Trains.com

UP announces donation of Steam Locomotive 3985 to Friends of 261 group.

3187 views
21 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    June 2009
  • From: Dallas, TX
  • 6,187 posts
UP announces donation of Steam Locomotive 3985 to Friends of 261 group.
Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, April 28, 2022 10:42 PM

Locomotive headed for their new shops in Silvis Illinois for preservation with intent to return it back to the rails for fan trips, they also threw in 2 UP business cars (1 ex-WP Feather River,  1 ex-SP Sunset), 4 coaches, an E9 B shell, Centennial Diesel Locomotive (forget the number) and a few other goodies.    UP stated it will continue running the 844 and 4014 with the passenger equipment that remains in their collection.    So to me it reads like they are slimming down a bit due to costs. 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 23,118 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Friday, April 29, 2022 8:35 AM

While it appears that the equipment has gone to a 'good home'.  My concern is if the good home will have or be able to develop the financial resources that will be necessary to pull off their intentions with the equipment.  Restoring locomotives to legal operating condition is not a inexpensive undertaking.  I suspect the reason UP has donated the equipment was that they didn't want to make the necessary expenditures to get the equipment to legally operable condition.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 8,677 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, April 29, 2022 9:38 AM

BaltACD
My concern is if the good home will have or be able to develop the financial resources that will be necessary to pull off their intentions with the equipment. 

I'm sure Steve Sandberg and the crew know what they're getting into.  I'm sure they also realize "Rome wasn't built in a day" and don't expect to be operating these locomotives next week.  Sandberg's always operated the organization as a business, not a club.  That's really been the secret of their success.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 19,413 posts
Posted by Overmod on Friday, April 29, 2022 11:13 AM

Absent forming and funding an effective 'Friends of 3985' organization (and having to endure the range of almost-inevitable financial 'challenge' appeals), I can't think of a better organization to take care of a locomotive that size, eventually restore it to safe operation, and then run it effectively.

I'm less sanguine about the practical use of 5511, even at slow excursion speeds.  On the other hand, the T1 Trust research alone would allow effective rebalance for lower practical augment without visible changes, and the thing is not all that different from 5/4ths of a big Mikado.

The problem is that there are a great many alternative uses, including more stuff done to the 261, to any dollars making 5511 runnable.  In my not-so-humble opinion.  3001 in Elkhart is an infinitely better prospect in nearly any respect that would matter...

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 8,677 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, April 29, 2022 11:22 AM

Overmod
 3001 in Elkhart is an infinitely better prospect in nearly any respect that would matter...

You're absolutely right, but until someone or whoever gets their act together concerning 3001 it ain't gonna happen. 

A locomotive in limbo if ever there was one.

  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 2,020 posts
Posted by rdamon on Friday, April 29, 2022 4:07 PM

And DDA40X 6936 - UP is cleaning out the garage

  • Member since
    July 2016
  • 2,026 posts
Posted by Backshop on Friday, April 29, 2022 4:19 PM

I watch a Youtube person who is curator of the USS New Jersey in Camden, NJ.  He has opined that preservation organizations are better off with just one "jewel". Extra equipment doesn't always equate to an equal increase in visitors and money. Many times, the secondary "acts" don't get the money allocated that they need-witness the recent problem with the USS The Sullivans.  The destroyer in Charleston is in need of similar upkeep, but the USS Yorktown takes the money and volunteer hours.  They've lost their USCG cutter and are soon to lose their submarine.  Think about it---you'll travel to see just the Challenger itself.  Are the other exhibits really going to increase the number of people visiting?  Not trying to be a pessimist, but...

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 8,677 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, April 29, 2022 4:19 PM

rdamon

And DDA40X 6936 - UP is cleaning out the garage

 

Maybe they'll find #119 wayyyyyy  in the back?    Wink

  • Member since
    June 2009
  • From: Dallas, TX
  • 6,187 posts
Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, April 30, 2022 10:15 AM

BaltACD

While it appears that the equipment has gone to a 'good home'.  My concern is if the good home will have or be able to develop the financial resources that will be necessary to pull off their intentions with the equipment.  Restoring locomotives to legal operating condition is not a inexpensive undertaking.  I suspect the reason UP has donated the equipment was that they didn't want to make the necessary expenditures to get the equipment to legally operable condition.

It should be fine.   Mr Sandberg learned early on the lesson that railfans do not contribute much beyond talk to rail preservation.    Look at how he named his new organization to market to a larger group of contributors.    Also, look at the success he has had in landing corporate contributions and sponsors of some of the runs of his heritage equipment.    Check out his running of the Polar Express using 261 from St. Paul Depot.    He is slowly getting better and better at attracting Corporate contributions in my view and it did not escape the notice of UP when it was making it's decision.

