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Re: What do you think of the BR&W?
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WM734
Former Member
Re: What do you think of the BR&W?
 
« Reply #60 on: Aug 27th, 2007, 8:53pm »
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Hate to burst your bubble Joe, but I don't think 2 plastic ties (plastic ties, what a great solution to the problem) and rails that have been sitting out in ringoes yard rusting away for years is exactly enough progress to actually make a difference.  Those rails and ties have been sitting out there for a while now.  Sure they may have the things to get the jobs done, but they need to actually get it done, not just talk about it.
 
I hear people ask some of the folks in the shops (not naming any names) "when will 60 be back"? (a question asked all the time that seems to get me a bit mad).  They have the additude of "oh we'll have it done and running by this October!"....as if they are oh so confident.  I can tell you (no BS included) that 60 will be lucky to be running by May of '08.  In order for things to happen, things need to get done and not just talked about.  Some of the people there only work on her for a hobby, just to hang around, god forbid it ever gets finished!
 
All in all though, most working on her would kill to see her run again and are working exactly for that.  I sure am hoping '08 will be the big year.  Maybe management will pull their heads out of there ***** and realize what a money-maker they have in the making.  
 
What do I know, I'm only 17...if I said anything to them (never would do that BTW) then who the heck am I...
 
-Colin


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Black_River_Joe
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Re: What do you think of the BR&W?
 
« Reply #61 on: Aug 28th, 2007, 9:31am »
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Yes...Money is the greatest problem here.  Colin, time and time again have I heard the 60 question and I agree with what you stated. First the BRW/BRRHT needs to get organized and focus on the track from ringoes to three bridges.  Now i know that this has been discused but If I have to, I will get a group of people (like 20 people) and one day we can start in ringoes. Just as long as the Railroad has the Proper equitment, it should go great. I am going to try my best to get something big done at the BRW by the 2008 year.  
 
~Joe


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WM734
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Re: What do you think of the BR&W?
 
« Reply #62 on: Aug 28th, 2007, 6:12pm »
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Once again Joe, I hate to burst your bubble, but it will take a lot longer than the year 2008 to "get something big done", and that's if the management says yes.  I'm not sure if the BRRHT has anything to do with the right of way, thats the actual railroad, the trust runs the passenger trains.  The management there doesn't seem to care if they haven't done anything by now.  Most of all, being under 18 with an idea like your own that has probably been mentioned many times does not help either.  I'm just as frustrated as you are, I am a quilified trainman there, and I cannot start to work until next year, until I am 18, even though I passed the test at the railroad when I took the classes.
 
-Colin


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Anthony_SRR
Former Member
Re: What do you think of the BR&W?
 
« Reply #63 on: Aug 28th, 2007, 6:32pm »
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You know… after seeing allot with restoring things and such from the RR museum of long Island were I just volunteered, I’m really seeing another side of RR’in like Colin has said all along. I also after seeing the BRW for my self, understand things a little better, but I with it is really annoying asking things like when will she be out etc. I know that the museum is allot different than the BRW but after really thinking and all it seems like the BRW needs to put there priorities first. For example if the track is in bad shape that is your # 1 priority before you do anything else. (Please not I’m talking about the RR the trust) But the RR is not doing anything really so it is a whole different thing. And it really depends on how much the whole the trust can do…but all in all in feel the same way you guys do about all this but I do not go there very often so you guys really know the story…. Hope this makes sense
 
Anthony


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Andy_S
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Re: What do you think of the BR&W?
 
« Reply #64 on: Aug 29th, 2007, 9:09pm »
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I first want to say that it was interesting to see that this topic went nowhere for a year-and-a-half, then went to notch 8.  Next, I find it satisfying to see so many of the young men contributing to this topic (and all over Railfan.net.    
 
I had completely forgotten about the volunteer/liability issue.  Does this cut down on the numbers of those who give their sweat and time, or is it just the attitude of the RR (not the Trust)?   I worked the old Morris County Central in the Earl Gil/Tony Citro days, and it was enjoyable work.  I haven't ridden the BR&W since the mid-70's, but it sure looks decrepit now.  But as stated earlier, the Feds must think it's OK.  
 
Can we hear from someone who actually toils for the road for their perspective?


