W.W.&F. Discussion Forum

Worldwide Narrow Gauges => US Two Footers => Topic started by: Ken Fleming on May 09, 2013, 02:02:51 PM

Title: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: Ken Fleming on May 09, 2013, 02:02:51 PM
Utica Chenango and Susquehanna Valley LLC is a group building a test track to check out building 2 foot tourist railroad. Their link is below:

http://www.ucsvroute.com
Title: Re: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: Richard "Steam" Symmes on May 09, 2013, 11:28:26 PM
Not to rain on anyone's parade, but this seems pretty unlikely to be successful.  Didn't there used to be a 2 foot gauge steam train out around Utica somewhere? I think they had a homemade 2-8-0. Whatever became of that?  And why did Frontier Town fold?  Probably because the area was so sparsely populated. And it's not a big tourist area either.  Our family actually visited Frontier Town in the 50s. It was like Pleasure Island. An amusement park done on the cheap, which you soon realized once you got there.

This whole thing looks like a failure in search of a place to happen.  Sorry, but I've seen too many of these schemes proposed over the years, only to go nowhere and cost enthusiastic backers lots of good money.

Now you can all jump on me for being negative.

Title: Re: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: Kevin Madore on May 11, 2013, 12:10:03 AM
The only 2-footer I am aware of in the Utica area is at the Erie Canal Village in Rome.   

When I last visited that area back in 2007, the park was closed.   Although they do have a small 0-4-0T, I don't believe they've run it in several years.   It is my understanding that they also have a small diesel locomotive, and that normally powers the trains.

Here is a link to a shot of the steamer: http://www.steamlocomotive.info/vlocomotive.cfm?Display=1523 (http://www.steamlocomotive.info/vlocomotive.cfm?Display=1523)

/Kevin
Title: Re: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: Richard "Steam" Symmes on May 11, 2013, 01:24:30 AM
Rome, NY is exactly the place I had in mind. I have a brochure here someplace that advertised the park, and there is a 2 foot gauge 2-8-0 pictured.  We didn't actually go there due to time constraints, but we picked up the brochure at a rest stop in the area. I believe that was in the 1970s.

The fact that that place ALSO has folded up just adds to what I said about trying to start up yet another such "attraction" in the area. 

The Davenport locomotive on the linked site is a real sweetheart. It would be nice to see that running someplace already established.
Title: Re: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: Ben Gottfried on July 03, 2013, 04:01:56 PM
Hi Everyone,

Many thanks to Ken Fleming for posting our website info.

We are just starting building over here and hope to meet some new narrow gauge friends here in New York! We have a proposal to build an 8 mile tourist railway so it's an ambitious plan. Our ROW is a former Lackawanna branch line so the roadbed is of superior quality with a nice deep cinder base. We are hoping to find someone who wants to run their steam engine here on a historic piece of the Lackawanna Railroad.

We have some new pics on our website and facebook about our yard project. ucsvroute.com

Thanks to all,


Ben
Title: Re: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: Richard "Steam" Symmes on July 04, 2013, 12:58:06 AM
What do the neighbors think of this proposed railroad?  I can imagine the response you'd get around here. There are more NIMBYs than railfans out there.

What about road crossings?  Won't the FRA get involved in all of this?

What sort of motive power do you have in mind for this line?  What about rolling stock?

Who is the deep pockets "sugar daddy" behind all of this?  Enquiring minds want to know.

Title: Re: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: John McNamara on July 04, 2013, 02:47:32 AM
Hi Ben,

Thanks for the introduction to your proposed 2-footer. Being associated with a 2-footer (the WW&F) I am plainly biased, but I think 2-feet is a good choice of gauge for a small railroad. The same benefits of economical construction and economical operation that applied 150 years ago still apply today. The availability of equipment is probably of greater concern than standard gauge, however. I notice that your proposed track map includes a couple of public road crossings. In the near term, it might be best to avoid such things, as they place you under the jurisdiction of the FRA. An earnest attempt to follow the rules of the FRA is advisable for safety reasons, as narrow gauge railroad equipment can be almost as dangerous as standard gauge and should definitely be respected. Being an FRA railroad is, however, an expensive operation in terms of paperwork, equipment inspection, operator qualification, and various other factors. I would also avoid steam operation as long as possible. Steam engines are fascinating mechanisms and a wonderful draw for attendance. However, they are expensive to operate, require substantial maintenance, and require (at least here in Maine) operators with state high-pressure boiler licenses.

-John
Title: Re: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: Ira Schreiber on July 04, 2013, 05:14:59 PM


The operator of the railroad in Rome, NY was the same one that operated the Georgetown Loop Railroad and ran it into the ground literally until replaced by the current operator.
 



Ira Schreiber
Title: Re: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: Ben Gottfried on July 05, 2013, 02:54:40 PM
Hi John,

Heading west from South Columbia we have a stretch of roadbed a little over 2 miles long with only one crossing and it's a seasonal dirt road so I'm hoping that permitting to cross same will be fairly straightforward. Being as our line is a former railway, the crossings are all listed as being closed with their respective identification with FRA still on file. I have all the crossing files and spoke to our DOT and they felt like the crossings would be fairly easy to reopen. We are well aware of the steam challenge and have heard that many times before about the inspections and all they require so I guess time will tell on that one.

