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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, this isn't very woodworking related, but I did post a few pictures related to this train (my avatar) a few months ago, and it is a replica of a real "wood burning steam engine". Some of you had also asked me questions about this train when I first posted the pictures, so here goes.

I'm driving and maintaining this 2 ft gauge replica of a wood burning steam engine this year. It isn't a wood burner like the full size original at all. This one has a 4 cylinder Continental Industrial motor (forklift motor) that runs on gasoline, so it doesn't normally make any smoke at all. To make it look like it's real wood burning counterpart, it has a special oil injection system that injects oil into the hot engine exhaust system to make white smoke come out of the smoke stack., Aerobatic airplanes have similar smoke systems to use when they are doing stunts or sky writing.

Yesterday I was able to get the smoke generator option working again. It hasn't worked since the train arrived here almost 9 years ago. Some wiring problems, a damaged switch, and a whole lot of exploration to figure the system out was needed to get it working again. This photo was taken right after I got it working and took the first ride, but I think I had it pumping a little too much oil, since it was difficult for me to see the track ahead. I was using kerosene to make the smoke, and didn't like the smell, so I'm on the search for an alternative. The aerobatic planes use Mazola corn oil, so that is what will be tried tomorrow. It'll probably smell like french fries, but that will be an improvement over the kerosene smell. I also want to test try adding some peppermint oil to the corn oil to see if I can make it not only look good, but have a nice aroma of peppermint for the Christmas Holiday train rides that we run every evening between Thanksgiving and Christmas through the fully decorated park. It has become a very popular "Christmas thing to do" for the area residents and visitors. The peppermint aroma and smoke should add to the Christmas Spirit of the riders, if I can make it work well.

Charley
 

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One of my old bosses (Ralph R.) used to machine parts and build boilers for his small locomotives and rail cars during his off hours on the vessel. Seems like a fantastic hobby!
 

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Charley you got it blowing smoke alright. Someone might call the fire department. :laugh2: :laugh2: I bet you get a lot of enjoyment working on that train. I know I would.
 

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Nicely done Charley. When I worked for an Esso distributor about 10 years ago we were asked to donate some oil for smoke to the airshow that was featuring Canada's CF18 fighter jets in some flybys. The oil they asked for was a foodsafe oil used in food processing plants which I think was used as a hydraulic oil. Even if I could remember the name it wouldn't help as Esso has renamed most of their products as Mobil instead. Mobil lubricants sell better than Esso named ones we were told.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
That's really cool, and a good size to have. How many passengers can you haul per trip? What does it weigh?
The train engine alone weighs 6,100 pounds. It has a 4 cylinder Continental (gas) motor. These are a common industrial engine frequently used in forklifts. They are also available with diesel or propane motors

Each passenger car weighs 3,300 pounds (empty)

Our train has 3 passenger cars and that's about all it can carry fully loaded on our park's hilly track. Some of these same trains running on flat ground can pull as many as 8 cars fully loaded. Every wheel on the engine and cars is equipped with air brakes, so it can stop very well, even when fully loaded. The first one of our cars has a wheel chair position with a folding ramp, so there are three less regular seats in it. The regular seats are 3 1/2 ft wide, so most adults can sit side by side comfortably. With a mix of children and adults it will hold about 90 people, or about 60 large adults.

Our park is a bit hilly. From one end of the loop to the other it's about a 12' height difference over about 1/2 mile of track. The track length is presently just over 1/2 mile, but we have about that much rail in storage for possibly lengthening the track some time in the future. There is another park about a mile from this park, along a creek green way, so maybe someday we might be running the train along the green way to a station at the other park (just a thought).

The photo I just posted was taken on the back stretch, which is a long gradual climb but also fairly straight, so at the time of the picture, the engine was running near full throttle, making the exhaust nice and hot, and burning off the injected oil (kerosene on this run) very well and making lots of smoke. Today I'm going to try it with some vegetable oil and then canola oil. These cost about $8 / gallon and the Kerosene about $3.50 / gallon, but I don't like the smell of the kerosene smoke. It could also use diesel fuel, but don't like the smell of it either. We won't be running the smoke system much, but it would be a nice effect for our "Christmas Express" with maybe some peppermint oil mixed into it :grin:.

We heavily decorate the whole park with lights and displays during November and then run train rides through the decorated park every evening between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This has become a very popular "Christmas thing to do" for the area residents. Originally (8 years ago) they ran the train from 6 - 9 PM, but it has grown in popularity so much that at 9 pm some nights last year there was still sometimes a 2 1/2 hour waiting line, so the train ran many nights until 11-12 PM.

