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Topics - Joe Fox

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General Discussion / Standard Gauge 0-6-0 cab ride
« on: April 10, 2017, 07:32:24 PM »
Here is a cab ride from Conway Scenic 7470 on a fall run from North Conway to Conway tender first. Engineer is Gordon Lang, & myself as fireman. Went the entire trip down with a low pressure of 163, & a high of 174, just below the pop. Once in a while the whistle sounds funny, thats because Gordons nickname is 6 toot.

Other Narrow Gauge / D&RGW 1960s photos
« on: March 04, 2017, 08:10:37 AM »
Hey everyone,

Someone shared this site with me on another forum so I thought I would share it here as well for anyone interested. There are some pretty cool shots of the D&RGW narrow gauge in the final years.

Just saw an add on craigslist that MNG is looking for a weekend gift shop person. Pay is $10.70 per hour, and up to 22 hours per week. Position wil last May thru October with some days open in December.

Work and Events / Spring Work Weekend
« on: February 25, 2017, 07:06:20 PM »
Here are my thoughts on spring track work:

Much needed mainline maintenance from Brook Crossing to Sheepscot mills, and again from bottom of the Ladder to Rosewood. I would estimate a crew of 15-20 all 3 days.

It would also be nice to ballast the stretch of track down the mountain and build track as needed so that the extension north can resume sooner rather than later.

Just my thoughts, but the main line should be first priority. If this becomes a plan I am willing to put together a work list once things thaw out and I can resume walking duties.

Museum Discussion / First Winter Steam Weekend reviews
« on: February 07, 2017, 11:14:42 AM »
Hey everyone,

As feedback continues to come in on the First Winter weekend let me say that out of the 27 patrons, ALL feedback is positive with only a few minor suggestions. Such as more historic looking attire, which can be kind of hard to accommodate in the winter time. Here is the most recent one.

"I have been to many rail museums in my life and I have never experienced a more
dynamic, diverse and energetic group of volunteers than those that we met at the
Winter Steam Weekend.  You have something magic going on and I only wish that I
lived closer to be a part of it."

This was from our party of 7 that attended. Regardless of what we think operationally wise on our end, etc. The main thing is where we think there were operational glitches, our guests still had a very enjoyable experience.

General Discussion / Stories from the Standard Gauge
« on: January 23, 2017, 07:50:35 PM »
After several requests, here are a few stories from my experiences with "The Bigger Stuff"

From learning to fire steam at the WW&F, to firing a more forgiving larger engine at Conway Scenic, to running long freights on a regional railroad, these are my stories.

My railroad career started at the WW&F, working through the ranks as a brakeman, conductor, fireman, engineer trainee. To going to Conway Scenic and doing the same and running the Valley Train with all motive power operational in 2012. I then transfered over to a regional railroad.

Firing steam was quite the experience, and it was easy to keep steam pressure between 160 & 170 with the variety of engineers. Some would leave it near the corner and beat the hell out of the engine. Others would notch up a decent amount. The only real challenge I discovered up there was firing with clay mixed in to the coal. It was ok until the engine would sit in the yard for an hour and a half and the clay cooled forming giant clinkers in the fire. After that I learned to look at the shovel before throwing it in, chucking out any clay lumps out the door.

I learned to run from a ex MEC engineer, and he was very helpfull in giving me pointers for both long and short trains. Within two full weeks I was ready to qualify and work on my own. In short order I quickly learned how to get the train over the road without needing help. On a return trip from Bartlett the air compressor blew a high pressure gasket, making a very loud noise. I stopped to check it out to see if it could be fixed. Upon realizing it had to be taken apart, I told the conductor we had to hurry back to tge station for the remaining 3 miles to the station. What happened next was funny after and we joke about it to this day. The conductor and trainman walked to the engine to see if they could help, and I thought the got off the train on the third car. He told me ok back and they would jump on. Knowing the urgency of the situation I put the engine in notch 4 and we accelerated very quickly. I looked back to see that they had got on safely, only to realize as the third car was going by them they were still waiting for their open door. I notched down and put soms brakes on. The trainman jumped on first as the conductor tried as well. By this time we were moving at 8mph. The conductor jumped on the last platform, but his radio fell off his hip. So we stopped, he ran down to grab his radio and this time waited till he was on to give me the ok back command again. With our main res losing pressure at an alarming rate, I put the engine in notch 8 and away we went. Pulling into the North Conwah station we had dropped below 90psi, which means the brakes on the train had began to set up. As we stopped I had the engine in notch 6 pulling against a 17psi reduction on the train line. The brake squeal was so loud I couldn't hear the countdown for the platform stop and went off a landmark. Luckily the Roundhouse mechanic had pulled an engine out to get ready for a power swap. Our air was so low, we had to use the other engine to move the road engine for safety reasons. What a day that was. Never a dull moment.

Pusher service on a regional railroad to come next time.

General Discussion / Mt Washington Cog Ry to open hotel
« on: December 02, 2016, 10:06:51 PM »
The Mt. Washington Cog Ry announced they have plans to build a hotel on the summit of Mt Washington by 2019 near the old Summit House site. The proposed hotel will have 35 rooms, and I suspect prices will be rather steep.

General Discussion / Hostling a 1921 steam engine
« on: November 14, 2016, 08:48:39 AM »
The morning started like any other, except these would be my last moments with the old girl. Many thoughts going through mind, wondering if this is what the original steam guys felt on their last days of steam.

