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Cheater takes a new job


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#1 Cheater

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 09:42 AM

Since I quit punching a time clock in late 2012, I've mostly worked from home and in recent months, I realized that I was probably sitting around a bit too much for an old geezer like me. So I started looking for a part-time gig, not so much for the money, but just to get out of the house and away from the computer.
 
srm.patch.4.jpg

The main criteria was that I didn't want to have a long commute in the miserable Atlanta traffic to wherever the job was located. When I saw that the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, GA, was looking to hire a ticket taker for their gatehouse, I figured it would be a perfect place for me. It's just five miles up the road and has short hours – 10 AM to 5 PM. It is also only open limited days, depending on the season. In January and February, the musem is open Thursday through Saturday. In June and July, it's open Tuesday through Saturday. Except for special events (and there are a few of those), I'll probably only be working one or two days a week.
 
srm1.jpg

SRM has been around 50 years and is officially "Georgia's Transportation Museum" by act of the state legislature. There are over 90 pieces of rolling stock on the 35-acre property, which includes a minature amusement park train ride, as well as a short full-size train ride. President Warren Harding's private Pullman railcar, Superb, (shown below) is treasured part of the collection and as with much of the rolling stock, visitors are permitted to walk through it. There's an excellent model train layout, a MARTA bus collection, and much more. The museum is alongside the Atlanta-Washington CSX mainline which sees a lot of trains every day. The museum's driveway, which is the only access, crosses the mainline and its adjacent siding, and it is not uncommon for it to be blocked for up to an hour, trapping everyone on the museum property.
 
srm3.jpg
 
The vast majority of people working at the museum are volunteers, but there's a small paid staff who are responsible for handling money and for opening and closing the museum. The latter duty is no small task, as it takes perhaps 40 mins for one person to accomplish. There are something like 70 electrical breakers in multiple locations that have to be flipped on just to power up the place!
 
srm2.jpg
 
The best part is that perhaps 25-30% of the museum's visitors are pre-teen children and their excitment is a joy to see. We also receive visitors from all over the world.
 
A couple of weeks ago, we had a young couple from Kazakhstan ("You don't have a zip code? Why not?") with their six or seven-year-old son. After a couple of hours, when this family was headed toward the parking lot, the boy was loudly wailing and throwing a fit. The two of us at the gatehouse were wondering if the child had gotten hurt. The young mother saw the concern in our eyes and smilingly told us, "He just doesn't want to leave."


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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap





#2 sportblazer350

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 10:09 AM

Greg, good for you. I know how you feel. I am only retired for six months, so I am "finding my way" into retirement. Right now, I do not want to work for anyone, just do my own thing, for the time being. We'll see what the future brings.

 

For you, this new job seems to be greatly rewarding. Enjoy!!


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#3 SpeedyNH

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 10:22 AM

Wow, that's great.


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#4 eshorer

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 10:23 AM

Retirement comes in many flavors: I have a friend who was "tired of consuming politics and chocolate" and went back to work after six months. 

 

Enjoy the new gig!

 

Eddie


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#5 Greg VanPeenen

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 10:31 AM

Way to go Greg, That looks like a wonderful gig for you. 


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#6 Paul5097

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 10:37 AM

Sounds great, Greg! Enjoy it.


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#7 Brian Czeiner

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 10:40 AM

Congratulations. I visited the museum some years ago. I had a passing interest in trains but came away with a far more appreciation for them and the role they played in our country.


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#8 Half Fast

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 10:51 AM

A young man's fancy turns to: sex, drugs and rock and roll.

 

An old man's fancy turns to toy cars and old trains.

 

Works for me! :)

 

Cheers,


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#9 Cheater

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 10:54 AM

Of course, I've always had an interest in trains, just not a very active one.

I tell people I majored in old cars and minored in trains.


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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#10 Rotorranch

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 11:32 AM

Awesome gig, Greg!

 

Sean and I got a cab ride in the 44-tonner one day. Then I had to buy a new HO scale 44-tonner for the layout.

 

Looking forward to going back soon.

 

Rotor


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#11 Steve Okeefe

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 11:34 AM

Congratulations, Greg.    :clapping:   Sounds like your new job suits you perfectly!
 
I retired about six weeks ago, so I'm not yet at the point where I've decided which way I want to go. At the moment I'm just quietly happy to have choices! :good:
 
I, too, "minored" in trains, but I was the one who wanted to learn all the technical details involved in the design and construction of those magnificent steam locomotives. There were a few still in use when I was a small boy, but because of where I lived the railroads (four of them) were either all electrified or diesel, I never got to see any steam locomotives in commercial use. I've always felt a little cheated by that.
 
I'm curious about the steam loco (number 750) in your photo. I cannot see the trailing truck so can't tell if it's 2 or 4 wheel. Because it doesn't look like any Hudson (4-6-4) I've ever seen, I'm almost certain it's a Pacific (4-6-2). Those "smaller" drivers suggest it could have been intended for freight service.
 
Anyway, congratulations again and have fun!  :D
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#12 Dave Crevie

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 11:37 AM

Nice shot of the business car, but of interest to me is the Heisler in the background.

 

Isn't the 750 one of the locos the Southern used in fantrip service? Any chance at all of ever seeing any steam back in operation? There is a slight chance that I might be moving to Marietta. I am no longer able to do the physical work, but I would be happy to supervise the restoration of one, gratis.

 

The best job I ever had was working for the National Railroad Museum near Green Bay, WI. I loved working on those old engines and got a particular thrill in seeing them under steam again. It led to me taking jobs restoring other locos all around the midwest.

