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 Post subject: The partnership with Steamtown and the LWHS has ended
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2023 7:56 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2022 8:31 am
Posts: 25
Hi All
I got and email this morning from a friend of mine, that stated the partnership with Steamtown and the Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Railway Historical Society has ended,, please read the attached,, Pat
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File comment: I got this in an email this morning,, Pat.
Closing-Statement-from-the-3713-Restoration-Committee.pdf [72.89 KiB]
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 Post subject: Re: The partnership with Steamtown and the LWHS has ended
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2023 9:21 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
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Location: Maine
Is there any positive side to what has happened at Steamtown? If an intelligent, motivated manager should come in, how does she/he do to rebuild the Steamtown mission, or are we too far beyond to look back?
Some thoughts for youse to shoot down, as I'm certain youse will:

1) Hire a responsible rebuild contractor for 3713 to "fast track" completion of the Pacific. This would be much in the same manner as the K4s is finally being rebuilt.
2) Seek input from successful restoration groups and temporarily lease smaller steam until infrastructure repairs are completed.
3) Offer specific locomotives to vetted railfan groups to cosmetically stabilize. In example: CNR 47 to be scraped, cleaned, repainted by a group of trusted CNR docent/railfans; LIRR Rotary to a similar LIRR/PRR group; MEC 519, etc, etc.
4) Allocated funds for restoring either the CPR Pacific or bringing the CNR Mikado (3377) indoors for total restoration.

I can't accept NPS as simply shrugging its shoulders and taking the approach that this priceless collection is "toast". What can be done to reverse the decline?

Or has NPS just totally given up and the collection dispersed?

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 Post subject: Re: The partnership with Steamtown and the LWHS has ended
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2023 1:04 pm 
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Location: Shawinigan, Quebec, Canada
Well, we cannot said that not a update about 3713 finally

This project is a NeverEnding Story

Maybe Steamtown need that to restart the project on new track on the next level

Like Richard said many things need to be done in this (national collection)

The mission of Steamtown??? a regional or a national museum... Yes this his NPS but this is the best option for managing steamtown

The name: (steamtown) when a look in the news i see most of the time Diesel locomotive maybe this museum need to change his name

The rolling stock: most of his locomotives was on derelict stade.....

Etc etc etc

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 Post subject: Re: The partnership with Steamtown and the LWHS has ended
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2023 6:46 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 2364
Richard Glueck wrote:
Is there any positive side to what has happened at Steamtown?


The termination of the 3713 partnership isn't the only thing that happened at Steamtown under the most recent management. This is just one of several incidents that have seriously impaired Steamtown and the NPS' reputation.

For decades, the L&WV chapter worked to raise money for the project, only to have it terminated after they had reached a point where they could show conspicuous signs of progress.

They were a good and dedicated partner. They deserved better treatment in this, even if the relationship had some unamendable defect, there should have been some public statement of gratitude for their decades long efforts.

I will always remember all the years that the Chapter's members-many elderly-waited for the trains to chug into the Moscow station to serve up snacks and drinks-roasting in July and freezing in October.


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 Post subject: Re: The partnership with Steamtown and the LWHS has ended
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2023 10:44 pm 

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I suppose we will have to wait and see if this is merely a passing of the torch to the Iron Horse Society, or truly the end of the line for B&M 3713.


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 Post subject: Re: The partnership with Steamtown and the LWHS has ended
PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2023 3:18 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
28 years is a long time. What was the original plan?

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 Post subject: Re: The partnership with Steamtown and the LWHS has ended
PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2023 3:29 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 2364
6-18003 wrote:
I suppose we will have to wait and see if this is merely a passing of the torch to the Iron Horse Society, or truly the end of the line for B&M 3713.


Starting with the declaration that all of the money raised by the Chapter was given directly to the NPS, I'd say that's a no.

My understanding is that the project leader for 3713 and at least one of the most experienced mechanics has retired and since work was largely suspended for two years-the agreement was put "under review" in June 2021ish. That's a problem at least as big as the imploded partner/supporter relationships.

