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 Post subject: Scranton Times-Tribune article on 3713
PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2023 3:29 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:31 am
Posts: 724
The Scranton Times-Tribune ran an article on the dissolution of the agreement between the NPS and the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valley RHS for restoration of the 3713 today. The gist would indicate that the partnership agreement expired in 2020, and the NPS objected to a renewal under the existing terms.

Some quotes:
“After the 2020 expiration, because of changes in park service policy on philanthropic partnerships, Steamtown’s management insisted on a different type of agreement, Barrett said. Things got “testy” at times as meetings were held and documents were exchanged.”

“Over the years, the society had used money donated for the restoration to contract out and pay for the rebuilding of small parts needed for the 3713, he said. As a result, there are “loads and loads and loads” of parts at Steamtown ready to go on the engine. “They didn’t want us doing that anymore,” Barrett said.”


So, it sounds as though the RHS was using donations to buy or refurbish components, and the park service would rather receive a check so they could dole out the funds as they saw fit (and most likely over pay at every turn). The article goes onto say that $184,000 has been transferred from the RHS to an account for the NPS to draw from.

Some quotes from Steamtown spokeswoman Megan Stevens:
“Large component contracting and planning has begun for some of 3713’s major components and, pending the completion of some other small projects at the park, the locomotive “will become a primary focus of the restoration shop this fall and winter,”

“It is beyond our capacity to complete the restoration in a timely manner,”


I believe the park will focus on the tender this winter, literally putting the cart before the horse. Please adhere to the Interchange Guidelines in your reply.


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 Post subject: Re: Scranton Times-Tribune article on 3713
PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2023 3:39 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
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Well, since Ms. Stevens says the planning is being undertaken, we should be able to obtain their detailed development plan and schedule -- will we need to file FOIA requests to get it, and then any 'updates' or 'mid-course corrections' (insert government buzzwords as required)?

In particular I'd like to see something like Gantt or PERT charts showing the individual timelines of the restoration, the slacks between order/procurement and installation, and the methods to reduce critical-path uncertainty.

I'd also be interested to see whether NPS has requested organizations like UP Heritage, which have heavy focus on quality control and tracking for both components and fabrication, for input or advice into their planning.

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 Post subject: Re: Scranton Times-Tribune article on 3713
PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2023 4:35 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:31 am
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Overmod wrote:
Well, since Ms. Stevens says the planning is being undertaken, we should be able to obtain their detailed development plan and schedule -- will we need to file FOIA requests to get it, and then any 'updates' or 'mid-course corrections' (insert government buzzwords as required)?

In particular I'd like to see something like Gantt or PERT charts showing the individual timelines of the restoration, the slacks between order/procurement and installation, and the methods to reduce critical-path uncertainty.

I'd also be interested to see whether NPS has requested organizations like UP Heritage, which have heavy focus on quality control and tracking for both components and fabrication, for input or advice into their planning.



You can message the Region 1 director here: https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1651/contactus.htm


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 Post subject: Re: Scranton Times-Tribune article on 3713
PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2023 11:44 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 2364
National Park Service Directors Order 21:

DIRECTOR’S ORDER #21: DONATIONS AND PHILANTHROPIC PARTNERSHIPS

https://www.nps.gov/policy/DOrders/DO_21.htm

3.1.4 Philanthropic Competencies and Skills
NPS employees and partners with responsibilities for philanthropic partnerships must have core competencies and skills to undertake and manage successful philanthropic partnerships. This will be supported through a certification program and a training program. NPS authorized employees seeking a higher delegation of authority will be required to complete a certification program. The Assistant Director, Partnerships and Civic Engagement may develop a process for waiving, on a case-by-case basis, the certification requirement for authorized employees based on their experience and education. A broader training program will also be available for all NPS employees and partners. The NPS and its partners will co-create the training program to develop a community of practice and a deeper understanding of each other’s organizational cultures. Additional guidance will be provided in RM-21.


