Sunday, November 17, 2013

November Meeting Notes

Election of New Officers
President Bernard Haxel says:
Hi Folks,
Please don't forget the regular NRHS Rivanna Chapter meeting next Tuesday at the Elks Club.  Dinner ($14.00) at 6:00 and meeting at 7:00, as usual.

We need a good turnout this time because November is when we elect our officers and this year we actually have a slate of new officers ready to elect!  Your Executive Committee has met, and we will nominate the following slate:

    President:            Ross Thomas
    Vice President:    Ed DeBary
    Secretary:            Bernard Haxel
    Treasurer:            Ann Harrod

Of course, we will also take other nominations from the floor.  There are some other important announcements to hear and a few other matters of business to discuss.  And then, a great program (more on that later).

So please plan to attend.”

Our program

Steam Fever” is my all-time favorite railfan video, because it is the most elegantly photographed and recorded railroad video that I [Don Wells] have seen. It is just plain beautiful. It was first shown to the Rivanna Chapter by Nick Page 10-15yr ago. I was so impressed with it that I obtained a personal copy, and then I showed it again in 2009 when I was VP, and now I have chosen it to show as my final video program as VP of Rivanna Chapter.
This video was produced in South Africa 20yr ago, and shows mainline steam there in its final days, in the late 1980s, pulling both fast passenger and heavy freight trains. The railroad is 42-inch gauge (“Cape Gauge”, not the 56.5-inch “Standard Gauge” of US RRs), and the railfans drive their 1980s cars on the left half of the highway (steering wheel on the right), so it isn't our familiar USA railroading, but this is double-tracked, fully-signalled, power-turnout mainline steam still running only 25 years ago! And the locos are big stoker-fired 4-8-4s, with high horsepower and large tenders for long runs. Because these locos ran in desert country, many of them were equipped with condensers that recycled their boiler water – and these condenser locos roared and whined instead of chuffing.
Some of the South African steam engines were among the most efficient ever built, with sophisticated designs. The most famous of these advanced engine designs was called the “Red Devil” – a steam loco painted all-red!
South Africa ran coal-burning steam engines later than other countries because it has abundant coal but doesn't have oil; in fact South Africa has a long history of large-scale coal-to-liquid conversion to operate its automobiles and trucks.
The silent video to be shown during dinner has not yet been selected.
Next month's program
The officers expect that we will have a guest speaker for the Chapter's December 17th meeting, but we do not yet have a firm confirmation of that – more later.
All Aboard!

Rivanna Chapter
National Railway Historical Society
Charlottesville, Virginia