Author Topic: Sheepscot Landscaping  (Read 3229 times)

Ed Lecuyer

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Sheepscot Landscaping
« on: December 13, 2008, 01:08:26 AM »
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Sheepscot Landscaping has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
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James Patten wrote:
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OK, time to start a thread on landscaping in and around Sheepscot.

Once stone starts to get stored up at Alna Center (which probably won't happen until fall 2007 unless the prep work is done in December and things settle really well this winter), only then can we really get down to business with pretty-fying the area.

With stone gone, the parking lot no longer needs to be an ankle's worst nightmare.  With a parking lot on the Boudin lot, we probably no longer need to have parking at all directly in front of Sheepscot, except perhaps for a couple of handicap spots.

The lot to the west of the shop should be kept for parking, of course, and it is intended (someday) to get some gravel in there to make it proper.

So should we put in a few shrubbery and a lawn with some walking paths along the front?  Or should we do something .... else?

Wayne Laepple replied:
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As I mentioned previously in an earlier post, I think some landscaping of the area between the south wall of the shop and Cross Road would be very attractive. Nothing fancy, just some lawn and perhaps a few bushes. A bulb-in off Cross Road for buses and handicap access would also be very nice.

Stephen Hussar replied:
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Not sure if this falls under the "pretty-fying" heading, but is there a plan to someday cover the enginehouse/machine shop with board & batten? (thought I read that somewhere...)

Mike Fox replied:
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James,
I think the landscaping can be done but maybe should have Eric B. draw up something so we could get an Idea what things would look like when they are done. Or atleast plan it out if you would like shrubs. Grass is a no brainer on what that would look like. A nice green strip of grass would look nice if you can keep everyone from walking on it. Perhaps some posts like I suggested for the parking area would work good there too.
Mike

Stewart Rhine replied:
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Landscaping in front of the engine house is a good idea for the future but I think we should keep it all gravel for the next few years.  It's too important of an area to loose to lawn.  Trucks, like the green house man and UPS come in every week.  True, a bulb drive would take care of this but we should still be able to back a truck up to every bay.  If the whole area was leveled off, (remove the loading dock and extend bay 3's track, finish track 7, and have the green house moved) it would look alot better.  Once this is done, if we find we are using the area less then seed and plant it.

I'd also like to see the West lot extended a little so a truck can back right to the back shop door.  We would have to put a crossing on track 7 by the corner of the building.

Stewart

Joe Fox replied:
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I think that all of those things would look great. However, if passenger parking was to move west of the Percival's lot, then I think that it would turn away a lot of passengers.

Joe

James Patten replied:
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Having people parking on the Boudin lot is a much less hardship than some places have you park.  For instance, it's much closer than parking in some Walmart parking lots.  I'm sure it's also much closer than some places in Strasburg RR's parking lot as well.

Those that have visited before will be thrilled at having actual parking, rather than parking on the side of the street.  Those that haven't may get slightly confused initially, especially if Clarissa's privately owned house is in between them and the museum, but good signage should alleviate that.

Wayne Laepple replied:
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That's an interesting analogy, James. Further than a MalWart parking lot indeed! All that's necessary is a few signs directing visitors to the Boudin parking lot and then to a little path and walkway along the road. Save the Percival lot for handicap and buses.

Joe Fox replied:
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James,
I now understand what your getting at. We can have a tour guide meet the passengers in the parking lot, where those that want to have, or start a yard tour can, and walk through the yard with a tour guide. Personally, I think it would be great if all passengers were made to have a tour guide, or someone who works at the museum guide them through the yard, so that they don't get hurt or anything like that. However, on some days that is impossible to do, and that is ok to. It would only be needed on busy days. What do you think of that idea? I think it could be arranged, I know some tourist railroads won't let you walk through the yard or shops without a tour guide.

Joe

James Patten replied:
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I don't think we should really let people walk through the shops or yard without someone official along either.  After all someone could get cut, or fall, or something else if they aren't careful, and a guide with them this is less likely to happen.  Someone unattended could gum up the works of a piece of machinery or take something, and with a guide there this is also less likely to happen.

Allan Fisher replied:
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Many Sundays during the Summer, we have two or three on the train crew and one person at the Gift Shop and over 100 people visiting including long time members who are at Sheepscot for the first time in many years. . Does that mean we are closed - but we'll sell you a train ride?

Dave Buczkowski replied:
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I think caution signs might be in order for when we don't have enough volunteers to keep an eye out for or escort visitors around. Of course, we could lawyer up and have all visitors sign a 10 page waiver and indemnity form but then it wouldn't be 1910 at the Museum. And i come to the Museum to escape that world. Let common sence be your guide (or Joe, I guess...)
Dave

John McNamara replied:
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One of the things discussed in the Long Range Plan was well-graded foot-paths that ran alongside the engine house and crossed over the tracks that enter it. This was to be combined with an information kiosk and signs on the bay doors. The general idea was to provide useful information when the museum was closed and to provide enough information and things to see when the museum was open that visitors would be disinclined to actually enter the engine house. The general idea was to be welcoming and not put "do not enter" signs everywhere, but at the same time to gently suggest that willy-nilly wandering was neither necessary nor desirable.

James Patten replied:
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What John said

We should not close up the shop because there's not enough people to give the tour, but signs and footpaths should help with information and advice.

Joe Fox replied:
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You can't make common sence be your guide because sooner or later, somebody is going to injur themselves, and give us a big law suit. Not only is it better for the passengers to have a guide, so that they can ask questions, and you can describe things to them in more detail. When a big enough crew isn't available then, you can tell them that they have to be careful, and be on the lookout for hazards, such as train cars, or a train coming into the yard.

