My third day was fun and settling. Luckily, I have been on the C. K. Holliday for 3 days in a row – and that engine is what all of the engineers call the "Cadillac" of the roundhouse – meaning of coarse that it is the easiest to drive and move comfortable. That’s good and bad for me. Good, because today I controlled the boiler pretty well – no big swings from too high of pressure to too low – I was right in the range of 125# all day (plus or minus 6#.) The bad for me is – tomorrow I will be on a different engine – learning the quirks of that engine, and trying to figure out how to make it work right. It will still be fun though!
The funny thing thing that happened today is that the engineers had a little fun with the new guy. We were sitting at New Orleans Square station, and I had just the right about of pressure – building pressure because we were going to be moving very shortly, so I had a medium sized fire in the box, a clean stack (no smoke), and good water level in the boiler. Then -WHOOSH- the fire just goes out! (This is a bad thing if you don’t catch it, because if the fire gets sucked out or blown out, you are mostly likely still injecting hot, atomized diesel fuel into a glowing-hot firebox which could ignite a large amount of fuel at once – more or less creating a big bomb.) Well, within one second I closed my fuel line to stop the injector, then very surprised and shocked I quickly asked my trainer and the engineer (who were both sitting right next to me) "WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!" Just a moment later, I hear from outside the cab, another engineer who had snuck up beside us (remember, we were sitting still at the station) and turned off my main fuel line leading from the tender.
All three of them laughed heartily. It took me a moment to figure out what had happened (hey – I’m still new,) and then started laughing right along. My trainer did praise me for how fast I turned off the fuel considering I had no idea what had happened. It was a great "test" and very funny (to us at least.)
So, my third day was fun and interesting. I hope tomorrow goes as well with a different boiler…