visiting a real engine

Where do you go when you need the best information on Disneyland Railroad and steam engine operations? North Carolina, of course!

This month, I visited an accomplished author and good friend, Steve DeGaetano. Steve has four published books on the history of the Disneyland Railroad. Most of you have probably talked to him on the Burnsland forums, so his authority on the subject is quite established. He is now currently a fireman and engineer at the New Hope Valley Railroad, a volunteer-run organization, in North Carolina. I had an opportunity to spend a day with his unique little 0-4-0 engine, and try my hands at pulling the levers and turning the valves to see how these controls really feel. And they really feel different than what I had imagined! So you can bet that I’ll be finding a way to mimic these feelings in the simulator.

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We also dove under and climbed over the engine to get a good look at rarely seen mechanisms, like the burner, the blowdown pipe, and even the link block and eccentric rods in motion when the Johnson bar is shifted! Steve also explained how many of the components on the engine work, and how the engine operates, all of which are very similar to the Disney engines.

Here’s a quick tour of the little engine, and a taste of what will be integrated into the sim:

Thanks again to Steve for the opportunity. I left with a lot of great ideas for the sim, and you’ll surely see another update coming. Soon, you’ll also get to feel what it’s like to be at the controls of one of these. (Hint: in a word, it’s exhausting!)

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