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Hi from Illinois! Getting started!


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Old 01-10-2011, 11:13:01 PM
SteamachinesLD SteamachinesLD is offline
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Default Hi from Illinois! Getting started!

Hi to all the fellow machinery enthusiasts! I'm 14 and new to the Smoktack. I joined the Northern Illinois Steam Power Club in April, 2010 and have had alot of fun since! Since April, I have been part of a team, what we call green team, which is a group of 12-15 year olds and we are in the process of restoring a (1949??) John Deere LI. I have also learned to drive the clubs LA that was previously restored by green team.
I also acquired a New Idea corn sheller, which I am in the process of restoring! It came from La Moile, Illinois with two terrifyingly old electric motors that I am wanting to get rid of. I have also become the fireman for our clubs 1916 Illinois Thresher Co. steam tractor (one of only six known left in existence!)
I am searching and saving for a Hit and Miss engine to power the sheller, and an industrial steam whistle to blow on the clubs big boiler.
Ive been waiting for April so I can get back out there again. Its been a very long winter!

Liam
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Old 01-11-2011, 09:08:26 AM
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Paul Spence Paul Spence is offline
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Default Re: Hi from Illinois! Getting started!

Liam: Welcome to SMOKSTAK. Don't let go of your excitement for old iron. Be carefull, it could last a life time as there is no known cure .
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:06:36 AM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Exclamation Re: Hi from Illinois! Getting started!

Welcome, Liam, both to the hobby and the Stak! We look forward to hearing about your restoration efforts
Andrew
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:24:38 AM
Farmer John Farmer John is offline
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Default Re: Hi from Illinois! Getting started!

Welcome to a great hobby.. this is a excellent site the best there is so enjoy....john
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Old 01-11-2011, 11:42:03 AM
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FWurth FWurth is offline
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Default Re: Hi from Illinois! Getting started!

Welcome Liam!
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Old 01-11-2011, 07:41:55 PM
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OTTO-Sawyer OTTO-Sawyer is offline
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Default Re: Hi from Illinois! Getting started!

Welcome aboard.

Steam.... Tractors..... engines.... corn shellers (& maybe other equipment) !

Sounds like a well rounded beginning. All that's missing is antique cars & trucks.

Bought my 37 Ford truck at the age of 14 (a year & a half before I had a drivers license), and have been around everything else well before that even if I didn't own it myself yet.... Only thing missing for me is the large steam end of it, but I do have some smaller steam toys to play with and do occasionally get to run the Heisler in Freeport IL.

You're in a good club there ! Glad to see they put you to work on the Illinois. I was learning on a 65 Case myself until I got big enough that Dad decided it was time to put me to work on the Sawmill, and I've been there ever since.

You and others your age are the future of our hobby, and it's good to see another one with such a wide interest.
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Old 01-11-2011, 09:48:11 PM
SteamachinesLD SteamachinesLD is offline
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Default Re: Hi from Illinois! Getting started!

To: Otto-sawyer...I always wondered if it was quite a step up from a steam tractor to a locomotive. Is it much different than running a steam tractor, or is it more complex? Thank you for the positive comments!


Thank you, also, to everyone else and the warm welcome!

Liam
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:06:54 PM
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OTTO-Sawyer OTTO-Sawyer is offline
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Default Re: Hi from Illinois! Getting started!

I'm sure every traction engine is different, and every locomotive is different, some maybe more difficult to handle than others.

It's been 35 years or so since I was on a traction engine the last time, but at that time I was learning to fire it, run the injector, run the engine and steer it through the parade, etc.... Never plowed with it or tried to line it up in a belt. Once I got put to work on the sawmill, my 'play time' was over, as by the time the sawmill shuts down, everything else is down for the day too.

The Heisler, I've fired a few time several years ago, but we have one guy that comes over from Geneva that does pretty much all of the firing now, and several of us take turns playing throttle jockey.

Throttle lever is quite a bit bigger and takes a little more effort to pull into, and you need to ease into it to avoid spinning the wheels, then listen to it and vary the throttle to match the grade as there is No Governor on it. About 1/2 the run we're coasting with the throttle pretty much shut down all the way, then slowly ease into it again as the grade changes.

Reversing lever is also 3-4 times as long as what's on a traction engine, and it too takes some effort to move.

Don't have to worry about steering, but you do need to watch the track and make sure no one's too close to it, or that no-ones out on it with one of the section cars checking ties. Conductor in the Caboose watches while we're backing up, as when you're going around a curve, the engineer can't see the end of the train.

On the Heisler, we don't run the air brakes as the air pump sucks quite a bit of steam when it's pumping, so we just run it slow and easy at a 7-10 MHP pace, letting off the throttle before cresting a hill, coasting into the next rise and easing into the throttle again. We have just enough high & low spots that it's always worked out well that way with no need for the brakes. Slight uphill grade pulling into the deopt, but still need to shut down the throttle well before topping the previous crest, then ease into it coming up the last hill,& then slowly drop the throttle lower & lower creaping up to the stop point at the loading docks. It gets 'over-shot' quite often requiring the train to be backed up a couple feet, sometimes jocking back & forth a few times depending on who's running it. One guy that comes in for "Throttle Time" every time we're open misses just about every time. I haven't decided for sure yet if I'm that good, or just that lucky, but I hit it right on the spot the first time I tried, and every time since then right up until the last run I made where I had to back it up 3 inches to get the one loading ramp to drop in the gate. We run 3 flat cars and 1 caboose all of which have steps leading up to them for loading, and one of the platforms doesn't leave much room for error. We've had a couple cases where the engineer comes in too fast and ends up scrambling for the reversing lever while it's still rolling forward, but we don't like to do that, as with a gear driven locomotive with lots of play in the drive shafts, couplings, and gears, it can get things out of time a little bit between the front and rear trucks... then it makes a lot of loud obnoxious noises as it tries to settle back in again on the next run.

Kind of like running a steamer doing belt work... the engineer needs to be paying attention at all times and shut the throttle down when needed.
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Old 01-13-2011, 12:32:37 AM
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Default Re: Hi from Illinois! Getting started!

Welcome to the smokstak!
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