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To steam or to spark

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To steam or to spark
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 5, 2003 12:03 PM
[;)]
I'd like to start a thread in which both "Steamers" and "Sparkies" can contribute on the merits and or foibles of each world. I'm a steamer but I use the term sparkie in an affectionate tone as do many steamers when referring to electric models.

Steamers have been garden railroading for a relatively long time compared to sparkies. Sparkies have brought their wornderful modeling skill outdoors now and are contributing to the hobby in new and very talented ways.

This is not to say that steamers don't build gorgeous detailed layouts, many do, but steamers tend to be focused more on running steam locomotives than in building showcase layouts. It's a focus thing in which both are valid, but originate from different concepts in why one builds a model RR in the first place.

At least that's how I see it. Therefore, please accept the following in the light hearted spirit in which it is given, and by all means CONTRIBUTE. We all have something to say and to learn. I'm sure each of us can bring to the table SOMETHING that will be of benefit to someone else.

:-)

STEAM VS SPARKS

1. Steam models are real steam locomotives, not representations OF steam locomotives.
Advantage:Steamers

2. Electric locomotives run as soon as you set them on the track and require less maintenence. (At least on the loco.) Steamers have to develop a head of steam first, and then cool down when it's all over before you handle them.
Advantage:Sparkies (I think...definitely if your ARE a sparkie.)

3. Generally, sparkies are safer. Steamers will burn you, get you oily and dirty, and they should never be trusted with unsupervised children.
Advantage: Not sure. Depends on what you're into. :-)

4. Steamers are generally more expensive.
Advantage:Sparkies (as to detail for the money that is, for sure.)

5. Steamers can run on sloppier track layouts (connective-wise), need no expensive transformers, wiring, and sound systems and spew oil all over the track just like in the real world.
Advantage:Definitely Steamers

...etc. You get the point.

..or how about a discussion along the lines of the "You might be a redneck..." routine such as:

You might be a Sparkie if you have a beautiful layout but last night's rain stopped your train dead in it's tracks.

You might be a Steamer if your spouse ran your loco yesterday with TAP water and your $800 boiler is now trashed.
---
Care to try some of your own? Mine aren't that good. I'm sure you folks can do better.

Regards,

LDH
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To steam or to spark
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 5, 2003 12:03 PM
[;)]
I'd like to start a thread in which both "Steamers" and "Sparkies" can contribute on the merits and or foibles of each world. I'm a steamer but I use the term sparkie in an affectionate tone as do many steamers when referring to electric models.

Steamers have been garden railroading for a relatively long time compared to sparkies. Sparkies have brought their wornderful modeling skill outdoors now and are contributing to the hobby in new and very talented ways.

This is not to say that steamers don't build gorgeous detailed layouts, many do, but steamers tend to be focused more on running steam locomotives than in building showcase layouts. It's a focus thing in which both are valid, but originate from different concepts in why one builds a model RR in the first place.

At least that's how I see it. Therefore, please accept the following in the light hearted spirit in which it is given, and by all means CONTRIBUTE. We all have something to say and to learn. I'm sure each of us can bring to the table SOMETHING that will be of benefit to someone else.

:-)

STEAM VS SPARKS

1. Steam models are real steam locomotives, not representations OF steam locomotives.
Advantage:Steamers

2. Electric locomotives run as soon as you set them on the track and require less maintenence. (At least on the loco.) Steamers have to develop a head of steam first, and then cool down when it's all over before you handle them.
Advantage:Sparkies (I think...definitely if your ARE a sparkie.)

3. Generally, sparkies are safer. Steamers will burn you, get you oily and dirty, and they should never be trusted with unsupervised children.
Advantage: Not sure. Depends on what you're into. :-)

4. Steamers are generally more expensive.
Advantage:Sparkies (as to detail for the money that is, for sure.)

5. Steamers can run on sloppier track layouts (connective-wise), need no expensive transformers, wiring, and sound systems and spew oil all over the track just like in the real world.
Advantage:Definitely Steamers

...etc. You get the point.

..or how about a discussion along the lines of the "You might be a redneck..." routine such as:

You might be a Sparkie if you have a beautiful layout but last night's rain stopped your train dead in it's tracks.

You might be a Steamer if your spouse ran your loco yesterday with TAP water and your $800 boiler is now trashed.
---
Care to try some of your own? Mine aren't that good. I'm sure you folks can do better.

