It is currently Sat Dec 04, 2021 3:03 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 107 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: What exactly happened at 1988 NRHS Convention?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2021 4:58 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 923
Location: Philadelphia, PA
One of the Rambles stalled on the Hunters Run grade on the Gettysburg Branch. The crew resolved a sticking brake problem and the engine walked up the hill.

T-1's had worked freight on the Gettysburg Branch and a Ramble was well within the tonnage rating for a T-1.

Phil Mulligan


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What exactly happened at 1988 NRHS Convention?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2021 7:34 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:07 am
Posts: 26
I was one of the leaders and organizers at Roanoke in 1987. No matter what we were doing during the 1987 Roanoke Convention, registration, banquet, trips, whatever, all we heard was sniping by the folks from New Jersey. Like "Oh yeah, we'll do that a lot better next year." It certainly did not sit well with our folks who had worked really, really hard to make it happen.

Yes, we had extraordinary cooperation from NS, but we planned it all ourselves. We had begun planning in early 1986. Everyone of our committee people was dedicated to an extreme.

Just as an example of how dedicated our folks were, out of my own pocket, hired someone, a week before, to mow the right of way between the tracks at Salem, so the weeds would not be so high on the first side-by-side runby. We could never have gotten anyone in the railroad to consider such. I was nervous the whole time of mowing, figuring someone from the railroad would show up and ask why that guy with a tractor was trespassing? That is just one example, there are others.

While I and many other Roanoke folks did not go to New Jersey in 1988, after the comments we heard in 1987, we felt we would not be welcome. The best thing anyone can do is observe, make no comments and learn. Obviously, in 1987, that was not the case.

Ken Miller


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What exactly happened at 1988 NRHS Convention?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2021 10:04 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 2176
Location: Sackets Harbor, NY
Ken Miller raises a key point. It takes dedication to details AND knowledge to pull off a complicated event like a national NRHS convention.

Interesting isn't it that the 1987 effort was text book positive followed one year later by the 1988 effort that was text book as negative as it gets.

We began planning the 3 year ( 1996-98) 614 Hoboken-Pt. Jervis runs in early 1995 and did many things like the mowing effort mentioned in Ken's post.

We met numerous times with the Port Jervis leadership and the leadership in the DPW who were helping us restore to service the turntable that had been derelict for 25 years etc. then we insisted on operating a full dress rehearsal train 2 weeks before the initial excursion and glad we did as it uncovered several issues needing correction.

Any multi faceted event that runs smoothly is thanks to a lot of advance work done by folks who know what they're doing. A 1988 NRHS fiasco is the result of the opposite.

Sad but true. Ross Rowland


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What exactly happened at 1988 NRHS Convention?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2021 10:43 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 10356
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
I happily made up for snubbing Garden State '88 by attending the following year's convention based in Asheville, NC, with NS steam and NKP 587 inbound from Alexandria to Asheville via Salisbury and the "Old Fort Loops" and returning via Winston-Salen and Roanoke, with several days of trips out of Asheville. These included a run to Hendersonville and Pisgah Forest, a run west to Canton, NC and then buses to the Great Smoky Mountain RR, a run to Bulls Gap, Tenn. along the French Broad River, and night shots at the Asheville roundhouse.

I heard from people in charge down there that they "learned their lessons" from the NJ "fiasco" and wanted a return to the way conventions USED to run.

How smoothly did things run? I got a flat tire in Hendersonville parking my car for the planned runby (diesel and NS passenger train). A local directed me to a tire shop a block away, and I had my tire patched during the runby--getting MY shots as the train was pulling in to discharge the trainload of fans--and left town before the train did. But I ended up chasing a local on the Pisgah Forest line instead of the passenger train!

Today, the Loops are almost moribund; the Pisgah Forest line is gone; the line south to Hendersonville is now being run by a short line operator, as I recall; Saluda Grade (a side trip for many fans while there) is weed-choked; the roundhouse is gone; 1218 has long been cold.......... and only now is 587 coming back to life.....


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What exactly happened at 1988 NRHS Convention?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2021 7:19 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:49 pm
Posts: 227
Location: Los Altos, CA
So this thread is not hating on Tri-State all the time, I feel obligated to point out that the convention program booklet was a nice magazine-quality publication.

BH


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What exactly happened at 1988 NRHS Convention?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 9:08 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:07 am
Posts: 621
klmiller611 wrote:
I was one of the leaders and organizers at Roanoke in 1987. No matter what we were doing during the 1987 Roanoke Convention, registration, banquet, trips, whatever, all we heard was sniping by the folks from New Jersey. Like "Oh yeah, we'll do that a lot better next year." It certainly did not sit well with our folks who had worked really, really hard to make it happen.

Ken Miller


Ken's statement brings up a memory (or two!)

