Railway Preservation News

Maine Central #501 & John Smythe
Page 2 of 3

Author:  Metra [ Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maine Central #501 & John Smythe

John Smythe wrote:
If others believe I'm flogging a dead horse then perhaps I am. The problem is the number of views this particular topic has thus far received since my first post is nearing 1,000 views, hardly what I'd describe as boring.

Or because most people are attracted to trainwrecks?

John Smythe wrote:
Believe me my work as a " Prototype Tool Development " person occupies a large portion of my daily time. I have much work to do & a short time to perform it in. I have put my college education & degrees to practical use & make a sizable salary doing so.

Not sure what your perceived personal income level has to do with railroad preservation?

John Smythe wrote:
I used to get dirty for a living, now I don't anymore except when I go to the bank and cash large paychecks & put the dirty greenbacks in my pocket to spend as I damn well please.

Hmmm.....there it is again....

John Smythe wrote:
I am doing just fine, I'm NOT depressed by any means, healthy as ever...

Yet you dragged up a 10 year old thread the other day.....

John Smythe wrote:
.....& making money hand over fist doing something I enjoy. Life is VERY GOOD!

......and again. With all that money I would think you have far more interesting things to do besides dragging up old threads and bragging about your perceived income on a railroad preservation site?

Author:  John Smythe [ Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maine Central #501 & John Smythe

Sounds like you are the one in need of more things to occupy your time besides nagging at me. If you don't like this particular topic then why are you re-posting so many of my quotes? May I suggest you consider starting your own social chat topic? By the way have you ever witnessed a train wreck up close? They inform me that they can be quite noisey!!!
Would you not agree that bear & deer taking a crap in the nearby woods out in Washington State the morning some engineer took a 30 MPH curve at 80+ and wrecked the AM commute were scared S-Less? I bet they were!! You could have sold a lot of Kaopectate that morning my friend!

Author:  John Smythe [ Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Maine Central #501 & John Smythe

Hopefully the new owners of Conway Scenic Railroad will consider not only undertaking whatever work needs to be done to get #7470 back on the " Active " status but will explore the possibilities of either purchasing MEC #501 from the 470 RR Club or working with the club to undertake restoration work that will finally allow her to operate under her own power again.
If that be the case I would be willing to work with those who will undertake such effort so that they can be brought up to speed regarding where things were left off when I stopped my activities in 2000. I have a lot of records, documents, photos & knowledge of what was what, things that perhaps few if any can remember or are still around.
The 470 club purchased thousands of dollars worth of new items for the running gear & boiler that are still crated up & stored somewhere. MEC #501 is still a very good candidate for a restoration to active service, she was well maintained by MEC and is a somewhat simple locomotive to restore without a lot of sophisticated equipment to deal with. I estimate that somewhere between $250,000 - $300,000.00 would be required to restore her. Now that the former owner is gone, a new range of possibilities will show themselves. Perhaps it's time for the 470 Club to sell her and let her have a more useful life that just being on display. just immagine the scores of railfans who would be willing to pay big money to ride behind a real " Road Engine " running on home turf rails that she once plied up in Crawford Notch.

Author:  Brian Hebert [ Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maine Central #501 & John Smythe

John, I'm going to send you a message.

Author:  John Smythe [ Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maine Central #501 & John Smythe

OK & I just sent you one back.

Author:  John Smythe [ Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maine Central #501 & John Smythe

Received updated news & information regarding the return to action of MEC #501 down the road a ways. seems that the NEW management at CSRX is indeed going to be " Steam Friendly. " Steam buffs may need to be patient for a few more years as this time I'm assured the job of bringing MEC #501 up to the latest FRA standards will be assured to allow many years of great service at Conway Scenic. Hope is that by 2029 she will be totally repaired, rebuilt & up to snuff. More news as I am able to secure it & verify it.

Author:  Rob Gardner [ Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maine Central #501 & John Smythe

Dave Swirk is a really special guy who just loves railroading and he does indeed love steam. I have not talked to him about the 501 but trust that if he can find a way to make it work, he will. No doubt he appreciates the significance of the history of 501 running through Crawford Notch. Not so sure 501 will make an enormous impact on the bottom line as they sell out most if not all of their fall color trains with diesel power, but bigger steam on Conway Scenic will certainly draw crowds as steam always does.


