Editors note: Welcome to the fifth article of a series on narrow gauge by Syd Schofield. The previous article is available by clicking here, or by filtering with the category “Narrow Gauge”. Syd welcomes discussions and feedback, which can be made by clicking on the comment link at the bottom of the post.
The common sources of energy for heat engines have been wood, coal, and petroleum products. These carbon based fuels combine with oxygen at a sufficient temperature for a continuous release of heat. In the railroading scheme of things this heat is then converted to mechanical energy to provide locomotion. Since the system for this activity is self-contained, adequate carriage must be provided for the conversion mechanism and the fuel for a reasonable distance of travel. Provisions must be made along the route for replenishment.
The external combustion engines typically used also need a working substance in addition to the fuel consumed in these total-loss systems. In the steam engine we use water for the working substance and wood, coal, or oil for the fuels. Air is in abundance (except for in long tunnels with previous traffic and inadequate ventilation) as the oxygen supply. The starting temperature for chemical conversion (ignition) has been taken care of by the fireman before expected use of the locomotive in order to bring up the system to operating condition. As with the sustaining process of the locomotive during operation, starting the system can be complicated.
The types of fuel to be used in the steam engine must be determined before the manufacture. Later conversions are sometimes possible with considerable effort but not “on the fly” during daily operation. In the carriage of fuel and water certain planning must take place for usage and replenishing stations. The abundance of wood made for an easy choice in the early days or railroading. Coal took a little more effort in procurement but has twice the heat energy of wood, allowing a smaller carriage for a given distance. Oil became available and has three times the heat content of wood with a likewise reduction in carriage provisions. The water is consumed at a much greater rate and is typically serviced by more closely spaced stations, again depending on availability.
Railroads make revenue by hauling freight and passengers, not fuel and water, so planning for the fuel and water servicing is an important part of the business plan. Given the hand-me-down shoestring operation of many narrow gauge and remote operation railroads, this can give an interesting operational balancing act for the railroad. Typically modeling won’t have the luxury of space for distances to be factored into the operation, but then it’s a pretend world anyway and we can simulate conditions.
Jean Melvin, former 4D & PNR Secretary
My wife and I have decided to move back to CA and are planning for an Estate Sale (due to down-sizing from a 4 bedroom house here in Las Cruces to probably a 1 bedroom apt in CA). Because of a tremor I have developed in my left arm, I am no longer able to do model work.
Therefore, I have made the very difficult decision to put my collection of limited-edition craftsman-style HO model RR structure kits, engines, and rolling stock into the Estate Sale. This is a collection I have developed over the last 50 years and I would like it to go to serious modelers. I hope that you can help put the word out to modelers in our Region.
I have concentrated on modeling backwoods logging and mining industries that a standard gauge steam railroad (pre-diesel) would have supported. Many of these structure kits are from Fine Scale Miniatures, B.E.S.T., Wild West Models, Western Scale Models, and Sierra West Scale Models. I have many 1880’s to 1920’s era rolling stock kits and supplies for scratch building cars.
In addition I am selling my Sherline Lathe, Mill, and Sherline tooling, along with machinist’s tools, taps, dies, Starrett gauges, and milling cutters.
Thanks and cheers,
Peggy Barchi, Marketing/Events Manager
Upcoming events for 2015 at the Northwest Railway Museum include:
- 4th of July weekend steam train rides, July 4, 5: Steam returns to the Upper Snoqualmie Valley for the summer this 4th of July! Travel back in time to July 4, 1889 at the Northwest Railway Museum this Fourth of July weekend aboard a Steam Train. On July 4, 1889 the inaugural passenger excursion train arrived in Snoqualmie from Seattle. Coordinated by the M.E. Church Society over the lines of the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway Company, that first train brought tourists from Seattle to Snoqualmie Falls and back in just one day. 126 years later, the Northwest Railway Museum continues the tradition of train excursions to Snoqualmie Falls. Find out how it felt to ride a steam train just like those first tourists did in 1889. Roundtrip Fares on July 4 and July 5 are: $20/ Adult (13-61); $18/Senior (62+) and $10/Child (2-12), Under age 2 are free!
