By Eugenia Jones
During February’s regular monthly meeting of the McCreary County Heritage Foundation, Ray Moncrief took over the reins as Foundation Chairperson. Moncrief replaced JC Egnew who earlier submitted his resignation as chairperson but remained on the Foundation as vice-chairperson. Additional actions taken during the meeting included the appointment of two new board members: Christina Hollis (replacing Suzie Strunk Thompson) and Michelle Wilson Jones (replacing Tim Lavender.)
In other business, the Chairperson’s Report indicated ongoing work on the Big South Fork Scenic Railway (BSFSRY) will be completed with no delay expected in the scenic railway’s scheduled opening for the 2020 season on April 2. The work, contracted by Queen City Rail, includes replacement of rail with upgraded rail and additional new crossties. The report also indicated that repairs and upgrades to two locomotives-Engines 106 and 102-are progressing. The locomotive upgrades are funded by a $1.1 million Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) grant received by the Foundation.
The Events Report detailed some events planned for the 2020 BSFSRY season. Dinosaur train excursions with life size dinosaur replicas are scheduled for two weeks in June. Events planned for the McCreary County Museum include exhibits of quilts, canned goods, and basket weaving. A special program about women miners is planned for Mother’s Day.
Foundation members Ray Moncrief and Michael Sandidge are once again negotiating an operating agreement between the BSFSRY and Barthell Coal Camp for the 2020 season. A successful negotiation ensures Barthell Coal Camp will remain as a scheduled stop for passengers riding the scenic rail.
Members of the Foundation also discussed ongoing arbitration between the McCreary County Heritage Foundation and Wasatch Railroad Contractors with an on-site inspection of the #14 steam locomotive expected later this month. Arbitration was ordered as a result of a civil action complaint alleging five counts, including breach of contract, filed by the Heritage Foundation against Wasatch Railroad and employee John E. Rimmasch. The complaint revolved around a design/build contract entered into by the Heritage Foundation and the Wyoming based contractors to restore and complete (to operational condition) the #14 steam locomotive owned by the Foundation.