• Electrification for Trolley Museum of New York (Kingston)

  • 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: Miketherailfan, rob216

  by Noel Weaver
 
Sorry but I am still not impressed. Kingston has a lot of history but at this point I think most of it is just that, history. I went through there with a friend, fortunately I was not driving as we needed somebody to watch for signs which were mostly non existant, bumps and turns and neighborhoods that were less than great. Lucky for us we came to the railroad and once we were there, I was pretty much able to find my way to 9-W.
I have to wonder how Branford, Warehouse Point and Seashore could have used these funds for their already existing operations rather than something that for the most part does not amount to very much.
I am tempted to expose this waste to some of the newspapers and other crusaders against wasteful spending. There are loads of legitimate railroad and trolley operations much more advanced than this one including two very close to Kingston that probably had better use for these funds and far more potential than this one.
I am sure that you have a strong belief in what you are doing, I just don't happen to agree and I think lots of others feel the same way that I do.
Noel Weaver
  by Stmtrolleyguy
 
I can't really say weather I'm in favor of this or not, since I've never actually SEEN the place in question in person before.

But some things to keep in mind :

-Kenosha was built 10 years ago; A $5 million price tag then would be $6.3 million today.

-This funding looks like it would cover the complete cost of re-building the track from the ground up with NEW rail/ties/equipment. This isn't a cobbled-together museum line (even though some are quite good.) This is new installation (According to the budget sheet posted way back on page 1.)

-Even if it doesn't include electrification right now, you could run the current gas=powered car on the new track.
  by Mr rt
 
Noel, Thanks for the kind words for Branford, Warehouse Point & Seashore ... I'm a member of all three.
At Branford, this month, we've been scaring folks to pay the bills ... next month it will be the guy in the red suit.
And if we are lucky we'll bring in enough to keep the lights on until Spring.
  by Noel Weaver
 
Mr rt wrote:Noel, Thanks for the kind words for Branford, Warehouse Point & Seashore ... I'm a member of all three.
At Branford, this month, we've been scaring folks to pay the bills ... next month it will be the guy in the red suit.
And if we are lucky we'll bring in enough to keep the lights on until Spring.
I have been a member at Branford for well over 50 years and appreciate what is happening there. The more I read about the grants to Kingston, the madder I get. I still think I might write some letters when I get the ambition to do so. I do not think it is right given that there are already several trolley museums in the north east far more advanced and still needing more funds for improvements and most important protection to the existing plant and rolling stock.
I don't think you have heard the last from me on this one yet.
Noel Weaver
  by Tim Lesniak
 
While I don't agree with the extreme cost of electrification, the fact that it is taxpayer funds, and the rules that the museum is bringing up to justify the cost (which no other electrified railway that crosses utilities has), the one thing that I do agree with is that they applied for the grant and won the grant. We cannot fault them for applying for the grant. Branford, Warehouse Point, and Seashore did not get the money because they did not apply for the grant, and if it was a grant they received from the state of New York, Branford, Warehouse Point, and Seashore would not be eligible for the grant.
  by Noel Weaver
 
Tim Lesniak wrote:While I don't agree with the extreme cost of electrification, the fact that it is taxpayer funds, and the rules that the museum is bringing up to justify the cost (which no other electrified railway that crosses utilities has), the one thing that I do agree with is that they applied for the grant and won the grant. We cannot fault them for applying for the grant. Branford, Warehouse Point, and Seashore did not get the money because they did not apply for the grant, and if it was a grant they received from the state of New York, Branford, Warehouse Point, and Seashore would not be eligible for the grant.
I think there is or was federal funding involved in this.
Noel Weaver
  by Tim Lesniak
 
Noel Weaver wrote:
Tim Lesniak wrote:While I don't agree with the extreme cost of electrification, the fact that it is taxpayer funds, and the rules that the museum is bringing up to justify the cost (which no other electrified railway that crosses utilities has), the one thing that I do agree with is that they applied for the grant and won the grant. We cannot fault them for applying for the grant. Branford, Warehouse Point, and Seashore did not get the money because they did not apply for the grant, and if it was a grant they received from the state of New York, Branford, Warehouse Point, and Seashore would not be eligible for the grant.
I think there is or was federal funding involved in this.
Noel Weaver
Well, then Branford, Warehouse Point, and Seashore had a chance to get it if they applied for it. Like I said above, we cannot fault THEM for applying for the grant and winning it. While I don't agree with it, we cannot fault them.
  by n2xjk
 
At the risk of being fried in the frying pan, some points to followup the posts today:

The track rehab project will be 90% federal, 10% state funds.

