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Canadian Railroads > Kamloops Heritage Railway in crisis.


Date: 03/30/13 07:21
Kamloops Heritage Railway in crisis.
Author: eminence_grise

There will be no operation of tourist trains behind ex-Canadian Northern 2-8-0 2141 in 2013 in Kamloops BC. Indeed the future of this operation is very uncertain.

The locomotive is owned by the City of Kamloops. It was presented to the City by the Canadian National in the early 1960's, and was displayed in a park until 1990. It had become heavily vandalised over the decades of display, and the City was contemplating scrapping it as it had become hazardous with the cab and tender starting to rust through.

A group of volunteers offered to rebuild it and return it to operation. The City of Kamloops supplied a warehouse and over a period of several years, the locomotive was restored to operation. Many thousands of hours of skilled labour by machinists and boilermakers were donated, as well as machine tools and material to carry out the restoration.

All this activity was overseen by a Board of Directors and a small number of paid staff. Like many preservation societies, there were character conflicts within the groups of staff and volunteers, and people came and went over the years. The restoration and operation carried on, however.

In the Fall of 2012, at the Annual General Meeting, the City of Kamloops took back stewardship of the 2141 following an audit of society funds, and the Board of Directors ceased to pay the salary of the one machinist certified to carry out boiler repairs to standards required by the Government of BC. The 2141's boiler certificate will expire in 2015.

All parties have pointed out that the paid machinist did no wrong but for now, there are no available funds to pay his salary. With regrets, he has moved on.

All this took place outside of the public eye. During the last week of March 2013, the police announced that they were carrying out an investigation regarding "misappropriation of funds" over several years amounting to five figures and that a variety of individuals were being questioned.

With the financial assets of the society frozen and the status of the locomotive in legal limbo, none of the work required to get 2141 ready of inspection for its boiler certification can take place.

All I can say is that in the past, a group of dedicated volunteers performed the seeming impossible task of returning a rusted hulk to operation, and ran the tourist operation for a decade or more without major incident. Many have moved on and some have passed away but there always seemed to be a core group willing to carry on the enterprise.

If anyone can overcome this challenge to the future of the Kamloops Heritage Railway and 2141, it is the citizens of Kamloops.

The 2141 celebrated its 100th Birthday in September 2012.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 03/30/13 08:13 by eminence_grise.




Date: 03/30/13 07:36
Re: Kamloops Heritage Railway in crisis.
Author: The_Chief_Way

Thanks for the sad news.
I was looking forward to
visiting that operation.



Date: 03/30/13 08:05
Re: Kamloops Heritage Railway in crisis.
Author: Marcus

Here is a link to a newspaper article on the 2141 situation -

http://www.kamloopsthisweek.com/news/200337151.html

The article states that "bickering between directors caused the board to dissolve
and control of the 2141 Spirit of Kamloops steam engine was assumed by city staff."

The Society Vice-President told the paper, "a former Kamloops Heritage Railway engine-maintenance worker,
who was laid off due to a lack of funding, notified Transport Canada that the locomotive would no longer be receiving its regular tune-ups.
In turn, the federal agency ordered a mechanical inspection. Its results were inconclusive,
because the inspector was unable to gauge certain measurements in the engine’s boiler —
an operation that would be nearly as expensive as a complete overhaul, for which the 2141 is due in 2015."



Date: 03/30/13 18:18
Re: Kamloops Heritage Railway in crisis.
Author: P

Nice looking engine.



Date: 03/30/13 23:59
Re: Kamloops Heritage Railway in crisis.
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

Sad story. Hopefully it will have a happy ending.

When the Kamloops Heritage Railway ran, where did it run? On the ex-CN line toward Kelowna?



Date: 03/31/13 06:03
Re: Kamloops Heritage Railway in crisis.
Author: eminence_grise

CA_Sou_MA_Agent Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Sad story. Hopefully it will have a happy
> ending.
>
> When the Kamloops Heritage Railway ran, where did
> it run? On the ex-CN line toward Kelowna?

KHR's usual run was from Kamloops Lorne Street station north to Kamloops Junction, four miles.

For several years, occasionally the KHR operated over the Kelowna Pacific south to Armstrong BC over the CP main line and the former CN Okanagan Sub.



Date: 03/31/13 06:58
Re: Kamloops Heritage Railway in crisis.
Author: Lackawanna484

Lovely engine. I hope the situation is resolved. Tourism is a profitable business for the whole area.



Date: 04/01/13 18:42
Re: Kamloops Heritage Railway in crisis.
Author: Tomas

Kamloops is a wonderful city. Rode that train many times. There is lots of other skilled people living there.



Date: 04/01/13 19:17
Re: Kamloops Heritage Railway in crisis.
Author: eminence_grise

Tomas Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Kamloops is a wonderful city. Rode that train many
> times. There is lots of other skilled people
> living there.

The reaction to the newspaper article has been "We will get over this, and keep it running somehow". However, operation in 2013 seems out of the question.



Date: 04/01/13 21:07
Re: Kamloops Heritage Railway in crisis.
Author: thehighwayman

Note to Phil ... weren't you one of the many volunteers? I seem to remember seeing a photo of you (and your daughter) here on TO taken while you were volunteering.

Will MacKenzie
Dundas, ON



Date: 04/01/13 23:59
Re: Kamloops Heritage Railway in crisis.
Author: Tomas

eminence_grise Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Tomas Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Kamloops is a wonderful city. Rode that train
> many
> > times. There is lots of other skilled people
> > living there.
>
> The reaction to the newspaper article has been "We
> will get over this, and keep it running somehow".
> However, operation in 2013 seems out of the
> question.

