Pssst, wanna buy a bridge?!? It's only slightly used. Actually, it's
really, really used and we're not selling a bridge, but we do need
your help in order to repair one. That's right, we own a bridge. To
be technically correct it's a ballasted-deck timber-trestle.
Nothing as glamorous as those tall graceful, swaying timber trestles
that you might be imagining when I say "bridge." No, it's
a pretty small looking thing, but very, very necessary. It's short,
squat, and failing. This deteriorating structure sits on the
Keystone branch and it needs repairs pronto, hence that the reason
I am writing you with such urgency.
in our business, at this time of year the museum's cash reserve is
at its lowest point: The season (and our revenues) hasn't started
yet, but we have been busy with the normal off-season maintenance
and our savings have been depleted by last winter's heavy locomotive
repairs. Frankly, we don't presently have the funds to repair this
bridge, yet the situation demands immediate attention.
our season looming on the horizon, this repair is critical. Keystone
is our steam operations branch and steam is the major reason that people
make the trek to Ely. Without operating steam-powered excursion trains,
people won't travel here. And without passengers, revenues will plummet,
taking our situation from bad to worse.
similar set of circumstances occurred four years ago with a different
bridge on the Keystone branch. It was so bad that I had to cancel a
steam powered excursion train as it was ready to leave the depot. I
informed the passengers that the steam branch was closed, but that the
excursion train would still run, as it would operate on our other branch
with a diesel locomotivethey were welcome to ride that train,
or they could have their money back. Unfortunately, a majority of the
passengers left their seats and took me up on the refund offer. That
was a big financial loss for us.
I'm asking you as a supporter and a member of the museum for more of
your generous support by immediately sending in a contribution for the
bridge repair. I don't use the word "immediately" lightly,
but the repairs must be completed prior to June 28th and we cannot even
begin without the money actually sitting in the bank to pay for it.
The cost of the repair is estimated to be between $18,000 and $38,000.
Why this large spread, you ask? Because we won't know exactly how extensive
the repairs will be until the structure is completely dismantled and
we are in the midst of the work. It's better to be safe than sorry and
believe in Murphy's Law. Using our other museum projects as a guide,
the chances are that the cost will end up on the high end of the estimate.
We simply can't take the chance of tearing the bridge apart (which completely
shuts down the branch), only to find that it will cost more to repair
than we have on hand.
time is of the essence; this task needs to be completed by June 28th.
Daily steam operations are slatedand advertised nationallyto
start the very next day. This in turn leads up to our largest month
of the year in terms of revenue and passengers: July.
you can see, this is critical. Please return the form below with as
generous a donation as you can comfortably make, ASAP. A self-addressed
envelope is provided for your convenience. Any funds remaining after
the bridge is repaired will be invested in the rehabilitation of our
new passenger coaches, so nothing will be wasted.
entire staff, crew, and I would like to thank you in advance for your
donation. Your assistance in our critical bridge repair is greatly appreciated.