Regards,

LDH
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Posted by mkblk on Monday, October 20, 2003 7:30 PM
Gee, I'm not a Steamer or a Sparkie but am a Steamer wannabe. I expect my first steamer (a Ruby) to arrive in the near future. I'm still hammering the poor hobby shop guy for a deal.

I started with Lionel in the forties, moved on to HO in the 50's, went back to Lionel in the '70's, back to HO... you get the picture. But, something was always missing. Sure I love trains, any size, from Z to 1' = 1' but there was one thing missing: steam! Sure it looks like more work, but I like to think that I come from a generation that still has some patience. I think the new electrically powered "steam" locos with "smoke" and "real locomotive sounds" are swell, but again, are missing an important element... steam!

Steam with all the sounds, smells, and dirt of the real thing. Now remember, I don't even have my first live steamer yet! I do have some rolling stock and a circle of track and can't wait for the day (real soon!!!) to fire up that boiler and join the burnt fingers club!

Since some of us do have budgets to work within, I probably will have just one loco for a bit. Of course, if I MUST have another; I can always go the battery route... temporarily!

Well, Vettbass, you got your first response. I hope other's (with some real experiences) jump on board and enlighten the rest of us with their adventures in Garden Railroading.

Mkblk
Martin Kern
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Posted by mkblk on Monday, October 20, 2003 7:30 PM
Gee, I'm not a Steamer or a Sparkie but am a Steamer wannabe. I expect my first steamer (a Ruby) to arrive in the near future. I'm still hammering the poor hobby shop guy for a deal.

I started with Lionel in the forties, moved on to HO in the 50's, went back to Lionel in the '70's, back to HO... you get the picture. But, something was always missing. Sure I love trains, any size, from Z to 1' = 1' but there was one thing missing: steam! Sure it looks like more work, but I like to think that I come from a generation that still has some patience. I think the new electrically powered "steam" locos with "smoke" and "real locomotive sounds" are swell, but again, are missing an important element... steam!

Steam with all the sounds, smells, and dirt of the real thing. Now remember, I don't even have my first live steamer yet! I do have some rolling stock and a circle of track and can't wait for the day (real soon!!!) to fire up that boiler and join the burnt fingers club!

Since some of us do have budgets to work within, I probably will have just one loco for a bit. Of course, if I MUST have another; I can always go the battery route... temporarily!

Well, Vettbass, you got your first response. I hope other's (with some real experiences) jump on board and enlighten the rest of us with their adventures in Garden Railroading.

Mkblk
Martin Kern
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Posted by vsmith on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 10:50 AM
I'd like to have a steamer but in my garage I'd set the layout on fire so I'm a sparkie for now...

   Have fun with your trains

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Posted by vsmith on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 10:50 AM
I'd like to have a steamer but in my garage I'd set the layout on fire so I'm a sparkie for now...

   Have fun with your trains

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 6:08 PM
mkblk:

I was wondering when someone would respond to this thread which I started in the spirit of idea exchange.

THANK YOU!

In the end, I guess it's all what you're into. I, like you, started with Lionel in the 40's as a child and continued with this until my pubescent years drove me to other urges. (For a while anyway.)

I laid model RRing aside for a significant while and then when I got back into it, now about 4 years ago, but into it with a FERVER.

I decided that, for me, I had to start from scratch again with the real thing. (And being an older middlle class, not poor but not rich type, decided that if I was going to do model RRing again, it had to be better than the Lionel my grandfather gave me when I was 5.

I don't really know what to tell you here but since your question relates to steam, all I can say is be prepared for a lot of work for the running time you get in return, but also be prepared for the satisfaction you get when that genuine steam powered locomotive runs down the track pulling that consist, and the pride you get when you have learned how to make (and possibly build) that sucker yourself.

PLEASE visit http://www.steamup.com/

...and look into the discussion board there. Vance Bass is "'da man".

Regards and GOOD luck......WELCOME!
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 6:08 PM
mkblk:

I was wondering when someone would respond to this thread which I started in the spirit of idea exchange.

THANK YOU!

In the end, I guess it's all what you're into. I, like you, started with Lionel in the 40's as a child and continued with this until my pubescent years drove me to other urges. (For a while anyway.)

I laid model RRing aside for a significant while and then when I got back into it, now about 4 years ago, but into it with a FERVER.

I decided that, for me, I had to start from scratch again with the real thing. (And being an older middlle class, not poor but not rich type, decided that if I was going to do model RRing again, it had to be better than the Lionel my grandfather gave me when I was 5.

