SPUD

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Mark D
Conductor
Posts: 2967
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 5:01 pm
Location: Sort of between Litchfield and Forest City, MN.

SPUD

Postby Mark D » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:18 pm

The 4-8-4 steam locomotive is operating santa train rides for the little rug rats this week and next. I've been on the engine overnight last night, the night before and tonight and tomorrow night and Dec.9
Ahhhh! I love it! Dirty, messy coal dust all over everything, mmmmmmm! (not)
If one of you who are local were to show up, you would have a ringside seat for photo's of all the freight traffic that rolls through here all day, all night all week. Some days more active than others.
Last night I saw two different coal drags that got caught by a red light that caused the to stop with the first part of the train on a fairly tight curve. One engineer bunched his cars and started with the distributed power at the rear end pushing a bit harder than he was pulling to keep it bunched and probably trying to not string line it.

The second engineer just gave 'er hell as soon as he saw green.
They both made it, so whatever works I guess. But with the train loaded I sort of doubt it would string line, but you never know. In my mind, I saw the first engineer as more careful. He was very gentle getting it moving. Maybe he had way more experience, or maybe he's new and doesn't know yet just what he can get away with.

Mark D.
Mark D. - The bottom of the information curve

SOO2719
Conductor
Posts: 283
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:18 pm
Interested in trains?: Yes

Re: SPUD

Postby SOO2719 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:42 pm

I would not mind dropping by, but I am concerned I would get yelled at by SPUD depot security. On second thought, I'll take the risk.
Where will you all be parked? Let me know via PM.
Thanks.
Richard "Tony" Held

"Trackside with Tony"
http://www.tonyheld.hoboandbowser.net/category/trackside/

SOO2719
Conductor
Posts: 283
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:18 pm
Interested in trains?: Yes

Re: SPUD

Postby SOO2719 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:37 pm

Since you are busy, I sent you a PM.
Richard "Tony" Held

"Trackside with Tony"
http://www.tonyheld.hoboandbowser.net/category/trackside/

Mark D
Conductor
Posts: 2967
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 5:01 pm
Location: Sort of between Litchfield and Forest City, MN.

Re: SPUD

Postby Mark D » Sat Dec 02, 2017 4:19 pm

Sorry I didn't get your final message. I was at SPUD and no access to internet.
Glad you made it anyway, hope you enjoyed your short stay. Had you stayed any longer, you would have had a chance to scoop coal into the firebox. I'm ALWAYS open to having someone else do my work... :D
Mark D.
Mark D. - The bottom of the information curve

Mark D
Conductor
Posts: 2967
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 5:01 pm
Location: Sort of between Litchfield and Forest City, MN.

Re: SPUD

Postby Mark D » Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:33 pm

Our Tony Held showed up at the North Pole Friday night. It's difficult to get in there and more difficult to get out, but he did manage it and I hope he had a good time in the Engineers seat - going nowhere.
Meanwhile I managed to spill about a half ton of coal all over the 'foot plate'. It can be difficult to hit the hole in the firebox when it's pitch black in the cab. Yeah, I like it dark so I shut off the lights. Most of the coal goes in and lands where I want it to, but not always. Tony got to hear the sounds of a steam locomotive, like the injector running, the little bump sounds as the engine cools from the last run of the day down to the overnight pressure, the clang of the coal scoop when I hit the edge of the fire door. That seems to happen only when I'm trying to get the coal to the very far front right of the firebox. I eventually get it there. Some guys can't get it there at all no matter how hard they try.
Mark D.
Mark D. - The bottom of the information curve

Wowak
Conductor
Posts: 125
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 6:47 pm
Location: Schuylkill Co., PA

Re: SPUD

Postby Wowak » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:19 pm

I spent Saturday night on the 113, but since the fire was already banked before I got there at 10pm I was little more than glorified security since the engine was out in the open. Local PD did stop to chat for a few minutes before taking off to chase an ATV speeding on a public street. It got down to 30 degrees so it wasn't a very pleasant evening.
-Former Moderator

SOO2719
Conductor
Posts: 283
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:18 pm
Interested in trains?: Yes

Re: SPUD

Postby SOO2719 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:32 pm

Hey Mark,

If you are going to be there December 9, I might stop by again, depending on my work schedule. I would not mind shoveling some coal into the boiler. :D
Richard "Tony" Held

"Trackside with Tony"
http://www.tonyheld.hoboandbowser.net/category/trackside/

Mark D
Conductor
Posts: 2967
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 5:01 pm
Location: Sort of between Litchfield and Forest City, MN.

Re: SPUD

Postby Mark D » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:41 am

I will be there unless something untoward happens, but I also will be a bit late. I had promised my wife I would go out with her to a play that same evening. I notified others that I won't make it there until around 11:00.
Keep that in mind.
To get in through the gate the latest procedure that I am aware of is that you do not take the ticket when it pops out of the machine. Instead, I will P.M. you on this forum with the proper instructions for getting in without paying a hefty parking fee. Print that out and take it with you, including the secret decoder ring password to get through the gate.
I'm told all this is so they can keep track of traffic in and out of their parking lot. I guess I can understand that.

