B&LE 643 news

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B&LE 643 news
Posted by Overmod on Monday, August 5, 2019 9:11 AM

I'm surprised no one is reporting on this here yet, as it's such a popular topic.  I see Newswire is now covering it; perhaps Brian will get around to making that available here.

Word from RyPN is that Bill Strawn at Age Of Steam has provided a formal press release, saying they have purchased 643 from Glenn Campbell and are arranging to move it professionally to the AOS facility.

Personally, I can't think of a much better outcome for this situation.

Pleeeease don't start with speculation on how much they paid.  Deal's done between a willing buyer, with their own money, and a (by-now-thoroughly!) willing seller.  If AOS wants to reveal information about that, they'll provide it (and anyone with an inquiring mind that wants to know should contact them directly for it).

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Monday, August 5, 2019 10:10 AM

Based on the picture on the Newswire, I hope that they manage a full cosmetic restoration.  Restoration to operating condition would be too much to ask.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by kgbw49 on Monday, August 5, 2019 12:06 PM

That engine is very large and heavy. Excursion possibilities would be minimal, one would have to think.

It will be a fantastic addition to the Age of Steam collection. Considering NKP 763 in the collection along with GTW 6325, they now have examples of a late-model heavy tonnage hauler, fast freight hauler, and dual-purpose locomotive all under one roof. That is quite an accomplishment.

 

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, August 5, 2019 2:39 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH
Restoration to operating condition would be too much to ask.

It's "supposed" to be not that far from operating condition -- supposedly it was actually steamed at one point, and much of the mechanical work had been done; it's said to look much worse than it is.

On the other hand, Part 230 and years of exposure have made the necessary work far more rigorous ... and, as said, this is nearly the worst of all candidates for an excursion engine: large, top-heavy, and a poster child for unrelieved augment.  

It would be technically possible to make changes to the running gear that would let the engine run with reasonable levels of augment vs. overbalance at the 45-50mph maximum speed of most modern excursion service; the 'treatment' applied to T&P 610 in the Thirties is an example of where to start.  But you're still left with a large, top-heavy and extremely hungry and thirsty engine ... there's a huge range of "better" candidates that could be revived and operated for less money, some of whom (1522 comes to mind) have a dedicated following already.  This before you have the fun of explaining to insurers just what you're proposing to run 'in traffic'...

Suspect the 'treatment' at AOS will be like the job done on PRR 460: careful preservation of all the working parts, stabilization of the boiler, and cosmetic external restoration.  That way should anyone with the requisite access to a large fortune needing to be made small want to perform full restoration to operability, nothing will be wasted and there will be a firm and well-established 'starting point' for the work.

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Posted by NKP guy on Monday, August 5, 2019 7:33 PM

  This is welcome news for many reasons.  

  It's astonishing that a collection of this scope and quality is in one place, especially a new and clean one.  

   I used to think that Scranton was an unlikely place for a steam locomotive/train museum, let alone a National Park.  

   So it's even more regretable that the entire Sugarcreek roundhouse and its priceless collection can't be picked up moved to a city of some size that would make the AOS experience available to many more people.

   That being said, bravo to everyone involved in saving B&LE 643.

 

 

 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 7:04 PM

Yes, even though it's unlikely 643 will be restored to operating condition at least it'll be stabilised and preserved.  

Scranton as a location for Steamtown?  On the surface it has a lot going for it.  It's within easy driving distance of two major population centers, New York and Philadelphia.  Awful lot of people live there and there's bound to be a goodly number of railfans in the crowd.

The MAIN problem with Steamtown is the National Park Service, and their inability to figure out what to do with it!  

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Posted by zugmann on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 8:58 PM

Flintlock76
The MAIN problem with Steamtown is the National Park Service, and their inability to figure out what to do with it!

I would say the main problem is the inability of the gov't to properly FUND the parks.   Steamtown knows what they want to do, they just don't have the cash to do it.

 The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 9:23 PM

zugmann

 

 
Flintlock76
The MAIN problem with Steamtown is the National Park Service, and their inability to figure out what to do with it!

 

I would say the main problem is the inability of the gov't to properly FUND the parks.   Steamtown knows what they want to do, they just don't have the cash to do it.

 

You've got something there Zug, and the problem's even worse.

Debbie Conway, the Superintendant who was getting things done, left in 2018 due to a well deserved promotion.  As far as I know they haven't replaced her.  There's been acting supers but they roll over every 120 days.

Operating contracts with the neighboring Delaware-Lackawanna are being handled not by Steamtown personnel, but by the NPS regional office in Philadelphia.  The problem is NPS Philly hasn't done a thing.  As such there's no operating schedule for Steamtown excursions at this time, as far as I know. 

Steamtown WAS allocated five million dollars to rebuild the "coal yard" freight tracks.  The problem is Steamtown doesn't USE the "coal yard" tracks, the D&L does.  I don't blame the D&L for taking free money, but how did this come about?

This is what I mean when I saw the NPS has Steamtown but doesn't seem to know what to do with it.

Frustrating.

How do I know all this?  My spies are everywhere...Wink

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Posted by GERALD L MCFARLANE JR on Wednesday, August 7, 2019 6:22 PM

Flintlock76
 
zugmann

 

 
Flintlock76
The MAIN problem with Steamtown is the National Park Service, and their inability to figure out what to do with it!

 

I would say the main problem is the inability of the gov't to properly FUND the parks.   Steamtown knows what they want to do, they just don't have the cash to do it.

 

 

 

You've got something there Zug, and the problem's even worse.

Debbie Conway, the Superintendant who was getting things done, left in 2018 due to a well deserved promotion.  As far as I know they haven't replaced her.  There's been acting supers but they roll over every 120 days.

Operating contracts with the neighboring Delaware-Lackawanna are being handled not by Steamtown personnel, but by the NPS regional office in Philadelphia.  The problem is NPS Philly hasn't done a thing.  As such there's no operating schedule for Steamtown excursions at this time, as far as I know. 

Steamtown WAS allocated five million dollars to rebuild the "coal yard" freight tracks.  The problem is Steamtown doesn't USE the "coal yard" tracks, the D&L does.  I don't blame the D&L for taking free money, but how did this come about?

This is what I mean when I saw the NPS has Steamtown but doesn't seem to know what to do with it.

Frustrating.

How do I know all this?  My spies are everywhere...Wink 

Your spies haven't been keeping up to date Flintlock...and this is from Steamtown itself:  https://www.nps.gov/stea/learn/news/shepherd.htm

As for that 5 million, if it's technically part of the Park then it's one part that the NPS can spend money on...now does it make sense to fix a part that isn't used by the Park, that's an entirely different question.  As for scheduled operations, that's another area your spies have been sleeping on, I get regular notices from the Steamtown facebook page of upcoming excursions, definitely more during the summer than winter months, whether you consider the shuttle with 26 excursions or not is personal choice, but there's those and then there's the mainline excursions...though this year I haven't been following as much so it might have been different.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, August 7, 2019 6:51 PM

I just found out about Superintendant Shepherd, and best of luck to her!

Hope she's ready to get her knuckles bloody fighting for what she needs!

Tha five miilionspent on trackage?  Any idea how far it might have gone in preserving the equipment?  The trackage is part of the park but if the park doesn't use it, well?

It's the mainline excursions I was speaking of, I should have been more specific.  My apologies.

In the meantime, I need to have a talk with my spies...

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