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1:1Steam in the news

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Steam Loco Preservation Email
For week ending 14 March 2008
News Shorts: Arson destroys Knox and Kane roundhouse. The roundhouse, located in western Pennsylvania town of Marienville burnt to the ground over this past weekend, heavily damaging the railroad’s two steam locomotives. Chinese built 2-8-2 #58 and Baldwin built 2-8-0 #38, formerly of the Huntington and Broad Top Mountain Railroad and later of Rail City fame, was heavily damaged along with the railroad’s only diesel and private car. The railroad ownership was attempting to reopen the line for tourist operations after closing several years ago when the line’s scenic highlight, the former Erie Railroad’s Kinzua Bridge, tumbled to floor after a F2 tornado hit the desolate northwestern Pennsylvania area.   
Tweetsie Railroad Fire
By: Hildebran News Webmaster

Boone- A fire at Tweetsie Railroad has reportedly destroyed a building. The fire destroyed the original railroad depot building, which can be seen in the picture below. Also in a picture below, you can see the depot's damage. The fire began at around 4:00 a.m. Sunday
morning inside the building. Early reports suggest that it could have been lightning or an electrical problem that sparked the blaze. The flames burnt up many artifacts in
the museum. The fire burnt the train timetables, Fred Kirby's boots and saddle, and also famous railroad lanterns. Fred Kirby was the first cowboy at Tweetsie Railroad and was the Marshall for many years. According to Tweetsie's website, the park is still scheduled to open May 2nd. The park also stated that they are planning on rebuilding the complex soon, but
now timetables for completion were released in a press released issued on Monday. [script removed] [script removed]
This Building was reportedly
burnt this morning at Tweetsie
Proposed Sioux City railroad museum lines up funding
March 13, 2008
SIOUX CITY, Iowa - The Siouxland Historical Railroad Association will likely get $750,000 in state funds toward its needed $2.2 million, the Sioux City Journal reported. The group's eventual goal is to open a museum in the former Milwaukee Road Sioux City roundhouse.

Museum planners told Iowa's Community Attraction and Tourism board it had received a $30,000 funding commitment from the city. That makes a $750,000 state grant more likely. All that money adds to an already-raised $1.2 million.

The association is dedicated to preserving the railroad history of Southeastern South Dakota, Northwest Iowa, Southwestern Minnesota, and Northeastern Nebraska.
Orrville Railroad Historical Society to sponsor W&LE trips  
March 11, 2008
ORRVILLE, Ohio - The Orrville Railroad Heritage Society will sponsor a trip over the Wheeling & Lake Erie April 26 between Orrville and Pittsburgh, Pa. The trip will leave Orrville at 8 a.m. and travel the scenic W&LE route that includes 13 tunnels and several high bridges. Upon arrival in Rook Yard in Pittsburgh at 1 p.m. passengers will board busses to transport them to Station Square. Departure from Pittsburgh will be at 4 p.m. with arrival in Orrville at 9 p.m. Prices are coach $109, premium coach $129, and first class $219. The society also is planning an overnight trip to Pittsburgh Aug. 23-24, a Medina loop trip on Oct. 11, and a Santa Claus trip on Nov. 29. For more information go to www.orrvillerailroad.com.
  Virginia & Truckee financing plan moves forward  
March 10, 2008
CARSON CITY, Nev. - Carson City Mayor Marv Teixeira's proposal to trade $10 million in sales taxes for 5 percent of the Virginia & Truckee Railway's ticket sales moved forward last week when the Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T Railway approved the plan, the Nevada Appeal reported. The proposal on will be put on the November ballot as a non-binding advisory question.

Carson City would give the commission the money through a one-eighth-of-a-cent sales tax increase in exchange for a cut of the ticket sales for 99 years. The city has so far given $21 million in sales and room taxes to the project that is expected to cost $55 million and be finished in 2011.

The 18-mile tourist railroad is under construction and will run from Virginia City to Carson City when complete. Work could be delayed next year, however, if the project doesn't get more money. Workers have finished about a mile and a half of track from Gold Hill to the Overman Pit. Construction has also started on about 4.5 miles of track from American Flat in Storey County south to Mound House in Lyon County and is schedule for completion in August.

The plan would not only recoup the money the city has invested but also eventually begin to generate a profit, Teixeira said. He acknowledged this could take at least 80 years.

Planners expect up to 200,000 riders a year will eventually ride the train, which will likely be privately operated. The commission has chosen the Sierra Railroad Co. as the operator, but not finalized a contract.

At its height, the Virginia & Truckee ran from Reno south to Carson City, Nev. In Carson City, the main line split into two branches: One continued south to Minden, while the other headed east to Virginia City. The section from Virginia City to Carson City was constructed in 1869 to haul ore, lumber, and supplies for the silver mines of the Comstock Lode. The railroad declined with the mining industry. The Virginia City line was abandoned in 1938, and the entire railroad in 1950. Much of the equipment was purchased by Hollywood studios, used in classic Western movies, and eventually ended up in museums. Nine of the original locomotives survive today: three in California, one in Pennsylvania, and one still privately owned by a movie studio. Four locomotives and several cars from the original railroad are on display at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City.
UP steam to run this summer  
March 10, 2008
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Union Pacific steam locomotives No. 844 and 3985 will both be active this summer, traveling to the Democratic and Republican conventions and pulling the annual Denver Post Frontier Days Special.

