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Steam & Excursion > Like It Or Not, It Is Clearly The Smoke That Makes This Shot!


Date: 11/22/20 03:21
Like It Or Not, It Is Clearly The Smoke That Makes This Shot!
Author: LoggerHogger

Having run many steam charters that are attended by very skilled and experienced photographers, I know first hand what it takes to make a good run-by.  Many times we return from one of these trips and post some of the results only to have someone criticize the smoke-filled run-by as not being "authentic".  To that claim I must take strong exception. This photo is living proof of the history of even mainline railroads providing drama when putting on a show for the photographers.

Many might claim it was Lucius Beebe who first coaxed the crews of the steam trains he was photographing to "pour on the smoke" as they passed his camera.  If you have ever seen any of the Beebe & Clegg books you can see that they were quite successful in getting these active crew members to "crowd the fire" a bit as they roared past the pair.

By 1958 when this photo was taken by a young Gordon Glattenberg, near Verdi, California, the Southern Pacific has already had several years of running excursions for railfans trying to get a last taste of steam on the "Friendly SP".  In each of those other excursions the crews had gladly put on smoke filled run-bys for the railfans with no complaint from management.  Here, on October 19, 1958, with GS-6 #4460 returning from Sparks for the very last use of steam on the SP mainline, her crew was more than happy to create a spectacle that impressed not only the fans lucky enough to be trackside that day, but also those of us who can view the photographic result today.

Yes, smoke filled run-bys on charter trips will still continue today because, in many respects, they actually do have a historical precedent during the days of steam.

Martin



Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 11/22/20 06:15 by LoggerHogger.




Date: 11/22/20 04:27
Re: Like It Or Not, It Is Clearly The Smoke That Makes This Shot!
Author: Keystone1

HotWater.......Martin is correct.    I understand completely about good firing practices....and only a slight gray at the stack....but "smoke does make the shot".    ""A wedge of pie against the sky", as Beebe often called it....referring to smoke as the "burning of Rome".     Smoke is wasted fuel, clogs the flues and makes complaints from trackside residence.   All true.    But, it is spectacular and makes dramatic magazine covers.  I recall many a mile in an open door baggage car behind a Reading T-1 with the floor COVERED in cinders.



Date: 11/22/20 06:10
Re: Like It Or Not, It Is Clearly The Smoke That Makes This Shot!
Author: jkh2cpu

That photo stop was at Verdi, NV.  We got a helper diesel set at Truckee for the pull to the top.  We were told that 'yeah, maybe 4460 could take us unassisted, but one slip and she'd likely stall on the road.' 

John.



Date: 11/22/20 07:29
Re: Like It Or Not, It Is Clearly The Smoke That Makes This Shot!
Author: wcamp1472

How many cars in the train, how steep is the grade, how long is the slope of the hill?

Just curious 

W.



Date: 11/22/20 08:33
Re: 1-27
Author: timz

Train 27 was due out of Reno at 0715

1958-09-28SPSacramento196-SheldonPerry.pdf (wx4.org)

wonder how late it was, to allow the excursion
to run as First 27.

Ruling grade west of Truckee is 1.8% anyway,
maybe 1.9%. Probably doesn't average 2% actual
for any mile.



Date: 11/22/20 09:42
Re: Like It Or Not, It Is Clearly The Smoke That Makes This Shot!
Author: jkh2cpu

As I recall, we had 18 cars behind the tender.  Rolling back to Oakland from Sacramento, we did one strech of 27 miles in 22 minutes...  70 MPH, I believe.

John.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/22/20 10:33 by jkh2cpu.



Date: 11/22/20 09:53
Re: 1-27
Author: asheldrake

I would add that in todays world, steam charter operators should be aware and reminded that their actions could generate negative public reactions.   Most history organizations are dependent on revenue streams from that same public and in some cases the same public that owns the locomotive..   Some history needs to be remembered and left to history and not recreated.  

but GREAT photo.     Arlen



Date: 11/22/20 10:04
Re: 1-27
Author: Keystone1

H dear......you must be a school teacher or a policeman.