I entered the roundhouse at 630 a.m. on a cold 40* fall morning. Opened up the doors to the table to cool off the shop and climbed inside the engine. Looking at the water level in the boiler, I opened the fire box doors and checked on the banked fire. With boiler pressure still in the 150 psi range I decided to let her sleep a little longer. Jumping onto the tank, I checked on the water level in the tender, filled the oil cups on the air compressor, and greased the rods and bearings.

Climbing up into the cab once more, it was now time to dump the dead ash into the ash pan and break up the bank. Spreading the hot coals over the fire, the coals cool quickly leaving little time to add fresh coal. Grabbing the scoop, I throw several scoops of coal into the firebox to cover the hot coals. Once I shut the firebox doors I crank up the blower to ignite the coal as quick as possible before losing all of the fire. Outside a light black smoke is filling the air, and soon the town can smell the coal smoke as it fades off into town.

Climbing down out of the cab once more I grab the specially made ash rake to push the dead ash off the front corners of the ash pan and into the large hopper. Climbing back inside the cab, I open the fire doors to check the fire. With the fire doing well,  I turn down the blower, throw more coal on the fire, and shake the rear grates to dump most of the dead ash from the previous day.

With the engine slowly awakening from her nap, it is time to awaken the "heart" aka air compressor. With steam drains open, and a few turns of the steam valve the air compressor slowly comes to life. As the cylinders warm up, I climb up using a wooden ladder to close off the steam drains. Now I climb inside once more and open the steam valve all the way to the air pump  and listen to the compressor work hard to pump up the  engine reservoirs. As the air pressure climbs, the turntable is hooked up to the brake pipe to pump up the air powered turntable at the same time. Pausing for a moment I take in all that is going on, knowing these are my final moments with the old girl.

As the air compressor slows, and a quick engine brake test is done, it is time for her to step outside the shop. The chain chock is removed, a loud hiss of exhaust from the power reverse, turn the bell on, and an easy hand on the throttle we slowly emerge from the roundhouse. This moment in full glory that was a normal job until now, suddenly sticks out like a sore thumb. Man and machine come to life. With the engine balanced on the table, the engine is turned for the days run. A small crowd of gatherers have come to watch the activities as the engine spins around.

Taking the throttle once more, I eased the engine off the table and empty the ash hopper. With servicing complete, the engine simmered in the mid morning light. Climbing inside the tender it was not time to "cut the coal". The term "cut the coal" is an old term used when the fireman or hostler would have to shovel coal to the front of the tender. With enough coal for at least one trip moved closer to the front, I walk around the engine once more with the ever growing appreciation for the night hostlers that would get the engine ready for the engine crew.

Maine Narrow Gauge RR Co. & Museum / Grant from town of Gray fails
« on: November 09, 2016, 03:37:32 AM »

The article does not say how many votes it had one way or the other, just that the operation may be scaled down some. Hopefully things work themselves out for the operation.

Work and Events / Portable Platforms for Special Events
« on: November 06, 2016, 03:36:40 PM »
With approval, I thought of an idea to help make events safer for unloading. In the past we have set step boxes on the ground, which at certain times of year can be a little wobbly.

To help aid in loading or unloading at locations like Alna Center, or other locations as needed, I came up with the idea of building 4 3' by 8' platforms to put a step box on if needed, etc. This will allow a safer platform for people to unload onto, and by making them 8' long, it will allow for a little lee way for stopping.

For stops I thought about designing some kind of poles like we had years ago during Halloween trains so that engineers can use them as reference marks.

General Discussion / Two Freights kill two, 7 days apart
« on: October 27, 2016, 09:37:26 PM »
Two freight trains have killed two people in 7 days of each other here in New England. Scary stuff, and the last 3 weeks have brought idiots out from all over. Photographers on the tracks, hunters, kids playing, etc.

Work and Events / Track work 7/19
« on: July 16, 2016, 12:44:35 AM »
Hey everyone,

Anyone willing to help do track work on Tuesday, 7/19? My plan is to do some ties, and maybe re align some track. I know what you are all thinking, that ligning takes a lot of guys, but it can be done with a small crew but it requires some effort.

I have noticed a few wiggles on Davis grade on the south end as well as in the curve that I want to at least ease up if not make 100%. There are other spots as well that need work but will take at least 5-10 of guys to fix the more serious spots.

Whimsical Weirdness and Foolery / A Grave Mistake...
« on: April 21, 2016, 07:26:45 PM »
You'll also see what happened to the poor shop man who put a scratch in #9's boiler jacket ...

How bad is the scratch? Jason must be furious, no wonder why there is a shallow grave near the shop. Now it will need to be re-treated.

Museum Discussion / 2016 rail purchase
« on: April 14, 2016, 07:35:17 PM »
The Thursday night [facebook] news features photos of our first truckload of rail arriving today.  The museum purchased about 1 track mile of 60 lb rail which will be here in time for the SWW.  An additional mile of track may be available from another location and updates will be posted.

I was under the impression it was 2 miles of rail we had bought. Is the second mile of potential rail included in the price?

General Discussion / Train Breaks knuckle in Auburn
« on: March 31, 2015, 04:35:02 PM »
This past Saturday fellow member Bob Cavanaugh made it into the Lewiston Sun Journal. He was watching a freight train go by in Auburn when the train broke a knuckle right in front of him. In the article he mentioned how he volunteers at the museum. Here is a link to the article for those that are interested.

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