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BRWRuckus
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Re: What do you think of the BR&W?
 
« Reply #65 on: Aug 30th, 2007, 12:18pm »
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Trackwork remains the sole responsibility of the BR&W, and yes, I can assure you, the track meets FRA specifications. For the time being, there is no compelling reason to make a significant investment on the Ringoes-Flemington line. There's no freight there (except for Bemis, which is in Flemington), and as long as the line meets minimum passenger specs there's no real need for further improvement.  
 
That being said, the yard trackage in all locations does need extensive work, and the BRRHT is "lobbying" for this to be done.
 
As far as other non-track-related projects go...these end up falling into the hands of the BRRHT. In most cases where the project is on BRW owned property, the BRW will be presented with a plan by the BRRHT, and if they approve the plan they will fund the project, and the BRRHT makes it happen.
 
This is a nice system, and the fact is that so far the BRW has NEVER said NO to a project we have proposed. We just end up not proposing many projects because.....nobody will take charge of them. People come up with ideas for projects....good ideas for good projects. But then....we explain that that's all great, but we need an actual detailed feasible plan and for them to follow through with it, most people just forget about it.
 
That's the problem...too many of our volunteers are not interested in taking charge of anything. Until that changes, you will not see too much happening around the rr.


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Michael Shea
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Re: What do you think of the BR&W?
 
« Reply #66 on: Aug 30th, 2007, 2:57pm »
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on Aug 30th, 2007, 12:18pm, BRWRuckus wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Trackwork remains the sole responsibility of the BR&W, and yes, I can assure you, the track meets FRA specifications. For the time being, there is no compelling reason to make a significant investment on the Ringoes-Flemington line. There's no freight there (except for Bemis, which is in Flemington), and as long as the line meets minimum passenger specs there's no real need for further improvement.  

 
Is the prospect of #60 returning to service a compelling enough reason to improve track conditions between Ringoes and Flemington  Because she'll be busting springs left and right running over the right-of-way in its current state, and will be sidelined more than in service.
 


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Re: What do you think of the BR&W?
 
« Reply #67 on: Sep 2nd, 2007, 9:24am »
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on Aug 30th, 2007, 12:18pm, BRWRuckus wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Trackwork remains the sole responsibility of the BR&W, and yes, I can assure you, the track meets FRA specifications. For the time being, there is no compelling reason to make a significant investment on the Ringoes-Flemington line. There's no freight there (except for Bemis, which is in Flemington), and as long as the line meets minimum passenger specs there's no real need for further improvement.  

 
I feel the need to chime in (pun intended) again on that thought.  I think it's very short sighted, especially when you consider that the New Hope & Ivyland RR is upgrading their right-of-way between New Hope and Lahaska.  It makes for a smoother ride and improved overall experience for their riders.  Meanwhile, at the BR&W, the ride is so rough the you can't operate the train much over 12-13 mph without the cars bouncing all over the place.  I once mentioned, but it bears repeating, that someone I know jokingly asked me after taking his family for a ride on the BR&W, "Do the cars have wheels or do they just drag them along?"  It was kinda funny, but it confirms that people are aware of the rough ride - you don't have to know anything about railroads to be aware of that!  I hope for the sake of the operation that improvements are made to the ROW, even if it's just small amounts over the course of time...


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NHIWW
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Re: What do you think of the BR&W?
 
« Reply #68 on: Sep 2nd, 2007, 9:56pm »
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To say that nothing further will be done to the line from Flemington - Ringoes just goes to show there is no real intrest.
 
They are of course saying YES to the Trust since the trust is spending their own money on the RR's equipment.....again, like renting an apartment, paying for the repairs only to benefit the owner, not the renter.
 
Short sightedness on the managment's part on not making any type of impreovements to the ROW to INCREASE freight service.
 
How do you think NH&I has gotten the moeny to do the improvements they have?....freight...and they went from 200 cars a year or less in 1991 to far more than that now....(heard rumors they are above 800, but no one will give any numbers).
 
It's been an argument for years that most railroads with old blood will never change their ways...it took two floods and nearly 13 million dollars of reparis to get the W&W's BOD/management's heads out of their butts to realize they are nothing without track and proper bridge maintenence (ie: removing debris from underneath on a regular basis).....what will it take for the BR&W to do the same?
 