The economist Joseph Schumpeter coined the phrase "creative destruction". I think what we see here is "creative OBstruction".


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 Post subject: Re: The partnership with Steamtown and the LWHS has ended
PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2023 6:00 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
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"Tickets for Steamtown National Historic Site’s upcoming schedule of autumn excursions are now available for purchase online." https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews ... xcursions/


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 Post subject: Re: The partnership with Steamtown and the LWHS has ended
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2023 1:41 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
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https://www.facebook.com/groups/379577942171029
"Rob Davis
3d
This is going to be long, but it is the only comment I will make online about the subject.

Yesterday, my friends at the Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Chapter of the NRHS (LWV) posted a note explaining that the Project3713 partnership between the Steamtown National Historic Site (SNHS) and the LWV to restore Boston & Maine #3713 “The Constitution” will not be renewed. The essentials are in the statement (you have to click the PDF from the page linked below). I was going to share these thoughts yesterday, but I felt that the passing of Mike Del Vecchio deserved to be the preservation story of the day.

As a volunteer member of the LWV side of the partnership (I focused on marketing and fundraising), I often posted updates on Ahead of the Torch. I’d be remiss if I didn’t write this final note to the AOTT community about Project3713. I hope sharing my perspective will help others who may face similar challenges (and rewards).

Spoiler alert: anyone looking for a salacious tale is going to be disappointed. There’s no National Enquirer-worthy headline.

I am sad to see the partnership dissolve, but the writing has been on the wall for some time. I wish I had more to share on exactly what’s next for the restoration but as a former volunteer of an expired partnership I cannot speak with any authority to Steamtown’s plans to complete the job. Nor can I speak for the LWV. The locomotive belongs to Steamtown, so they have every right to change course. The LWV and SNHS have many shared interests, not the least of which are excursions to the Moscow, PA passenger and freight stations which the LWV has meticulously restored. The only news is the partnership not being renewed.

Getting involved with Project3713 in 2012 required a leap of faith. The restoration was already 17 years old. A series of situations had left things stalled. Some new folks were added to the LWV side with the intent of reinvigorating the work. Why it had taken 17 years to that point is a long story. I wasn’t there for it, so I have no first-hand commentary to share, and I refuse to add to the litany of second-hand accounts and telephone-game rumors that abound.

Even the refreshed group hit immediate challenges, not the least of which was the unexpected passing of Steamtown Superintendent Kip Hagen, who had supported the idea of reigniting excitement around Project3713.

The reformed group eventually hit our stride. We created the successful America’s Locomotive campaign ($750K raised), had advisors the likes of the Smithsonian’s Bill Withuhn and Amtrak president Joe Boardman come on board, and Steamtown put renewed priority on #3713 – especially once Superintendent Debbie Conway took over at SNHS. (Personal note: having Bill as a mentor to the project was an amazing experience.)

Over the next 7 years the Steamtown shop crew, LWV volunteers, Steamtown shop volunteers and contractors made tremendous progress. Still slower than we would have liked, but progress none the less. An admittedly incomplete list from the late 2010’s includes: a new inner firebox, new cab, new tender cistern, rebuilt drivers, new engine truck pieces, boiler repairs, tender deck & truck work, and a litany of other assemblies including air pumps, feed water pump, new headlight and more.

We were on the verge of even more positive times but changes came at Steamtown (and almost simultaneously to the Covid-stricken world). Momentum was lost. Eventually, the decision was made by SNHS to not renew the partnership.

I am sure a lot of valid questions will be raised, and I fear a lot of misinformation will come via those who have trolled the effort all along. There’s nothing to do to stop that. Opinion is fact, and fact is fiction in our pixelated world. Trying to tackle confirmation bias on the Internet is a fool’s errand.