I don't really know what to tell you here but since your question relates to steam, all I can say is be prepared for a lot of work for the running time you get in return, but also be prepared for the satisfaction you get when that genuine steam powered locomotive runs down the track pulling that consist, and the pride you get when you have learned how to make (and possibly build) that sucker yourself.

PLEASE visit http://www.steamup.com/

...and look into the discussion board there. Vance Bass is "'da man".

Regards and GOOD luck......WELCOME!
  • Member since
    April 2003
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 6:15 PM
vsmith:

Boy is that a lame excuse if I ever heard one!

Since we moved here to NM and I'm waiting for next spring to start my layout, I've been trying to convince my spouse to let me lay down a plywood sheet on the dining room table just to run the Aster over the winter.

She's moaning and groaning over the smell and the oil mess on the carpet far more than the fire hazard! ("The dinner guests will think they've walked into a garage.")

Yeah right!

Truth is, she's about to let me do it. :-)

I haven't even started on the SR & RL she gave me for my birthday. It's still in the box. Un-assembled!

She really wants it.........I can tell. :-)
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 6:15 PM
vsmith:

Boy is that a lame excuse if I ever heard one!

Since we moved here to NM and I'm waiting for next spring to start my layout, I've been trying to convince my spouse to let me lay down a plywood sheet on the dining room table just to run the Aster over the winter.

She's moaning and groaning over the smell and the oil mess on the carpet far more than the fire hazard! ("The dinner guests will think they've walked into a garage.")

Yeah right!

Truth is, she's about to let me do it. :-)

I haven't even started on the SR & RL she gave me for my birthday. It's still in the box. Un-assembled!

She really wants it.........I can tell. :-)
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Posted by vsmith on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 9:48 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by vettbass

vsmith:

Boy is that a lame excuse if I ever heard one!

Since we moved here to NM and I'm waiting for next spring to start my layout, I've been trying to convince my spouse to let me lay down a plywood sheet on the dining room table just to run the Aster over the winter.

She's moaning and groaning over the smell and the oil mess on the carpet far more than the fire hazard! ("The dinner guests will think they've walked into a garage.")

Yeah right!

Truth is, she's about to let me do it. :-)

I haven't even started on the SR & RL she gave me for my birthday. It's still in the box. Un-assembled!

She really wants it.........I can tell. :-)


[:0]Lame excuse!!!!! , Weell, excuuuse me! (as Steve Martin would say)[}:)]

Did I mention that almost the entire layout is constructed under a 7' high storage loft and that half of the rear loop is going to be under a sculpta-mold (basicly paper mache) mountain.

So I dont know about you, but the tunnel and low overhead would not allow exhaust smoke to disperse and the steam exhaust inside the tunnel would eventually destroy the sculpta-mold hills and the dripping water and oil would damage the ballasted track. [xx(]

As you can see I have thought about this.[;)]

This layout is essentialy a traditional HO layout blown up to G proportions. with traditionally ballasted track over a traditional cork roadbed and traditional cheesy paper mache mountains. So I do not want to even think of running a live steamer in there. I CHOOSE not to run steam in there.

I want to build a small oval somewhere outside specifically for a live steamer but I havent been able to find a spot that isnt already claimed by a future or current project. Eventually I'll find a spot. So the closest I can get to steamer for the moment is pressing the steam button on the cloths iron. LOL[^]

   Have fun with your trains

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Posted by vsmith on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 9:48 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by vettbass

vsmith:

Boy is that a lame excuse if I ever heard one!

Since we moved here to NM and I'm waiting for next spring to start my layout, I've been trying to convince my spouse to let me lay down a plywood sheet on the dining room table just to run the Aster over the winter.

She's moaning and groaning over the smell and the oil mess on the carpet far more than the fire hazard! ("The dinner guests will think they've walked into a garage.")

Yeah right!

Truth is, she's about to let me do it. :-)

I haven't even started on the SR & RL she gave me for my birthday. It's still in the box. Un-assembled!

She really wants it.........I can tell. :-)


[:0]Lame excuse!!!!! , Weell, excuuuse me! (as Steve Martin would say)[}:)]

Did I mention that almost the entire layout is constructed under a 7' high storage loft and that half of the rear loop is going to be under a sculpta-mold (basicly paper mache) mountain.

So I dont know about you, but the tunnel and low overhead would not allow exhaust smoke to disperse and the steam exhaust inside the tunnel would eventually destroy the sculpta-mold hills and the dripping water and oil would damage the ballasted track. [xx(]

As you can see I have thought about this.[;)]

This layout is essentialy a traditional HO layout blown up to G proportions. with traditionally ballasted track over a traditional cork roadbed and traditional cheesy paper mache mountains. So I do not want to even think of running a live steamer in there. I CHOOSE not to run steam in there.