Running trains is fun and cute, but there is nothing without track....and no offense, but there is alot more to reparing track than just replacing ties...and that in itself is one hell of a job without the proper equipment (mechanized)...again, something the W&W learned.


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Re: What do you think of the BR&W?
 
« Reply #69 on: Sep 3rd, 2007, 3:54pm »
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on Aug 30th, 2007, 12:18pm, BRWRuckus wrote:       (Click here for original message)

As far as other non-track-related projects go...these end up falling into the hands of the BRRHT. In most cases where the project is on BRW owned property, the BRW will be presented with a plan by the BRRHT, and if they approve the plan they will fund the project, and the BRRHT makes it happen.

 
The problem is the BRRHT lacks a true vision on how to improve overall operations at the BR&W.  H*ll, the can't even generate enough interest among their members to sufficiently crew passenger trains on a regular basis.  They don't have a clear qualification process in place for train crews, which would ensure that new volunteers get promoted and that all necessary positions - Trainman, Brakeman, & Engineer - are filled for each day's passenger train operation.   And that's not necessarily the BR&W Management's fault, IMHO......


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BRWRuckus
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Re: What do you think of the BR&W?
 
« Reply #70 on: Sep 4th, 2007, 9:58am »
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I couldn't agree more that track improvements are in the long-term best interests of the railroad and especially the steam locomotive. Unfortunately my opinion on that matter doesn't change the economics of doing the work.
 
When the BRRHT coordinates projects and activities involving work on railroad property, the railroad pays the bills. The BRRHT never contributes its cash to work on someone else's property. When it comes to special events expenses, advertising expenses, etc, the amount of money we contribute to the cause is proportional to the amount of revenues we will be collecting. Not a bad deal.
 
Please don't forget that it is not the mission or responsibility of the BRRHT to maintain, improve, or otherwise rescue the BRW and its property. Our mission is to preserve railroad history and educate the public about railroad safety. You can make a very strong argument that maintaining the BRW fits in this mission, just remember, it is not our primary responsibility.
 
As for problems crewing trains, answer me this: if individuals refuse to volunteer for train crew, whose fault is that?
 
As of this past spring, there is a very well defined training program in place for all positions, from car attendant up through engineer. New volunteers that are interested in train crew are placed into the program according to their level of experience, and moved through the program as is appropriate given their level of interest and experience.


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Michael Shea
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Re: What do you think of the BR&W?
 
« Reply #71 on: Sep 6th, 2007, 10:37pm »
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on Sep 4th, 2007, 9:58am, BRWRuckus wrote:       (Click here for original message)
As for problems crewing trains, answer me this: if individuals refuse to volunteer for train crew, whose fault is that?

 
Considering that the BRRHT, for all intents and purposes, is in charge of the BR&W's passenger operations, I'd say that the responsibility ultimately rests on their shoulders.  You're right, you can't make people volunteer to work the train crew, and there are safety guidelines in place to ensure the right people are qualified for the various positions.  But perhaps the Trust's immediate focus should be on crewing all the scheduled passenger trains before worrying about restoring a baggage car or other "museum" piece.  Because those things won't matter without a revenue stream coming in from ticket sales.  It's pretty simple, really.  No train crew, no passenger train, no ticket sales, no $$$ for the railroad.


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SR4501
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Re: What do you think of the BR&W?
 
« Reply #72 on: Sep 6th, 2007, 11:30pm »
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Hi everyone. Although I am trying to follow this thread, I am getting confused as to who does what. and what responsibilites.  So I would like to ask the following brief questions. Thank you ahead of time.  
1- Who is in charge of the BRW for track maintenance?
2- Who is in charge of the Passenger Operations?
3- Who is in charge of hiring Employees and Train Crews (paid/volunteer)
4- Who is responsible for maintaining and restoring the coaches and locomotives, including #60.  
5- How come the State of NJ has not stepped in to provide some funds?
 
on Sep 6th, 2007, 10:37pm, 3-chime wrote:       (Click here for original message)

 
Considering that the BRRHT, for all intents and purposes, is in charge of the BR&W's passenger operations, I'd say that the responsibility ultimately rests on their shoulders.  You're right, you can't make people volunteer to work the train crew, and there are safety guidelines in place to ensure the right people are qualified for the various positions.  But perhaps the Trust's immediate focus should be on crewing all the scheduled passenger trains before worrying about restoring a baggage car or other "museum" piece.  Because those things won't matter without a revenue stream coming in from ticket sales.  It's pretty simple, really.  No train crew, no passenger train, no ticket sales, no $$$ for the railroad.



