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 Post subject: Re: AFT 2.0
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:03 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:30 am
Posts: 123
I'm 30 years old so I never witnessed any of the events that Ross was able to pull off. I would love to meet him. The age part well I'm saying that someone in his 70s can't pull this off but you do have to put that into consideration like it or not. Ross I would love to meet you but most likely it won't happen but I can dream right? Also the domestic terrorism problem especially after the weekend of murder last weekend the security would be extra tight. Having priceless artifacts onboard the train could be a disaster if things go wrong. The federal government would be skeptic and probably afraid to do so today. The road blocks to get this done are big but I do hope he get past those road blocks. If it does happen I would line up and see it. NO doubt. I admire Ross and I hope he gets it done.

Good luck Ross

he's a legend


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 Post subject: Re: AFT 2.0
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:45 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1848
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Dear fellow Americans and steam lovers,

Those of you old enough to have witnessed our country's turmoil in the early 1970's will I'm confident testify to how divided we were because of a VERY unpopular war, an increasingly divisive and strident President and a nation spending very little effort or energy getting ready to celebrate the huge accomplishments achieved in 200 years of participatory democracy.

In typical government fashion the Congress created ARBA ( American Revolution Bicentennial Administration) and charged it to lead the nations efforts to celebrate this important milestone. Hundreds of projects were proposed and grand expositions planned for Boston, NY City, Philadelphia, Washington DC and other mostly east coast cities.

Based upon the huge crowds we generated with the 1969 14 day journey of the Golden Spike Centennial Limited which operated from NY City to Utah and return I got the idea that 7 years later we could put together a world class steam powered display train and take the party to the people. Thus was born the American Freedom Train.

I spent most of 1970 trying to get ARBA's backing and that was a total waste of time. I spent 1971-73 making 54 AFT co-sponsorship pitches to 54 Fortune 500 companies and got 54 turn downs. My pitch included 16 mm film of the huge crowds the steam powered GSCL generated and a model of a display car with the roof cut open so you could look down and see the interior layout and moving walkway. Plus, a full business plan, proposed route map with display cities.

It was a tough sell as I was asking for them to be one of 5 co-sponsors, to contribute $ 6M ( 2019 dollars) and to agree to keep the train apolitical and non-commercial. They were to receive prominent credits in all materials produced by the 501 c3 we set up and their name on a brass plaque in the exit car.

On December 23, 1973 I made my 55th. pitch to Pepsi and they said YES !! Of even greater importance Pepsi's CEO Mr. Don Kendall took me by the hand immediately after the Christmas holiday and he and I made AFT pitches together to GM, Kraft Foods, Prudential Insurance and Atlantic Richfield Energy ( ARCO) and all 4 said YES !! Mr. Kendall was close personal friends with the CEO's of all 4. Mr. Kendall was also very tight with President Richard Nixon and thanks to that friendship President Nixon instructed the National Archives, Library of Congress and Smithsonian to lend us any artifact we wanted for display on the train to help tell the 200 year American story.

Despite the extremely divisive tone of our national discourse then the AFT was a smash hit throughout the nation. We traveled 25,883 miles ( 99% steam powered) displayed at 138 cities & towns, 7.6 million American's bought a ticket to go for the 22 minute moving walkway ride through the 10 display cars and we were the only national project that worked.

The secret sauce that made the AFT a sell out in most towns before we got there was the 512 ORIGINAL artifacts in the 10 display cars loaned to us by 285 museums across the nation. Many of them were truly priceless ( George Washington's copy of the draft Constitution with his handwritten notes in the margins, Delaware's copy of the Bill of Rights, the Louisianna Purchase, Bob Linier's size 23 sneakers, Judy Garland's slippers from the Wizard of Oz, the World Series Trophy, Stanley Cup, Super Bowl Trophy etc.) all ORIGINALS not replicas. This was the secret sauce that made it a " must see" when it was in your front yard.

The same secret sauce will work just as well for AFT 2.0

The AFT cost approx. $ 60M of which half ( $ 30M) came from the 5 co-sponsors and half ( $ 30M) came from the 7.6 million tickets sold and the fund raiser lunches & dinners done in each of the 138 display towns.

