Festivals galore

August in Finland is the time for festivals and happenings of all kinds - for instance, on Friday the 13th, we celebrated a "National Accident Prevention Day", hosted by the Hyvinge RR Museum.

Here, our Minister of Social Services, Mrs. Liisa Hyssälä is taking a ride behind the 666 (sitting side-saddle - perhaps not the best example of accident prevention... ;-)

I reckon that, during the day, I had some 250-300 kids as passengers, taking four to six around the track at a time.

The following day, the 8th annual Steam Festival in Porvoo began. The panoramic picture above shows a few of the attractions, including (left to right) a 2-8-0 Tk3 loco, a steam crane on rails, in front of that two blacksmiths showing their craft, further right are numerous boilers & stationary steam engines with appliances (saws, pumps, planers, shingle cutters etc.), and a couple of steam rollers, and furthest right in the background another Tk3 loco, painted blue. In addition to what is in this picture, you could see a couple of steam traction engines, many old cars (Bentley, Rolls Royce, Jaguar E), motorcycles (Norton, Java etc.), half a dozen old fire engines, steamboats and what have you...

I attended during the first day, running the 666 on 25 m (80 ft) of my portable track, taking a hundred or so kids for a short back-and-forth ride into the roundhouse.

Here, Ilkka Hovi, an avid steam enthusiast and railroad historian, is trying out the 666 on this short piece of track.

Veijo Kivipelto had his half-finished 2-8-0 on display inside the roundhouse.

Veijo is a professional machinist, and it sure shows in the exquisite work he does! (More on this page.)

Well, the following day, Sunday, it was back to Hyvinge for me, where the RR museum held their annual "Museum day" - so again, lots of kids lining up for a ride behind the 666! Here, I'm just running past the temporary "water tower" set up for my engine's needs...

This picture shows how I ignite the propane burners with a party sparkler.

I did have some problems keeping the pressure up later in the day, and upon opening the smokebox, I found the reason...

The stainless mesh radiating cones in the boiler flues had deteriorated almost completely after 2 months of frequent use! I could easily crush the material to a fine powder between my fingers - the stainless steel had the consistency of a light, crispy breakfast cereal! So, it's high time to make new radiating cones!

I don't know if there is any better material than the SS mesh I use for a radiating body - Nichrome is supposed to be better, but that stuff has been impossible to find locally, and it is horribly expensive from sources I've found on the net. Suggestions?

A few days later, we had a "private steamfest" in Juhani Saloranta's garden - we both wanted to test our locos, but not in front of a zillion viewers...

Juhani has made a very efficient drafting fan for his Decapod. As you can see, it spews smoke in all directions!

After a while, he could open the steam blower and remove the fan. My 666 is right behind, raising steam, too, but without the need for a blower. The new SS radiating cones worked perfectly without any adjustments.

Isn't his Decapod a magnifient piece of model engineering? 14.000 hours in the workshop, and it sure shows!

OK, ready to run!

What a blast! You should have heard the bark of this 300 kg (660 lbs) engine when it came up the 3% grade in his apple orchard...

Some older pics of Juhani's Decapod can be found on this page.

Live Steam is fun for young and old alike!

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