1968 Travels Of The CHITWOOD Steam RR Crew
Courtesy of Paul W. Chitwood, 212 S. 7th St., Conway Springs, Kansas 67031 Paul W. Chitwood, engineer and fireman of Conway Springs, Kansas. The picture was taken in the summer of 1966 at a Wichita, Kansas shopping center. 12'' gauge, 4-4-0, Great Plains
Paul W. Chitwood
Conway Springs, Kansas 67031
You wouldn't think that a small steam train, a 12'
gauge, 4-4-0, coal-burning GREAT PLAINS & WESTERN RR, with
portable 8 lb. rails and 4 passenger cars, could go very far in one
season! But its crew has, just 2,476 miles so far, mostly going to
and from Steam Traction Shows and there are a couple events
we'll want to attend before Thanksgiving which should add close
to 400 miles of pulling the train-trailer behind our old
Power-Glide, 6 cyl. Chevy.
May I introduce my Crew without whom I would not attempt to
operate. My son, John Paul, age 13, Trainmaster who started to
learning to operate Steam at the age of 10; two nephews, John Fred,
age 17, Road-master and David, age 15, our Passenger Agent.
You'll notice that when I holler 'John' that I've
got the attention of 2/3ds of my crew - comes in mighty handy at
times. On arrival at a Show or other event, we all becomes just
'Gandy-Dancers', bolting the 18 sections of track together
but that is a story by itself since if you're off a 1/2' at
a joint, the next joint is several inches out of line and this is
compounded all the way around. The train operation is fun - the
track laying is just so much work before the fun begins.
Our real traveling began Wed., July 31, 1968, when Bob Pearson,
Kansas City, Kansas phoned down that his locomotive, due to
carelessly parked auto, could not make it to the 11th Annual
Reunion of Heart of America Antique Steam Engine & Model Assn.,
McLouth, Kansas, the coming week end. Could we make it? With David
and John Paul, we departed Thursday evening to make the 238 mile
drive. Bob's engine is a 16' gauge, 4-6-2, that normally
operates Sundays only during the Summer at the Agriculture Hall of
Fame and during the McLouth Show. Did we get to operate that
week-end? Nope! Heavy rain delayed the Show for two weeks. Stored
the train and drove home.
'A Man's Heart may be in the right place, but that
doesn't help if his head is a wooden block.'
The whole crew arrived for the Aug. 16-17-18 Show but was
delayed laying rail until a hill could be bulldozed off. The sofe
dirt was a headache causing numerous derailments; the Roadmaster
was kept quite busy shoring up the ties until just before quitting
time Sunday. In that we were to run again at George Jackson's
Ft. Scott Show in October we were invited to store the train in
Caroline Sultz's bam, just north of Lawrence, Kansas. This, we
did with pleasure. During our spare early morning hours, we learned
of and looked for, two roadbeds of two old RR's that use to run
into McLouth and driving to Leavenworth for breakfast and looking
around their present RR's.