Just like there currently is a seller's market for used cars and, in many areas, houses in those days there was a seller's market for convention tickets.

Because, as any one who knows anything about marketing knows, your best customer is a repeat customers, thee sponsoring chapter of the next NRHS convention would send a contingent of members to that year's convention to hype the next one and get people to pay 'preregistration fees'. Priority for ordering tickets went to the people who preregistered and the chapter received some seed money from the fees that coud be used in planning and promoting their convention.

In the Tri-State case, they did a good job of creating expectations, but these expectations resulted in disappointment and bitterness when some of the events were cancelled etc. This situation was worsened by the fact the chapter was not in a financial position to pay refunds promptly, but everyone involved did eventually receive one

The NRHS annual meeting at the Roanoke convention was one of the best attended in the history of NRHS because O Winston Link gave a presentation in the same room used for the annual meeting. (I didn't attend either event because I was at a night photo session with the 611.)

Also, the best example of there being a seller's market for a rail excursion was probably the 844 trip between Omaha and North Platte a few years ago. Tickets for that trip were sold over the net and all the tickets for the trip sold in about 15 minutes from when they went on sale.

Bob H


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What exactly happened at 1988 NRHS Convention?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:08 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:49 am
Posts: 57
I belonged to Tri-State at the time. All I will say is: The steam trip that came back on the Valley was good except it had several delaying problems. One was the dragging equipment indicators and hotbox indicators being tripped by the engine's firebox and rods coming up the hill to the Pattensburg tunnel near Bloomsbury. This caused several stops to check everything. After that part they just responded as no hotboxes or no dragging equipment. The other matter was several ATVers were running up the hill on the ROW very close to the train that caused a delay. As for getting reimbursed, I was signed up for the NYS&W trip, but they needed help at the Somerset hotel location so I missed it. I submitted for a reimbursement request afterward and here 33 yrs later still waiting. So not all were reimbursed. One final comment was that Tom Nemeth had a great trip committee in Tri-State in the late 70s and early 80s. We had something like 8 moneymakers and one not so good. The trip committee basically drummed out and we ended up starting the Jersey Central chapter. This was before the 1988 convention.
Freewheelin Freddie


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What exactly happened at 1988 NRHS Convention?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:14 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2021 6:54 pm
Posts: 141
Genuine question from a young person:

How were these conventions effectively advertised before the internet? Let’s say I live in Pennsylvania in 1987, and the Roanoke excursions are being planned and sold. How would I have found out? Would I have had to have been an NRHS member? Word of mouth?


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What exactly happened at 1988 NRHS Convention?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 4:13 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 1:24 pm
Posts: 365
mcgrath618 wrote:
Genuine question from a young person:

How were these conventions effectively advertised before the internet? Let’s say I live in Pennsylvania in 1987, and the Roanoke excursions are being planned and sold. How would I have found out? Would I have had to have been an NRHS member? Word of mouth?


Oh, you knew. It was THE event of each summer! Pre-convention mailers (one year in advance sometimes), hyped at the prior year's convention, plus plenty of magazine ads and railfan event listings.

From my limited experience, 1989 (Asheville), 1990 (St. Louis) & 1991 (Huntington) were the best. (I will say I missed 1987 in Roanoke.) 1993 wasn't bad for me personally since I cut coal on 4501 from Knoxville (Tennessee) to Richlands (Virginia), partially over the Clinchfield line, on the inbound "Independence Limited" (611 took over in Richlands before 587/765 doubleheaded it into Chicago.) 1994 wasn't too bad either since it was near me in Atlanta...and proved to be the final "big" NRHS convention due to NS' shutdown of steam excursions (not to mention New Georgia) and featured a new-to-Georgia/Tennessee #1522 (sadly, 4501 was out of service at the time even though it had been scheduled for the convention).


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What exactly happened at 1988 NRHS Convention?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 5:45 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 2387
Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
I've only ever attended the Portland Tacoma conventions but I had pals who went to all the big NS-steam-era ones in the east and Midwest. I used to hear about all of them. mcgrath618, it is true that you just didn't miss the info if you read any of the magazines and any fan knew there was a new convention going on somewhere each year. Even back then, it wasn't tough to find out where it'd be, even if you lived in the middle of nowhere and had no pals in the hobby to ask. If you couldn't find out about a NRHS convention, you would have bene the type who didn't even know steam engines were still running here and there. You'd have had to have been that isolated.
Heavenrich wrote:
Because, as any one who knows anything about marketing knows, your best customer is a repeat customers, thee sponsoring chapter of the next NRHS convention would send a contingent of members to that year's convention to hype the next one and get people to pay 'preregistration fees'.
I remember Tacoma 2011 really well for that. The following convention was going to be at Cedar Rapids, Iowa. One guy from that event was everywhere at the Tacoma convention, to the point people would roll their eyes and openly say, "Oh, good Lord, not again..." every time he'd walk into a room. It got to the point where people were openly asking organizers if he could limit himself to a info table somewhere. I was forced to endure the board meeting (I was technically a member of my old Florida chapter at the time and nobody from that chapter was there) and I seem to recall it being discussed beforehand that this guy was almost ruining the event for everyone as he wouldn't shut up about Cedar Rapids.
btrw wrote:
I belonged to Tri-State at the time. All I will say is: The steam trip that came back on the Valley was good except it had several delaying problems. One was the dragging equipment indicators and hotbox indicators being tripped by the engine's firebox and rods coming up the hill to the Pattensburg tunnel near Bloomsbury.
Same thing happened early in the 4449's trip up Stampede Pass for the Tacoma convention. I'm sure that happened on a lot of convention trips over the years.

