Posts Tagged ‘Railroad preservation’

19 Groups Gets Emery Heritage Grants

March 20, 2023

Nineteen railroad preservation projects are being awarded grants by the John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust.

The trust received applications from 29 applicants and is awarding $250,000 to the recipients. The following were among those named as grant recipients.

Michigan State Trust for Railway Preservation: $1,000.00 to help start work on Chicago & North Western steam locomotive 175.

Railroaders Memorial Museum of Pennsylvania: $11,000.00 for work on the Pennsylvania Railroad observation car Mountain View, once used on the Broadway Limited.

Southern Michigan Railroad Society: $10,000.00 for work on heavyweight Pullman Emerald Vale.

EBT Receives 1st Wrinn Preservation Award

October 3, 2022

The East Broad Top tourist railroad has received the first Jim Wrinn Award for Biggest Railroad Preservation story. The award was presented during the HeritageRail Alliance meeting last month.

The Pennsylvania-based narrow-gauge railroad was honored for its efforts to restore the historic line and its locomotives and rolling stock to operating condition.

The award was presented to the Friends of the East Broad Top and the EBT Foundation.

HRA is a professional trade group for tourist, scenic, historic or excursion railway and trolley operations in the United States and Canada.

Also honored during the meeting was Andy Muller, owner and CEO of the Reading & Northern, for his work in steam locomotive preservation

Local Groups Get Emery Trust Grants

March 19, 2022

Two Northeast Ohio organizations were among the 22 recipients of grants announced this week by the John Emery Rail Heritage Trust for 2022.

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad will receive $15,000 to help pay for interior renovation of former Burlington baggage-coach Silver Salon for ADA accessibility.

The Midwest Railway Preservation Society of Cleveland will receive $ 10,000 for further work on 1924 Pullman car Mount Baxter.

Other groups that were awarded grants included the East Broad Top Railroad, $15,500 for truck and traction-motor maintenance for gas-electric car M-1; the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society,: $10,000 for continued work on baggage car No. 3671, built for Santa Fe by American Car & Foundry in 1955; and the Pennsylvania-based West Chester Railroad Heritage Association, $10,000 for continued renovations of Reading Blueliner coaches.

The Emery Trust will award $350,000, for rail preservation projects this year. It received

34 applications requesting more than $1 million.

In a news release, the Emery Trust described itself as the largest in the United States whose grants are solely for rail restoration projects.

The trust was founded by John Emery of Chicago who rode trains around the world between 1920 and 1960.

Conrail Group Fails to Save SD80MAC

January 20, 2022

Efforts by the Conrail Historical Society to save a former Conrail SD80MAC have fallen short.

The society was hoping to save one of 23 of the units that Progress Rail acquired in 2020 from Norfolk Southern.

But Progress instead removed the engines and repurposed them for use on boats and scrapped the remaining frames and shells of the locomotives.

The Conrail Society said  in a Facebook post that it tried to reach an agreement with Progress to save one of those shells but the company instead scrapped all of them.

Saving an SD80MAC was atop the Conrail Society’s wish list because Conrail was the only railroad to buy that model of EMD locomotive.

“We completely understand Progress Rail is a business and respect and appreciate their considerable time spent conversing with us trying to make preservation a reality,” the Society wrote on Facebook. “We were talking until the very last moments of the final SD80MAC. While we are heartbroken by the result, we made every effort possible to make preservation a reality.”

The Conrail group indicated it will seek to save one of six SD80MACs that are on the motive power roster of Canadian Pacific, which has used them as a parts sources in an SD70ACU rebuild program.

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Acquisition of Historic Locomotive Completed

November 3, 2021

The Railroad & Industrial Preservation Society has completed its acquisition of the sole surviving former Lehigh & New England diesel locomotive.

The Society plans to restore the Alco S2 to operating condition. It carries roster number 611.

The unit last operated for an Indiana grain elevator and was moved to Pennsylvania in 2016.

It is now on the Allentown & Auburn Railroad. The Lehigh Valley Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society also assisted with the move of the 611.

The L&NE operated in eastern Pennsylvania and was abandoned 60 years ago. It once

coal, slate and cement producers.

The R&IPS said it is seeking to raise $150,000 to fund restoration of No. 611. More information is available at

Kentucky Steam Group Acquires Equipment from Indiana Museum

March 8, 2021

The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation has purchased three pieces of equipment from the Indiana Transportation Museum

The equipment includes a water tender, baggage car and Railway Post Office car. The latter two cars were once owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad.

The water tender was originally a coal and water tender for Louisville & Nashville No. 1958, which operated out of Ravenna, Kentucky, during much of its operating life.

Although the 1958 was scrapped, the tender was saved and assigned to maintenance-of-way service.

The Southern Railway later acquired it and converted it into a water car.

