Trains.com

Saving and restoration of the Danbury Museum's S and T New York Central locomotives

2132 views
17 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 19,271 posts
Saving and restoration of the Danbury Museum's S and T New York Central locomotives
Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, November 22, 2022 8:31 PM

Is Metro-North aware of the Danbury Museam's problems as discussed in the News item?  New York City's Mayor and the governors of both New York and Connecticut should be made aware.  These locomotives were important in both states' histories.  (The Manhattan electrification opened in 1906, seven years before Grand Central Terminal completely replaced Grand Central Depot.  Until the opening of the New Haven's initial electrification to New Rochelle in 1910, S-motors handled New Havern Trains Grand Central - Wiiliams Bridge Bridge or Woodlawn, amd continued for the light moves GCT - Harmon Yards into the McGinnis era.)

Metro North should use these locomotives for "Nostalgia SpecIals" as the Transit Authority does with preserved Subway and elevated trains.  Metro North should restore the Danbury Museum's New Haven EF-3 (ex-Virginian-N&W-PC) for 60-HZ capability, and New Haven nostalgia specials would change engines at Mount Vernon East.

Grand Central Terminal would simply not have been operational without the T and S locomotives, and its restoration is not complete until these locomotives are restored.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 19,427 posts
Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, November 23, 2022 8:58 AM

The issue appears to be that the contracted site-development managers for the ex-powerplant property are throwing wrenches in the path of extracting the two electric locomotives.  There is a developing thread on RyPN about this, which includes the current appeal for additional funding to move the locomotives... I won't paraphrase the museum's communication again here.

Apparently the scrappers of the RS3 and, very very regrettably, the U25B don't seem to have these problems.  That bothers me.  Supposedly the locomotives sit on where the access road for the first part of the property to be redeveloped is.  But they can't move them 'out of the way' because the track crosses a natural-gas pipeline that can't be damaged... so they have to build some kind of temporary support that is more difficult than I really comprehend it should be.  Remains to be seen what the solution will shake out to be.

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • 1,796 posts
Posted by Leo_Ames on Wednesday, November 23, 2022 1:33 PM

I'm no engineer, but I find it hard to believe that a natural gas pipeline that's 30' down is genuinely at risk. 

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • 3,106 posts
Posted by chutton01 on Wednesday, November 23, 2022 3:23 PM

daveklepper
Grand Central Terminal would simply not have been operational without the T and S locomotives, and its restoration is not complete until these locomotives are restored.

"Come on Dave, Give me a break" -  Ted Templeman, Van Halen's "Unchained". These locomotives would make no difference to the current state of GCT which I believe was restored in 1997.  No doubt GCT will need to be refreshed, but the locomotives, if ever moved (outside of leaving in scrap-metal dumpsters) would very likely reside at the Danbury Rail Museum

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 19,271 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, November 24, 2022 12:34 AM

GCT shines.  To me, but not to you, the restorsation remains incomplete unless the electric "motors" that made its operation possi8ble have one example of each restored to operating condition.  That is my feeling. and you hyqave a right to your opinion.

By editing, I correcdted an error.   High Bridge is on the Hudson Division and was the first engine change point fo trasins on that division.  Williasms Bridge is correct for Harlem Division and New Haven btrains' initial chsnge point.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 19,271 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Friday, November 25, 2022 2:11 AM

Do I need to point out something that most readers know?

We are unhasppy that none of the Central's Hudsons were saved.  Ditto for the Niagras.  And happy that one Mowhawk was saved.

But all the New York City bound passenger trains hasuled by any of these locomotives had an engine-change at Harmon to a T on the head end -- and only a T until the end of the Cleveland Terminal electrification and the move of the Ps to Harmon.

Loosing the last T would be a tragedy.

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Denver / La Junta
  • 10,557 posts
Posted by mudchicken on Saturday, November 26, 2022 10:17 PM

(The monkeywrenching of the move over an un-cased, 30 ft deep Utility line (electric) amuses me to no end. The utility cowards are usually bitching and moaning about the railroads utility casing / installation rules. )MischiefMischiefMischief

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Denver / La Junta
  • 10,557 posts
Posted by mudchicken on Saturday, November 26, 2022 10:22 PM

(The monkeywrenching of the move over an un-cased, 30 ft deep Utility line (electric) amuses me to no end. The utility cowards are usually bitching and moaning about the railroads utility casing / installation rules. )MischiefMischiefMischief

BTW - Utility lines at 30 ft or deeper, below the rail,  installed by HDD methods, does not normally require casing per the AREMA suggested guidelines.

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 19,271 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Monday, November 28, 2022 3:22 AM

Metro North has not yet shown any interest in the problem.  Possibly the Danbury museum is too afraid of losing title to involve them? MN can certainly provide the legally valid engineering analysis to simplify the movements and counter unfounded fears.

Is any reader living in Westchester County as concerned as I am and that is willing to write MN?

 

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • 3,106 posts
Posted by chutton01 on Monday, November 28, 2022 10:49 AM

daveklepper
Metro North has not yet shown any interest in the problem.

To be honest, why should they? I suppose if a big-pocket corporate sponsor (or consortium there-of) could be suckered into bankrolling the move, then NY State would be likely cool with it (well, as much as could be expected from our fine State) and go around touting the corporate sponsorship and all, but AFAIK big corporate benefactors are a bit in short supply lately.

