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Steamtown...

Idle hands are the devils workshop

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  • Took me a trip...

    to Steamtown National Park in the heart of Scranton, PA. I believe one of the largest collections of steam powered locomotives in the world. Very interesting to anyone that feels an affinity toward steam and steam powered propulsion. Being an old Navy MM and having loads of experience running steam powered plants I felt just like I had come home. We took what was a rare tour of the shop where they are rebuilding these behemoths and saw several in various stages of restoration. The most amazing part being they are fabricating nearly every part necessary for the restorations right on site. The shop was just chock full of all sorts of huge metalworking equipment. They are literally rebuilding some of these boilers from scratch out of flat plate steel. Some of them take as many as 2000 1" bolts to hold the inner casing to the outer casing. It really is an exciting step back into the past for any old steam mechanics you might know. I highly recommend you take a visit. Try to arrange it to coincide with a shop tour. You'll be walking around with your jaw all dropped open. ;)
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    That's

    been on my list for a while. Maybe I can drag The Lovely Naoko along.....

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Christian Egli_2
    Christian Egli_2 Member Posts: 812
    Detroit's Henry Ford Museum... on steam

    Same here, I've been collecting those brochures for a while now.

    On the same line, is the Baltimore and Ohio Museum open again?
  • BillW@honeywell
    BillW@honeywell Member Posts: 1,099
    Great place, try this one , too...

    East Broad Top Railroad in Rockhill Furnace, PA. It's near State College. 3-foot gauge that literally shut down overnight, no long decline. The shops are priceless, including a Corliss stationary steam engine that ran all sorts of heavy duty metal forming machines thru a web of belts to and from overhead line shafts. The ancient Scotch Marine boiler no longer is operable, but is still there. They also run a unique tourist railroad with several of their steam locomotives and unique passenger cars. Absolutely faciniating place. Shop tours are usually featured during the summer. Their schedule is somewaht sporadic, calling ahead is highly recommended.
  • BillW@honeywell
    BillW@honeywell Member Posts: 1,099
    Hi, Frank...

    Tell her that the hotel that is in the former Lackawanna Rairoad station has a fully-restored stained-glass barrel-vault ceiling and some other very interesting architectural features. It was a Hilton at one time, but has changed hands, I'm not sure who owns it now. The Steamtown site runs several very scenic trips daily behind one of 2 ex-Canadian Pacific steamers, and various events throughout the year.
  • Al Letellier_9
    Al Letellier_9 Member Posts: 929
    steamtown

    Stopped there last year on the way home from Hershey...great place ! The Ford Museum in Dearborn is an awesome place and well worth the trip. Amazing to see a connecting rod and piston from an old steam plant that was over 30 FEET long...and powered by a small boiler...just amazing, the power of steam !!!
  • I still have...

    this gigantic valve from a reciprocating engine I took off a wrecked cargo ship that was stuck on a reef in Guam. We THINK it was a diesel though. It stands about 3 feet tall, has a base about 10" in diameter and weighs about 80 lbs. I had originally grabbed a piston ring that was as big as a hula hoop but I dumped it when I found the valve. I brought it from Guam all the way back here to CT. I used to keep it in my living room when I was single but since I got remarried it seems to have grown legs and somehow migrated itself to my workshop in the basement. ;)
  • Probably the most fascinating...

    Read the specs on this engine. They have it sitting on some tracks there. Unfortunately it will probably never run again.

    Union Pacific 4012: Big Boy

    The Big Boy locomotive in Steamtown's collection is on display next to the parking area. This large locomotive, when running, weighed in at 1,189,500 pounds - just under 600 tons.

    Eventually, every railroad faces the same problem: how to move trains over mountains? Small logging and mining railroads purchased geared locomotives - Heislers, Climaxes and Shays - which could pull trains at low speed up steep hills. Medium railroads, like the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, bought lots of medium-sized engines - 4-6-2s, 4-8-2s and 4-8-4s - and put as many as ten engines on one train. Large railroads like the Union Pacific Railroad, stretching from Kansas City, Missouri and Omaha, Nebraska to Seattle, Washington and Los Angeles, California, preferred a different solution. The Union Pacific ordered larger, more powerful engines such as the 4-12-2 Union Pacific type and 4-6-6-4 Challengers. The trend toward size and power culminated in the 1.2 million pound, 6,200 horsepower 4-8-8-4 Big Boy.

    The Big Boys were built for power. They did the work of three smaller engines, pulling 120-car, 3800 ton freight trains at forty miles per hour in the mountains of Utah and Wyoming.