The TMNY tracks don't just cross gas utilities, multiple gas lines run parallel to the track for most of its length, including a 600psi gas 'transmission' line that feeds gas to several cities in the Hudson Valley. This is what makes the $/foot ratio higher than might be 'expected.'

None of the state and federal funds 'benefiting' the museum are awarded to the museum per se, the City of Kingston is the applicant, awardee and administrator of the grants. There are several more projects that the City of Kingston has had funded recently that don't relate to the trolley museum, so I haven't mentioned them. One example: the sewer treatment plant which is next door to the museum will be receiving a $450,000 face lift/facade (this came from the same bucket of state money that funded the TMNY building facade).
  by Otto Vondrak
 
n2xjk wrote:The TMNY tracks don't just cross gas utilities, multiple gas lines run parallel to the track for most of its length, including a 600psi gas 'transmission' line that feeds gas to several cities in the Hudson Valley. This is what makes the $/foot ratio higher than might be 'expected.'
Did these utility lines exist in 1983? Just curious why the museum would be located in an area that would be an impediment to electrification in the first place. Not that you had anything to do with that decision, I'm sure, but I think we're all happy you got this grant, but we're simply dumbfounded at the maximum cost and minimal perceived return.
  by n2xjk
 
Yes, but in 1983, the collection was scattered across at least 6 locations from Philadelphia to Brooklyn. The City of Kingston was looking for an occupant for the recently abandoned Conrail ROW, and TMNY was looking for a location to occupy. I doubt that there was much consideration of utility issues at the time of the lease signing.
  by Otto Vondrak
 
n2xjk wrote:I doubt that there was much consideration of utility issues at the time of the lease signing.
So, if I was a jerk, I'd say that this grant is making up for an oversight in 1983. Or, TMNY never seriously considered electrification in the first place, and the grant is helping overcome the obstacle that stands in the way of electrification.

Even though this grant does not cover the costs of electrification at all.. How will TMNY address the issue of visitor capacity? As far as I know, there's only the Johnstown converted bus in service. I assume you are expecting more than 30 (estimated capacity of Johnstown car) visitors at a time to the new and improved museum facility.

These are serious questions and I'm not trying to pick a fight. I would assume that if TMNY is wisely investing in the upgrade of its facilities, they are expecting to host more visitors in the future.

-otto-
  by n2xjk
 
The museum vision statement:
The museum and the trolley operation become a vital part of the growth and visitor appeal of the Kingston Waterfront.
I would say that implies a trolley museum growing in all senses of the word as the waterfront develops, including passenger capacity of the line. There's huge growth potential here. It's just a question of how quickly development progresses. Example: there's 17 acres of un- and under-developed waterfront land owned by a property management company along the 1.5 mile line we operate on now. The LWRP*, adopted nearly 20 years ago, requires that any development along the trolley tracks also improves the tracks in some way.

The harder question is how does TMNY match the pace of these expectations with its limited budget and current volunteers? The Board faces the same problems any other non-profit organization has of improving its financial future and improving volunteer participation, during a recession no less.

* http://www.nyswaterfronts.com/aboutus_lwrp.asp
  by Noel Weaver
 
All of this is just fine but I still think it is a gross misuse of federal funds when such funds could be put to use elsewhere in the railroad field and serve a much better purpose.
How much money from TMNY is going into this? How much effort did the TMNY exert to raise funds for this? There are lots of additional questions that could be asked too.
Noel Weaver
  by n2xjk
 
Noel,
Let me put it this way: We are meeting all local match requirements for the allocated funding. In most cases, the local match requirement for one grant is met by securing other qualifying grants. If we added up all the grants either TMNY itself or Kingston on our behalf applied for over the past 5 or 6 years, it's well over 100, of which 7 that I can think of have been awarded adding up to roughly $1.5M. Pick your favorite non-profit and see what their grant application to award ratio is. I don't expect we're off the norm by much.
  by Otto Vondrak
 
My question was not answered... How much capacity does TMNY have to carry passengers over its line? How many cars are in service right now to handle passengers on the rebuilt line? I only know of the Johnstown car.

-otto-