I want to build a small oval somewhere outside specifically for a live steamer but I havent been able to find a spot that isnt already claimed by a future or current project. Eventually I'll find a spot. So the closest I can get to steamer for the moment is pressing the steam button on the cloths iron. LOL[^]

   Have fun with your trains

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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 5:27 PM
vsmith:

You're right of course and I definitely bow to your superior wisdom.

I'm NOT however going to let my spouse even SEE this last post of yours tho. My Dinner Table project could die because of it.

I was looking forward to seeing you bash a Cheddar into one of those lovely SugarCane Hawaiian locos, but you do need to survive the experience by not croaking from the exhaust fumes in that garage. ... :-(

Let alone set it on fire. ... :-)
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 5:27 PM
vsmith:

You're right of course and I definitely bow to your superior wisdom.

I'm NOT however going to let my spouse even SEE this last post of yours tho. My Dinner Table project could die because of it.

I was looking forward to seeing you bash a Cheddar into one of those lovely SugarCane Hawaiian locos, but you do need to survive the experience by not croaking from the exhaust fumes in that garage. ... :-(

Let alone set it on fire. ... :-)
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, October 23, 2003 11:39 AM
vsmith:

I've tried to email you a couple of times back at the address we have been communicating over but it keeps coming back as unddeliverable. Is there a problem with the one you have been using?

(Mine is still good, send me a note again over the one you have.)

I've been trying to send you an article I did for the web about 3 years ago regarding the Walchaerts Valve Gear Assembly and how Aster applies it. With illustrations.

Regards,

LDH
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, October 23, 2003 11:39 AM
vsmith:

I've tried to email you a couple of times back at the address we have been communicating over but it keeps coming back as unddeliverable. Is there a problem with the one you have been using?

(Mine is still good, send me a note again over the one you have.)

I've been trying to send you an article I did for the web about 3 years ago regarding the Walchaerts Valve Gear Assembly and how Aster applies it. With illustrations.

Regards,

LDH
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Posted by markoles on Tuesday, November 4, 2003 3:55 PM
I guess I'll throw my hat in the ring on this one...

I like running my live steamer for the challenge of 'making it go'. There are those times, however, when I love to let my sparkies run too. I'm fortunate that I have some folks nearby that operate steam regularly, and I can pick their brains for advice.

You might be a Sparkie if you ask a Steamer where they put the smoke fluid....

Mark
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Posted by markoles on Tuesday, November 4, 2003 3:55 PM
I guess I'll throw my hat in the ring on this one...

I like running my live steamer for the challenge of 'making it go'. There are those times, however, when I love to let my sparkies run too. I'm fortunate that I have some folks nearby that operate steam regularly, and I can pick their brains for advice.

You might be a Sparkie if you ask a Steamer where they put the smoke fluid....

Mark
  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Smoggy L.A.
  • 10,737 posts
Posted by vsmith on Tuesday, November 4, 2003 6:12 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by vettbass

vsmith:

I've tried to email you a couple of times back at the address we have been communicating over but it keeps coming back as unddeliverable. Is there a problem with the one you have been using?

(Mine is still good, send me a note again over the one you have.)

I've been trying to send you an article I did for the web about 3 years ago regarding the Walchaerts Valve Gear Assembly and how Aster applies it. With illustrations.

Regards,

LDH


Thanks, I recieved the valve gear article, its real interesting, so it might just be my junkie America OFFline Server. I sent a reply when I downloaded it so I hope yoe recieved it. Also I havent been checking my messages at that e-mail address as often as i should, just too busy.

   Have fun with your trains

  • Member since
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Posted by vsmith on Tuesday, November 4, 2003 6:12 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by vettbass

vsmith:

I've tried to email you a couple of times back at the address we have been communicating over but it keeps coming back as unddeliverable. Is there a problem with the one you have been using?

(Mine is still good, send me a note again over the one you have.)

I've been trying to send you an article I did for the web about 3 years ago regarding the Walchaerts Valve Gear Assembly and how Aster applies it. With illustrations.

Regards,

LDH


Thanks, I recieved the valve gear article, its real interesting, so it might just be my junkie America OFFline Server. I sent a reply when I downloaded it so I hope yoe recieved it. Also I havent been checking my messages at that e-mail address as often as i should, just too busy.

