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 Post subject: Re: Young'uns
PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:04 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3032
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
And the wonderful stories just keep coming, and now we are hearing from the traction set--come on, come on!

It is fascinating that we seem to have three main sources--television and film, parental or some other elder influence, and the excursion and museum experience itself, supported by the parents or other elders. It's also fascinating to see at least some of the parents or other elders are post-steam or post-traction themselves!

We may be seeing a first-hand example of how traditions form.

Keep'em coming, I think this is one thread that's going to be popular here.


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 Post subject: Re: Young'uns
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:53 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
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Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Judging from a couple of comments in other threads, it may be time to revisit this one. . .


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 Post subject: Re: Young'uns
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:01 pm 

Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 1:24 pm
Posts: 43
Indeed. Here is a question to stir discussion:

"What do you see as the major differences between the current up-and-coming generation of preservationists (age range 18-29 + David Wilkins) vs. those of the High Iron Days?"

Here are the rules...for every con you must provide a pro. No generational bashing (Baby Boomers vs. the Millenials) but your assessment should be honest and self-reflective.


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 Post subject: Re: Young'uns
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:15 pm 
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Posts: 49
Well, I cant really say the exact reason why I like steam. I have thought about it many many times and only pulled a couple things out of my hat. One that the sounds and the next is everything else. I have always been told that I am a young guy with an old soul and I guess that shines through in my interests. Thats about it lol


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 Post subject: Re: Young'uns
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:47 pm 
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Posts: 55
Location: Carter County, KY
I'm 16. When I was little until about 6 years of age, I was a train fanatic and then my interest shifted to technology. But I was thinking about the Polar Express movie back around Christmas of 2011 and decided to look up steam locomotive videos and pictures. And boom I was a train fanatic again.

I think one thing that I like steam so much is that (in the words of Ross Rowland) its "an external machine," everything is on the outside to see. I love the "monkey" action of the valve gear, those with have external valve.

There is just something about seeing everything working perfectly (usually) together and hearing a steam whistle. There is no horn, in my opinion, that could ever out do a good ol' steam whistle.

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 Post subject: Re: Young'uns
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:11 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:38 pm
Posts: 22
I'm one of the younger fellows here in the site, at age 16. I do develop an interest in trains at a long time ago. The first train I rode was at Campo in the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, but it's not until 2010 when I finally rode on a commercial train, this time the San Diego Trolley.

It would be interesting to see someone young like me to start saving equipment that's heading to retirement or never preserved before. I wonder when...


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 Post subject: Re: Young'uns
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:23 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:08 am
Posts: 213
Location: Whitefield, ME
Hello all:

Thanks for bringing this conversation back. At 27, I'm in this category and I appreciate the question Brent posted.

The high iron days were certainly wonderful, I wish I had been alive to experience more of it. My first mainline trip was 1998 out of Hoboken behind 614, which was about as close as I got. Those were wonderful trips. I also was able to ride the behind 142 from Susquehanna Transfer to Warwick. Another excellent trip which I wish could be repeated.
These were excellent well run operations which emphasized organization and rider safety. I believe an enjoyable experience was had by most. During the mainline steam era a great many locomotives and cars were preserved with the idea of running them over host railroads.
Concurrent to this, many rail enthusiasts began to amass. vast collections of historic artifacts which were smaller in nature including lanterns, locks, ephemera, and other miscilaneous smaller items. Their foresight in saving these items in their personal collections ensured their preservation.
Today we are faced with synthesizing these two things. Some museums are already doing this very well. I think of the WW&F as an example, because everything from the largest artifiacts (rolling stock and buildings) to the smallest (paperwork and hardware) has been returned to a state which speaks of authenticity. It doesn't feel like a show, as some have described what we do for our visitors, because it feels so real people can't help but be taken by it. This reminds me of watching a movie which recreates the past so well that you forget it is a new movie at all and get transported back to an earlier time. I also think of the EBT and Nevada Northern, which are somewhat different, the difference being that the railroads remained largely intact and unchanged up until preservation efforts began.
I know there are others I am not mentioning, but I feel they are doing a good job as well.

In my opinion, our efforts in preservation should combine the enthusiasm and artifacts which earlier generations left us with a desire to carefully research and document our railways so that we can create the most authentic possible experience for our visitors.

One other important lesson- and this is short and sweet- own the railroad you operate on. Even if it means finding some abandoned RoW and relaying track. You will have complete control over the presentation of your museum and can present a better more authentic experience. As an example, I think of the great central railway in loughborough, UK.

