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Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: August 20, 2019, 02:23:55 PM »
The rest of the story.
I ran across this u-tube video this morning and thought I would use it to illustrate just how blind Russel Taylor was backing around Eaton's curve.  This clip involves a railfan who is lucky enough to get to run a GP9 back and forth for a couple of hundred yards.  I'm not impressed with our hero or his camera ability, but I am jealous of his opportunity.  Anyway, notice how poor the vision is in general and how blind the engineer is on a curve.  Having a Pacific size boiler sticking out in front of your view would give the same effect.  No wonder the railroads kept firemen to watch out the left side on these diesels.  Wonder what's going on with all those ESPEE diesels spotted on the side tracks? Is this a scrap line?

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: August 18, 2019, 09:16:15 AM »
Jerry, Greg, Jim, Curt et al.  - Thanks for taking the time to comment on my little stories.  I am amazed at the number of times the Saturday Report is accessed during the week. 

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: August 17, 2019, 05:17:25 PM »
August 17, 2019.
The weekly meeting of the A&S Board of Directors started on time at 0830 hours.  The progress on the pest control business was examined and it will soon be placed on the shores of the Tahope River, where it will no doubt make a major contribution to polluting the water.  All of this has been approved by the Tahope City Council, considering the mayor is the owner's cousin. 

We put the new IC diesels through their paces on the Summit level and then decided to bring the Pennsy Coal train up from the Bottoms on its regular run delivering coal to the Tahope Power Company and Hog Exchange.  Those Sharks really sound good with authentic Baldwin prime mover power and real Baldwin horns,  The A-B-A lash-up has no problem climbing the Ovalix with 21 cars and the train tracks very well.  As you might remember, the Pennsy has an agreement with the A&S to provide a regular coal supply to Tahope and, in the winter months, a section of the Pennsy's Broadway Limited swings south over ACL tracks to assist bringing snow birds to sunny Central Florida.

Jim and CLaire Miller and Greg DeMayo visited us and a general bull session took place until time for lunch at Smokey Bones. 

The bull session continued after lunch until about 1400 hours, when the day was declared over just prior to the daily afternoon thunderstorm.

This week's story involves a geographic feature of the A&S called "The Great Divide."  It is a bottomless canyon over which bridges are placed on all three levels of the railroad.  The Great Divide is located at the north end of the railroad and separates the east side from the west side.  Failure to put the bridges in place can result in catastrophe.   Hence, the misadventures of Newt and Short Stack continue.

                                                                                                       The Ride to the Great Divide

Newt Fisher continued his assignment on the pulpwood train as a student fireman on into the spring.  He had proven his abilities to the satisfaction of the A&S management and was approved for duty firing a coal burning locomotive. 

Early one morning Newt was called to fire a train of pulpwood cars from Piney Woods to the paper mill in Jacksonville.  The regular engineer, "Fatso" Johnson, was assigned elsewhere and Russel "Ballast Scorcher" Taylor , an engineer from Jacksonville, deadheaded to Tahope the night before on the Florida Special to make this run.  Taylor was familiar with local conditions, because he was born and raised in Tahope and had kin still living there. (Many Tahope natives have last names reflecting midieval occupations.)

The engine assigned to the run, a USRA Pacific, was coupled to a caboose and the train proceeded in reverse from the Sanlando yard for the short trip to Piney Woods.  This configuration meant the view of the bridge around Eaton's curve would be blocked from the engineer's side of the train.  Taylor would have to rely on Newt's vigilance to make sure the bridge was in place across The Great Divide. 

This being Newt's first day firing a coal burning steamer, he felt a little nervous and asked Taylor if he would mind if his cousin Short Stack rode in the cab as far as Piney Woods.  Taylor said he didn't mind and Short Stack climbed into the cab. 

When Taylor whistled off to proceed, he instructed Newt to look out the fireman's side window as the train approached Eaton's Curve. 

Newt hung out the fireman's side window and the cool morning breeze lulled him fast asleep.  Consequently, he did not notice that the bridge was "out" and the caboose was only eight or ten can lengths from the edge of the drop-off. 

Fortunately, Short Stack was alert and observed the approaching peril.  He let out a shriek and Taylor put her into emergency.  The jolt of the sudden brake application woke Newt and the engine screeched to a stop less than three feet from the edge of The Great Divide.

The conductor climbed down from the caboose and demanded an explanation from the engineer.  It was obvious who was at fault and when Newt returned to the roundhouse he lost his student fireman status and went on the extra board as a brakeman.