The team working on Project3713 was outstanding. From employees to volunteers and donors, it was the people that made the effort even more worthwhile. I have a deep passion for Steamtown that dates back to 1972, so I wanted to work hard from that angle. And I knew some of the Project3713 team before joining. Once I got to know everyone involved, my passion evolved into not just doing right by Steamtown, but doing right by them.

The one truth I can share is that no one ever intended this restoration to take 28 years (and counting). I truly thought it would have been done by now. September 2022 was the 235 anniversary of the of the convention that resulted in the locomotive’s namesake, the United States Constitution. The marketer in me really wanted it to be ready for that. Maybe now for the 240th? I mean, we coined the marketing campaign “America’s Locomotive,” the artifact is owned by the Federal government and was named “The Constitution,” it was no-brainer to want to make that connection.

Were there frustrations? Sure. The focus was an 80-year old machine that spent 30+ years displayed outdoors, with about half of them in ocean air. And dealing with a government partner brings a unique set of challenges, but we all knew all of this going in. I still want to see #3713 in operation just as much as ever.

I am still proud to be a member of the LWV and my respect for thier leadership continues.

And I still believe in the promise of what Steamtown can be. With the right leadership and funding I have no doubt great things can happen.

Let’s hope that’s what comes next.

What did I learn? Three things:

#1 Ownership Is Essential To Me - I came to realize that at my age, and with my life priorities, I need to focus my time on projects where I own - or an entity in which I have a formal leadership role owns - the artifact being restored. It’s just easier to have one place for the buck to stop. It also makes success and failures easier to diagnose. That’s not to say I would refuse to help Steamtown or an entity like it in the future, but for now I need control. The creation of the Railroad & Industrial Preservation Society, Inc. to restore Lehigh & New England Alco S2 #611 grew directly from this realization (and heck, it’s only 14 years-to-the-month younger than #3713).

#2 A Portion of the Preservation Industry Needs Therapy, an Enema and an MBA - The hate emails, nasty comments, unhinged messages and social media vendettas from the broader preservation and railfan communities were disturbing but - sadly - expected when I joined Project3713. The restoration had slowed, people were frustrated and had legit questions. Unfortunately, a good portion of them were worded in ways that shut down conversation rather than opened it. There’s a reason proper introductory letters start with “Dear Sir/Madame/etc” and not “Hey, Sheep F’er.” Perhaps that lesson should be taught in railfan school.

Fellowship is born from wanting like-minded individuals to succeed, not salivating while hoping they fail.

But that wasn’t the shocking part.

In general, I noticed a sharp divide in business acumen among the preservation industry (including, for the sake of this discussion, contractors, service providers, highly skilled in-demand volunteers and even the professional rail media).

Steamtown has loads of regulations to deal with for contractors, and I want to be clear that was not part of my work on the partnership. Yet, I did receive a lot of introductory communication as the person monitoring the Project3713 emails.

These specific comments are not just limited to my Project3713 experiences, for sure. It’s an ongoing problem.

I have seen everything from unintelligible written communication to belligerent threats straight out of B-level mafia films – again not from railfans, but preservation “professionals.”

Maybe it is a topic for the HRA to go deeper on with seminars about basic business practices?

The difference between those who know how to communicate and those who don’t is stark, and my guess is that some very qualified people are missing opportunities because they never learned basic business acumen or anger management, while some less talented people are getting gigs simply because they know how to deal with people.
I want to repeat that last point. I have to think that business opportunities are missed and doors are closed because of one’s own actions, not those of others. I hear complaints around the preservation community that certain shops or contractors are getting all the work, even when other options are available. I would bet the companies winning the lion’s share of the work are the ones with better business acumen.

As forces outside our community increase pressure to act professionally, acumen will become even more of a deciding factor in who gets opportunities and who doesn’t.

