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Messages - James Temple

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Whimsical Weirdness and Foolery / The lost engine
« on: August 15, 2021, 04:11:57 AM »
"I am guessing that if we started a rumor that something was buried there, like WW&F No. 2, the digging would take care of itself.  ;) "
--Gordon Cook

The rumor spread across social media like wildfire: There was a buried locomotive on the grounds of the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Musem -- the mortal remains of engine #2, it claimed. What was more, the area's unique geochemistry meant the machine was perfectly preserved, needing no more than a little oil to be put back in service. And as if that wasn't enough, there was a quirk in Maine salvage law that stated whoever touched a shovel to it first was entitled to the whole thing, private property rights be damned.

It gained many shares, likes, and upvotes before the WW&F Museum arrived with a bucket of cold water. The fate of #2 was long-established fact, they said, having been scrapped in the '30s. The soil would not have preserved it in any case, and the part about Maine salvage law was utter bunk. The rumors, however, only surged -- what, they demanded, was the museum hiding?

The situation exploded when it was leaked that the museum planned to dig foundations for a heretofore-unannounced new car shop -- right where the rumors claimed the engine was buried. A mighty howl went up from foamers across the country. This, they knew, must certainly be a devious effort to deprive them of an engine of their very own, and all the denials and protestations of museum representatives only served to further confirm their conclusions.

As the day of excavation approached, foamers descended upon Sheepscot from all over, bearing picks and shovels and demands. Soon the mood was tense, with an immense mob crowding and jostling in the parking lot. The museum president desperately counseled common sense as he backed closer and closer to the site, until at last his nerve failed him and he fled with a cry of "it's all yours!"

What followed was the most fervent, industrious digging party since the uncovering of the pyramids at Giza. Within an hour, the mob had cleared a vast area to several feet deep, pausing occasionally to shake their fists at museum folk and warn them not to interfere. The museum folk were suitably cowed, and did their best to conceal their obvious terror by lounging on the porch of the Percival house, sipping cool drinks.

By late afternoon, the diggers had well run out of steam, and slumped against the walls of the great pit they had created. It had become agonizingly obvious that there was no lost engine to be found, and about the best they could hope for was that the museum folks would refrain from making them fill the pit back in. Magnanimously, this was the case, and in a further gesture of generosity, cool drinks were liberally distributed all around before the diggers slouched off to their cars.

As the last of them departed, he glanced over his shoulder at the gaping maw in the earth, and with some asperity remarked to the president that the museum could probably cancel the excavator rental. The president, leaning casually against a porch rail with a drink in his hand, replied: "What do you mean, cancel? We never hired one."

The digger stared at the president in silence for some time, then drove off into the sunset.

General Discussion / Re: Who Am I? or, Let's Introduce Ourselves
« on: January 05, 2021, 04:45:47 AM »
Hm ... would this be a bad time to mention that the only "agent 009" seen in the Bond series meets a tragic end just after the opening credits?  ;D

Robert, welcome aboard what I have just named the 007 Society -- because we have people here who can keep things running for 50 years and then some!

Two Footers outside of the US / Re: Porter Replica No.7 Ginger
« on: December 25, 2020, 05:50:20 AM »
Is that a version of Hackworth valve gear, perhaps?

Nailed it, John. The link Dillon provided specifically states the valve gear is Hackworth (and the pictures prove it).

I'm not aware of Hackworth being used on any locos built in the U.S., and I have no evidence Porter ever used it. I understand it's easier to machine than Stephenson link, making it an attractive option for modern builders. That page also has a link to the Friends of the Tanana Valley Railroad, suggesting this build was inspired by their three-foot-gauge #1.

Two Footers outside of the US / Re: Porter Replica No.7 Ginger
« on: December 24, 2020, 04:43:44 AM »
I've very rarely seen locomotives whose eccentrics (or whatever mechanism drives the valve gear) aren't mounted on the same axle as the main rod. I always assumed that was to avoid a possible 'accretion of error' situation potentially caused by brasses needing adjustment, loose driver boxes, that sort of thing.

As Benjamin points out, it's quite possible they're following the original Porter practice, and for the same reasons. I've never had the chance to examine one of those wonderful little 8-tonners in person and find out.

Two Footers outside of the US / Re: Porter Replica No.7 Ginger
« on: December 23, 2020, 04:47:07 AM »
Now that's a neat little kettle. Eccentrics on the front axle, I notice, and it appears to have a historic coach to pull.

If you look at "Ann Marie," an original Porter running over here in the states, you can see where the builder judiciously scaled things down to arrive at a unit that fit their purposes (and, presumably, budget):

Our Polish friends know their setup far better than I do. Still, I have to assume the incident dealt some damage to the ties, or whatever system is under that crossing to hold the gauge. It would seem like they'll have to dig it up, no matter what.

Given that, would it make more sense to swap the bent rail with a little-used one, maybe from the end of a siding? Straightening it would then become an experiment performed under better-controlled conditions, and its ultimate fate would be less demanding than mainline service.

General Discussion / Re: Forge Welding Horn & Bumper
« on: May 31, 2020, 03:32:02 AM »
I've seen the Engels Coach Shop channel before, and I suggest anyone interested in our wooden train cars should give it a look. Many of our construction techniques, I think, evolved directly from carriagebuilding and shipbuilding, and were carried over into the first generation of powered aircraft.

Benjamin: I took about half-dozen pictures of the car's underside in 2012. PM me and I'm sure I can get them to you somehow.

Presumably she's changed somewhat since then (for instance, in 2012, it doesn't appear she had much in the way of brake rigging).

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