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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Retro Sunday- Heavy Metal!

First I must say that my social life took an order of magnitude leap up today. Attractive women, children, and men all started conversations with me that I did not initiate. It took me a minute, but if you are walking around the Southern Railway's largest repair facility that has been turned into the North Carolina Transportation Museum (some call it a small state) you may be approached by visitors if you are dressed so (click on any pic to enbiggen):

None of the women wanted a date however. All questions were along the lines of "Where are the restrooms, what building is this, where can I buy tickets for the train ride". For better or worse I could answer every question. 

So I had the uniform on, but to borrow one from J, "I make this look good"! 

So lets start with a symphony in diesel minor. 

This locomotive is running the 2.5 mile run around the museum for visitors. I did not know they were running "Rides with Santa". That explained the crowd.

So, I am here to meet my machine born of fire and powered by it. A 40 ton 0-4-0 locomotive that was placed into service December 1930. Built by Vulcan Iron Works, here is the build sheet. 

Belching smoke, steam, and oil some may be repulsed, I am not. She is beautiful! Another blogger puts this into words much more eloquently than I ever could.  I simply sit beside a space heater (cut down 55 gallon steel drum with some coal and wood in it) and talk to the people assembled. An unassuming gentleman asks if I am here for the ride and I say yes. He asks if I have any experience operating heavy equipment. I say no, so then he asks if I have operated any farm implements and I reply that I don't know if a Ford red belly tractor qualifies. He laughs and says I will do fine.  

My turn and the gentleman that was talking to me says to get in the cab and he is my shotgun engineer! After he loads some Red Man chewing tobacco we begin! 

Simple controls, almost no instrumentation. I wish I had my camera to take a picture of the controls but left it with a museum volunteer for pictures. Sometimes doing stuff alone sucks. He shows me the train brake lever. I note that there is not a train behind us and he nods approvingly. Next is the locomotive brake, the reversing lever, throttle, steam whistle and air whistle. I know the proper signals for starting and reversing a locomotive (two short, three short). Again he nods. We are accompanied by a fireman and a young volunteer that loads coal in small piles on the floor of the cab.    

So we begin! 

Build plate!

Your engineer!

SR 6133 Coming up behind me running the passenger train and all of the children in it were waving like mad (some of the adults too)! 

We all of course waved back and I gave a good blast from the steam whistle to them! 

Going backwards!

Highball signal is lit! Throw the steam to it! 

  I have this figured out and working on the glamor shot!

Here is the view from the left hand side of the cab. One of the largest roundhouses still standing in the US. 

It was very analog. You worked this by touch and feedback from the machine. The quickest 30 minutes of my life! It was a great thrill to run such a beast! She was well behaved and only required brakes one time. My mistake! 

If you get a chance do this! I could not wipe the smile off of my face all day!


  1. Looks and sounds like you had a Great Day! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    If I decide to drive one, Are you going to let me borrow your uniform?

  2. You have big smile on your face. It looks like so much fun! I am sooooooo jealous of the fun you had.

  3. There is an old style train ride in Lebanon, Ohio that we go to once a year. Usually, it is the harvest ride; the train goes out to a farm and gives the kids an hour or so in the pumpkin patch to pick out their own future Jack O' Lantern.

    My seven-year-old son has been enamored by trains since he was about three or so, and showing him your pics made him DROOL. :)

    Glad you got to have such a great time!

  4. @stopsign- Of course you can!

    @Supi- That was the neatest thing I have done in a very long time!

    @Brooke- Glad he enjoyed them!

    @Ed- Thanks and welcome!

  5. @Roberta X- Thank you and yes it was! Welcome!