• Comments on WNY area historical societies

  • 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 Railroaded
 
I'd like to leave my 2 cents on local "preservation" efforts. Now, you can flame up this post until Otto locks it, but the recent thread on the BCK #43 has got me in a tizzy and I gotta do what I gotta do. All I want to say is that from my perspective, generally now, most historical groups (of whatever interest, but with regard to local railroads or stations) can't seem to get anything really worthwhile done because they act as a team of individuals. Everyone has their little pet projects that don't seem to come across as a total group effort that everyone can get involved in to the better of the origanization and public. If it were me, I'd collect less junk and instead of having 20 things that go nowhere, maybe I'd try to concentrate my limited money and volunteer effort into some smaller, more "doable" ideas that can actually get done. I guess, on a personal note, and maybe from being an only child, I just don't understand, and never will understand the group mentality. I've always been one to come up with a plan and then decide to do it, or not, not to go into group discussions, and have a million different ideas floating around, from pie in the sky to practical, only to have nothing of substance really get done.
Local groups do have a problem with protecting their collection from vandals & weather, mostly due to the lack of a permanent home for all the stuff that's scattered all over town, and yes I know how hard and expensive it would be to acually house it all somewhere, but maybe their should have been a plan in place for this years ago?
On a side note, the cancellation of the excursion trip to Cleveland out of Buffalo this year was a major dissapointment for me and my family, screwing up the end of our summer and a week vacation from work, and convincing me that the last thread of hope I held out for historical groups was to be cut and that you can't rely on them for anything they say they will do. I layed down almost $800 for that trip, planned around it, hyped it up to my wife & my 10 year old, and looked forward to it all summer only to have it blow up in my face, yeah we got the money back but we arn't too happy about how that whole thing went down and there's no way I'm going to get involved with another trip again.

-B in B
  by pablo
 
I should state that I wish not to flame in any way.

However, my comments and my experience are what they are. There are numerous societies, railroad or no, that do good work all over Western New York.

Dave Becker
  by jrs363
 
I gotta ask, B&B, ,,,

Have you ever volunteered to help any local groups? either financially, or physically?
  by Railroaded
 
For me, it's boats first, trains second. I'm a member of the Lower Lakes Marine Historical Society. It's only 200 members strong, but we publish a bi-monthly newsletter covering history & current events related to shipping in Buffalo, Lackawanna, & Tonawanda that includes a vessel traffic record like my blog on the boatnerd, but with a little more detail, we have a museum that's open 3 days a week, an extensive collection of artifatcs, photos, and archives available to the public along with a gift shop in a centrally located building downtown. We did look into getting a lake freighter for a museum, the ship was offered for free, but the rest of the costs were way beyond what we could handel with any sort of respectable display so that idea was not persued.
There are lots of railroad related photos in the archives for anyone interested, stop in.

http://www.llmhs.org/

-B in B
  by unknown
 
The problem with the WNYRHS I believe lies with the upper management. However, before I start bashing this organization, let me first mention the good that they do. People often forget about the 5 New York Central coaches which are used in regular service on the Falls Rd. Railroad. These coaches are maintained in tip top shape, and are a thrill to ride in. Second, the WNYRHS purchased, restored and beautifully maintains two depots. The former Lehigh Valley in Williamsville, New York, and the Buffalo, Rochester Pittsburgh Railway depot in Orchard Park, NY. These stations are gems and the WNYRHS should be applauded for there work on them. Third, the organization puts on two train shows a year, which I have been attending since I can remember. Sure, there are other train shows in and around town, but I always look forward to the Hamburg train shows each year.
That being said, there are some aspects of the organization that could use improvement. The previously mentioned problem of too much equipment, and nowhere to store it sticks out like a sore thumb. Is it really that big a deal? Since I was a kid, every time we went through Hamburg we had to stop and see the PRR 4483. Sure it doesn't run, and it hasn't been moved in years, but it's painted every now and then, and it's accessible to the public. I wouldn't say that where it's currently parked is where everyone envisioned it's permanent home being back when it was brought here in 1983, but whats wrong with where it is now? You really want to get your blood boiling, do a little research and learn what exactly happened to South Buffalo 77, it's quit a story!
Brian, it's sounds like you are mostly mad about the Amtrak excursion being canceled. I would be too. It sounds like you and your family were wronged in this situation and I feel for you. The problem with that was timing. The WNYRHS was offered that train and jumped on it without really thinking it through. On retrospect it was a bad decision, however hindsight is always 50/50. An event like that takes far longer to sell tickets then was allowed for, and when Amtrak came asking for a deposit, they simply hadn't sold enough tickets to make the down payment on reserving the train. I think a good gesture on the WNYRHS part would be to offer tickets on the 2010 trip at a reduced price to everyone who had booked on this past years trip.
The problems with the organization seem to come from the top. As I first mentioned. The willingness to purchase anything and everything that comes along has to stop. More attention and detail must be paid to current projects and situations. In the end, i would say that the situation is a wash. The organization does enough too keep themselfs reputable, and yet there is definitely room for improvement.

