A decision on whether the Corbin Tourism Commission will pay Wasatch Railroad Group an additional $10,000 for moving L&N 2132, along with its coal tender and a caboose from Bainbridge, Ga. to Corbin remains up in the air as the vote on the matter ended in a 3-3 deadlock Tuesday night.
Tourism Director Maggy Kriebel brought the matter before the board, explaining that the Wasatch crew and equipment was delayed an additional day in Bainbridge because the weight of the steam engine was underestimated by almost 30,000 pounds. As a result, Wasatch officials had to secure additional permits to legally truck the historic piece to Corbin.
Kriebel pointed out that Wasatch officials estimated the additional cost at $22,000.
“They are more than happy to absorb the other $12,000,” Kriebel told the board, noting that Wasatch has done a job that was estimated between $300,000 and $400,000 at a cost of $170,000.
Several board members asked how the weight of the locomotive had been misjudged so badly.
Kriebel said Steve Lee with Wasatch Railroad Group spoke to several different people about the weight of the locomotive, but noted the L&N Historical Society, which has documents containing the specification on 2132 would have definitely been in the mix.
“It wasn’t something we supplied,” Kriebel said.
“I think there is something in the engine that nobody foresaw,” she said, noting as soon as it became known that the locomotive weighed more than previously believed, Wasatch officials made every effort to secure the proper permits.
Commissioner Victor Patel said that as a business owner, he does understand how things like this can happen and doesn’t feel like Wasatch is trying to take advantage of the commission
“Things do happen even though you do your due diligence,” Patel said.
“If they had come to us for the full $22,000, I would say, ‘no,” but they have come to us in a very professional manner.”
Commissioner Teresa Carpenter disagreed noting the $170,000 Wasatch agreed to in the contract was a quote, not an estimate.
“If it would have been an estimate, it would have been a different story,” Carpenter said.
Commissioner Jackie Willis asked why Wasatch was willing to take a loss on the project.
Kriebel responded that L&N 2132 is a piece of L&N history, having spent its working life with the railroad moving cars around the DeCoursey and Corbin train yards.
“Why not eat it all,” Carpenter asked.
Kriebel pointed out that Wasatch Railroad Group is one of the few companies with the expertise needed to restore such historic pieces. As such, the commission may be working with the company as it moves forward with the restoration phase.
Wasatch is currently overseeing the restoration of a historic locomotive in Stearns.
Kriebel added that it is not uncommon for there to be change orders in a project when something unforeseen develops.
Commission Chair Alan Onkst noted that it would have been possible to build into the contract an option to reimburse Wasatch Railroad Group in the event something like this arose.
“This sets a precedent,” Onkst said.
When the vote was called for, Onkst, Carpenter and Willis voted, “no,” while Tom Rose joined Victor Patel and Tanya Marcum in voting, “yes.”
The last commissioner, Sudhir Patel, was out of town and could not be at the meeting.
As a result, Onkst said the matter will be brought back before the commission either at a special called meeting or at the next regular meeting on March 8.