_________________
Lee Bishop


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What exactly happened at 1988 NRHS Convention?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:20 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 10356
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
mcgrath618 wrote:
Genuine question from a young person:

How were these conventions effectively advertised before the internet? Let’s say I live in Pennsylvania in 1987, and the Roanoke excursions are being planned and sold. How would I have found out? Would I have had to have been an NRHS member? Word of mouth?


The key factors here:

*The kind of railfans that would commit to several days of vacation time and bricks of Kodachrome subscribed to magazines. The conventions wouldn't be so much "advertised" in them as listed in the classified "Railfan Events" or "Timetable" in the magazines. You paid attention. You saw the photos from past years, and you knew this was THE railfan event of the year.

*Railfans belonged to NRHS Chapters, if there was one anywhere close, or at-large, or even to other railfan clubs (R&LHS, local museum support groups, etc.). Even joining a model RR club or local museum put you in touch with fellow fans who would share news or magazines. This was, and remains, one of the benefits of such clubs--networking. You might even find out about other things, such as private charters or special movements, through the "grapevine" of phone calls. Guys going away to college might join the Chapter just to get the newsletter to keep up with local happenings. Fellow members would share tips like "Just drive out Interstate 66, pass up those two other overpasses, until you see 200 cars parked on the shoulder, and join the mob that will be there!" (verbatim tip from Alex Mayes in Manassas, Va. at the start of a 1218 excursion!). Or they might share maps, or books, or Official Guides, or radio frequencies, or whatnot.
This is stuff you may or may not get hanging out with a crowd of kids at the local railfan "hot spot" or platform.

If you didn't do either of these things, you'd be like the guy who freaks out when the UP Big Boy or a special passenger train rolls by, screaming "why did no one tell me?!?!?"

Now, of course, you don't have to do either of these things (at least in theory), and you can just "freeload" off of the paying passengers and dues-paying members and volunteers who bust their butts to make such trips happen.
But you lose the social aspect that the NRHS was all about.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What exactly happened at 1988 NRHS Convention?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 10:54 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:49 pm
Posts: 227
Location: Los Altos, CA
btrw wrote:
One final comment was that Tom Nemeth had a great trip committee in Tri-State in the late 70s and early 80s. We had something like 8 moneymakers and one not so good.


By any chance, was one of those trips "the Warwick-Middletown Limited" in early 1985? Despite the awful weather, it was an interesting trip featuring that LV U-boat in the NYOW paint scheme.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What exactly happened at 1988 NRHS Convention?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2021 12:07 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 4:22 pm
Posts: 401
mcgrath618 wrote:
Genuine question from a young person:
How would I have found out? Would I have had to have been an NRHS member? Word of mouth?

Either you were a member or you ran into one who would tell you. There weren’t a lot of “sudden” events, convention or otherwise, because advertising was almost completely confined to railfan magazines and hard copy printing required a fairly long lead time. TrainNet started on CompuServe in February 1989, and it was one of the first online sources for short-fused information—things like a locomotive missing the convention or another unexpectedly making the trip, etc. There are so many online sources now that it’s hard to remember when they didn’t exist. It’s much easier to connect with railfanning now, rather than stumbling across the right magazine at the right time.

_________________
--Becky


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What exactly happened at 1988 NRHS Convention?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2021 7:18 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:07 am
Posts: 26
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
mcgrath618 wrote:
Genuine question from a young person:

How were these conventions effectively advertised before the internet? Let’s say I live in Pennsylvania in 1987, and the Roanoke excursions are being planned and sold. How would I have found out? Would I have had to have been an NRHS member? Word of mouth?


The key factors here:

*The kind of railfans that would commit to several days of vacation time and bricks of Kodachrome subscribed to magazines. The conventions wouldn't be so much "advertised" in them as listed in the classified "Railfan Events" or "Timetable" in the magazines. You paid attention. You saw the photos from past years, and you knew this was THE railfan event of the year.

