Author Topic: NEB&W IN JEOPARDY!!!!  (Read 1318 times)

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John

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NEB&W IN JEOPARDY!!!!
« on: January 06, 2019, 04:24:38 PM »
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This is from John Nehrich, who runs the well-known NEB&W layout at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

The layout is in danger.

Hi, I'm trying to send out this info to all our active club members and supporters but in my rush, I'm sure I'm overlooking many - please spread the word and for anyone who hears about this only secondhand, I sincerely apologize.

We have just gotten word that shortly, perhaps a few weeks, a professional mover is going to come in and crate up sections of the layout, along with everything else, and move them out of Davison. These will either be stored in a warehouse or if we are lucky, moved to a new permanent home. The school wants to rehab Davison over the summer with all new plumbing, etc., but wants the layout now. At first when they were talking about this, they were figuring they would totally box in the layout to protect it from swinging pipes around, but they would have to remove the backdrop and build us a whole new one. On reconsideration, they figured it would be better to move us instead.

So where? Barb Nelson, who used to work at RPI in space allocation, is now the Executive Director of TAP Inc. (Troy Architectural Program) and wants very much for us to move to some place where the layout can readily be seen by the public. She is very sympathetic to our needs and attuned to the entire downtown building boom. She thinks there may be some appropriate space downtown opening up. Many developers are having a hard time filling their first floor with retailers, and she sees the layout as generating a lot of foot traffic. We don’t have anything definite yet. If it does, our role might change, whether we stay a part of RPI, be a collaboration with say the county historical society, become totally independent, or who knows what. We know one important consideration no matter what would be to ensure this is a permanent home.

Or we have been talking about a new building, a simple (and thus cheap) steel shell building on a concrete pad floor somewhere on RPI property.

For years and years, we have looked at moving to an existing location in an unused space, but we take up far more room than people think. And if we were to move into J Building or Winslow, even if we fit – we don’t – it would cost so much to remove walls, etc. But now we are talking about a prime location, not a spare attic or unused basement.

Please spread the word to EVERYONE you can think of. Massive amounts of publicity are needed, and soon, both word-of-mouth and professional media. In this way, we may reach some wealthy benefactor, or even just convince the school the importance of not letting us wither away in storage. We will be looking into some type of go-fund-me campaign, hopefully in conjunction say with a local historical group. (We probably can’t do it under RPI without stepping on some toes).

The contract to move us has yet to be signed, but they are aiming for a few weeks. Then we will know the timetable but it likely to be soon after. Once we have a definite date, we are hopeful of holding one last operating session. If you know of individuals who need to see the layout, I can set up an individual tour - it may be now or never.

- John Nehrich

MK

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Re: NEB&W IN JEOPARDY!!!!
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2019, 04:28:50 PM »
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Maybe post this on the main N-Scale section too as this is a very well reknown layout.

Point353

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Re: NEB&W IN JEOPARDY!!!!
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2019, 08:58:59 PM »
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IMO, the club sealed its own fate when the powers that be decided to no longer hold shows for the general public.
Now, they're suddenly pleading for help from those they've previously chosen to ignore.

dougnelson

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Re: NEB&W IN JEOPARDY!!!!
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2019, 04:20:00 PM »
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I visited the NEB&W a number of years ago.  It really is a treasure of prototype modeling and great historic documentation of a historic period of Troy that is now largely gone.  I was passing through Troy last summer and I contacted John N. about a visit.  He said that due to security concerns (the layout is in the basement of a university dorm building), RPI was no longer allowing the general public to visit.

I sincerely hope that they find a good space in downtown or elsewhere in Troy that will be open to the public.  If you have an opportunity in the future, see this layout.

 

mark.hinds

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Re: NEB&W IN JEOPARDY!!!!
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2019, 07:17:52 PM »
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Click on the link in the first line, not on the image.  The older scenery materials are a bit faded, and the backdrop in bad shape, but still an impressive layout. 

https://quotulatiousness.ca/blog/2018/02/08/a-virtual-tour-of-the-rensselaer-model-railroad-societys-nebw-layout/

MH
« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 07:21:30 PM by mark.hinds »

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: NEB&W IN JEOPARDY!!!!
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2019, 09:25:22 PM »
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It's a lesson that railroad stuff all over the country is learning.

If you don't own your space, you don't own your destiny.