At the end of the day, after all the bills were paid we had a small 6 figure surplus which we donated to the American Cancer Society and Red Cross.

Thanks to the Lord's hand on our shoulder and a great team of 95 men & women on the crew we were able to return every one of the 512 original artifacts to the 285 lenders with zero damage.

My fondest hope for the train as the father of 3 youngsters was that the kids who went through the exhibit would come away with a greater appreciation of how lucky they were to be born an American. Of the 7.6 million visitors, 4.1 million were kids. I stood at the exit ramp and talked to thousands of kids as they came off the train and can testify that we strongly achieved that goal.

On a personal note I was also amply rewarded by having the honor of being the locomotive engineer for a good many miles of the 48 state journey.

Another good thing that the AFT produced was a whole new generation of steam locomotive lovers many of whom went on to be leaders in the industry to this day.

Please go to www.freedomtrain.org for photos and details.

Here's the thumbnail overview of AFT 2.0

Being organized through the AFT Foundation, Inc. a 501 c 3 organization.

It will be a 24 car long exhibition/celebration train that will go on a 48 state, 4 year, 25,000 mile journey to lead the nations celebration of its 250th. birthday and to say thank you to the men & women who wear our nations uniform ( now and in the past) and raise a pot of money to be used to help the 10,000 veterans who have come home badly wounded since 9/11 get through life.

Thanks to modern technology you will go for a 25 minute 4D ride through the 10 display cars were you will be immersed totally in the 250 year story of America helped by over 500 original significant artifacts.

AFT 2.0 will cost approx. $ 100M to build, operate & maintain. This time our objective is to raise the entire budget from 10 co-sponsors so that every penny of the funds raised from ticket sales and on the road fund raisers go directly into the Hidden Heroes Fund.

Here's the timetable:

2019-2020....Secure 10 co-sponsors

2021-2022.... Final design, build train, finalize route, secure 125 display sites, select
and secure artifacts

2022-2026......execute 48 state, 125 display city tour.


We've established the 501 c 3, I'm in serious discussions with several potential lead sponsors ( I need to find my new Don Kendall) , and also in discussions with our federal leadership in DC.

I have purposely kept a low public profile as until we secure the critical corporate co-sponsors its only a concept and I do not want folks to get involved until/unless it's a certainty.

It's a VERY tall mountain to climb but I believe we'll make it to the summit.

Is America ready for a train that will celebrate what unites us and inspires our youngsters to understand that service to your community and nation are noble callings??
I think yes.

Are there scary issues today that we didn't face in the 1970's. Heck yes. HOWEVER if we let that stop us then we've let the bad guys win by default. We're much better than that !!!

With admitted prejudice I think it will happen but it's a big task and we're still a long ways from the summit. However all journey's start with the first step.

Finding capable mainline steam locomotives to share the duty of pulling AFT 2.0 is the easy part. There are lots of engines currently in service looking for gainful employment.

For those who have mentioned my health I'm grateful to report that I have been blessed with very robust health. I faithfully go to the local Y MWF mornings and do a 90 minute workout, I had my last alcohol drink on Dec. 13,1990 thanks to AA and the good Lord and I finally got off ciggys a few years back. At 79 I feel great and Lord willing I'll still be able to spend a few miles on the head end of AFT 2.0

I'll of course share with you if we're able to generate the corporate support.

Thanks for your interest and support. Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: AFT 2.0
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:23 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:40 am
Posts: 430
Thank you Ross Rowland for the detailed explanation. I wish you the best of luck in this endeavor.

1976 American Freedom train documentary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P7CRql0W5Y

James Coffey "Freedom Train" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7zjgzTpW4A

Robert


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 Post subject: Re: AFT 2.0
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:41 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
Posts: 402
Location: Danbury, CT
Thank you for your response, Ross. It’s always nice to hear things directly from the horse’s mouth. I sincerely wish this to be a success.

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 Post subject: Re: AFT 2.0
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:59 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2016 12:01 am
Posts: 7
Ross,

First of all I hope you are able to do AFT 2.0. Secondly, let me know if there's anyway I can volunteer! Funds are somewhat limited but I'm a single guy with no kids that's willing to work (and learn).


