• STEAMTOWN Discussion

  • General discussion related to all railroad clubs, museums, tourist and scenic lines. Generally this covers museums with static displays, museums that operate excursions, scenic lines that have museums, and so on. Check out the Tourist Railway Association (TRAIN) for more information.
General discussion related to all railroad clubs, museums, tourist and scenic lines. Generally this covers museums with static displays, museums that operate excursions, scenic lines that have museums, and so on. Check out the Tourist Railway Association (TRAIN) for more information.

Moderators: rob216, Miketherailfan

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  by 3rdrail
 
Montclaire wrote:Well, as far a living in the real world, I think it's a decent operation but still one that needs quite a bit of improvement.

Even if Disney did for whatever reason decide to buy out Steamtown, I still do not think that the patronage is there. More than likely, they would transplant the entire operation to Fl, CA, or maybe even a new park somewhere in the South West.

Trust me, I do live in the real world, and I agree that it is a decent operation. Decent meaning not a complete washout.

And, if it did move to the South West, would that be such a bad thing ? (Seems to me that dry heat might be good for the old gals.)
  by RDGTRANSMUSEUM
 
So,IMHO Steamtown cannot exist with out the federal govt being involved? Then dump it. It amounts to welfare for something that dosen't produce,and thats alot of how this country is being dragged down.... IMHO. Hey! 3rd rail ,dont forgret Ward Kimbel of Disney was a big RR/ toy train buff too! I knew him when he was prez of TCA. Now excuse me, gonna call/write to Washington D.C. and get Reading 2124 removed from that h..hole,lest it become a BIGGER pile of rust. Wish me luck,I will need it.
  by 3rdrail
 
There is something very sad and forlorn in Scranton- especially when you walk that ramp that leads to the mall. I took my son there a few years back. Once was enough for both of us. That's not to say that government can't do it. I loved California's State RR Museum in Sacramento. Leaving there, I felt upbeat, and I would love to visit again.
  by Mr rt
 
As far as the "collection" at Steamtown is concerned, I don't think they are doing any worse then you average "museum".
Preservation requires money & labor, neither of which you ever have enough of.
"collecting" is easy, something becomes available & you save it.

Steamtown's problem is they have too much paid staff. They need some "friends of Steamtown" and "friends of Electric City". I've talked with some friends of the trolley part of the complex.

Going not-for-profit ... yea sure, why not move back to Bellows Falls :-(

I for one loved the shop tour (the exhibits were done up very well) & the 13 mile steam ride ... I also enjoyed the trolley ride & would like to do a Red Barrons ball game via the trolley in the future.
  by Hauspiper
 
For the record F Nelson Blount was not from New Hampshire and neither was his company. He owned Blount Seafood in Warren Rohde Island. Which is still in operation this day they produce many soups for Cambels and Costco.
Mike Arnold
Sr. Deck Hand at American Canadan Caribbean Line(F Nelsons brother Luther Blounts company)
Cadet NY Maritime College
www.twinforksnrhs.org
  by Noel Weaver
 
Steamtown while it was in Bellows Falls was under a period of very poor management. The leadership sort of dammed
everybody who came near the place. I remember once in Bellows Falls that I wanted to check out their book store but they
would not let me in to do just that without buying an expensive admission ticket so I told them to keep it that I would buy
my books elsewhere. They did not get along with the State of Vermont, the town of Rockingham nor Bellows Falls, their fans
nor anybody else.
This soured me on Steamtown and it was not until it was part of the NPS at Scranton that I ever went back again and I have
only been there once since their move to Scranton. I will admit it was a great visit, their celebration in maybe 1995 or so.
Nelson Blount would have "turned over in his grave" if he could see what happened in Vermont after his death.
Noel Weaver
  by mxdata
 
Yes, that Vermont Steamtown organization in those days certainly was memorable for something or other!

