• A Crazy Day on the A&A!

  • All about the Arcade & Attica Railroad
All about the Arcade & Attica Railroad

Moderator: Benjamin Maggi

  by Mountcastle

I decided to drive to Arcade today to take some video footage of No. 18. When I arrived at 1:30 expecting to catch the departure of the 2:00 train, imagine my surprise to see no train at all! I knew I had the schedule right because I verified it beforehand: first train at 11:30, second at 2:00, third at 4:00. So it was instantly clear that something was amiss. As if the absent train weren't enough of a clue, a mayhem-beset depot mobbed with confused, angry, bewildered, and frustrated passengers gave the game away.

Making my way about the station, I could hear patrons on cell phones reporting that "the train's going to be really late," and "train broke down I guess," and "the train's broken so we can't go on it today," and so on, and so on, and so on. By the time I made my way to the ticket counter to ask what had happened, I'd already gotten the picture and I decided to spare whomever was behind the booth a question she'd surely been already asked about 300 times already.

I assumed that it was No. 18 that had broken down, so it didn't surprise me to see her parked in the yard in front of the shed. What did surprise me was that no steam at all was coming forth...she was completely cold. What also surprised me was the sight of two empty coaches in the front of the yard. Why would that be on such a busy day?

The answer came from Mandy at the gift shop who informed me that No. 18 did not run at all today. It was No. 112 that had broken down at Curriers. No. 111 was then dispatched to rescue the train, but was unable to pull all six cars, so it had to make two trips to rescue the train. What a mess. Mandy's answer to my question, "so, how are you today?" summed it all up: "On a scale of 1 to 10...three."

Driving up to Curriers, I found 112, sitting there, lonely and abandoned. What to do? Take a video of it and post it to YouTube, of course...


And I managed to get some nice videos of No. 111 in action:





Last edited by Mountcastle on Sun Oct 11, 2009 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by Mountcastle
In addition to being a crazy day, it was also a beautiful, crisp, Autumn day in Arcade; and while 111 was away with the train, I took a walk back to the rail yard to capture some footage of No. 18 and the romantic ruin of Old No. 14 in front of the engine house...


  by Benjamin Maggi
What a shame! Hopefully the passengers will understand that things do happen. It sounds like a tough situation all around.
  by Mountcastle
My sense of the situation was that there was a mixed bag of reactions: some people were quite upset and raised a fuss, opting in the end to storm off; others were understanding and good-natured about it, electing to simply go with the flow and turn lemons into lemonade. Alot of folks were asking for directions to local restaurants so I imagine a few of them were taken off guard by unusually large crowds at 2:00.

I, myself, had a marvelous burger and fries in the little burger stand (the name escapes me) on Main Street just next to the tracks, as I have done in the past. That place, unfortunately, did not benefit from the hungry crowds: nobody else seemed to notice that it was there. So close to the railroad; so far from success.

I'm also surprised that so few people explore the place. If you're disappointed about not being able to see a steam engine, I would think that logic would tell you it must be around, somewhere, and that curiosity would lead you a bit further down the track to discover where it might be. No. Not another soul followed me to the rail yard as I made my way down; I had the place all to myself. Not that I'm complaining. I'm just surprised.

A copy of the Arcadia book was on display in the gift shop, so that was fun to take a look at. Lots of photos of the railroad that aren't often seen. Apparently it will be available in November. Can't wait.
  by MarcMeoff
The Nickel Plate Road Historical Society was in town on Friday with a trip for their convention that was held in Grand Island. They were supposed to have a steam photo freight, but obviously, No. 18 couldn't make it, so they had double headed diesels instead.

Being a railfan group, they had a better understanding of the trials and tribulations of running a steam engine, and no one seemed too upset about the lack of steam.

Here they are leaving Arcade. Hopefully No. 18's troubles aren't too serious.
  by Mountcastle
Oh, well that's fun. At least, if they couldn't have steam, they got both alternatives, together.

Nice shot. by the way.
  by Benjamin Maggi
[quote="Mountcastle"]I, myself, had a marvelous burger and fries in the little burger stand (the name escapes me) on Main Street just next to the tracks, as I have done in the past. That place, unfortunately, did not benefit from the hungry crowds: nobody else seemed to notice that it was there. So close to the railroad; so far from success.

I have eaten at this place before and highly recommend it. While railfanning one day I talked with the owner one-on-one for almost 40 minutes. The place is a labor of love, the prices are VERY reasonable, and the service is nice. And the food tastes great. I mention this because if you are looking for a place to eat after the first train or before the 2nd train, you can look through the windows and watch the train pass by.

I even discussed moving to Arcade to work there (because I have a background and experience in food and restaurant management) just so I could watch the freight trains and passenger trains while working! Oh well.

Hopefully #18 will come back soon. If someone knows what happened to #18, can they drop me a PM?
  by pablo
I was going to ask the same question. What's wrong with the engine?

Dave Becker
  by BSOR Patarak
18 had a steam valve crack in the cab allowing steam to escape in the cab last weekend. Thankfully no crew members were hurt, but it does show just how dangerous steam can be under pressure and the importance of good maintenance. The broken valve was removed and while reassembling the replacement valve it was discovered that the main casting where all of the steam lines out of the boiler attach in the cab had a crack in it. The valve is the shut off atop the boiler to the main dry pipe or supply of steam to all accessories on the locomotive. A new piece is being located, or more likely fabricated and the engine should return to service as soon as it is completed.

As for 112, this problem will take a little longer to repair. It has a serious problem with one axle. It is being determined how to move 112 to a location where it can be repaired. It will require removing the truck out from under the locomotive to access the axles. Needless to say it is a labor intensive procedure.
  by Mountcastle
I'm relieved to hear that No. 18s issues are temporary, but what a shame about 112. I can just imagine how much the cost of both of these repairs is going to impact the A&As future projects. Fortunately, however, they've accomplished so much in a short period of time that they've provided enough improvements to impress visitors and to encourage repeat visits. No matter what anyone says, aesthetic improvements are always money well spent. A little paint and polish, a little flash and fanfare, goes a long way. And the Arcade & Attica is getting that part right again. It's doing alot of things right again, in fact.

And Ben, you and I are in agreement with respect to the burger stand next to the tracks: their food is wonderful. Great burgers, excellent fries. I always order a large fries, habitually, always forgetting that their large order of fries could feed a small army. Fortunately their fries actually taste like potatoes and not like grease. And they sell ice cream! Everybody likes ice cream. A shame more people don't notice it; it's so easy to walk right by, though, without even realizing it's there.
  by Benjamin Maggi
Well, #111 saved the railroad (along with #110) during the 1940s, and little #111 might have to do the same thing again! Boy I love that little 44-tonner!
  by litz
I've never played with one of the little GE critters ... GNRR's fleet (and therefore the BRSR's fleet) consists entirely of EMD road-switchers, ranging from GP10s up to GP38s ...

- litz
  by BSOR Patarak
Locomotive #18 will be out of service until the next season. The valve body that cracked is being fabricated. Upon trying to repair the old cast part, several minor defects were found. It was decided to have a new one made. The machining involved is going to take more time, so the final two weekends will be diesel.

The good news on that is that 112 had it's axle replaced and is back in full service. It is a credit to the hard working crews who have done so much in such a short amount of time. From having to drive to Ohio to get a replacement axle, to securing the locomotive to get it back to Arcade, to lifting it and removing the truck assembly to actually replace it. Very impressive for less than a weeks time!
  by Benjamin Maggi
That IS very impressive. Congratulations.