Rob Gardner

Author:  John Smythe [ Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maine Central #501 & John Smythe

Thank You for the sensible response. Two things need to happen before #501 can live again. First some kind of company to come in give their report of what it will take to bring her back to life. That I know from other past reports I have that the outcome stays constant. Secondly, if the report is favorable, the railroad will need to purchase her from The 470 Club. Thirty Five years have passed since they acquired her and despite numerous attempts to restore her it just sits there still waiting. Matt & Emmons did the job to acquire her from MEC in 1983. The are both deceased, other who have been waiting & are still doing so desire her to run again. That locomotive is no dead horse by any means. It's time for the owners & Conway Scenic to work something out so it just does not sit there and rust away. I'm not talking about where somebody sprayed some paint, I'm talking other important areas that like the 470 are constantly exposed to the weather and pay a price for it. I do know one thing the costs to restore her back then compared to now have climbed dramatically. It's time to Shit or get off the pot. This locomotive is in much better shape than MEC 470 & less complicated.
Steam friendly people who now control the railroad up there aren't going to want to see this beautiful example of our " Great Historic Heritage of Steam Railroading " die a undeserved death.

Author:  John Smythe [ Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Maine Central #501 & John Smythe

Well what a difference 20 years and a farewell to Rusty Seybolt who WAS the major hurdle in anyone getting anywhere on restoring MEC #501. To quote a friend of mine who I spoke to recently, " The Dark Cloud That Has Hung Over Conway Scenic For 20 Years Has Finally Departed. " Now sunshine is back & we have a new owner David Swirk, note.... A Steam Locomotive Friendly Person, unlike his predecessor. Here's the beat on the street. Plans are in the works to have a company come and evaluate #501's condition & what a complete overhaul would entail to make her operational again. I know she is a excellent candidate.... I've known it for years, I have lots of documentation to back it up. Looks like it could be a 10 year project, I believe once the evaluation takes place that time will drop off quite a bit. Look.... that locomotive is a potential BIG money maker to do runs up through Crawford Notch.
Look....like I've stated time & time again, there is only ONE ingredient needed to achieve success & that is DETERMINATION!!! Mr.501 says so. So let it be written... so let it be done!

Author:  John Smythe [ Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Maine Central #501 & John Smythe

Terry Harper wrote:

I believed once and still believe that the 501 is an excellent specimen for restoration. However, I can assure you it not only takes lots of money but more importantly people who are dedicated to the effort, have the experience and knowlege of various crafts and trades and above all... and this is very important........WORK WELL WITH EVERYONE.

Self-proclaimed experts who have left a debris field behind are not going to accomplish it. It would be a shame if your youthful energy and interest wwere wasted tied to a horse that's tangled itself into the barbed wire and dosent have enough sense to stop kicking at everything and everyone.

If you understand what Iam saying and have a real desire to work on the 501 contact Paul Hallet at Conway Scenic and/or the 470 Club and offer your services.

Yes, the 470 has several other projects going on but man power rather than money makes the diffrence wether or not they have the time to address a cosmetic restoration of the 501. Besides that those other projects will be a good way to meet other volunteers and they to meet you.

I am all to familiar with the work ethics of one Paul Hallet, I'm all too familiar with the debris field he left behind him as he jockeyed from one railroad job to another. Just another drifter sums it up in my opinion. There was good reason for Paul to just retire from CSRX at the end of last year. When word got out about a new owner, someone who knows something about running a railroad the right way so that all the hack work would be discovered, what else could he do? In the old days anyone could fool Rusty that they knew what they were doing, not the new guy that just took possession of the keys.

Author:  John Smythe [ Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Maine Central #501 & John Smythe

Terry Harper wrote:

Not sure what you base your info on but the firebox of the 501 is far from complete!

During the disasterous restoration attempt with a boiler maker who has subsequently lost his certification and under the supervision of Mr Smythe the boiler is no better off than before they started.