I could go further on this topic, but I don't think anyone wants to read a dissertation yet, it's late and I am eager to know what you all think.

Stephen Piwowarski


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 Post subject: Re: Young'uns
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:58 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
Posts: 2438
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
I'm 33, young but not that "young" anymore.

That being said, I was at one museum's volunteer group meeting on January 26, realizing I was still the youngest person in the room. I've been in St. Louis for over eight years, and I don't think this is a good sign of long term viability. To counter that, there were new faces there, mostly retirees, but seeing new people is always good at the beginning of the year. It'll be better if at least 1/2 of those new faces are still around and at the 2014 meeting.

I was 13 when I joined KRM and started volunteering down there. My friend and I were the youngest volunteers, a title we held into our college years. As I see it, that organization and many others are not attracting younger, dedicated volunteers at the same rate to replace the older heads as they leave (one way or the other). This endangers the ability to replace volunteers at the same rate, and allow the transfer of knowledge and ability to younger generations.

The organization I want to brag about, that has a lot of younger volunteers, is IRM. I think most of their track department is under 35, and there are many people my age and younger sprinkled throughout the departments, many taking viable and active roles. For them, it is an encouraging sign.

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 Post subject: Re: Young'uns
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:30 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:05 pm
Posts: 380
Location: Between Things
Over the years several of us have written in this Forum that we should not give young volunteers meaningless jobs. Out of the clear blue on Saturday a volunteer in his 20s walks up to me and asks if he can help on the Southern Ry heavyweight coach. I needed a 20 foot section of steam pipe removed from the underside. He said OK. I said do what ever it takes. I figured he'd use wrenches, saws, and a lot of hammering. 20-min. later I found him torching it off. "Holy Smokes" as my mother would say. He was done in minutes. I had seen Richard around once or twice before but always on the operating side. Never the renovation side.

I had a real touching job I needed done. The water tank (75 gal?) and its jacket had to come off to be replaced by a genset. Well that took him and another guy a lot longer but by the end of the day that major task was checked off my list. They also cleaned up a lot of plumbing.

There is an obvious lesson here. But I'd rather show you a picture.

http://railfan44.rrpicturearchives.net/ ... id=3359385

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 Post subject: Re: Young'uns
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:38 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:02 am
Posts: 249
Brent S. Bette wrote:
"What do you see as the major differences between the current up-and-coming generation of preservationists (age range 18-29 + David Wilkins) vs. those of the High Iron Days?"


Those of the High Iron Days we're lucky enough to live during the High Iron Days. They lived the history, and now they have the passion to share that history and to preserve it for future generations.

The up-and-coming generation (which includes my 21 year old self) is lucky enough to have an earlier generation that has done a pretty good job at preserving their wonderful history. We're also lucky enough to have gained, be it through real steam or our little blue buddy, an interest in that same history. Some of us have had the good fortune of living that history ourselves, albeit in a museum setting. I'm not a railroader from the early 1900's. I simply wasn't alive then. However, I have worked as a Car Attendant on operating circa 1913 equipment. As far as I'm concerned, when I'm wearing my formal outfit, my conductor's cap, and my pocketwatch while I'm punching tickets as we clatter along at 20mph, I'm not just going 5 miles down to the end-of-track. I am taking a trip on the closest thing to a time machine that man will ever build. Thanks to a friendly museum with an operating interpretive railway, I can get as close as possible to time travel. Perhaps it IS time travel.

The up-and-coming generation of rail preservationists also has a responsibility to learn as much about rail preservation as possible. The High Iron Days aren't getting any younger, and neither are the people who lived them. Yes, the High Iron Days are in the history books, but they will only fade into the history books if they are forgotten. As long as people are there to preserve the memory, the techniques, the "Old ways of doing things", the Days of the High Iron will never fade. In fact, as long as historic or replicas of historic equipment still exists, and even better, if it is operated, the High Iron Days will continue to live on after a fashion.

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 Post subject: Re: Young'uns
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:48 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 7:58 pm
Posts: 111
Location: Hershey, PA
Miketherailfan wrote:
Does 19 count? haha...

I'm one of those "foamer kids" who grew up on Thomas the Tank Engine. Guilty as charged. But I gotta give that blue tank engine credit; without Thomas, I wouldn't be as involved with railroading as much as I am now.

My family history has seen a few of my ancestors working at the Northern Central and PRR. My 2nd cousin was an engineer for the North Shore Railroad (where I grew up within 2 football fields of the line through my hometown of Bloomsburg, PA), and today is on the SEDA-COG JRA board. So you can say railroads are in my blood.