When asked to explain himself, Newt, who has a pathological fear of accomplishment, said, "I almost did something right today, but I went to sleep."

For his part in the incident, Taylor was given a week's unpaid vacation.  Short Stack was reinstated to his job of "sweeping up" at the roundhouse.


Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: August 10, 2019, 03:12:01 PM »
August 10, 2019
Big day today.  The A&S took delivery of the newly repowered Illinois Central E8A's.  We waited over two years for delivery.  They are a thing of beauty and run like a watch.  They will power the City of Miami.  The diesels are in the A-B-A configuration, with the middle B unit pleasing, but unpowered.  (It is certainly no "dummy.")  The plan is to replace the provided speakers with the new TCS WOW Sound enhanced bass speakers. We have already installed one of those speakers in an ACL E7A and it really improves the realism of the sound.  The IC passenger cars are all lighted and loaded with passengers.  Mostly streamlined cars but a few heavyweights thrown in so our passengers can have the option of a 14-section "Battleship."  The prototype City of Miami ran from Chicago to Miami.  It retained the IC diesels until it arrived in Jacksonville.  The FEC provided the power from Jax to Miami.  We will ultimately have a version of the Jax terminal at Summit and will change IC E8's for FEC E7's.  But that will probably be sometime next year.  There is still work to do on the Tahope branch and Tom is very busy building structures to be placed on the south side of the Tahope River.  In keeping with the policy of ignoring environmental concerns, the Tahope City Council has approved construction of a pest control facility on the south bank of the Tahope Rive with runoff directly into the river. 

The SBG (Saturday Buddy Group) met at 10:00. We ran the new City of Miami around the Midlands and up to Summit.  Lunch at Smokey Bones, as usual.

Here is a photo of the lead IC E8A, taken during her maiden voyage through the Midlands.


This week's story follows the adventures of Newt Fisher, who, as you might remember, is cousin to Shortstack and recently decided to leave The Bottoms for gainful employment.  He worked as an engine watchman with mixed success, but managed to get promoted to student fireman.  His first day on the job was a little rocky (Pager ten) but he stuck with it and today he is a man of experience firing an oil burning steamer.

                                                                                                   Oops!  We're Taking on Water

There is an old saying, "the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."  The originator of that saying never spent a winter in sunny Central Florida.  It gets bone chilling cold for a few days each winter.  The thermometer drops down to a few degrees below freezing, but the humidity remains at 80%.  When the wind blows from the north it is like standing in ice water.

One chilly February morning in 1950, the temperature dropped below freezing  when Number 7 pulled out onto the mainline.  She needed water for the run to Piney Woods, so the engineer, "Fatso" Johnson, spotted her under the water tank spout at Sanlando.


Newt climbed up on the tender and opened the man hole that covered the water tank on the tender.  He reached the spout with a tank hook and pulled it down to where he could reach it.  The spout had a little step on it which needed the weight of a man in order to hold it into the tank.  The fireman had to stand on that step or the spout would jump out of the tank and drench the unwary tallow pot.

Newt put his foot on the step, pulled the chain that allowed the water to flow, and began to fill the tank.  But the deck was icy and his foot slipped, causing the spout to rise and ice cold water hit him square in the chest, nearly knocking him off the tender.  By the time he got the contraption under control, he was drenched and chilled to the bone.

"Fatso" saw Newt's predicament and motion him back into the cab.  "Strip naked, Newt," he said, "we have enough water to get to make it to Summit and your clothes can dry on the back head on the way.  So, Newt stripped and fired Number 7 naked all the way to Piney Woods and up the Ovalix to Summit.  By the time they arrived at Summit Newt's clothes were dry and he rode back to the roundhouse in more modest condition. 

"Fatso" Johnson couldn't resist telling the tale to the roundhouse crew and Newt became known as "Nudist Newt," the only fireman to fire an engine completely au naturel.

And that's the truth!


Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: August 03, 2019, 10:49:49 AM »
August 3, 2019
This is the monthly weekend when "the Babe" gets her hair done in Mount Dora and Tom visits the Pennsy at Bill and Chris Cutler's place.  So there is no report from the A&S today.
    However, the A&S did recently receive two Illinois Central E8A units and they are being converted to WOW sound and should be on line to pull the City of Miami next week.  How do I.C. diesels find their way to a Florida swamp you may ask?  The answer is the Miami to Chicago passenger train found its way onto ACL tracks due to a pooling arrangement with the I.C.  I was privileged to ride the "City" from Chicago to Florida in 1954.  My father was a banker and he attended a banker's convention in Chicago.  We went up to Chicago on the "Dixie Flagler" and came back on the "City."  My father pulled some strings and got us a cab ride on both trains.  We rode in NC&St.L F3 diesels from Chattanooga to Nashville and through Southern Illinois on the way back.  I got to blow the horn a couple of times.

