Thu 10-12 Been in the cab?

Discussion in 'The Caboose' started by MasonJar, Oct 12, 2006.

  1. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I have never had a real "cab ride", although I have been in the cab of a Shay while it was being fired. No coal though - runs on what looks like sludge...! (Actually bunker oil.) The only other cabs I have visited have been on stationary, non-operating museum locos...

    Tell us about your cab rides... :thumb:

  2. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Thanks to the North Carolina Transportation Museum (and a small donation) my son and I got a cab ride in their restored Southern GP30 on a thirty minute trip...and at the end, they let him blow the horn as we stopped at the station. I'm guessin' he will never forget that experience.

    Attached Files:

  3. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    I got to ride the cab of a 2-8-0 that was on display at the local passenger station ("local" being San Luis in Mexico) in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Mexico City-Laredo line. I got to ride it from the station siding all the way to the engine shops, about a 1/4 mile ride over what seemed like a hundred turnouts...What a ride...!!!
  4. lionelfan

    lionelfan Member

    Not a cab ride, however, my daughter and I got to go into the cab of the Cuyahoga Valley Line steam train the 4070 x-GTW after a run from Peninsula OH to Akron OH. The look on her face when the fireman opened the firebox door was priceless. A friend of mine was on the crew that day so he invited us up for a look. That was about 1987-1988 era.
  5. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I've onluy been in cabs of permanently parked locomotives at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay and at the Depot Museum in Duluth. Still fun though. It would be GREAT to take a ride!!!!!
  6. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    I would strongly advise anyone who is thinking about replying to this thread to ask if telling their story is really necessary. Unless your ride or visit was at a museum you probably didn't really have permission to be there. A conductor or engineer on any freight train doesn't have the authority to allow you onboard. Railroad management can and do watch railfan message boards for just this type of information. I'm sure The Gauge is no different. Even if you don't give the specific date or crew just listing a location can open a whole can of trouble for a crew base. Not only that but your experience has set a precedent that other railfans will try to follow; other railfans, in the process of asking for a favor, may alienate railroaders that would otherwise be friendly to railfans. Now, is five minutes of fame online really worth risking all this?

  7. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    Great Advice Brian

    So now let me tell you I was in the weeds of Kearny, NJ. Just after they retired GG-1s. I Love GG-1s. There were 10 of 'em. Not a dozen- just 10. I went through every freakin' one. I'd post a pic but it may prove my ignorance of the law.

    All I can tell you is that it was _)(&^9965&$68766443BMNB<>MKUblygl;mlij/!!!!! Plus when we iuAdbhkjthsknmjkvgblgmhbj .li. Even better.

    I deny having posted this post. I deny having had the time of my life- back about 20 years ago.

    Thanks to the management for correcting my typo.
  8. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    My father was one of the founding members of the Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad that runs out of Nelsonville, Ohio. For the first 3 or 4 years of it's existence, my father would go down almost every weekend to work on the railroad, usually dragging me or my older brother along. He often times fired and sometimes hostled the locomotive, which was a very heavy 2-8-0 built by Baldwin in 1916. The locomotive was previously owned by the LS&I (currently owned and being restored by the Ohio Central ( ). It was a big, ugly, rough riding brute of a locomotive, but the cab rides were always fun.

    I was about 10 years old or so when the railroad started, so I got a big kick out of sitting on the fireman's seat box, ringing the bell as we would exit / enter the station.
    train97 (sorry, that smiley was just too obvious...)

    It was a chaotic symphony of sounds - bell (sometimes with the air bell ringer psssup-psssop as background), whistle, automatic firedoor pssss - CLANKing open and closed (the stoker was rarely used), the rythmic PSSH PSSH PSSH PSSH of the steam exhausting from the cylinder cocks, rods clank-clonking heavily, injector being primed and opened, dynamo whirring, airpump foom-POOMing away and miscellaneous creaking, groaning and scraping sounds. Not a whole lot of stack talk as 6 coaches didn't do much to stress a former ore-hauling locomotive.

    The smells are still with me - coal smoke grease and fresh and oily steam are the most memorable.

