IBLS Journal 1943

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The BLS Meet was held at the New England Live Steamers Danvers Track. The meet was written up in The Model Engineer.


The New England "Live Steamers"

The Model Engineer

February 17, 1944

That very active body of locomotive enthusiasts, the New England "Live Steamers," held their eleventh Annual Meeting at Danvers, Massachusetts, last autumn, and we have now received from the President, Mr. Lester D. Friend, some notes on the performances and visitors on that occasion. Although the number of States represented showed a little falling off, due to the prevailing restrictions on transport and leisure time, the meeting was a great success and the enthusiasm for "live steam" is obviously as strong as ever. Mr. Friend writes:

"Ninety-four 'live steamers' registered, eighteen engines were on the track operating, nine-chassis in different stages of construction were on exhibit in the garage, plus Fred Smith's 1-inch 'Pacific', which was certainly a beauty complete. Fred Wise brought on his steam tractor from Cleveland, Ohio, and operated it both days, which added to the pleasure of all the viewers.

We had only thriteen States registered this year against eighteen in other years, and the farthest out were Larsen from Chicago, Wise from Ohio, SUnderland from Indiana, Rev. John D. Mahar from Catonsville, Maryland, Dan Russell from Delaware, a large group from New York City and New Jersey, several Connecticut and Rhode Island men and, of course, our old-timer Gene Stevens from Norway, Maine. I think the fellow who had the best time was Charles Zabriskie, who operated continually both days, through rainstorms and all.

All engines operated so well and so much that it would hardly be fair to set out any one as being better than any other, but there certainly was plenty of operation. We wished that our second loop was completed, several times, as there were often as many as five engines trailing each other, and each one trying to get a free way. We missed a few old-timers who, of course, are tied up in ward work, but several engines were shipped in by express and the members came by train, which seemed to answer the gas shortage situation pretty well.

We had one of our best movie parties of the ten meets, which was contributed to the fact that Dave Warriner sent in movies on 'Peter' from New Orleans, that splendid 1-1/2 inch sclae yard goat; also, charles Chovil sent in the complete set of records of the Souther Cal 'Live Steamers' from 1940 on through 1943. This also included the Grizzily Flats railroad, which was very interesting. We can certainly thank Charlie for some very beautiful coloured movies. Also, A. R. Horner's five films were splendidly received. There were several shots of his own road, plus some wonderful pictures of the Western Pacific and the Union Pacific up around Donner Summit and Truckee Pass, also down through the North Plat country down through Omaha. The twelve- and fifteen-foot show pictures certainly opened everybody's eyes, and the N.E.L.S. and the Brotherhood certainly thank these different gentlemen for their splendid thought in sending the films East to us. There were some fifty-five railroaders and their wives who viewed these pictures at my home Saturday evening and, of course, we mustn't forget that splendid fish chowder that Mrs. Purinton put on as the Saturday night feast. That is always a good seller."


Some of the locomotives awaiting their turns at the N.E.L.S. meeting at Danvers.
An interesting 3/4 inch scale old-time 4-2-2 built by Donald Benoit, of Norwood, Rhode island.

Preferred Gauges

"Preferred Live" Steam Gauges

The Model Craftsman, September 1943

"In my travels about the country," says Lester Friend, "I find that Montreal, New England, New York and New Jersey are all 3/4 inch railroaders, who have graduated from 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch. I find that the Chicago and Ohio area is also 3/4 inch. Passing over the Mississippi -- Dallas, Texas is 1 inch, Los Angeles is about half and half, 3/4 inch and 1 inch scale. The San Diego district is all 3/4 inch scale. Denver, Colorado, is all 3/4 inch scale. San Francisco and Oakland are 1/2 inch, but gradually shifting to 3/4 inch. Portland, Oregon, is definitely made up of 1 inch scale fans, and Seattle, Washington, is 3/4 inch scale.

"This gives a rough idea of how the scales are running indifferent parts of the country and, of course, it shows a decided popularity, for 3/4 inch scale. This, naturally, is for two reasons: The engines are large enough to give a person satisfaction in operation, and do a good man-hauling job. Also, they are not too large for one or two men to pick up and put in their automobile, and go around to visit other 'live' steamers."