    This week's story continues the adventures of Newt Fisher, whose parents, Tallula and Luke, live in one of the cracker shacks on Eaton's curve. (See p.eight)  Some time ago, Newt decided that life as a bum in the bottoms was not for him so he tried his hand as and engine watchman. Newt has certain limitations, including the fact that he got his intelligence genes from his mother, and his pathological fear of accomplishment. 

                                                                                                   Striking It Rich on a Student Trip

    Newt Fisher managed to learn the ropes on how to be a successful "engine watchman" (See p.eighteen) after only a few weeks of that duty and, since the job was never intended to be a permanent position, Newt was promoted to temporarily try his luck as a student fireman.
    Now, the A&S management knew Newt had certain limitations, so the yardmaster was directed to assign him to A&S #7, , an oil fired 2-6-6-2.  This avoided the distinct possibility that Newt would fail to grasp the complexities of hand firing a coal burner.
    Newt reported for duty the next day only to find the conductor, engineer, and the regular fireman conversing about the day's run, which was to haul a train of pulpwood from Piney Woods up to Summit and return with some empties.  Old #7 was the best choice to pick up pulpwood due to the light rail on the Piney Woods spur.
    George "Crack-a-diamond" Musselwhite was the assigned fireman for the run.  He had been firing steam locomotives for many years and had trained many a student fireman. 
    George "tuck Newt aside" and explained a fireman's duties to him.  The Bunker C fuel oil used on oil fired engines is as thick as sludge when it is not heated and that is why oil burners have a heater in the tender's fuel bunker.  Oil heated properly will liquify and flow through the atomizer more easily when it is injected into the firebox.  Newt was told to turn the heater on and occasionally put his hand on the back of the fuel bunker tank.  "When it feels hot, it's hot enough."  Newt turned the heater on high and promptly forgot all about it.
    The engineer assigned that day, "Fatso" Johnson, gave #7's three chime whistle two short blasts and eased out into the yard with only a caboose in tow.  George, confident that Newt could follow instructions and handle the fireman's job for the short trip to Piney Woods, stepped off the engine at the yard limit, intending to rejoin the crew on the trip to Summit.
    There is a problem when the oil in the fuel bunker gets too hot.  It starts to bubble.
    The temperature in the fuel bunker kept going up and up as #7 chugged its way to Piney Woods and it began to bubble.  It wasn't long before it started bubbling out of the tank onto the deck.  Then a geyser shot out of the dip stick hole and spewed hot oil all over the cab of the engine, much to the discomfort of its occupants.
    Newt, quickly realizing his mistake, shut off the heater, climbed on the tank, and shut the dip stick hole.
    The rest of the trip was unpleasant to say the least.  However, when #7 returned to the roundhouse, the maintenance crew cleaned up the mess using sand, kerosene, and a steam hose.  It took Newt and "Fatso" as long to scrub the oil off of their bodies as it did to clean the engine.
    The yardmaster realized anyone can make mistakes the first day on a job, and, since no permanent harm was done to employees or equipment, Newt received no discipline other than a stern warning.
    The does not mean Newt didn't hear about it from his peers.  "Fatso" Johnson told the roundhouse crew how the incident happened and the word rapidly spread that Newt was the only A&S employee in history who ever struck oil in Florida.

Kit Building / Re: Sierra West Logging Camp Essentials
« on: July 30, 2019, 10:32:23 AM »
I've always wondered why tool sheds are always made just a little bit too small to hold all the junk that goes inside them.  Your shed is an excellent example and I really, really like it.  It looks like it would fit nicely next to the Midlands engine facility on the Atlantic & Southern RR.

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: July 28, 2019, 02:05:21 PM »
Your reporter failed to provide proof of purchase of the new Central of Georgia SD9.  Here is photographic evidence with the SD9 spotted on A&S track.


Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: July 27, 2019, 04:14:37 PM »
July 27, 2019 Saturday Report - Atlantic & Southern Railroad

The Board of Director's meeting began promptly at 0830 this morning.  Everyone was in a good mood knowing the air conditioner was working - and for a 26-year old unit it really puts out the negative BTU's. 

