real live steam

I had a rare chance to work as a crew member on a preserved steam locomotive this past weekend. It was at the Maine Narrow Gauge Museum in Portland, ME. The engine was ex Monson RR #4, an 0-4-4 Forney built by Vulcan in 1918.

The hospitality, accommodation, and seafood in Portland were all great. The days were long and the work was dirty. Everything I wore was covered in coal dust, oil, and grease. That said, it was well worth the distance travelled and the effort involved in order to enjoy the experience. It was a privilege to be able to work with the various engineers, firemen, and museum staff.

If you get a chance to volunteer at a steam preservation line, please consider doing so. These pieces of history and the knowledge to operate and maintain them are slowly but surely disappearing. You may never get another opportunity.

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