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Bloviating Zeppelin: Steam Over Donner Pass

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Steam Over Donner Pass


On Friday, April 14th, I happened to digitally capture a singularly exceptional event: Union Pacific's steam locomotive # 844, (an ALCO 4-8-4 Northern-type) enroute the Roseville (Fornicalia) Yard for a weekend exhibition, during Union Pacific's 2009 Western Heritage Tour. Please click on the photo for a full-sized view.

Here, I document the locomotive drifting downhill on the #1 track just past the Alta crossing. Following 844's two tenders are diesel-electric locos UP 1996, an EMD SD-70ACe in tribute colors to Southern Pacific, and UP 1983, an EMD SD-70ACe in tribute colors to the Western Pacific.

If you've never had the opportunity or pleasure to hear, see or feel one of the few remaining operating steam locomotives in America, you do yourself a disservice by not tracking down one of these three steam behemoths:

1) UP's 844 Northern 4-8-4;
2) UP's 3985 Challenger 4-6-6-4;
3) SP 4449 Daylight GS-4 4-8-4

You'll soon come to realize, particularly if you're able to watch them up close as they begin to move from a complete stop, that they remind you of living, breathing creatures -- you can literally hear their intake of breath, feel them exhale. You would swear they were alive, standing next to one.

Please note: THE finest documentation of a steam locomotive available on DVD and in stereophonic sound is Skyfire Video's presentation of "Daylight Express." Absolutely unparalleled and exquisite. You will absolutely not be disappointed if you order this DVD.

Manipulating a steam locomotive as an engineer and/or a fireman is, both at once, a science and an art.

Here is a video, pacing the UP 844 at 79 mph:



There never has been, nor will there be again, another symphonic and symbiotic union of Man and Machine.

BZ

P.S.
Took a few days off, spiriting my wife away to places unknown for a bit of decompression. Back in full force this coming week.

7 Comments:

Blogger Z said...

got to send this to my train-loving nephew! Thanks.
And have a great time with Mrs. BZ!

xxx

Mon Apr 20, 08:14:00 AM PDT  
Blogger cary said...

There is nothing like the full-size, raw power exuded by the steam locomotive.

With the advent of the diesel motor, the coal and oil burning behemoths were deemed too expensive to run any more.

Pity.

Have a relaxing time off, BZ. You've earned it.

Mon Apr 20, 08:51:00 AM PDT  
Blogger shoprat said...

I frequently see a steam locomotive called the 1225 which is at a steam museum not far from where I live. It is noisy and gives off lot of smoke but it seems almost alive. (By the way - that locomotive was used for sound effects in The Polar Express solely because of its number and it is booked for Christmas for several years.

Mon Apr 20, 11:06:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Average American said...

I am so glad you mentioned clicking on picture for the enlargement. Absolutely beautiful on a 20" screen!

Mon Apr 20, 11:21:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Larry T. Durham said...

Awesome!

Mon Apr 20, 11:39:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

I'm telling you folks, I am NOT a member of this company or possess stock, etc etc. But, if you enjoy live steam, you do yourself a disservice by NOT ordering that DVD from Skyfire. If you have a large screen TV and a good sound system, you'll not only swear the locomotive IS alive, but that it's right NEXT to you, IN your living room.

BZ

Mon Apr 20, 12:06:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, you saw a train! Good for you!

-Liberaldude

Tue Apr 21, 04:29:00 PM PDT  

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