Nigel, Great to hear from you again after all these months! While I am glad to hear great progress on the work in the IRM steam shop, some of you might be aware that the feud between Skip Lichter and the Mid Continent Railway unfortunately did not end well regarding the operation of his newly-restored steam loco, Saginaw Timber #2. That said, according to a TRAINS magazine article from February, it seems that Skip is looking for a new home for the engine. That said, has IRM considered or is in the process of reaching out to Skip regarding bringing the #2 back to Union? While I personally would advise IRM against entering into a lease agreement (because anything can go wrong), considering how IRM has done a great job taking care of the 1630, I have no doubt you guys would take care of the #2 and it would be great for museum operations. I personally believe that if some funds could be found/raised, it would be a great idea to make Skip an offer to buy the engine from him, as he is getting older (I met him myself last year) and would perhaps be at peace knowing that his engine would be permanently and properly taken care of at a good new home. While it's honestly hard to say if this could be done, if anything, I just thought I'd bring this up as food for thought as it is such a shame that after all Skip did to rebuild the #2 the fiasco had to end the way it did.
#1 Nathan on 2017-04-22 00:20
Clearly the issues surrounding Saginaw #2 and Mid Continent are well known in the steam locomotive fraternity. Clearly it is a very nice working locomotive in a sad position and it would be great to see it run at IRM. Is there sufficient commonality of interest to provide the basis of a deal?. Probably not. Given that IRM has one working steam locomotive and expects soon to have another, the need for a third is limited. The brutal economic reality for IRM is that a third operating locomotive would need to be justified by an expectation that running multiple steamers at a weekend would attract more paying visitors to cover the cost of fuel and the work that is required every Winter to complete the annual inspection. One that required additional “out of pocket” costs beyond these would be even more difficult to justify. Leasing or “use and commit to make good” deals are very dangerous. We work on a very limited budget relying on a LOT of volunteer effort. An agreement that committed substantial effort to a third locomotive, that we do not own, would be very risky. A number of deals, a long time ago, have left IRM working to establish ownership of items of deteriorating 3rd party equipment on our site. Any new deals to house 3rd party equipment at Union will be a difficult sell. Buying?. Nice as she is, it is difficult to say that #2 fills such a significant gap in our collection that it would justify major investment of general museum funds to pay anything like market price for her. If an individual or group with deep pockets wanted to assure her future, I am sure that IRM would be interested in taking her into our care as part of the collection. Museum fund raising?. Probably not. We have significant projects in mind that require fund raising efforts and initiating another would risk a lack of focus. Nigel
#1.1 Nigel Bennett on 2017-04-23 14:49
Nigel, Like I said, and for the reasons you mentioned, I would not want to see IRM get into a third-party agreement and then get entangled in all such risks, as the last thing you folks need is a nasty and costly legal fight in the future just like what apparently happened at Mid Continent (if I am correct, there was a dispute involving the Soo Line 2719 some time ago and it did not end well either). Not to mention, like you said, there are other pieces of third-party-owned equipment on IRM property, and IMO, after watching the dispute blow up in North Freedom, I personally advise that IRM not consider entering into a lease, or as you said, a "use and commit to make good" deal. Having said that, I thought I'd mention the idea of IRM purchasing the Saginaw #2 for several reasons. First, IRM has done transactions with Mid Continent in the past; the fact that Roger Kramer decided to purchase the Mt. Harvard coach in 2015 for the museum made me wonder if some members could pool money together to buy the Saginaw #2 from Skip in a similar purchase. Second, with the 1630 having the problems you mentioned as it approaches its 100th birthday, it makes me wonder if it is only a matter of time before it too has to be completely torn down and rebuilt like the #2 (or for that matter the 428), and having a newly-rebuilt #2 running in Union would ensure that steam operations in Union could continue while minimizing wear and tear on the 1630 by not having to run the decapod as much. Thirdly, like I mentioned in my initial post, Skip is getting older and who honestly knows how much longer he will live; I watched you guys take very good care of the 1630 for 20 years, and with that said have no question IRM would be a great new home for the Saginaw #2 where it would be so well taken care of it would make Skip proud. Last of all, hate to suggest this, but perhaps the Saginaw #2 could be a better alternative than continuing on with the UP 428 as it is newly restored (It is also an oil burner and perhaps cost savings can be realized?)