Question: parts for a steamer

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Glenn Brooks
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Re: Question: parts for a steamer

Post by Glenn Brooks » Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:11 pm

Our local club near Seattle also has had to adopt a propone only policy also, because of seasonal fire danger. Around Seattle the outlying suburban areas are intermingled in northwest spruce forests. Our local fire department for years now, worries about the nightmare scenario of a summer fire crowning out in the tree tops and burning out 100,000 to 200,000 people, or more, in the space of a few hours. Very serious worry throughout the summer...

Glenn
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Motive power : 1902 A.S.Campbell 4-4-0 American - 12 5/8" gauge, 1955 Ottaway 4-4-0 American 12" gauge

Ahaha, Retirement: the good life - drifting endlessly on a Sea of projects....

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Marty_Knox
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Re: Question: parts for a steamer

Post by Marty_Knox » Sun Apr 09, 2017 2:10 pm

To answer the original question, the parts that change with the type of fuel would be the front end arrangements (petticoat, blast nozzle), the ash pan, grates, firing pan, arch, and possibly the boiler. When I am quoting a boiler I ask what fuel the customer plans to use. If they are going to burn both coal and propane I will build for coal. If they are only going to burn propane I may use smaller tubes but more of them. In both these cases I prefer to use copper tubes rolled in. For oil I use steel tubes rolled in and seal welded at the firebox end.

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Highiron
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Re: Question: parts for a steamer

Post by Highiron » Sun Apr 09, 2017 2:48 pm

Let me start out and let the cat out of the bag if you will, I am the supplier / manufacturer who called train Mountain about this. Parts have nothing to do with the situation at task here and let me furthermore say that I have put some long hard thought into this thread before responding.

Russ put up this post based on the phone call that I made as I am looking at our 2018 travel schedule and wanted to possibly consider going back to train Mountain, but were told no steam other than propane fired.

As a vendor and large supplier of parts and accessories to the hobby I have to pick and choose where we might go to represent the company. As Marty pointed out the cost of going to a show strictly as a vendor grossly outweighs the income from sales.
So the fact remains on trips like that and even the few I make during the winter I have to turn them into vacations therefore I have to be able to go where I not only set up as a vendor and display my wares but can also run and showcase our COAL fired locomotives.

To attend a meet as a vendor, especially one such as the triennial is an invitation for me to spend money. Looking at the costs involved they are rather exorbitant. I have to pay to advertise, I have to rent tables, I have to rent booth space, I have to rent chairs and I have to get there. Its 2750 miles each way so you're talking about 4-1/2 to 5 days of driving. Also $3,000 + in fuel costs along with meals and lodging because not everybody can sleep in the motorhome and let's not forget the possibility of the added expense of a breakdown or a blown tire. So..... All-in-all you're looking at the 16 to 18 days out on the road at a cost of well over $5,000 or $6,000.

The idea of building steam locomotives is to be able go to a meet and run them. Not to just go to a meet because you're expected to be there as a vendor. Then sit and watch everybody else go by on their train because you can't run yours being that it burns coal or oil........ So that's not going to happen anymore I cannot justify the expense of going to Train Mountain without being able to run the engine.


I have been to Train Mountain several times and once in 2003 without a train and frankly it really was no fun... Ongoing expansion projects are always going on at Train Mountain. Perhaps, now maybe it is time to look at turning some of the resources and management decisions, skills and manpower into putting an infrastructure in place to be able to adequately monitor/watch for and suppress or fight fires should a problem arise on the South-side.

I respectfully make, but not limited to, the following 4 suggestions for Triennial use only;

1. Once again allow and limit all coal, oil and wood burning locomotives to the South-side and not allow them to depart central without a spark arrestor.

2. The installation of additional water hoses and bibs along the south-side right-of-way along with some extinguishers.

3. The assignment of dedicated roving fire watch/management with radios and brush units on South-side.

4. Possible on-site fire protection equipment, i.e. Fire Department brush truck and/or tanker.

Being able to run strictly on the south side with a coal and oil burner is better than not being able to run at all... this was the case in 2012 when we were out there and we managed to have a wonderful time and still sell parts see people and run the trains
This is a serious situation and concern for me, as well many other coal and oil fired locomotive owners, some of which have already commented here and many, many others who are following and reading this thread.

There are plenty of other fine tracks that I can go to as a vendor and run our coal burning locomotives.
So, until a mechanism is in place or decision gets made to once again allow coal and oil burning locomotives at Train Mountain, Little Engines will no longer be in attendance at a Train Mountain meet


Respectfully
Mike Venezia
Paul Keiser
Pam Weiss
And the rest of Little Engines Steam Team
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Kevin S
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Re: Question: parts for a steamer

Post by Kevin S » Sun Apr 09, 2017 2:58 pm

Well said Mike.
-Kevin S.

pkeiser
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Re: Question: parts for a steamer

Post by pkeiser » Sun Apr 09, 2017 3:56 pm

The south side would be great. Fire watchers could easily be in place for just the big meet and everyone would be happy. I strongly hope the folks at Train Mountain will take another look at this.
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Greg_Lewis
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Re: Question: parts for a steamer

Post by Greg_Lewis » Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:46 pm

Highiron wrote: ...

