From the Danbury Railway Museum's Facebook page:
11-20-2022 For Immediate Release:
The latest from Beacon Island regarding the Historic New York Central S-1 and T-3a.
It's now or never for the One of a kind S-1 and last remaining T-3a. But additional funding is now required as project costs risen significantly over the past two weeks.
Over the course of the last 6 months Beacon Island has been closed to all heavy equipment contractors pending the return of permits to the land owners. Out of respect to the land owners we have been relatively quiet about the happenings on Beacon Island.
News was given to us last month that permits were being issued, and work could resume on the property November 15th. Sometime in the last 6 months, the land owner contracted with a consulting firm to oversee the development of the property. We had been working with the land owner before the site shut down, lining up contractors, riggers, movers, and scrappers. After the consulting firm was hired by the land owner, we would have to report to them, as they were charged with completing the land development.
Scrapping of the two diesels we own, and four passenger cars (now owned by the land owner) was set to commence before the site shut-down, but was stalled due to clarification of ownership of the four passenger cars.. Three scrappers were contacted to bid on the job, costs to scrap the equipment ranged from $63,000, $26,000, $20,000 and $0.
After passenger car ownership was secured by the land owner, a scrapper was selected. And scrapping is set to commence next week, at $0 cost to the museum, with the scrapper forcing our hand and receiving all the metal, including the trucks from the two diesels.
Over the last week though, the project has taken a turn for the worse. The plan to move the electrics out over the power plant property was halted as one of the natural gas pipe- line owners did not want the weight of the locomotives going over their line buried 30 feet in the ground unless an expensive temporary bridge was built.
Removing the electrics through the existing access-way is not feasible as it goes under a railroad mainline, and the sharp incline on the other side into the parking lot of a truck repair shop makes this impossible, this was always the case. Where the historic locos currently sit is where the new access road from River Road (RT NY-144) onto Beacon Island is set to end. The consulting firm needs this area cleared of all rolling stock and rail infrastructure, so the new access road can be built and preparation to the ground started for construction of one of the buildings.
At the beginning of the month, the project was on track according to schedule.
By the end of last week the estimated project cost has increased significantly. The consulting firm has worked with us in finding an area where the locomotives can be stored until such a time they can be loaded and hauled out on the new access road, set to be completed within two months. Additional costs include cranes and matting necessary to store and later load the locomotives. We asked the consulting firm if instead of temporarily moving the engines at a cost of $230,000 we could just push them north on the rails, out of the way of construction of the access road. They said no, because they plan on rehabilitating the existing railroad right of way into a haul road for stone delivery trucks. We countered and tried to meet in the middle, by asking if we could move the engines, and scrap the rails north and south of the locomotives where they are spotted, freeing up their future haul road, and then just building a passing lane alongside the engines, and again their response was no. This multi-hundred million dollar project has been delayed six months due to a Title 78 lawsuit by local residents and permits held up. Of the 80 acres of land that will be developed, our locomotives are right in the spot where the earliest stages of construction need to occur.
At this time the cost of this project has ballooned to a point where existing donations simply can't cover it, especially if the consulting firm will also be charging us unknown storage fees. Funding this project through use of the museum surplus puts the future of our organization in great financial uncertainty, our board's number one responsibility is to keep our museum financially viable, and after us and many other organizations hemorrhaged money during the pandemic, this task has not been easy.
While we didn't create the situation where the locomotives ended up where they are now, a small group of strong-willed volunteers, and a lot of money and resources has already been expended trying to undo mistakes of the past. We want to see these locomotives saved, if not by us then so be it, we are currently working many angles to try and secure the future of the two electrics, but the iron is hottest now, and now is the time to strike as it is about to hit the fan.
Donations are still being accepted on our website. https://www.danburyrail.org/electrics