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Messages - Rick Rowlands

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Volunteers / Re: 2024 Narrow Gauge Convention - Pittsburgh
« on: October 25, 2023, 06:42:26 PM »
We will be hosting a J&L Narrow Gauge day in Youngstown in conjunction with the convention.  This would be a great time for the WW&F and J&LNG folks to get together. We hope to have two steam locomotives running and have room for guest equipment should someone bring something interesting to run!

Museum Discussion / Re: WW&F featured in June Trains magazine
« on: May 05, 2023, 06:51:32 AM »
Even more special when you consider that the C&TS and EBT had something to start with whereas the WW&F started with nothing but a right of way.

Work and Events / Re: WW&F No. 53 - Official Work Thread
« on: May 02, 2023, 08:39:27 AM »
Unless you already have someone on hand who knows GE wiring, Mike Schreiber from Silcott in Worthington, OH is the go-to guy to help puzzle out the control system and could do the new wiring when things get to that stage. 

I'm trying to figure out what the modifications would be on this locomotive.  Is the goal to make it into an end cab locomotive and to shorten the frame as well as narrow it to fit the WW&F clearance diagram? Would the new trucks be similar in design to the 23 tonner trucks?   The 23 tonner used some very narrow traction motors to fit between the wheels.  I have a couple of narrow GE traction motors however they are a bit wider at I think 27 to 30" wide.  Too wide to fit inside the wheels but maybe they could work with a jackshaft arrangement?

Once you start pinning down some of the design ideas maybe I can help find components. 

US Two Footers / Re: J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
« on: March 07, 2023, 08:27:58 AM »
Spring is arriving early in Youngstown and we are immensely grateful.  There is quite a bit of work to be done here in the three months before opening day.  We had over 400 paying passengers last summer and have set a goal of 1,000 for this year and are making improvements to the site to improve the visitor experience and streamline the operation of the railroad. 

58 is getting a few upgrades in the off season including adding a second water glass, making some adjustments to the valve timing and the addition of a duplex pump to supplement the injectors.  We will be taking indicator cards on 58 operating on the hill this spring to determine the health and squareness of the engine and help determine what additional work may be needed.  This involves me riding in a temporary seat bolted to the cylinder heads, which should make for an interesting day! 

We are currently building a four wheel multi purpose flatcar.  Originally designed so that a mini excavator can be moved around the railroad, this car will have fully functioning brakes and will be used with the passenger train to provide additional braking effort.  We are working on a long term project to replace the German trucks on the passenger car and tender with new trucks and until we get those trucks built those cars will not have brakes. By using this flatcar or "brake van" on our train we satisfy our requirement of having brakes on the rear car.  To provide the additional weight needed to make the brakes effective, the flatcar will be loaded with four open hearth charging boxes to mimic a rather common narrow gauge car found in the steel industry.

Finally after over twenty years owning this property, we have an office on site.  Last fall we purchased a New York Central bay window caboose at an auction and moved it to our site where it now sits out front and serves as our general office and crew room.  It has been so useful that I don't know how we ever got by without it before. 

Our schedule is available at our website at:

Museum Discussion / Re: Plowing Ahead - Snow removal discussion
« on: March 07, 2023, 08:03:57 AM »
Sounds like you all need this plow more than I do!  This was the first car that we bought after acquiring 58 and it is still in Iowa.  Bought it more as a novelty than as something useful to our operation. 

Museum Discussion / Re: Leaves on The Mountain
« on: December 24, 2022, 08:37:14 AM »
On the 6% grade here at the J&LNG, if we do not get some good speed at the bottom of the hill we will stall out before reaching the top.  Once stopped, getting started in the upward direction is very difficult.  The first trip of the day is always the worst and if the rail is wet we have sanders on all the way up. That usually takes care of the issue but the occasional slip on the hill keeps the engineers on their toes.  It is only going to get more interesting as our train gets heavier with the addition of a new build caboose coming in a year or so.


"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" or so the saying goes.  Well you should consider yourself flattered as we have used the  Ichabod as inspiration for our own crane build.  The car is a particularly heavy Carpenter Steel flatcar that had previously served as our original tender for the 58. On it is a Auto Crane 12 volt electric over hydraulic crane with a 4,000 lb. maximum capacity down to 1,000 lb. at 16 feet.  To stabilize the crane we will be building a set of outriggers as well as incorporating rail clamps into the design. 

