WLS New Years Day 2012
After I posted the page for the WLS New Years Day event I started tracking down some more information about the young fellows tinkering with the hi line loco. I was able to track down Bernard Rosenthal since I had his moms business card and he was kind enough to send me information about the other fellows. A follow up message to Alex Karnes, who it turns out, I have meet a number of time before. However, as young people tend to do, he has matured so much that I did not fully recognize him on New years Day although I had the strong feeling I knew him. He was kind enough to return my message to him and, with his permission I present here that message and photos. It is heartening to see that there are indeed young people interested in mechanical things beyond what is seen on the screen of a video game!
Its so good to speak with you again, as I am quite certain that we have actually bumped into each other a number of times before! I am Alexander Edward Karnes, amateur live steam model builder and collector, steam engineer for the shows at Mystic Seaport, Steam engineer and boiler fireman at the NEWSM, engine restorationist at the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum and locomotive maintenance-shop worker at the Essex Valley Railroad in Connecticut, among other things.
Its good to actually talk to you, so here goes.
I have been obsessed and involved with steam power before I could read. The first book I learned how to read from was Colin Garrat's "World Encyclopedia of Locomotives". I grew up on the EVRR in Connecticut before we moved out of the state when I was 7 years old, to Massachusetts. My home town was Mystic, and I still consider it my home town as I feel I truly belong there whenever I go back. The first steam exhibition I particpated in was the Antique Marine Engine Expo at the Mystic Seaport, and it was there I made my friends in steam power, and to tell you the truth my only friends. Don Favell, Raymond Hasbrouck, Dick Boucher, Russ Steeves, Scott Noseworthy, Gregory Young, David Bono, Robert Merriam and others. Scott Noseworthy, organizer of the show, was quite a nice fellow to me from the get go and saw my ethusiasm even though I must have been only thirteen years old. The following year they had me running engines there, and now I am a regular who takes charge of the line of steam engines while the others go fetch donuts and coffee. I stumbled upon the NEWSM by accident, and it was the best accident to ever happen. Robert Merriam and co. there did the same thing Scott did for me in Mystic, and now I can take the throttlevalves of the biggest engines in the engine house, as well as be trusted to single-handedly fire and manage the main boiler.
I live off of steam power, there is nothing I enjoy half so much as working hands on with engines, which is why I tend to stay away from places that only let you watch. I built a little live steam sternwheeling barge named "Vulcan" which I always bring to Mystic. One thing I have wanted all my life is a live steam locomotive, the Atlantic you saw my friends and I testing is one that I got via a mortgage and a long restore.
Sadly, at the house steam test on eight feet of track the locomotive ran fine, but when I dragged it to Waushakum she developed a leak in her front tube-sheet around one of the flue joints, and this is something I cannot easily repair if at all. Don Favell has suggested I try gently expanding the flue, which I will do. However if this treatment does not work, I really have nowhere to go with an otherwise fine and good running steam locomotive that I poured four months into restoring.
The friends you saw with me were Bernard, Jimmy Connor and Colt Stewart. Bernard and I are basically mental carbon-copies of eachother, traction fans of any steam and early electric, as well as any other steam powered appliance from the monstrous Kempton Engines to the smallest worthington waterpump. Jimmy Connor is a younger member of Waushakum who is rather new to live steam, and sadly has not quite gotten the hang of taking care of an engine yet, he is very impatient. Colt Stewart and I are best friends and partners in steam operation, we met six years ago in the cab of a working steam locomotive and it has been a rewarding and fun partnership ever since. Bernard, Colt and I have been told we are exceedingly well versed in steam theory and study modern refinements to steam engines such as compounding, anti-friction bearings, GPCS fireboxes, thermic syphining, semi-watertube boilers and high velocity smokebox exhaust such as the Lempor. We study the work of L. D. Porta and David Wardale religiously, and I myself have penpals in far off nations which keep me updated on the welfare of local steam locomotives. There is nothing that concerns me more than some obscure little derelict 4-8-2 up on a hillside in South Africa. I dont get nearly enough steam to satiate my thirst for it, either.
I had attended to come to the NEMES meet, but I have missed it for two years because of an incorrect calendar and the second time because of a death of a friend. Two people I know in NEMES who have been very good to me are Russ Steeves and Dick Boucher. Russ lets me run his superb Fitchburg Mogul at Waushakum, a real privelege and treat. Dick Boucher has shared invaluable information on steam power with me in the past. Paul Poole and I are the best of friends as well, and more than once I have helped him steam and run around on his gigantic mallet "Skookum".
On the side I am a fan of early wireless transmission and electrical equipment, full sized and model aviation namely Rigid Airships, of which I intend to build a flying model of one day. I also am very interested in sail and steam driven watergoing vessels. I am a lantern collector, and an operational collector. Nothing I obtain sits on a shelf for very long, it gets repaired and put into service as it was intended for.
I am also an artist of the things I love. Enclosed are photographs and drawings that I have done and taken.
Thank you so much for the contacting-
P.S., the cardboard model of the triple-expansion vertical ram pumping engine is fully operable.
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