3.1.9 Comptroller
The Comptroller will issue documentation, accounting, and internal control procedures for donation activities under applicable statutes, regulations, and policies, including the Federal Records Act, the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Privacy Act, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-123, and Director’s Order #11D: Records and Electronic Information Management. Documentation will allow for NPS reviews or audits, and audits or investigations by the Office of Inspector General or Government Accountability Office. These procedures will:

· Document the receipt and disposition of all personal property, regardless of the acquisition method or source, following Director’s Order and Handbook #44: Personal Property Management, and Departmental policies and directives for property management (410 DM, IPMD 114-60.5), and for museum property (411 DM);

· Establish distinct accounting elements to comply with donor requirements for conditional donations;

· Account for all monetary donations in the NPS financial systems at a level that will allow accountability for individual donations, meet Federal requirements, and achieve transparency; and

· Establish internal controls that meet OMB, Departmental, and NPS requirements.




Note: Elements of this revision to this DO were, a least in part a response to recommendations issued by the General Accountability Office in 2009.

https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-09-386



"To enhance National Park Service (NPS) employee knowledge, skills, and experience, NPS has conducted partnership training and workshop sessions, such as a webinar for new park superintendents that provides an understanding of how nonprofit organizations function, which is critical for NPS partnerships to be successful"


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 Post subject: Re: Scranton Times-Tribune article on 3713
PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2023 2:19 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 2364
*Duplicate Redacted*


Last edited by superheater on Mon Sep 25, 2023 12:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Scranton Times-Tribune article on 3713
PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2023 2:26 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:31 am
Posts: 724
Stay on topic, please.


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 Post subject: Re: Scranton Times-Tribune article on 3713
PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2023 2:27 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 2364
Ed Kapuscinski wrote:
Oh good, here we go again.


Maybe as a follow up to this post, maybe you could offer some informed and coherent commentary, perhaps even buttressed with appropriate supporting citations to advance some relevant and engaging perspective to further discussion-as purpose no. 1 of the forum is:

report on items and issues of interest to the railroad preservation community; and educate the public to the past and current impact of railroading on the history of this country.

As Ross R would say "hope springs eternal".


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 Post subject: Re: Scranton Times-Tribune article on 3713
PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2023 6:13 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:31 am
Posts: 724
Is there a list anywhere of exactly which parts have been purchased or refurbished? And, can anyone give a detailed description of what has and has not been accomplished in regards to the tender, since it sounds like it will be the focus of upcoming work?


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 Post subject: Re: Scranton Times-Tribune article on 3713
PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2023 11:05 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
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6-18003 wrote:
Is there a list anywhere of exactly which parts have been purchased or refurbished? And, can anyone give a detailed description of what has and has not been accomplished in regards to the tender, since it sounds like it will be the focus of upcoming work?


Excellent question. In theory, every time the NPS received something, there should be a receiving report matched to a purchase order and invoice. Also in theory, the funds collected should be able to be accounted for with the same three documents and a periodic accounting of receipts and expenditures should have been requested by the park service. This is known as a "three way batch" and is a standard control to ensure proper accounting and help prevent procurement fraud.

In addition there is supposed to be a historic structure report on all accessioned properties that would identify and inventory all discrete components. (despite the name, it doesn't apply only to buildings and monuments)

Theoretically, I believe they should retain all replaced components in storage, but I have only a cursory understanding of these requirements. Of course, original can mean as constructed or as retired. I remember being somewhat shocked one day to find another P4a's drivers under 3713. It seemed odd that they'd be stamped with the locomotive number only to have the shops play mix and match, but maybe that was a concession to war time demands or shop efficiency.