One thing I have always liked about Canada is they seem to always come up with the money when they need it, and it is usually the Government that helps pay for it. There isn't that much to do in Kamloops as far as entertainment so I would think the train would be a valuable tourist attraction. It always seemed to be packed when I rode it. I would think that getting someone from Vancouver wouldn't be that hard to do. It could be a seasonal job. Someone from the Kettle valley railway could drop by for a few weeks.



Date: 04/02/13 07:09
Re: Kamloops Heritage Railway in crisis.
Author: eminence_grise

thehighwayman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Note to Phil ... weren't you one of the many
> volunteers? I seem to remember seeing a photo of
> you (and your daughter) here on TO taken while you
> were volunteering.

I was a volunteer for a couple of years. The bickering was going on but I didn't take part.

Years earlier, I used to volunteer at the Canadian Railway Museum (Exporail) at Delson near Montreal QC. A bitter squabble among the executive there in the mid 1960's nearly destroyed the organisation. Myself and others were on the tracklaying gang. We stayed out of that squabble also, and characterised the combatants as "silly old men". The squabblers and the issues of the day are long gone and many of the track gang have been lifelong friends.

All I said to those squabbling on KHR was "Don't go there. This (meaning Exporail in the 1960's) is what can happen". No one at KHR except for the alleged perpetrator had any sense of money going missing

That is why thorough accounting and frequent audits by an outside agency should take place. They protect the innocent and detect the guilty.

Kamloops prides itself as the "Tournament Capital of Canada" by having the sports facilities and the professional and volunteer organisations to host hockey, curling, baseball, football, soccer, track and field and swimming events every year that attract visitors from around North America. This activity has created millions in revenue for area businesses and has been actively promoted by various levels of Government.

Millions have been invested in sports facilities and in many cases, volunteer organisations have been trusted with substantial funds. To the greatest extent, people handling the funds have been honest. The "Societies Act" of BC requires that any organisation handling more than a hundred dollars or so in revenue per year be registered with the BC Government and that audits of funds take place and be submitted to a registered auditor.

Because of all the volunteerism in Kamloops, people are shocked when things go wrong and right now there is public indignation. However, there is also a desire to carry on the good work. I think KHR will survive.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/02/13 07:50 by eminence_grise.



Date: 04/02/13 09:19
Re: Kamloops Heritage Railway in crisis.
Author: thehighwayman

eminence_grise Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Because of all the volunteerism in Kamloops,
> people are shocked when things go wrong and right
> now there is public indignation. However, there is
> also a desire to carry on the good work. I think
> KHR will survive.


I have never spent much time in Kamloops -- usually just drive right through. My best friend for the past thousand years or so lives in Merritt ... But K'loops always impressed me with its vitality and drive.

Will MacKenzie
Dundas, ON



Date: 04/03/13 02:04
Re: Kamloops Heritage Railway in crisis.
Author: Tomas

I think there is a incredible amount of corruption and stealing with some of these non profits railroad museums. I think if there was ever investigations and audits the news would be shocking. I remember reading about how some narrow gauge steam locomotive (which was quite small) had over 3 million put into the restoration and they were asking for more money. I have extensive experience as a fabricator, industrial painter, welder, and mechanic and there is no way anyone can justify that kind of money. Eventually you can just get a tape measure and say "it's costing us $100,000 dollars for just one foot". Anyone with any kind of common sense can see that it is actually cheaper just to build it from the ground up then to pay these thieves.

Unfortunately museums and non profits usually employ some of the most clueless and gullible people on the planet. You can tell them that a steam gauge will cost $10,000 to calibrate because it is old and delicate and they will be dumb enough to pay it. In reality it should cost them no more than $125.00. They will hire someone to do a cosmetic restoration on a locomotive and fork out $200,000. Yet the person who is getting paid pays some contractor $1500.00 for a sand blast, and another contractor $25,000 for a first class paint job. He puts the rest of the money in his pocket.



Date: 04/03/13 06:33
Re: Kamloops Heritage Railway in crisis.
Author: Lackawanna484

Tomas Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I think there is a incredible amount of corruption
> and stealing with some of these non profits
> railroad museums. I think if there was ever
> investigations and audits the news would be
> shocking. I remember reading about how some narrow
> gauge steam locomotive (which was quite small) had
> over 3 million put into the restoration and they
> were asking for more money. I have extensive
> experience as a fabricator, industrial painter,
> welder, and mechanic and there is no way anyone
> can justify that kind of money. Eventually you can
> just get a tape measure and say "it's costing us
> $100,000 dollars for just one foot". Anyone with
> any kind of common sense can see that it is
> actually cheaper just to build it from the ground
> up then to pay these thieves.
>
> Unfortunately museums and non profits usually
> employ some of the most clueless and gullible
> people on the planet. You can tell them that a
> steam gauge will cost $10,000 to calibrate because
> it is old and delicate and they will be dumb
> enough to pay it. In reality it should cost them
> no more than $125.00. They will hire someone to do
> a cosmetic restoration on a locomotive and fork
> out $200,000. Yet the person who is getting paid
> pays some contractor $1500.00 for a sand blast,
> and another contractor $25,000 for a first class
> paint job. He puts the rest of the money in his
> pocket.

Churches and synagogues too.

Folks want to assume that "people of God" want to do what's right, so spending that money on an independent auditor and controls is just disrespectful of them.

Volunteer groups are just as much at risk. Here in NJ, a soccer mom was accused of pocketing over $50,000 from the league treasury over several years. She was always there, always helping out...



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