Time.           Pemberton: http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/5b9cb434-59ab-11e6-84e7-1fd9f1a42c6e.html
And time.     Catskill Mountain: http://www.watershedpost.com/2016/catskill-mountain-railroad-settles-lawsuit-catskills-railfans-protest-
And time.     Indiana Railroad Museum: http://www.rypn.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=42162
Again.          Baltimore Society of Model Engineers: http://www.modelengineers.com/

Cajonpassfan

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Re: NEB&W IN JEOPARDY!!!!
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2019, 12:00:40 AM »
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True, but still so very sad.
The virtual tour link shows but a glimpse of the scope of this amazing layout, and the number of proto-based scenes and proto-based structures is mind boggling. This took some talent, and effort, and commitment, and TIME! The guys that imagined it, designed it, and implemented it were way ahead of their era. Had they put their talents and efforts into a popular money-making endeavor, they'd be very very well off now. It would be a tragedy if this national model railroad treasure were to disappear into oblivion...
I sure hope they can find a place where the public can see it and be inspired.
Otherwise, what a stupid stupid waste...
Otto K.

Dave V

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Re: NEB&W IN JEOPARDY!!!!
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2019, 01:22:32 AM »
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Sad, but probably inevitable.  If not this year, then some other year.

MR used to be all about the NEB&W, and my dad had a VHS tape about it.  I watched the hell out of that tape.  Exceptionally well executed and way ahead of its time in terms of proto fidelity...  It came from an era when almost everyone else was freelancing with cutesy names and improbable scenes.  For that it has historical significance.

Unfortunately everything, including the railroads the NEB&W was based on, are ultimately fleeting.  I hope they can salvage as much as they can.  FWIW, I can only imagine what an NEB&W built to today's standards with modern scenery materials would be; something amazing.
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C855B

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Re: NEB&W IN JEOPARDY!!!!
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2019, 09:31:52 AM »
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It's a lesson that railroad stuff all over the country is learning.

If you don't own your space, you don't own your destiny. ...

A-yup. Old lesson that I learned in spades 50 years ago. Was witness to or part of the destruction (versus dismantling) of not one, not two, but three club layouts in the space of two years. On the first one we had two hours notice to remove anything of value. Why so many in such a short time? Commercial insurance underwriters had started clamping-down on non-employee liability in quasi-public spaces, specifically fairgrounds.
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MK

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Re: NEB&W IN JEOPARDY!!!!
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2019, 11:22:17 AM »
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...and the rising cost of real estate.  Especially near urban areas.

basementcalling

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Re: NEB&W IN JEOPARDY!!!!
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2019, 03:45:45 PM »
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And just in general this nation sucks at preserving information about our heritage and past. A layout like the NEB&W could be a huge resource to the local community to remember and reflect on a era past. Imagine if local schools could bring field trips to a museum with that layout as the basis of any number of exhibits, but alas in our disposable society these days we flit along from event to event without appreciating their significance.

Security concerns are pretty frankly a joke I think on this. Unescorted, yes, it would be an issue, but a club member or layout builder ought to be able to bring a guest. It might just be a lingering evidence piece to their reluctance to do public shows. I'm sure the University doesn't want just anyone trapsing through their buildings, but colleges hold concerts and other events that are open to the public all the time.
Peter Pfotenhauer

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: NEB&W IN JEOPARDY!!!!
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2019, 05:12:28 PM »
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I'm sure the University doesn't want just anyone trapsing through their buildings, but colleges hold concerts and other events that are open to the public all the time.

True, but not where people live. If it's anything like most college dorms people can't just walk in.

And honestly, given the character of some train people I've known, it's probably a GOOD thing that they don't just let them stroll in somewhere teenage kids sleep (and shower).

jpec

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Re: NEB&W IN JEOPARDY!!!!
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2019, 05:57:34 PM »
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It's a lesson that railroad stuff all over the country is learning.
If you don't own your space, you don't own your destiny.

Amen. The Winchester Model RR club will also likely find themselves homeless as CSX has decided to sell the station and parking lot there.
Patiently waiting for the Reading Central local to come switch this warehouse...

radivil

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Re: NEB&W IN JEOPARDY!!!!
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2019, 07:09:34 PM »
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True, but not where people live. If it's anything like most college dorms people can't just walk in.

For instance, Penn State's layout is in a dorm building.  You have to call them, have someone come up and get you, and escort you in and out.

wm3798

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Re: NEB&W IN JEOPARDY!!!!
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2019, 07:27:38 PM »
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Man, that sucks about the BSME.  I was a member there in my teens...  There's probably still boxes of my stuff under the platform...
I wonder who will get the case of vintage Playboys that was under the HO layout?  (Pun intended?)

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