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Re: Rain on Parade Part II

Doug vV
June 11, 2000 02:15AM
Hi Dennis,
There has been allot of activity on the BBS about the impromptu Friends of the San Juan Extension (SJE).
I deeply regret that I was not able to find some way to link my desire to help preserve the Colorado narrow gauge with the direction the Friends of the C&TS (FRIENDS). I have been trying for 8 odd years to connect. I have planned 4 trips out to work sessions only to be stopped by uncontrollable events. In 1992, I was laid off from one job and was unemplyed for 9 months. In 1993 or 4, I had 2 deaths in the family in Harrisburg PA and my vacation money went for funneral trips. The same happened about 1996 or 1997.
This year, I'd connected with the 0579 group and I ended up with a tumor that cause partial blindness in my right eye. There was a 50-50 chance I'd not get my sight back. I was in the CRITICAL CARE UNIT of the hospital for 3 days after surgery because my pituitary gland was removed in addition to the tumor. I now have 5 weeks of radiation coming up.
I have tried to find a Friends of the C&TS project to do on my own. When that failed, I asked what the Friends needed done and got no response (I FULLY understand that the Friends are geared up for hands-on work sessions and not long distance projects). I started my own information program in about 1995 to allow other passengers on the train to come back to visit my caboose and to explain about the caboose and the railroad and the Friends of the C&TS. I figured, well maybe I should join the Friend's docent program. Terri Shaw told me who to talk to. I have tried three times to connect with the person and have yet to receive a response.
I just posted on the BBS the free distribution of software that goes with Signal Computer's Dispatcher 2 game/simulation. 9-12 months ago I offered it to someone in the Friends (I think it was Terri Shaw). I figured the Friends could offer it through the Whistle Stop Shop for a $5-10 each and make some money for the Friends. I've never gotten a response.
I offered my machine shop services to the Friends several times for the preperation before a work session and until I received John West's post, I never got anywhere with it.
I realize that the Friends concentrate on the work sessions and in the past 12-18 months have had the additonal difficult and extremely urgent task of saving the 2000 operating season. It is definitely more important than my software.
However the reaction on the BBS was that I was not trying to find a way to link up with the Friends when I feel I had tried everything I could and had failed.
The fact that I can not find something to do in conjunction with the Friends does not mean I am not as passionate at those Friends that come out every session. I just have additional restrictions.
Most of those who are in the SJE (and there are only 5-6 of us) are very passionate about doing something to save a bit of Colorado narrow gauge history but can not seem to fit within the Friends operating framework centered around work sessions. At least one is bitter about it. Me, there is no animosity about those in the higher up of the Friends, there is just not the machinery to handle those of us who have additional restrictions and can not get out to work sessions.
I am an engineer and a problem solver. When Jessica Stacey posted about the Durango Herald article, I automatically evaluated it (sub-consiously) and concluded that there was still a possibility to save the old grade and I posted how to do it. I did the same thing a year or two ago on the old BBS when many were panicing about locomotives and they started saying about building new ones. I pointed out how to build a new locomotive so that people might see that the task of building a new loco was harder than restoring existing locos.
This impromptu SJE group has provided me with the connection to preservation of the Colorado narrow gauge that I never found in eight years of trying at the Friends.
Realistically (and agreed upon by the SJE members) is that our first goal is a preservation study of the line and an economic evaluation to see if there is economic justification to relay any or all of the grade. I personally DO NOT FEEL there is anymore economic justification now than when the line was abandoned in 1968. If, on the outside chance there is justification, everyone here has realized that another operator in the area is dumb and devisive. The consensous is that if we do find justification and can put easements and land together to connect Durango to Chama, we should turn it over to the C&TS Railroad Commission (if they'll have it) and see if either the D&SNG or the C&TS or both will operate part or all of the line. Both the D&SNG and the C&TS has the reservations systems, equipment, staff, etc to run a railroad and it is easier to expand a functioning item than to start one from scratch.
I was told before surgery that my tumor was difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can also by caused by many different other illnesses that are more common. I was also told that it was not unheard of that the tumor would pop and the fluid in it would go into the spinal column and cause a death that looked like an annurism. I was told that I was lucky that I lost my eye sight the way I did because it is one of the few clear signs of a tumor.
I do not curently feel I can wait any longer to connect with Colorado narrow gauge preservation. The posts on the BBS to me (and for that mater Shank) were @#$%& (narrow gauge preservation is only correct when done withing the confines of the Friends) and that some Friends members were trying to pull a "Durango" (kill us, and for that matter Shank, the way Durango killed the National Park Service's attempt to save the entire railroad).
I fully agree that all preservation efforts should be focused at a single point. However I could not make a connection with the Friends. If the Friends do not want this type of wildcatting, then they need to find a way to expand their operations so that people like those who joined the SJE feel connected. The Friends do not have to do this, but if they do not, they must realize that this sort of thing WILL happen.
I love the Friends and what they do and stand for. Once I get my stamina back and can get into the shop, I'll use John West's contact for possible shop work. I also like the SV president's suggestion on the hard grease air gun. I'd probably set the profits (if any) asside for the restoration of another K-37. I'd like to see 483 run again, but I'd also like to see double headed K-37's on the hill.
I own 22 acres of timber land in North Georgia. I've been contacted by 2 firms in the past month about selling my timber. If the sale of timber happens, I do plan to come out to the C&TS and rent a small freight train. The visitors to the C&TS should see that railroading is not only riding a passenger train, but also the movement of freight and having trains meet each other. I might even ask some strangers in Chama to ride with me to get a feel for a freight train and what it is all about. Ever since I was 4 (1960) and got my first train ride of any type in the cab of a steam locomotive for about 30 miles that was pulling revenue freight on a freight only short line, I've tried to share my experiences with others so they might understand railroads better. That's one reason I have always opened my "private" caboose charter to others (especially kids) on the trains. I feel very strongly about teaching and showing people about railroading and the C&TS is an excellent way to experience it. It is much better than a static display.
I'd prefer to see a freight train move on the C&TS a few times a week to enhance the visitor's experience, but it also needs to pay for itself.
I appologise only that I stirred up controversy on this BBS, but I do not regret finding a way to feel connceted to preservation. If the Friends decide that yes they want to tap this pool of possible talent, great. If not, well we each have to do what we feel is best. I just hope that some of those indignant people on the BBS will understand that we have a Constitutionally garantteed right to the persuit of happiness and we are each different and have to chase different items to find that happiness. We each have a different set of constraint on our lives and have to act accordingly.
I'd love to move to Colorado to be able to better help the Friends, but my professional field does not have jobs out there. Recently (past 3-4 years), Mom has become my financial responsibility and Dad is burried here in Atlanta. So moving out to Alamosa is now out of the question for awhile.
Douglas Edgar van Veelen
Subject Author Posted

