Least you think an 1880 Train Steam Seminar is all . . . well, steam . . . let me tell you what a few lucky participants did last weekend. During the first inaugural event, Railroad Engineer Mike Grimm first gave an overview of the inner workings of a steam engine. But then he put the classroom behind and took the group out to see the real thing in action, a steam train firing up for the day. As I’ve said before, it actually takes 3 hours for the train to get fired up. Not a quick process.
Next, they were shown the water tower and told about the hundreds of gallons needed to travel from Hill City to Keystone and back.
Inside the Engine House, Mike gave a brake demonstration and dispelled any notions that train brakes just “go out” on a regular basis, like what happens in the movies. Nor can cars easily break loose from the rest of the train, like when the good guys are trying to get rid of the bad guys. I don’t know about you, but I’m OK with that news.
Mike also went through the casting process. Apparently, when something breaks down at the train, he can’t go buy it at Lowe’s. So they make all of their own parts in the Engine House. A talented group.
The highlight of the day was getting inside the cab of Steam Engine #7 (which has had a few cameos in movies, incidentally). Participants were able to get a look at the controls and really understand how it works.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that a Steam Seminar is not just talk. It’s hands-on and interactive for all ages and backgrounds. Even a damsel in distress. I hope you take part in the next one coming up on August 10 or September 7. Register now!
Written by Debbie Ketel, the new 1880 Train blogger. By night, on weekends and between kids’ events, I convey the vision of the 1880 Train to YOU. (I’m also learning about trains.) Join the blog and take part in my journey!