    The view from the cab seat was very cool, whether sighting through the door to the walk along the boiler, or leaning out a little ways to watch the rods circling - reciprocating around, with the eccentric crank and rod doing that curious little off-beat dance. I knew what the eccentric did in the big picture, but hadn't quite figured out why it moved the way it did at that age. I can still picture a lot of the backhead, and probably by the time I was 12 could name what many of the parts / appliances were or did, but unfortunately never got to operate anything but the bell and the automatic fire door opener. Dad was always doing something interesting, whether simply shoveling coal (Fire the bright spots, Matt!), leaning out the cab window to determine when the injector was primed, working the stoker valves on the rare times that it was used. They used the feedwater heater off and on, but to this day, I couldn't tell you what knobs operated that hunk of hardware. I'll have to ask him.:)

    Wow, this is fun - I could go on and on remembering stuff I didn't realize I still had up there. Never mind all the places around, between and inside of that locomotive I've been while "helping" with maintenance. Want to get dirty fast, help clean out the smokebox! Want to potentially suffer from lung cancer caused by asbestos? Mix and apply asbestos "mud" to the cylinders (used under the cylinder jacket for insulation).

    No wonder I like steam! Thanks for indulging me guys, sorry for the long post! :oops:
  9. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    One more steam cab story. In 1976, the Freedom train came through Columbus, pulled by Reading 4-8-4 2101. Another of the founders of the Hocking Valley named Jerry Ballard got called out to do some firebox repairs on that locomotive - he invited dad, and dad invited me to go along. Jerry apparently was / is known for his skill renewing rivet heads with an air-hammer. The repairs had to take place inside the firebox (the locomotive was cold, before any one asks ;) ). I'm assuming one of the staybolts must have been leaking.

    Anyway, the one thing that really stands out in my memory is how freaking HUGE that firebox was! I'd been in 33's firebox several times, and for a kid, that was really big. Well 2101's firebox in comparison was on another order of magnitude big. Three or four guys working at the same time big (well, three supervising, one working). And that's all I remember about that. I didn't see alot more due to it being dark and trying to stay out of the way of what had to be very important people, me being a kid and them being Big-Steam guys from the Freedom Train. I was awestruck, frankly. :thumb:
  10. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Fluesheet: Many thanks for your rememberences. It's great being a kid. Too bad we have to grow up. Jim K.
  11. n2trains

    n2trains Member

    I was in a yard when I was 13ish, it was thanksgiving weekend. Nobody was around but one guy who was working the yard (didn't seem to have too much to do). There was a lashup of a GP38? Santa Fe (old school Blue and yellow paint) and a "newer" BN SD40. My dad yelled out to the guy asking what type of locos they were since I was too shy (just like my friend who was the same age) and the guy replied with "SD40" and asked if we'd ever been up on one. Next thing I know, I'm up on it driving it up and down a stretch of track about 75-100 yards long. My dad went back to the car to get his camera and came back to the schock of his life: his son operating a pair of diesel locomotives up and down the stretch of track. Talk about a surprised look on his face (hehehe). Wow, these stories.

    The next one was a Dash 9, the "executive" paint scheme. I was wandering around the yard (within safe reason of course, though I was only 15ish at the time), and a guy (in the same yard as the previous occasion) asked if I'd ever been up on a locomotive before. I, of course, replied that I had been (but not telling him it was in the same yard, I gave him some bologna story about conrail and the east coast hehe), and he asked if I had ever been up on a dash 9. Of course I said no and jumped at the opportunity of a lifetime. I was quite enthralled by the computers and equipment inside, so much so that he asked if I knew the front was filled with sand and I seemed surprised. Talk about being in shock! I mean, I was 15 and I was up on a locomotive that (if I were to live out my 3rd in line dream) I could operate one day... wow.

    The 3rd one was when I was about 16 as well. I was driving around the yard (actually my mother was driving-love her, she took me all over to railfan since I didn't get my license till I was 18), and we saw some BRAND NEW SD70Ms in the yard. About 8-9 of them. Oh wow, they looked pretty darned snazzy in the BRIGHT yellow and grey paint scheme (if grey can be bright, this was it). Got to go up with my best friend, Andrew (who also operated the SD-40 in the first story with me, and of whom I have built 2ish layouts with-long story). Either way, it was an extremely pleasurable time, I haven't had that much fun in a train yard for a while. Now that I'm 21 and in So Cal, I need to find a yard (think the largest that is pretty close is Barstow which isn't too viable an option for me considering I'm in school and playing football/baseball and somehow have time to hang out with girls (uh oh, they take time away from trains, better stay away, no? hehehe).

