Strasburg Railroad #89: 10-13-17

Strasburg 89 has its tender topped off for the days runs. The engine will use half a ton of coal on each 4.5 mile round trip from Strasburg to Paradise and return.

For the second weekend of October, I opted to treat myself to a mini-vacation. With school back in session, my teaching workload has increased, and I decided I could use a little break. So I headed up to Strasburg, PA to take the Hostling tour offered on Friday mornings during the warmer months of the year. I was hoping for number 90, or perhaps 475 one more time before it goes down for its FRA 1472-day overhaul. Instead, I was treated to number 89, which recently returned from its own overhaul, having last operated several years ago. While at first I wasn't entirely thrilled, I quickly warmed up to the cute little Canadian engine and found it to be very photogenic!

During our tour, the yard crews were busy arranging the day's freight delivery, as well as shuffling historic freight and passenger cars in preparation for the weekend runs. This meant we were treated to a couple runbys of 8618, an ex-NYC switch engine that is typically used to haul the freight on the Strasburg Railroad. I also had the good fortune of a brief cab ride while 89 pulled 90 out of the enginehouse! 90 had just had its fire lit in preparation for running trains over the weekend, while 89 would be taken out of service after today's trips for some minor maintenance. But for now, the little 2-6-0 was fired up, and we got to watch as the crew blew down the boiler, blew out the stack, and wiped the engine clean for a day of hauling tourists in the Amish countryside.

While I'm normally not all excited by *riding* trains (especially since I've ridden the Strasburg railroad many times before), buying a ticket on this days train gave me a bragging right: I have now ridden behind all four steam engines on the Strasburg roster! 90 when I was a little kid, 31 when I was in my teens, 475 last year, and now 89. A friend pointed out that I haven't ridden behind their live-steam Thomas the Tank Engine, and I hope to keep it this way, as I am not willing to brave the crowds of Day Out With Thomas for such a small accomplishment x)

Please enjoy the pictures, thanks for reading, and be sure to check out my next blog from the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, located just across the street from the Strasburg Railroad.