Well… TRAINing rolls along… I can’t believe how fast the days are going. I’m on my 9th day of actual "firing" on the locomotives. So many nuances, so many things to remember, and a lot to get use to. It isn’t just about learning how to fire a steam locomotive, it’s about learning to fire different engines – as well as firing different engines when different engineers are "pulling" (pulling refers to "pulling" the throttle lever and the person in charge of "pulling" the train behind the engine.)
Every day last week – my first week of firing – I had "Tricky" Ricky. He’s an older guy, quiet, but when he does talk, he’s full of crap – very funny crap though. He’s been on the trains since 1995, and seems to really know what he’s doing. I seemed to have figured things out fairly well, as I had been with him every day. I’ve since learned that he is really easy to fire for. He was my first engineer, so I’ll always remember him for that.
Earlier this week I fired for Jim – a really nice guy, mid-30’s, been around for about four years and pulls similarly to Ricky, but he’s different. Today was my hardest day yet. Damian is a very quiet "goth" guy who I have seen several times, but not had the chance to talk with much. I learned REALLY quickly that I was going to be working hard. He has amazingly smooth starts, but gets the speed up really quickly, and pulls very hard. It was a challenge to keep the pressure up today. Part of that is because I’m not use to having such "huge" fires in the box. Today I was cranking everything up A LOT. The equipment can handle it, but I’m still a rookie, so it was a new experience.
Tomorrow I’m back with Ricky, but should be on Engine 4 – Ernest S. Marsh – which I’m told will be a learning experience as well.
Wish me luck…