Re: Rio vista question
Author: RVJ refugee
Date: 10-07-2018 - 23:07
Joe Magruder Wrote:
> An unofficial answer from a frequent volunteer: I
> hope you enjoyed your visit. The brief answer to
> your question is that we are an electric railway
> museum. The more complex answer is that
> maintaining steam locomotives in running condition
> requires a great deal of maintenance - e.g.,
> boiler rebuilds on a rigorous schedule - that is
> far beyond our capability. In addition, our track
> and bridges were built for a relatively light
> electric railway, not a steam railway. Our diesels
> are part of the collection because of the role
> they played in the history of the formerly
> electric railways with equipment in our
> collection. We use our one operating diesel
> locomotive for various maintenance tasks. We have
> used it in passenger service on special occasions.
> Finally, the Pacific Locomotive Association's
> Niles Canyon Railway runs steam and diesel
> equipment. The two museums complement each other.
I will be the first to admit that WRM was conceived and begun as an electric museum; however, from almost the beginning non-electric equipment was acquired and operated. Maintaining steam locomotives was not "far beyond our capability" when we had a skilled and dedicated steam crew--including some who made steam locomotives their lives' work (just spent time with one of them today). If the diesels are part of the collection because of "the role they played in the history of the formerly electric railways with equipment in our collection," why was the Sacramento Northern 712 given to Portola? The track and bridges were not built for "a relatively light electric railway," but for a full-service freight and passenger railroad that happened to be electrically-powered. Referring to "our one operating diesel" being used "in passenger service on special occasions," that locomotive spent several years pulling thousands of passengers, earning the museum a whole lot of money, and it wasn't the only one. I'm all for preservation and operation of all forms of rail equipment--too bad certain peoples' egos wouldn't allow it.