B&O All Aboard Weekend (See Coming Events for Dates)

To get an idea as to what the B&O Museum has please check out Wes Barris's Virtual Tour. Or the Museum's page.

The weekend started for us on Friday. We had to move track, cars, and signs from our Headquarters over to the museum. As some members setup outside, others set up our static display inside. (Left inside View) (Right inside View)
Something I did not previously know is that the turntable is no longer motorized, the victim, I mean operator must open a trap door, step inside and push the table like a merry go round in a park. His job this weekend was to turn the table with a locomotive on it to demonstrate its function. He said that once the table begins turning its not too bad, his only problem was people wanting to take his picture. Unfortunately with that much mass in motion he could not stop the table very quickly so the people would have to run round the table and photograph him as he went by.

Our track outside was kept busy with a steady stream of passengers. We had John O'Dea and his Allen Models Mogul and Doc Kinzer with his Railroad Supply Mogul. These are about as large an engine as we care to wrestle off a trailer by hand at about 400lbs each. We also had two relief engineers, Mike Schroeder on Doc's engine and Rick Nace on John's.

The real stars of the show however were the Lafayette replica and the Tom Thumb replica which were steamed up and pulling passengers. Both engines were built in 1927 for the B&O's Centennial celebration. No original plans survive for the Tom Thumb, the replica was built based on general descriptions of the original 1829 engine. Of special note is that the engine only has one vertical cylinder, if the engineer stops at top dead center or bottom dead center the cylinder cannot fill with steam. The engineer must get off and push, or use a lever placed in the teeth of the drive gear that he steps on to move off dead center! The Lafayette was the first B&O engine with the conventional horizontal boiler and two horizontal cylinders. It was a William Norris design built in 1837. An example of the power of this engine was given in 1836 by a slightly lighter version. It took a 16ton load up a seven percent grade at 15 1/2 m.p.h.

The only major problem took place on Sunday, the Tom Thumb was starting out on another run when it ran over a switch that had been thrown against it and derailed with all four wheels off the track. A diesel was brought over and with wood placed under the wheels and the use of a rerailer the engine was brought back on track. It continued to run without further problems. As a side note we have decided that our club is a jinx for the Tom Thumb, one year ago the engine was to be trucked to our track site, placed on jacks and steamed in place for a special event. However in transport on a new truck which was a bit higher than the old truck the top of the engine struck a bridge overpass, doing about $20,000 worth of damage. When the engine derailed on Sunday we had members of the club on board as passengers video taping it, members on the ground taping it, plus the engineer happens to be a member of the CALS also. The engine never had a chance.

 

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