Monday, April 26, 2010

Save the LRC?

Jason Shron, well-known to modelers as the founder of the excellent Rapido Trains, has launched a campaign to save VIA LRC 6917 from the scrappers. 6917 and two other LRC engines (6914, 6919) are at VIA's Toronto Maintenance Centre and are slated to be scrapped soon. The intent is for 6917 to be restored to at least display condition, and moved to the site of soon-to-open Toronto Railway Heritage Centre at the bottom of John Street in Toronto, at the former CP roundhouse. They need to raise well over $100,000 to purchase the locomotive and move it to the centre. Toronto Sun article

Fellow LRC VIA 6921 is at the Canadian Railway Museum. I shot it in July 2005.
Ex-VIA LRC 6921 at the Canadian Railway Museum

The LRC units were built by Bombardier (successor to MLW in Canada) between 1980 and 1984. VIA had 33? of these units at one point, and they operated for close to 20 years on VIA before being replaced by the F40PH-2s we all know and love.

I was going to go on a bit of a rant about spending a lot of money to preserve a second LRC, when one is already preserved, but that would be wrong. It's great that Jason is passionate about preserving the LRC and supporting the new museum in Toronto. It's great that he is putting a lot of his own money and time into the project, and nobody should discourage him from that. More people and more funds are needed for railway preservation, and I'd like to hear more stories like this.

What are your thoughts on preservation of railway items, like locomotives and cars?


Unknown said...

Trains are very fascinating and something many of us either take for granted as part of the neighbourhood or look at as a nuisance when trying to get to work. I grew up in Windsor, Ontario and there were plenty of trains all around us. I grew up with them. In Edmonton, they are kind of fixed to one area of the city. However, we have a train museum and restoration facility that works on minimal funding and lots of volunteerism. I take my kids every year because they can actually sit in the engineer's seats or check out the beds in old passenger cars without any issues. The museum allows that. Awesome Blog site. Keep up the good work.

Robert in Port Townsend said...

Preservation efforts are problematic, aren't they? On one hand, we as a society are trophy collectors and like to surround ourselves with momentous of our successes.

On the other hand, lack of time, money and manpower conspire to defeat such efforts as rehabilitating a ship, building or locomotive.

The historic Kalakala art deco Black Ball ferry is languishing away on a waterway in Tacoma The owner has been begging for years for help in restoring her. Citizens in Blaine Washington have been struggling for some time to save a historic Great Northern station from the bulldozer.

It took a millionaire (owner of Evergreen Air in McMinnville) to salvage the "Spruce Goose." And there are enough of us around that bristle every time NP 2626 is brought up!

Many of these efforts, unfortunately, get caught up with conflicting egos and competition for people's time. I was a volunteer at the original Puget Sound Historical Association who struggled for years to save NP and Canadian Collieries locomotives.

When you have only volunteers, and they have limited time (usually have a home to take care of on the weekend,) and limited funds to contribute, making salvage and restoration daunting.

One has to remember, that when in service, these structures and transportation machines had full time round the clock maintenance and upkeep.

However, the rewards for success can be wonderful! I remember taking a shot of CNR 2141 dying behind Russell's Roundhouse in Victoria, a pen stroke away from the razor blade factory. Last I heard she's running tourists in Kamloops! And thank gawd every day that the Union Pacific Railroad pitched in to save some big steel for prosperity. But look at the manpower and monies they were able to bring to the table!

I think if projects are carefully selected based on historical contribution, we will manage to muddle along, and savor success every now and then!

Andi B. said...

it's very intriguing to me to see an entire blog devoted to a train fascination. it's great to hear people so passionate about the preservation of something that i barely think of in my day to day life. having a two year old, i can see how the preservation of rail cars can be an education tool down the road. thanks for sharing :)

Rory A Gooderick said...

very interesting blog thanks for posting :)
If you have time then please take a look at my blogs, i update them regularly and write them about many different topics.


Canadian Train Geek said...

Good thoughts. I am glad people spend their time and money to preserve things for future generations. Photos are great, but nothing beats being able to sit in a train car or locomotive.

Many of these efforts, unfortunately, get caught up with conflicting egos and competition for people's time

You said it, brother! It seems that a lot of these volunteer organizations are magnets for people with strong egos. More than one preservation effort has been "derailed" by one or two strong egos.

Jamie Masters said...

this is for OIl-Electric- CNR 2141 was not sitting by theE&N Russel roundhouse. Rather, it sat forlornly from September 1958 to 1961 beside the engine house and shops at Canadian National's Point Ellice yard in Victoria.