I started volunteering with the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in 2002 as a docent, giving tours of the carbarn, punching tickets, and teaching the history of the museum to visitors. I was a docent until 2006, and in that time, included serving as a car host on excursion trains from Carnegie (just outside of Pittsburgh) to the museum on the Pittsburgh & Ohio Central Railroad in 2002 and 2004.

I became reacquainted with the museum several more times in later in 2006 and 2008, when I decided to return in early spring 2009. At that point, I trained as a motorman. And if I have my fact still straight, I'm the youngest qualified motorman/operator at the PTM.

My ambition is to one day join the crew of the Nickel Plate Road #765 of the Fort Wayne RHS, as it has been a childhood dream of mine to run a mainline steam locomotive. As time permits, hopefully that day will be closer than I think.


Good gosh.... 2 and a half years makes a heck of a difference.

Since my last post... I'm pushing 22 (Feb. 27!). I left the PTM in 2011 upon hiring on with Norfolk Southern as a conductor. I am honored to do what I love for a living. I also took a new volunteer course with FWRHS, and try to take a trip to Indiana in my free time to work on the 765. I'm still learning the ways of steam, which is a HUGE contrast to my job with NS, and I think I will keep on learning my whole life, as one wise railroader once told me.

As for the generational question, I do agree with the posters above. The guys who ran mainline steam in the heyday of such excursions aren't getting younger, so it's of the utmost importance for guys like me in my generation to not only listen and learn, but to keep on carrying the torch of railroading as it once was. Not only that, but be EAGER to do so. Even a few coworkers at NS are impressed on my knowledge (or lack thereof) of the glory days.

I'm proud to be part of this next generation.

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 Post subject: Re: Young'uns
PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:16 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3032
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
It's interesting to see comments from others on where future steam enthusiasts and railroad preservationists will come from. In the case below, it's people who got interested in steam thanks to Walt Disney.

http://burnsland.com/disneyrailroads/vi ... ?f=5&t=900

Who says park trains aren't "real trains?"


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 Post subject: Re: Young'uns
PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:55 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 7:03 pm
Posts: 16
Location: Pennslavania`
My son Dylan is 7 years old and is the 3rd generation of steam in our family. he loves to chase and ride steam locomotives, go to steam and traction shows and he helps my father and I fire the boiler on our 23' steam launch named "Phoebe Snow". I am now 44 and have spent many a years climbing on and working on steam locomotives including from a baby Royal Hudson 2839 before and after her stint on the Southern, W&W 98,37 and 3, BM&R 425, some time and WK&S. and chased and or rode a lot of mainline and short line steam over the past 44 years with my father either in the cab, passenger car or chasing alongside. We need to keep the children involved as they are the stronghold of steam in the future.
Imageme at age 2 and my mom on running board
Image my son in the cab of 425
ImageSteam Launch Phoebe Snow


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 Post subject: Re: Young'uns
PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 3:32 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 5:40 pm
Posts: 338
Location: Hamilton, Illinois
Not sure if this is a factor in younger people being attracted to the steam aspect of rail preservation -- but as a fiction writer I'm aware of a literary "science fiction" genre known as "Steampunk," in which writers create a retro-world in which such things as electronic devices and internal combustion engines haven't been invented (or perfected to usability). Though a quick survey of this thread suggests that Thomas has been more influential, it's possible that exposure to Steampunk fiction has quickened the interest of some readers in getting involved in railway steam preservation. A couple of links describing the Steampunk genre:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk

http://www.steampunk.com/what-is-steampunk/

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 Post subject: Re: Young'uns
PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:43 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:12 pm
Posts: 4
I suppose I still might be in the category of "young'uns" at 23, and I've helped out at a few places.

Though I did watch Thomas as a kid, I'm thinking it was the Lionel trains, and an interest in warbirds, that got me preservation minded. Pictures of old things are nice, but in a way, they loose their meaning. How can i truly experience something with a 2D image?

In any event, how does someone even learn how to maintain an old Steam locomotive? I would guess volunteering some place would be the first way to learn, but in my case, there are no nearby organizations.

To be completely honest, I think its the juice jacks that have my attention more so than the steam, though i'm sure I could convince few people to save a Silverliner over some steam project, no matter how bad that old steamer is. That said, i wouldn't hesitate to help on said steam project either.

In the end, it feels good to do some hard work while working on something interesting, and that's what draws me in. I spend my weekends rebuilding tugboat diesels, how hard can a train be?


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