There was a celebration over the delivery of the refurbished ACL E7, complete with updated TCS WOW Sound decoder and a new "bass" speaker.  The speaker makes a noticeable difference in the sound.  We may install several of these in our larger locomotives.  The speaker won't fit in GEEP units or steamers with small tenders.

The new Central of Georgia SD9 was also delivered.  It is a great addition to the roster.

We started the morning's operations off by moving the C&O's George Washington from where it was spotted at Summit down to the Bottoms.

Then we ran the ACL Champion with the E7's.  The passenger cars in the consist are among the oldest in our inventory and we had problems with the train breaking in two on the Ovalix.  The A&S Director of Maintenance, Will Fixer, towed the car causing the trouble to the shop and, after a coupler adjustment, it was returned to service.

The new SD9 was put through its paces by pulling a pulpwood train from The Midlands to Summit and dropping the consist at Summit Yard.  There were orders awaiting the engine at Summit and it coupled onto a mixed freight, which it hauled down the Ovalix to The Midlands and through the Taahope Branch Line, returning by way of the reverse loop.

Greg DeMayo graced us with his presence about 10:30 and we all went to lunch at smokey Bones. 

After lunch, there was a general bull session and some more running the SD9.

This week's story takes place in 1862, during the War of Northern Aggression.  It clears up a number of fake news reports at the time, mostly from New York newspapers, concerning the facts of what has become known as "The Great Locomotive Chase."  I promise, this will be the last of these Civil War stories, at least for a while.

                                                                                             The Truth About the Great Locomotive Chase   

Many of the inhabitants of Tahope County have ancestors who fought on the side of the Confederacy during the Civil War. 

For instance, Willard Woodman's great-grandfather Sam "Goat" Woodman "tuck up arms" shortly after Florida succeeded from the Union and joined the C.S.A.'s 44th Railroad Transportation Company, whose motto was "You call, we haul, y'all." 

Goat, who had prior experience, was promoted to sergeant and became a fireman shortly after he enlisted.   The 44th was assigned to the Western & Atlantic RR for duty.  Goat and his engineer ran a little American (4-4-0) type engine named "General" every day from Atlanta to Chattanooga and back, delivering arms, ammunition, and infantry replacements on the way up and delivering the dead and wounded on the return trip. 

On April 12, 1862, the General was "wooded up" and "took on water" at a little place north of Atlanta called Big Shanty, Georgia (pronounced "Jaw-Ja").  Captain W.A.Fuller was the conductor of the mixed passenger train that day and Goat Woodman was the fireman.  Capt. Fuller and the engineer decided to get some "eats" while the General was being serviced and instructed Goat to remain with the engine while they were gone.

Goat looked about and saw no reason to remain in the cab of the General because it was hot in there when the engine wasn't moving, so he decided to wander a ways down the track and find a place to rest in the shade.

About the time he was good and comfortable, he heard a great deal of commotion near the engine. A group of armed men ordered the few passengers aboard off the train and climbed in the General's cab.  The locomotive started off into the direction of Chattanooga, leaving the crew behind. 

We all know the leader of these bandits was a Yankee major named Andrew.  He was later captured and hanged, not for the theft of the General, because it never left W&A property, but for espionage as a Union spy.  The Confederate legal system was a stickler for getting it right.

So, for quitting his post without authority and allowing the Andrews Raiders to capture the General, Sam Woodman was busted to the grade of private and reassigned to the Atlanta locomotive repair facility, where he finished out the war without firing a shot. It was because of the incident at Big Shanty that Sam Woodman acquired the name of Goat, which he carried with him to his grave in 1913.

Few people know the truth of the story of the Andrew's Raid and current renditions of the tale tend to make it out as something it wasn't.  But folks born and raised in Tahope know the truth and speak highly of Goat Woodman, who was one of the few Tahope residents who made a name for himself during the war.


Kit Building / Re: Cherokee Auto Parts
« on: July 26, 2019, 11:09:40 AM »
I am fascinated with the 1936 photograph.  The "clutter" is too much to carry inside every night and place outside every morning.  I suspect the threat of thievery was lower in those days.  Today, anything not nailed down would be missing overnight.

Very interesting model.  It captures 1954 very well.

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: July 22, 2019, 10:42:50 PM »
I was stationed at Ft. Bragg, N.C. and awaiting October deployment to Vietnam.   I watched the launch and the landing on my 14" RCA color TV I bought at J. M. Fields. 

