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© July 5, 2004 

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Steam Along the Perkiomen River

"Lee Nonnemacher awaits a signal from the stationmaster that his train, pulled by Soo Line 4-8-4 #5000, is ready to depart Rahns Station.". Click image to enlarge.

Written by Dave Haring   

The distinct chuffs and beckoning calls of mournful whistles once again welcomed a new season of steaming to Southeastern Pennsylvania. It is here in Rahns, PA, at the track of The Pennsylvania Live Steamers where hundreds from all over the country gathered with their engines to enjoy three days of operation over this scenic railroad.

Every year since the club's beginnings, The Pennsylvania Live Steamers has held a meet for fellow live steamers over Memorial Day weekend. Recently, however, this meet has become more and more popular due to increased interest in the live steam hobby. Fortunately PLS is equipped with a beautiful, long main line equipped with many automated switches, fully functional signals, and numerous steaming bays to start up and service one's engine.

With so many trains in operation, the club's recently completed extension is a welcome sight for those who wish to operate large trains in coordination with others. Amazing features of the mainline include two lengthy tunnels, scale suspension and trestle bridges, and 4 grade crossings (which provided whistle-happy engineers with plenty of room to let that whistle blow!)

From Handcars to Hudsons, most any type of railroad equipment imaginable was scaled down, and in attendance. A fantastic occurrence this year was the operation of four New York Central 1.5" scale Hudsons all on one track. Saturday's guests were treated to a photo lineup with all four Hudsons in the staging yards. Additionally, there was a 1" scale oil-fired NYC Hudson that was in operation on the equally impressive 4-3/4" gauge main line.

Many attendees seized the opportunity to camp on the PLS grounds, enabling them to run their trains late into the night. Most locomotives were equipped with miniature headlights that guided the way, while illumination from scale signal bridges provided engineers with a clear notice of what lay on the tracks ahead.

Food is always a key item when it comes to large steaming meets, and the kitchen crew provided excellent service, with much variety, and copious quantities on each plate. Those who came purely to observe were provided with plenty of tables, benches, and ample ground space to spread out a blanket and have a picnic. The spring meet was surely enjoyed by all, both engineers and passengers!

For those who, after reading this article, wished they could have attended the spring meet, there is an upcoming event to close the steaming season. This is the Fall Meet during September 4th and 5th, which is certain to include the same excitement that the Spring meet had to offer.

Approaching the vast array of switches in the PLS main staging yard, this steam locomotive and it's engineer cautiously approach switches to ensure the proper path for the moving train. Click image to enlarge.


Preparing for movement in the visitors steaming bays, several locomotives await full pressure before heading out onto the mainline."Click image to enlarge.


Approaching a red signal, engineer Daniel Parsons slows the switching locomotive he is running before proceeding under a bridge, and into Rahns Station.Click image to enlarge.

 In the staging yard, eager engineers couple up and inspect their trains for defects before heading out onto the main line. Click image to enlarge. 


Written by Written by Dave Haring    

Photos by Dave Haring

Special Thanks To The Members Of The Pennsylvania Live Steamers    

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