Railroad Museum of PA question

In recent years, I have not seen the ex- Septa Pioneer III cars numbers 246 and 247. Are these units still here, or have they been moved? I could have just missed these locomotives, but the last pictures taken were from 6 years ago. I have always have had interest in these cars and would like to know. Thank you.

Railfanning Eastern And Western Pa NS areas and Delaware since 2005

Original Post

My question is, why would anyone in their right mind scrap a piece of PRR history, especially a museum that holds hundreds of other ex prr items. These cars were a point in a timeline , in my opinion, that could have helped future generations understand what is was like in the past! That is like going in and scrapping the last M1b or scrapping “Black Jack” 4935. I understand that they were stripped clean, but they could have at least showed a rough understanding. I hope the same fate will not happen to Septa/Reading 9001 when and if she ever arrives.

Railfanning Eastern And Western Pa NS areas and Delaware since 2005

NS6770Fan posted:

My question is, why would anyone in their right mind scrap a piece of PRR history, especially a museum that holds hundreds of other ex prr items. These cars were a point in a timeline , in my opinion, that could have helped future generations understand what is was like in the past! That is like going in and scrapping the last M1b or scrapping “Black Jack” 4935. I understand that they were stripped clean, but they could have at least showed a rough understanding. I hope the same fate will not happen to Septa/Reading 9001 when and if she ever arrives.

The link posted implies they were little more than stripped shells. 

They were more than likely unusable for either restoration or parts. 

Given the fiscal condition of the state it seems a wise choice given the fact that other examples of these cars seem to exist and in much better (restorable) condition.

 

Rob M. ARHS # 3846 PRRT&HS # 8141 EPTC "Life Is Like A Mountain Railway, With An Engineer That's Brave..."

NS6770Fan posted:

My question is, why would anyone in their right mind scrap a piece of PRR history, especially a museum that holds hundreds of other ex prr items. These cars were a point in a timeline , in my opinion, that could have helped future generations understand what is was like in the past! That is like going in and scrapping the last M1b or scrapping “Black Jack” 4935. I understand that they were stripped clean, but they could have at least showed a rough understanding. I hope the same fate will not happen to Septa/Reading 9001 when and if she ever arrives.

As someone who has been in the rail preservation industry for the past 20 years, I can tell you one thing.  Buckle up and get ready for more stuff to get scrapped across this country as the realities of too much stuff and not enough people catches up with us.   It is unfortunate, but the number of people who give their time to help preserve this equipment continues to dwindle.  

Preservation is a participation sport! 

Rick Rowlands

 

Team Member

Bring Back 757 Project

Mad River & NKP Museum

The RR Museum of PA also scrapped the PC (ex-PRR) MP54 they had in the collection a number of years ago. That was a shame as the MP54 was very familiar to those who lived in the PRR's electrified commuter territory. I've read while in service the MP54 was a rugged piece of equipment (and showing wear at the end of their long service lives) but once pulled from service they deteriorated rapidly when stored outdoors. The MP54 at Strasburg I believe had passed the point of an easy / feasible restoration which is why it got scrapped.

At least the Silverliners have a stainless steel shell which withstand outdoor conditions better than steel. Mr. Rowlands is correct though in that too many museums and park displays are deteriorating to where scrapping becomes the practical option. While the Illinois Railway Museum may have too much stuff to restore at least they strive to place everything under cover in barns which stops about 95% of the deterioration process. If more museums and park displays would have the collection in a building or at least under a roof it would help preserved equipment greatly. Volunteers to restore / maintain the equipment is also a great need.

Steamtown has the same problem, government run and rusting steam locomotives and equipment. Money is the issue. Government spends money on what will provide the most benefit. Apparently restoring rusting trains is not very high on the fed’s list. Or the NPS’s list. Or Trump’s list. In the case of RRMoPA, Wolf’s list. Steamtown and RRMoPA needs to get more of their stuff indoors but it takes money to build additions on to the display hall. They already did the train shed addition a while back. It would be a crying shame if Steamtown or RRMoPA had to scrap any steam locomotives due to deterioration because the money wasn’t there. When you think of it, the RRMoPA is like a retirement home. It’s where most of the surviving PRR steam locomotives and equipment that were retired over 50 years ago live but essentially everything is mummified, so to speak, nothing operates or moves unless a piece of equipment has to be relocated on the property. At least the Strasburg is across the street with operating steam all the time. Are there no preserved PRR MP-54’s now? I thought Wilmington and Western has one converted into an open sided coach. I’m surprised at all the Reading steel open window coaches that survived, as well as the Blueliners after SEPTA retired them in 1990. There are even some at Knoxville, TN on a steam tourist railroad. NCTM has ex-Reading coaches, too. West Chester and LGSRY have some Blueliners in service. WK&S and New Hope have ex-Reading steel coaches, and RCT&HS has several Blueliners. There are also some in Danbury, CT several of them the lightweight cars that were a part of the FP9 push pull set. And there are a bunch of preserved CNJ coaches, and Lackawanna Boontons as well.

The government run facilities cannot do what privately owned facilities such as IRM can do.  They cannot just put up a pole building to house equipment in.  The building must be handicap accessible with proper lighting, paved flooring, signage, etc.  The amount of rules that the govt. has to abide by are simply astounding.  On the other hand a private operation can erect simple buildings for storage purposes and get away with it.

RRMPA does have plans to construct a roundhouse for the PRR steam locomotive collection, and has been getting rid of some marginal pieces to make room for that structure.  The NKP 757, ore shunter and the 36" gauge Brookville are three items that were deaccessioned to help make room for the roundhouse.  

I have always felt that a smaller collection of well maintained equipment is better than a large collection of rusty junk.  Once the roundhouse is built the RRMPA will be well on its way to getting ahead of the equipment maintenance issues. 

Rick Rowlands

 

Team Member

Bring Back 757 Project

Mad River & NKP Museum

Rick Rowlands posted:

The government run facilities cannot do what privately owned facilities such as IRM can do.  They cannot just put up a pole building to house equipment in.  The building must be handicap accessible with proper lighting, paved flooring, signage, etc.  The amount of rules that the govt. has to abide by are simply astounding.  On the other hand a private operation can erect simple buildings for storage purposes and get away with it.

I have always felt that a smaller collection of well maintained equipment is better than a large collection of rusty junk.  Once the roundhouse is built the RRMPA will be well on its way to getting ahead of the equipment maintenance issues. 

IRM was able to just put up another barn in the early years but these days they have to follow building code regulations. Yes, it costs more but they also found an unexpected side benefit was thanks to the county and/or fire regulations the required/provided drainage areas help when the campus gets flooded during heavy rains. For those not familiar with IRM at Union, IL the water table is high there and  terrain is flat so it doesn't take that much rain to get the low spots to start flooding. It also does not help that some of the roads and walkways are now paved so now the water has to run off elsewhere.

IRM like many other museums would love to put up another building of two to house more equipment but now we're back to where the money comes from...

I also agree with Rick's feelings on having a smaller but well maintained collection trumps a large but decaying one. The RR museum up in Duluth, MN is a good example as the majority of their collection is under cover and in decent (if not better) condition. I'm sure at the RRMPA it will be better there for overall condition of the collection as a whole once the roundhouse is in place.

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