Sorry Dave, but I'm of the opinion that you can't save them all (in terms of old equipment - removing potentially useful rail lines OTOH I am pretty adamant against since once they are gone they are a bear to get back  - OK, a branch that once served a industrial complex which has since been converted to crappy condimimum complex, yes that's a fair abandonment, but something like the forced Adirondack abandonment to appease the erstwhile Prince Andrew's buddies, that's garbage).

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 8,697 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, November 28, 2022 11:01 AM

daveklepper
Metro North has not yet shown any interest in the problem.

Honestly that doesn't surprise me, they're in the people-moving business not the historic preservation business.  As the "successor" to the New York Central maybe they should be, but they're not and you can't make them want to. 

And if the units ARE saved I can't see Metro-North running them on their lines for whatever reason.  MAYBE they would, but I wouldn't bet the ranch on it. 

Possibly there's an "angel" out there willing to fund and expedite the rescue but he or she hasn't made themselves known yet. 

  • Member since
    July 2016
  • 2,030 posts
Posted by Backshop on Monday, November 28, 2022 11:23 AM

SW1s and NW2s switched out the Century and none of them have been saved, either.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 19,427 posts
Posted by Overmod on Monday, November 28, 2022 11:35 AM

Backshop
SW1s and NW2s switched out the Century and none of them have been saved, either.

But there are other preserved SW and NW switchers.  There is no other S motor, and no other T motor... and the P motors, which were worth all the Ts ever built in my opinion, are all lost, including the one in lightning stripe at the north end of Croton/Harmon that I thought would surely have been preserved.

I can certainly see Metro North having a 'heritage' operation comparable to that which the MTA/NYCTA has with subways, and even operating restored equipment as they do.  But my understanding of the two units in Albany is that they are severely deteriorated, and it might well be cheaper to try replicating them than rattempting to restore them to operable condition.

The priority is to get the 'historic fabric' out of jeopardy, and as I said on RyPN, at this point it might be fine to cut the carbodies up a la Milwaukee Skytop to get them out, rather than have them leave as scrap.

  • Member since
    July 2020
  • 1,133 posts
Posted by pennytrains on Monday, November 28, 2022 8:26 PM

I'd certainly accept the disassemble option over the cut and scrap scenario if I really wanted them for my museum.  They'd have to be torn down to the frame anyways for even a cosmetic restoration.  So why not do as much as possible in situ and truck them out of there before it's too late.  Somebody somewhere has to have the fundraising wherewithal to accomplish what MUST be done: saving irreplaceable historical artifacts.

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

  • Member since
    December 2017
  • 2,656 posts
Posted by Lithonia Operator on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 1:44 PM

Does the Danbury museum actually own the locos yet? It would be a great shame if they are lost.

Still in training.


  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 19,271 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 1:19 AM

My understanding:  Yes, also the equipment to be sc rapped.

  • Member since
    May 2019
  • 1,073 posts
Posted by BEAUSABRE on Monday, December 5, 2022 4:44 PM

Flintlock76
daveklepper Metro North has not yet shown any interest in the problem. Honestly that doesn't surprise me, they're in the people-moving business not the historic preservation business.  As the "successor" to the New York Central maybe they should be, but they're not and you can't make them want to. 

To compound the problem, listening to John Batchelor the other night as he interviewed a guest about BART's and MTA's finiancial woes. Essentially, they have the same problem that Penn Central had, too much structure for their infra. The decline in ridership seems to be due to changes in job patterns and, therefore is permanent - the same way PC's heavy industry northeast disappeared. Ridership on MTA is about 66 percent of pre-covid levels and seems stalled there. This means due to contarcts already in place and the necessity of performing some maintence, a shortfall of $3 Billion is projected in 2025. City and state revenues have not recovered either, so don't look for help there. Bottom line, the MTA is gonna be in survival mode with no spare cash to recover and/or restore some "rusty junk". If anyone wants to save them, they had better organize a Gofundme campaign soonest. BTW, BART is in even worse shape with ridership at 62 percent, San Francisco is losing both popualtion and industries, so tax revenues are going down, are state revenues. The solution? Get Washington to cough up money - not to pull funds from the High Speed Route to Nowhere. With the Republicans running the House, Newsome is gonna be told, "You've got a choice, HSR or BART"

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 19,427 posts
Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 8:09 AM

The MTA is the organization that runs the subways; it would be their historic collection at risk (and I have read nothing that even hints that it is, even with the budget woes).  

Metro-North (full form "Metro-North Commuter Railroad") is the entity that handles the heavy rail trains.  It shouldn't be hard to find whether they are in financial straits that would forbid their 'doing their part' in government assistance to retrieving and saving the two engines (and, possibly, extracting the 2510 if it hasn't been cut yet)

In a state whose governor is Kathy Hochul, I find it almost unbelievable that no one in the preservation community has done the necessary combination of networking and schmoozing to get everyone talking brass tacks about this, and raising public awareness.  The historic importance, if not the 'wicked coolness', is far greater for these two motors than for any of the GG1s except Old Rivets -- since so many of the GG1s 'made it'.

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy