W.W.&F. Discussion Forum

The Maine Narrow Gauges (Historic & Preserved) => Maine Narrow Gauge RR Co. & Museum => Topic started by: James Patten on August 31, 2010, 07:38:48 AM

Title: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: James Patten on August 31, 2010, 07:38:48 AM
As Maine Narrow Gauge's efforts in scouting out relocation locations is already well known on this board (see Bridgton and SR&RL topics), I thought it appropriate that discussion about the effort as a whole be started.

I belong to a Yahoo email group started by Gary Kohler, "Friends of the Two Footers".  Last week Gary brought up MNG's relocation efforts in an effort to get some traffic on the group.  Boy did it ever.  There was lots of speculation at the beginning and very few hard facts.  Now more facts have come out.

MNG essentially tendered an RFP to the towns of Boothbay, Bridgton, Gray, Monson, and Phillips regarding a potential move of some portion of MNG's equipment to those towns.  The biggest things MNG wants is a) enclosed shop space, and b) covered storage for the equipment.  If relocated to Boothbay, Boothbay Railway Village would somehow be involved.  If to Phillips, the SR&RL would somehow be involved.  We've read excerpts from Bridgton and Phillips but I've heard nothing from Boothbay, Gray, or Monson.  Frankly I'm a little surprised at not hearing anything about the Boothbay RFP in our local newspaper. 

Neither the WW&F nor Alna received an RFP, which is frankly fine with me.  I think the secret of our success is our carefully controlled growth and focus, and a sudden influx of equipment without a place to put it would destroy that.

Additionally, I've heard that Sue Davis is no longer Executive Director.  I haven't heard if they are looking for a new ED or not.

Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: Stephen Hussar on August 31, 2010, 09:47:49 AM
A move toward Boothbay would be great as it would obviously bring more tourism/dollars our way ... but I do believe Bridgton makes the most sense for them.
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: Jason M Lamontagne on August 31, 2010, 07:58:09 PM
For the record, the WW&F did receive an RFP- which I thought made it to a board meeting but now I'm wondering if James doesn't remember.  Informal discussion with Sue Davis during the coach 3 closing indicated to her that there wasn't too much opportunity with our organization to meet their requirements.

Jason
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: James Patten on August 31, 2010, 08:01:25 PM
I guess I mixed my groups up - there's nothing on this board about the Phillips efforts with respect to this, so let me give you all a link: http://www.dailybulldog.com/db/?p=5496 (http://www.dailybulldog.com/db/?p=5496)

Not mentioned here but elsewhere is the fact that a portion of the old roundhouse still remains, and of course there's the grand old station building.  The covered bridge would have to be rebuilt to connect Phillips with the SR&RL group.
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: James Patten on August 31, 2010, 08:03:18 PM
For the record, the WW&F did receive an RFP- which I thought made it to a board meeting but now I'm wondering if James doesn't remember. 

That may have been the May board meeting which I missed most of.  #!&@%!! work!  Miss one meeting you miss a lot.
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: Pete "Cosmo" Barrington on August 31, 2010, 08:19:41 PM
James,
I don't suppose you could provide us with a link to that group, Friends of the Two Footers?
I'd appreciate it.
Pete.
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: James Patten on August 31, 2010, 08:44:45 PM
I don't think I can provide a link.  It's Yahoo Groups, and I don't use Yahoo much and I can't seem to find it.  It's also supposed to be a closed group, only members can post to the list.

I suppose you could email Gary Kohler (m2fq at aol dot com) and ask him to put you on the list.
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: Dale Reynolds on September 01, 2010, 06:58:37 AM
having grown up in maine and having visited all 5 of the 2' railroads and mng recently, i think monson is the best fit for the mng equipment. tons of covered space, and lots of row to rebuild the rr, thanks to cliff olson and his lovely wife suzanne. lord knows monson area could use some stimulus! dale
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: John McNamara on September 01, 2010, 11:08:10 AM
I suspect that there is a fundamental problem for railroad museums. To get a lot of paying customers, you need a good location (such as the Portland waterfront). Unfortunately, the land in such areas is very valuable, and expenses will be high. At the opposite end of the spectrum, large quantities of inexpensive land are typically located in fairly remote areas (Monson comes to mind). I suppose that I am somewhat biased having a summer home near Bridgton and volunteering in Alna, but I feel that Bridgton and Boothbay are the best locations to compromise between these two extremes.
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: Dave Buczkowski on September 01, 2010, 01:12:12 PM
I'm curious as to why Gray was on the list. It's not near any historic two foot R.O.W. is it?
KD
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: Glenn Christensen on September 01, 2010, 02:07:40 PM
Hi Dave,

You're right, none of the original two-footers were in Gray.  But Gray has a fair amount of unencumbered ROW built for the Portland & Lewiston interurban and close proximity to both Portland and I-495.

It just goes to show how seriously the folks at MNG want to turn things around.  Like the WW&F and the folks in Phillips, they keenly feel the need to protect their collection and fulfill their mission. 

More strength and success to all!!!



Best Regards,
Glenn
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: Cliff Olson on September 03, 2010, 05:16:48 PM
The Town of Monson's selectmen have formally expressed interest in being considered as a satellite site for MNG and presumably will be responding in due course to a RFP from MNG.

Thanks to Dale Reynolds for his kind words of support.
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: Matthew Gustafson on September 25, 2010, 10:57:22 PM
 ??? :) ;)But if the Museum moves, then what about the museum's track? Will they take it with them or just leave it. Plus if they do move at least they dont need to worry about the salty air that slowly deteriorating their railway collection that's stored outdoors.
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: Glenn Christensen on September 26, 2010, 02:30:24 PM
Hi Matthew,

You ask a perfectly valid question, but I don't think anyone will be able to answer it at the moment. 

It's still very early in the decision-making process and I understand the folks at Maine Narrow Gauge are still awaiting proposals from the interested parties.  The important thing is that everyone wants to see MNG make a good decision based upon the proposal responses they receive.  Once that decision is made, the more tactical decisions - like what to do with the track - will start being addressed.

Please stay tuned.  I'm sure everyone is waiting to hear what comes next.


Best Regards,
Glenn
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: Matthew Gustafson on September 27, 2010, 03:57:12 PM
Thanks and I will. Its great to be back here aftrer a long vacation from here.  :) ;) :D
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: Zak LaRoza on October 18, 2010, 05:09:36 PM
I think they should have the museum in Bridgton, and re-open the B&SR, as there is so much surviving equipment from that line.
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: Greg Fox on October 25, 2010, 02:44:47 PM
New here to the group and this is my first topic I am responding to. I am curious why Monson is a possible site for relocation. Is it, and was it up in "no mans land" when the two footer was there? I can see the nostalgia of it, but is it practical? Location, location, location is always key, and I would suspect more visitors to the Portland area than Monson. Devout rail fans will come, but not the general public which is what the museum really wants, right? Just a thought. I like most here in Vermont visit "Downeast" Maine, not "east overshoe" Hopefully I don't offend anyone in Monson.
Thanks,
Greg
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: John McNamara on October 25, 2010, 03:15:50 PM
Location, location, location is always key, and I would suspect more visitors to the Portland area than Monson. Devout rail fans will come, but not the general public which is what the museum really wants, right?

Welcome to the WWF Forum, Greg! I think that you have identified, in a nutshell, the basic conundrum facing railroad museums. Good locations, where tourists come, are usually highly developed, and the land is expensive. Permitting difficulties and NIMBYs are also abundant. In the boondocks, land is cheap, and your neighbors are generally happy to see you. However, as you point out, visitors to the boondocks are few. I'm afraid that the difficulties encountered by the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad are a prime example of the consequences associated with a remote location.

I think that Bridgton, or some location in the immediate Portland area, would be their best choice.
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: Mike Fox on September 29, 2011, 10:27:41 PM
Looks like they have finally chosen a location to further discuss and explore the options.

Bridgton News Story (http://www.bridgton.com/out-of-the-running-narrow-gauge-museum-selects-gray/)
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: John McNamara on September 29, 2011, 11:04:24 PM
I've heard that Gray has a stretch of ex-interurban right-of-way that might be available. Certainly the opportunity to run trains over a two or three mile right-of-way would be a major plus, and I think that was part of their stated requirements. Bridgton doesn't really have that. Also, Gray is on a major highway (Maine Turnpike) only about 15 miles from their current location. In terms of tourist access and economy of moving from their present location, that's a big benefit. On the down side, Gray has no narrow gauge significance and can hardly be called a tourist mecca (although that might make town officials more hungry).  All-in-all, I think they have made the best of a tough situation.