Another quick note, I beg everyone to please keep this on topic, and not to give Otto any reason to lock it. This is a good debate which I think is long overdue, as long as we do it right!
  by jrs363
 
They key word for the future will be rationaliztion. Accepting what you can and can not do with the financial and manpower resources at hand.

It is interesting to note that normally we are critcized here for not rescuing some piece of equipment from someones favorite railroad.

John Stewart
  by lvrr325
 
From what I've seen, most historical societies grow to become a sewing circle of older folks who are happy with their little clique, do nothing to encourage new members, and crap on the few members who come along of their own accord and want to do things. Which is not to say everyone in every society are bad people, but you'll often find a handful of people doing all of the work. The others simply become afraid to do anything at all, and equipment falls into disrepair or becomes the target of vandals. They may have some things that are well maintained and in good shape, but with only a few people to maintain things, those people can't be everywhere, so other pieces slowly turn to scrap metal.

Additionally when they get a member who makes it hard for them to get any work done, they are slow to act to find a means to deal with or remove the offending members. I've heard stories as extreme as people being chased around by someone waving a large wrench; while that certainly drives others away, simply not getting along with others or following a personal agenda is enough to derail progress as a whole.

I know of one group who had a pair of operable locomotives, that the brakes came due for inspection. The CMO proposed taking a donation of a pair of other units from which parts could be obtained to upgrade the brakes on the units to a schedule that was more operator-friendly and needed less frequent inspection. His suggestion was turned down flat, and the units, though operable, are stuck where they are until the brakes are torn down and inspected. Eventually the CMO became so frustrated that when he got another opportunity, he left - to another state. The same group later scrapped a piece which could have been cosmetically restored and displayed, and had been in good enough shape to ship on it's own wheels when it arrived.

As time passes, you will see more of them get to the point where not enough members want to participate to continue, and like the group in Binghamton they will sell or scrap their collection and simply fade away. Or those who do participate will pass on, with few to no people left to pick up where they leave off.

Go to an NHRS public meeting and look over the people attending. How many are under 40? Under 20?


The future doesn't look good, but on the other hand perhaps as the current generation retires or leaves, new people, or people who had left in the past, will come in to fill the void.
  by Luther Brefo
 
lvrr325 wrote:From what I've seen, most historical societies grow to become a sewing circle of older folks who are happy with their little clique, do nothing to encourage new members, and crap on the few members who come along of their own accord and want to do things. Which is not to say everyone in every society are bad people, but you'll often find a handful of people doing all of the work. The others simply become afraid to do anything at all, and equipment falls into disrepair or becomes the target of vandals. They may have some things that are well maintained and in good shape, but with only a few people to maintain things, those people can't be everywhere, so other pieces slowly turn to scrap metal.
Fairly accurate.
I know of one group who had a pair of operable locomotives, that the brakes came due for inspection. The CMO proposed taking a donation of a pair of other units from which parts could be obtained to upgrade the brakes on the units to a schedule that was more operator-friendly and needed less frequent inspection. His suggestion was turned down flat, and the units, though operable, are stuck where they are until the brakes are torn down and inspected. Eventually the CMO became so frustrated that when he got another opportunity, he left - to another state.
Sometimes logic does not prevail but that is how history works. Just because it would make the units more easily supported does not always mean the group will go for it. Crippled by these limitations, a lot of pieces will die in time. Sometimes substitutions of parts that need to be substituted to keep the operable equipment going is a good thing. The purists will holler and cry foul but isn't it worst to let it go altogether? In then end, its men being sentimental about metal. Why is one arrangement of metal more significant than another? :)
As time passes, you will see more of them get to the point where not enough members want to participate to continue, and like the group in Binghamton they will sell or scrap their collection and simply fade away. Or those who do participate will pass on, with few to no people left to pick up where they leave off.
It happens. And no group is immune to this possibility.



Go to an NHRS public meeting and look over the people attending. How many are under 40? Under 20?