As Marty pointed out the cost of going to a show strictly as a vendor grossly outweighs the income from sales.
So the fact remains on trips like that and even the few I make during the winter I have to turn them into vacations ... .
Above is the core of the situation.

Anyone expecting to make a profit must calculate absolutely every expense down to the price of the paperclips used in the office. When you do an honest and accurate calculation, it is shocking how much even a one-person business must sell to keep the doors open. The late Barry Hauge was sometimes criticized about the prices of his products, but he knew how much it cost to make them and how much he needed at the end of the month for rent and groceries.

For Mike to cover the costs of a trip to TM, he would have to net $6000 over and above what he would make if he stayed home and filled the regular stream of orders. Thus if going to TM does not cover the costs as a business and it has to be justified as a vacation, Mike needs to get $6000 worth of fun out of the trip in order to make it worthwhile.
Greg Lewis, Prop.
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Miserlou57
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Re: Question: parts for a steamer

Post by Miserlou57 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:42 am

I would think that the point of a business attending an event like this, or any show, is not just to sell items on the spot. I think this is a simplistic approach.

I would think the goal is to do a lot more: to showcase products, to answer questions, to chat with and learn about what people (I.e. Your customers) want, to gather information, to let them hold the part in their hand, maybe get a little press, etc. Having a real-life person to meet and talk to is a whole lot more than just an ad in a magazine. The company's presence may help speak toward their trustworthiness and reliability, and all these things have value. It's marketing opportunity. The big dogs in many industries spend literally tens of millions of dollars on trade shows for this purpose, with zero sales taking place. Granted our little hobby is not quite the same, but this is a very expensive hobby, and dare I suggest that phenomenon may still hold valid. Building trains is daunting and expensive, so you may just give some eager young kid or an eccentric millionaire the confidence that he or she has what it takes to do it. If I'm considering plopping down potentially thousands of dollars on a "pretty big toy," having seen its quality firsthand or having some level of support during construction is going to really help ease me into it. Most of us knew Barry and how helpful he was; tell me that relationship didn't help his business.

Maybe it's a lot harder to calculate the value or return on investment for such intangible things, particularly when you're trying to rationalize a big expenditure for a trip, but that's what marketing is all about. I've been on both sides of the booth table, and I couldn't adequately describe what I've gained by just talking to people and getting their card.

Anyway, sorry to hijack the thread a little bit, but I'm just surprised our vendors only seemingly measure the success of a show by immediate sales.

cp4449
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Re: Question: parts for a steamer

Post by cp4449 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:17 am

Not having been to TM, could regular patrolling speeders with a water tank behind spray water in between the rails and say 10 ft on either side? They do this on the Cumbres when it is a dry season.
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Brian Tusin
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Re: Question: parts for a steamer

Post by Brian Tusin » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:24 am

Mike is 110% right. It is not worth it for someone to convert their engine to propane for one track that is thousands of miles away. Train Mountain is fun, but it is not worth the time and money to convert your engine for one track. They can not call themselves the premier live steam track until coal and oil fired steam locomotives are allowed on the south side of the road again.

Smokey N Steamer
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Re: Question: parts for a steamer

Post by Smokey N Steamer » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:58 am

Glenn Brooks wrote:Our local club near Seattle also has had to adopt a propone only policy also, because of seasonal fire danger. Around Seattle the outlying suburban areas are intermingled in northwest spruce forests. Our local fire department for years now, worries about the nightmare scenario of a summer fire crowning out in the tree tops and burning out 100,000 to 200,000 people, or more, in the space of a few hours. Very serious worry throughout the summer...

Glenn
Which one is that, Glenn? Kitsap or the GN&C?

Kimball McGinley
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Re: Question: parts for a steamer

Post by Kimball McGinley » Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:33 pm

A little more about Coal vs. Oil or Propane; For coal, about all you need to build is grates and a box to hold the coal. People using Oil or Propane have to make or get burners, valves, pressure gauges, fluid lines, etc. Many build a separate propane car for the tank(s) - have you ever seen anybody towing an extra car of coal behind them?

Glenn Brooks
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Re: Question: parts for a steamer

Post by Glenn Brooks » Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:49 pm

Smokey N Steamer wrote:
Glenn Brooks wrote:Our local club near Seattle also has had to adopt a propone only policy also, because of seasonal fire danger. Around Seattle the outlying suburban areas are intermingled in northwest spruce forests. Our local fire department for years now, worries about the nightmare scenario of a summer fire crowning out in the tree tops and burning out 100,000 to 200,000 people, or more, in the space of a few hours. Very serious worry throughout the summer...

Glenn
Which one is that, Glenn? Kitsap or the GN&C?

Great Northern allows coal- Kitsap LS is propane only.

Gpb
Moderator - Grand Scale Forum

Motive power : 1902 A.S.Campbell 4-4-0 American - 12 5/8" gauge, 1955 Ottaway 4-4-0 American 12" gauge

Ahaha, Retirement: the good life - drifting endlessly on a Sea of projects....

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