How would YOU save an Alco from scrapping?

Discussion of products from the American Locomotive Company. A web site with current Alco 251 information can be found here: Fairbanks-Morse/Alco 251.

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Alcoman
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How would YOU save an Alco from scrapping?

Post by Alcoman »

How would you save or least try to save an Alco from being scrapped?

In the past year, there have been too many good Alcos being cut up. What I mean by good is in running condition or at least restorable.
Tell us what you do.
Make a difference......SAVE an Alco!

Luther Brefo
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Post by Luther Brefo »

Buy it, restore it, lease it. (pays for itself in the end)
Last edited by Luther Brefo on Tue Apr 11, 2006 1:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
Luther Brefo: LALRailfan.net
Moderator: LA&L, B&H, WNYP, ONCT

GN 599
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Post by GN 599 »

Money talks b.s. walks. Simple as that.

DutchRailnut
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Post by DutchRailnut »

You need to bid higher than the scrap dealer, steel is at $200 per ton , so you figure it out.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

Retired Triebfahrzeugführer. I am not a moderator.

EDM5970
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Post by EDM5970 »

Luther, it's very difficult to get an Alco out on lease these days. And while you are advertising the unit (s), and fending off museums that want a donation, the Railfans With Wrenches descend upon your equipment, and erode your investment. Horns, headlights, numberboards, gauges, to name a few items.

Been there, done that, and I don't even have a tee shirt to show for the effort- Nice idea, but it doesn't work too well. (I've also tried it with a decent running EMD, as well. Same results-)

RS112556
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Location: Ontario NY

Post by RS112556 »

I guess I can wade in on this since we are just talking in hypotheticals. First off, recognize the fact that a lot of what you may find will not be practical to save. Choose a favorite model (RS11, C420) and look for a candidate that has all major components intact and able to be made sericeable. Have secure indoor storage not only to store the prize but to carry out work on it as well. Have any tools neccesary for repair and maintainance. Have the storage/work facility near a rail connecttion of some sort so you can work the unit once in awhile. Static storage especially outside) is a waste and not much better than letting the thing rust into the rails in some boneyard.
To cap it off have cubic money of your own (grants come with a lot of strings) to cover the above and the cost of transport to your ideal location.
Oh yeah; I would if I could :P

Aji-tater
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Post by Aji-tater »

It's a sad reminder that railroading is a business. Several good points have been made above. Most small railroads have a handful of locomotives which meet their needs and maybe a spare, all of which they take good care of and don't normally need to lease more. The big roads are more prone to the ups and downs and may need power but they don't want ALCOs at all. Yeah, I know about the NYS&W but they are an extreme exception. So people who want to lease one are not common.

Also don't forget that if you have a beautiful S-2 for instance, excellent running condition, nice paint, all that but friction bearing trucks, forget it. The big roads will not move such equipment even though friction bearings were standard for about 125 years or more. The cost of buying roller bearing trucks and swapping is far more than the whole locomotive would be worth.

So what's left? You take that beautiful prime mover out and put it in an S-2 that has problems. Maybe the traction motors are good, and some other parts. Next thing you know, you have a carcass which has donated its organs to keep other units going, but is now only fodder for the torch. And as someone noted, at $200+ a ton for scrap, you can overlook a lot of sentiment.

Moral of the story is be glad there are SOME out there working and on display. At least some can be saved and used as intended. It could be worse - suppose you were passionate about the old Great Lakes ore boats. Can you imagine anybody buying an old one, restoring it, and cruising the lakes with it for fun?

2spot

Post by 2spot »

Probably the easiest thing to forget when you decide to save something as big and expensive as a locomotive is to not take it on by yourself. Get likeminded people together to form a society or business beforehand, then persue the Alco (or?) that you all can agree on. Trying to purchase, move and securely store a locomotive is a lot of money and a huge commitment that will ruin most anyones finances. You're probably not the only one out there that wants to see that Alco spared from scrapping. Do save an Alco. But dont do it alone.

Alcoman
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Post by Alcoman »

Taken from loco Notes....

A museum is looking for an Alco frame. Contact the WI&M person via me, I do
NOT rationalize scrapping an Alco as several museums were looking for one.

