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Author Topic: Narrow Gauge Still Works!  (Read 1799 times)
Ed Lecuyer
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« on: January 22, 2009, 03:36:17 AM »

MODERATORS NOTE:
Narrow Gauge Still Works! has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
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Steve Klare wrote:
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I’ve been watching two railroad museums grow these past few years: one is WW&F and the other is the Railroad Museum of Long Island here in Suffolk County, New York. RMLI also is restoring a steam locomotive. She is Long Island Rail Road #39, built by the PRR for commuter service here in New York.(Keystone number plate, Bellepaire firebox and all….)  She is probably one of the last American 4-6-0s built. These were great machines: designed to haul 10 steel coaches up to 40 or 50 MPH very quickly, grind to a halt at a station 3 miles away, and do it again and again all day long.
Unfortunately, RMLI is having some troubles. The small ones are the usual: people and money. The expenses of restoring standard gauge power are huge. They too have their boiler off the frame and it’s at a shop here on Long Island. Getting it there involved finding a large crane and a tractor trailer, when WW&F #9’s boiler travels, a trailer behind a pickup does just fine.
The biggest problem they have is track.  They are in a yard next to a pretty lightly used branch of the LIRR, but have no trackage rights once they reach the switch.  Unfortunately they have proceeded pretty far into #39’s restoration while negotiating an agreement to allow #39 and a train of vintage LIRR coaches to run between Riverhead and Greenport with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the parent agency of the LIRR. The MTA is in the business of shuttling people back and forth to Manhattan, and they are not interested in being part of a railroad museum. Back when this issue first came up, the former president of the LIRR said “no!” with emphasis by ordering the track accessing the Greenport turntable ripped up. The Administration has changed several times since then, but RLMI still has no certain answer to the question “where will we run it?”.
The two foot gauge answer to this problem is getting a bunch of guys and tools and materials together and laying some track. The sizes and weights of things are friendly to doing this. There are miles of abandoned LIRR ROW’s available, but the “bunch of guys” proposition just can’t stretch far enough to cover the kind of trackage that a line-haul standard gauge passenger train really needs. I can’t begin to imagine the reaction the idea of “building some track” would bring if somebody proposed it in this case.
Narrow Gauge is tailor made to tight spaces, short hauls and small budgets, whether it’s a logging line in 1908 or a museum line in 2008.
-George Mansfield got it right!

James Patten replied:
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Actually James Spooner, architect of the Ffestiniog Railway, got it right.  George Mansfield knew a good thing when he saw it.

Steve Klare replied:
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Technical, yet Touché....
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Ed Lecuyer
Moderator, WW&F Forum
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