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Anthony_SRR
Former Member
Re: What do you think of the BR&W?
 
« Reply #73 on: Sep 7th, 2007, 6:58pm »
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on Sep 6th, 2007, 11:30pm, SR4501 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Hi everyone. Although I am trying to follow this thread, I am getting confused as to who does what. and what responsibilites.  So I would like to ask the following brief questions. Thank you ahead of time.  
1- Who is in charge of the BRW for track maintenance?
2- Who is in charge of the Passenger Operations?
3- Who is in charge of hiring Employees and Train Crews (paid/volunteer)
4- Who is responsible for maintaining and restoring the coaches and locomotives, including #60.  
5- How come the State of NJ has not stepped in to provide some funds?
 

 
I’ll try my best to answer your questions so if I’m wrong, some please correct me if I'm wrong  
 
1.The Railroad
2.The trust
3.for employees for freight, the RR for passenger the trust's volunteers
4.I believe the trust as they are doing that now
5. Not sue on this one
 
Anthony


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de-rail
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Re: What do you think of the BR&W?
 
« Reply #74 on: Sep 7th, 2007, 8:20pm »
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1, The railroad, in other words a private company.
2, The Black River Railroad Historic trust.(BRRHT)
3,A, That I have assumed that it was the person who is in charge of the freight operations, but that is only an assumption(yes it is also assumed that the RR does it).  
B, Train Crews (passenger volunteers) is done with the trust on a sign up basis which is why there are some days where no trains run, simply because not enough people sign up.
 4, Well the RR does is not doing it, members of the BRRHT are.  
 
5,That’s a good joke you should be a comedian.


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farok
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Re: What do you think of the BR&W?
 
« Reply #75 on: Sep 7th, 2007, 11:26pm »
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I'm not certain, but I believe a good number of grants and state aid are unavailable for the trust because the equipment and ROW are owned by BRW, not the trust.  BRW is a for-profit organization, which makes grants that much more difficult in NJ.  I believe in PA that's another story... but I digress.  Anyway, that also means that while the trust is helping to maintain the equipment and ROW used in passenger service, it is ultimately the railroad's equipment, responsibility, liability -- whatever you want to call it.  Funds and time spent here could be used for other activities, perhaps such as attracting new volunteers, if the RR spent more of their resources maintaining what is theirs.  Maybe I'm mistaken, though -- maybe part of the deal with the RR is that the trust must help in these areas -- I just don't know.
 
I believe crewing trains IS a trust responsibility, though, as well as qualifications, but only to an extent.  I'd bet the RR needs to have a final say in qualifications, even if it's through delegating that authority.
 
So, how can the trust improve turnout to crew trains?  Should XX service days be a requirement for membership?  This gets into issues where people who are unable to "meet their quota" but who could participate in other jobs or volunteer at least a few days (either due to physical restrictions, geographical location, a bad job schedule, who knows what else) would no longer be a part of the trust.  It could also put people in the mindset that once they "meet their quota", they don't need to volunteer.  I kinda doubt that, but you never know!  On the other hand, it could be a boost in morale for those who do participate (assuming enough are left).  Given the thin numbers already, I don't know if this is a good idea or bad.
 
How about paying crews?  I assume the percentage received from the days that ticket sales are shared with the trust as noted in a prior message aren't sufficient to properly pay crews, so that's probably not an option.  In addition, would the pay of coming out once or twice a month really be an incentive to draw more people in?  Again, I don't know.
 
How do other railroads attract crew members?  More varied jobs?  Faster promotions?  More special events to break up the otherwise routine schedule?  More historical focus?  Who knows?  Maybe we could learn something from anyone who has experience on other tourist lines!
 
I'm curious what others think and if there are any other possible good ways to improve volunteer turnout, either by making existing volunteers want to turn out more or by attracting more volunteers.  If we all put our heads together, maybe this board can help make a difference for the better and not just rehash over and over how bad things have gotten.  Trust members are on this board and listening, and I believe that's the group this list needs to talk with, not the BRW management!  BRW is for-profit, but the trust WANTS to be there.


