Playing with trains . . .

Trip Start Oct 05, 2012
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Trip End Oct 06, 2012


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Where I stayed
In our RV

Flag of United States  , Utah
Sunday, October 7, 2012

Part II

Sunday morning found us running the heater and when we turned on the water we noticed it was a small trickle of a stream… looking at the outside thermometer we found that it had gotten to 24* last night, at least 8-10* colder than predicted by the news channel….  So tonight we're going to let the water run in the RV so that the line outside from the frost free hydrant to the coach stays open for sure…  Weather this morning is a warming trend and by this after noon it was close to 75* and its not supposed to drop below 40* this evening….

Today started with Jim wandering over to the engine house and was issued a period shirt, and hat to wear today and tomorrow while the locomotives were ran…  

As you look through some of the photos you can see Jim changing a switch so that the locomotive can move from one track o another…

Without the water tender, its an engine, once the tender is added it’s now a locomotive and once you add at least 1 car you have a train…  One engine, the Jupiter is fired with wood and the 119 is fired with coal… 

Both locomotives are replicas built from the original photo and scaled…  the original engines were scrapped at the turn of the century as locomotives moved from Steam to Diesel and now the current Diesel/Electrics…

The locomotives in the photos are an exact replica to the original engines to within " over the overall length…  Back in 1869 a train would go maybe 25 miles on 2500 gal of water so there’d have to be a water tower every 25 miles to add water, and the tender full of wood or coal would run the locomotive and say 10 cars for about 100 miles…   before needing more coal or wood….  A locomotive would run a section, of about 100 miles, than the locomotive would be switched out with another one… with a new crew for the next 100 mile section….  The locomotive that was taken out of service would be turned around and would pull a train heading the other direction as the next train came through…

The colors an the way each locomotive was painted is a copy of the way each engine looked at the time the golden spike was driven…  both were made during the Victorian era and have a lot of paint and scenes painted on them, with some gold leaf…   as they were back than…

As the railroad covered the country it needed water, and wood/coal to power it… since it needed water every 25 or so miles and small community would be built to supply water, and ever 100 miles or so they needed wood/coal… thus larger communities grew to supply the countless need for fuel to power the locomotives…

With the water towers came farmers, ranchers looking for a better life..    Think of the life of the crew, someone to run the engine… the engineer, and someone to fuel the engine, the fireman…pulling 10 or 12 cars of freight or passengers stopping every 25 miles for water and 100 miles to change out the engine, and the labor to continue to keep this technology up and running as well as the maintenance of the roadbed… 

Part III

As a kid growing up I’ve seen many, steam locomotives sitting in parks that were all in some stage of dis-repair…  As a person who is very mechanically inclined and can understand most any mechanical machine I’ve always had an interest why and how a steam locomotive ran and functioned.  Of course there’d be no one around to share that… 

So the simple answer, is that a cylinder located on both sides of the engine has a piston that can move forward or backwards in the cylinder… that piston is linked to the drive wheels, and live steam pushes the piston and turns the wheels…  

Today’s steam boilers, are welded and the ones in the Jupiter or the 119 run comfortably at 140 lbs of steam pressure, but the old boilers that were riveted together ran very well at 80-90 lbs of steam pressure…   lets think about this for a minute…  we have a cylinder that for this text is 16” in diameter…  doing the math, with 140 lbs of steam there is about 28,000 lbs of pressure pushing on the link to turn the drive wheel… remember there are 2 cylinders so a total of about 56K lbs are available to turn the wheels…   of course the valving to move the pressure from one side of the piston to the other side is done with mechanical levers and valves connected to the cylinders…  and installed in the cab is something called a Johnson Bar, which is designed and built to always apply steam to the correct side of the piston so when you wish to go forward the engine goes forward, and when you wish to go in reverse you go backwards…

There are several controls to make sure that the proper amount of water is always in the boiler…  manually ran by the engineer, and that safety precautions are taken so that if the boiler moves from 140 and up in pressure, some method of relief is available to prevent the boiler from becoming over pressurized and becoming a bomb…  A boiler run low on water might flash to high pressure steam and also blow the thing up.. so part of the valving and controls are to allow the engineer to monitor the amount of water under pressure…

If the engine goes through 2500 gallons of water in 25 miles and a tender full of wood/coal in 100 miles, the fireman is shoveling 3 yards of coal over a 4 or 5 hour period, or is stoking the firebox with over a cord of wood in that time…  and think, at the end of the shift the tender must be re-supplied with coal/wood before the engine can be turned around and headed back down the track…  That means shovel coal, check the water, shovel coal, check the fire, shovel coal, check the water level….  I think you get the picture…not so bad for a good workout on a 50* day but a killer on a 90* day…

Of course each time the engine stops for water there is a team of people to load the water, and oil the moving parts of the engine so those parts keep working for the rest of the section.


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Comments

Linda and Craig on

Like your shirt and hat Jim. Really great pictures. What an interesting and fun time you two are having. Thanks for sharing.

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