- Day Out With Thomas, July 10 – 12, 17 – 19: Little Engineers and other fans of Thomas the Tank Engine™ get the chance to meet Thomas face-to-face during two weekends in July at the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie. On July 10-12 and July 17-19, “Day Out With Thomas: The Celebration Tour 2015″ will be in Snoqualmie. Tickets are still available, but they are selling out fast! Day Out With Thomas includes a train ride overlooking Snoqualmie Falls, with Thomas aboard the antique coaches of the Northwest Railway Museum, as well as many activities on the grounds of the historic 1890 Snoqualmie Depot.
- Snoqualmie Railroad Days, August 14, 15, 16: The 77th Snoqualmie Railroad Days festival showcases Snoqualmie’s “Trains, Timber, Traditions” on August 14, 15, and 16, 2015! This year step back in time as the 125th anniversary of the historic Snoqualmie Depot is celebrated. Join the fun with a ride on a steam train as the Santa Cruz and Portland Cement locomotive #2 pulls the trains during the Railroad Days festival.
- Labor Day Steam Train, September 5, 6, 7: The NRM pays tribute to America’s workers this Labor Day with a special weekday steam train run of the Museum’s antique train on Monday, September 7th. This is in addition to the railroad’s usual weekend steam train schedule. The NRM offers scenic train excursions through the Cascade foothills of the Upper Snoqualmie Valley, including a ride past the top of Snoqualmie Falls and a splendid view of the valley below.
- Grandparents Grand Excursion, grandparents ride free, September 12, 13: Celebrate grandma and grandpa on National Grandparent’s Day, September 13! It’s the perfect weekend to take the grands for a ride aboard the NRM’s antique train. On both September 12 and 13, a grandparent rides free when accompanied by a paying grandchild – of any age! Listen to the stories and share the memories of your family members. Enjoy a day together and experience the scenic beauty of the Cascade foothills aboard the Snoqualmie Valley Railroad.
- Halloween Train, everyone in costume saves $2, October 24, 25, and 31: Gather the family, suit up in your costumes and take part in the fall festivities at the Snoqualmie Depot. See the historic depot in autumn and ride on the Steam Train pulled by the Santa Cruz Portland Cement Co. #2 steam locomotive which was built in 1909. Watch an old-fashioned cider press in action and sip hot apple cider. Ride the Halloween Train October 24, 25 and 31. Halloween Train takes you on a scenic excursion through the Cascade foothills of the Upper Snoqualmie Valley aboard a vintage train. Receive $2 off when dressed in costume. Everyone dressed in full costume will receive a prize.
Santa Train tickets will be going on sale in late July.
We live in the greater Seattle area. We have a custom built train table that never got used for creating the layouts that it was meant for. Now we are downsizing and moving away. We would like to donate it. It is pretty big 8′L x 4′W x 3′H. Please see the picture below.
They will need to come pick it up since we do not have a big enough vehicle to transport it.
Thursday, July 2nd marks the birthday of John Allen. He constructed the famous Gorre and Daphetid Railroad (pronounced “gory & defeated”). It was a true model railroading marvel. The Gorre & Daphetid Yahoo group usually celebrates with a JAM (John Allen Memorial) breakfast. John Allen was a real pioneer in model railroading. Just like Frank Ellison, Whit Towers, and many others, he promoted many of the things we now take for granted in our model railroading hobby. So help celebrate his birthday by having a hearty breakfast!
Reminder: The Eastside Get-Together meets Thursday (tomorrow), June 18st at 7:30 pm at the Bellevue FourSquare Church. Our speaker will be our own Ted Becker presenting his special clinic on servos for switches. This program has been ranked as outstanding by those who have heard Ted. This will be our last meeting before the summer break so please plan to attend.
For Eastside Get-Together location and other information, see the 4D Clinics page.
This weekend, June 12-14, the City of Palmer, Alaska will be celebrating its heritage with the annual Colony Days celebration. Along with a parade, antique cars, fire trucks, and tractor pull, the HO scale Mooselip Model Railroad will be on display Saturday, June 13 from 10 AM until 3 PM in the old Palmer depot.
