2. Yes, the 30 and 30ts are reasonably versatile but your plan to return The remaining ones to traffic lacks one element- money. At a rough guess, 3102 and 3013s restorations would likely run into 6 figures each. Given its taken 5 years of hard graft from those restoring 6029 (an engine with a high 'wow' factor in enthusiast circles) to raise $60000 in donations, where are the groups getting the money to do these jobs? It's easy to say 'why' you need an engine. Difficulty appears when the 'how' question comes up.
Of course it will cost a hell of a lot of money and of course it is difficult. Did I refute that? You seem to have missed my point here and you are actually arguing in line with what I am trying to say. What I am saying is that the ability of either organisation to rock on like they have in the long term
will diminish. All the loco's capable of being put back into operation have very limited lives in them. This is both in terms of boilers and general mechanical condition. For the past 40 years the RTM have been able to use many loco's from their extensive collection in a manner that sees what "wear" they had in them after being given to the RTM used up before progressing on to other engines. So for example engines such as 3203, 3214, 5461, 5910, 3820, 3137 and 3001 were used in the 80's and 90's with minimal (comparatively) post retirement work needing to be done to maintain them each for a decade or so (on average) of on and off running. All of these engines were then withdrawn as their condition deteriorated. This is similar with the ARHS, 3102 and 6029. So there are no longer engines with a bit of wear left in them and as such any projects have to be more major as we have seen with 6029 and 3642's recent overhaul. These projects have cost an arm and a leg and that has been without needing to source new boilers.
With loco's wearing out and a limited number of spare boilers around (the 36 I believe is the lucky one here) the only way really in the future for loco's to be put into reliable operation for any length of time will be to spend much more money and effort on them.
So if in the next decade or so we have to get new boilers made then why not 2 or 3 at once for a cheaper per unit cost? Combining the efforts of both RTM and ARHS ACT in a long term project to utilise 30 class engines as future motive power could potentially be the most efficient for end result project that either organisation could apply them selves to.
This is not ideological, it is realistic and we will have to face the truth of what will be needed so that we can plan for the long term future and maintain both organisations operational capabilities. All I am trying to do is provide a suggestion to get the ball rolling and people talking on just what we do do in the future.