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Re: What do you think of the BR&W?
 
« Reply #76 on: Sep 8th, 2007, 8:31pm »
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on Sep 7th, 2007, 11:26pm, farok wrote:       (Click here for original message)
I'm not certain, but I believe a good number of grants and state aid are unavailable for the trust because the equipment and ROW are owned by BRW, not the trust.  BRW is a for-profit organization, which makes grants that much more difficult in NJ.  I believe in PA that's another story... but I digress.  Anyway, that also means that while the trust is helping to maintain the equipment and ROW used in passenger service, it is ultimately the railroad's equipment, responsibility, liability -- whatever you want to call it.  Funds and time spent here could be used for other activities, perhaps such as attracting new volunteers, if the RR spent more of their resources maintaining what is theirs.  Maybe I'm mistaken, though -- maybe part of the deal with the RR is that the trust must help in these areas -- I just don't know.
 
I believe crewing trains IS a trust responsibility, though, as well as qualifications, but only to an extent.  I'd bet the RR needs to have a final say in qualifications, even if it's through delegating that authority.
 
So, how can the trust improve turnout to crew trains?  Should XX service days be a requirement for membership?  This gets into issues where people who are unable to "meet their quota" but who could participate in other jobs or volunteer at least a few days (either due to physical restrictions, geographical location, a bad job schedule, who knows what else) would no longer be a part of the trust.  It could also put people in the mindset that once they "meet their quota", they don't need to volunteer.  I kinda doubt that, but you never know!  On the other hand, it could be a boost in morale for those who do participate (assuming enough are left).  Given the thin numbers already, I don't know if this is a good idea or bad.
 
How about paying crews?  I assume the percentage received from the days that ticket sales are shared with the trust as noted in a prior message aren't sufficient to properly pay crews, so that's probably not an option.  In addition, would the pay of coming out once or twice a month really be an incentive to draw more people in?  Again, I don't know.
 
How do other railroads attract crew members?  More varied jobs?  Faster promotions?  More special events to break up the otherwise routine schedule?  More historical focus?  Who knows?  Maybe we could learn something from anyone who has experience on other tourist lines!
 
I'm curious what others think and if there are any other possible good ways to improve volunteer turnout, either by making existing volunteers want to turn out more or by attracting more volunteers.  If we all put our heads together, maybe this board can help make a difference for the better and not just rehash over and over how bad things have gotten.  Trust members are on this board and listening, and I believe that's the group this list needs to talk with, not the BRW management!  BRW is for-profit, but the trust WANTS to be there.
  That's a really good critique- written by a well respected volunteer.  Jim.


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brw60

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Re: What do you think of the BR&W?
 
« Reply #77 on: Sep 16th, 2007, 6:55pm »
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on Sep 7th, 2007, 11:26pm, farok wrote:       (Click here for original message)
I'm not certain, but I believe a good number of grants and state aid are unavailable for the trust because the equipment and ROW are owned by BRW, not the trust.  BRW is a for-profit organization, which makes grants that much more difficult in NJ.  I believe in PA that's another story... but I digress.  Anyway, that also means that while the trust is helping to maintain the equipment and ROW used in passenger service, it is ultimately the railroad's equipment, responsibility, liability -- whatever you want to call it.  Funds and time spent here could be used for other activities, perhaps such as attracting new volunteers, if the RR spent more of their resources maintaining what is theirs.  Maybe I'm mistaken, though -- maybe part of the deal with the RR is that the trust must help in these areas -- I just don't know.
 
I believe crewing trains IS a trust responsibility, though, as well as qualifications, but only to an extent.  I'd bet the RR needs to have a final say in qualifications, even if it's through delegating that authority.
 
So, how can the trust improve turnout to crew trains?  Should XX service days be a requirement for membership?  This gets into issues where people who are unable to "meet their quota" but who could participate in other jobs or volunteer at least a few days (either due to physical restrictions, geographical location, a bad job schedule, who knows what else) would no longer be a part of the trust.  It could also put people in the mindset that once they "meet their quota", they don't need to volunteer.  I kinda doubt that, but you never know!  On the other hand, it could be a boost in morale for those who do participate (assuming enough are left).  Given the thin numbers already, I don't know if this is a good idea or bad.
 