On July 19, 4-8-4 No. 844 will pull a round trip from Denver Union Station to Cheyenne so passengers can attend the annual Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo. Reservations are available online or in The Denver Post newspaper beginning May 2008. This excursion has become a popular summer event. It features the train ride, barbecue lunch, and the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. Tickets also include a continental breakfast, admission to the Old West Museum in Frontier Park, beverages, and a light dinner on the return trip.
For more than 60 years, this annual trip was a highlight for Denver and Colorado politicians and businessmen. In 1992, The Denver Post revived the event to help celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the newspaper. This year's run will mark the 100th Anniversary of the first Frontier Days Special. For more information, go to www.cfdtrain.com.

To run the trip, No. 844 will ferry to Denver on July 17,leaving Cheyenne at 10 a.m. and arriving at Denver Union Station at 2 p.m. The engine will be on display at Union Station on July 18 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Frontier Days Excursion will leave Denver at 7 a.m. and arrive at Cheyenne 10 a.m. It will depart at 5:30 p.m. and arrive in Denver at 9:30 p.m. The ferry trip back to Cheyenne will leave Denver July 20 at 11 a.m. and arrive in Cheyenne at 3 p.m.

No. 844 will depart its home base in Cheyenne again on Aug. 20 for public display during the four-day Democratic National Convention in Denver, Aug. 25-28. There are no excursions planned and a detailed schedule will be available in July.

Challenger No. 3985 will leave Cheyenne on Aug. 29 traveling to St. Paul, Minn. for display at the Republican National Convention, which will be held Sept. 1-4. This will be No. 3985's second trip to the Twin Cities, having visited in 2002. There are no excursions planned during this trip. A detailed schedule will be available in July that will outline the route the 4-6-6-4 will take on its round trip to St. Paul.
Proposed Railroad Hall of Fame plans $30 million complex  
March 4, 2008
GALESBURG, Ill. - Planners of the National Railroad Hall of Fame plan to build a $30 million, 40,000-square-foot complex in downtown Galesburg that would draw 167,000 visitors annually, the Galesburg Register-Mail reported. The hall would feature interactive exhibits, a six-screen theater, and a central hall that would look and feel like a railroad station concourse.

Plans had initially called for a $60 million campus near Interstate 74. However, a feasibility study concluded a downtown location could draw almost as many visitors for half the cost. Planners haven't yet selected a site, but they plan for it to abut other downtown draws, such as the Discovery Depot, the Orpheum Theater, and the railroad museum.

Galesburg is a railroad town in northwestern Illinois. It's the site of a large BNSF Railway yard and crew change point. Historically it was served by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy and Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroads, and it celebrates Railroad Days the fourth weekend of June each year.
Thieves steal whistle from SP 745  
March 3, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - Southern Pacific 2-8-2 Mikado No. 745 won't run again until its owner, the Louisiana Steam Train Association, finds a replacement for the engine's whistle that was stolen in January, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported. In addition, the horns from two diesel locomotives are missing.

No. 745 was restored to operating condition in 2004 after being stored in New Orleans' Audubon Park since its retirement.

Anyone with information on the thefts should contact the New Orleans Police Department. For more information on the association, visit www.lasta.org.
End of the Line? The storied East Broad Top may soon be derailed

By Lawrence Biemiller | From Preservation | March/April 2008  A turntable leads to the roundhouse, where locomotives and other equipment are stored.

Credit: Cameron Davidson

One sunny October Sunday I arrived early at the East Broad Top Railroad's red-brick roundhouse, which is just off Meadow Street in Rockhill Furnace, Pa., some 75 miles west of Harrisburg. No. 15, a 94-year-old locomotive that now pulls almost all of the line's trains, was simmering just outside of her stall, surrounded by wisps of steam and the rich scents of coal smoke and hot engine oil. With coal hoppers lined up on a track east of the yard and the twin smokestacks of the railroad's shops rising against a backdrop of fall foliage, it was a scene barely changed since the late 1920s, when the little East Broad Top hauled hundreds of thousands of tons of coal down from the mines on Broad Top Mountain every year.

Beside the engine sat Tom Holder, the East Broad Top's longtime engineer, chatting with Ron Rabena, the hostler, whose job it is to come in at 2 a.m. and start the six-hour process of getting No. 15 steamed up. The first tripâ€"since 1960 the East Broad Top has hauled tourists, rather than coalâ€"was still two hours away, so there was plenty of time to talk.

Holder had just finished answering a question I'd been meaning to ask about how the train crew had recently replaced a broken spring on No. 15, when Stanley Hall, the East Broad Top's general manager, pulled up in his truck. The conversation turned quickly to the railroad's precarious futureâ€"a future that not even Hall can predict. He grew up alongside the railroad, and for the past 48 years has both worked for it and helped protect it, but now he says it's just about worn out. Although it was named a National Historic Landmark in 1964, the engines and the cars need work, and revenue from ticket sales doesn't cover operating expenses, much less maintenance of aging structures that stretch from one end of the 33-mile line to the other.

Lately Joe Kovalchick, the owner, has made it clear that he's looking for "some sort of orderly transition." The Kovalchick family has owned the East Broad Top since 1956, when the last of the mines closed and Joe's father, Nick, a scrap and salvage dealer, purchased the line. Joe Kovalchick told me recently that he hopes the transition "would include the continuation of railroad operations," but beyond that, what might become of the East Broad Topâ€"and what saving it might costâ€"is uncertain. Joe Kovalchick has a reputation as a hard bargainer who ­doesn't hesitate to walk away from a deal he decides he ­doesn't like, and several earlier preservation plans have produced nothing more than hard feelings and persistent rumors.
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Thanks for doing these periodic posts.

Best regards,

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