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7 June 2003
Canada


South Simcoe Railway 
(CPR Steam) A significant portion of Canada's operable steam roster met yesterday when CPR 4-6-4 2816, on the final leg of its "Breakfast for Learning" tour into Toronto, passed over the South Simcoe Railway near Tottenham on 6 June. 2816 largely kept to its transcontinental schedule despite some problems with a main rod bearing on the 29th (a new bearing was installed overnight at Winnipeg), the only changes being some early departures to allow for slower running. Congratulations to the CPR steam crew for their accomplishments, and to CPR management for one of the steam events of 2003. (Thanks to Edward Wakefield.)  
South Simcoe meet.  Photo by Charles Bryant.  Copyright 2003 Charles Bryant South Simcoe Railway, all rights reserved.

CPR 2816 meets South Simcoe (ex-CPR) 4-4-0 136 and 4-6-0 1057. Photo by Charles Bryant. Copyright 2003 Charles Bryant / South Simcoe Railway, all rights reserved.  
DATE
USA


Ohio Central Railroad 
(Ohio Central Steam) Ohio Central's final steam excursion - at least for now - went out under rainy skies on Saturday, as ex-CPR 1293 and ex-GTW 6325 doubleheaded the train from Dennison, OH to Newark. The Mahoning Valley Railroad Heritage Association sponsored what turned out to be the last trip, and over 500 people enjoyed a great train ride and multiple photo runbys (about the only time all day it didn't rain, according to Rich Melvin). Jerry Jacobson apparently indicated to one participant that Ohio Central steam isn't dead, and there are no current plans to part with any of the steam locomotives. Jerry's cryptic comment that Ohio Central will "still run steam, just not with passengers," offers a little hope for future operations. (Thanks to Grant Geist and Greg Scholl.)  
DATE
USA


Ohio Central Railroad 
(Ohio Central Steam) Ohio Central's final steam excursion - at least for now - went out under rainy skies on Saturday, as ex-CPR 1293 and ex-GTW 6325 doubleheaded the train from Dennison, OH to Newark. The Mahoning Valley Railroad Heritage Association sponsored what turned out to be the last trip, and over 500 people enjoyed a great train ride and multiple photo runbys (about the only time all day it didn't rain, according to Rich Melvin). Jerry Jacobson apparently indicated to one participant that Ohio Central steam isn't dead, and there are no current plans to part with any of the steam locomotives (in fact, Jerry has apparently just acquired another - ex-Hocking Valley, nee-Lake Superior & Ishpeming 2-8-0 33, long stored at Nelsonville, OH). Jerry's cryptic comment that Ohio Central will "still run steam, just not with passengers," offers a little hope for future operations. (Thanks to Grant Geist and Greg Scholl.)  
last Ohio Central excursion.  Photo by Hayes Smith.  Copyright 2003 Hayes Smith, all rights reserved.

CPR 1293 and GTW 6325 lead the 31 May Ohio Central excursion. Photo by Hayes Smith. Copyright 2003 Hayes Smith, all rights reserved.  
2 June 2003
USA


Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum 
(TVRM / C&C) Meanwhile, a bit further south, both the news and the weather was better.

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum's ex-Army 2-8-0 no. 610 (in her 14th year of service to TVRM) took a four-car train down to to Summerville, Georgia, on Saturday, her first diesel-free trip on the Chattooga and Chickamauga Railway. (The line is owned by the State of Georgia and operated by CAGY Industries, and TVRM excursions operate here regularly.) At Trion the train picked up 250 or so passengers and took them to the dedication of a turntable to be used in turning steam on excursions.

The turntable once turned L&N Pacifics and Mikados using the roundhouse in Boyles Yard, Birmingham, AL, and survived there until 2000, when it was removed and transported by rail to Summerville. The State of Georgia used TEA21 money to install the turntable to promote tourism (Summerville is home to Howard Finster's Paradise Gardens and an annual Finster art festival). Georgia Lieutenant Governor Mark Taylor was present and spoke at the dedication, after which no. 610 received the ceremonial first turn and took the crowd back to Trion before heading home.

The first "Steam All The Way" excursion will be 14 June (see the Schedules), and TVRM has scheduled a full series of fall excursions down this very scenic line. (Thanks to Mike Brown, Mark Ray, Mike Trent, and Ben Chapman.) 
boyles turntable.  Photo by John Craft.  Copyright 2003 John A. Craft, all rights reserved.

Ignore the diesel - it's the turntable that's important here. Boyles Yard, Birmingham, AL, 1988. Photo by John Craft. Copyright 2003 John A. Craft, all rights reserved.

boyles turntable.  Photo by Ben Chapman.  Copyright 2003 Ben Chapman, all rights reserved.

