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the ready track to ease her dead mate into a suitable photographic position. More overalled men gathered about and the dog sensed the excitement.
Viekman fired away until his film was exhausted. It was quickly replenished by a teenage wiper who sped away on his bike to procure more rolls. Bill hurriedly reloaded to exploit the waning "available light," then took to the C6234's running boards and cab roof for definitive close-ups of stack, pop valves, dome.
Now, the Japanese who watched us were beside themselves with curiosity, and Oriental inscrutability went by the boards. What had brought the Americans in business suits to their remote Shimonoseki roundhouse? How had they arranged for the clean C62 to be withdrawn from her stall? And what were the strange English words of exclamation that passed between them as they climbed over the 4-6-4?... And then - Viekman is my witness to this there came from a school playing field beyond the main line the strains of "My Old Kentucky Home." . . . And suddenly it was not 1960 but 1955, not Viekman but Phil Hastings, not Shimonoseki but Duluth or Mattoon or Columbus, not a C62 standing before the camera but a Soo Mike or a Central J1 or an N&W K. Only the names had been changed to protect the presence of steam, for Hastings and I had seen this same pageant enacted at a hundred roundhouses from Fargo to Island Pond as veteran rails were first astonished, then pleased, that someone had come to pay homage before the body was carted away.
I'll wager you that the identical situation could occur at an engine terminal in Stalingrad, perhaps even Peking. There is in steam propulsion, most notably in locomotive format, a human persuasion that ignores politics and nationality, that cuts across race and color and creed.
On the final leg of the flight to Milwaukee I was sitting on the left side of the plane, behind the trailing edge of the wing, and the altitude of no more than 2500 feet permitted a fine view of the Wisconsin landscape below. Which turned out to be a fine thing as we overlooked a Milwaukee Road freight. The train must have stretched for 34 mile, and the four orange-and-black F9 units were forging steadily toward Milwaukee at, I would judge, 50 mph, maybe better. It was the first American train I'd seen in more than a month, but even more
So in twilight the sister Hudson, stimulating, it was the first train of its
related size and speed I'd seen (or could have seen) anywhere since leaving the U.S.A. And that in itself was a fact to make any American proud. We did not invent the railroad and today, nearly 150 years since its commercial inception, we are unquestionably off the pace in certain areas of technology, especially passenger equipment. Nevertheless, within the framework of the essential definition of a railroad which is, mass transportation we are still the leader. Trains grossing even 5000 tons were unheard of on the other continents to which my trip had taken me, as were cars of 90 tons or 30,000 gallons capacity, or authorized maximum freight-train, speed limits of 60 mph. Overseas they can and do handle passengers in the mass, and they do it with equipment and in a manner that deserves the un stinting praise of any American visitor. But tonnage, no. In this field we remain the nation to equal (and under
nearest rival). The evidence lay be low the window of the old Douglas
So then it was home again . . . 17% standably, the Soviet Union is our air-hours across the Pacific on a BOAC Britannia (acquiring an extra day by virtue of the international date line, a day I've already set aside for renewing acquaintance with steam, sometime, somewhere), then from San Francisco to Chicago on a United DC-8, finally up the coastline of Lake Michigan to home on a 180 mph North Central DC-3.
then the 2-6-2T, slipped the C6234 back into her stall, and the assembled wipers and hostlers gradually dispersed and the music died away.
Weep no more, my lady.
My heart was full that night as I lay in a roomette aboard the streamlined Sakura (Cherry Blossom Limited) and gazed ahead as our C62 fought into the curves and mountains north of Hiroshima, throwing firelight on her exhaust and talking it up in such firm stack music that even air conditioning could not seal out her message. I could visualize her uniformed crew, goggled and intent, adjusting cutoff and stoker valves to exploit every last B.T.U. out of the coal in the tender behind - yes, and going through the ritualistic sing-song of Shinko!... Shinko! as each green signal swam out of the darkness, flicked to red, and vanished behind in the smoke.
In the century prior to locomotives Samuel Johnson set forth as good a reason as any for exploring the railroading of the world. Said he, "The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are." There, that's it, isn't it? To confirm or change a prior opinionthat's the business of travel. I thought a Union Pacific 4-12-2 must be an enormously tall engine, and so she was when I first glimpsed the pumpheavy, transverse-levered front end of one in the Cheyenne house. But a Virginian 2-10-10-2 wasn't quite as big firsthand as builder prints and the simple statistics of her wheel arrangement had led me to believe. So it is beyond the oceans, too. I found that the Japanese innovate quite as well as they imitate, that the French really do implement those remarkable figures in Don Steffee's speed surveys,
and that a 24-inch South African Garratt exceeds even the intrigue of her blueprints. Conversely, I've managed by travel to confirm my personal feeling that German Federal 4-6-2's are unexciting to the eye, that railways without automatic couplers and air brakes are as frustrated as those of less-than-standard gauge, and that engines bereft of pilots will always look incomplete to an American. Finally, travel creates a fresh respect for what's in our own back yard.
It has got so with me that the favorite volume in my railroad library at home is my little green passport. I
STIR created by visit of two American enthusiasts has almost subsided as tanker nudges
4:25 P.M. . . . C6234 is back in her berth.
TRAINS Magazine Larry Luser
... Dick Kindig's article caused me to paw through my files, and I have unearthed a couple of interesting photos.
One shows No. 473 masquerading temporarily as No. 7 for a movie. The conversion was the epitome of simplicity, involving only the painting-over of the 4 and the 3 plus the removal of the two engine-number indicator housings. The scene is Silverton.
The other, showing the rear of the 496, illustrates how the standard-gauge tender was converted to narrow gauge. The truck frames were left intact while the wheels were moved inward the proper distance, leaving an awesome gap between wheel and frame. As shown in this photo, the rear coupler pocket presents a sort of enigma. To look at it one would think that narrow-gauge locomotives could be used with narrowgauge cars having automatic couplers, or with standard-gauge cars having linkand-pin couplers. I suspect, however, that the casting is inverted and that its previous use had been to permit standardgauge locomotives to haul either standard-gauge cars with automatic couplers or narrow-gauge cars with link-and-pin couplers.
The outside counterbalances on these engines used to cause derailments in winter, I have been told. They would pack the snow outside of the rail against the ends of the ties. Thawing by the sun, plus water dripping from the engines, would build up bumps of solid ice in time. Then when a new snow fell, there was no place for it to be squeezed, and the engine would be lifted off the rails by the counterbalances, and when it came back down, it sometimes came to rest in places other than the running surface of the rail.
Robert A. LeMassena. 1795 S. Sheridan Blvd., Denver 26, Colo.
QUICKIE conversion was made on Rio Grande 473's number. FROM standard gauge to narrow: wheels were moved inward.
and got one wrong guess on No. 3. I knew
All the comforts of the railroad
With the arrival of the double-decker
Originally published in 1947, MIXED TRAIN
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