 

You have a great job there, enjoy it to the max. Maybe they'll let you run a train from time to time. There's no greater feeling of power than that.

 

By the way, for those living in the midwest, and along the UP/CNW west line between Chicago and Cheyanne, WY, The U.P 4014 4-8-8-4 Big Boy will be coming in. This is the largest locomotive to travel east of the Missisippi, except for the 1949 Chicago Railroad Fair, when one was displayed by The Union Pacific Railroad. It is a magnificent beast, and seeing it in operation is pure railfan nirvana. I can post a schedule if anyone is interested.   


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#13 Dave Crevie

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 11:42 AM

Steve,

 

It is an Alco 4-6-2 Pacific, originally Savannah & Atlanta. 



#14 Cheater

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 11:44 AM

Yep, Savannah & Atlanta 750 is a light Pacific 4-6-2.
 
For a short time in the late '80s, the state-sponsored New Georgia Railroad tourist operation used 750 for their steam loco, so I have ridden behind 750 in steam. Here's a better image of her during her time on the NGRR.

 

sa750.jpg

More about Savannah & Atlanta Railway HERE.


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Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#15 Cheater

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 11:52 AM

Isn't the 750 one of the locos the Southern used in fantrip service? Any chance at all of ever seeing any steam back in operation?


Yes, the Southern did lease 750 for a time for that purpose. I haven't asked at the museum about the possibility of 750 back in steam, but dim memory recalls hearing it would need a new boiler which means almost certainly not.
 

It is an Alco 4-6-2 Pacific, originally Savannah & Atlanta.


The loco was actually built for Florida East Coast in 1910 and was sold to Savannah & Atlanta in 1935, I think. It had been used on FEC's Key West extension and was surplus after the 1935 hurricane destroyed that route.

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#16 Dave Crevie

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 12:08 PM

Thanks for the info, I did not know about the FEC connection.

When you say it needs a "new boiler," does that mean that the shell is no good? If it just needs tubes and sheets, no biggie. Done it lots of times.

But being stationary for so long it will almost certainly need brasses, meaning the drivers have to be dropped out. Done that, too.

Personally, I would rather see the Heisler back in operation. And for a railroad museum, that would make the most sense. It would be far cheaper to operate. Plus I have never done one.

#17 Cheater

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 12:26 PM

Dave,

I really don't know and will ask at the museum when I get a chance. My vague impression is that the boiler shell is too thin in places.

SRM is more of a static operation than an operating museum. The full-size train ride, sometimes referred to as the 'demonstration train,' runs a fairly short distance on the property on two somewhat parallel sections connnected near the ends with switches. It's like a 12-minute ride start to finish.

I don't think operating steam of any kind is on the radar. No place to build anything on the property and CSX would probably never allow regular use of the mainline to access other rails. Then there's the financial side of the coin...


Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#18 Steve Okeefe

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 12:28 PM

Thanks for the input, guys.
 
The "taller" smokestack and round-topped steam and sand domes suggested a "smaller" diameter boiler, which (along with the apparent absence of a superheater) in turn suggested an earlier construction date (like 1910).
 
By the way, for anyone listening in but not familiar with steam locomotives, a Heisler locomotive looks something like this:
 
RCBT_Tuolumne.jpg
 
They weren't very fast, but could pull surprisingly well even over rough, lightweight track. They were use primarily for logging and mining.
 
Heislers generally burned wood for fuel, so getting a steady supply might be a problem. Maybe it could be converted to burn oil?
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#19 Pappy

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 12:49 PM

Maybe they'll let you run a train from time to time.


I'd be surprised if they even let him blow the whistle.  :shok:  :laugh2:

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#20 Cheater

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 12:52 PM

Blow the horn, Butch. Diesels have horns, steamers have whistles. LOL...

And, no, they probably won't.

Gregory Wells

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#21 Gene/ZR1

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 12:53 PM

I worked for the same engineering firm for 48 years. Still get up everyday at 5:30 AM. 
 
The day I retired I drove home and sat down in the La-Z-Boy and wondered how long will it take to adjust. It actually took about six minutes and I never looked back. Now I keep busy every day doing what I want to do unless I'm instructed otherwise.  :laugh2:
 
Everyday is a gift and my goal is to live forever, so far, so good. :dirol:


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#22 TallyBernie

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 12:56 PM

Congratulations on your partial unretirement! I know you love trains, so I expect this will be a great fit for you.


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#23 MattD

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 01:02 PM

Great job! I retired in 1999 and have had three part-time jobs since then.   

It's good to get out a couple days a week and do something that is rewarding and gives you value.
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#24 Jairus

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 01:19 PM

Keep up a good head of steam and don't let the sheet get too hot! :heat:

 

Edit: the correct expression is "Don't expose the top sheet".
 


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#25 Dave Crevie

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 02:05 PM

Lots of logging engines were converted to oil. The hot cinders from wood and coal tended to start forest fires. Basically no cinders from oil.

 

Illinois Railway Museum runs a point-to-point layout, and steam trains share the trackage with the electrics. I don't remember just how long it is. Probably about 20 minutes if they forgo the long speech at the far end.

 

The National Railroad Museum in Green Bay ran a loop, originally just under five miles, but it kept getting shorter and shorter as the museum sold off land. When I worked there it was about a mile and a half, but when they stopped running steam trains it was down to about a mile. Trouble with the FRA put an end to steam operation, and the museum cut the guts out of all the locos to sell as scrap when the feds cut the budget in half. (NRM is a National Park, and while working there I was a Federal employee.)


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