Sunday, September 9, 2012

Boys and Their Toys

Some people have serious hobbies. There is a club here in Baltimore that has some VERY serious toys. The club is called the Chesapeake and Allegheny Live Steamers.

I do not mean to be sexist in saying "boys" but I have never once seen a woman participating. It is generally retired men that participate in this hobby.  Sometimes a wife will be out showing some support to her husband. There is no shortage of moms riding however. Entire families bring a picnic lunch and enjoy themselves in the park.

There are three gauges of steam trains here. This is 1" scale. That means for every inch of model, you have one foot in real life. 1" is the medium scale. The locomotives can handle one adult and maybe a kid. There is also a 3/4" scale that is so small no riders can get on.

This is the 1 1/2" scale which is most common at the club. That is real live steam power you see. Coal burns to produce steam which drives the pistons. This locomotive was pulling about 12 kids and their parents. The really big locomotive was just being fired up as we were leaving. It can handle twice the load of this one.

There are also some diesel electric locomotives. They pull about 10 cars. The No 5 behind the diesel electric is a little 0-4-2 saddle tank switch engine. It had an impressive 12 adults and 2 kids on it one time it was going around the loop.

All the major railroads of the region are represented here. From what I was told, this is a copy of a B&O train that used to make a run from Baltimore to New York every day.

It is kind of hard not to enjoy taking a ride around the 3 mile loop. It is kind of hard to not enjoy it when it is free. Yep, free. The trains run every second Sunday April through October. Sometimes if the weather is good, they will push into November. There is a donation box. Most people are very generous as to what they put through the slot.


Someday'59 said...

Wow. I've never heard of this. (Brian has.) So interesting. I learn something every day!

Sugarfoot said...

One of my favorite places as a child in south Florida was a park where a man set up his hobby railroad like that every winter and gave kids rides. Also for free so Dad couldn't say NO.

Every kid should be so lucky, even us big ones.

Brad Norgaard said...

There is a park in Scottsdale where the kids, young and somewhat older, can ride in these wondrous toys. Thanks for reminding me we need to get the grandson out there.

Anonymous said...

Great post and pictures. I was amazed by the detail on the models and that the steam engines worked exactly like the real thing. This is a jewel of a park.