Through the Time Portal

By Guest Contributor September 29, 2016 15:32

railtown-number-28

Through the Time Portal

By Mike McReynolds, Retired Engineer

You would never suspect it to look at me, but I am a time traveler. No, I don’t wander through the years in a Tardis machine like Dr. Who, nor did I get a glimpse of mankind’s future in an ornate chair device like H. G. Wells. No, my time machine was built from 72 tons of iron and steel by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1922. Every weekend for almost 10 years, this low tech behemoth would transport me to another era that had not yet heard of atomic power, jet planes or television and computers.

This amazing assembly of rivets, bolts and castings with the number 28 on its flank was kept in plain sight at Railtown 1897 in Jamestown. I don’t think most people knew about its wondrous power to travel back to the 1920’s. When I climbed into the cab of this antique marvel, the modern world would disappear.

There were large gauges to watch, valves to open and close and heavy levers to push and pull to operate this old school  transport. There were no flashing lights or computer screens to watch, no rows of buttons to push, switches to click or any other of the gadgets that Hollywood liked to fill their contraptions with. There was no electric whir when you started this marvel, only the sound of a striking match and the low rumble as the oil lit off in the firebox. No multicolored readouts told you what was happening in the belly of this beast, only the soft hiss of steam indicated it was coming to life.

It has been some time now since I operated this machine on a regular basis, but the passing years have not dimmed the memories of time spent wandering through the mist of a simpler age. My time machine is now in my head and all I have to do is close my eyes and be immediately transported back to those pleasant days when I was in charge of a real live time machine.

 

 

By Guest Contributor September 29, 2016 15:32
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