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Steam Loco Preservation Email
For week ending Feb 9, 2008
Vandalism won’t stop project [/b]

MINERSVILLE, PA â€" the restoration of a steam locomotive won’t be derailed due to vandalism, the head of the project said Tuesday.
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Over the weekend, vandals smashed two windows on a caboose sitting with the locomotive on a siding beside the old Minersville train station. Robert E. Kimmel Jr., president of Railway Restoration Project 113, said the vandals caused about $1,000 in damage. “It’s disheartening,� he said. “All the work that goes into it for the community and the preservation and then you have this happen.�

Kimmel said insurance won’t cover the cost of damages and the money will come out of the project’s fund. The restoration project includes the renovation and preservation of the 85-year-old Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Station and an anthracite-burning locomotive. Instead of replacing the windows now, Kimmel said, steel plates will be placed over them so “there are no more windows to smash� until the restoration is near completion. “The glass is a safety glass and it’s quite expensive,� he said.

Kimmel said the restoration is on schedule despite the vandalism and he hopes to have the project complete by August. “Everything seems to be going fine with the repairs,� he said. Minersville police said they have no suspects.
Railroad museum proposed near Guadalupe River and Highway 87
By Mary Gottschalk

Although trains have long been glorified in books such as "The Little Engine That Could" and songs from "Casey Jones" to "City of New Orleans," the number of people who have been inside a true railroad roundhouse or stepped inside a steam locomotive is comparatively small. When the San Jose Railroad Museum Park opens, visitors will get a chance to experience both and explore a piece of the past.

The centerpiece of the proposed museum will be the San Jose Roundhouse and Turntable. Built in 1899 with 15 stalls, it served the standard gauge San Jose-San Francisco commuter line and the narrow gauge South Pacific Coast Railroad. It was unique because it served both narrow and standard gauge rails. In 1959 the number of stalls was reduced from 15 to six.

The Roundhouse was where the steam locomotives were serviced and operated on a round-the-clock basis. The 80-foot turntable outside the Roundhouse was used to turn locomotives around for return trips. There's only one other turntable in active use today in California. After the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the brick structure was classified as unsafe and scheduled for demolition.

The California Trolley and Railroad Corp. stepped in and started working to preserve the structure, convincing the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1994 to donate it to Santa Clara County for the proposed museum. In 2000, it was disassembled, palletized and moved to the county fairgrounds where it remains, awaiting re-assembly at the museum. The 50-foot-high water tower that once provided water at high volume for the steam locomotives was also dismantled and will be reassembled at the museum.

Another building scheduled for the museum is a replica of the original Market Street Depot, which served as the main train depot for San Jose from 1883 through 1935 when the Cahill Street station, now called San Jose Diridon Station, opened. Here visitors can experience a 370-square-foot entry lobby similar to the original train waiting room and exhibits that will tell the stories of railroading in Santa Clara Valley and the state.

The locomotives and passenger cars that once traversed the rails are referred to as "rolling stock" and for train buffs will no doubt be a highlight of a museum visit. CTRC volunteers are justifiably proud of their ongoing restorations. Among the collection jewels is locomotive 2479, built in 1923 for the Southern Pacific and able to pull a train 568 miles without needing to change engines.

Initially it was used for long-distance assignments between the Bay Area and Southern California, Texas and Utah. It was on a long run in 1937 going about 70 mph approaching Selma, south of Fresno, when 2479 struck a car lodged on the tracks. The impact caused the locomotive, its tender car and seven passenger cars to derail, killing the engineer and fireman. Number 2479 was rebuilt and back on the tracks in 1941, primarily on passenger commuter routes between San Jose and San Francisco or Oakland and Sacramento, before it was retired in 1956. It was moved and donated to the county fairgrounds in 1958 and since 1989 volunteers have been working more than 5,000 hours each year on its restoration.

The museum also recently acquired locomotive 1215, a smaller steam engine built in 1913. The newest acquisition is Little Buttercup, which CTRC founder Rod Diridon likens to the popular Thomas the Tank engine and expects to be particularly popular with children. Little Buttercup was built in Philadelphia in 1899, but didn't acquire the name until 1948 when the Santa Fe Railroad rebuilt it and added a smokestack and tender characteristic of earlier engines to operate and display at the Chicago World's Rail Fair in 1948-49.

