And now, for something completely different….


Or not, its not a train, but its train-related!! Given all the time on my hands with no longer having to spend about 3 hours a day commuting (that was my reading time on the subway, now its extra around the house doing stuff time, I don’t seem to be able to sit and read a book around the house), I have decided that to fill at least a little bit of this time, I want to figure out how to operate my actual steam engine.

This is something else with childhood memories of my grandfather and summer trips to Scotland. This little 1950’s vintage stationary engine ran on what the British would call Methylated Spirts, or Denatured Alcohol in North America is a real steam engine. You fill the boiler with water, and the little burner with alcohol, light the wick, and once the water boils, steam goes through the pipe, moves the piston and spins the wheel, just like a real stationary engine, and basically the same technology as a steam locomotive on the railway.

My Signalling Equipment Ltd. Model Minor stationary steam engine.

I haven’t seen this run probably since I was 10 or 11 years old. It likely hasn’t run in most of that time, as I’ve had it for probably 20 years at this point, and I’ve never made the effort to learn how to run it despite having a few friends who have live steam railway models. I need to do that now, as sometime in the near future, I’d like to be able to run it for my 7 year old nephew and 5 year old niece when they visit and continue the tradition of seeing it run and sharing trains with them as my grandparents did with us around their age.

2 thoughts on “And now, for something completely different….

  1. I have one very similar to yours. I probably received mine for Christmas one year from my Grandfather about the same time (10yrs old). My parents had also given me a Meccano set that my Dad and I used to build things to be powered by the steam engine. We ran elastics around the drive wheel on the engine to pulleys on the Meccano contraptions. The last time mine ran was probably 1992.

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