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 Post subject: The Summer of 1972 at Klamath- 50 Years Gone
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2022 5:32 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:23 am
Posts: 418
Location: Sheboygan County, Wisconsin
I had better get this out before the opportunity lapses.

Back in May of 1972, I got a call from the late Dan Ranger asking if I could please come up to Klamath in Del Norte County of CA and give him a couple of days a week running locomotive on the Klamath & Hoppow Valley RR. so that he could have some time off with his family. Dan had taken a leave of absence from the S.P. Western Division to help out Gus Peterson when his business partner Dick Childs, suddenly died.

I was 26, working shift work in a big boiler house at the Standard Oil Refinery in Richmond, CA at that time. This would mean no days off for me and having to fit this in around my changing weekly schedules. I jumped at it.

My experience with air was pretty limited then, but I was working around high pressure steam and felt comfortable with that end of the deal

Dan set up a weekend where I could get a student trip over the line before I actually took over. This was in late May. Dan was around and so was the late Jack Holst from Portland. Jack was the guy when it came to the Heisler so he gladly went over the former Pickering Lbr. Corp. 10 with me. She was the first successful 3T model and would be primary power on this line. The K&HV was only some 2 miles in length, but it made up for that with extremely sharp curves, 2 switchbacks and 8.6% grades.

My first trip running over the hill was a dream come true. All until we crested the top and I couldn't see the rail ahead for a few seconds. Pucker factor was a term that I came to learn really quickly.

This settled down to coming up each week on my days off, whether I had just gotten off of days, swing or graveyard shifts. When you are a kid, you can get away with this. My fireman was a young local lady named Sue Kellogg. She carried me for the first few weeks and overlooked a couple of minor gaffes. The conductor was Gus's niece. Joanie was quite young, but well up to the job.

I did this all summer up into early October when we ran a special for the R&LHS using the Heisler and also Alco 2-8-2T 17.

I'll try to add more as I recall it.

Last edited by tom moungovan on Sun Jul 24, 2022 6:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

 Post subject: Re: The Summer of 1972- 50 Years Gone
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2022 8:25 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:47 pm
Posts: 12
Great stuff, Tom. I always enjoy your stories. Keep them coming.

 Post subject: Re: The Summer of 1972- 50 Years Gone
PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2022 8:39 am 

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:23 am
Posts: 418
Location: Sheboygan County, Wisconsin
Thank you for the kind comments, Bill. I'm glad that you found this interesting.

A little more on the railroad like I promised. First, the normal train consisted of 3T Heisler 10 and a pair of ex-NWP wooden cabooses. This would just fit into the lower switchback with the coupler of the rear caboose nearly contacting the scraped-out hillside bank.

When 2-8-2T 17 was on the train, we would usually use the passenger flat and one caboose. This would fit ok.

Water was taken at a spot near the creek just North of the mill. There was also a garden hose for emergencies at the Pink Caboose out at the highway where tickets were sold and the public boarded the train.

As to Heisler 10, she was built in 1912 I think, as c/n 1252 and had 18 by 15 inch cylinders.

Her 85 ton sisters 1 and 5 at Pickering had 18 by 16 inch cylinders. The 10 spot had her boiler pressure bumped up from 180 lbs. to 200 lbs. for a few years early in her Pickering career so as to have her pulling power equal to her bigger sisters. This is confirmed by
company correspondence that I have. It was changed back to builders specs for the rest of her logging career.

The 10 had no superheat and ran on 40" drivers with 12 to 24 gearing. This gave her a t.e. of 30,000 lbs. She had 6ET air along with straight air which most Pickering engineman preferred to use. She still had this while at Klamath. I would have liked to learn to use it, but we had nothing behind us that matched. The 10 had a Westinghouse 8 1/2" cross-compound air compressor. The steam exhausted into the left cylinder exhaust. This kept things a lot quieter and also helped the fire a little when you were on the spot

The 10 spot was still used some by Pickering in 1956 and 1957 even with the arrival of a pair of EMD 900 horse diesels which pretty much took over the lower end of the railroad where Heisler locomotives spent most of their miles. Nonetheless, she showed up in company records and at least one photograph crossing atop the newly constructed Beardsley Dam in 1957, the only Heisler known to have done so.

To put things in perspective, for the 1955 season, the 10 spot ran 10,188 miles. This was right before the onset of the first two diesels. She consumed 149,090 gallons of fuel that year.

While at Klamath, we put fuel oil in her when we could afford it. At other times, it was reclaimed motor oil which had a lower BTU, but we got by with that ok. Sue never had any trouble keeping her at or near 180 lbs.

 Post subject: Re: The Summer of 1972 at Klamath- 50 Years Gone
PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2022 5:31 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 1096
Location: Byers, Colorado
Keep 'em coming, Tom. We don't know how lucky we were to have actually gotten our hands on those engines when we were young. It almost makes up for not being young anymore.

Ask not what your locomotive can do for you,
Ask what you can do for your locomotive,

Sammy King

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