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In the film, “Field of Dreams,” Kevin Costner hears a voice speak to him, “If you build it, they will come.”  He believes that means he is to build a baseball diamond in his corn field and he does that!  A half year into his project, none other than Shoeless Joe Jackson, the famous 1919 Black Sox baseball player appears.  Ironically, the Fall 2005 Southern Steam Up in Travelers Rest was just few miles north of Shoeless Joe’s hometown of Greenville, SC. 

 

In the spirit of the “Field of Dreams,” I learned that “if you fuel them, live steamers will run.”  However, “if you feed them, garden railway enthusiasts will come!”  On Saturday, October 15, 2005, a crowd of 50 persons attended the Fall Steam Up in Travelers Rest, SC.  The weather was truly picture perfect!  A crisp autumn morning was the prelude to a pleasantly warm afternoon. 

 

The majority attending were members of the Piedmont Garden Railway Club.  They were invited to see and learn first hand about Gauge 1 small scale live steam.  A dozen live steamers from across the southeast provided a live steam showcase and patiently responded to questions such as “Where do you put the smoke pill?  Or, “Does your locomotive have a sound system?” 

 

To assist in the orientation of our guests, two informational seminars were offered.   Late morning, “An Introduction to Gauge 1 Live Steam” was presented.  A PowerPoint program developed by Steam in the Garden Editor, Ron Brown, was presented by Jim Pitts.  Ron and Marie Brown, because of family illness, were unable to attend.  Titled “Celebrating STEAM …it’s the real thing!”  - the seminar addressed various myths: steam locos lack power; steam locos are too complicated; steam locos lack variety; steam locos are too expensive; and steam locos are dangerous!

 

The presentation continued with a review on what is needed to run a small scale steam locomotive; distilled water, fuel (alcohol, butane gas or coal); steam oil and a source of fire.  There was a brief overview of how various steam boilers work. This Steam 101 introduction illustrated how small scale steam locos can be operated manually or fitted with radio control.  Depending on the preference of the individual, examples were shown of how some steamers prefer to leave their locos pristine, but others go all out on detail and weathering. 

 

Following a lunch of Southern Barbeque with complimenting side dishes, deserts and iced tea, Hans Huwyler, North American Distributor of Aster Hobby USA LLC discussed  the “Development and Assembly of Aster’s Nickel Plate Berkshire Locomotive.”  The pilot model of the NKP Berkshire was both displayed and steamed throughout the weekend. This was the pilot model’s final run in North America.  Following the Southern Steam Up it was shipped across the Atlantic for its European debut.  The initial shipment of Berkshire KITS arrived in the US in November with Factory BUILT locomotives scheduled for December. 

 

From an Aster Lion to Allegheny, a Catatonk Shay, a Roundhouse Sammie and a SR&RL #24, with Aster Mikados, Duchesses, etc; literally ranging from the smallest to the most massive locomotives, pulled passenger carriages and even a 60 plus freight car consist.  The good times continued to roll under sunny skies on Sunday.  Live steamers were invited to the home of Hans and Pat Huwyler in Columbus, NC.  As the sun set on Sunday evening, steamers dropped their fires and packed their locomotives and rolling stock for their journey home.  In a world suffering with too many storms, all were grateful for a pleasant day filled with gentle fall breezes and friendships both old and new that literally span the seasons.  

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