#3 Government-Owned Railroad Museums Can Succeed - Anytime something happens at Steamtown that someone doesn’t like, a chorus of anti-government chatter arises. Understand that I was no stranger to Steamtown when I joined Project3713. I volunteered at the park during college in the late 1980’s, I have life-long friends who have worked there, and to one extent or another I have known all but two of the superintendents. Once I was on the inside of a partnership with SNHS, I saw more of the inner workings of the National Park Service. And through my relationship with a couple of Superintendents in particular, I learned a lot about how things need to be navigated.

I became obsessed with understanding how successful government-run railroad museums operated and that led me to the world class National Railway Museum (NRM) in the UK. Through multiple visits and conversations with NRM leadership, it helped me see how the NRM could: a) maintain world class museum sites b) maintain mainline steam on the national network and c) lead to greater interpretation through the lending or reassignment of assets to the heritage railroad network.

Many of the learnings were applied to Project3713 in its later years, but time ran out for the bigger ideas to have a chance to flourish.

The effort left me with one conclusion: the model can work if the government properly staffs and funds the effort. And those are Steamtown’s greatest needs. People used to complain to me that we were raising money for a government-owned asset. It’s true. We were, because we had to. The National Park Service is simply not adequately funded.

With heartfelt respect to all who worked on - and on the behalf of - B&M #3713 I unequivocally wish the Steamtown team the greatest success with the restoration and in all their endeavors.

Rob Davis
September 2, 2023
https://lwvrhs.org/lwv-3713-closing-statement/
L&WV 3713 Closing Statement – Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Railway Historical Society"


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 Post subject: Re: The partnership with Steamtown and the LWHS has ended
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2023 10:07 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
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Location: Sackets Harbor, NY
Sad. Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: The partnership with Steamtown and the LWHS has ended
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2023 11:20 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:07 pm
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That is a fantastic summary, and one of the reasons I believe RJD is one of the real leaders in this space.

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 Post subject: Re: The partnership with Steamtown and the LWHS has ended
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2023 1:06 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
Ed Kapuscinski wrote:
I wouldn't say "fickle", I'd say "has more important priorities", like, yes, stopping gross violations of the international order and addressing existential threats.

Which many will argue they do just as effectively as they administrate Steamtown NHS.


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 Post subject: Re: The partnership with Steamtown and the LWHS has ended
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2023 1:07 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
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Ed Kapuscinski wrote:
Frisco1522 wrote:
Government should NEVER be involved in something like this. It is far too fickle.
At the present time, government is hemorrhaging money to other priorities such as Ukraine and Climate Change, two bottomless pits.
I hope for the best for 3713, but I don't think it will happen at Steamtown.


I wouldn't say "fickle", I'd say "has more important priorities", like, yes, stopping gross violations of the international order and addressing existential threats.

My read of Frisco1522's original post is that the use of "fickle" in the second sentence is not meant to invite commentary on "Government" but rather to describe "something like this" i.e., an operational resoration of a mainline steam locomotive that has been sitting outside dormant for many years.


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 Post subject: Re: The partnership with Steamtown and the LWHS has ended
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2023 2:10 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:56 pm
Posts: 391
Location: Ontario, Canada.
Mr. Davis' post is very good. Having volunteered and worked with government-run museums, I can add a little.
My findings were that there were always some top-notch individuals who worked hard to preserve the artifacts and maintain a high level of professionalism. They truly cared for the museums, the collections, and the overall concepts of the institutions.
However, there were always too many "hangers-on" who possibly had political or family/friends connections. Their idea of "working" was in having never-ending meetings about one thing and another. Could I speak to so-and-so -- sorry he/she is in an important meeting! From experience, many of those types detested volunteers, especially get-things-done types of volunteers.
That being said, there is a case to be made for public museums and collections that help protect our heritage for the long term.


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 Post subject: Re: The partnership with Steamtown and the LWHS has ended
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2023 7:23 pm 
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Location: Shawinigan, Quebec, Canada
After i read Davis text i just hoping NPS make a update about 3713 soon
What next......
Sell 3713 to private??
Display 3713 (rebuilt)
Find another team

Just do someting

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