There's some documentation on the HSR.

https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_ ... 8chap8.htm

https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1739/upload/pr ... eports.pdf

https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/phscl- ... eports.htm

http://npshistory.com/newsletters/crm/b ... -v13n4.pdf


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 Post subject: Re: Scranton Times-Tribune article on 3713
PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2023 1:26 am 

Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:12 pm
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Theoretically; would $184k be enough to put 3713 back together for a cosmetic / display restoration only? I only ask as it doesn't really seem like Steamtown is interested in operating larger locomotives since they don't have manpower or knowledge base on hand anymore to really handle more than what they do have - little 26. 3713 is already torn down and "cleaned" up right? So long as the instructions weren't written by IKEA then I don't see why they won't go with the quick and cheap route for a restoration for it.


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 Post subject: Re: Scranton Times-Tribune article on 3713
PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2023 9:50 am 

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:31 am
Posts: 724
hullmat991 wrote:
Theoretically; would $184k be enough to put 3713 back together for a cosmetic / display restoration only? I only ask as it doesn't really seem like Steamtown is interested in operating larger locomotives since they don't have manpower or knowledge base on hand anymore to really handle more than what they do have - little 26. 3713 is already torn down and "cleaned" up right? So long as the instructions weren't written by IKEA then I don't see why they won't go with the quick and cheap route for a restoration for it.


That’s why I’m asking. What is left and how far will (should) 184k take them.


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 Post subject: Re: Scranton Times-Tribune article on 3713
PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2023 10:37 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:55 pm
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Location: Warren, PA
Well, this is actually useful because now I can begin to understand what happened.

Having worked with NPS before, they have rather strict internal procedures that do exist, that from our standpoint, really get in the way of getting anything done. You put the staff in the awkward psition of following written procedure or actually moving a project to completion given a limit of time and resources. And that is the essential difference between a public and private effort; a private effort can balance risk vs. reward because there is a perceived reward for risk, that reward for risk simply doesn't exist in most government agency situations.

And when the well-intentioned procedural/regulatory process becomes sufficiently heavy one of two things happens; resources dissapear or costs increase with an exponent of time. Most times you really have to recognize it's an effort to prevent waste of public resources, but elapsed time is the X variable removed from the calculation.

It happens in fully private situations where an owner/customer develops a reputation for being excessively demanding, your price of resources (parts, material and labor) is marked up to deal with the 'nuisance factor' that is known in advance.


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 Post subject: Re: Scranton Times-Tribune article on 3713
PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2023 1:04 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:06 am
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Location: NE PA
Randy, you nailed it 100%! Having worked at the Park since 2003 in various capacities, 1st for the Railroaders Memorial Museum on the K4 project (I could write a book), 2nd as a contractor for the L&WV chapter on the B&M 3713, and the last 10 years for the Park Service in the shop. Railroading and the NPS work like oil and water. Their budget process does not work for locomotive, car restorations, track repairs and many other elements of railroading, mostly because there are no standards for cyclic repair/replacement, other than those used for physical structures, like roads and buildings. Also using shop staff to operate trains after the abolishment of the operating department personel on an unscheduled basis made it extremely hard to meet any type of schedule for completing projects. At one point upper management suggested that shop personel in operations return to the shop to work on projects between departures, can you imagine the loss of situational awareness that would have caused, when the person is on the train he is thinking about the next cut he has to take on the lathe and while operating the lathe he has to think about the next time for departure or the rule of the day. I retired 2 years ago mainly due to the frustrations that the beauracracy created and that in turn caused the inability to complete projects.


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 Post subject: Re: Scranton Times-Tribune article on 3713
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2023 12:09 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
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Randy Gustafson wrote:
Well, this is actually useful because now I can begin to understand what happened.

Having worked with NPS before, they have rather strict internal procedures that do exist, that from our standpoint, really get in the way of getting anything done. You put the staff in the awkward psition of following written procedure or actually moving a project to completion given a limit of time and resources. And that is the essential difference between a public and private effort; a private effort can balance risk vs. reward because there is a perceived reward for risk, that reward for risk simply doesn't exist in most government agency situations.

And when the well-intentioned procedural/regulatory process becomes sufficiently heavy one of two things happens; resources dissapear or costs increase with an exponent of time. Most times you really have to recognize it's an effort to prevent waste of public resources, but elapsed time is the X variable removed from the calculation.