*Railfans belonged to NRHS Chapters, if there was one anywhere close, or at-large, or even to other railfan clubs (R&LHS, local museum support groups, etc.). Even joining a model RR club or local museum put you in touch with fellow fans who would share news or magazines. This was, and remains, one of the benefits of such clubs--networking. You might even find out about other things, such as private charters or special movements, through the "grapevine" of phone calls. Guys going away to college might join the Chapter just to get the newsletter to keep up with local happenings. Fellow members would share tips like "Just drive out Interstate 66, pass up those two other overpasses, until you see 200 cars parked on the shoulder, and join the mob that will be there!" (verbatim tip from Alex Mayes in Manassas, Va. at the start of a 1218 excursion!). Or they might share maps, or books, or Official Guides, or radio frequencies, or whatnot.
This is stuff you may or may not get hanging out with a crowd of kids at the local railfan "hot spot" or platform.

If you didn't do either of these things, you'd be like the guy who freaks out when the UP Big Boy or a special passenger train rolls by, screaming "why did no one tell me?!?!?"

Now, of course, you don't have to do either of these things (at least in theory), and you can just "freeload" off of the paying passengers and dues-paying members and volunteers who bust their butts to make such trips happen.
But you lose the social aspect that the NRHS was all about.


Alexander Mitchell is correct. I was also in charge of publicity for 1987. I went to the Convention in Boston the year before, where I had produced a flyer and slide show with audio promoting Roanoke in 1987. The slide show was on a loop running at a table in the marketplace. Brochures were on the table, I was in and out with it and talked to folks. In summer 1986, we had only vague plans. We all observed, and for most of us, it was not our first rodeo, we had done events for sometime, included a 1977 Convention. But most of the folks leading the 1987 Convention had not been directly involved in 1977, I was one.

Then in early winter 1987, I produced a detailed mail-out flyer that went to all NRHS members. Some parts of it were sort of vague, as we had no assurance that the side-by-side running was going to happen and we wanted to be careful in case it didn't. The flyer had immediate results, many events sold out early and were simply not available.

Of course, there was no internet, your network was mail, telephone and in person connections. A social network, if you will. Today, the movement of this social network to the internet is truly one of the reasons, I believe, that many rail-oriented organizations are dying. Prove me wrong, but it seems that younger people are not "joiners," if they cannot see it on their phone or tablet, it must not be important. Again, many younger people see no value of membership, they don't seem to read magazines, or newsletters.

When I go out to see 611, I am continually amazed at the number of younger folks out with expensive cameras, but those folks are not members of groups. Roanoke NRHS is blessed with a bunch of younger folks working in our mechanical department, but I have been begging someone to take our newsletter off my hands for years, and nobody wants to step up.

Ken Miller


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What exactly happened at 1988 NRHS Convention?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2021 2:21 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 10356
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
Another aspect I didn't mention:

We had Hobby Shops. Most every larger town or big city had a hobby shop that, among other things, catered to model railroaders, model rocket builders, remote control car and plane buffs, automobile modelers, and other crafting hobbies. A bigger city might have several such shops, usually at least one focused exclusively on model railroading and "toy trains" (Lionel, American Flyer, LGB, etc). These shops had books and magazines on prototype trains, and always a bulletin board and/or brochure stand for the area excursion lines, model train open houses, train shows, and special excursions.

(And as an aside, they helped keep magazines like Model Railroader and Railroad Model Craftsman alive by listing their stores in the classified "hobby shop directory" in the back pages of said magazines. Even small town corner drug stores that had a model railroad section in the back advertised in those pages!)

Now we have online selling, Hobby Lobby, Hobbytown, and Michaels. Ever seen any model trains in the chain stores? A token Christmas train set, at best. A few straggling holdouts remain, many converted to online sale warehouses. The one I used to frequent now has a URL and no "store" hours, only curbside pickup for orders placed online.

As with other shops set up around hobbies--knitting/sewing, homebrewing, pets, art supplies, bookstores, woodcrafting, you name it--there may be cheaper ways to get what you need online, but what you lose is the social and educational aspect of in-person gathering--of knitting/sewing circles, of book clubs, of homebrew tasting gatherings, of "here, borrow my book" or "try using these color pencils/this wood instead", etc. These are things lost by clicking "Buy Now" at Amazon/eBay/Chewy/etc.

Granted, the Internet also makes it possible for you to find that impossible-to-find model or for us to watch and converse with other fans and hobbyists worldwide, or to run a train over a layout in Sweden or whatever, but we are losing something else in the process.


Last edited by Alexander D. Mitchell IV on Fri Jul 23, 2021 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Offline
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 107 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


 Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Ed Kapuscinski, Google [Bot], QJdriver and 48 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: