Moonlighting #15286

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The Story

It’s not often you can see a steam locomotive running at night anymore. Here, East Broad Top engine #16 steams away at idle on the roundhouse track before going into its berth after a work day hauling tourists on the little narrow gauge shortline. Under the yard lights, white steam comes out in small tendrils around the steam engine and trails away. The safety valve on top of the locomotive puts a thicker white stream of steam into the air as the engine simmers away under the full moon.

Soon the night engine hostler with his lantern will be ready to move the engine into its roundhouse berth for the night as the full moon above beams away.

The running crew has already let most of the steam and fire go down for the day but there’s just enough left to move #16 forward to the ash pit and then onto the turntable. Then they’ll line the turntable to the right stall to creep the locomotive into its berth, and bank off the remaining fire for the night. That will leave just enough fire in the firebox to get things going early in the morning for another day’s work. It’s a steam locomotive ritual repeated daily over the long years which continues today…

Location: the EBT Railroad yard at Rockhill Furnace in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. Picture and story © Andrew Dierks

 

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