Chris Schieck

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Forest & Western RR

Chris Schieck is the owner and operator of the Forest & Western RR.


1968 & 1969

Chris Schieck posted the following video on, Feb 26, 2023

In 1968 and 1969, I was beginning to build a live steam locomotive and cars. In those days, ready-to-run locomotives and cars were not readily as they are today. Almost all locomotives and cars were constructed by their owners. They either made or purchased castings, machined them, and fabricated the other parts. I visited other live steamers whenever I could to learn how they built the things they did and in some cases to enjoy running them. Many long-lasting friendships were developed in the process, and it continues today. This video is made from 8mm home movies (sorry, no sound) and showcases some early live steamers' efforts. Constructing a live steam locomotive is typically a long term activity, but the satisfaction of having and operating a machine built "from the ground up" is most satisfying.

The video contains the following content (Copyright Forest & Western Productions MMXXIII, used with permission):

  • Milt Fick, D&RG 476, Denver, Colorado
  • Omaha Area Live Steamers, Papillion, Nebraska
    • Bob Recic Driving Ron Beckman's 1 inch scale Pacific
    • Chris Schieck driving Beckman's Engine pulling Chris' 1.6 inch scale C&S Caboose
    • Omaha Zoo RR - Bob Recic driving Zoo's 30 inch gauge Crown 4-4-0
  • J. B. Squires' 3/4 inch scale, Colorado Springs
    • Chris Schieck driving J.B.'s 3/4 inch Atlantic on J.B.'s Railroad in Colorado Springs, Colorado
    • J.B. drives his Atlantic. He built several 3/4 inch scale engines including a 4-6-6-4. All were fired with gasoline dripped into a pan in the firebox
  • Nebraska State Fair, Lincoln, Nebraska


Chris Schieck posted the following video on, Feb 25, 2023

During the 1970's I visited several live steam tracks taking 8mm movies (sorry, no sound). This was in a the day when most live steam railroad equipment was built by the owner or club rather than being purchased. (I made serious progress on my own live steam locomotive during this period, learning whatever I could from other builders. Old timers in the live steam hobby may find these shots kindle memories, others may find them interesting and, hopefully, a bit inspiring. Visits included Carl Purinton's Boxford Outer Belt Railroad in Massachusetts, Eric Thompson's Redwood Valley Railway in California, The Pacific Northwest Live Steamers in Mollala, Oregon, and several Chesapeake and Allegheny Live Steamers (CALS) meets in the Baltimore area.

The video contains the following content (Copyright Forest & Western Productions MMXXIII, used with permission):

  • 1970's Live Steam Purinton, Thompson, Schieck, PNLS, Peabody, CALS, Brace, Holt, and Hamilton's
    • First, an all-too-brief shot of Carl Purinton, pioneer live steamer and 1932 founder of the BLS on his Boxford Outer Belt RR
    • In 1970, Eric Thompson was constructing his 15 inch gauge Redwood Valley Railway near Oakland, California. It still exists. Eric is seen aligning track (white shirt).
    • 1970 also saw the first operation on compressed air of Chris Schieck's scratch built DSP&P 2-6-0, a major milestone in engine construction.
    • A CALS get together at John Brace's Beltsville & Orinda RR was enjoyed by CALS members and local friends. Loop to loop on a suburban lot!
      • John is seen in the red and black plaid shirt driving his powerful LMS 0-6-0.
    • We jump to the west coast and the Pacific Northwest Live Steamers (PNLS) where Charlie Peabody drives his powerful 0-6-0 and president Harry Harvey is brakeman.
    • Back in Maryland, another CALS meet visits Pliny Holt's 1 inch scale live steam railroad. Pliny was inside, showing his extensive TT layout.
    • We finish this Live Steam collection with another CALS meet. This one at Bruce and Sparky Hamilton's railroad in Potomac, Maryland.

1970s PNLS & FLLS

Chris Schieck posted the following video n, Mar 4, 2023

Continuing the series of visits to early live steam tracks digitized from my 8mm home movies, this video covers more of the Pacific Northwest Live Steamers (7 1/2" and 4 3/4" gauge) and the Finger Lakes Live Steamers (7 1/4" gauge) in upstate New York. Unfortunately, I do not recall the names of the gentlemen in the FLLS video except for my brother Dick seen riding the train. As with the earlier videos in this series, one must imagine the sounds as the film is silent. Much of the equipment seen in these video survives today, occasionally turning up on the YouTube, Backyard Railroading, or Discover Live Steam web sites.

The video contains the following content (Copyright Forest & Western Productions MMXXIII, used with permission):

  • More Live Steam in the 1970's
  • We begin at the Pacific Northwest Live Steamers track at Shady Dell in Molalla, Oregon
  • Frank Ryder prepares his Atlantic as George Burton passes by driving his Milwaukee Road Electric
  • Charlie Peabody follow George driving his oil-fired 0-6-0 pulling a large load of passenger
  • 1 inch scale was well represented by this handsome 4-8-4
  • Tom Nicholson joins Frank as Frank fires up his engine
  • President Harry Harvey mans the souvenir stand. Want to by a share of stock?
  • Frank got his engine running and is ready for passengers. There were plenty this day!
  • Let's take a ride with Frank
  • Tom Nicholson comes by driving Harry's J.W. Bowker engine
  • Frank invited Chris Schieck for a turn at the throttle
  • Harry takes Gene Domaleski for a ride on the Shady Dell work motor
  • We briefly visited the Finger Lakes Live Steamers, then building their track at Marengo, New York

Koster's First GP-7

Chris Schieck wrote, May 2014:

Chris Schieck's latest motive power addition is Bill Koster's first GP-7, built in 1970. It received new motors and control system in the Forest & Western shops during 2011. This is the most powerful engine on the Forest & Western RR.
I looked over the IBLS website and saw a piece on Bill Koster and his first GP-7 in 1970. I own and operate that same engine (I replaced its motors and controls). That first GP-7 had no doors or louvers on the long hood as his later Geeps did. I joined the BLS back in the Carl Purinton days.
I contacted Bill Koster regarding mechanical and electrical details of the engine after I had purchased it from an estate in Indiana. I later corresponded and spoke with him at a steam meet in Florida. Bill told a story of how the engine was damaged during his visit to the west coast, repaired and sold while he was still in Oregon. It wound up spending most of its life out west (thus the SP black widow paint scheme) before being sold to a fellow in Indianapolis who ran it on tracks in Michigan and probably elsewhere. I believe the damage occurred at the PNWLS Shady Dell track near Portland, OR. Bill's story was particularly interesting, as I had been an associate member of the PNWLS the late 1970s and 1980s. Several pleasant sessions were spent with PNWLS president Harry Harvey and others in the club during my several business trips to Oregon and Washington. Small world! Great hobby!