All are invited to stop by and visit the imaginary town of Mooselip and see how much fun model railroading can be.
This coming Tuesday, June 9th, is our next Westside Clinic in Bremerton. Steve Hauff has stepped forward and will present one of his excellent clinics.
Please bring an item you worked on this past winter. We will have our usual “Model Contest” and “Show And Tell.” Coffee and cookies will be provided. Please come and bring a friend.
For those visiting us for the first time our clinics are held at the United Way of Kitsap Building, 647 4th Street, Bremerton, WA.
See you at 7 pm.
According to a reliable source (Russ! As forwarded to him from Fred …) Paul Scoles’ Sn3 scale Pelican Bay & Railway Navigation Company layout will be featured on the Tracks Ahead program on PBS Channel 8 (Seattle area – 108 hi-def on many of the cable channels) at 8:30 am this morning (June 7, 2015). Yes, this is late notice, so you may be able to catch it on a re-broadcast.
By Lee Bishop
Early in the morning on May 27, 2015, my wife and I arrived at Skagway, Alaska to ride the 3-foot gauge White Pass & Yukon Railroad. We had arrived on the cruise ship Norwegian Jewel out of Seattle for a round trip to Skagway and stops in between. For me, the White Pass was the highlight of the trip for the activities ashore.
The last time we’d been to Skagway was exactly 15 years before, on our honeymoon. This year, after getting off the ship at the former ore dock on the west side of the harbor, I immediately noticed that a few things had changed since we were there in 2000.
First, the cruise ship passengers no longer apparently meet the train at the end of the gangplank. There is now a bus drop-off point for passengers at a siding several blocks northwest of the dock area and depot.
Second, there is no option to ride the train to the summit well short of the Canadian border and back. Instead, passengers take another activity and either ride the train to Fraser at the official border crossing with British Columbia, or vice-versa. This meant that we were going to ride well beyond where we’d stopped in 2000 to go back to Skagway, but only one-way on the train.
Third, there are several more trains running per day than we saw in 2000. We were later told that as many as six trains head up to and back from Fraser each day.
Fourth, there was no steam running on the day we visited. We were lucky enough to be able to see locomotive 73 coming back into Skagway in 2000, but not so lucky this time. 73 was sitting outside the shops, but with her smokebox cover removed.
Fifth, there seems to be a lot more rolling stock out on the railroad.
Everyone from our ship’s group was assigned to the coach “Nakina River”, a reproduction coach built in 2012 by Hamilton in Burlington, WA. Our coach was in the center of a long line of coaches pulled by GE locomotive numbers 99 and 95.
From our 2000 trip, we learned one of the key lessons when riding the White Pass – always sit on the fireman (left) side of the train, as that’s where 99% of the scenery is. The tracks hug the edge of a horseshoe-shaped route up the valley for most of the trip and heading out of Skagway. Based on this, you don’t see much on the engineer (right) side.
Though the White Pass might be one of the most popular narrow gauge railroads in the US when counting ridership numbers, it isn’t all that well known by train buffs. The line was built as an answer to the incredible suffering experienced on the foot trail from Skagway to the Yukon gold fields during the gold rush of 1898. Completed in 1900 (after the rush had subsided), the White Pass Route was the only way into and out of that section of the Yukon for generations until the Klondike Highway was completed. The line proved instrumental during the construction of the Alaska-Canada Highway and Canol Pipeline, both of which were started in 1942. At that time, the Army’s 770th Railway Operating Battalion took over operational control of the railroad for duration of WW2 and brought in several military locomotives. More locomotives were requisitioned from various railroads in Colorado and Tennessee. Most of these additional locomotives were scrapped at the Northern Pacific yard in Auburn, WA after the war was over. Today, several former White Pass locomotives are running at tourist railroads around the “lower 48” states. The railroad itself modernized with early inter-modal service but traffic waned and the line quit running in 1982. Thankfully the shutdown didn’t last long as the cruise industry soon “rediscovered” Skagway and by 1988, the line was running again, more busy than ever hauling cruise ship passengers. Today, many thousands of people ride the White Pass route each year and it remains possibly the most profitable narrow-gauge railroad in America.