    Well, glad to share the stories of a "weathered" railfanner. Lemme tell you, washington is a pain to railfan, with the rain and all. Hope you enjoyed the stories :)
  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Thanks for the cautionary note. I still think there are lots of "legitimate" stories around. An example here in Ottawa is that the Ottawa Central offers a cab ride as a fundraiser every year. Certainly legal and sanctioned by management! ;) :D

  13. n2trains

    n2trains Member

    I wish I could make it out there (only about 2500 miles away) to participate. Though I have been on some in Washington and even in Portland, Oregon (their little "scenic" railway that goes along the columbia river and passes the UP/BNSF mainlines there). Got to toot the whistle too (YEAH!?!? hehe)
  14. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member


    Camera: Kodak 110 Instamatic fixed lens. ("Borrowed" without permission from parents.)
    Location: Kearny, NJ
    Date: Unknown
    Temperature: Toes frozen and curled in "Chucks" (Chuck Taylor All Star Converse- sneakers of the pros)
    Photographer: Beat me and I'll tell ya.
  15. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    You all mock me but I showed this thread to over a dozen railroaders and every one said it should've been pulled by the mods already. Had I not posted what I did I can guarantee you that someone would've said "Oh, last weekend conductor Jim on the Buttwrench Central let me in the cab while they waited for..." I've moderated enough forums to know the nature of online railfans.
  16. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Brian your concern regarding unauthorized rides that might lead to trouble for crews is duly noted but you'll notice that all of the posts are about museum trains, or else experiences from several years ago. I welcome more of the same. It doesn't seem like the Gauge membership or moderators are attempting to encourage inappropriate behavior on the rails. I'll reiterate the advice however: Rail fans, don't cause trouble for your local railroader!
    PS. I seem to recall an ad for a place that actually lets fans run an F unit for a short time after some training...anyone know about that one?
  17. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    Brian- your point is...

    ...well taken. I would hope that all who reply use common sense. You're right.

    Any way, there was this time, back in '82, we hopped an empty box car in Gdlmi;t, NY. Man, that thing banged and bounced so much, I had a bad knee for a week. We never left the yard- just wanted to see what it was like. Flip/Flop- pick a wall you wanna bang into (it'll be the other one)- smile as it slams you in the face- wish you were dreaming and that this ain't the thing to be doing- onna Saturday morning, 2AM- because you thought a Friday night after being at the train club oughta be more exciting???!!!:D

    Well, yeah- beware the Grimaldi Brothers too! I never mentioned them before but, well, just beware!


    Oh- uhhmmmm disregard this post that I didn't make- Ralph covered it all.
  18. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    The Naugatuck Valley lets you drive(Run?) an FL-9 for a modest fee($125.00). Not a short way either, I hear its pretty long trip(Honey...Can't think of anything to get me for Christmas????)
  19. zedob

    zedob Member


    I want to say it is in thier RS3, but don't hold me to it. I have a friend who is one of the brakemen there and he told me which one it was when I went for the cab ride, but I forgot. We were hopping through all of the different locos in the yard when he mentioned it to me. I would think it would be one that can be run both ways without turning, or rubber necking for half of the trip. It is a nice trip through some pretty scenery.

    I can find out for sure, but if you look down at the scheduled dates for Engineer for the day, they are all sold out for 2006. Must be popular.
  20. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    As a brakeman I got to ride in locomotive cabs and as a fan of short lines I have rode in several short line locomotive cabs over the years and manage some throttle time in the yard.I been a invited guest in the cab of 765 for a look see,been in the cab of a N&W 4-8-0 #444 and a B&O 2-8-0 when I was a kid.
    I will also caution you that invited or not you are still trespassing..
    While visiting short lines its always best to sign a release and obtain a permit to be on the property.After all it takes but a few minutes and you will feel better for it.Also I have been given company ink pens,calenders and 3 coffee mugs over the years.:D

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