    With power though, comes weight - larger cylinders, pistons, drive rods, boiler and firebox. Steam locomotive manufacturers added more wheels with idlers and powered drive wheels.

    The extra wheels added length. Long engines had difficulty squeezing through the sharp track curves, especially in the mountains. A Swiss designer, Anatole Mallet (1837-1919) added a "hinge" to the middle of a locomotive to allow it to "flex" slightly. Two pairs of cylinders supplied power to the two sets of drive wheels.

    The Big Boys were built in Schenectady, New York by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) to the Union Pacific's design. ALCO delivered the first batch of 20 - including #4012 in the Steamtown NHS collection - in 1941 and the remaining 5 in 1944.
    Big Boys had over one mile of tubes and flues inside the boiler. Their firebox grate measured 150 square feet. The Big Boys had sixteen drive wheels, each measuring 68 inches. From coupler to coupler they measured 132 feet 9 inches. The tender held 24,000 gallons of water and 28 tons of coal and the engine and tender weighed 1,189,500 pounds in working order. The engines well deserved the name 'Big Boy' which was written on one of the drive rods by an unknown worker at ALCO.

    The 25 Big Boys were built to pull long, fast freight trains over the Wasatch Mountains of Utah and Sherman Hill in Wyoming. They served there until 1959 when the new diesel-electric locomotives took over. The Big Boys were not the most powerful engines, though they were the heaviest. But no engine ever came close to matching Big Boy's combination of speed, power and agility. Today, the Union Pacific "Big Boy" #4012 is preserved and on display at Steamtown. Though it does not operate, it remains a most impressive machine.




  • hvacfreak
    hvacfreak Member Posts: 439
    I'll never forget

    this question on an HVAC exam I took... " What is the purpose of the highball governor on a Corliss releasing engine ?" .

    Multiple choice and common sense , I chose an answer that related to " limiting output " or something. Don't know if I got it right or not , but I passed anyway. Why this was on an HVAC exam baffles me to this day. A more appropriate question might have been something like " What is the valve stem diameter on a factory 426 Chrysler Hemi engine ? ". Or this one ... " What is the reason for twisting the rotors in a Roots style blower " ?

    Correct answer... B ) To do what the " Highball Govenor " could not. LOL

    I'd like to see these large steam engines too...I need to grab the kids and roll to PA for sure. - M
  • BillW@honeywell
    BillW@honeywell Member Posts: 1,099
    RR Museums

    Here are some "local" rail museums for all...

    RR Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburgh, PA (Museum, static displays of steam, diesel & electric equipment.)

    Strasburgh Railroad, also in Strasburg, PA 10 Mile train ride behind steam locomotive, parlor car, open car. Shop tours of locomotive and car shop available occassionally.

    Steamtown, Scranton PA.(see above)
    East Broad Top, Rockhill Furnace PA.(See above)

    B&O Railroad Museum, Baltimore, MD. Static displays of steam, diesel & electric equipment, unique completely circular enclosed roundhouse.

    NJ Museum of Transportation (Pine Creek Railroad) Allaire State Park, Allaire, NJ.
    Narrow gauge steam & diesel. Steam operates on the weekends & holidays, short train ride, ideal for little kids. Historic iron working village adjacent to Pine Creek Railroad, picnic ground.

    Whippany Railroad Museum Whippany, NJ

    Static displays of steam & Diesel locomotives, occasional train rides, call for info.

    Black River& Western RR, Flemington, NJ

    Steam & diesel powered train ride in 1920's vintage coaches. Weekends during the summer. Call for schedule. Great discount shopping outlets in Flemington, lots of restaurants. Some trains go thru to quaint artist's colony town of Lambertville, short walk across the bridge to New Hope, Pennsylvania, which features lots of unique shopping, a mule-drawn canal boat ride, and the New Hope & Ivyland tourist Railroad, offering a short steam powered excursion along the Delaware.
  • Essex CT

    Thanks for those, might as well add the Essex Steam Train in Essex, CT. I BELEIVE this is just an excursion on a steam train that might include lunch/dinner but don't quote me.
  • BillW@honeywell
    BillW@honeywell Member Posts: 1,099
    For those heading a bit farther afield...

