IBLS Journal 1954

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BLS Meet at SCLS

The Brotherhood of Live Steamers meet was held September 4, 5 and 6, 1954, hosted by the Southern California Live Steamers.

BLS Meet Report

by Carl Purinton

The Miniature Locomotive, November-December 1954

The Southern California Live Steamers were, this year, the very gracious hosts to the Brotherhood of Live Steamers at their 22nd annual meeting. The meeting was held at their track in Lomita on September 4, 5 and 6, 1954.

It has always been customary when the meeting has been held in the eastern section of the country to say how lucky that the weather was good or how unfortunate that the weather man produced a good soaking rain. However, one of the good features of a Southern California meeting is that the weather is always good at certain seasons and this year was no exception. Neither too hot nor too cold, but just right.

Plenty of willing help was on hand for loading and unloading locomotives. Also, the location of the track in its relation to the driveway made this often difficult job very much easier. As the registration stand was alongside the driveway, both of these features worked in well together. Both of these tasks are most often very thankless ones and it is to the credit of the Southern California Live Steamers members that they were pleasantly taken care of.

The hydro testing of all boilers was a must before any of the locomotives were permitted to operate. This hydro testing is a very important safety measure and it is creditable that it was mandatory and impartially carried out.

An engine house and a turntable are a troublesome combination to handle at times. They all seem to present problems in a bunch to both turntable operators and engine-men, but these places ran all right as patience was used by all concerned. The compressed air, the electric outlets and the hoses were well placed and the compressed air was a big help in raising steam. More and more locos seem to be fitted for this very good way of steaming up.

The switch-men should also come in for their share of praise, as they were the ones responsible for controlling the rail traffic and, when the photographers and interested spectators are present, theirs is no easy job.

As almost everyone no doubt knows, the Southern California Live Steamers' track is laid on the ground. The turntable is in a raised pit, so to speak, and the inbound and outbound lead tracks come to it by means of ramps, the inbound ramp being very much less steep.

Ample track space on the table tracks made storage and steam raising easy. One handy feature of these tracks are the shelves that have been provided. These shelves were especially useful for tools, oil cans, coal and the usual odd stuff that we carry with us to an operating meet.

The ground level track provided two loops of approximately 600 feet around (this is an estimate). The outer loop is laid to two gauges, 4-3/4 inch and 7-1/2 inch, and the inner also to two track gauges, 3-1/2 inch and 4-3/4 inch. If memory serves me right, there were two crossovers and very definitely there was one.

Mrs. Paul and Mrs. Piper deserve a word of praise for the fine manner in which they handled the lunch counter. I don't imagine that too many realize the immense amount of work and the careful planning involved. Even though Live Steam may be one's chief thought at such a meeting, the inner man cannot be denied too long without discomfort and on these occasions the lunch counter was a happy place to turn to. I am sure that all Live Steamers who were there will join me in a sincere "thank you" to Mrs. Paul and Mrs. Piper.

Mr. and Mrs. Paul held open house at their home in Inglewood. I did not get there until late, having got lost and underestimated the distance, but did enjoy the movies and the refreshments. Everyone had a good time and, as usual, it was late before all had left.

The locomotives, traction engines and all the other exhibits made up into the most varied and interesting collection that any of us have as yet seen. While the modern type of locomotives is impressive due to the massiveness, the later ones surely lack the color and simplicity of the old time locomotives. Everything seems to add up to the fact that the old timers are coming back by means of our small locomotives. In this angle of historical Live Steaming, the West Coast is way ahead of the rest of the country. At Lomita this was especially apparent as Mark Pipe, William Cooper and William Grower had their engines there. These locomotives presented an entertaining trio as they were respectively a 7-1/2 inch gauge 4-4-0, a 4-3/4 inch gauge 4-4-0 and a 3-1/2 inch gauge 4-8-0 of Central Pacific fame.

Last Run at Marblehead

The Purinton family moves from Marblehead, Mass to Boxford, Mass. Ground was broken and the first sections of track laid at the Boxford residence during the summer. The last run at Marblehead is held by the family on December 26.