Leaving Skagway to head north to the border, we found the weather to be good considering the time of year. While it was sunny at sea level, low clouds obscured the tops of the mountains until the train climbed above them. The grade is quite impressive, being easily seen from the opposite side of the valley. The grade comes very close to 4% in several places along the route but the head end power was more than capable for the task.
Like all open vestibule coaches, the view from the outside is the best. Unlike in 2000, the other passengers on our coach were very nice and willing to share the view with others. Passengers are not allowed to cross from one coach to another.
Soon, we were passing the abandoned 1901 cantilever bridge over Dead Horse Gulch. Having been bypassed in 1969, the bridge is starting to sag in a few places but is still a very impressive structure.
Once the train crested the pass, it started picking up speed on a slightly downhill run to the border. At this point, the terrain changes dramatically into rocky tundra. Undulating rocky terrain dominated the view for the downhill run to Fraser. Several telephone poles left from the Army’s use of the line still exist at this point.
All too soon, we were slowing down for the crossing at Fraser. Ironically, the Canadian border guards have to inspect everyone’s passports even though the train actually stops right at the border itself. When passengers detrain, they must again have their passports inspected, only 40 feet away from where they had been inspected a few minutes before, just before the bus makes a U-turn to head back into Alaska. The GE locomotives ran around the train to take it back to Skagway. We swapped places with people who’d had their non-railroad portion of the trip already completed.
Fraser houses a small depot and a covered water tank, one of the few original structures still in existence from the completion of the line around 1899. The water tank is used whenever steam locomotives come through.
After a bus ride and other activities in the Skagway area, the driver gave the passengers a chance to get off in downtown Skagway instead of going back to the ship. Most people got off right next to the depot. Due to the tides, we had almost an entire working day in Skagway, the longest shore time at any port during the cruise.
A walk through the postwar White Pass depot ended with a run through the well-stocked gift shop. A train fan could easily leave Skagway in serious debt if they were allowed to buy anything they want there, but I was able to keep my purchases down to a relatively sane level.
Heading back to the ship on foot with my wife as we always do whenever possible (a tactic that we’ve discovered is a sure-fire way not to gain weight on a cruise), I noticed several spurs around the Skagway area covered in rust. In 2000, those spurs had trains backed up to the docks to the east side of the harbor area.
One Baldwin S118-class 2-8-2 locomotive, number 195, remains on display behind some trees next to the Skagway museum. A rusted hulk in 2000, she was in relatively decent shape this time although she’s missing a lot of her “jewelry” such as builder’s plates, headlight, cab hardware, etc. Number 196 hasn’t fared nearly as well, having been used as fill in the nearby river and pulled out several years later. Her battered, rusted hulk remains lying on her side next to another locomotive in the same condition, behind the Skagway shops. Both were in the exact same position and condition when spotted on our 2000 trip. Several former White Pass boxcars were also spotted in a few back yards around Skagway.
Sadly, none of the people I talked with who interact with the public concerning the railroad had much historical knowledge of it. None knew that the main line passed right down Main Street Skagway until after WW2, nor that several White Pass steam locomotives are in use on other tourist lines (for example, the Dollywood park in Tennessee has an all-former-WP&Y roster) nor even that number 195 on display was a military locomotive. None knew that the Army took over control of the line during the war. During a wait at one stop, our tour bus driver was actually taking notes when I explained some of these things (with the caveat that she should probably look my points up online as she can’t count on one fan being right about everything), much to her credit. Everyone we talked with seemed surprised that we had been there before. It seems that the White Pass rarely gets return visitors due to its remote location.
After getting some shots of their rotary snowplow on display in the downtown area and some switching moves nearby, it was sadly time to head back to the ship.
The White Pass is an amazing railroad, one which is probably ridden by far more general tourists than train fans. This is a real shame, as its one of the most impressive train rides anywhere in the United States. This route should be on any fan’s “bucket list” and I sincerely hope to ride it again someday.
Russ Segner, 4D Superintendent
“How and why we build our layouts”
Our Spring Meet is tomorrow, Saturday, June 6, at the Bellevue Sheraton.
