Doug Alkire in his Own Words
I was elected to the first Board of Directors as a director in late 1964 for the 1965-1966 term. I served as a director for a total of six full two-years terms -- 12 years in total -- the most service yet of anyone in the club.
I also served as Chairman of the Facility Planning Group from 1966 through 1986 - a total of 20 years. This position was my favorite, and I proposed a number of projects to help the club grow. The first was the "Disney loop" around the south side of the facility. "Webb Yard" came next. This was followed by the 18-foot long transfer bridge and the 18-foot long parallel steaming bays to give LALS the ability to host BLS and IBLS meets every five years from 1965 through 1995.
Our methods showed the other live steam clubs how to do it, and the British Columbia Live Steamers built a huge new facility and hosted the 2000 IBLS Meet. There has been no IBLS meets since. I proposed the extension of trackage for the 7.5" gauge track in 1966, but it was not until 1985 that the gold spike ceremony was held at the West End.
I proposed the first Phil West car storage shed at the West End of the facility for the 16 riding cards purchased from "Buss" Sutch for $80.00 each and the first track rental shed in the southwestern corner of the facility, where riding stock could be stored with locked doors.
The transfer bridge gave access to the steaming bays, and many LALS members brought new equipment because storage was available, and hauling rolling stock from home to LALS was no longer needed. This, in turn, gave a larger roster of engineers to haul the public so that the burden on the smaller previous group was greatly eased. Also, the list of suppliers increased, which increased interest in our hobby. I was very happy to have joined the hobby early enough to have a part in the growth.
1" scale B&O P7 built by Doug Alkire. This engine was featured in Joe Nelsons book "So You Want to Build a Live Steam Locomotive" and there are many photos and descriptions of it there if you want to have a look. Doug spent 1,200 hours creating original drawings and a 40 page operation and service manual with photos and diagrams
Old 5300 Rolls Again
It took Doug Alkire seven and a half years - 13,600 hours, he figures - to build the one-twelfth scale model of the President Washington. Old 5300 was one of the "presidential" series of locomotives that hauled passengers for the Baltimore & Ohio when steam was king of the road.
Many of the parts were fashioned from scrap - blocks of aluminum, steel, brass and cast iron. Some pieces of steel were welded, then shaped with a file. Careful filing made parts look like castings.
A Southern California mechanical engineer, Alkire used hand tools, an old lathe and an arc welder for most of the work. Side rods and gears were machined from hot-rolled steel bar stock, finished, polished and case-hardened.
Like the locomotive, the tender was constructed with economy in mind. it was fashioned from scrap and surplus stock.
Its palmetto green paint and gold leaf lettering add to the authenticity. In addition to a coal compartment, the tender contains a welded stainless-steel tank that holds enough distilled water to keep the President Washington rolling for an hour and a half.
Alkire runs his engine in a public park that has track and other facilities for replica railroading. That's where he spends many an afternoon with fellow enthusiasts. It's a great way to let off steam.
Our friend Doug Alkire has passed away. He had gone to the post office to mail some drawings to a friend in Australia when he became dizzy and confused. They called the paramedics and Doug passed away shortly after, apparently from a stroke. Doug was 92 years old. Doug Alkire was a long time member of Los Angeles Live Steamers and was known for his beautiful scratch built one inch scale Baltimore And Ohio P7 Pacific. Also for his contributions to Joe Nelsons book "So You Want To Build A Live Steam Locomotive". Doug had made friends all over the world with his correspondence, as he was a prolific letter writer. Doug preferred pen and paper to E Mail. As he touched many, he will be greatly missed. So long dear friend.
Tidbits from Chaski
- There was a committee formed to set up Wheel Standards led by Doug Alkire.
- When Doug Alkire brought stuff for his Pres. Washington home he hid it behind a telephone pole just down the street from his house. Worked for awhile but (his wife) Daisey found out and then started to make deals for stuff she wanted.
- Doug Alkire's 1" scale P7 drawings are absolutely incredible and encompass every little blob and bit. To those of us that knew Doug, this comes as no surprise as he was a truly amazing fellow. The P7 is a most beautiful locomotive and it would be nice to see more of them.