Also notice that UP went out of it's way to donate coaches to Mr. Sanberg, which is a commodity in short supply that he needs to increase the profitability of his steam excursions.     Mr. Sanberg made it known in the past he will not accept crap for railway passenger equipment for running, it has to be in good shape and be fairly cheap to convert to Amtrak compatibility unless there is some over riding historical reason to accept the equipment into his excursion service.

I am pretty confident he will bring back 3985 in tip top shape.   I just hope he is grooming someone to takeover for him when he hits the age where he has to step aside.

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 8,677 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, April 30, 2022 10:52 AM

CMStPnP
 I just hope he is grooming someone to takeover for him when he hits the age where he has to step aside.

Amen!

I can't get out of my mind what happened to the revitalised N-S steam program when Wick Mooreman stepped down, or the Susquehanna steam program when Walter Rich died, or what MAY happen to the Reading & Northern when Andy Mueller's out of the picture, which hopefully won't be any time soon. OR what happened to the Morris County Central steam railroad in NJ when Earle Gil got job-transferred out of state. 

There's the saying that "No man is indispensable!" but sometimes that proves not to be the case.  And I hate to say it, but if the top man's made himself indispensable then in a real sense he hasn't done his job completely.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 19,413 posts
Posted by Overmod on Saturday, April 30, 2022 11:14 AM

Flintlock76
There's the saying that "No man is indispensable!" but sometimes that proves not to be the case.

I was taught early, and from a range of sources, that there are 'no indispensable people' in a proper organization.  That is not only the C-suite people or CTOs covered by what used to be called 'key man' insurance -- it is anyone in any functional position.  When I was running apartments, we set up forms, procedures, and manuals so that anyone walking into the office could figure out where everything for leasing was, and how to use it, in 15 minutes or less (that number coming from the Apple Manhattan Project, by intention).  You'd be surprised by how many times, and in how many emergent circumstances, that turned out to have been wise.

The problem is that there isn't really either money or fame in running one of these operations.  I think Kelly Lynch has institutionalized much of the passion for marketing 'outside the box' and having sensible policies and procedures in place... but I don't know how well he has made passion an essential in succession management.  There are to my knowledge no analogues to firms like Kistler-Tiffany that ensure that attitude, as well as fiscal matters, is important in 'fan' succession.  This is an all-too-common topic over on RyPN, where it is noted just how pathetic a wide range of museums and other institutions that 'should know better' conduct their affairs until the clock winds down or the music stops.

I don't know if Davidson Ward has carried over some of the careful protections that would have been necessary for Project 130 into the general practice of FMW Solutions -- but I trust he has.  The City of Nashville famously required the 'alternative' to guaranteed effective contingency planning to allow restoration of Dixie 576.  We saw what was necessary to move a Berkshire over steam-hostile CSX... with a modified corporate logo painted on!

The problem is that the convergence of funding, careful 'stewardship', and love of trains is a difficult thing to observe, but easy to lose.  Even where it works for a time, as for example with Ross Rowland's projects, when the world changes the ability to achieve things may be lost.  

 

 And I hate to say it, but if the top man's made himself indispensable then in a real sense he hasn't done his job completely.[/quote]

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • 2,317 posts
Posted by kgbw49 on Saturday, April 30, 2022 12:52 PM

Is Iowa Interstate a PTC railroad?

Also, one wonders if the QJ chaps might wind up utilizing their steam experience over in Silvis.

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Central Iowa
  • 6,429 posts
Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, April 30, 2022 3:56 PM

kgbw49

Is Iowa Interstate a PTC railroad?

Also, one wonders if the QJ chaps might wind up utilizing their steam experience over in Silvis.

 

Iowa Interstate is on the list provided on the PTC screen when entering locomotive information when needing to add a locomotive that didn't appear in the paperwork provided.  I don't think they are at present using PTC.  Possibly to operate over Metra they may have equipped engines.  If Amtrak ever starts running trains to the Quad Cities, Iowa City, or beyond, they will have to have it.

Jeff 

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • 2,317 posts
Posted by kgbw49 on Saturday, April 30, 2022 7:30 PM

Thank you, Jeff!

I was asking because right now the 261 group has been able to run primarily on the Twin Cities & Western over the last several years.

https://railpictures.net/photo/791884/

https://railpictures.net/photo/790657/

I do understand they have equipped 261 with a PTC box based on what UP installed in 4014.

But the thought of them possibly using the Iowa Interstate for 3985 excursions some time in the future popped in to my mind, which was the genesis of the question.