We have designed a program to give insights and ideas on building layouts. Lots of questions will be answered, such as how big to build? Or what era and prototype to use for ideas? What about operations? Do you build alone or with others in a group or club?
Several MMRs and others will share their experiences and what inspires them in the hobby. So, come with your questions. Meet and share ideas with model railroaders from across the Fourth Division.
A bonus is your chance to see several layouts on Sunday afternoon. Descriptions and locations will only be available to those attending Saturday.
During the lunch break, the Division will hold its Annual Meeting. Several awards will be presented, including The Golden Grab Iron Award. You will also get to see our redesigned website and Grab Iron.
We sincerely hope you will attend. If you’re not already registered, you can register at the door. See you tomorrow!
SPRING MEET SCHEDULE
Registration Opens 8:00
|A Prototype Layout
Bill Messecar, MMR
Di Voss, MMR
Jim Younkins, MMR
Grab Iron Presentation
|Large Layout Panel
Max Maginness, MMR
Sunday’s layout information distributed at close of meeting
After the Thursday night Seattle-North Clinic Annual Trainroom Tour we will be having a giant HO model railroad estate sale of the Brent Carlson collection! There are hundreds of vehicles and hundreds of structures ranging from small outbuildings to multi-story factories, apartments and commercial buildings, in plastic, plaster and wooden laser cut. There are scenery supplies, ceramic Christmas building collections, billboard car collection, rolling stock, locomotives, power supplies, tools and a complete multi-level railroad for sale. Prices begin at $1.00, make a pile, make a deal! Reasonable offers entertained.
Location: 3744 NE 165th St., in the Sheridan Beach area of Lake Forest Park. Follow the signs to one block West off Bothell Way NE to the NW corner of NE 165th St. & 39th Av.
Friday: 5pm to 10pm NMRA members only
Saturday & Sunday: 10am to 4pm public hours
The Pan Am Railways began in 1981 as the Guilford Transportation Industries and consists of the former Boston and Maine, Maine Central, Portland Terminal Co. and the Springfield Terminal Railway. The railroad runs from Mattawamkeag, Maine to Rotterdam Jct. New York. The name was changed to Pan Am Railways in 2006 when owner Tim Mellon bought the “Pan Am” trademark name from the defunct airline. The railway HQ is in North Billerica, MA.
While on a vacation trip on May 19, 2015, my wife Sally and I toured the locomotive and car shop of the Pan Am Railways. Sally’s brother Dick is on the board of directors for the railway and set up the tour for us.
Our tours guides were John Pellcchia, General Manager of Locomotives and Luke McCaul, General Manager of the Pan Am Railways. The locomotive and car shops are in the very old brick buildings and roundhouse from the former Maine Central RR built about one hundred years ago in Waterville, Maine. All the major locomotive and car repairs are done in these buildings. John and Luke showed us various locomotives in the shop for maintenance and repairs. They described what each locomotive needed, all of the heavy duty shop machinery used to do the work, and when the work would be completed. We watched one locomotive getting a new cylinder for its diesel engine. The railway does not have a lot of new diesel locomotives like the UP or BNSF and even has a few old GP-9’s still running as yard switchers.
Besides working on their own locomotives, the railway also does repairs for the Mass. Commuter RR that runs out of Boston. In the car shop during our tour was one of the business cars owned by the railway. It is an old heavy weight built in the 1920’s, rebuilt in 1950, and updated since then. The other business car was sitting outside and is newer, built in 1950. Across from the loco/car shop is the paint shop containing a transfer table to move locos and cars around. We also checked out the roundhouse that had several locomotives in for maintenance. One of the locos stored in the roundhouse is an F-9 used to pull the two business cars. Sitting outside at the east end of the yard is an old Maine Central 2-8-0 that may be restored.
For additional information on the Pan Am Railways, see the article in Wikipedia, which includes a history and a list of all the locomotives, and the corporate web site at www.panamrailways.com. There are openings for locomotive engineers as of the writing date of this article.