It served as an auxiliary tender for Norfolk & Western 611 and, later, for Nickel Plate Road No. 587.

All of the equipment in the transaction has sat on KSHC property in Irvine, Kentucky, since late 2018.

It was moved there are the ITM was evicted from its previous home in Noblesville, Indiana.

Although ITM had hoped to reestablish itself at a site in Logansport, Indiana, a news release from KSHC indicated that has yet to happen.

KSHC President Chris Campbell said in statement that the acquisition of the cars will help his organization further its efforts in the ongoing restoration of former Chesapeake & Ohio steam locomotive 2716 to operating condition.

“The water car itself is a valuable addition to the eventual operations of C&O 2716 and has historical relevance to Eastern Kentucky, particularly the communities of Irvine and Ravenna,” Campbell said.

“We have been glad to provide a safe haven for it but now, we believe its future is even more secure, as are the futures for the two Pennsylvania Railroad cars.”

KSHC also is providing temporary storage for NKP 587, which has been partly dismantled.

The 587 operated in excursion service between 1988 and 2003 and has since been sold by ITM to a private individual who KSHC said in a news release “intends to continue the trajectory originally planned when the 1918-built Baldwin locomotive was moved to Kentucky two years ago.”

The news release said the new owner of the 587, who wishes to remain anonymous, plans for the engine to remain in Ravenna for the foreseeable future.

KSHC indicated it will work with the 587’s owner on plans for fundraising and potentially transferring the locomotive into a newly-formed nonprofit designed specifically for the engine.

Jason Sobczynski, KSHC’s chief mechanical officer and CEO of Irvine Kentucky-based Next Generation Rail Solutions, will collaborate with the owner to develop a mechanical plan.

“It’s wonderful to see the future of the 587 looking brighter than it has in some time,” Sobczynski said.

 “While there is some major repair work ahead, it is a rare opportunity to return a locomotive to operation which needs what once was considered scheduled maintenance.”

Emery Trust Makes Awards, NYC Box Car Saved

March 31, 2020

The John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust has announced its 2020 grant awards.

Although no grants were awarded to any organizations based in Ohio, the Kentucky Railway Museum received $43,000 for firebox and boiler work on Chesapeake & Ohio 2-8-4 No. 2716.

The Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society received a $25,000 award for restoring diner 469/470.

In an unrelated development, The Wabash Valley Railroad Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana, said it will work with CSX to preserve a 98-year-old New York Central boxcar.

CSX will move the car, weather permitting, from Greencastle, Indiana, to the museum site next to CSX tracks in Terre Haute on March 31.

NYC No. 155524 was built by American Car & Foundry in 1922, rebuilt with steel sides in 1939, and placed near the NYC depot in Greencastle for storage use in 1965.

It had been ticketed to be scrapped until the Hailey Tower Historical & Technical Society, which owns the museum, was able to save it.

The Society is seeking donations to offset the $15,000 cost of moving the car and building a display track.

Donations can be made at the museum website or by mail to the Haley Tower Historical & Technical Society, P.O. Box 10291, Terre Haute, IN 47801.

AOS Reports on Recent Work at the Roundhouse

November 14, 2019

The Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek recently released its fall report on what the shop forces have been up to in the past few months. Here are some of the highlights.

Open-window coaches Nos. 3659, 4979 and 5010 were sold in October and will be moving to their new owners during November. The report did not say who bought the coaches.

Former Canadian National/VIA Rail Canada combine No. 9300 has had its old roof replaced with a new rubber/fiber one.

The car had been built as a coach by Canadian Car & Foundry in 1954 but later converted buy CN into a 52-seat combine.

Former Pittsburgh & Lake Erie wreck train diner White Castle also received a rubber/fiber roof. This car had been built in 1918 by Pullman as open-section sleeper Aukland. It ended its career in wreck train service.

Tool car 5012 (Conneaut) is slated to receive a rubber/fiber roof. The former Wabash RPO/coach was built in 1920.

Boiler work on former McCloud River Railroad 2-8-2 No. 19 is nearing completion.

The work includes installing washout plugs, boiler studs, water glass fittings, globe valves and other components.

No. 19 is due for a hydrostatic test and its front tender truck is being reassembled, which includes installation of the newly reprofiled wheel sets.

Former Morehead & North Fork 0-6-0 No. 12 was in steam during the annual Swiss Festival in Sugarcreek this fall.

No. 12 was moved to the recently renovated former Wheeling & Lake Erie depot in Sugarcreek for the festival, which marks the cultural heritage of the village’s founders.

AOS also had displays, information and souvenir items at the depot.

Accompanying No. 12 was former Wheeling & Lake Erie steel caboose No. 0222.

The tender from former Bessemer & Lake Erie 2-10-4 No. 643 arrived at the roundhouse on Oct. 18 and was lifted off its big Buckeye six-wheel trucks and devoid of everything removable to reduce weigh.