It happens in fully private situations where an owner/customer develops a reputation for being excessively demanding, your price of resources (parts, material and labor) is marked up to deal with the 'nuisance factor' that is known in advance.


That's when they are being applied in good faith. The one thing you learn rather quickly in any bureaucracy public or private is that rules can be used as weapons. You need to be at the ready with a response, because there's always the petty and vindictive.

Old timers at Steamtown remember the former head of Law Enforcement bitterly resented the late Mark Brennan who became the Chief of Railroad Operations on the strength of his experience as locomotive engineer (imagine that) and sought to make things difficult at every turn.

When the train and engine crews created a coffee club, so they have that nice cup of joltin' joe in the morning, mice found the sugar. Of course the NPS wouldn't actually use effective (snnap) traps, because vermin is wildlife, so they captured them in "humane" traps and released them. Apparently, mouse brains aren't very big, but they remember free sugar and well..

So Mark got a cat. He used to laugh that after her first night, RR Ops was filled with dead mice. There was a division chief's meeting and McCormick brought out the NPS rulebook which prohibited the "quartering of pets" or some such other silliness.

So Mark thought about it, went back to the NPS rules, and looked under the regulations governing volunteers. When he found no requirement for volunteers to be human, he created the new position "vector control specialist" and put the cat's paw on stamp pad and affixed it in the signature portion.

That was the greatest piece of rules-jitsu I ever saw-until some years later when in a dispute with an assistant comptroller, I quoted a relevant "Management Directive". This poor victim of a broom rectal impaction snapped "when do you have time to read MD;s". My response was "since three weeks ago when I took that management training and was instructed that part of my job was to read, understand and follow them". She never bothered me again. Needless to say, I didn't contribute to her retirement gift.

I still smile when I imagine Mark going "here kitty, kitty, kitty".

Oh, and it was no accident that when Mark was removed as head of RR ops, the first thing his successor did was eliminate the vector control specialist position. It was reminiscent of a nature show about cats that showed a feral male taking over territory and proceeding to kill his predecessor's offspring with typical feline viciousness.

I believe Steamy spent her remaining years as an adoptee of the late Rob Staley.


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 Post subject: Re: Scranton Times-Tribune article on 3713
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2023 6:27 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Mike Tillger wrote:
Randy, you nailed it 100%! Having worked at the Park since 2003 in various capacities, 1st for the Railroaders Memorial Museum on the K4 project (I could write a book), 2nd as a contractor for the L&WV chapter on the B&M 3713, and the last 10 years for the Park Service in the shop. Railroading and the NPS work like oil and water. Their budget process does not work for locomotive, car restorations, track repairs and many other elements of railroading, mostly because there are no standards for cyclic repair/replacement, other than those used for physical structures, like roads and buildings. Also using shop staff to operate trains after the abolishment of the operating department personel on an unscheduled basis made it extremely hard to meet any type of schedule for completing projects. At one point upper management suggested that shop personel in operations return to the shop to work on projects between departures, can you imagine the loss of situational awareness that would have caused, when the person is on the train he is thinking about the next cut he has to take on the lathe and while operating the lathe he has to think about the next time for departure or the rule of the day. I retired 2 years ago mainly due to the frustrations that the beauracracy created and that in turn caused the inability to complete projects.


How long between departures? I remember stories of senior Rock Island Chicago sub engineers who worked an inbound trip, had an office job during the day, and then worked an outbound trip at day's end.

I was a volunteer on the National Park Ship Wapama in 1987. We had a nice group of volunteers working on her in Sausalito, and it was a very good environment. We had an impossible task, because the Wapama was so advanced in wood rot that there was nothing a group of 5-6 volunteers could do to stop it. The Wapama is gone now, but there are active volunteers on other ships at Hyde Street.

So the system can work. It depends on the local leadership and the availability of volunteers. It is not structurally impossible.

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Danmarks Tekniske Universitet


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