July 28, 2017

Steam into History



I found this photo on the Steam into History Facebook page.  I thought it was a great depiction of a civil war era railroad scene as there are no anachronisms visible. Well, maybe just three. Can you find them?

Updated: Of all the comments below, no one picked up on the steel joint bar. In the ACW joint bars were made of wood.

Other items people spotted:
1. Headlight should be off in daylight. ACW oil lamps only run at night
2. Knuckle coupler should be a link and pin
3, Air hose and air compressor. ACW era trains did not have air brakes.
4. Paint horse not correct for ACW era cavalry in Pennsylvania
5. Road may be paved - if so, not ACW correct
6. Camps chairs may be too modern.




Steam into History is a nonprofit, educational, charitable organization. They operate a steam train that chronicles the role York County, PA. played in Civil War history.  They are holding an event this weekend to recreate a confederate raid on the railroad. There is more info at this link.

22 comments:

  1. I was hoping to be able to enlarge the photo, but I'm thinking the rails and ballast are questionable.

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    1. You might need to clarify what you mean by "rails." Do you mean the rail is too heavy? Ballast was used by some railroads, particularly the large northern ones, in the ACW. So ballast is not one of the anachronisms I see.

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  2. Grest Photo ! I think the Janney coupler and air line are anachromisms. Perhaps the headlight brightness, as well. It doesn't look like an oil light.

    Al Mueller

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    1. I agree, on knuckle coupler and airline.
      I also agree on the head light. ACW era RRs did not burn the headlight in daytime.

      There is one and perhaps two more.....

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  3. The knuckle front coupler and the air brake hose on the locomotive pilot are the 2 obvious ones to me. Not sure of the 3rd one.

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    1. I agree. There are a couple more.....

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Oh, and the road looks like it's metalled, rather than dirt or gravel

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    4. Yes, it looks like it could be crushed stone. But it most probably should be dirt. So I would count that.

      There is one more indisputable to go....

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  4. The pilot / "cowcatcher" is metal here. In ACW times, steel was unthinkable for this. Wood would be used instead of even wrought iron, because even many years later, scrapped railroad cars were burned to harvest the metal grab-irons and such. The compliance with the 1911 grab-iron rule here is also a anachronism here, I guess. [Also, the "air hose" comment means that the air compressor anachronism was already noted, as I see it.]

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    1. According to David Schneider's model, the W&A general had a metal pilot. His stuff is usually well researched, so we'll have to say no on this one, unless we can get more proof.

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  5. Lessee, we have the coupler, air line, headlight, rail (should be "strap"?), what about the air PUMP? and the flag...wasn't that replaced by the Bonnie Blue in '63?

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    1. I think the flag is correct

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  6. Paint horses were not used by Calvary and are not period correct for that part of the country.

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    1. I have no idea if you are right or not, so I will take your word.

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  7. looking at the camp the camp is not set in military formation. The camp has modern wooden folding chairs. the roadway the horses are on is asphalt, looks like it anyway. The troops on the road are not in formation for traveling on a road. The paint horse is just in camoflage. snk.

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  8. Bernie: Could it be the knuckle coupler, MU hose and uncoupling lever on the pilot?

    Mark Richardson

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  9. Westinghouse brake pump. Thought I said that yesterday, but it's not showing.

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  10. Yeah, the compressor on the side of the boiler. No compressors back then...

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  11. The grab irons into the cab or the coaches appear to be painted white on the right side (Fireman's side) of the train. I would assume during that period that they would either be brass (engine) or painted black like the rest of the rear railings. Federal requirements to paint grab irons in bright (white/yellow) colors didn't exist then.

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  12. Let's keep in mind folks that Steam Into History has to conform to modern FRA rules. Hence knuckle couplers and air brakes and white painted railings. In fact it was not going to have a coupler in front- until they realized they might need to pull something from the front. The headlight is electric- again for safety reasons when they run at night. The engine is oil fired not wood. Waste oil. They have debated using kitchen grease, but they are concerned the train would smell like french fries. They fill the tender from a tanker truck using a fire hose. The original NCRR was an advanced railroad. Photos of the time (google Hanover Junction, 1863) show that they used regular rail and not strap rail. The road is paved. I've stood on it many times, including at this event. It is a walking-biking trail. I tell you folks, if they made this train 100% period correct, they would not be able to run it. It would be illegal. As far as the way the camps looked and the horses they rode, I could not tell you, except that sometimes you have to take what you can get when you're talking about something as expensive as a horse. Or an Iron Horse.

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  13. I don't believe anyone is criticizing their operation at all. It is to be commended. We certainly have a better situation than in the UK, where everyone needs to wear those bright orange or yellow vests which make taking "period" pictures truly impossible.

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