? With that said, it is too bad the dispute between Skip and Mid Continent ended the way it did. As a longtime IRM visitor, I watched Skip and some very dedicated guys who worked with him painstakingly labor for years to put the Saginaw #2 back together via my computer at home and even visited Mid Continent a couple of times while I was in the area to see the progress in person; they all did a great job and just a matter of one year ago it looked very promising from my observations. Judging by reading what has been published about the dispute in the local newspapers and TRAINS magazine, I have rendered my own verdict about who is at fault in the case (which I will not share on this forum) and have to say I am still very upset about it because in retrospect it did not have to end the way it did. Oh well. At least I do not have to drive several hours to North Freedom to get my fill of steam railroading since we have the 1630 still running and hopefully later this year the Shay will be back on the road again as well. As always, Nigel, thank you for being gracious to respond and I cannot thank you and the hardworking volunteers in the Steam Shop enough for all the great work you do. I am no stranger to the fact that the efforts at Union and other such museums across America rely on volunteer labor and are operating on shoestring budgets, and for what you are all doing, you are doing the best you can! Take care! Nathan
#1.1.1 Nathan on 2017-04-23 19:35
Good job on the excellent progress with the 1630, Shay 5 and 428 steam engines, Steam Team and Nigel! We appreciate the update. Thanks! Sincerely, Ethan A.
#2 Ethan Armitage on 2017-05-01 19:18
A question for the Steam Department; has any preservation work been done on the SP 975 since it arrived at Union? Is the asbestos lagging gone? Ted Miles, IRM Member
#3 Ted Miles on 2017-05-05 15:16
Any chance we'll see the frisco zephyr again? If so, when (if know )?
#4 Jack on 2017-05-06 21:55
Question. Will there be steam operating on either June 17th or 18th? Will be visiting from the state of Washington and was just curious. Thanks in advance for any info you can share at this time. Thanks.
#5 Joe Harper on 2017-05-16 13:08
According to the schedule posted yes. This can all change at any time due to mechanical failure without notice.
#5.1 Andrew Ossler on 2017-05-31 13:59
Steam Dept. Crew: You guys are heroes to a lot of us out in the hinterland!
#6 Ted Douglas on 2017-05-26 11:01
Nigel, Just wanted to say thank you to the Steam Department for putting on a spectacular show tonight (9-2) with the 1630. In all my years visiting IRM, I have to say one of the most memorable experiences I have had was taking that nighttime ride behind your signature engine (even catching some fireworks in the distance during the ride!) and I would definitely do it again! Keep up the great work; I took a look at the Shay during my visit(she looks great, especially with the black Burlington whistle back on!)and I look forward to seeing her run next year. Sincerely, Nathan P.S. As the Saginaw #2 appears to be heading to a new home in Oregon, I have to say I still think you folks would have gotten a great value if IRM tried to purchase the engine from Skip Lichter! I cannot say enough that it would have been great for operations at IRM and the Steam Department would have taken good care of it. Oh well, as we all know, not everything goes the way we would like it to go in life, and like I said earlier this year, at least the 1630 keeps chugging on, and, with the Shay to soon steam again, will continue to do so for years to come thanks to the great efforts of the Steam Department that were unquestionably on full display tonight!
#7 Nathan on 2017-09-02 23:32
What is going to happen with Rock Island #938? I heard from a few friends that it was being fully restored or is it just cosmetically? What is the progress on Shay #5?
#8 Brandon on 2017-09-14 20:46
#938 is now being painted so she will look a great deal better on display. Great work by Phil and the team. Work done is a cosmetic restoration. At the same time, assessment has been done of the thickness of the sheets of the boiler. This allows an assessment of what would be required to restore to operational condition. My understanding of the results is that significant but not impossible work would be required on firebox wrapper sheet. Doable if you had a sponsor with VERY deep pockets but not as a volunteer weekend project. #5 has progressed painfully slowly but is expected to be completed over Winter. Nigel
#8.1 Nigel Bennett on 2017-10-08 13:04
Wen is Shay 5 going to run
#9 Dj on 2017-10-25 20:56
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