   Have fun with your trains

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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, November 5, 2003 2:52 PM
markoles:

:-)

You might be a steamer if you ask a sparkie where the electric oil reservoir is
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, November 5, 2003 2:52 PM
markoles:

:-)

You might be a steamer if you ask a sparkie where the electric oil reservoir is
  • Member since
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Posted by mkblk on Friday, November 7, 2003 12:51 PM
vettbass:

[:D] I FINALLY GOT IT!!! The Ruby #7 is now officially the prime mover on the "Buttonwood Valley RR". Temporary track is down (a 16' by 5' oval) and operations should begin tomorrow (Saturday). Too bad my calendar isn't G scale!

Helpful tip: I'll be pulling Bachmann cars with their proprietary knuckle couplers. To adapt the Ruby, I removed the unnecessary Bachmann coupler components and discarded them. Then dropped a 1" screw through the link & pin hole with lots of flat washers (even between the two tabs on the L&P gizmo) inserting the coupler and finishing up with a flat washer, lock washer and nut. Job took about 10 minutes and cost 5 bucks (including the 2 knuckle couplers).

I better go back to work now... IT BETTER NOT RAIN TOMORROW!!

MK
Martin Kern
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Posted by mkblk on Friday, November 7, 2003 12:51 PM
vettbass:

[:D] I FINALLY GOT IT!!! The Ruby #7 is now officially the prime mover on the "Buttonwood Valley RR". Temporary track is down (a 16' by 5' oval) and operations should begin tomorrow (Saturday). Too bad my calendar isn't G scale!

Helpful tip: I'll be pulling Bachmann cars with their proprietary knuckle couplers. To adapt the Ruby, I removed the unnecessary Bachmann coupler components and discarded them. Then dropped a 1" screw through the link & pin hole with lots of flat washers (even between the two tabs on the L&P gizmo) inserting the coupler and finishing up with a flat washer, lock washer and nut. Job took about 10 minutes and cost 5 bucks (including the 2 knuckle couplers).

I better go back to work now... IT BETTER NOT RAIN TOMORROW!!

MK
Martin Kern
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, November 7, 2003 3:21 PM
mkblk:

Aw go ahead. Run that Ruby out in the rain. Especially if it's cold outside. The steam plume from the boiler will be quite a bit more impressive. Try it.

:-)
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, November 7, 2003 3:21 PM
mkblk:

Aw go ahead. Run that Ruby out in the rain. Especially if it's cold outside. The steam plume from the boiler will be quite a bit more impressive. Try it.

:-)
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Posted by mkblk on Saturday, November 8, 2003 1:35 PM
vettbass:

[:)][:)][:)] Well, now I'm officially a member of the burnt finger club. Took about 30 seconds before that happened! That little Ruby builds steam fast on a downgrade (only about 1/2 percent) but fast enough that she'd jump the track if I didn't WHOAA! it with my finger! Became easier to manage once I hooked up her tender and a combine. First job after the first run was to level the track.

Got about 10 laps (500') on her first run. Maybe a little more, was too excited to keep accurate count. [:D] And you were right about the steam plume... really cool! It didn't rain, but sure got cold as heck.

Well, time to get back out there and fire her up again. This time on more level track. Ought to allow me to watch from one location... enough exercise for a day!

MK [:D][:D][:D][:D]
Martin Kern
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Posted by mkblk on Saturday, November 8, 2003 1:35 PM
vettbass:

[:)][:)][:)] Well, now I'm officially a member of the burnt finger club. Took about 30 seconds before that happened! That little Ruby builds steam fast on a downgrade (only about 1/2 percent) but fast enough that she'd jump the track if I didn't WHOAA! it with my finger! Became easier to manage once I hooked up her tender and a combine. First job after the first run was to level the track.

Got about 10 laps (500') on her first run. Maybe a little more, was too excited to keep accurate count. [:D] And you were right about the steam plume... really cool! It didn't rain, but sure got cold as heck.

Well, time to get back out there and fire her up again. This time on more level track. Ought to allow me to watch from one location... enough exercise for a day!

MK [:D][:D][:D][:D]
Martin Kern
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, November 11, 2003 12:06 PM
Here's a link to a nice photo of an Aster Hudson running in 40 degree weather.

http://www.steamup.com/wwwboard/messages/2339.html

This is from the message board on the SIG site.

Steamers be sure to check this site out in general.
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, November 11, 2003 12:06 PM
Here's a link to a nice photo of an Aster Hudson running in 40 degree weather.

http://www.steamup.com/wwwboard/messages/2339.html

This is from the message board on the SIG site.

Steamers be sure to check this site out in general.

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