For the time being we are focused on getting this "test track" installed. We have enough rail for 1500' of track (without a highway crossing) and want to see what our Plymouth can do. Our passenger cars are in rough shape but will rumble down the new track we suppose. We'll keep on posting pictures of our progress in the yard. We are looking forward to meeting some narrow gauge minded individuals who would like to get something like this going here in New York. I guess time will tell on that one too.

Ben
Title: Re: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: John McNamara on July 05, 2013, 06:06:10 PM
We have enough rail for 1500' of track (without a highway crossing) and want to see what our Plymouth can do. Our passenger cars are in rough shape but will rumble down the new track we suppose.
I think that you will be pleasantly surprised at what your Plymouth can do. Our 12-ton DDT will happily tackle almost anything.  :)
Good luck in your endeavors!
-John
Title: Re: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: Hansel Fardon on July 05, 2013, 10:39:52 PM
Don't let John scare you! He's a diesel guy... Steam is worth it!
Title: Re: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: Richard "Steam" Symmes on July 06, 2013, 02:41:42 AM
Steam makes a difference to some visitors, but not most. It's been 60 years since the last steamers were in regular service. Most adults have no memory of it. 

"Infernal" combustion locomotives are much easier to run and maintain. The average rider couldn't care less what is pulling the train.  Some people are so clueless they don't know the difference. I've actually asked people if the tourist train they rode had a steam or diesel locomotive and they honestly couldn't tell me.

Even the "Thomas" trains are mostly gas or diesel locomotives dummied up to look like steam.  Seems to satisfy most people.  The gas "steamer" at Phillips, Maine has run for years on the old SR&RL track and I'll bet most riders think it's steam. 

I would hold off on steam for this new line until you see if it's actually going to work out. That's the biggest challenge you face now.  It may fall flat on its face, or it may be successful over time, but keep it simple going in.
Title: Re: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: Keith Taylor on July 06, 2013, 12:00:26 PM
Hi Ben,

Are you going to restore a band organ for use at the RR?  :)

Keith
Title: Re: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: Ben Gottfried on July 07, 2013, 02:47:18 PM
Well it certainly is interesting how everyone jumps to talk about the end result of this thing. We are focused right now on things like track construction and all. We placed our signal cabinet yesterday that will give us power in the yard area. The rail ends of our rails need to be ground as they were used in a previous life at a furniture factory where they welded the sticks together using flat straps so the weld beads need to be cleaned off. Need to use the grinder for this.

I guess the steam thing depends on who all wants to get involved with our RR. If someone has a steam engine and wants to bring it over here we are all ears. Simple is good as Richard points out though.

A band organ would be nice Keith. Our station is 6,000 sq.ft. so plenty of room for one of those.

Ben
Title: Re: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: Keith Taylor on July 07, 2013, 03:43:20 PM
Aside from being a budding railroad mogul.....Ben is a professional restorer of automatic musical instruments. A band organ restoration would be right up his alley!

Keith
Title: Re: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: Mike Fox on July 07, 2013, 10:17:26 PM
Please keep us posted. One thing most of us love to see is progress. Most people now that are not involved with things like this think instant gratification, The rest of us believe one step at a time will get the job done. Some quitters will come and go, but if you have a good plan and some organizational skills, things will progress just fine.

We know all about furniture factory rail. We have had to crop all that we had to get it usable. Now we have a bunch of 28' rail installed, but you can't tell it from the train.
Title: Re: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: Stewart "Start" Rhine on July 07, 2013, 11:57:45 PM
Hi Ben,

Please continue the updates and photos, we love to see railroad construction ... especially narrow gauge!  Your latest photo looks like Sheepscot Station in 1993 just before the first mainline rails were spiked down, now there is 2.5 miles.

Best wishes for your project.

Stewart
Title: Re: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: Ben Gottfried on August 03, 2013, 08:22:53 PM
Hi Everyone,

Here are a few photos of the grading work and tie placement in the South Columbia yard. The last picture shows the original center line survey done in 1916.

Ben
Title: Re: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: Steve Smith on August 03, 2013, 09:30:42 PM
Good going. Thanks for the report.
Title: Re: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: Ben Gottfried on August 20, 2013, 01:00:19 PM
We are laying rail now and here are a few pictures. The rail is 35lb, this business of building a RR is slow going for sure but rewarding in the end.

We have the engine now connected to the mainline so we can see what the deal is with that. It has a Chrysler engine in it, maybe a 360. It turns over and is not seized or anything. I think it was last used in the late 90's
Title: Re: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: Keith Taylor on August 20, 2013, 01:08:43 PM
Hi Ben, it must feel good to be laying track.
I do think your cross ties look a little bit on the short side. You may find it difficult to maintain your cross elevation.
Keith
Title: Re: New 2 Footer in Upstate NY?
Post by: Bill Sample on October 15, 2013, 06:02:04 PM
We are laying rail now and here are a few pictures. The rail is 35lb, this business of building a RR is slow going for sure but rewarding in the end.

We have the engine now connected to the mainline so we can see what the deal is with that. It has a Chrysler engine in it, maybe a 360. It turns over and is not seized or anything. I think it was last used in the late 90's
Well, Walter P Chrysler came from a railroad family and before he went into the automobile business he had risen from a shop apprentice to supt. of the Pittsburgh Alco works, so a Chrysler engine is OK!