Looking at what the current recession is doing to the business landscape, with many small outfits closing up or filing for bankruptcy, I think that Steamtown is a lot more secure than some of the other museums out there. The railroad car loadings still look sick, there are hundreds of thousands of tons of merchant shipping doing nothing at all, it makes you wonder if things are worse than we are being told. It will be interesting to see what is left when this is all over. Steamtown will probably still be there, some other tourist operations may not be.

MX
  by 3rdrail
 
Montclaire wrote:Well they just sold out three days worth of excursions, but have no plans to add more to the roster?

http://www.thetimes-tribune.com/steamto ... iday_trips
Very good commentary on that link by a guy named Dick Tighe.
  by Montclaire
 
Dick mentions the Reading Blue Mountain & Northern - what's their story, and how do you think they will fit into Steamtown?
  by Hauspiper
 
Montclaire wrote:Dick mentions the Reading Blue Mountain & Northern - what's their story, and how do you think they will fit into Steamtown?
Well American steam at Steamtown USA is a start. One could only wish. Maybe they would restore the 4-8-4 Reading Northerns locomotive not Steamtown a good way to make a proffit.
Mike Arnold
  by Montclaire
 
Are there any co-operative agreements in place now elsewhere in the country that could be used as a model? I do agree that seeing the reading engine under steam again would really be something.
  by trolleyop
 
We just took the excursion from Steamtown to Tobyhanna and quite enjoyed it. We do 1 to 2 railfan trips a year and this one rated as one of the best we've been on, both in terms of scenery as well as the way it was run. It was a little disappointing to be hauled back by a diesel engine, but we did get plenty of good shots of the CN 3254 under full steam. 2317 was also operating the days we were there, and we got to see it put away into the roundhouse. We also took the trolley ride out to the ballpark. What a nice shop building they have - we were in awe!

Agreeing with some of the other comments, some NPS rangers were not that into trains, but others were quite knowledgeable about railroading in general and the equipment at Steamtown. Also there were volunteer carhosts on the trip that helped make it a pleasant ride. We enjoyed the stops along the way including one where the local historical society turned out in period costume to greet the train.

The train crew told us the excursion pricing is designed so they break even, they carry more passengers in the summer than the other seasons, so it all evens out. From what I can see, the government does not expect Steamtown to "pay for itself". Like with other national parks, the concessions are outsourced, but the place is run by the rangers, and with the amount of investment made in the place the government has a strong reason to keep it up. Some of the yard equipment was interesting to see, especially the CRRNJ coaches. The engines ringing the parking lot could use a better paint job, but I understand that it was probably a "quick coat" or else they would have got nothing. The paint that is on them should at least help preserve them longer.

The rest of Scranton has very little charm, especially the mall and the areas you see on the trolley ride. We drove over to Wilkes-Barre and really the only thing going for the area is that there are railroad tracks running everywhere. It is probably the best place to have an operating railroad museum that isn't in a sterile area off in the desert by itself away from civilization.
Being near the major northeast cities like it is helps draw more potential visitors. It's a lot closer then Strasburg is to most people.

Steamtown - not a failed mission, just needing a little TLC, not unlike the Christmas tree in the Charlie Brown TV special.
  by Mr rt
 
I would say you picked the wrong example ... Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree was dead & devoid of needles.
I'm sure you didn't mean it that way.

We are loosing steam engines one by one, so any group that's still in business & preserving steamers is good.
The ride they offer is one of the best now that most RxRs won't let a steamer on their rails.
  by Montclaire
 
I understand completely that there is a ton of money that goes into these engines, and that they can only be run so long before they have to be completely torn down and rebuilt, but why not always have one in a state of repair, so that eventually when one is ready to be rebuilt, another can take it's place? At least this way, the better engines in the collection that still have a chance at being restored will see the needed attention to keep them in good shape, and visitors can see a new engine back in service every couple of years. Having at least three engines operational will also help to keep down the mileage, which will give them more time between rebuilds. Does Steamtown even have a long range plan?
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