Author Topic: How are things going?  (Read 1332 times)

Ed Lecuyer

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How are things going?
« on: January 22, 2009, 03:44:30 AM »
MODERATORS NOTE:
How are things going? has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
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Joe Fox wrote:
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How are things going for the Maine Narrow Gauge? I have seen many photos on NERAIL of the recent track laying session, and I must say it looks great, however, also looks different with the standard gauge ties, and the four foot ties combined. I think it is every fifth tie, that there is a standard gauge tie, but I am not sure. Maybe Peter could help me out with that curiosity? Talk to you guys later.

Joe

mwmoulison replied:
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Things are up and down at the MNGRR.  The Ocean Gateway project has not only been a nuisance, but it has cost us revenue, and it has somehow managed to pull up track without any gurantee of putting at back.  Legally speaking, I'm not even sure how that works.

Right now, we have new tracks laid to the cruise ship port, and then temporary tracks that allow us to serve India St. for Santafest.

As far as the new section, we got a waiver from the MDOT allowing us to use narrow gauge ties from here on out.  Those standard gauge ties will be cut down to size!

In the spring I plan on putting a new tie under every joint bar on the line.  The tracks were put down badly in the first place, and that makes fixing it a nightmare.  Especially with an all volunteer crew!

Monson #4 continues to run beautifully, she is smooth as anything running over the new tracks.  Hopefully 7 or 8 will roll again in the near future.

Otherwise, we have a lot of things still up in the air.  I don't know how things are going to fall when all this Ocean Gateway business is said and done.  I am optimistic that things could go in our favor.

With great volunteers, some luck, and some $$$, anything can happen!

-Mike

Joe Fox replied:
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Hi Mike,

Thanks for the news. It would be great if the MNGRR could resume the regular three mile round trip excursions again in the near future. It would also be great to see #7 or #8 running also, but I hear that #8 needs to have a new boiler built.

Joe

mwmoulison replied:
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I have good news for you, #8 does not need a new boiler.  They are all operational.  The problem is the new FRA regulations that went into effect in 2004.  Each engine needs about $25,000 worth of work.  Which the MNG doesnt' have.

-Mike

Joe Fox replied:
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That is good news. I have been wondering why you guys need to be involved in the FRA for years. Is it becuase of the city, or the two paved walk ways that you guys cross?

Joe

mwmoulison replied:
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We fall under the FRA because the state inspector believes the our Cutter St. crossing was public.  He wrote a letter to the FRA, who the determined that the FRA should look in on our steam program.  There has been some debate over this, as it has been revealed that legally speaking, Cutter St. is a private road, with public access.

However, prying back the fingers of the FRA is not an easy thing to do.

As a volunteer, I have mixed feelings on this.  It is nice that the FRA will hold us to a high standard of safety, but I am crushed to walk by engines 7 and 8 just sitting there.  We need something like $25,000 to do the required FRA work on 7.  $$$ the MNG can't afford to spend given the state of things.

all the best,

-Mike

Joe Fox replied:
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That is to bad. I would love to see #7 or #8 running again, only because they are the largest state of Maine two foot gauge locomotives still in existence.

Joe

mwmoulison replied:
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I'm right there with you.  It is a shame that 3 (which can run in Phillips),7, and 8 are perfectly operable engines, but the FRA won't allow it until they are practically disassembled and examined.  They all need a little work, but nothing we couldn't handle.

The 2 foot world is really funny.  It is so small (literally), and the various groups don't associate much with each other.

MNG has the most (and most historic) equipment, but can't run half of it.  WW&F has the best track, largest membership, and overall best maintained equipment.  SR&RL is rich in history, the old stone fort, and the turn table!

As far as archive material goes, who knows who has what!?  I know Boothbay has some neat stuff stashed away.

I am a member of WW&F and MNG.  I'd like to see the 2 groups have reps to meet once or twice a year to help each other out.  Get Boothbay and SRRL in on it as well.  If we sent volunteers up once a year, and you guys sent a few down we could do a lot for 2 foot preservation as a whole.  I'm talking the big projects.  Both places have some very capable people!

Your thoughts?

best,

-Mike Moulison

Allan Fisher replied:
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I am a life member at all three (MNG , WW&F and SR&RL) and also a member at Boothbay. I have never found anyone shy about getting me to help when I visit. The last time I was at MNG,  the archivist sat me down with two or three others to identify 300 photos that they had just been given of the B&SR/B&H, and a couple of the WW&F., and John Stinchfield at Phillips loves company - who usually wind up helping on his latest projects.

Joe Fox replied:
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I think that is a great idea. Have a meeting in July or whatever, and the four museums can talk about how things are going. This should be done before you guys have the National railroad convention, so that way everybody knows what is going on, and when to be at certain museums.

Joe

James Patten replied:
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I tried proposing a "Maine Two Footer's Consortium" one time, to share costs of representing all of us at the various shows, such as the National Narrow Gauge Convention, but didn't have any takers.  However a once-or-twice a year conference of two footer's would be a great idea, to share ideas, discuss plans, and make people aware of potential future problems.