    The Adirondack Scenic Railroad operates from Utica, NY to Big Moose,NY and also from Saranac Lake NY to Lake Placid, NY. SPECTACULAR scenery, modern AC/heated coaches with big windows, premium first class car(s) on some runs, historic diesel power, and the nicest crews you will ever meet. The route they use is over 100 years old. The area they serve is loaded with quaint B&B's, chain motels, high-end exclusive resorts, great restaurants, lots of shopping, camping, hiking, mountain climbing, fishing, antiquing etc. Great vacation spot.
  • john_171
    john_171 Member Posts: 13


    I highly recommend this place! I'm an electrician/technician there, and everything
  • john_171
    john_171 Member Posts: 13
    Adirondack Scenic Railroad

    I highly recommend the Adirondack Railroad! I'm an electrician/technician there, and everything Bill W. said is true and more. Although many (myself included) love a steam locomotive, there's a lot of satisfaction with learning to restore and maintain a first generation diesel. The control systems regulating excitation of the main generator, which produces the power to move a train are fascinating to work on. An interesting fact is that most of the crews staffing the trains are strictly volunteers. Check out the website www.adirondackrr.com
  • brucewo1b
    brucewo1b Member Posts: 638
    Unique Steam Boilers

    Well if anyone is headed to the NAOHSM 2nd annual Oil Heat Retreat pre-season get away – September 13-16th at the Red Jacket Inn, North Conway, NH, you might want to take a day and check out the Mount Washington Cog Railway which has been climbing to the 6288' summit of Mt. Washington, NH 'home of the world's worst weather' since July 3, 1869. http://www.mountwashington.com/cog/index.html

    http://www.mountwashington.com/cog/engines/index.html

    That is not intended to take anything from the North Conway Scenic Railway.

    http://www.conwayscenic.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.steam7470

    However those trains with the boilers built at an angle to account for the steep gradient and the original #1 engine Peppersass with it's vertical boiler are unique.

    http://www.thecog.com/cog_scene.php?img=the_original_cog_engine
  • Yep...

    I've seen the cog RR but didnt ride. There's a little museum there concerning the building of the RR. Pretty interesting as well.
  • brucewo1b
    brucewo1b Member Posts: 638
    I've been up a few times

    once on foot many by car and three times on the RR, first on the RR I was on my honeymoon and the wife was afraid to go by car and wouldn't hike so she opted for the train and I think she was almost willing to walk down so as to not get back on the train. Not a bad ride but made her nervous stopping to build steam while sitting high in the air before the Jacobs Ladder run. A friend of mine used to be a radio engineer at the top winters and a few of his buddies would hike up in February and take sleds back down the auto road, 8 miles. Then I new the one of the drivers that took the tankers up nights in summer to refuel for winter, 3 MPH up and back with a lead man walking in front lighting the edge of the road. One of my favorite places.
  • Cool...

    I've always wanted to do that on foot. I was working way way up to it when I messed up a knee on my second trip up and down Greylock's Thunderbolt trail in the same week. It's finally started to feel better after a few years now. I may make it up there yet. ;)
  • Ruthe Jubinville_2
    Ruthe Jubinville_2 Member Posts: 674
    Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum

    and old trains also. Anyone coming to the Big Ugly Western Mass July 14 can go see this museum and ride the trolley just down the road from my house. Not steam, but quaint. .. Ruthe
  • Shift gears...

    Just for a sec,,, Figured I'd add Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in Rhinebeck NY. Pretty close to Western Mass too as a matter of fact. Here's another place you can feel like you've stepped back in time. WWI era planes and museum. Really feels like you're at an early 1900s airfield as you wander in amongst the hangars and early flight related flotsam. No steam planes though. Hmmm... ;)
  • jeff klaverweiden
    jeff klaverweiden Member Posts: 57
    steam

    I think the greatest working steam museum is Rough and Tumble in Kinzers PA. near Lancaster. The website is roughandtumble.org There you can see working stationary steam engines,steam traction engines,steam whistles,large diesel engines,farm tractors and more. The big show is 2nd week in August. Its great, I spend all 4 days there as a volunteer in the steam museum or boiler room.

    Idle hands are the devils workshop

  • jeff klaverweiden
    jeff klaverweiden Member Posts: 57
    Steam as a Hobby

    I should have started my preivous post with steam as a hobby because Rough and Tumble is the place for people that love steam.I have been a member there for 20 years.

    Idle hands are the devils workshop

  • Christian Egli_2
    Christian Egli_2 Member Posts: 812
    Rough and tumble flight

    One day this will be a great excursion. Who knew, Heating Help is the best travel agency around (Surely we'll soon be getting steamy pictures from Japan)

    Steam and planes? Clement Ader, a Frenchman, claimed to have produced a steam powered plane well before Dayton's Wright brothers - of course his Eole didn't really turn in circles and it really only hovered. Nonetheless, Ader had steam heat in his Paris factory.