Each year more lights and displays are added to an already heavily decorated park.
In the last several years they have been phasing out the standard lights and switching to LED lights, which has allowed running many more lights from the existing power panels. Right now there are four 200 amp electric panels, each located at key positions around the park, and dedicated to mostly running these lighted decorations.

One of the large displays this year is a short shipping container sized self contained stage show with a Country Bear Animated Christmas Jamboree Music Show in it.

We have lighted hoops that we set up over the track to make a lighted tunnel for the train ride and there are large lighted Christmas scenes on frames (snow men, reindeer, Santa, etc.) that get located along the track. Every tree in the park also gets lighted. Each year something is changed or added to make coming back worth doing again.

It was hoped that the carousel would be complete by this Christmas Season, but due to delays caused by construction problems, the carousel building is running about 6 months behind schedule and is not expected to be ready for use until January, which
would be too late for Christmas, but it should be fully ready for the park rides re-opening on the weekends in late March. A photo of the carousel (before it was moved here) is attached. It will be the only 2 story high carousel in NC. Right now it's sitting in 2 semi trailers, waiting for the building to be complete.

I retired 5 times before becoming fully retired 16 years ago, but I came back out of retirement again to take this job "for the fun of it". I usually work 2 and sometimes 3 days per week 5-6 hours per day. The pay is very low when compared to my former jobs (I was an automation consultant - EE), but the fun part and low stress makes up for it. I love driving this train and talking to the kids and their parents. There's one little boy (about 3) who has shown up with his mom for a train ride almost every day that I've been working. I sometimes let him wear my "engineers hat" when he rides now. In 17 years or so, he may be my replacement.

Charley
 

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Charley check with a fuel/lubricant distributor to see if there is a cleaner kerosene available to you. Kerosene is used to fuel Herman Nelson construction heaters and they vent into the working space in many cases so the fuel can't be overly noxious to breathe. When I worked for Esso the fuel for these heaters came in either barrels or pails and were for that application. Varsol is another example of having differing grades. There at least 5 of them and one was predominantly used to dry clean clothes because it had no scent and didn't leave any residue.

I liked your comment about the youngster being your eventual replacement.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Nicely done Charley. When I worked for an Esso distributor about 10 years ago we were asked to donate some oil for smoke to the airshow that was featuring Canada's CF18 fighter jets in some flybys. The oil they asked for was a foodsafe oil used in food processing plants which I think was used as a hydraulic oil. Even if I could remember the name it wouldn't help as Esso has renamed most of their products as Mobil instead. Mobil lubricants sell better than Esso named ones we were told.
Chuck,

If you can remember the name of that oil, even the Esso (Exxon) name of it, I would surely appreciate it. I'll find a cross reference somewhere to find what it's present name is.

All of the aerobatic smoke systems that I've seen were using corn oil and the planes smelled like popcorn. When I went to the grocery store, the corn oil was 2X the price of the cheapest brands of vegetable oil and canola oil, so I bought the cheap stuff, just to try at about $2.00 / qt. I burned off a quart of Kerosene on Monday in two laps, so I know they won't want me using gallons of anything costing more than Kerosene or Diesel oil (just to make smoke) at $2.12 and $2.75 / gallon. Today I found a valve to reduce the oil flow and turned it from wide open, down to about 1/2 turn from fully closed and made several laps. The attached video is the result. The oil should last longer now and the smoke level is much more tolerable. I kind of like the smell of canola oil smoke. Well, at least it smells better than Kerosene and Diesel oil.
I couldn't find any peppermint oil yet, but it's on my list.

I spent most of my time today tracing the wiring for the ceiling lights and rear signal lantern lights, but couldn't finish. I'll be back on them when I return to work on Monday.

I'll post more pictures of the train if any of you want to see them, but the subject certainly isn't woodworking or even routers, so I hesitate to post too many.

Charley
 

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I believe it was called Faxam and it came in several different viscosities Charley with 22 being the lightest. It was also used in those animal oilers where you have a couple of ropes at an angle that cows and horses could walk under and rub their backs on to help keep flies off them. Esso here in Canada has a very friendly help line to deal with questions like yours and probably has one in the US too. If you can find an Exxon Mobil bulk distributor near you they should be able to help you get in touch with them. You might be able to find that on the web too.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, my attempt to upload a video .avi file in my previous post was a failure and I haven't got enough experience working with digital video to even know what to do about it.

Charley
 

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Charley when you go advanced there is a list of acceptable file extensions listed that this site can process. avi isn't one of them. I don't know if any of the available file formats will allow video. You might have to post it to youtube and then provide the link to it. That's what I've seen Oliver do. Maybe someone who knows more about computers can offer another choice.
 
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