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.