golden age of live steam

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Steam Engine Dan
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golden age of live steam

Post by Steam Engine Dan » Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:16 pm

hello everyone, I came across this last night and wanted to share it with you all. showcasing the golden age of the live steam hobby. I hope you all enjoy it and keep on steaming. :D


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Re: golden age of live steam

Post by JohnK » Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:06 pm

Thanks for posting. Well worth watching.

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Re: golden age of live steam

Post by BigDumbDinosaur » Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:51 pm

Neat! I got a chuckle out of the one dapper gentleman running his train on the high-line, complete with overcoat and fedora. I guess he wasn't too concerned about what was coming out of his locomotive's stack and where it was ending up. :D

One thing I will say about playing with trains is that it keeps us young-at-heart, even if some of our hearts aren't quite what they used to be. :shock:
Science makes it known. Engineering makes it work.

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Re: golden age of live steam

Post by 10KPete » Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:19 am

I'm so glad this was saved! Very uplifting to me to see where this all came from. History is soooo important..

Thank you for posting it!

Just tryin'

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Re: golden age of live steam

Post by JohnK » Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:07 am

Folks, if you're ever in or near Boston MA, go out of your way to get to Danvers. The site of the New England Live Steamers Danvers track is in the back parking lot of "Merchants Liquors" and "Friend Box Company", on High Street. In fact, Merchants Liquors is the old "Yankee Shop" machine shop where Yankee Shop/Friends Models got its start about 1938.

If you're there in spring before the brush grows in, or in fall when it's all withered away, you can go out behind the liquor store and easily see some of the NELS track's right-of-way in the riverbed, and you can walk on the NELS embankment out to the former site of the bridge over the river. The pilings that go down into the riverbed, and the supports above them, are still there.

You can even study old photos, and look around and compare "then vs. now", and try to figure out where the "high bridge" was....that section of the track where the "highline" itself was 8 feet in the air with just a catwalk at your feet, and nothing behind you if you fell!

In the above video, hearing Mr. Purinton's (Carl) and Charlie's voices again, brought back many happy memories. This is exactly how I remember them.

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Re: golden age of live steam

Post by B&OBob » Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:31 am

Thanks. What a terrific photographic history of the Brotherhood of Live Steamers and the crucial role of Charles Purintion in its efforts.

In 1937, when I was ten years old, we had a ground level(!) 32-foot loop of 2.5" gauge track in our backyard in Brookline. PA where I learned how to baance myself on a 2.5" Ga riding car behind my father's B&O P-7. I remember one afternoon when "Mr. Purinton" visited us (afterall I was only ten ten and that's the way we addressed our elders inthat era). We had lunch and then ran the P-7 hauling a 13-car train of freight cars and two cabooses, all the while Pop and Mr. Printon chatting about live steam, their shops, LBSC, and the future. Charles certainly did more than anyone else to advance growth of the live steam hobby in North America with those visits and his roving book!

My father travelled with friends to Marblehead one year shortly after that, returning with great stories of the men they met there. Later, a second trip, during the war and after saving enough gas ration stamps, they went to a meet at Danvers, bringing back the the most marvelous coal I ever burned, known as Russian Anthracite. The coal arrived in the U.S. as ballast on freighters returening otherwise empty from Russia after delivering a load of Lend/Lease militrary materiel to assist the Russian war effort. Locals burned the coal in their heating furnaces and claimed they got only "a bushel of cinders per ton of coal. Well they were right, because as the coal burned, small particles of fly ash went up the chimney, and similarly, when it was burned in a live steam locomotive, you had only to lightly rake the fire and then shovel-on more coal. At the end of the day there was almost no ash in the firebox, and no clinkers, although the smokebox usually had an accumulation of ashes and particles of unburned coal that had flaked-off burning coal but were too big to be exhausted. Visiting live steamers brought back all the Russian Anthracite they could carry, and in fact, I still had a few pounds squirreled away when I had to quit running, and that was passed along to a friend for his coal-fired Gauge-1 engne.

A couple of minor corrections, in the interest of accuracy, to Adrian "Doc" Buyse's historical recolections: The Pennsylvania Live Steamers were founded in 1946, not '41 as stated. Doc arrived in the Phiadelphia region about 1949/50, so was not among the PLS founding members. All that trivia aside, it was heart warming to see Doc once more. The video is a wonderful portrait of live steam development here and in Canada, and a tribute to the man who facilitated it.


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Re: golden age of live steam

Post by gwrdriver » Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:16 pm

My connection to the Golden Age was that I met and befriended (well, he befriended me) Henry J. Coventry. He was one of the most pleasant and unassuming gentleman I knew in live steam.

I sometimes wonder what makes a given era a "Golden Age" of something? Sometimes those golden ages are self-evident, but sometimes not.

I wonder, if some of those guys could have looked into a crystal ball and had a glimpse of what we have today, would they say they were in the Golden Age?
I feel like I'm in a Golden Age right NOW. In general the live steam hobby is in better health than I can ever recall.

And then, I try to always keep in mind the line from the Carol King song . . . "These are the good old days."
Nashville TN

Cary Stewart
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Re: golden age of live steam

Post by Cary Stewart » Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:08 pm

Suits were the right uniform for live steamers before the WWII. In England some fellows still drive their locos with shirt, tie and jacket.

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Re: golden age of live steam

Post by paralleler » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:28 am

A friend brought that VHS tape to the GGLS 2018 Spring Meet knowing I had a knack for video and history. I've also got two silent 16mm films from the 50's to add audio to. Then there's the 8mm film from a niece who's uncle (New Jersey Live Steamers) came to film the Golden Spike ceremony at GGLS in 1960. So much to do, so little time.

"History makes you smart, heritage makes you proud." Some stills and a more recent video are attached. Be well.

Big Traction Engines, Little Traction Engines:
A Young Erich Thompsen Takes Point
Ready For Work?
Gotta' Level This Section
That's Better!
Castro Valley-1.png
Bill Smith Senior On GGLS's Redwood Valley Track
Castro Valley-2.png
Running The High Track In Style

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