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Wacky Questions
We asked our visitors for the funniest or strangest questions ever asked at their railroad and what was the answer they gave (or wanted to give).

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Was asked one time "how far will the train run?" In which my wife replied; " as far as we lay the tracks."

Is that a steam engine (pointing to a diesel with an 8 hp engine) running ?

Do the engineers know that there are embers coming out of the stack of wood burning Shay?  Cause one of those embers might light the gas tank (pointing to the tender) on fire.

Do you put your trains and track away at night?   Yeah. It all goes in the big box in the back.

My daughter, who was about 4 or 5 at the time, saw a gasoline engine locomotive go by with a really loud muffler. She looked up and asked "Paw Paw, is that a LAWNMOWER or a TRAIN?"

After seeing the battery charger attached to my refrigerator car that contains all the items from the air brake system, the visitors asked if the batteries powered the motor in the steam engine.

Is you home track made like the one going to Peoria? You know, the rails dip at each joint?

Seeing my Garden RR for the first time a visitor asked, "do you take this in for the winter?" I have 900 feet of track,19 bridges 22 buildings and a 65 foot trestle.

Is it hot? laying his hand over the smokestack of a live steam-locomotive. The following was not a Question, but a really good Sound, like AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

While getting ready for a run a round, a passenger ask if they turned the engine around on the paved road. Mind you this lady had stated that she had a PhD in engineering.

How do you steer the locomotive?  Answer: See the tracks... they do the job for me.

Question: Pointing to a live steam engine, "Does this burn real coal?"
Answer: "No, it's artificial coal. It's made in a factory where they munch up a whole bunch of chemicals, and you don't want to even know what goes into the mix."

I was asked what the 5 inch gauge locomotive was made out of by an American visitor to our (Australian) site some years ago. She seemed unconvinced when I said it was made out of steel and copper. She then asked what made it go. I explained it was a steamer and showed her the fire by opening the fire-box door, the cylinders, wheels and coupling rods etc.. She then asked..."But where is the motor?"

Is that supposed to be on fire? (pointing to a somewhat large grass fire)

Once while running my Morris SW1500 Diesel at Mid Michigan RR, I was asked How does it handle?" I replied "It's not much for top speed or acceleration, but it corners like it's on rails".

Our club's track is 95% in the woods and one visitor asked, "What do the animals think about you guys running these things in the woods ?"  My answer was, "I haven't had the chance to ask any of them."

"After the show, will you take the tracks up?" asked by a lady waiting to ride the train during the Threshing Bee near Sycamore, IL, the first year we had a permanent track at the site. Track work was completed the night before the show and we were all exhausted from the effort.

My friend Gerald related this story to me: One day a young boy came running up to the engine number 4 and exclaimed to his mother, "Look mommy, this train runs on coal!"  Mommy shook her head and said, "No son, those are just rocks painted black." He gave her kid a lump of coal as a souvenir.

Do the trains have something like a dog house? or do they sleep inside with the family?

if the train had rubber tires could you drive it on the street ?

if I bought a railroad like this could they deliver it by fathers day ? This question was asked by woman who stopped in my fathers driveway while he and i were doing track work

While viewing the servicing of UP-844, a gentleman asked me what a worker was doing and what was the noise?  He had an Alemite gun and was injecting grease into the fittings.  I replied that was how they injected the sound into the locomotive! My friend with me doubled over in laughter.

After being shown the 7-1/2" gauge railroad the lady asked, "But what is it for?"

A friend was running a 12" gauge live steam at the Minnesota State Fair many years ago and told me a guy sat on a bench all day watching the train. At the end of the day he told my friend "you can fool all the kids putting that coal in the fire & blowing the whistle, but you can't fool me. What I really want to know is how do you get the electricity to the motor to make it run. I can't see where you hide the wire!

Question, how is the electricity going to get to the trains without a transformer to the track?

When going over the 65' long bridge on our railroad a visitor asked how we make our train sound just like the real ones. We told him we had speakers under the bridge for the sound effect. He seemed quite satisfied with that answer.
"click clack, click clack"

How do you get the steam in the locomotive?

How Does this thing run at high speed? (In reference to a 1934 H K Porter, 2-4-0 and tender.) Answer - Like it's on rails! Questioner didn't make realization for about a half hour!

A man asks, "what's the Horse Power on that thing?" as he points to one of my cabooses.

Does that track run REAL trains?

What happened ? Did the train just derail ?  My answer was No the train just decided to pull over and take a rest off the tracks. Here's your sign . The question was asked by some one who has a train.

How long does it take to set the track up?  Asked around Christmas about a railroad over a mile long with bridges, tunnel, turntable, etc, etc.

Where's the motor? (Repeatedly!)   If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me this about a steam locomotive, I could buy a nice diesel and be able to answer the question without being a smart alec.

Where do you put the gasoline   (I was operating my 5 inch gauge 2 foot Baldwin at the time)

After watching an battery powered electric box cab pull kids around a track at the GATS show in Indianapolis, one dad asked, "Where is the transformer ?" I guess he was expecting a huge Lionel Black box with a big red handle on it.

"Can you lay off the whistle? I'm on the phone."
How do you steer that thing ?   We take turns steering. See the guy in front of me ? It's his turn today.
"Are these trains real steam?"     No, you can't get the real stuff anymore. We have to make our own.
What does this train run on?     These tracks right here! (pointing to the tracks on the ground)
Asked of a 1-1/2" scale steeple cab electric locomotive "Can you run it off of live overhead wires?"    You bet. You just have to lay flat on the riding car and wear a full neoprene wet suit."
Is your tunnel open?     Yes, at both ends.
are trains real   why yes


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