The accessibility of the shop operation is a unique feature of Railtown 1897 State Historic Park. Most of the maintenance, repair, and train operations are on full view in the roundhouse. When a malfunction occurs, it can be an opportunity to demonstrate these activities. Working with historic equipment gives us lots of opportunities to demonstrate! Today, for example, it was a malfunctioning gauge that was giving us some grief. During hostling, the crew noticed that the gauge was reading 25 lbs, even when the air reservoirs were empty. Some troubleshooting led to the diagnosis of a misbehaving gauge.
While most of the crew transitioned to a back-up diesel to keep the trains on schedule, David Ethier and Dave Tadlock worked to coordinate the repair. All of this work was done on public display, with a stream of visitors touring the roundhouse and the cab of the locomotive.
So, sometimes it’s the little things, but they provide an opportunity to share some of the details of running an historic railroad. And if you were a visitor today, you were able to enjoy seeing two different locomotives in action, maintenance activities in the roundhouse, and tours of the cab of a steam locomotive while the repairs were occurring, all without missing a scheduled train. Almost makes you hope we’ll break something when you visit, doesn’t it?
For a complete discussion of how Westinghouse air brakes work we suggest this article.