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 Post subject: Re: AFT 2.0
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:50 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 2:54 am
Posts: 880
Location: Califoothills / Midwest Prairies / PNW
In all due respect to the original poster, and to Mr. Rowland,
I think we need to recognize that this would be the third Freedom Train, with FT#1 in 1947-49 being similar in nature to the more amazing FT#2, the American Freedom Train. Would the third Freedom Train have a different name to make it have its own identity?

Here is info on #1
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_Train

Otherwise, I too wish good luck to making it happen as I think we need the good will and understanding that we are a nation of immigrants (and a few Native Americans) who together work towards the collective betterment through actions as free individuals in a respectful society.


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 Post subject: Re: AFT 2.0
PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:41 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1848
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Yes, there was a first Freedom Train in 1947 which I learned about after we started construction of the display cars for AFT 1.0.

To answer a number of PM's,... the operating plan is to operate at all times using mainline qualified steam locomotives double headed ( i.e. 611/614, 261/1225, 2100/2102, 844/4014, 3751/4449, 2926/700 etc.) so as to 1. eliminate possibility of road failure and thus no diesel in consist and 2. eliminate the second biggest complaint we received operating AFT 1.0 which was from folks who came in part to see the steam locomotive pulling the train ( as advertised) and once a month it would need to be off site for 3/4 days for its monthly boiler wash. By having one loco. with a wash date near the first of the month and one with a date near the middle one loco. can always be on display live.

We are examining the best way to address the PTC issue and we will be PTC compliant in the most economical way possible. In a $ 100M project it's not a big issue.

Nationally renowned exhibition designer Barry Howard who designed the 10 exhibit cars for AFT 1.0 has written the script for the 10 display cars of 2.0 It calls for us borrowing a total of 565 original artifacts to help tell the story.

Barry has also designed the display site layout that will be an important piece of the 2.0 experience.

I am pleased to state that I will be displaying the large site layout artists renderings of AFT 2.0 and the display site details at the September 21st. fund raiser for the 2100 in Cleveland. This will be the first public viewing and I'm confident will generate a lot of enthusiasm and comments.

I'm looking forward to meeting some of you in person on 9/21. It will be fun to be able to attach a person to a screen name.

Thanks for your interest. Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: AFT 2.0
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:24 am 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 1147
Ross is modest about the details of the ASR fund-raising dinner. Here are some details:

https://www.fireup2100.org/product/legend-of-steam-ross-rowland/

and there is a YouTube video that describes some of what will happen there:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_22ow9VYch0

Promises to be well worth the expense ($99, $89 for members of ASR,MRPS,FWHS)

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 Post subject: Re: AFT 2.0
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:19 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 2061
Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
steamfan765 wrote:
I'm 30 years old so I never witnessed any of the events that Ross was able to pull off. I would love to meet him.

I am doubly lucky, I got to see the 1970s Freedom Train right before my 7th birthday in my hometown of Tallahassee, Florida.
I got to finally meet Ross and thank him for the effort at the AFT reunion in Portland in 2016 (as well as getting my AFT program I've had since 1976 signed by him and Doyle McCormack, in the literal shadow of 4449, the engine I saw on the point of the train in 1976). He's a very nice man and has the energy level of a much younger man.
Sure, he's had a few false starts. People with high aspirations usually do. But simply put, he's had more spectacular successes than any of the nay-sayers. If anyone can pull this off, my money would be on Mr. Rowland.
I just badly hope that he'll write a book soon about his experiences over the years, and asked him in 2016 if he ever would. But if that has to be sidelined until AFT 2.0 gets rolling, well, I can live with that!
He discussed a 2.0 version at the Portland reunion, and his 'pitch' was quite reasonable given the current climate of steam operations in the country. Getting a train like this to venture into all the lower 48 would be far more complex than I bet it was in 1975-76...

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 Post subject: Re: AFT 2.0
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:09 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:26 pm
Posts: 95
A little OT, but I hope someone will write a technical book on the testing of the 614 in Jan. 1985. I assume it was the only time a US steam locomotive has been extensively tested with electronic sensors and computers. It is easy to dismiss the ACE3000 project from a 2019 perspective. But it sure was great back then, while it lasted. Thank you Ross.


