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 Post subject: Smoke Over Steamtown
PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:15 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:02 pm
Posts: 84
In an in-depth interview, Dennis Livesey talks about his experiences at Steamtown National Historic Site which led to the publication of his new book Smoke Over Steamtown. Join us as we talk to Dennis about his lifelong love of railroads, his career in photography, his book, and more today on The Trackside Photographer.

Edd Fuller, Editor

 Post subject: Re: Smoke Over Steamtown
PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:40 am 

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:31 am
Posts: 561
Nice article. That book is on my Christmas list.

About three or four years ago, I bought tickets for the Moscow excursion, on what I though would be a good day for fall foliage - the date was something like the 28th of October. It was a crisp fall day when we boarded in Scranton, a little chill in the air but my wool jacket more than made up for it.

With a blast of the whistle, CN 3254 started out, slowly picking up speed. The climb out of the valley treated us to some of the last beautiful views of fall, with the reds and yellows and oranges occasionally merging into an almost-blur as we clicked along.

As our elevation gradually changed, a little bit of condensation appeared on the window panes of our coach. Not long after, I spotted a single snow flake, hanging for a thought in mid-air alongside my window, and then disappearing in a whirl. And soon and second, and a third, and now it was really coming down, a uniform of white slowly and surely obscuring autumn's palette.

There was a real feeling of excitement building now, with more than a few smiles exchanged as 3254's whistle cracked in a sharp bellow, cutting like a knife through the near-freezing air outside. The cars swayed in a gentle rhythm as the smoke from the stack rolled by and enveloped the car, the joints in the rails clicking against the wheels below, and the bulbs winking at us in a slight flicker behind the milk glass above. A little wheel slip from the snow-slicked rails was handled by an unseen though skilled hand in the cab ahead, the tension on the couplers going slack for a second, and resuming with a gentle tug.

We slowed to a stop entering Moscow Station, the ground blanketed completely in white, save for an errant blade of grass poking through like a cowlick revealing a sliver of ground below. The wet snow clung thick to branches and power lines, and stuck to the sides of a passing crewman's soles.

Politely waiting my turn to disembark from the car with short steps and gentle nods, the view that greeted me as I traveled to the head of the consist was magical; nearly shrouded in a fog, accentuated by the frigid air, 3254 let loose a blast. The hot steam, thick as white cotton, transformed into a flurry of tiny ice crystals, only to be whisked away by a cold breeze before hitting the snow covered ground.

Every inch of that Canadian beast seemed to emanate it's own shadowy ghost of vapor, eerily rising up and eventually finding a dance partner with the wind. The heat of the boiler penetrated my wool jacket as I stood even with the rear-most driver, warming me for an instant, but the icy breeze quickly stole it back and reminded me it was time for a hot coffee.

Lots of gloved hands any rosy cheeks exchanged dollars and hot dogs as travelers descended on the concession stand. I shook the snow from my hat. A quick duck inside to see the O-gauge loop of track on display and browse for souvenirs served as a break from the cold, paid for with a little bit of a runny nose from sinuses unable to keep up with the temperature change. It ends all too quickly.

Most everyone finds their way back to the coach they came on, one or two stragglers ask for help. We all settle in for the long descent back to the valley's floor. Now begins the process of random wipes at the window fog, only to see it instantly return, as the interior of the car becomes warm again with spent breath and human habitation.

Soon we would be back in Scranton, fumbling for keys in deep wool pockets, shivering for a minute in our cars; all have gone cold from being idle. The radio can be quiet for right now. A look back toward the engine as we pull out says thank you, silently as the falling snow, for a warm and safe ride.

[Sorry for the indulgence]

Last edited by 6-18003 on Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

 Post subject: Re: Smoke Over Steamtown
PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:20 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:57 pm
Posts: 174
Location: Eastampton, NJ
With an excellent post like that, you should be writing a book of your own. I hope you do.


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