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 Post subject: The Summer of 1972- The day we smacked Gus
PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2022 9:29 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:23 am
Posts: 419
Location: Sheboygan County, Wisconsin
I had mentioned that there was an incident involving Heisler 10 and the diesel crane.

This occurred in August, I believe. I usually came up with company, almost always another member of the Pacific Locomotive Assn., a Bay Area group.

I was with a young guy name Randy, who had not been on steam much at all but he was interested. We got up really early this particular morning and put a fire in the 10. She had her usual 30 or so lbs. of steam remaining from the previous day. I was in no hurry as we had gotten such an early start and was busy under the engine greasing the big end of the crank.

Gus comes by and I could tell he was a man with a mission. He wanted me to follow him right out of the shed so that I would not get in the way of his return trip with logs.

I told him that we only had about 40 some lbs., but he countered right away that I "could just stop her with the Johnson bar". I'd heard of this being done, but had never tried it myself. We went round and round, but he was the boss and I reluctantly agreed. I picked up the fire some more and had Randy sit there and watch it. I went around and opened the drains on the valves and cylinders plus the one on the exhaust line under the saddle.

Gus was waving at me impatiently so I told Randy we'd give it a try. I waved back at Gus and coaxed the 10 to moving. No air yet and now pushing maybe 45-50 lbs. It was level out of the house so we were in good shape. Then there was a square corner that you had to always work steam through and that held us up well. I shut off and let us drift. At first, this was ok, but I noticed that the clicks over the joints were coming closer and closer together.

The reverse lever was horsed over for backing now and I thought I'd better not wait and should give this a try.

All I heard was this weak sounding ffft-ffft-ffft sound which wasn't slowing our progress at all. I opened the throttle plenty this time, but there was hardly any difference. Not enough pressure on the piston faces yet to do much good.

We were gaining on Gus and I told Randy we were gonna hit him. I tried the whistle and it was pretty pathetic. We caught up to him in no time and smacked him good. I knocked Gus right off of his seat and we stopped. It was really quiet now and I wondered if I'd still have a job. The sight of Gus's fist waving at me out the window didn't help. I threw a chain under the drivers and watched Gus head down to the landing. After about 20 minutes, we had enough steam to start the compressor and I moved the 10 out just past the switch to the landing so he could get by us. I never saw him again that day until after we quit. That old character snuck up behind me and whispered in my ear "Tom, if you're gonna kill the old man, I wish you'd be more subtle about it."

There were no hard feelings and I never tried that again.

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