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Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

January 20, 2016 10:56AM avatar
I've been waiting for the dust to settle on this before starting a rant.

First off I don't have much good to say about the present operators who hired me and had me move from Texas on my own nickel for a job that they had not figured out, and never did. When reality set in and cash got tight, they eliminated my job. With no place else to go, I came home to AZ where I have a place to live. My Appalachian Summer ended up costing me nearly $20k. So with that in mind, my views are probably a bit tainted.

There has been animosity between the MSR gang and the rank and file in Cass since forever. Some of it might stem from "outsiders" coming and working on "their" stuff. There was numerous accusations - some verifiable, some not - of theft between the two entities. There is LOTS of bad blood in the trenches there.

The MSR group have their own building and shop where the Climax is being restored, they are not underfoot with the regular shop work. Their shop is connected to the carshop building and when they are there working, they have access to the car shop to use the restrooms and access to the main shop to operate the air compressor. This was always a bone of contention as it was felt someone had to be around on weekends in the winter to watch the place. DGVR pays for the utilities and foots the bill for insurance on the structure (along with the rest of the Cass facilities.

Several times the Pres. of the DGVR mentioned that "we" would be finishing the Climax someday. The restoration was taking too long - working 2 weekends a month - and he wanted the engine running. As to why, that is a good question. the Climax is a 70 ton saturated engine. At best it is equivalent to 70 ton Shay #4, which is deemed too small for many of the trains. It is also slower than molasses. Just as important on that "Shay Empowered" railroad, the crews won't like it, so they won't run it. It will be the same story as the Heisler. The Heisler went down for it's 15 year inspection with less that 400 days of service - because no one likes it. There is still a defacto policy of assigned engines in Cass, and if it "ain't my engine, I ain't working on it, and sure as hell don't want to run it".

During the 2015 Railfan Weekend, there was several times the DGVR Pres. announced to us that "we're not doing this anymore, this is it....." He wanted to get away from a big event and concentrate on smaller, high dollar events. I told him that to do that we needed more historic equipment operating (ballast hoppers don't look very good on supposed log trains). He said we could use what we have. When MSR announced that they would not be sponsoring any more RF Weekends, there was great joy in the DGVR offices as they didn't have to be the bad guys now.

The final blow was a Climax project report published in MSR's newsletter. In that report - which is the mouthpiece of the organization - the project manager announced in print that he was no longer going to use the Cass shop for any machine work or boiler work as (to paraphrase) "the Cass shop does inferior and unsafe work".....

Then it got interesting.... The DGVR Pres went to the next board meeting and raised the question as to why this was allowed to be printed in a public forum, suggesting that this was MSR's position on the matter. MRS blew it off stating it was the project manager's opinion, let it slide. Can you imagine the nuke cloud over Chama if the FOCTS published such an item in it's newsletter? I believe they would be shown the door, and that is what the DGVR's boss has in mind. There was MSR money set aside to erect the tower on the big Lidgerwood skidder up at Whitaker. The boss said he wanted to get that up and make a much better display up there. MSR instead sent the money to the Western Maryland Scenic RR to be spent on rebuilding their C&O malley (and OUT OF STATE project).

When I got there I has visions of the MSR group becoming the FOCTS of Cass, which is what their original focus was, but personalities within the State government, State employees, and now the new operator make that an impossibility.

For the record, in the Cass shop to be rebuilt/overhauled are Shay #2, Heisler #6, Shay #11, BC&G #4, Moore Keppel #6 (3 truck Climax) and I recently read on Trains Newswire that Moore Keppel #3 from Durbin is coming down there for it's Form 4 and overhaul.

One more soap box rant....

WV Parks dumped Cass at the right time. When they did so Shay 2 had been apart for years and because of budget cuts hadn't been touched for a few years. Shay #11 was about to expire its flue time, Heisler #6 had one more year. They were going to be forced to spend some big $$ to keep Cass running. WV Rail Authority should have realized this and demanded several million $$ to get "their engines" (WVDNR still owns the place) up and running. They held the cards. Without WVRA going along with this, Cass would be shuttered. But they didn't go that route. DGVR should have done likewise - no money to fix YOUR property, no trains run. Instead, they too went along with this expecting the money to roll in and they would have this huge shop force rebuilding all this stuff, plus working on the diesels coming over from Elkins. All I could do was shake my head and hope it would last two and half years until I could collect my retirement.

Then reality set in........

...and I still need my 30 months of sevice to retire.



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 01/20/2016 11:09AM by Earl.
Subject Author Posted

NNG - Cass Climax *no longer in* Jeopardy?

cdaspit January 19, 2016 07:11AM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

Tom Moungovan January 19, 2016 09:49AM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

trainrider47 January 19, 2016 10:37AM

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KevinM January 19, 2016 12:41PM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

Brian Norden January 19, 2016 11:30PM

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Randall Hess January 20, 2016 05:13PM

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Mike Stillwell January 20, 2016 05:46PM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

nedsn3 January 20, 2016 08:10AM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

rehunn January 20, 2016 09:03AM

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jalbers January 20, 2016 09:35AM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

Johnson Barr January 20, 2016 04:54PM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

KevinM January 20, 2016 10:17AM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

cdaspit January 20, 2016 10:44AM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

Earl January 20, 2016 10:56AM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

Tomstp January 20, 2016 11:45AM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

jalbers January 20, 2016 11:54AM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

philip.marshall January 20, 2016 11:57AM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

rehunn January 20, 2016 12:29PM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

Earl January 20, 2016 09:15PM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

Rob Gardner January 21, 2016 04:07AM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

Tom Moungovan January 20, 2016 12:57PM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

jgunning January 20, 2016 01:36PM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

Tom Moungovan January 20, 2016 05:17PM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

KevinM January 20, 2016 05:25PM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

Tom Moungovan January 20, 2016 05:53PM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

cdaspit January 20, 2016 06:14PM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

logging2009 January 20, 2016 01:45PM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

cdaspit January 20, 2016 01:53PM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

rehunn January 20, 2016 02:25PM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

szuiderveen January 20, 2016 04:49PM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

trainrider47 January 20, 2016 07:01PM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

rehunn January 20, 2016 07:15PM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

cdaspit January 20, 2016 08:18PM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

Earl January 20, 2016 09:24PM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

Everett Lueck January 21, 2016 08:15AM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

Earl January 20, 2016 09:18PM

Re: NNG - Cass Climax in Jeopardy?

dougvv January 20, 2016 11:37PM

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