The Northwest Railway Museum invites children to treat their dads to a special train excursion aboard the Snoqualmie Valley Railroad this Father’s Day weekend, June 20-21. Fathers ride free when accompanied by their paying children – of any age! Enjoy views of the Cascade foothills, Snoqualmie Falls and the Snoqualmie Valley as you relax aboard the Northwest Railway Museum’s antique coaches. Bring the whole family!
Trains depart every 90 minutes beginning at 11:30 AM from the Snoqualmie Depot at 38625 SE King Street and at Noon from the North Bend Depot at 205 McClellan Street. Roundtrip fares: $10 ages 2-12, $18 ages 13-61, and $16 ages 62 and up!
Visitors to the museum experience the excitement of a working railroad while learning about the important role railroads played in shaping the character of the Pacific Northwest. The Snoqualmie Depot, exhibits and Depot Bookstore are open to the public 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily.
For more information on train schedules, the Train Shed Tour packages, Day Out With Thomas™ tickets and operating hours visit the museum on the web at www.trainmuseum.org or call (425) 888-3030.
A list of NWRM 2015 events and extensive contact info is available at this previous Grab Iron post.
By Jeff Moorman and Bobj Berger, Photos by Bobj Berger
Our next clinic (7 to 10 pm, June 4, 2015) is not a clinic at all, but a layout room tour with four stops in the Edmonds and Lake Forest Park area.
None of these layouts have been open for general viewing before and two will likely never be open again, since they are being sold.
Carpooling is highly encouraged, since these are all residences without special parking facilities. As always, please be mindful of where you park and of keeping the neighbors happy.
Starting Address: Everything begins at Brent C’s, 3744 NE 165th St, Lake Forest Park. The house is located on the NW corner of NE 165th St and 39th Ave NE in Lake Forest Park, in case the address is deceptive. Enter through the garage. On this first layout tour stop each carload of visitors will be issued a “Track Warrant” with directions to the next three train rooms, which are all within a mile or so of each other in Edmonds. Call Bobj’s cell phone at 206-948-0862 if you get lost or need additional directions.
What you can expect at Brent’s:
This is a large HO layout with more buildings than most of us have ever seen on a single home layout. Most of these buildings will be for sale (see the “Note” below). We will not only visit the basement layout, but also the upstairs train display room.
Note: [Friday hours updated 6/3/15] Immediately following our tour the hundreds of buildings and vehicles will be removed and assembled in the garage for a model railroad estate sale this coming weekend. On Friday, June 5 the estate sale hours will be from 5 – 10 pm and the Friday sale is for NMRA members only (the perfect way to start your 4th Division Spring Meet weekend). On both Saturday and Sunday the hours will be from 10 am to 4 pm and will be open for everyone.
What you can expect at the next three stops:
Bob P’s: This HO empire in a lower level of the home was constructed with grandkids’ operations in mind. The owners are now contemplating a retirement downsize so the rolling stock and all supplies (including track) are for sale. This layout mostly follows USA prototypes, but there are some English trains as well, plus some stories about getting them and building the layout.
Craig J’s: Combining households resulted in the original layout space being converted into living space and a new train room was created in a former bedroom. The room has wall shelving displays of O and Standard Gauge trains and accessories, a work/repair desk, and is all next to the antique toy room you pass on the way in.
Harley O’s: This is another lower level HO layout, based on the Great Northern transition era in the Pacific Northwest. The layout is fully scenic’d and completely fills the room. There are stunning views of mountains and trees. A spur runs into the next room and we all hope for future expansion!
Here are some pics of the train rooms we’ll see:
If you missed last month, you missed a treat. Our clinician was Dave Honan, a civil engineer specializing in transportation. But Dave is also a train buff and a photographer. He awed us with pictures of the steam rebuilding program at the Northwest Railway Museum, followed by 2 AV presentations – one on coal mining and transportation, and one on modern urban transit.
Don’t take my word for the beautiful pictures. Go to his website at davehonan.com and see for yourself. Thanks, Dave, for a wonderful program.
The next meeting is June 4 at 7 pm when we embark on a North End Train Room Tour (see directions above). The next regular clinic is September 3. Hope to see you there or at least sometime on down the line.