- Doug was the best of us livesteamers. He was also shining example of what a great contribution one man can have on a hobby.
- I talked to Doug a few times and he always had time to talk to me and answer questions. I asked Doug once about his work on the "Mesa Grande & Westerns" post 1970's loop and trackwork, and he said he did all that work because he had always wanted to build a "mountain railroad". With that work he certainly accomplished his goal.
- Dougs efforts on the MG&W ROW are an example of how much work one very old man and one very old Power Shovel can have on a miniature railroad that are not even his.
- I spoke to Doug about his participation in the "So You Want To Build A Livesteam Locomotive" book last year (Fall 2007) and he said it was a LALS newsletter that started it all. I believe J.F Nelson was the club's secretary and put it together with Bill Fitt. Apparently Bill asked the club members if he could use the articles in a book, the rest is history. It was all donated materials and that no one made any money from it.
- I met Doug for the first time when I was still in high school..... Over 40-years ago. I had driven over to LALS to buy a copy of the latest Little Engines catalog. (Back in those days, Irene Lewis would give copies of the latest LE catalogs to LALS for them to sell) I took my camera with me on that day so I could take a few pictures while there. And my first time conversation with Doug, who was also into photography, was about cameras..... Not Live Steam. Go figure!
- Doug Alkire was one the most cordial people I've ever met. Always willing to give of his time to help or answer questions and to assist anyone with a design problem.... Live Steam or otherwise. And you could be assured the answer he gave you would be straight on.
- Doug was an aerospace engineer at North American/Rockwell, who worked on many projects.... From the B-1 bomber landing gear to the Space Shuttle's main engine mounts.
- Doug was 55 at the time the photo was published in J.F.Nelson's book. He looked younger... I always marveled at the work he did on his locomotive "President" and gained many ideas from his construction photos and his way of fabrication.
- "The 5300: Doug Alkire's 1" scale 4-6-2", Gene Hackley, Live Steam Magazine, Jun 1968
- "Coal Facts", I. Douglas Alkire, Characteristics of coal and pratical hints in using coal in a locomotive, Live Steam Magazine, May 1973
- "Locomotive and Car Handling Dolly", I. Douglas Alkire, Live Steam Magazine, Aug 1973
- "... Times Velocity Squared", I. Douglas Alkire, Discussion on kinetic energy, Live Steam Magazine, Oct 1973
- "Hiss, Gurgle and Drip: Injector Operations", I. Douglas Alkire, "Live Steam Magazine", Apr 1974
- "Observations on Rail Wear", I. Douglas Alkire, Live Steam Magazine, Jul 1974
- "Turnout Design and Fabrication Part 1: Design and Layout", I. Douglas Alkire, Live Steam Magazine, Sept 1974
- "Turnout Design and Fabrication Part 2: Fabrication", I. Douglas Alkire, Live Steam Magazine, Oct 1974
- "Turnout Design and Fabrication Part 3: Frog Assembly Drawings", I. Douglas Alkire, Live Steam Magazine, Nov 1974
- "Turnout Design and Fabrication Part 4:", I. Douglas Alkire, Live Steam Magazine, Dec 1974
- "Turnout Design and Fabrication Part 5: Switch Points", I. Douglas Alkire, Live Steam Magazine, Jan 1975
- "Turnout Design and Fabrication Part 6: Switch Points", I. Douglas Alkire, Live Steam Magazine, Feb 1975
- "1975 BLS Meet", I. Douglas Alkire, Live Steam Magazine, Aug 1975
- "Turnout Design Consideration: In Depth Look", I. Douglas Alkire, Live Steam MagazineApr 1982
- "Grade Indicating Tool", I. Douglas Alkire, Live Steam Magazine, Sept/Oct 1992
- "Mesa Grande & Western Railroad", I. Douglas Alkire, Live Steam Magazein, Mar/Apr 1994
- "Descanso Gardens Railroad", I. Douglas Alkire, Live Steam Magazine, Jan/Feb 1995
- "So You Want To Build A Live Steam Locomotive", Live Steam Joseph F Nelson, Jun 1978