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June 16, 2002 

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Golden Horseshoe Live Steamers and Aurora Design Group
This article originally appeared in the Golden Horseshoe Live Steamers web site.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. 

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OMLET - JUNE 24, 2001

Beautiful sunshine and the promise of some great competition with a very diverse field of entries greeted the 19th running of the Ontario Model Locomotive Efficiency Trial at the Golden Horseshoe Live Steamers track. Five clubs were represented and the locomotives ranged from a unique 0-4-0 vertical engine Quarry to a 2-8-2 Mikado. With the first run to start at 9:30, the GHLS members were out early to get every thing prepared.

The first competitor was John Stewart (left) from the Ottawa Valley Live Steamers who made the long drive from Ottawa to Hamilton to run his beautiful 3-1/2" SNCF 2-8-2 Mikado. John opted for what would later seem a modest load of 537lbs. He started on time and was going well until he started to have water problems. Half way through the third lap he finally had to stop when it was determined that the water pump wasn't working, and he had to retire without completing the required 3 lap minimum. Hope that John can come back again next year and have better luck so that we can see what his locomotive can really do.

Ted McJannett representing the Central Ontario Association of Live Steamers was the next competitor with his immaculate 3-1/2" B&O P7 4-6-2 Pacific. Ted opted for a little more aggressive load of 995lbs, as he is quite familiar with the GHLS track and what to expect of his engine. He had the Pacific running well, with the "hump" in the north turn only slightly slowing his progress a couple of times. Ted almost completed 7 laps, coming a few feet short of the station when the twenty minutes were up. He traveled 8,616ft and used 32oz of coal for an excellent score of 268. This could be the winning score and definitely set the mark for everyone else to shoot for.

Next up at 10:30 was Rick Intini representing the Golden Horseshoe Live Steamers driving Tom Stewart's 4-3/4" Pacific. Rick has run this engine regularly at the GHLS track and knew what it could do. He decided to really make it work with a load of 2,124lbs which would be the heaviest load of the day. With 4 riding cars carrying 10 people, Rick left the starting line on time. The first lap didn't look to promising when he ran out of steam at the deceptive north end "hump". After that he was able to maintain steam for the remainder of the 20-minute run and completed 6 laps for a total distance of 7,416ft and used only 45.3oz of coal. This gave Rick the lead with a score of 348. The rest of the competitors would really have to work to beat this score.

Then came David Powell from the Toronto Society of Model Engineers. David had brought a unique little locomotive that he had started building only 6 weeks before the event. Utilizing some spare parts from other projects he build a 4-3/4" narrow gauge 0-4-0 Quarry locomotive which has a two cylinder vertical engine, vertical fire tube boiler, two speed gearbox with constant mesh gears and chain drive. David ran  with a minimum of weight, only 285lbs and ran with few problems for 5 laps covering 6,180ft and used only 18.9oz of coal for a score of 93. Although this would not be a winning score it was a great pleasure to see this unique engine run so well. If there were a prize for the most innovative piece of model engineering, it would go to David for his vertical Quarry locomotive.

The last run before the lunch break was Tom Stewart (GHLS) with his 4-3/4" 4-4-2 Atlantic. Tom chose a weight of 1,340lbs which would be the second highest of the day. The Atlantic didn't seem to be steaming properly and Tom was only able to complete 4 laps for a distance of 4,944ft and used 39.3oz of coal for a score of 169. This put him in third place as everyone took a well-deserved break for lunch.

During the lunch break for the OMLET competitors the action on the 7-1/4" track continued. Harry Savile had his Consolidation out again along with Ron McKinley and his Hercules. There was also a visit from Michael Guy (Toronto Live Steamers) and his Romulus. These ran most of the day and kept the spectators entertained between OMLET runs. With more and more 7-1/4" locomotives, maybe there will be an OMLET competition for them in the near future.

After lunch was Jim Lee from the Toronto Live Steamers with his 3-1/2" 4-6-0 Doris. Jim is a previous OMLET competitor and knows the GHLS track. Jim also opted for a minimum load of only 245lbs and ran flawlessly for 10 laps covering the most distance of the day at 12,360ft while using only 20.2oz of coal. Unfortunately, due to the light load this resulted in a score of only 150. This score really doesn't reflect how well his locomotive ran for the full twenty minutes.