Tim Vana/Omaha, NE

--- In LocoNotes@yahoogroups.com, Kyrailfan666@... wrote:
>
> Per Jamie K:
>
> The Delray Connecting 66, the first Alco S1 in our collection was
> recently sold. It is being parted and scrapped by the company that
> bought it. It was deemed surplus several years ago after acquiring the
> NP 14. Many attempts were made to sell it whole, however with its
> friction bearings, tires, and lack of an air compressor, those efforts
> went no where. The monies from this sale will be used to pay for indoor
> track space for the CNW 411 and CBQ 9255.
>
> Thanks,
> Jamie
>
> No, this is NOT the start of a big scrapping program, we're merely
> getting rid of an engine we have talked about getting rid of in our
> department for several years and as you can see, we are putting the
> money generated by the sale of this thing to excellent use. Had the 66
> been in better shape, we probably would have kept it.
>
> RW
>

nessman
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Post by nessman »

Junk is junk... there are enough rusting hulks sitting at museums all across America with no money, manpower or time to do a proper restoration. With a large number of serviceable EMD's and GE's on the market - why would someone want to "save" an old Alco that would cost more to repair/restore than a comparable serviceable unit from other manufacturers?

It's simple economics and business sense - that's why you don't see people coming out in droves to save Alco's.

DutchRailnut
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Post by DutchRailnut »

And even a Museum looking for frame, if a company donates the frame, the Museum wants it cleaned and painted for free, transportation for free, etc etc. and after they recieve it how much credit is given to the Railroad that provided the frame etc.
none nada ziltz.
For a railroad its cheaper to scrap the frame/unit .
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

Retired Triebfahrzeugführer. I am not a moderator.

RS-3
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Post by RS-3 »

"With a large number of serviceable EMD's and GE's on the market - why would someone want to "save" an old Alco that would cost more to repair/restore than a comparable serviceable unit from other manufacturers?"

Because museums are not in business to make money or shouls save what's cheapest to operate. Given your logic no one should have ever saved any Alco. Or any steam engine. Or a Studebaker. Or a wooden ship, etc, etc. The whole point of museums is to preserve what needs preserving. A GP38 doesn't need preserving (yet). Thus most things needing preserving are things no longer wanted or needed in business.

Besides, while the cost or restoring the old Alco (or whatever) may be a lot more than the cost of buying a servicable EMD, the cost of purchase could be a lot less. And a lot of the restoration cost is volunteer. So its not fair to compare a museum restoration cost to a operating business.

GM

nessman
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Post by nessman »

RS-3 wrote:Because museums are not in business to make money or should save what's cheapest to operate.
Museums tend to forget that the general public is who they need to cater to as they provide money at the door. A family of 4 could care less about what locomotive is pulling the train they're taking their kids on. It's only the railfan purists and foamers who take issue with this sorta thing.

Granted, museums aren't in business to make money as they are non-profits, but without a steady source of revenue (museum admissions, donations, etc...) how are they going to "save" an engine that will cost much more to restore - than if they buy something that simply works and gets the job done.
Given your logic no one should have ever saved any Alco. Or any steam engine. Or a Studebaker. Or a wooden ship, etc, etc. The whole point of museums is to preserve what needs preserving. A GP38 doesn't need preserving (yet). Thus most things needing preserving are things no longer wanted or needed in business.
Preservation and restoration is one thing (and I'm all for it)... but when a museum buys an old Alco and the thing just sits out in the elements for years because there's no money or manpower - is that preservation, or delaying the inevitable?
Besides, while the cost or restoring the old Alco (or whatever) may be a lot more than the cost of buying a servicable EMD, the cost of purchase could be a lot less. And a lot of the restoration cost is volunteer. So its not fair to compare a museum restoration cost to a operating business.
These days it's tough to find good volunteers. Been there, done that - saw the number of volunteers drop and the quality of newcomers decline year after year with a program I used to run.

RS-3
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Post by RS-3 »

"Preservation and restoration is one thing (and I'm all for it)... but when a museum buys an old Alco and the thing just sits out in the elements for years because there's no money or manpower - is that preservation, or delaying the inevitable?"

I agree. But I know of no way of foreseeing the future and being able to tell which group will, and which won't, be able to restore and care for a locomotive (or anything else.) Thus because some groups will fail, should all groups not even try? What's the worse than can happen? They will fail and the locomotive (or whatever) will get scrapped. At least the equipment has a chance to be save and in my book that's better than doing nothing and the loco (or whatever) having no chance at all. Is that so bad?

GM

nessman
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Post by nessman »

RS-3 wrote:At least the equipment has a chance to be save and in my book that's better than doing nothing and the loco (or whatever) having no chance at all. Is that so bad?
The money spent acquiring and transporting the engine to the museum would then be otherwise better spent preserving and maintaining what they already own - dontcha think?

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