Date: 11/22/20 10:44
Re: 1-27
Author: Evan_Werkema

timz Wrote:

> wonder how late it was, to allow the excursion
> to run as First 27.

It doesn't look like 4460 is flying green flags, so perhaps the regular Train 27 has already gone on ahead of it?



Date: 11/22/20 10:44
Re: Like It Or Not, It Is Clearly The Smoke That Makes This Shot!
Author: NW611

The N&W even got in on the black smoke. This photo is from a run by during a 1959 Norfolk-Petersburg excursion. 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/22/20 11:21 by NW611.




Date: 11/22/20 10:51
Re: Like It Or Not, It Is Clearly The Smoke That Makes This Shot!
Author: Keystone1

Take in the wash....a steam train is coming!



Date: 11/22/20 14:03
Re: Like It Or Not, It Is Clearly The Smoke That Makes This Shot!
Author: gregscholl

Keystone1 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Take in the wash....a steam train is coming!

This comment reminds me of my youth.  We lived across the valley from the N&W at Batavia.  We moved to a new house there in 1954 and lived there until 1978, so we saw the last of steam and the early diesel era.  My dad of course picked the location for a view of steam and we had 4 years of it.  

My mom, before getting an electric dryer, would hang the close out on a close hanger in the back yard.  Now we were probably 1/2 across the valley mind you, but she always commented the laundry and the house itself was cleaner in the steam days.  We had a bit of diesel soot on the house when it was painted a few years into the diesel era.

We used to call them "Dirty Diesels" and they were pretty hated in the Scholl family!!!

Greg



Date: 11/22/20 14:07
Re: Like It Or Not, It Is Clearly The Smoke That Makes This Shot!
Author: MojaveBill

"Clearly?"

Bill Deaver
Mojave, CA



Date: 11/22/20 14:26
Re: 1-27
Author: jkh2cpu

Evan_Werkema Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> It doesn't look like 4460 is flying green flags,
> so perhaps the regular Train 27 has already gone
> on ahead of it?

There were no green flags, but it was showing green on those silver indicator lights. Normally they show white, but there was a green (and maybe red) filter that could be set. We were the first 27 that day :-)

John.



Date: 11/22/20 14:53
Re: 1-27
Author: BCHellman

Evan_Werkema Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> timz Wrote:
>
> > wonder how late it was, to allow the excursion
> > to run as First 27.
>
> It doesn't look like 4460 is flying green flags,
> so perhaps the regular Train 27 has already gone
> on ahead of it?

SP dropped flags with the 1951 rulebook unless the engine did not feature class lights.



Date: 11/22/20 17:26
Re: 1-27
Author: robj

For those of us less informed, #27 is the Overland Limited from St. Louis? so the excursion would be running on #27 TT authority if that is the correct terminology.

Bob



Date: 11/22/20 17:57
Re: 1-27
Author: wabash2800

An uncle grew up next to the Wabash at Wolcottville, Indiana. His mother, Ruby, claimed that the smoke from the steam engines was beneficial to her cherry trees. I am just stating what she said.

Victor A. Baird
http://www.erstwhilepublications.com



Date: 11/22/20 22:06
Re: Like It Or Not, It Is Clearly The Smoke That Makes This Shot!
Author: NDHolmes

Normally I much prefer light smoke or even a clean stack, but as Martin said, sometimes the smoke makes the picture.  I was sorting through some 2014 OCSR shots and came across this one - definitely wouldn't be the same shot without the smoke.




Date: 11/23/20 04:20
Re: Like It Or Not, It Is Clearly The Smoke That Makes This Shot!
Author: Keystone1

HDHOLMES.....When I had my darkroom up and running, I rarely made prints of any pictures that didn't have a great display of glag.    To me, a plume puts the wow in a picture.



Date: 11/23/20 13:07
Re: Like It Or Not, It Is Clearly The Smoke That Makes This Shot!
Author: nycman

Mike, here's one we both witnessed.




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