How about paying crews?  I assume the percentage received from the days that ticket sales are shared with the trust as noted in a prior message aren't sufficient to properly pay crews, so that's probably not an option.  In addition, would the pay of coming out once or twice a month really be an incentive to draw more people in?  Again, I don't know.
 
How do other railroads attract crew members?  More varied jobs?  Faster promotions?  More special events to break up the otherwise routine schedule?  More historical focus?  Who knows?  Maybe we could learn something from anyone who has experience on other tourist lines!
 
I'm curious what others think and if there are any other possible good ways to improve volunteer turnout, either by making existing volunteers want to turn out more or by attracting more volunteers.  If we all put our heads together, maybe this board can help make a difference for the better and not just rehash over and over how bad things have gotten.  Trust members are on this board and listening, and I believe that's the group this list needs to talk with, not the BRW management!  BRW is for-profit, but the trust WANTS to be there.

 
I believe there are plenty of grant opportunities available to the BRRHT—the major problem lies not in ownership or non profit / for profit issues, but as you said in the latter portion of your opening paragraph, “time spent.”  Currently, we are not actively researching available grant opportunities due to a lack of time.  Why?  We do not have any paid or full time employees, which leaves the burden of day to day operations on the members, directors, and trustees who have careers, jobs, or schooling which occupies most of their time.  In my business experience, this is not a unique situation for small NPO’s (Non Profit Organizations) just starting out.  
 
The question remains, how do you run an NPO (which for all purposes, no matter what industry or field, operates like a business), specifically the administration end, without offering any compensation to those who participate?  A labor of love – only answer which comes to my mind.  Maybe most people don’t share that love, maybe they do.  
 
It appears there could be a lack of interest in the organization—I don’t blame anyone who feels that way.  Perhaps there is an inherent flaw in the organizational structure?  Perhaps some people may feel they are constantly overlooked?  Perhaps some people don’t like the delegation of authority?  I don’t know which, if any, specific reasons apply.  Political problems are inherent in even the best run organizations, so I would expect nothing less here.  We are all quick to judge (I am guilty of it), but we never step back and look at the whole picture – the common reasons we are all here—our enjoyment and the perpetual operation of the place.
 
Not to stray off topic, but if the BRRHT didn’t take over some of the responsibilities of Ringoes – Flemington passenger run, I highly doubt there would be passenger trains running on the line today. Yes, there is a lot to be desired—the place needs work.  See the above paragraph about labor issues.  Yes, I think a variety of events and a historical focus would jump start the morale.  I am in full support of constructing the Historical / Educational museum in the CNJ Baggage Car.
 
There have been some comments regarding the practicality of volunteering services which might have an indirect benefit for a for-profit company.  This is a very touchy issue—some relate this to working at a bargain based discount store and receiving no compensation.  I agree – time isn’t cheap, there are hundreds of things one could be doing on a Saturday or Sunday. But you come out because you enjoy railroading, can’t get the BRW out of your blood and deep down you want to see the continual operation of the railroad.  If you dissect the issue further, you’re helping not only your self fulfillment, but helping the BRRHT achieve its mission while benefiting the community with tourism and positive press.  Passenger train revenues do not seem to make or break the BRW, that is, unless they start hauling US Mail in an RPO car.  Until that happens, freight seems to be the main staple of the BRW.  There is more state aid to fund track rehabilitation for freight railroads in New Jersey than chances of an NPO receiving grant money for the same purpose in this fabulous state.
 
The underlying fact of both posts seems to be man-power and over all attitude.  I know things aren’t run perfectly in this organization (there are plenty of flaws)—the important issue is how do we make things better?  We can all criticize and have our b’in and moaning sessions (I’ve done it plenty of times), but at the end of the day, we are all at the same point as we started.  Let’s not continue this disastrous practice.  My door is always open to suggestions, comments, and concerns.  My email is listed on the BRRHT website and my phone number is listed in the Members Portal of the website.  The BRRHT is not my organization—it is our organization, every member has the right and privilege to raise any inquiry or inspection.
 
Dan V.
 


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