It's been in storage at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, a long-time supporter of CTRC and plans for the San Jose Railroad Museum. The state museum donated it to CTRC. Additionally, there is the seventh diesel engine off the Westinghouse assembly line in 1941, two former commute passenger cars and a historic caboose.

Augmenting the rolling stock displays will be operating model railroad layouts of railroads active in the Santa Clara Valley in the 1920s. There will also be a fully visible restoration shop where visitors can watch volunteers at work, a library, a cafe and a gift shop. A new community park is proposed, adjacent to the train museum.
Save the Train Campaign Established in Mesa February 06, 2008

The City of Mesa is giving its residents a chance to save a piece of history... A citizen-driven fundraising committee is being established to spare Southern Pacific Railroad Locomotive #2355, located in Pioneer Park, from being sold. 

The engine, which has been located at the park since 1958, has deteriorated severely and is in need of complete restoration.  The fundraising committee will be charged with raising up to $350,000 for restoration of the train.

The Mesa City Council has approved the formation of a citizen's fundraising group after efforts to sell the locomotive were suspended due to community feedback.  Three independent organizations had inquired about purchasing engine #2355.

The committee has approximately 60 days to raise $10,000, at which time Council will revisit the issue and hear input from the committee on whether to continue fundraising efforts to restore the train, or to sell it.

The first Citizens Fundraising Committee Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 20th, at 6:00p.  This meeting will be held at the Parks, Recreation and Commercial Facilities Office, 200 S. Center St., Building 1, Mesa.

Citizens interested in participating should call 480-644-5783l

Southern Pacific Railroad Locomotive No. 2355, now fenced off and home to a family of cats, has been at Mesa's Pioneer Park since 1958.
>   Race is on to save Mesa Pioneer Park train Sam Baldwin, For the Tribune Southern Pacific steam locomotive No. 2355 has been a landmark for almost 50 years behind the basketball courts and horseshoe pits at Mesa’s Pioneer Park.

“Pioneer Park is the train,� said Valerie Vigil, 52. “The train is Pioneer Park.�

Vigil has lived in Mesa for 25 years and is president of the Phoenix-Mesa Horseshoe Club that uses the park. “As long as we’ve been pitching horseshoes, it’s been here,� she said.

But the train, which has been in its current location since 1958, has deteriorated in recent years and work needs to be done to preserve it and contain the asbestos that fills the boiler and cab.

The city will start an $11,000 asbestos removal project on Monday, but that will not be nearly enough to restore the train to its former glory.

A recent audit puts the price tag at closer to $350,000 to restore the train and move it to a more prominent location at the park. The City Council approved a citizen-based committee this month to raise the money from private sources.

The committee has 60 days from its first meeting on Feb. 20 to raise $10,000 to demonstrate public interest in the project. If the committee falls short, the rusting engine could be sold to the highest bidder.

Mike Holste, assistant director of the Mesa Parks and Recreation Department, said he is trying to remain neutral on the issue. But his family has a history with the train.

“My kids grew up climbing on it,� he said. “Everybody that’s lived in Mesa has banged their head or scraped a knee on it.�

Currently, the train is tucked away near the playground at the back edge of the park and is enclosed by a wrought-iron fence installed by the city in the early 1990s for liability reasons.

Holste said the city has three options for the train’s future:

If the money can be raised in time, the train will be restored and remain in the park. If not, the council will consider offers to either move the train to Chandler or sell it to a museum in California.

“We love the train, but it’s become so costly â€" $350,000 for a train that’s caged in.â€� Holste said.

Mesa resident Lizz Gutierrez, 26, said removing the train from the park would be a tragedy. She said her family has lived in Mesa for generations and they all have fond memories of the train.

“I used to climb up on the bells on top and dig down in the dirt underneath it,� she said.
Now, the train is off limits to children, but a colony of feral cats has made their home in the rusting hulk.

A California-based company expressed interest in buying the train in April 2006. Carrizo Gorge Railway officials said they would restore the engine and place it on display in a railroad museum, where visitors would be able to ride it. They offered to pay Mesa $5,000 and all costs to move the train to their museum in El Cajon, Calif.

The Arizona Railway Museum in Chandler also expressed interest in the train in May 2006, and a second California company, the Niles Canyon Railroad Museum, has also made an offer to buy the train.

