Trains … when did I become obsessed with trains? My older brother had a pretty awesome hobby train in the past, my younger brother still has a train circle under his Christmas tree every year, and my 4 year old grandson is in love with the movie. Polar Express and loves Thomas the train. I guess it’s been such an intricate part of my life for so long that I’ve taken it for granted that trains are great, especially big steam engines up close.

The centerpiece of the Elgin County Railroad Museum is the 5700 steam engine. She is a beauty. Built in 1930 by Montreal Locomotive Works, it was put to work on the highly competitive Montreal to Toronto line as a passenger train. With up to ten passenger cars, it could reach speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour. This beautiful and rather heavy train was one of five owned by the Canadian National Railway. It originally had the number 5703 and was also known as Hudson gold K-5-a 4-6-4. As passenger demands grew beyond her capabilities, she was eventually reassigned to the less aggressive Toronto-London-Sarnia / Windsor route.

Most of the technical information provided by the host in the engine room Cab aboard the 5700 was extremely interesting. She discussed bidding for 14,000 gallons (18 tons), a Baker valve gear, 43,000 tensile stress (53,300 with boost), and the boiler pressure that could go up to 275 pounds. I also heard about 23 “x 28” cylinders, albeit 80 “drivers with the whole locomotive weighing 330 tons. Now, I’m not that tech-savvy when it comes to big trains or anything mechanical so I went to the resource nearest museum to help me understand a bit more of what he was talking about.

Let’s start with the Fire box – is the oven chamber that is integrated into the boiler and generally surrounded by water. Steam locomotives typically had a steel tube boiler containing a heat source; energy released by the combustion of a solid or liquid fuel. The 5700 used carbon as a combustion material that was introduced through a door by a fireman. His job was to shovel charcoal on a set of grills where the ashes fall from the burning fuel next to the Ash hopper. Then the Water compartment It consisted of a container for the water used by the boiler to produce steam; generally out of cylinders. TO smoke box gathers the hot gases that have passed from the combustion chamber and through the boiler tubes. There was usually a ash guard to prevent hot ashes from escaping down the chimney and, blower to help draw the fire when the regulator is closed. When the regulator is open, the escape of steam from the cylinders is also directed towards the chimney through the smoke box to attract the fire. Tea Tender It is the container that contains both the water for the boiler and the fuel, in this case, coal for the combustion chamber. I was very surprised that both the engineer and the firefighter worked in such tight spaces to control the engine and take care of the combustion chamber.

There were many more components and all kinds of information available in the museum, so if you are a fan of trains, you must visit the Elgin County Railroad Museum in St. Thomas, Ontario. They sure have an awesome collection of all things, “Train.” Many of the historical photos and artifacts are well preserved under glass displays.

and instantly my interest began to pique. The first thing that struck me was the kindness of the people. I was impressed when I visited during the 100th anniversary celebration on the weekend of May 24-25, 2014. Two days filled with a variety of activities, food, and exhibits to take every visitor into the last century of southern rail history. Ontario. What an opportunity to ask questions, talk to the great volunteers, and experience all the neat displays. So diverse were his chorological displays of rich history that it took me several hours to absorb most of the activities, special displays, and all of the outdoor exhibits of railroad equipment. All the images I captured were historical in nature. I was surprised to learn that centralized traffic control (CTC) was beginning to appear in southwestern Ontario in 1956 and that the large panel could track the movement of trains and even change switches and signals remotely. Some photos showed workers in the repair shop and their display of miniature trains in operation is extraordinary. 1856 is when the London and Port Stanley Railroad joined St. Thomas, providing access to the port and international shipments of local produce. Today the Port Stanley Terminal Lane It is a vibrant historic tourist railway with daily operations in the summer months.

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