The future doesn't look good, but on the other hand perhaps as the current generation retires or leaves, new people, or people who had left in the past, will come in to fill the void.[/quote]
  by jrs363
 
Keeping this on a positive note,,,

Luther is a board member and active volunteer with the Rochester NRHS chapter, which operates the R&GVRRM. He is clearly under thirty. We have two other board members who are under thirty, and had a fourth until he moved away, along with another active member who was also under thirty. We would seroiusly welcome new younger members who want to run for office. Unlike some groups we hold elections every year.

We have been very fortunate to have a nice relationship with the RIT Model railroad club. It has been a good source for members. We have also had a Young Railfans program under the Venture Scouting arm of the BSA. That produced a couple of current volunteers. It would be nice to get that going again.
  by Otto Vondrak
 
We all need the same thing:

TIME.

PEOPLE.

MONEY.


To folks who want to see more "preservation" done, please help us with any of the above. Maybe you know someone who can donate services or materials at a discount. Maybe you know a guy who knows a guy. Maybe you can help write grants, knock on doors for donations, help us mow the lawn. Anything. You always don't need to be on site swinging a hammer to be helpful.

Getting off my soapbox...

-otto-
  by sd80mac
 
jrs363 wrote:He is clearly under thirty. We have two other board members who are under thirty, and had a fourth until he moved away, along with another active member who was also under thirty. We would seroiusly welcome new younger members who want to run for office. Unlike some groups we hold elections every year.
I think the other possible reason for keeping 20 something and 30 something away are family commitment. I would like to be part of R&GVRRM however my kids kept me away from R&GVRRM. On some Saturday, I head out to Buffalo for my sons' hockey games and passed R&GVRRM first part of the day. On my way back home, they are empty, or at least 2 or 3 cars parked there..

Until my kids are in college, i'm stuck with family commitment. I think that what would happened with most of the people. I have 3 more years to go before my boys are gone from HS unless my daugther want to join a sport team that may kept me busy...

I did join with FCTT many moons ago and was able to attend for 1 and half year.. Then my boys started to be very active with sports. I couldn't give FCTT my commitment and I told them that I would need to step out. And I will come back when I am "free"
  by jnugent56
 
sd80mac wrote:On my way back home, they are empty, or at least 2 or 3 cars parked there..
We have some parking by the restoration building, so it may be possible that a bunch of the cars are out of sight up on the hill. We also like to park across the street too... my Jeep is usually hiding behind the turntable deck. Feel free to drop by if you're driving through! There is usually someone there until dark all year round on Saturdays. Some of us will even cook outside on the grill at the end of the day... well, when the weather is nice. :-D

I am one of the trustees that John was talking about who are under 30... actually, I'm 26. :-D I live in Medina, but make the trip to Rochester about 2 to 3 times a week... Tuesday evenings, Saturdays, and about every other Thursday for chapter and trustee meetings. I would probably need to cut back if I had kids, but right now I'm enjoying being free and out of college. I was a very busy guy at RIT, and it has been nice to pursue one of my longtime dreams: working on railroad equipment.
  by Otto Vondrak
 
It's very easy to come up with reasons not to be involved... but it's even easier to contribute. I'll say it again: You don't have to be on site to make a difference. You don't even have to write us a big check (though it would be nice). There are many, many ways to support your favorite project.

ASK!
  by Tim Lesniak
 
jnugent56 wrote:I am one of the trustees that John was talking about who are under 30... actually, I'm 26. :-D
Its great to see other young people in the railway preservation industry that are not afraid to step up to the plate. I was elected at the age of 20 to the Board of Directors at Connecticut Trolley Museum (I'm 22 now).

Tim Lesniak
Corporate Secretary
CT Electric Railway
  by sd80mac
 
jnugent56 wrote:We have some parking by the restoration building, so it may be possible that a bunch of the cars are out of sight up on the hill. We also like to park across the street too... my Jeep is usually hiding behind the turntable deck. Feel free to drop by if you're driving through! There is usually someone there until dark all year round on Saturdays. Some of us will even cook outside on the grill at the end of the day... well, when the weather is nice. :-D

I always checked 2 areas- one diretly across track from station and another one where you mentioned. I never thought of parking lot up the hill. I'll make sure to check 3rd parking area when I decide to drop by. or crash the grill party for food ;) - just kidding - i wont stop by just for the food.. lol

I did saw luther was about to walk across road to station when I drove by one day. I made quick stop and had short chat...