Worldwide Narrow Gauges > US Two Footers

J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad

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Rick Rowlands:
May Update.   J&L 58 is undergoing some piston valve adjustments, but otherwise is ready to run.  Construction of the eastern extension of about 350 feet of track is about 80% done.  We are using 115 and 110 pound rail for this section, finally using the rail size that the locomotive would have operated on in service at the steel mill. 

We are ready to move the two J&L Porters from Canada to the US, just waiting for the Covid restrictions to be lifted in Canada. Apparently the Ontario stay at home order ends on June 2, however I will believe it when I see it. 

We will probably not have any public runs this year as our goal is to complete the eastern extension and improve visitor amenities before getting back into the tourist railroading business.  When we do open it will be a far different experience from our initial 2019 season. 

Rick Rowlands:

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.

Rick Rowlands:
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.

Rick Rowlands:
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:

Benjamin Richards:

--- Quote from: Rick Rowlands on March 07, 2023, 08:27:58 AM --- It has been so useful that I don't know how we ever got by without it before.

--- End quote ---

I share this sentiment. I find that after I acquire a tool, I find seemingly endless uses for it, and wonder how I managed without.

The truth seems to be that "projects scale as the available tools." But the truth is also that we make do with what we have.


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