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 Post subject: Re: AFT 2.0
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:55 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 7:28 pm
Posts: 375
Location: Northern WV
p51 wrote:
steamfan765 wrote:
Getting a train like this to venture into all the lower 48 would be far more complex than I bet it was in 1975-76...

In the more than 40-year interval, MANY sidings have been removed that at one time provided a good place for the Freedom Train to be easily viewed by the public. The siding in Delaware that was located at a racetrack (Delaware Park) is long gone as probably are many more.

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 Post subject: Re: AFT 2.0
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:17 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:01 pm
Posts: 116
Stationary Engineer wrote:
A little OT, but I hope someone will write a technical book on the testing of the 614 in Jan. 1985. I assume it was the only time a US steam locomotive has been extensively tested with electronic sensors and computers. It is easy to dismiss the ACE3000 project from a 2019 perspective. But it sure was great back then, while it lasted. Thank you Ross.


The book The Red Devil and Other Tales from the Age of Steam by David Wardale has a section covering the 614T testing. It gives a good insight into the testing from someone who was directly involved.

The rest of the book is also well worth the read if you are interested in the work that was done to try to keep steam as a practical form of motive power in South Africa.

Roger


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 Post subject: Re: AFT 2.0
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:55 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
WVNorthern wrote:
In the more than 40-year interval, MANY sidings have been removed that at one time provided a good place for the Freedom Train to be easily viewed by the public. The siding in Delaware that was located at a racetrack (Delaware Park) is long gone as probably are many more.

"true dat!"

I just spot-checked several locations where the AFT was displayed in 1975-76. Some of them were military installations (now, let's just disregard "Homeland Security" for the moment as a thought experiment....) that had several tracks and are now down to only one track now too short or in questionable condition. Several others (military and not) are now gone.

I then tried another thought experiment: "Merge the time-machine DeLorean with the AFT and have it come out today. Where could I park it for display in the Baltimore area where I could also accommodate a large crowd coming to see it?" The best I could come up with was either a spare station track at Camden Station or an industrial park WAY out of town below BWI Airport.
Then northern Arizona. All I can find is the BNSF storage track in Williams, home of the Grand Canyon Railway. Flagstaff: Maybe the "third track" through town, but BNSF ain't gonna like parking a public train mere feet from its superhighway.
Phoenix? Plenty of places.
Multiply this by 150 or 200.


Last edited by Alexander D. Mitchell IV on Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: AFT 2.0
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:05 pm 

Joined: Sat May 19, 2018 10:03 am
Posts: 102
Technically, couldn’t Ross use short lines/scenic railroads as places to stop in each state? It would make sense to have them used as it will increase traffic to said railroad and possibly bring new people to it...


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 Post subject: Re: AFT 2.0
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:42 pm 
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
WVNorthern wrote:
In the more than 40-year interval, MANY sidings have been removed that at one time provided a good place for the Freedom Train to be easily viewed by the public. The siding in Delaware that was located at a racetrack (Delaware Park) is long gone as probably are many more.

"true dat!"

I just spot-checked several locations where the AFT was displayed in 1975-76. Some of them were military installations (now, let's just disregard "Homeland Security" for the moment as a thought experiment....) that had several tracks and are now down to only one track now too short or in questionable condition. Several others (military and not) are now gone.

Of the AFT display sites I know of personally (and I've seen a few over the years), all of them are gone today.
I work very close to one of them; the Tacoma WA site. That was at North Fort Lewis, and while the tracks are still there, they haven't been connected to the rest of the world for at least 20 years.
The other I know well is where I saw the train as a kid, at Tallahassee, Florida. I could show you where the site was, and if you stood there, you'd have to take my word that there was ever tracks there. Even the large bridge over the site for Pensacola Street is gone, a victim of re-routing the road around FSU's campus. The site of where the train and 4449 sat is a road today.
The subject used to come up every now and then on a AFT-themed Yahoo Group and many other display sites have been documented as abandoned or destroyed.

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