October 8, 2008
Railroad Partners, Inc
We are pleased to inform you of the formation of Railroad Partners,
Inc.(RPI). RPI is a Texas based non-profit corporation dedicated
to the preservation and restoration of historic rail corridors.
The mission of Railroad Partners, Inc. is:
1) to use volunteer labor and privately owned maintenance equipment
to preserve historic rail corridors in partnership with communities,
railroads, local governments and other entities and individuals;
2) to acquaint the public with the geography, local history and
cultural landmarks of such corridors;
3) to support efforts to educate the public regarding safety
within rail corridors;
4) to build community support for the preservation of out-of-service
or soon to be out-of-service rail corridors; and
5) to promote safe maintenance and other activities within historic
rail corridors through training and mutual cooperation with rail-related
RPI developed out of the realization that railroad corridors
in Texas are becoming scarce and many are in danger of disappearing
forever. Public awareness of the plight of these lines is waning
and resources for keeping them viable are scarce.
In the spring of 2008, Jerry Light, John Pattison, Ed Michal,
and I started discussing what we could do to continue developing
speeder runs but not be adversely affected by outside interests.
At the same time, Myron Malone and Richard Balzen were trying
to open up some trackage east of Dallas. We decided that there
needed to be a combined effort statewide to achieve common goals.
As a result of many discussions we decided to proceed with incorporating
a non-profit organization that would utilize our common talents
and resources to develop relationship with railroad entities
that could result in more rail access. We have used Larry Bowler's
Recreational Railroad Coalition in California as inspiration.
On August 27, 2008 we met in Johnson City and officially formed
Railroad Partners, Inc. We have since received our State incorporation
certificate, received an EIN from the IRS, opened a checking
account, and as soon as the bylaws are drafted, we will begin
to solicit members, elect a permanent BoD, and apply for 501c3
status. The organizing BoD consists of Ed Michal, Myron Malone,
As a new organization we have already accomplished the following:
1) Met with the City of Llano and obtained their support in keeping
the Llano branch of the SP open. The Mayor of Llano has offered
to formally inform CapMetro of this support and assist in our
negotiations. He has also offered to help us solicit legislative
2) Negotiated our first motorcar run (Blacklands RR)
3) Are working to develop a new relationship with Cap Metro for
the purpose of proposing that RPI be granted access to the Llano-Kingsland
segment of the Llano Branch..
4) RPI official Ed Michal will be trained to do Operation lifesaver
presentations this month so RPI can support Capital Metro's Commuter
Rail safety program and we encourage more RPI members to follow
5) We have already received equipment donations from in the form
of MOW equipment (two pushcarts and a tamper). We had to turn
the tamper down because we could not come up with a way to transport
it. We currently have a tie crane, numerous push carts, another
tamper, and soon a rail mounted mechanical brush cutter available
for our endeavors.
I am encouraged by the response of interested motorcar operators
all over Texas. We are hopeful that this group will unite the
operators and allow us to pursue our interests by presenting
ourselves in a professional manner. Our plan is to be able to
approach railroads with something to bring to the table when
we request access. Those things would include volunteer labor
for maintenance, operation lifesaver presentations, motorcar
excursions, and other work in support of RPI's mission statement.
This approach was successful with the Blacklands and we hope
Cap Metro will be the same. We would also like to see a collective
group of Excursion Coordinator's to provide excursion support
without undue travel burdens on any one EC. Some of our potential
excursion sites are over 600 miles apart.
I know that much of this is very ambitious and somewhat wishful
thinking, but opportunities do exist and with the right approach
we can achieve many of these goals. One important aspect of RPI
is that we want it to be open to everyone (not just here in Texas)
and all of our activities be very transparent. We want to extend
our help and cooperation to all who are interested in keeping
railroad venues open for access. As we acquire assets we plan
to restore them and make them available to other interests that
might need them.
This is the spirit we hope to promote with other groups such
as Heart of the Heartlands (KS) and Oklahoma Railway Museum (OK).
We are currently working through the Texas Rail Tourism Alliance
to introduce RPI to the member railroad museums and develop mutual
opportunities. Many of these organizations have resources and
contacts that may result in future rail access. We plan to attend
many of their promotional events to develop these relationships.
By having RPI members statewide we hope to be able to do this
by sharing the load without undue travel expenses.
On the eve of the Blacklands run, we plan to have a dinner meeting
to introduce the excursion participants to RPI. I would invite
you all to check out this new group. A website has been set up
at www.railroadpartners.com . If you have any questions or would
like to join, please send me your name, address, phone number,
and email address. Dues and bylaws will be established at a later
date by vote of the membership.
See you on the rails.
Leland Stewart, President
Railroad Partners, Inc.