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How I spent my summer vacation (so far)!
So, a couple folks had noticed that I haven’t been around much lately. I’ve had various IRL stuff that kept me in lurk mode here and and couple other places where I still hang out on the ‘net. However the main reason is that the kids got out of school and Mrs OTR and I had a vacation planned out and paid for a while ago. Unfortunately, time constraints prevented more rail fanning but we did visit Dollywood in eastern Tennessee and got to take a train trip behind engine 192, Klondike Katie!

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These are just a few of the many photos and videos I took of Katie while riding the loop twice that day. I really wanted to visit the Tennessee Valley Railway Museum in Chattanooga but we were pressed for time and running low on funds, so we had to skip it. I hope to get back there at some point, maybe to ride behind Dollywood Express 70 “Cinderella” and also to ride behind a vintage EMD diesel on the Hiwassee River loop at TVRM. Even so, riding behind a vintage narrow gauge Baldwin Mikado on the trip was truly a great experience for this rail geek!

Oh, I almost forgot the tender water and coal capacity markings and smoke box face!

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Number 192 probably uses about 5 tons of coal a day but she really uses the water! Although each round trip is only about 3 miles, the trains have to pull grades of between 5 and 6%. Upon returning to the station, the Fire(wo)man spends a considerable amount of time refilling the water tanks.
[-] The following 3 users Like Off The Rails's post:
  • Finno, DalaGStanator, Super
Great photos. Looks like a good day for it too.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Finno's post:
  • Super
Fantastic day OTR, love the pictures. Wow, that Steamer sure uses a lot of coal and water for traveling such a short distance but I love that old wooden working Water Tower. Thanks for sharing pictures of your vacation with us.
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
Thanks guys, glad you liked the photos!

Apparently, Katie uses so much coal and water because she was built to somewhat more generic US Army Transportation Command standards whereas number 70 “Cinderella” was constructed specifically for the steep grades and tight turns of the White Pass and Yukon. Katie has a longer frame, lower pressure boiler and larger diameter drivers, as well as being somewhat lighter than Cinderella. She has to operate at full throttle to climb the grade and avoid stalling, then a complex series of maneuvers occur in the cab to bleed off speed, refill the boiler and ride the brakes back down the 5-6% grade to the station. It takes a heck of a skill set for this crew to make it all run so smoothly and I really enjoyed and appreciated the trips I made that day!

I want to move there and buy a season pass so I can ride the trains all the time! Furthermore, I would love to take a rare trip behind sister engine number 73, which is the same configuration as number 70 and still runs on the White Pass. While I’ve got steam train fever, a more likely excursion would be to ride the Durango and Silverton and neighboring Cumbres and Toltec which are also narrow gauge and also run Mikados along a stretch of the former Denver and Rio Grande Western.

My son and I are currently planning a Plarail version of the Dollywood Express with D51s and enclosed coaches acting as the motive power and rolling stock. Unfortunately, we’re hampered by that dreaded “IRL” and we both have nasty sinus infections. YAY!
[-] The following 2 users Like Off The Rails's post:
  • Super, Finno
Thumbs Up 
Can't wait to see the Dollywood Express Smile
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]

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