Of paramount concern are the questionable "repairs" by the boiler maker to four of the throat stays. This alone will require the tubes to be removed.

In addition there are a number of stays that need to be replaced in addition to repair to an old, un-satisfactory (MEC) repair at the firebox door and the potential repair to the knuckle (were the rear tube sheet meets the crown sheet) and address an un-satisfactory repair at the blow-down valve.

In other words this locomotive is not going anywhere fast.

Things are a bit more cheerful in regards to the running gear. New pistons and rings are awaiting installiation, Air pump was rebuilt, the corners of the tender repaired along with many other misc. items by a small group of volunteers.

However, why these items and in particular the rods, pistons etc were not installed in the two years Mr. Smythe was the Master Mechanic following the failure of the hydro I simply cannot fathom. Eventually Mr. Smythe was asked to leave the property

As for young Mr. Daylight - I suggest you spend some time at Conway Scenic, Strasburg, The Valley and other fine organizations that boast a cadre of mature, staff and volunteers dedicated to preserving steam based on real hands-on knowlege before falling for a pied Piper.

First of all Terry, The first thing on Matt Rines list of things that needed to be made right was the boiler. When other time allowed it, I performed other tasks that involved fixing other peoples screw ups. Secondly... I was NEVER asked by anyone at CSRX to leave the property. At the end of the 1999 season I turned in my " Company Key " to then Operations Mgr. Gary Webster. After the stunt that Rusty played on me over $25,000 that he was supposed to donate to The 470 Club, I have that document as well, it was time for " All Out War " against him. He's now history & the war is over! Try to get your facts straight before you spout off.

Author:  John Smythe [ Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Maine Central #501 & John Smythe

Here we go again

Author:  John Smythe [ Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Maine Central #501 & John Smythe

OK close the other one and lock it. The fact is this #501 restoration probability is generating many responses & running up the tally of views.

Author:  John Smythe [ Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maine Central #501 & John Smythe

Here is the MEC #519 throttle on the top and the nearly completed reproduction that will fit #501 perfectly on the bottom. The toothed quadrant that allows the engineer to place and lock the throttle into a certain spot is at the very top. I have the drawings that will allow it to be reproduced. Several dozen individual parts needed to be made from scratch. Brass castings were made & machined. The throttle yoke needs to be reamed to fit the throttle pull rod. The blackhead of #519 & #501 are situated in the same exact position therefore the copy will fit perfectly into the existing brackets on #501. A lot of work went into reproducing this item, a lot of running around and 2 trips to Scranton, Pa to deal with the paperwork in order to borrow parts from #519 and take them off of government property.
This is the perfect example of how I took the lead and made good things happen. You just don't go down to the local auto parts store & order a throttle assembly for a 1910 steam locomotive off the shelf. The retired master machinist who did the work took great pride in making this assembly. Everything was fit together perfectly.
Perhaps I need to show more photos of things that evolve around the restoration period from 1995 to 2000. I want to show some of the hack work by others that I got the blame for, work performed before I even became a volunteer.

Scan0002.jpg [ 106.7 KiB | Viewed 1577 times ]

Author:  John Smythe [ Sun May 06, 2018 9:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Maine Central #501 & John Smythe

Hey guys, considering all the conversations that have been posted on this topic which has seen three thousand plus views so far, lets keep the ball rolling. As far as I'm concerned the aspects of the NEW OWNER of Conway Scenic Railroad being very interested in having MEC #501 restored to active service is the greatest news I've heard in years. I'd think that lots of steam fans would be posting like crazy about this.
As I have stated on many railroad websites in the past..... There is only " ONE " ingredient necessary to achieve success and that is " DETERMINATION " I completely believe that David Swirk & Co. will come up with a realistic plan and see it through all the way to completion this time. He's a Steam Friendly Owner/Operator, full of new ideas & desires to change the old business as usual routine that's been hanging around the past 20 years or so.
I believe it's time for this topic to become more active with talk, opinions, questions & ideas regarding the restoration of MEC #501 to full operational status. Don't sit on the sidelines, start typing, join in. Thanks.

Page 2 of 3 All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group