Joe and I have a long history of love of trains. From an early age we build HO model layout on plywood, and added slot cars and scenery. Then Joe decided HO was not big enough, so he started collecting G scale trains. Then, Joe decided that G scale was still a bit small, and we wanted more realism. So he bought a caboose, then a gasoline switch engine, then a steam locomotive.
Myself, HO was still fine for my collecting, but where to run them? Answer, take the school bus in the back yard, (yes, another story, but later) and add a railroad. So myself and a friend named Curtis put over 250 feet of HO rail, with 13 turnouts, including a triple, on a 2 foot shelf that goes around the inside of the bus.
Then, theres the time that Joe, myself, and Fritz, in two weekends, got the Stanley Steamer fireless locomotive running at a museum in northwest Pa.
I have an extensive collection of steam technical books, thanks mainly to our Dad, who was a stationary engineer for the state of NY for over 30 years. With the information in the books, I wrote an excel spread sheet to calculate the maximum pressure the Porter could run at.
Then, while GE paid me to do field service work all over the country I used the opportunity to ride, view, and talk about trains in every historic site and museum close by.
There is just something beautiful about something as simple as a locomotive, and the forces it can exert. Truly amazing technology!!! dr