Joe

John McNamara replied:
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Joe is certainly correct that "common sense" isn't very common. If there are sufficient museum personnel available to provide guide service, it certainly would be the preferred way of doing things. Self-guided tours should only be used when there are insufficient personnel available (see Allan's post) and after the people about to take such a tour are forewarned.

Wayne Laepple replied:
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I have expressed concern previously about allowing people to wander at will in the shop. Not only are there tripping and pinching hazards, dust, welding flashes, etc., etc., there is also temptation, in that tools are often left lying on a bench or a floor, and it is entirely likely that someone will someday walk away with some tool. Kids may be tempted by the steps to the upper level, or they might climb on a locomotive or car and take a tumble.

What if lightweight chains with "No admittance without guide" signs are hung across the doorways, particularly when no one is available to escort visitors? And on the inside of the doors, panels are posted explaining what people are seeing as they look inside.

Another possibility might be a "corridor" delineated by chains or safty tape through Bay 3 fromt front to back of the shop.

It may be difficult for some of us to imagine, but in today's litigious society, if someone trips and bungs up their knees on a rail or falls into the pit, we are going to be out of business. It is our responsibility to protect our visitors from themselves. We don't have a choice in this matter.

Glenn Christensen replied:
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Hi Guys,

Wayne makes an excellent point!  I do believe that card-holding museum members are covered by our insurance (we may have to check) but certainly our "civillian" visitors are not.

In fact we may want to consider adding visitor's bays into any plans we formulate for roundhouses, car shops, etc.  This would allow us to focus our docents (by giving them a particular "work station") and improve our overall visitor experience (by allowing them to watch the work being done while the docent provides interpretation) - all at the same time.

My thoughts,
Glenn

Stephen Hussar replied:
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Yes, something that would allow visitors to come in and walk through, without getting in harm's way. Steamtown has the viewing balcony in the roundhouse, while Seashore has one in the restoration shop...

Mike Fox replied:
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I like the chain idea. Allowing someone to view but only from a distance without a guide. For the protection of the guests and like was stated, the museum. In this sue-happy world we live in now, someone could simply walk through the yard and trip over a rail or step on a nail and probably win a lawsuit.
Mike

Dave Buczkowski replied:
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I believe Glenn is wrong, or at least I hope he is. Our liability insurance should cover visitors as well as volunteers. If it doesn't we shouldn't be allowing visitors on the grounds. I'm surprised that our carrier's loss control department hasn't had a safety engineer stop by for a look see. My father, who is a retired safety engineer, didn't have any words of dire warning when he visited so we can't be too far off base.
Dave

Glenn Christensen replied:
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Hi Dave,

I think you'll find that many insurance carriers distinguish between visitors who ride the trains, visitors who view heavy work at a distance and visitors (who may never have ridden a train before) being granted unfettered access to active shop facilities.

Few railroad museums or tourist railroads permit unsupervised access to active shop facilities today precisely for insurance reasons.  I personally think that an intelligent person with some exposure to heavy equipment and a knowledge of basic safety rules is only minimally at risk in such an environment.  But in our litigious society I may be in the minority on this score.  I also feel that shop access is one of the things that makes the WW&F such a precious place.  But I can unequivocally state that unsupervised shop access is not permitted to visitors at operations as far-flung as the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, the Durango & Silverton and the Bluebell Railway.  It is possible that the WW&F's non-regulated posture has precluded problems from that quarter,  but a personal injury claim is a different matter and subject to full jurisprudence.

I also believe that visitors crave such access, its simply fascinating.  This is one reason why supervised shop tour programs are becoming a more prevalent trend throughout the industry.

Trust me, I will be most happily proven wrong on this score.  I wish this were not the case.  I had a fan at the Bluebell say the same to me less than a month ago.  But "nanny government" issues aside, I sincerely doubt it.

Respectfully,
Glenn

Wayne Laepple replied:
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I must agree with Glenn. Much as we all enjoy the ambiance of Sheepscot, allowing folks who have no clue what a railroad is all about to wander  unfettered is just asking for trouble.

Perhaps in the next edition of the visitors' guide, we could include some indication of locations from which work in the shop can be viewed safely. And volunteer guides should be encouraged to say a few things about personal safety before escorting groups into the shop. Even simple things like not stepping on the rail (slippery, ankle-twister, etc.) and watching you head can be useful.

Joe Fox replied:
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Hi everybody,

I like Wayne's idea. Everybody who has been to Steamtown, know that the only way to tour the round house, and shop is to be guided by a tour. I think that is exactly what we should do. I think it would be great to have some type of chain, just like we did at Halloween, that has a sign hanging on it, please keep out, unless with a guide, or something like that.

Joe

Stewart Rhine replied:
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The chains at the open shop doors are a good idea when no one is there to guide people through a bay.  Visitors would look in but not enter.  When we do take visitors through, keeping the bays cleaner would make the place safer.  As has been mentioned before, finishing the floors would make them easier to walk through and allow easier moving of parts and supplies.  Better floors would be a big improvement.  Of course the shop and bays will never be totally safe - it's a working railroad building, not a showplace.   Having the chains and signs at the doors is a good (and inexpensive) place to start.

We should consider posting shop tour signs and have tours at a certain time if the manpower is available.  If we give tours once or twice a day it would be easier for us.  Visitors may not like it as much but as Dave said we need to stay of the safe side.

Dave Olszewski replied:
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It is good idea if they put chain at shop and post sign there. Why not open door in front so vistiors can look at it from parking lot. Also take photos of shop and put them in visitor center. I think it will be great if we move coal storage to other place. I would love to add building  in front for restroom and kitchen, storage, etc. Also put no parking sign by fire hydrant. Dave
Ed Lecuyer
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