Important: From The Friends of the SJE, on engines

Grant Houston June 07, 2000 02:24PM


Doug vV June 07, 2000 03:55PM

Re: SJE R.O.W. Drawings

Bill Malin June 07, 2000 04:35PM

Re: SJE R.O.W. Drawings

Doug vV June 07, 2000 05:55PM

Re: SJE R.O.W. Drawings

Ed Lecuyer June 08, 2000 07:02AM

What can we do for the Friends of the C&TS?

Doug vV June 08, 2000 11:44AM

Re: SJE R.O.W. Drawings on CD ROM

Bill Malin June 08, 2000 11:58PM

Re: ROW Reconstruction

Herb Kelsey June 08, 2000 12:29AM

Re: ROW Reconstruction

ncng9 June 08, 2000 01:36AM

Re: ROW Reconstruction

Dennis O'Berry June 08, 2000 01:19PM

I agree

Grant Houston June 08, 2000 02:48PM

Rain on Parade Part II

Josh McNeal June 11, 2000 01:46AM

Re: Rain on Parade Part II

Doug vV June 11, 2000 02:15AM

Re: ROW Reconstruction - do the RGS instead!

Steven Haworth June 08, 2000 10:01AM

Re: ROW Reconstruction - opps, wrong URL

Steven H June 08, 2000 10:03AM

Re: ROW Reconstruction - opps, wrong URL

Tim Bain June 08, 2000 07:53PM

RGS CoachRe: ROW Reconstruction - opps, wrong URL

Steven H June 09, 2000 08:03AM

Got it

Grant Houston June 07, 2000 05:02PM


B. Norden June 07, 2000 08:54PM

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