    The Paris Air Show is going on right now and we have sent a whole Dayton delegation to it, comprising most notalbly of a live descendent of the Wright family. It's all getting pretty steamy.
  • Tom Hopkins
    Tom Hopkins Member Posts: 552
    Oh Stop Already!

    > One day this will be a great excursion. Who knew,

    > Heating Help is the best travel agency around

    > (Surely we'll soon be getting steamy pictures

    > from Japan)

    >

    > Steam and planes? Clement Ader, a

    > Frenchman, claimed to have produced a steam

    > powered plane well before Dayton's Wright

    > brothers - of course his Eole didn't really turn

    > in circles and it really only hovered.

    > Nonetheless, Ader had steam heat in his Paris

    > factory.

    >

    > The Paris Air Show is going on right

    > now and we have sent a whole Dayton delegation to

    > it, comprising most notalbly of a live descendent

    > of the Wright family. It's all getting pretty

    > steamy.



  • Tom Hopkins
    Tom Hopkins Member Posts: 552
    Oh Stop Already!

    You guys have got this midwesterner steam (heat) man and history buff drooling all over himself. It all sounds so enticing. A trip east wouldn't be complete....
  • jeff klaverweiden
    jeff klaverweiden Member Posts: 57
    Steam Shows in your area

    You can go to [smokstak.com] antique engines website find where it has shows and click on it., There will be a calender with dates and locations. Most of the shows have websites.I went to Rough and Tumbles steam school 3 years ago.I loved it

    Idle hands are the devils workshop

  • jeff klaverweiden
    jeff klaverweiden Member Posts: 57
    Steam Shows in your area

    You can go to [smokstak.com] antique engines website find where it has shows and click on it., There will be a calender with dates and locations. Most of the shows have websites.I went to Rough and Tumbles steam school 3 years ago.I loved it

    Idle hands are the devils workshop

  • Bill W@Honeywell
    Bill W@Honeywell Member Posts: 164
    Old Rhinebeck

    Also home to the "Fuddy Duddy", a B17G bomber from WWII. That beast shakes the ground when they run up those big radials for take-off. The plane visits many air shows during the summer, and may not be there, but they do WWI era dogfights featuring the Red Baron daily. Close by is the town of Rhinebeck, home of the 200+ year old Beekman Inn. The bar in that place is incredible. The nearby Culinary Institute of America produces lots of fledgling chefs whose little restaurants, pastry shops and cafe's provide some wonderful food and reasonable prices. The Frederick Vanderbilt mansion, Ogden Mills mansion and FDR's mansion are all close by. FDR and his wife Elanor are buried at the mansion, and they have a complete replica of the Oval Office as it was on December 7th, 1941. It looks like FDR just left the room for a couple minutes and will be right back. Don't miss checking out the landscaping and gardens at both Vanderbilts 's and Roosevelt's. The estates connect with each other, but it is a LONG walk. Enjoy!
  • You KNOW...

    I asked the most important question. ;)

    They run on anywhere from 100 to 300 PSI depending on size. The Big Boy ran on 300#
  • Christian Egli_2
    Christian Egli_2 Member Posts: 812
    Slurp

    Tombig, you got that one figured out right. This kid here, to the consternation of his grade school teachers drew only pictures of factories, machines, buildings and all sorts of systems and mechanisms. Steam, water, air, it doesn't really matter - I love scientific accomplishments.

    Touring the old factory sites of the Smith company and others is also in the guide book.

    Thanks for the grin.
  • Glenn Klaverweiden
    Glenn Klaverweiden Member Posts: 1


    Jeff,

    You'll have to let me know if you're coming for the show this year. I only live about 1 hour and 20 minutes away and would love to meet you.

    Thanks
    Glenn
  • yup,,,

    Saw the Roosevelt estate while I was there. Amazing guy FDR. Strange to think they are buried right there.
  • Bill W@Honeywell
    Bill W@Honeywell Member Posts: 164
    NYC's Hudson (J3a) model...

    ran at 275 psi, the boiler made more steam than the engines could use, even at sustained speeds of 100+ mph, pulling a heavy passenger train like the 20th Century Limited. The boiler pressures were reduced on them when it was found that the main rods were actually bending under the forces exerted on them. Want more? Let's go to sea... The Iowa class battleships used 600 PSI steam! That's heavy duty.
This discussion has been closed.