610 takes a first spin on the turntable. Photo by Ben Chapman. Copyright 2003 Ben Chapman, all rights reserved.  
24 May 2003
USA


Ohio Central Railroad 
This isn't how the Memorial Day Weekend is supposed to start.

This is the traditional "Opening Day" of the steam tourist season: operations all over the nation will make their first public trips of 2003 today. Yet for two, the news is more bad than good.

On a day when most operations are just beginning, the Ohio Central Railroad's regular Sugarcreek to Baltic trains will make their last run. The Ohio Central is pinning the decision on insurance costs and weak ridership. Many of the summer "main line " excursions behind diesels or GTW 4-8-4 6325 have been cancelled, and work continues to salvage the fall excursions. But it's far from certain that 6325 will operate this year.

Further west, in Chama, New Mexico, the Cumbres & Toltec still hasn't fired up a single 2-8-2, and its first train is three weeks away. The C&TS has received a lot of funding for this and future years, but there is a great deal to do before the railroad is back in the shape Kyle Railways had it in in 1996.

There is good news, of course: Canadian Pacific 2816 has begun her trek to Toronto, and thousands will see the handsome locomotive as it promotes the "Breakfast for Learning" program through early July. The East Broad Top will eke out another season. And somewhere near you, a steam locomotive will be running today. Get out there this weekend or soon, and support it.  
8 May 2003 
User testing on the new SteamCentral continues - although our coding staff is sleeping on the job a little too much. (Must have gotten spoiled in the dotcom days . . . )

If you haven't signed up to be a tester yet, send me an email. There's still quite a bit to do. 


Good help can be hard to find. Photo by . . . nah, I don't want to admit to it.  
8 May 2003
Canada
 
(CPR 4-6-4 2816) Schedules for the "Breakfast for Learning" tour have been updated to reflect the latest available information. Much of this is still my interpretation of what's available, so take it with a grain of salt, and let me know if you have better information.  
10 April 2003 
(Schedules) Early this morning I heard a pitiful scratching on the back door, and went to investigate. There on the back porch was tired, scruffy, somewhat bedraggled Schedules page, which has been missing since last spring. We gave it a bath, updated it with 2003 entries, and uploaded it to the site. Enjoy, and note that the CPR 2816 schedules are my interpolations, as no official schedule has been released yet. If and when it is, we'll update - really.

Honest.

I mean it.

STOP LAUGHING!

(Thanks to all you who keep sending stuff even when I don't post it. Kees, your updates coming soon.)  
10 April 2003
USA


Strasburg Railroad

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad 
(ex-LS&I 2-8-0 34) Western Maryland Scenic 734 has a new set of main rods fabricated by the Strasburg Railroad. One of the rods failed in 1999, and the new rods incorporate improvements in the design. Hopefully no. 734 will be on the road for years to come. Kelly Anderson has posted a lot of detail at Railway Preservation News' Interchange - it's a good read. (Thanks to Kelly Anderson.) 
new rods for WMS 734.  Photo courtesy the Strasburg Railroad.

New rods fabricated by the Strasburg Railroad for Western Maryland Scenic 2-8-0 734. Photo courtesy the Strasburg Railroad.  
2 April 2003 
For those who missed the April Fool's Edition, see it here.  
1 April 2003 
It's spring! The native azaleas and dogwood in our back yard are in rampant bloom, and all around the country crews are taking final turns on wrenches preparing their locomotives for another season's service.

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum's ex-Army 2-8-0 no. 610 is buttoned up and ready for a fire. So is the California State Railroad Museum's ex-Granite Rock, exx-Army 0-6-0 no. 10, which will be the main power for the museum's hourly trips along the riverfront this summer. Down in Durango, Steve Jackson's crews are prepping their ex-Rio Grande 2-8-2s for another year's service to Silverton.

On the other end of the scale, Union Pacific 4-6-6-4 3985 will be ready for one of its busier years according to all indications, and Canadian Pacific's 4-6-4 no. 2816 will be barnstorming this summer as well.

For details on these and other 2003 operations, check out Jim Wrinn's quarterly Crystal Ball, Jim's excellent Active Steam Roster, and the Schedules page. (Thanks to Jim Wrinn, Steve Lee, Mark Ray, and Jon Wiltshire.)

In housekeeping issues, on June 15th (the fourth anniversary of the launch of SteamCentral) we'll be unveiling an overhaul to this site: you'll be able to submit news items and schedules automatically; leave comments on news items, tutorials, travel articles, and opinion pieces; and many other new capabilities. We're trying to strike a balance between the current look and feel of the site and integrating the new capabilities - things will change, but hopefully remain familiar. Those of you interested in helping in beta tests should email me.  
1 April 2003
USA
 
(ex-Great Western 2-8-0 51) For Great Western 51, everything old is new again. No. 51 is back in Colorado and headed for "home rails."

