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Author Topic: MEC 470 in better days  (Read 4645 times)
Stephen Hussar
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« on: October 25, 2011, 08:17:10 PM »

Wow.
http://abpr.railfan.net/abprphoto.cgi?april07/04-30-07/mec470.jpg&redirect=1
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Richard "Steam" Symmes
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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2011, 10:46:06 PM »

I believe this picture was taken when the locomotive was located in front of the college. A highway project displaced it.

Has anyone heard anything about it's status lately?  Last time it was discussed was several years ago when local folks were trying to raise funds for a cosmetic restoration.  Unfortunately the boiler jacket was removed years ago during an asbestos removal project, and never replaced. I fear that sooner or later the engine will be scrapped due to becoming "an eyesore".  This situation would be unheard of in England. Over there, it probably would be running today!

Richard Symmes
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Stephen Hussar
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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2011, 06:39:09 AM »

Not sure where it places her, but the photo was taken September 13th, 1954.



 
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Terry Harper
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« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2011, 07:38:39 AM »

And......as she appeared September 2011 complete with a young teenager burning one down in the tender.



Maybe a move to Wiscasset is in order.
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Richard "Steam" Symmes
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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2011, 08:59:27 AM »

It's even worse than I remember the last time I saw it.

What a total and absolute disgrace!  The town of Waterville should be ashamed. Unfortunately this is the state of much railroad preservation in the U.S. today.

Again, compare this sad example with what is being done in England. I can't explain it, only wonder why these things are allowed to deteriorate to the point of having to be scrapped.  How very, very sad.

Richard Symmes
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Ed Lecuyer
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2011, 10:32:14 AM »

About 4-5 years ago, enough railfans put up a stink and the city council investigated the 470. As I recall, someone volunteered to oversee a cosmetic restoration and made a nice presentation to the council.

In the lead-up to the council meeting, a plea went out to send in letters of support. Apparently many people did so, including myself. The council was quite impressed with this, and promised to take action.

I also recall someone reporting that at the council meeting, it was suggested that it be sent to "the guys in Alna" because of our reputation.

Unfortunately, instead of asking the volunteer to move forward with his proposal, the council spent money on a study, which resulted in a very nice rendering of an enclosed display. Interestingly, the locomotive in the rendering bore no resemblance to the 470. No real action was taken and the volunteer walked away in disgust. (Ref. RYPN Interchange archives for the whole scoop.)

In my opinion, it should be sent to the Coles' Transportation Museum in Bangor. They know how to care for artifacts and it would fit well in their collection.

In my letter, I made known that I specifically stopped to see the 470 once, and spent money in the local business on that trip. I promised to the council that given its condition, I would not be spending any money in Waterville until something was done. I have lived up to that promise.
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Richard "Steam" Symmes
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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2011, 10:57:56 AM »

Coles Museum would be a terrific place to put the 470. 

Even better, would be to rehab it to operational condition and run it on the Maine Eastern RR which has turning facilities at both ends. They also have a fine track and roadbed allowing for decent speed. Even a roundhouse to keep it in. Can you picture a totally rebuilt 470 at the head end of half a dozen steel coaches on the run from Brunswick to Rockland?  Now there would be something like you see all over the place in England.

Unfortunately, I doubt any such dream will become reality here. Even major museums such as Steamtown have little to show for the millions spent.  So is it any wonder that orphans such as 470 have such bleak futures?

Richard Symmes
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Terry Harper
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« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2011, 03:01:21 PM »

And another shot taken the same day

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Brett Goertemoeller
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« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2011, 10:39:57 AM »

  Has anyone talked with the town? It seems to me that a well placed volunteer or "friends" group may be able to help with the locomotive.  I'm rather new to her plight, so please forgive me if this has all ready been talked about before.  There are only 3 MEC engines left.  One that will never see any real work in Steamtown, one that is in North Conway, and 470.  
  Towns can be delt with if the proposals are done in language that they understand, and "de foamed" some work can be done.  I would use the B&M 494 as an example.  The town has worked with the railfan comunity to get the engine stabilized, even going as far as having J David Conrad from the Valley come up and do a full survey on the engine.  Maybe a different approach may be in order?  Like I said though, new to this so this may have all been talked about before.

Brett
« Last Edit: December 06, 2011, 11:22:48 AM by Ed Lecuyer » Logged

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Stephen Hussar
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« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2011, 11:27:05 AM »

Hi Brett,

Yup, many of us have "been there, done that." You're absolutely correct in that if a proper proposal were
submitted to the city, "sans foam," they might listen. I'd like to see it restored to operation and running
on the Rockland branch. And I happen to know a couple of guys (who live in Maine) that are more than
qualified to do the work.

All it will take is someone to make it their mission, and it could happen.

Stephen
« Last Edit: December 07, 2011, 06:32:17 AM by Stephen Hussar » Logged
Richard "Steam" Symmes
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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2011, 12:35:13 PM »

The "mission" will need lots of money too.

A group in Long Island that is restoring a LIRR ten-wheeler has been "restoring it to service" for literally decades. Last I heard they had run out of funding and the job is only half done, if that.  Ditto the B&M's "Flying Yankee" project.  When projects bog down, it's tough to reinvigorate support. Nobody wants to pour their money down a black hole with no prospect of success. I remember when Waterville officials were all gung ho to do something with the 470 several years ago.  Their idea of raising funds was to hold a street fair with vendors, face painting and the like.  Obviously that got nowhere.