So the next time you all see Ichabod, tell him that he has a big beefy cousin down in Ohio!

Volunteers / Re: May 2022 Work Reports
« on: June 06, 2022, 07:49:14 PM »
With our 6% grade on the J&LNG, we are intentionally not making any way for our locomotive to do anything but be facing uphill. Its safer that way!

Work and Events / Re: WW&F No. 11 - Official Work Thread
« on: May 29, 2022, 07:30:32 AM »
There is an impressive amount of heavy steel in that frame design.  She is going to be a stout locomotive!

US Two Footers / Re: J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
« on: May 12, 2022, 07:14:04 AM »
After much work this spring we have the J&L 58 running pretty good.  Straight air brakes have been installed on the locomotive and will soon be extended back to the tender and passenger car, which was delivered from the fab shop earlier this week.  The passenger car's roof and floor are yet to be installed.  Seating will be repurposed church pews.

Here are two videos of running the 58 with a loaded train of steel mill equipment last weekend. We plan to add additional cars with loads to give 58 a decent load to pull up the 6% grade.

Work and Events / Re: WW&F No. 53 - Official Work Thread
« on: April 11, 2022, 06:35:23 AM »
McHugh stands out as perhaps the most capable at rebuilding industrial GE locomotives and could probably engineer and execute a narrow gauging of these trucks. 

The car is 50' interior length.  58 and the tender is about 35' long coupler to coupler, so about the only other thing that can stay inside with it would be the Brookville. 

When the cranes were onsite again yesterday we lifted the car up higher on cribbing so I can get underneath to spray foam the underside as well as install any conduit that will be needed.  I will jack it back down onto the pad whenever all of that work is done.  Here is a shot of the rails installed inside the car.

A couple of years ago CSX donated a 50' plug door boxcar to the J&L Narrow Gauge.  In trying to figure out what to do with it I came up with the idea of converting it into a single stall enginehouse for the 58.  Although a bit narrow, it is probably the sturdiest and most economical structure that could be had for this purpose. 

The car was delivered by CSX to the shortline that I work for and we stuck it in a siding until it was time to move it by truck to the J&LNG.  Meanwhile, I proceeded to cut everything off the bottom of the frame, brake rigging, brackets, etc., anything that would stick down lower than the centersill and cross members.  We also installed 24" gauge rails inside the car, bolting them to the steel floor with crane rail clips.  Last Thursday it and our Erie bay window caboose (itself destined to become the general offices of the J&LNG) were loaded onto trucks and hauled to our site. 

At our site I had poured a 9' x 50' concrete pad to set the boxcar on.  We backed the trailer into position, lifted the boxcar off and set it down on the pad.  With the boxcar in place, the next phase of the project can begin.  The top of rails in the car is 20" above the pad, and with a bit of excavating I can fit a 35' transfer table that will allow us to access the boxcar, lead to the main and several other storage tracks for our equipment.  I am still working on the design of the transfer table.  I did find some 1913 era 18" I beams with beautiful JONES & LAUGHLIN roll marks to use for the table (rolled in the same plant that operated our Porters).  Once money becomes available in the summer we will start pouring concrete for the pad and perimeter walls. 

The boxcar is destined to be insulated and kept climate controlled year round so as to protect 58 from corrosion and freezing in the off season as well as provide us the option of year round operations.  I just bought an 8' x 10' insulated roll up door to install in one end of the car.

Its an odd solution to a problem, but it fits into our theme of using standard gauge equipment here.  In addition to the aforementioned caboose, we also have an 8,000 gallon tankcar to use as a water storage tank and a GE 70 ton center cab locomotive that serves as a central power house.

The attached image shows the boxcar in it's new home on the concrete pad.  The transfer table will be located in the foreground.  Our main track climbs the hill on the right and the switch into the engine facility is behind the boxcar.

General Discussion / Re: Tie Laying
« on: November 29, 2021, 08:59:00 PM »
Putting one foot on the nipping bar while driving a spike is standard procedure for changing a tie by oneself.  I have done more than I can count that way, and even after slowing the video down to its proper speed, this guy still is way faster than I am!

US Two Footers / Re: J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
« on: October 23, 2021, 09:51:00 PM »

For our last steam run of the season,  we moved several trains of dirt out onto the fill on the front of our property.  58 is now drained and winterized and ready for a long list of maintenance and improvements to take place over the next few months.

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