First of all, let it be known that 18 would not be breathing again without the help of the local community, politicians, railroad workers, contractors, and the efforts of Senator Dale Volker and Assemblyman Daniel Burling. Without these efforts, she didn't have a chance. Even if not directly related to the steam engine, those who helped take up the slack in other areas enabled the A&A crews to get work done. Funding for track projects and working to keep the company afloat were all a part of the effort.
However, if she is to be the centerpiece of a community again for very long, there needs to be a concerted strategic effort to bring up the entire railroad, and all the supporting assets that go with a steam program.
No one wants to watch an American Steam engine's tender filled with a garden hose.
While cabooses sit on sidings and rot, the A&A provides the perfect forum with which to re-introduce the caboose to the public by running them. I have to believe that railbuffs would rather spend time scraping paint and fixing broken windows on running tributes to the 2nd largest rail community on the US, rather than seeing them sit mute behind an old fertilizer plant.
The railroad gets help from many people, and most of the time it's the unseen work that makes that Engineer look so good. If people want to contribute, there are many local groups including the Freinds of the A&A that help the railroad. If you are unsure, get in touch with the company in Arcade. No one contribution is insignificant to this railroad, and if you think a donation may be lost in a big project, step up for something else. That new caboose, ticket window, or railroad display is just as important as the coal cinders falling in your hair.
The railroad needs alot of the same attention that other shortlines in New York are getting. Competition for new industry is tough. With increased state funding for rail infrastructure, new business is created by other lines who can now spend money on marketing, business development, communications and administrative support. Even with the similar economic conditions, this little railroad must spend it's limited resources on staying afloat.
As 18 reunites the people with the only regular tourist excursion powered by the Goddess of Fire, I hope that people realize - and act on the fact - that the whole picture must be brought into focus, and the steam engine deserves a supporting strategic plan to survive and expand.
Last edited by WNYP431 on Mon Aug 06, 2007 9:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"Backwards words say to used I. Again go I there...sh*t oh."