But public outcry put a halt to the deals, and the Mesa City Council began investigating options to restore the train.

The council hired Scott Lindsay, president of the Steam Operations Corporation, to assess the cost of restoring the train and moving it to a more prominent location. Lindsay came up with the $350,000 figure.

If the train is sold, Holste said the money will probably be used to restore the area around the park, but the final decision will be made by the City Council.

Many residents at the park this week said they will watch the fate of the train with interest.

“As long as I’ve been out here, it’s been here,� said Trisha Hoshaw, 40. “It’s part of the park. My grandfather used to play horseshoes in front of that train."

Railroad station needs a home By Cathryn Keefe O’Hare/Danvers Herald  
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Danvers, MA - Those who want to save the 1868 Plains Railroad Station that now sits on an untended lot on Cherry Street are dreaming about moving it to the soon-to-be completed Hobart Street parking lot.

But, the town and more than 30 private groups, including Maple Street Church and Cherry Street Fish Market, that in 2006 divided the MBTA’s $1,022,000 bill for the land, would need to approve.

“We’re still choo-chooing along,� said Preservation Fund member John Archer, optimistically, after a meeting with town officials last week.

“Hobart Street is the second best site,� said Town Archivist Richard Trask this week, now that the best site, next to the Salem Five Bank branch on Essex Street, is no longer an option.

Preservation Fund Member Ben Merry has a sketch that shows the 1,400 square foot building would take up very little of the site and could be tucked in one corner. On Wednesday, Jan. 30, he and Fund President Jean Marshall, along with members John Archer and Bob Farley, met with Town Engineer Richard Rodgers, Planning Director Karent Nelson, Assistant Planning Director Susan Fletcher and Town Planner Tali Kertzer to discuss that site and other options.

The preservation group has been scrambling for a new location since November 2007, when the Salem Five took back its longstanding offer of land, apparently because of talk that the Essex National Heritage Commission would eventually take over the building, Bank President Joseph Gibbons said at the time.

Townsend Oil, which now owns the station, is willing to keep on holding it for the Preservation Fund Inc., the charitable arm of the town’s Preservation Commission, until plans can be finalized, said Trask. With a list of possible locations to study, the group is reenergized to save the station, the last of nine in town that once sheltered commuters east and west of town onto Boston and Newburyport.

“If restored properly, it would be a signature building,� said Trask.

The problem continues: Who would pay for the restoration and who would continue to maintain the building?

That question sometimes seemed to pit members of the Preservation Fund against one another. Archer wants the fund to create a train museum and community function space, which might take time, but can be done. Member Ben Merry and a few others are wholehearted supporters of this plan.
Other members, however, worry about the cost and the commitment.

“I don’t want to be called at 2 in the morning,� said member Ellen Graham at an earlier contentious meeting.

Trask thinks it would be best if the Essex National Heritage Commission took it over, since they are a well-regarded preservation group headquartered in Salem that would lend their prestige to the town and be able to win grants to maintain the building over the long term.

“We can’t maintain the museums we have in town right now because of a lack of funds,� Trask said, referring to properties owned by the historical society and the Danvers Alarm List. Other train stations house restaurants, as in Beverly, or retail shops, as in Beverly Farms, or an architectural firm, as in North Hampton, he continued. The point is to save the “good architectural styles so the public can have the experience of looking at them.�

There are no private parties raising their hands, however, and the group is looking at a long list of possible sites, said Trask.
Hobart Street, however, would be the best of those, Trask said.

“There is the real historic presence of the railroad,� he said, “and it works very well within the lot.�

 “I’m not sure where any of it will go at this point,� said Rodgers after last week’s meeting. “There are several locations you could move this thing to,� he said, “but the group’s focus is Hobart Street.�

The other sites presented by the Engineering Division for examination include: Hotwatt property at 405 Hobart St., state-owned land between Route 62 and Old Maple Street, Merrill Street land now being cleaned by Mass Electric; Morton International land on Andover St., Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Liberty Tree Mall land near the police station, Endicott Park, and more.

Much will depend on the cost to move the station, estimated at $35,000 minimum and much, much more if crossing Route 95, 1 or 114, said Archer. Unfortunately, many suggested sites would require such a move.