The 49-foot long tender traveled to Sugarcreek from McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, on a highway trailer that had to see-saw around sharp street corners.

Doubled-headed highway trucks were used to get the tender up the steep ramp to Pennsylvania Route 51 at the start of the journey.

Work continues in McKees Rocks to separate No. 643’s boiler and piping from its massive frame, cylinders and driving wheels.

The parts that have been removed from the steam locomotive have been catalogued and moved to Sugarcreek by truck.

Thus far there have been four truck loads of parts that have made the trip.

Rowlands to Present at June ARRC Meeting

June 18, 2018

Rick Rowlands will present the program at the June 22 meeting of the Akron Railroad Club.

Rick is heavily involved with preservation work and that will be the focus of his program.

Besides his own Mahoning Valley Industrial Heritage museum he does a lot of traveling to help move various engines.

Most recently he has been involved in prepping Nickel Plate Road No. 757 for its move to the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue, from its current home in Pennsylvania.

Rick also hopes to be able to make a big announcement at the June ARRC meeting.

The meeting will begin with a short business meeting at 8 p.m. followed by the program at approximately 8:30 p.m. The club meets at the New Horizons Christian Church, 290 Darrow Road, in Akron.

Following the meeting, some members gather at the Eat ‘n Park restaurant at Howe and Main streets in Cuyahoga Falls for a late dinner, dessert or an early breakfast.

Visitors are always welcome at Akron Railroad Club meetings.

Preserving Heritage Rail Lines May Involve Overcoming ‘More Beneficial Use’ Arguments

April 11, 2017

Scott Fadness is not a popular person these days among railroad advocates in Indiana.

The mayor of Fishers, Indiana, favors ripping out a former Nickel Plate Road branch line that runs through his city to Indianapolis that until 2015 hosted excursions operated by the Indiana Transportation Museum, including its popular Fairtrain to the Indiana State Fair.

In place of the now dormant rail line, which is owned by a public entity, would be a hiking and biking trail.

ITM and other rail supporters have proposed building the trail alongside the rail line.

But Fadness has rejected that due to safety concerns, saying he didn’t think it would be wise for trail users to be within several feet of a locomotive.

It is easy for railroad advocates to dismiss Fadness as ignorant or to proclaim his position as ludicrous as an ITM spokesman did.

Indeed, those accusations probably are true. But overcoming the beliefs of officials such as Mayor Fadness will not be easy.

He may not be a friend of rail preservation, but it could be a mistake to consider him an adversary. He is someone who needs to be won over.

If anything, railroad advocates need to listen carefully to public officials such as Mayor Fadness. You can’t overcome opposition if you don’t understand it.

Rails and trails can and do co-exist. The Rails to Trails Conservancy says there are 1,600 trails in 41 states that are located next to a railroad line.

Yet the Conservancy said there are 10 times more trails that have been built on a former railroad right of way.

As a result more people think trail without rails than they do trail with rails because the former is most likely to be what they have seen and experienced.

One of those trails without rails is a couple miles west of the ex-NKP line on the right of way of the former Monon Railroad line to Indianapolis.

Fadness wants to emulate that trail and has adopted the type of “more beneficial uses of the property” worldview that worries Jim Porterfield, the director of the Center for Railway Tourism at Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia.

Porterfield was quoted in the May 2017 issue of Trains magazine as warning that heritage railroads are at risk when a community views them as entertainment rather than historical venues.

Porterfield told Trains that the typical arguments for displacing heritage rail lines include, “year round versus seasonal use, a greater distribution of income to local businesses, more people present, and higher property values along a trail versus a rail line.”

By one estimate, the ex-NKP line in Indianapolis needs $9 million in repairs to bring rail service back. A trail can be built for much less than that.

Mayor Fadness sees the situation as a simple cost-benefit analysis that weights heavily in favor of a trail.

Every rails to trail dispute has its own circumstances. In the case of the ex-NKP rail line, there has been internal turmoil within the past year at ITM that has harmed its credibility.

The location of the line in an affluent area of suburban Indianapolis also works against it. Such areas are a fertile ground for NIMBY opponents who know how to work the political system.

Some at ITM have also spoken about extending the ex-NKP to downtown Indianapolis and offering passenger trains there.

There may be some merit to that vision, but it would cost millions if not billions, to replace track that was removed years ago.

People who do not “love” railroads will laugh off such proposals as unrealistic given the existing available resources.

Mayor Fadness may have his mind made up and time is not working in favor of those who want to keep the ex-NKP branch intact.

If you are going to persuade public officials such as Mayor Fadness, you need to show him that rails and trails can co-exist. And you need to convince him on his terms, not those of a railfan who tends to believe that every foot of rail should be preserved.

The question is whether the railroad advocates have the skills and willingness needed to make the case for rail and trail.