As Black Hills Central President Meg Warder knows, the 1880 Train is not a one-man show (or, in her case, a one-woman show). It takes a team consisting of engineers, firemen, conductors and brakemen to make sure the train gets to its destination safely. You may be surprised by their different roles.
The Engineer gets all the fun: He gets to blow the whistle!–The engineer is in control of the speed and direction of the train. Did I mention he gets to blow the whistle? The engineer is familiar with the route, knowing how fast or slow the train needs to be going at certain points along the route to successfully bring the train to its destination. Along with other crew members, the engineer watches both the train, and the track ahead, for any signs of danger. The engineer remains in the cab of the engine during the train ride.
The Fireman doesn’t put out a fire: He fuels it. The fireman monitors the amount of fuel and water the engine is using. In the case of the 1880 Train, which burns used motor oil, the fireman uses the injector to add fuel to the fire. The amount of water in the engine is viewed using the water glass. The fireman needs to constantly watch both the steam pressure of the engine as well as the water level in the water glass. He also makes sure that there is enough steam for the engineer to use while climbing hills, which requires more steam pressure.
The Conductor doesn’t just look good in a uniform: He is the eyes and ears of the train. The conductor is in charge of everyone and everything on the train. The conductor remains onboard the train cars during the train ride. During the ride, he collects tickets, assists passengers and monitors the engine and train cars to make sure everything is operating correctly. The conductor also works with the engine crew to conduct running brake tests en route, as well as connecting the engine to the train cars in station.
The Brakeman is in charge of, well, the brakes. The brakeman remains onboard the train during the train ride. During the ride, he assists passengers and other crew members and also monitors the engine and train cars. While in station, the brakeman sets and releases the hand brake on the train cars and assists with the boarding process and concessions.
There are also train hosts, snack shop staff, gift shop depot staff, maintenance staff, ticket agents and administrative staff that keep the 1880 Train chugging. Let us know how we are doing the next time you take a ride!
Information revised from the www.1880train.com website by blogger Debbie M. Ketel.