McCreary County Heritage Foundation Meets
By Eugenia Jones
McCreary County Heritage Foundation (MCHF) Chairperson Ray Moncrief informed Board Members during their April meeting that slide repair work for the Big South Fork Scenic Railway (BSFSRY) with an expected completion date of April has been completed. However, additional time is now needed because the project’s Geogrid Wall was improperly aligned to allow for replacement track. Workers are currently in the process of repairing and correcting the slide work and wall. The area of concern is below Barthell, and until corrected, prevents the train from travelling to Blue Heron.
In other business, Burnett Bridges, a sub-contractor to Queen City Rail, was selected to pursue construction of a pedestrian walkway on the 1937 vintage style railroad bridge crossing over Roaring Paunch Creek into Blue Heron. According to Wikipedia, the bridge which currently crosses Roaring Paunch Creek was bought from New York Central Railroad (NYCRR) in 1936. The K&T line builders needed a bridge to curve around to the right to meet the spur. The steel trestle was found in Upstate New York, shipped to Stearns, and installed upside down to meet the requirements. Burnett Bridges and the Foundation’s engineer, Glenn Ross, have a strong strategy on re-decking the bridge with historical accuracy.
According to Moncrief, although the National Park Service has been successful in slowing down the pedestrian bridge project, the Foundation is moving ahead to the extent they can. The Foundation is pursuing construction of the pedestrian walkway to provide local economic development through enhanced recreational opportunities.
Additionally, the Foundation received a proposed settlement from Wyoming based Wasatch Railroad Contractors and John E. Rimmasch. However, terms of the settlement proposed by Wasatch/Rimmasch are unacceptable to the Foundation. Negotiations between the two parties will continue.
Negotiations between the two parties are the result of a decision and final award of $730,284.60 to the MCHF rendered through court-ordered arbitration between Claimant McCreary County Heritage Foundation against Respondents Wasatch Railroad Contractors and John E. Rimmasch for breach of contract regarding the restoration of a steam locomotive.
The final decision and award resolved the 2018 civil action complaint filed by MCHF against Wasatch and Rimmasch. The complaint alleged five counts, including breach of contract, and stemmed from a 2012 design/build contract entered into by MCHF and the Wyoming based railroad contractors for the restoration and completion (to operational condition) of the K & T Railway No. 14 steam locomotive, built in 1944 and owned by MCHF in Stearns.
In other business, the following points of interest were noted.
• The BSFSRY’s point of destination this year will be Barthell. An agreement has been reached between BSFSRY and Barthell.
• Matthew Jones was hired as a train engineer for the BSFSRY.
• The traditional fireworks display in Stearns this year will be on Saturday July 3, 2021.
The McCreary County Heritage Foundation meets on the 2nd Monday of each month at 5:30 at the Outdoor Venture Corporation (Shirt Factory Road) in the Conference Room.