Mark D.
Mark D. - The bottom of the information curve

Mark D
Conductor
Posts: 2967
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 5:01 pm
Location: Sort of between Litchfield and Forest City, MN.

Re: SPUD

Postby Mark D » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:56 am

Well, the last trip to the North Pole for 2017 happened last night. I was on the engine again over Saturday night into Sunday morning. Our one and only Tony Held was there again to keep me company for a good share of that time. He helped shovel coal.
Hope next year goes just as well as the past years including this one.

Things didn't go very well for me Saturday night though. Nothing to do with the engine, but I had promised my wife I would go see a play with her at a place in the town of Cokato, which is on my way to the Twin Cities. We took two cars so I could continue on to the Cities from Cokato and she could drive home.
On the way there, she was ahead of me on Meeker County road 14. She slammed into a deer at about 60 mph. She's fine, car not so much. It's repairable. She is down in the dumps. Only a year and a half ago she spent her entire life savings to buy this car, a 2008 Cadillac STS-4 with very low mileage. Nice car, really.
We had to leave it on the side of the road because no towing company would tow it that night. That's ok, we called the cops and the dead deer was removed.
I got home from the steam engine around 9:30 AM and had to turn right around and go back to where the car was still sitting so that when the wrecker got there he would be able to roll it up on his roll-back truck. All wheel drive = don't tow with wheels on the ground.
This car is so electrically dependent that you cannot put the car in neutral so the wheels will roll a bit without power. The battery was long since dead from running the flashers all night. The hood was jammed shut. But being peaked up about a foot in the middle I was able to reach in with jumper cables to the battery from a battery I brought along for the purpose.
First I had to get the doors unlocked. I could not open the drivers door because the left fender was shoved back about 1/8 inch to the door. I could force the door, but that would damage the undamaged fender that just needs to be readjusted when we get to repairing it.
Another interesting thing about this car is that when the power goes off the doors lock. Stupid thing, that!!! But I unlocked the passengers side and got it into neutral.
I got that done just before the wrecker showed up. He winched it onto the truck and took it back home. Rolled it off the truck and it's sitting in the driveway. After that was taken care of I had to put in a presence at the home of some friends who invited all out mutual friends over for just a get-together.
This all means that I did not sleep between 7:30 AM Saturday morning until 10:00 PM Sunday night. I'm kind of whipped right now.
Wife decided she didn't want to drive my 2000 Cadillac ETC, so she just left this morning for Dassel in the Suburban, which she also hates but not as much. She's really bummed about her car. I told her to take it slow until U.S. 12 because that C.R. 14 is a favorite spot for deer to jump out and commit suicide in order to take out yet another car. I do swear that they lie in wait for just the right car, and then they leap for it. They've cost me so much money over the years that I have learned to just hate those incredibly stupid animals. They're dumber than a rat. Rats are, actually, quite intelligent... especially when compared to a deer. I think a worm is more intelligent than a deer. My own deer count of deer vs car/truck over my lifespan is 7. I'm sure it will go up from there. My wife's count is 1. I'll fix her car as soon as I can find some parts that I can afford and she'll be happy once again.

Mark D.
Mark D. - The bottom of the information curve

Fitz
Conductor
Posts: 871
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 6:58 pm
Location: Waldport, OR, USA
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Re: SPUD

Postby Fitz » Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:12 pm

Ooooo, bummer. Sorry to hear that story, Mark and am glad your wife is OK. STS not so good, eh? I don't like all of that electronic stuff on these newer cars. Designers think that the car should think for us drivers, and it never works right. Can hardly wait till they force us to use driverless ones.
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Mark D
Conductor
Posts: 2967
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 5:01 pm
Location: Sort of between Litchfield and Forest City, MN.

Re: SPUD

Postby Mark D » Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:18 am

I don't mind the electronic stuff if the manufacturer thinks about it before they ad this or that tricky little gadget. For instance, the doors! Can you imagine driving along happy as a clam and suddenly something happens to cause the car to catch on fire. I mean, accident, deer hit, or fuel line leak or whatever. In any case, It knocks out the electrical power. You are locked inside your car. There is no way inside the car to open the doors. Trust me on this... I have looked everywhere for an emergency door opener. I checked the owners manual. Doesn't even mention the idea of an emergency door opener.
I've known about this for just shortly after she bought the car. I keep meaning to get one of those little punches that knock the door glass out. I will as soon as I remember, but for now it's moot.
Unfortunately, I doubt it would do much good because I'm not sure she could get out of the seat and through the window by herself. I know I'd have a hard time doing it. When seconds count, the worst usually happens.
I pulled the hood off the car last night. Lots of broken plastic shield parts all over under the hood, now in the trash. The biggest issue is the core support. Other than that it's mostly just unbolt the broken stuff like radiator, condenser, fans, (two electric, one crank shaft driven)
Now she's driving one of my cars. She hates all of them so she's switching from this to that and the other so I still don't know what car I'm going to drive to the locomotive shop this Thursday. Time to do all the winterizing. I hope they drained the tender when it got back from SPUD. That and the boiler and the valve spools, which allows all the superheaters to be blown out with compressed air after charging the boiler with air. Open the throttle and BLAST.

Mark D.
Mark D. - The bottom of the information curve


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