Next at 1:30 was first time OMLET competitor Richard Trounce from the Toronto Society of Model Engineers. Richard was running his 3-1/2" 2-6-4 Jubilee for only the second time at the GHLS track and with some advise from David Powell decided on a load of 415lbs. Richard was driving like a veteran and with the spectators cheering him on he completed just over 8 laps for a total distance of 10,248ft, which would be the second highest distance traveled for the event. He used only 19.1oz of coal, which gave him a very respectable score of 223. This put Richard into third place with only two more competitors to run. This was an impressive run for a first time OMLET competitor.

The second to last run was by Bill Snowdon from the GHLS club. Bill is also a veteran at the OMLET and was running his 4-3/4" 0-6-0 Speedy. He chose a weight of 1,040lbs and could have a good score with that much weight. The first lap didn't look to promising when he had problems at the infamous north turn "hump" and was having trouble keeping a good fire. But after that, things started to improve and he completed over 5 1/2 laps for a total distance of 7,170ft while using only 24.9oz of coal. This gave Bill a score of 299, which put him into second place just ahead of Ted McJannett.

The last run of the day was by Brian Cole from the Toronto Live Steamers club. Brian was driving Allan Butler's 3-1/2" 0-4-0 Conway and decided on a minimum weight of 210lbs. His run didn't start out well as he was having trouble raising steam and started his run late. Half way through the second lap he had to stop when the Conway just would not keep steaming. It was suspected that he might have an air leak or plugged tubes. He was not able to meet the 3-lap minimum and was only the second DNF of the event.

There was still a good crowd of spectators on hand when Ian Kerr-Wilson, curator of the Museum of Steam and Technology, made the presentation of the OMLET plaques and gift certificates (from Miniature Power Products donated by Ted McJannett) to the top three finishers. 

The winning combination this year proved to be the locomotive building skill of Tom Stewart and the driving skill of Rick Intini. Ted McJannett, besides finishing third overall also had the highest placing 3-1/2" locomotive. A special mention has to go to Richard Trounce for his performance in his first OMLET, to David Powell for bringing his unique little Quarry engine and to John Stewart for making the long trip from Ottawa. 

A special thanks to the Toronto Society of Model Engineers and the Toronto Live Steamers for their financial support of this event. Also, thanks to all of the GHLS members who came out to help put on a successful event. Special mention to Bob Intini and Norm Makin for their efforts in staging and scoring the event and to Dino Lusa for making the beautiful OMLET plaques. Lastly, thanks to all of the competitors who came out but didn't win. In any competition you're only as good as those you compete against, and this year there certainly was good competition.
Hope to see you all back again next year.






Load (lb)

Dist. (ft)

Coal (oz)


Rick Intini GHLS 4-3/4" Pacific 4-6-2 2124 7416 45.3 348
Bill Snowdon GHLS 4-3/4" Speedy 0-4-0 1040 7170 24.9 299
Ted McJannett COALS 3-1/2" Pacific 4-6-2 995 8616 32.0 268
Richard Trounce TSME 3-1/2" Jubilee 2-6-4 415 10248 19.1 223
Tom Stewart GHLS 4-3/4" Atlantic 4-4-2 1340 4944 39.3 169
Jim Lee TLS 3-1/2" Doris 4-6-0 245 12360 20.2 150
Dave Powell TSME 4-3/4" Quarry 0-4-0 285 6180 18.9 93
John Stewart OVLS 3-1/2" Mikado 2-8-2 537 3112 -- DNF
Brian Cole TLC 3-1/2" Conway 0-4-0 210 1936 -- DNF
James Pomeroy GHLS 3-1/2" Hudson 4-6-4 -- -- -- DNS

Top Three (left to right): Bill Snowdon, Rick Intini, Ted McJannett

This article originally appeared in the Golden Horseshoe Live Steamers web site. Used by permission. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. 

For more information on this year's OMLET,
visit Golden Horseshoe Live Steamers.

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