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2010 Photo Gallery  - page 3


Photos by Jim Pitts




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By Jim Pitts 

Way down yonder - just north of New Orleans - is a land of steamy scenes. The crown jewel of the small scale live steamups, Diamondhead, Mississippi is the destination to boil water and refresh our shared enthusiasm for steam machines.  

The 17th International Small Scale Steamup, Diamondhead 2010, welcomed over 180 participants from near and far.  Some traveled by air, others by car, and few kept the faith by traveling by rail. 

Our host, Jerry Reshew initiated the steam ups back in 1993.  Other than 2006 when the aftermath of Hurricane Karina spoiled the show, Diamondhead has been a constant and welcoming oasis in a sea of change.  This winter weekend event has now grown to a full week with 24 hour track time. 

Elevated tracks – three separate dual track layouts with steaming bays – never close.  At the center of each layout and along the perimeters are areas for viewing, tables for servicing, display and fellowship.  

Trackside becomes the arena for coaching and a classroom for one-on-one teaching.  The fine art of coal firing, alcohol burning and butane gas systems can be “clinically” observed. The knowledge gained enhances confidence and operational success.  Complimenting the informal instruction trackside, seminars were offered by Vance Bass, Dawn Brightwell, Ron Cole, Howard Freed, Jerry Reshew, Dan Rowe, Jeff Young and Sonny Wizelman.  

For those seeking to purchase or sell, a Steam Flea Market was staffed by Carol Homuth with the assistance of Bruce Gathman  and Tom Toth. This was in addition to the exhibits by Crescent Models, North Jersey Gauge 1, Piedmont Steam Supply, R&R Train Company, Sunset Valley Railroad and The Train Department.  Also, throughout the atrium were displays of various Gauge 1 live steam locomotives and rolling stock by Accucraft, Aster, Regner, Roundhouse, etc.  Examples of historic Bassett Lowke, Beck and Hemmens were also on display. 

Always a source of awe are custom crafted locomotives and rolling stock.  Notable this year was a pair of scratch built, 1/32nd scale, cabooses built by Ross Schlabach.  He explained that they were built like the prototype with a wooden superstructure and a fully detailed metal underframe. They incorporated custom bent brass channel, handmade corner steps and windows framed up in prototype fashion painted with the proper siding and colors. The only commercial parts used were trucks from Accucraft plus brake gear & couplers from Precision Scale. 

A celebratory feature this year was a leap backwards in time when playing with trains meant clockwork engines.  Marc Horovitz and Jeff Young hosted a parade of wind-up locomotives. These twenty three clockwork engines displayed the full range of the toy train experience - some could barely move while others were adept at making to owner chase them down. They were a reminder that the gold old days in our hobby was simpler and safe for “children of all ages.” 

Another whimsical highlight was Sonny Wizelman’s Shay-Up.  Unfortunately no world records were broken.  A Regner Shay built during the steamup proudly participated. Mike Simpson hosted a parade of Crickets, the only small scale steam loco manufactured in the US.   

Back again for the 2010 was the Locomotive Weight Lifting Contest.  Coordinated by Bruce Gathman on a dedicated track in the atrium, competitors measured the pulling force or tractive ability of their locomotives.  

Award and Category winners included: Clockwork - Raif Copley and his Bassett Lowke Prince Charles  4-4-0 (11.5 oz), ONE AXLE - Sonny Wizelman  and his Accucraft/Gage  gypsy winch ( 2lb 4.8oz), TWO AXLE - Mitch Mitchell and an Accuraft 2-4-4 Forney (1lb 12.7oz), THREE AXLE - Bob Pope’s Accucraft  2-6-0 Mogul (2lb 15.6oz), FOUR AXLE - John Frank’s Accucraft K-36  2-8-2 (8lb 140z), and MOST UNUSUAL - Travis Weidner’s  “Junk Yard Dog” (6 oz). 

One cannot talk about the talk about the Gulf Coast without mentioning their world famous cuisine.  Evening meals at the Jourdan River Steamer, Trapanis, Pier House restaurants, breakfast at the Waffle House, and brunch at the Diamondhead Country Club are always memorable occasions.  

