Farewell for this season...

Thanks to the unusually warm and sunny autumn, I've had the track up again, in a new configuration, for a couple of weeks, with many friends visiting and trying their hand at the throttle - here's a nice action shot, showing an airline pilot running a steam engine for the first time...

... and another action shot, showing, well, somebody (I think), running the loco...

Here's a movie. Thanks to Tim Boshart, who put it on his server in streaming RealMedia format. The quality of the picture depends on the speed of your line.

Looking at the map below, which shows the layout I've used the past weeks, you can see that the movie indeed shows the entire run, which takes approx. 45 seconds at a reasonable speed. (Once I ran way too fast, causing me to slide off the tender seat - got a tender seat out of that...)

Here's a breakdown of the video, shot by shot - the shot numbers are marked on the map.

1 - Title: The Baldwin 3003 (still picture)
2 - Whistle & starting, shown from drivers' position
3 - Low perspective side view of the engine
4 - Accelerating, preparing for the grade, myself at the throttle
5 - Up the 4% grade and curve - driver's view
6 - A look into the cab
7 - Speeding past the camera, J Saloranta at the throttle
8 - Coasting down the gravel walkway and onto the lawn
9 - Side wiev of engine, lots of steam
10 - Train passing camera, runs into the distance
11 - End title: Technical data (still picture)

Incidentally, this layout, with 2 points and one crossing, has enabled me to do some switching work, trying out the reverser, too! The loco's quadrant has 6 notches for both forward and reverse, and I've noticed that I hardly need the last two in either direction, except when starting with a heavy load. The loco runs well even with the steam cut off at 50% or so - more, and it starts to get a staccato beat to the exhaust. I'll have to check the valve timing if I want to use very early cutoffs. On the other hand, my track, with its over 4% grades, is not the best for trying out steam economy - I'd need a large, flat piece of land for that...

It was pretty hard work getting the loco in and out of storage every day, even with help, so I built a "stretcher" enabling two persons to lift the 75 kg (160 lb.) loco with ease. I'll still put wheels on one end of this contraption, so I'll even manage all alone, pushing it along like a wheelbarrow...

Note the "wheel locking" braces - by putting the stretcher on the track, I can roll the loco onto it, until the wheels are between the band iron straps and thus secured in place. This prevents the loco from rolling off when lifted.

The track is now disassembled and stored for the winter. I took it down in the last minute - the following morning the lawn was frozen, and we had the first snow in southern Finland! I shot this autumnal view just before breaking up the track:

I guess it will be some time before I update these pages again - I've got the entire winter ahead, enabling me to work on all the tiny details (mostly cosmetic, very few funtional) that are still missing on the loco and the cars. With luck and nice weather, I might be able to run again sometimes in late April or early May next year - such is the life of a live steamer living in Finland!

Wishing you all a Spooky Halloween, a Merry X-mas, a Joyous New Year, and - Happy Easter ! ;-)

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