Thanks again!

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • 1,791 posts
Posted by Leo_Ames on Sunday, May 1, 2022 2:58 PM

Is the 4014 still using the 3985's tender? If so, are they getting the 4014's tender?

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • 2,317 posts
Posted by kgbw49 on Monday, May 2, 2022 4:57 PM

One would suspect the 4014 tender will go with Challenger 3985.

And, it is a 28-ton (coal), 24,000-gallon tender that was delivered with the 4884-1 series 4000-4019 in 1941.

3985 was delivered in 1943 with a 28-ton (coal) 25,000-gallon tender, which was also subsequently the tender supplied with the 4884-2 series 4020-4024 in 1944.

So 4014 will continue with the 25,000-gallon tender and 3985 will move forward with the 24,000-gallon tender.

  • Member since
    June 2009
  • From: Dallas, TX
  • 6,187 posts
Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, May 8, 2022 5:08 PM

BaltACD

While it appears that the equipment has gone to a 'good home'.  My concern is if the good home will have or be able to develop the financial resources that will be necessary to pull off their intentions with the equipment.  Restoring locomotives to legal operating condition is not a inexpensive undertaking.  I suspect the reason UP has donated the equipment was that they didn't want to make the necessary expenditures to get the equipment to legally operable condition.

More of the details have emerged now how he will support the shops in Silvis.    For starters, National Railway Equipment has another 5 year lease on at least a portion of the property which he will use the lease payments from them to support the other part.    He intends to use the large yard there for car storage.     Additionally, he is starting to collect spare parts and intends to be the parts supplier to other steam preservation groups and will maintain an inventory onsite.  

He has other revenue generation plans as well to keep the programs going as well as pay for the site.    He also is taking in grants as well as Corporate donations.    Continues to maintain running steam excursions on an as profit basis, charter out private cars for excursions and to other groups on a short term basis. 

Also, would not be surprised if he got into the contract repair business for privately owned freight cars for simple repairs at first......then maybe heavy overhauls later (would compliment the railcar storage business).

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • 1,791 posts
Posted by Leo_Ames on Friday, May 13, 2022 4:05 PM

I almost didn't even ask about the 3985's tender, thinking it was basically a given that the unrestored/unconverted 4014's would be following the Challenger. But I see today's Newswire has a story up about this, with a twist.

RRHMA will be restoring and converting the 4014's tender, which will then be swapped for the 3985's tender, reuniting it with the Challenger.

 

  • Member since
    July 2020
  • 1,123 posts
Posted by pennytrains on Friday, May 13, 2022 6:43 PM

Not a bad way for UP to get the job done without diverting resources.  Maybe they can arrange a "bridge swap" like you see in hostage movies?  The tenders meet in the center of the bridge in the middle of the night...Smile, Wink & Grin

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • 2,317 posts
Posted by kgbw49 on Saturday, May 14, 2022 1:27 AM

4014 broadside with 4015 24,000-gallon tender

https://www.railpictures.net/photo/459647/

4014 broadside with 3985 25,000-gallon tender

https://www.railpictures.net/photo/712888/

Note the top of the cistern is slightly higher up on the 3985 tender in relation to the fuel compartment.

Speaking of swapping tenders, UP FEF-1 814, which was delivered with a tender that rode on two six-wheel trucks, was retired with a pedestal tender.

https://www.railpictures.net/photo/539610/

The original 814 tender was converted to canteen UPP 814 Joe Jordan for the steam program as seen here behind 844 and 4014.

https://www.railpictures.net/photo/199202/

https://www.railpictures.net/photo/794802/

  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 2,020 posts
Posted by rdamon on Wednesday, October 26, 2022 1:55 PM

Schedule posted - Union Pacific Heritage Donation Special

https://www.up.com/heritage/steam/schedule/index.htm

The donated equipment, which includes Challenger No. 3985, TTT-6 No. 5511, Centennial No. 6936 and several passenger rail cars, will leave Union Pacific’s Steam Shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on Nov. 11, and will make periodic maintenance stops along the way in Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska and Iowa. The donated locomotives will not be under power during this trip and will be pulled by diesel locomotives.

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Central Iowa
  • 6,429 posts
Posted by jeffhergert on Friday, November 4, 2022 3:48 PM

An item in my original home town's weekly newsletter says the equipment will overnight November 18 at IAIS's South Amana yard.  Expected arrival was 730pm with a next morning departure.

The 6936 was a favorite of UP's head of Engineering/MOW Bill Wimmer.  He used it on his yearly system inspections.  I don't believe it's been used since he retired.  I almost caught it once on one of the inspections as a conductor.

Jeff

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