The Clack Valves and Cornets Steam Band entertained at the lavish Country Club brunch.  This music ensemble ( steamers all ) is directed by Joe Hall.  Cornet players are Rob Lanichek, and Marc Horovitz.  Baritone Horn section featured Bill Courtright and Jerry Reshew.  Trombonists were John Garrett and Charles Russell  On Tuba were Gary While and John Bigelow with Doug Joslyn rounding out the musical ensemble on drums.  

Adjacent to the atrium, the hospitality suite offered a haven for unhurried conversation and a never ending sweet supply of King Cake, coffee and tea. A veritable avalanche of King Cake was consumed  during the week. The cumulative blood sugar readings for the week are off the charts . 

Apparently the locomotives were equally hungry.  Jerry Reshew reports that 120 gallons of distilled water, 11 gallons of alcohol, 80 large Primus cans of isobutene, 23 small cans of isobutene and 48 small cans of butane were consumed.  

Participants came from: Florida  (28), Texas (14), California (15), Georgia (10), Washington (6), Louisiana (6), Michigan (5), Illinois (4), Colorado (5), Mississippi (5), Arkansas (4), South Carolina (4), Virginia (4), Alabama (3), Pennsylvania (3), Missouri (3), Maryland (3), North Carolina (3), New Mexico (3), Kansas (2), New Jersey (2), New York (2), Arizona (1), Oklahoma (1), Iowa (1), Indiana (1), Kentucky (1), Ohio (1), Oregon (1), Utah (1), Vermont (2), and Wisconsin (1).  Our International visitors were from: Canada (11), United Kingdom (5) and Trinidad (1). 

Credit goes to the “front desk ladies” who are the administrative glue that holds the Steamup together.  Their welcoming smiles and helpful spirit with registration, distribution of aprons and shirts, and responding to countless questions allows the administrative process to flow like a well lubed, user friendly machine.  Our thanks to Sue Garrett, Carol Krutzke, Jerra Matticks, Ginny Morris, Fran Reinhardt, and chief of staff  Valerie Nichols. Our roving photographer was Carol Jobusch - she is like the Timex commercial of years ago - she never stops! 

Among the notables were Yves Guillaume, Marc Horovitz, Norm Saley, John Shawe, and Geoff Spenceley.  Yves Gulliaume and John Shawe are the in house experts on coal firing.  Marc Horovitz, editor of Garden Railways, is the self effacing enthusiast for small scale, regardless of vintage or fuel or as he demonstrated this year, running spring-powered trains. His recently published - Passion for Steam (Atlantic Publishers, 2009) – tells the history of small scale live steam and is a virtual showcase of locomotives past and present.  

Norm Saley is one of the resident mechanical problem solvers.  His years in Orlando’s Magic Kingdom bring insight and skill to all things mechanical.  While trying to diagnose a problem with coal fired locomotive suffering from asthma.  Ruth Saley had the solution.  She provided a sewing needle that opened up an exhaust vent, thus avoiding hours of mechanical surgery.  What a team! 

Sir Geoff Spenceley observed that “the steamup was as wonderful as always; the    camaraderie, the clinics, the special events, make for a truly a learning event. The young lasses who handle the registration all deserve medals and ribbons, so do all the other volunteers who assist in all manner of activities from set up, to clinics, contests and trade exhibits.  However the ladies at the registration desk have to make the biggest efforts, I say XXX to them. Now the Brass band, aren’t they fabulous. We are so fortunate to be able to listen and enjoy!"

Of course, The biggest thanks goes to Jerry for organizing and hosting these fabulous  Steam ups since 1993- CLAP, CLAP, CLAP - do I hear more clapping- yes I do!  However, there is one change I would like" : By all means "Let the games begin" early as it did this year but I believe the official opening with Jerry's introductory talk should  be either on the Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. Many of us missed his opening as we arrived later and in my humble opinion, everyone should be able to hear Jerry's introduction with his unequalled wisdomic humor!” 

Already plans are underway for 2011.  Another full week awaits - January 16 - 22, 2011. A special feature will be a Mamod festival.  This will bring back memories for some of their early steam experiences.



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