-John
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: Matthew Gustafson on September 30, 2011, 03:52:20 PM
I think they should have the museum in Bridgton, and re-open the B&SR, as there is so much surviving equipment from that line.
I agree, Bridgton is already restoring a protion of ROW on the grounds, so why cant they move there. Plus Bridgton is also away from the Salty Air that Portland Maine has that if they move to Bridgton, the museums eqiupment wont suffer that bad from the elements.  ???
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: John McNamara on October 01, 2011, 11:43:50 AM
Bridgton is already restoring a protion of ROW on the grounds, so why cant they move there.
The flanger and tank car presently exhibited in Bridgton are on a short exhibition track built strictly for that purpose. This track is in the parking lot in front of the Bridgton Chamber of Commerce building. The real ROW is down behind that building, and to the best of my knowledge, has not been restored.  Worse yet, a new supermarket has been built nearby that affacts the ROW. I think there is only about 1/2 mile available between the proposed museum site and the supermarket location. The lack of "running room" is a major drawback to the Brigton site.

-John
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: Ed Deere on October 01, 2011, 09:37:35 PM

My two cents would like to see the line return to Bridgton (just because many of the pieces came from there).  However the MNGM needs to do what is right for them to survive. I maybe wrong on this but I believe or thought the Hannaford store was set back far enough intentionally so that the right of way was not compromised. Also at one time, I thought discussions included traveling to a recreation area a couple of miles away in the short term. Then continuing on later with more track toward Sandy Creek.
Ed Deere
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: John Kokas on October 02, 2011, 07:41:14 AM
I don't know the Bridgton area hardly at all, but if I was Hannaford (looking at this from a marketing perspective), I would try to figure out a way that I could encompass the line and a station on the property to bring folks from town in and also have a unique attraction that would bring people from the surrounding area and vacationers to my store.    Just Say'in
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: Richard "Steam" Symmes on October 02, 2011, 07:03:59 PM
Bridgton certainly gets my vote over any of the other sites. It gets an "A+" for its authenticity, and an "A" for being a popular tourist location both in summer and winter.  Community enthusiasm, from what I can see, rates only a "C".  As for Gray, which apparently wants to situate the narrow gauge on the old Portland & Lewiston Interurban Ry right of way, that's the only positive feature of that location. I give that a "D+". No, it really should be Bridgton.  It should have been in the first place back in the 1990s.  Seeing the two foot trains chuffing along the Portland waterfront under the high rise apartments and past the sewage treatment plant has always made my skin crawl.  I realize that "any port in a storm" is a good one, but there has to be a better place.  Seeing Bridgton lose out now is like seeing Edaville turn into "Wallyworld" a few years ago. 

Richard Symmes
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: John McNamara on October 02, 2011, 08:26:29 PM
A complication involving Bridgton is that the proposed site involves a school building and grounds that are the property of the local school district rather than the town. Exactly how the school district and the town are separate entities is a mystery to me (especially at tax time), but evidently some left-hand to right-hand transfer is required to formalize the town taking possession of the property, and this has not yet been done.
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: Richard "Steam" Symmes on October 02, 2011, 09:54:18 PM
John, you and I both know that if there was a will to do it, it would be a done deal, just like that.  See my note about Community Enthusiasm rating above. From what I've read and heard, the local "powers that be" are only luke warm, if that, about having the railroad back in town.  Back in the 1960s, a promoter was trying to get a section of the SR&RL rebuilt between Kingfield and Carrabasset. He wanted to run it in conjunction with the winter ski industry up there. Had a plan to lease equipment from Edaville.  The locals all gave it lip service, but when it came time to put up some matching funds, and they passed the hat, the hat came back empty.  So the promoter packed up and set up a 3 foot gauge tourist line between Central City and Blackhawk, Colorado. Had no trouble finding support out there.  I rode the line in the 70s, and there was a big 3x5 blowup of SR&RL #6 hanging in the ticket office. I asked about it, and got the whole story that I've briefly related here.  So this local reluctance is nothing new.

Richard Symmes
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: John McNamara on October 02, 2011, 10:42:11 PM
Indeed, reading the Bridgton News account of the recent meeting, it appears that the powers-that-be said, "If you (MNG) supply all of the money and all of the labor, we'll think about it." Hardly boundless enthusiasm. It often seems as if a lot of towns dislike tourists because they clog the stores, sidewalks, and streets. Tourist money would be acceptable if they would only just mail it to the town rather than actually showing up. ;)

-John
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: Wayne Laepple on October 03, 2011, 07:36:24 AM
I have been told that the MNG people feel they were severely abused by the Bridgton people and have no interest in returning for more of the same. On the other hand, officials in Gray have bent over backwards to be helpful, and while Portland says it is still interested, the city has made no effort to encourage MNG to stay put.
Title: Re: MNG Relocation Feelers
Post by: Matthew Gustafson on December 17, 2011, 10:18:12 PM
So does this mean the MNG will be moving sometime in the near future?