We'd probably want to do it in November and April, after and before the operating season.  Any time during the summer we're all too busy to take the time to do that kind of thing.

Bill Reidy replied:
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I've wondered if our groups could get together to do some sort of joint promotion, if for nothing else -- something along the lines of the "Great Little Trains of Wales" program.  Of course, the Welsh railways have many more visitors and financial resources than we do, but I wonder if something like this could be done on a smaller scale that would be a benefit to the WW&F, Sandy River, MNG and Boothbay?

Bill

Joe Fox replied:
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James,

The power point I am working on, when would you like it done by? Me and dad were thinking, who is going to watch a half hour power point during a train show? Not many people will stay for the hole thing, so I am thinking a 10 to 15 minute power point will be enough.

Joe

James Patten replied:
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Joe, I'd like it done by tomorrow.  Thanks.

James Patten replied:
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Well, OK, I guess tomorrow's a bit too soon.  Maybe by the end of January?  That way we could take it to Springfield and Augusta train shows and run it in a loop.

Bill Sample replied:
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I agree Bill Reidy that a joint promotion program would be beneficial to all.  I would also think that the Maine Office of Tourism would cooperate with a "Great Little Trains of Maine" promotion, and possibly even help with some assistance.
Beware of getting into joint ticket or discount programs - when the RMNE (Naugatuck RR) tried to initiate that a few years back there was little cooperative spirit elsewhere.  Probably best to keep any joint effort away from financial activities!

James Patten replied:
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The only joint financial activity I envisioned was everybody pitching into a pot to pay for a "Maine Two Footers" promotional table at shows.  Obviously for nearby shows such as Springfield we wouldn't do that.  But for shows further south and west (Gaithersburg, regional narrow gauge shows, maybe conventions.

mwmoulison replied:
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Gentlemen,

I must admit I am surprised by how many people think this is a good idea.  I think it would be beneficial if used properly for all involved.  None of the museums should compete with each other, the 2 foot fan base is far too small.

If we met twice a year (as James said, April and November), we could better work together.  Then joint efforts can be made when beneficial, and perhaps we could get a sense for what archive materials still exist.  Perhaps we can even find safe places to keep historic documents!

I will push this with the MNG staff, perhaps someone could hook me up with an official at WW&F who would be interested in talking to me about this?

thanks again,

-Mike

Joe Fox replied:
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Hey Mike,

I agree with you, when you said that we shouldn't compete. Maybe it could be possible for the narrow gauge museums to all set up things that corispond with each other, especially with the Narrow Gauge Convention coming to Portland in less than a year. Things should start to be discussed, as to what is going to happen, and when people are going to be visiting what railroad(s) on what day(s), so that everybody can have things set up when the buses arrive.

Joe

James Patten replied:
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Mike, I'm an official (board member) who's interested in getting this off the ground, from the WW&F's standpoint.  I had the backing of the board when I tried it before (about a year ago) and I have no doubt I'll have their backing again.

Allan Fisher replied:
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Coordination between the Museums has been going on for months, Martha Sharp is in charge - with Gary Kohler watching over to see that no conflicts result.

MNG will be open and running every day (as they always are that time of year.)

Gary Kohler is organizing a trip to SR&RL on Tuesday.

A bus has been reserved to bring conventioneers to Boothbay and WW&F on Wed, Thurs, & Friday afternoon, and both museums will try to operate steam on these afternoons.

And all Museums will be open and operating on Saturday & Sunday of the Convention.

Have you signed up as an attendee yet?  See the Website for details

Joe Fox replied:
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Alan, I will be sure to sign up, after I get my liscense, and I will stay in the general area of the museum.

Joe

John McNamara replied:
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Allan,

Can you please post the URL for people who want to sign up. Thanks!

mwmoulison replied:
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James,

please feel free to contact me at mailto:captmike331@aol.com.  We can talk anytime, see what we can work out as a course of action.  In addition to the convention, the museums could work together in many ways.

-Mike

mwmoulison replied:
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All,

I just spoke with the CMO of MNG, Rick Knight.  He has given this 100% support.  I can count on the backing fo the managment to follow.

My next task will be to contact SR&RL and Boothbay.  If anyone can set me on to Jason Lamontagne's e-mail that would be appreciated.

We could potentially use a joint group when purchasing items (i.e. ties, spikes, rail, etc.) to keep cost down!  If we all order ties from the same vendor and ship them togther we could all save a lot of $$$!!!

Furthermore, the gathering should rotae through the museums, and could even be accompanied with occaisional work weekends.  SR&RL could really use some help with track, Rick suggests we start there if they are open to this idea!

I am thrilled that this seems to be picking up steam rather quickly.  Again, I look forward to hearing from you all.  Again, my e-mail is mailto:captmike331@aol.com.

best,

-Mike Moulison

Allan Fisher replied:
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The web site for the National Narrow Gauge Convention being held in Portland Maine on August 29 thru Sept 1, 2007 is
http://www.27thnarrowgaugeconvention.net
Ed Lecuyer
Moderator, WW&F Forum