Tom - I'm glad you are feeling better.  I hope you get the air fixed before Saturday.  But I'll see you then anyway.  Electric fan blowing over a block of ice works.  Good thing we aren't in Chicago or Baltimore or Detroit.  I hear it has been a little warm up there.  Makes up for the winter.

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: July 20, 2019, 10:07:51 AM »
JUly 20, 2019 - Fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.  Where were you?  The attractive blond on the morning news this morning who was telling us all about it wasn't even born.  Neither were her parents. 

There is no formal Saturday Report today because the A&S CEO is under the weather with a bug that is going around. 

Your reporter did retrieve a re-decodered ACL E7A unit from the shops yesterday as well as the new Central of Georgia SD9.  The E7 had a defective decoder and TCS replaced it gratis with an updated version of WOW Sound.  The update also included one of the TCS new "bass speakers."  it makes a great deal of difference in the quality of the sound and we will probably update more locos with the new speakers.  The downside is that they are a little larger than the regular speakers and will not fit in every loco, including our new SD9.  Speaking of the SD9, some readers may ask how the A&S obtained such a loco in 1950 when EMD did not put them into production until 1954?  The answer is simple.  The C of G obtained the first demonstrator model from EMD in 1950 and used it in conjunction with EMD engineers for testing purposes.   The "on-line models" did not start running off the assembly line until four years later.  Everybody knows that.

This week's story concentrates on some of the "local color" in the City of Tahope, particularly the individuals who frequent the Trackside Tavern, a local beer joint.  We will be meeting Tahope residents of note from time to time, as we develop the saga of the A&S.

                                                                                                              TRACKSIDE TAVERN

    There is a wedge-shaped building located next to the citrus processing plant on the outskirts of Tahope named the Trackside Tavern. 
    In 1950 it was voted the best beer joint in Tahope County, and the competition for that title was fierce.  Not every beer joint was allowed to enter the contest - there were conditions of entry that had to be met.

    First, the joint could only serve beer - no wine, no booze.
    Second, no wives, no girlfriends, no smart-aleck college punks allowed.  MEN ONLY!
    Third, the juke box could only have country music - 78's or the new 45's.
    Fourth, it had to have at least two pool tables with shaded lamps on chains hanging from the ceiling.
    Fifth, outdoor plumbing was allowed, but two extra points were given if indoor plumbing was offered in addition. 
    Sixth, the only lighting allowed was from the lamps over the pool tables, the lights from the beer signs, and a light over the cash register.
    Seventh, the complete food menu could only consist of pickled sausage, pickled eggs, potato chips, and peanuts in shell (roasted or boiled.)

    You can see how the requirements would have narrowed the competition.

    Recently, there was a change in proprietors of the Trackside Tavern, following the trial and conviction of the previous owner.  Our old friend Bruce Bonebreaker returned from Bay County, Florida, where he had worked pulpwood for the St. Joe Paper Company.  (You remember Bruce, he shot and killed Sam Savage outside of Butt's Bar-B-Que and was acquitted of murder. (See the bottom of page eight).  He managed to purchase the joint with a government backed small business loan from Tahope State Bank.  Bruce is a rough neck who is about as mean as they come.  He was born with a tattoo.  Said he inherited it from his mother.

    The regular customer base for the joint is composed mostly of citrus plant workers, pulpwood workers from Piney Woods, and railroaders from the A&S Railroad.
    Sometimes fights break out in the joint and the Tahope City Police Department makes an arrest or two nearly every Friday and Saturday night.
    Bruce claims he has had enough run-ins with the law.  He hung up a sign near the pool tables that says "NO GAMBLIN!  Anybody caught gamblin will be prosuted,"
    One of the bartenders who works in the joint is Clovis Butcher, whose father is a fireman on the A&S Railroad.

    One day, as Clovis was tending bar about 3:00 in the afternoon, an old friend from Osceola County came in for a beer and to get reacquainted. 
    "Hello, Clovis," said the newcomer, "Last time I saw you we were both drunk."
    "Believe we were," said Clovis, " we used to go into some really bad places." 
    "Them wuz real dives," said the newcomer.  " I remember one of them places wuz so bad it had blood on the floor."
    "That's nuthin'," said Clovis, here we got blood on the ceiling!"
    "Be on my way," said the newcomer, "place with blood on the floor don't bother me none, but blood on the ceiling, now that's a tough place."  "Gimme a beer and an egg.  Gonna drink it and get before I have to contribute to the decor."
    Strangers aren't all that welcome at the Trackside Tavern.  The slogan, "A Real Working Man's Bar" plastered on the side of the building means what it says!