Marshall and others still talk about the ENHC taking over the building once it has been moved.

“Then we could possibly approach (the owner of) the baggage house that’s there now to see if they’ll let us use it for the museum,� she added. That would also serve the community as space for functions, she said.

Annie Harris, executive director of ENHC, indicated Monday that her group would still be interested if the restored building, with an added basement, were proffered.

“We wasted a lot of time on it,� she said about past overtures that sputtered and died. ENHC had had an architect look at it. He determined it would be too small for them without a basement.

“It’s a nice little building,� Harris said. “I think a train museum would be a great use for it.�

But, she didn’t rule out becoming a tenant under the right circumstances.
Colorado adds historic sites to Endangered Places List[/b]
Five historic sites -- including a bar, a rail depot and a parched cemetery -- have been added to Colorado Preservation Inc.'s Endangered Places List. That brings to 70 the number of threatened buildings and sites on the 11-year-old roster. One of them: Riverside Cemetery in Denver is challenged because it no longer has access to water to keep grass and other plants alive. Not that officials who own and manage the place appreciate the designation. "We're not real happy it's there," said Kelly Brigs, president of Fairmount Cemetery Corp., which owns Riverside, of the cemetery's spot on the list.
"We don't see what it is going to do for us. It's not going to get us water," Briggs said.
Also being added to the Endangered Places List are:
-- The 1925 Rialto Theater Building in Alamosa was vacant, and part of the complex was destroyed by fire in 2003. A new owner of the portion that survived wants to turn it into a restaurant that will expand his operation.
-- The Craig Railroad Depot is unused and deteriorating, but Union Pacific won't give or sell it to local groups that want to move an adjacent active rail line and turn the building into a commercial concern. It would provide support for David Moffat's private rail car, owned by the town.
-- Chimney Rock, west of Pagosa Springs, is a vestige of the Chacoan culture, an archaeological area where structures need work beyond emergency stabilization to survive. Heavy rains in 2006 caused walls to collapse, and if officials have to resort to backfilling, the site may be closed.
-- The Silver Dollar Saloon in Victor, which dates from rebuilding after the town's 1899 fire, but has been vacant for half a century. Within the past month, a new owner has announced she is interested in turning the landmark into a microbrewery.
Colorado Preservation Inc. began assembling the Endangered Places List in 1997.

5,745 Posts
I just read an article in a local paper about the San Jose Museum.  I was really happy to see this as I'd heard of reassembling the roundhouse at some future location, but this was many, many years ago and  hadn't heard anything since.  Here's a web site detailing the proposal that includes photos and a walking tour.

I well remember the San Jose Roundhouse when it was still in operation, serving as a dismal servicing facility.  I fact, back in the early 80's when I was scratchbuilding a roundhouse for my then-HOn3 layout, I went to the San Jose Roundhouse several times to study and take photos of the roof bracing, etc.  My roundhouse duplicated this roof bracing with a unique truss arrangement.

I'd really like to see this museum project move rapidly forward!

24 Posts
Great Job Dwight,On projects like that We here in Michigan have the whole Winter to work on it.But being in good old Sunny Calf.I would think it would be hard to stay on a indoor Project like The Roundhouse.Very Nice Job,,,,,,,O Yes it is 17 Degrees and 14 inch of Snow on the Steam tracks.......Come on MAY,It can't get here fast enough

Premium Member
353 Posts
Posted By WeltyksWhistles on 02/13/2008 7:24 AM
Great Job Dwight,On projects like that We here in Michigan have the whole Winter to work on it.But being in good old Sunny Calf.I would think it would be hard to stay on a indoor Project like The Roundhouse.Very Nice Job,,,,,,,O Yes it is 17 Degrees and 14 inch of Snow on the Steam tracks.......Come on MAY,It can't get here fast enough

Bob, I agree.  COME ON MAY.

5,745 Posts
Thanks Gents. Overall, it was about an 8 month project start to finish. I'd never seen roof trusses like that before with steel cable tensioners. Somewhere I still have the old original photos I took back then. I was really saddened when that roundhouse was removed, and glad that it was disassembled instead of demolished. I'm looking forward to them reassembling it and being able to walk into it again! The rest of the park with the original water tower and station replica looks really cool too!! Can't happen fast enough for me!!
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