Shipped from the Fillmore & Western in California, the engine and its tender arrived on flatcars in Loveland, CO, on March 28th, and was destined for unloading at Mead on the Great Western Railway. As soon as we know any definite plans for the engine (could we be so lucky that they include operations on the Great Western?), we'll let you know. (Thanks to Jim Burrill.) 
GW 51.  Photo by Alan Miller.  Copyright 2003 Alan Miller, all rights reserved.

Great Western 51 at the Washington Central SteamFest in 1990. Photo by Alan Miller. Copyright 2003 Alan Miller, all rights reserved.  
1 April 2003
USA


Cumbres & Toltec 
(C&TS RR) In Chama and Antonito, crews are working on boilers, running gear, and tenders of ex-Rio Grande K36s, preparing for a "rebuilding year." No. 487 is expected to be the only operational steam locomotive when the line opens in mid-June, soon to be followed by a second locomotive in July. General Manager Kim Flowers hopes to have three locomotives back in service by the fall color season, and with a bit of luck the railroad will return to full strength in 2004.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and the Legislature have been extremely supportive of the railroad, helping it to qualify for $3 Million in Economic Development Authority grants and appropriating $1 Million in operating and matching funds for 2003. Colorado, faced with severe budget shortfalls like many states, has so far not appropriated any funds for the railroad.

Personnel changes are also the order of the day. Three of the four Commissioners which oversee the operation have been appointed since January, the Friends of the C&TS have hired Brian Shoup to replace the retiring Terri Shaw, longtime employee Marvin Casias will be Superintendant of the line this year, and Steven and Kelly Butler are returning to Wisconsin. Best of luck to the C&TS crew in 2003 - it's your turn for some good luck.  
2 March 2003
USA


B&O Railroad Museum 
(B&O Railroad Museum) The collapse of a portion of the roof over the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum's Mount Clare roundhouse, which damaged at least five steam locomotives in addition to other items in the museum's collection, has forced the cancellation of the "Fair of the Iron Horse." Scheduled to coincide with the joint NRHS / R&LHS convention in Baltimore, the Fair promised to be the only steam in an otherwise steam-free (and so far excursion-free) convention. Near-daily updates are available at the museum's web site. More information here as it becomes available. 
the B and O RR Museum roof.  Photo by Sandy Mitchell.  Copyright 2002 Alexander D. Mitchell IV, all rights reserved.

This was the view February 17, just hours after a portion of the Mount Clare roundhouse roof collapsed during a snowstorm. Photo by Sandy Mitchell. Copyright 2001 Alexander D. Mitchell IV, all rights reserved.  
2 March 2003
USA


Durango & Silverton NG RR 
(ex-D&RGW 2-8-2 473) It's the spring of 1950, and the Denver & Rio Grande Western and the town of Durango are hoping to capitalize on the popularity of the movie "Ticket to Tomahawk," filmed on the Silverton branch. At the urging of Marguerita Clark of Durango and D&RGW General Passenger Agent Harold Eno, K28 2-8-2 473 (previously in rotation on the railroad's "San Juan" passenger train), a combine used in filming the movie, and three coaches are painted in a gold and silver livery created for equipment sent to Chicago Railroad Fair in 1949. The locomotive kept the paint scheme until shopped after a July 1951 derailment, and was seen on the Durango - Alamosa line as well hauling passenger and freight trains. The paint scheme became the standard for the Durango-Silverton trains, and remains so with minor changes today.

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has announced that 473 will get the "Bumble Bee" paint scheme for its annual Railfest in late August, and keep the "loud paint scheme" (as bob Richardson described it in 1950) until the railroad's Photographer's Special in September. Last year the railroad painted K36 2-8-2 482 with a dark green boiler jacket that was the railroad's standard for freight power in the early 20th century. While it may not be the most dignified paint scheme the engine has ever worn, it certainly catches the eye, and shows that the management of the D&S not only has a sense of history, but a sense of humor as well. See you in Durango August 21? 
D&RGW 473 in 1951.  Photo by H. P. Ramsey.  Copyright 2002 Mike Ramsey, all rights reserved.

D&RGW K28 2-8-2 473 in Durango, CO, in 1951, showing off her "Bumble Bee" paint scheme. Photo by H. P. Ramsey. Copyright 2002 Mike Ramsey, all rights reserved. Page not found - SteamCentral

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