    As anyone can see, the Trackside Tavern has been set temporarily in its location pending completion of scenery on the Tahope Branch Line of the A&S.  We will probably revisit this establishment after it is placed permanently.

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: July 16, 2019, 10:20:46 PM »
Miller and Mueller - Thank you for your kind comments. 

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: July 15, 2019, 10:07:13 PM »
Bob, Curt, Dennis, Greg, & Carl - Thank you very much for your kind comments.  As you can imagine, I have a lot of fun with this Saturday Report and I appreciate your encouragement.

Next Saturday I am going to start introducing some new citizens of Tahope and will probably revisit a few we already know. 

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: July 13, 2019, 06:11:29 PM »
Saturday Report July 13, 2019

The Board of Directors met promptly at 0830 hours and discussed the current situation over Coke and Diet Pepsi.  It was reported that the Tahope City Council has approved the construction of a beer joint at the outskirts of the city near the citrus processing plant.  More about that another day.  Additionally, work is beginning on the bridge over the Tahope River to allow motor vehicle traffic to cross over into downtown Tahope. 

The mixed train that is the subject of this week's story made a run from Sanlando yard up to Summit.  It is amazing how long it takes to assemble a train and get it up the Ovalix and back to Sanlando.  Barrels of fun! 

After the freight train run we went to lunch at Smokey Bones.  The Babe jointed us for tea.

After lunch we made the George Washington go through its paces on Summit level. 

All-in-all a very successful and fun day.  No rain here, at least not yet.

Today's story is inspired by Lucius Bebee's famous book "Mixed Train Daily."  The A&S has a weekly mixed train.  What else is there to say?

                                                                                                           MIXED TRAIN WEEKLY

    A&S local mixed freight number 3 runs once a week.  The freight originates in the Sanlando yard and makes its way to Piney Woods, where it picks up a long string of pulpwood cars.  Then it is on to Tahope, where it sets out and picks up freight cars and picks up the only passenger car owned by the A&S, a heavy weight Pullman Solarium. The next move is up the 1% grade of the Ovalix all the way to Summit, where freight cars are picked up and set out at the various industries located there.  Passengers load and unload at the station at Summit.  The freight cars are broken up at the yard at Summit and await reassembly for their next destination.  Then the train returns to The Midlands where it spots the Pullman at its place in Tahope and then returns to the Sanlando Yard.
    Usually, Number 3 is powered by a GP7, but steam is still available for regular use on the A&S and today's power is a vintage ACL P3 Pacific, number 451, a 1914 Baldwin product that is hand fired.
    The trainmaster  worried that Old 451 would not make it up the grade of the Ovalix with so heavy a train so he scheduled number 3 ahead of regular freight number 128, with the intention of allowing 128's diesels to act as a helper, if necessary. 
    The conductor, Ralph Tinker, was pleased to see that Randy Bridgeman had drawn the engineer's job  on this trip.  Bridgeman was an experienced steam man and was very familiar with the abilities and quirks of Old 451.  The head shack, Roosevelt Green, was instructed that if Old 451 slowed to a crawl on the grade, he was to walk back down the Ovalix and flag number 128 to warn the crew to slow down and be ready for helper service. 
    Bridgeman backed into his train thirty minutes early, and after the angle cocks were connected, he waited for the air brakes  to be pressurized.  At departure time, the aspect on the signal called for a high ball and Bridgeman opened the throttle so Old 451 could ease out of the yard onto the mainline.  She passed Eaton's Curve and crossed the Great Divide, heading towards Piney Woods.  The crew picked up a long string of pulpwood cars and high balled it towards the Ovalix.  Bridgeman knew he had to be moving at least at 45 mph in order to make it up the grade to Summit and he didn't have far to go.  The fireman shoveled more coal on the fire and Old 451 strutted her stuff, spewing smoke and cinders everywhere.  By the time she reached the Ovalix, Old 451 was making 47 mph.  She was half way to Summit before she began to slow. 
    Meanwhile, the engineer on number 128 stopped his train at the bottom of the grade and asked his flagman, Walter Jackson, to walk forward, past the nose of the diesel, and listen to see if he could hear any of 451's stack talk.  When the flagman returned, he climbed back into the cab of the F3 and exclaimed, " Ain't no need to worry about that little old A&S hog.  She's up the Ovalix and headin' to Summit singin' "Home Sweet Home."
    Just another day on the A&S.

                Past Piney Woods and on to the Ovalix

                 Commin' Atcha!

                    Old 451

                 Pulpwood cars

                Pullman Observation Solarum

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