and was so dirty they would not allow me to sit in the dining room. I loved every minte of it!

PS:
 The museum has a wash rack but no room to install it. The train has to be hand washed.

The air conditioning in the coaches this year has been at nearly 100%. A lot of time and back breaking work went into being able to make that statement. I know becuase I helped find the power converters for the four coaches that were in-operable, from LA. The converters were in Cincy.  


BRC

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Re: Railroad museum debates
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2006, 01:47:52 PM »
Hey ITM guy-
I fired this engine for TWO years during the '92-'93 seasons. Not just myself but other guys who were heavily involved with the maintenance on the engine. I was involved in the annual inspection of the 587 for two years. This is where the front end would be opened, sample tubes pulled, staybolts and weepholes checked, a lot of real grunt work. We worked under the direction of R.L. Sunderland, retired SYSTEM general road foreman of engines for CSX. Russ hired out on the east end of the B&O's Indianapolis division during the late '40's and was an excellent mechanical, air brake and train handling guy. He brought in some really outstanding retired B&O and Conrail road engineers to instruct us guys on firing, air brake and train handling. Long story short, we were not only trained on proper firing techniques but were also taught to keep a train "stretched" to prevent slack from banging people around. It was great fun to dive into a slow order or station stop at 30mph with a minimum and bring the train down to the speed restriction or to the stop right on a dime. The 24RL brake was kind of a pain but once you got proficient with it, it wasn't too bad. I remember the 96 was kind of slippery when you'd start pulling with it. The 83 though would pull the side out of a hill. This engine was a horse. I did have some good times there. Anyway, there is no insidious "commie plot" afoot to "attack" the museum. Mr. Bilger, I too found your UN "Blue Hats" entertaining.  

BRC

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Re: Railroad museum debates
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2006, 01:54:31 PM »
ITM guy-
I never said I ran 587 I fired 587. Big difference. I did run the covered wagons though. O.K. I'm done.

indrr

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Re: Railroad museum debates
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2006, 08:32:50 AM »
Off topic replies have been moved to [link=http://indiana.railfan.net/board/?num=1156077171]This Thread[/link]
Nathan Bilger
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