Communities also get very uptight if some "outsider" comes along to help them "save their engine".  They'd rather let the engine sit there than lose any control over it.  Back in the 1970s, Wolfeboro Railroad owner Don Hallock tried to get the B&M 4-4-0 #494 running. The town of White River Jct. officials would hear none of it.  They would apparently rather see it rot where it stood than to chance losing control of it. Hallock offered to rebuild it to operate and lease it from the town.  No go. Fortunately a local group has been working on stabilizing it by dribs and drabs, but is barely keeping up with the weather up there.

Some years ago the 470 was in absolutely pristine condition. I have color slides I took of it then.  Somewhat later, some yuppie noticed a hint of asbestos seeping from under the boiler jacket and went screaming to town hall, threatening legal action for poisoning children who might be playing on the engine.  The town hired a contractor to remove the asbestos, which meant removal of the jacketing. I've heard the jacketing was scrapped without even tracings being made to use in replacing it.  From that point it all went down hill to what you see on display today.

Several rail historians spent considerable time trying to work with the Waterville officials, but it got them nowhere.  The officials have to have the final say, and mostly they don't know what they're talking about. So nothing happens except the 470 gets worse by the day.  Mark my word, the "That's an eyesore" folks will eventually prevail and the locomotive will be cut up to remove it.  Negative? Absolutely. Probable? Equally likely!  How sad.

Richard Symmes
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Brett Goertemoeller
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« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2011, 12:54:18 PM »

Steam,

  I would beg to differ on the status of the 494 project.  Quite a lot has been done on the engine, and only one or two people that work on it are from the town.  The project manager lives 2 hours away, and has no connection to the town.  Yes there has been a "lull" as of late, but that is because they are re-evaluating the Conrad report trying to decide what they would like to concintrate on next.  She is under cover, painted, asbestos removed, and some sustainment work in the boiler done.  No to mention there is actually talk of trying to UT the boiler to get an idea if a return to steam is possible.  Even though the work may be slow, at least there is work being done.  494 is the reason I stand by the comment, get rid of the foam, and the town will follow.  Taking it in small chunck doesn't make it seem such a long road to haul. 
  Go to the town and say "can we work on sustainment? we will provide the tools volunteer and paint".  If they say yes, get eveything stripped and ready....while you're there with everything off, it's easy to lay a grid for your UT....so you can say "can we do this inspection to see how bad the boiler is?"  I'm skipping some things, but there are ways to go about it...while keeping the foam level to a minimum...without going right to the town and saying "we're going to run your engine" to which they shut right down and most likely laugh you out of the building.  A long term restoration is not a bad thing, if it's coordinated right.  This is all just IMO by the way.....

Brett 

Brett
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How many train crew men does it take to screw in a light bulb?
None, that the shop crew's job...

What do you call a train man who steps on a live 3rd rail?
A conducter!
Richard "Steam" Symmes
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« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2011, 04:55:38 PM »

The WRJ group used to put out a periodic newsletter which, among other things, reported on the progress of the 494 restoration effort.  Each issue seemingly had less and less about it, until there was virtually nothing.   I certainly applaud the fact that the engine is under a canopy and work is being performed. That's far better than some years back when it was over on the edge of a parking lot and the town snowplows rammed snow up against it, breaking the pilot beam.  It also was covered with duct tape secured Christmas lights, the duct tape remaining welded to the locomotive over time.

Recently a friend from Indiana visited the site and in an email to me he asked what on earth was going on there. The tender is separated from the locomotive and things are in kind of a jumble.  I told him what I knew about it. Obviously there needs to be more info posted onsite.

There have been so many well meaning attempts at restoring locomotives in New England over the years that have turned out to be endless projects which eventually bog down and peter out.  People lose faith that they ever will be completed.  There is no "master plan" in evidence on many of them. Fund raisers usually consist of nickel and dime propositions which net only mediocre results.  The WW&F and the Valley Railroad are two bright spots in an otherwise lackluster restoration picture. They have plans, they accomplish goals, they are able to raise significant funds. Those three things are tied together.  Many restoration efforts remind me of the old 1930s movies where a bunch of kids want to put on a musical show in someone's barn ("Hey kids, let's put on a show!").  Unfortunately, they don't turn out to have a Hollywood ending like the movies did.  They end up in some kind of Purgatory with no exit plan. 

So, hooray for the efforts of all the dedicated people laboring in the trenches. No offense is meant toward anyone or organization.  But all of them need to better publicize their plans and their accomplishments in order to generate ongoing faith in their projects.

Richard Symmes
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Mike Fox
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« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2011, 09:13:35 PM »

I was up that way a month ago now and took a hard look at the 470. I took  several pictures that day. Some of the stay bolts that were obviously bad, others of some suface rust.

One thing that I expected to see but did not. All the saddle to boiler joints were perfect. I expected to atleast see some surface rust or something like I saw on an air tank on the engineers side but no. Looked like it did shortly after it was painted.
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Mike
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Ed Lecuyer
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« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2011, 08:46:58 AM »

[Moderators  Warning]
Hi All,

One of the differences between this discussion forum and others dedicated to railroad preservation is that we (generally) do not criticize what our fellow preservationists are attempting to accomplish. Some of the comments in this thread directed towards the 494 group, Long Island Group, The Flying Yankee, and others are bordering on non-constructive critizism.

Please be kind. All of us have made our fair share of mistakes. Instead, let's support them in doing better.

Note that this is very different than criticizing the City of Waterville, who clearly has no plan to restore the 470, after promising to do so.

Thanks,

-Ed Lecuyer
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