My Experiences with Steam Engines

Nichols & Shepard engine

Frank Ewing's Nichols & Shepard 8-16 HP engine at the 1972 Madison Prairie Village Show. Stan Beug of Littleton, Colorado and Frank Ewing of Rapid City, South Dakota in picture.

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6040 Crestview Way Littleton, Colorado 80120.

My name is Stanley M. Beug, I'm 16 years of age, and I'm an avid steam fan and engineer. I live at 6040 Crestview Way, Littleton Colo., 80120

I've loved steam engines ever since I was very young. I guess steam gets in your blood, as once you have experienced the sound of a sharp exhaust with a lot of steam and smoke, of an engine under load, and the melodious call of a steam whistle, man, your hooked!

I'd like to share some of my experiences with steam engines with you, and tell you of some of the steam engines around the Denver-Boulder area.

My first encounter with steam began in 1966, when I traveled with my grandparents to South Dakota to a steam show in Flandreu. It was with a J. I. Case 50 HP steam traction engine, which belonged to John P. Kadinger, of Hartford, So. Dak. My grandfather knows Mr. Kadinger quite well, as at one time they were both residents of Sioux Falls, So. Dak.

My grandfather, who first introduced me to steam power, is John Rose, who lives in Longmont, Colo., where he works with the John Deere Co. Although he never had a steam threshing rig, he is a qualified steam engineer, as at one time he was a stationary steam engineer. He taught me the basics of steam engineering; the rest I learned by experience and from books. also from few older steam engineers!

My other grandfather, Alfred Beug of Sturgis, So. Dak. owned a partnership in a large steam rig with his brother, Eric Beug (deceased). This rig consisted of a Reeves 32 HP, cross-compound engine and separator. This rig did a lot of threshing in western South Dakota.

During the summer of 1968, my grandfather, John Rose, took a job running a miniature steam train. This was located near the town of Loveland, which is about 70 miles northwest of Denver. The locomotive was a 5 inch scale, 2-6-2 'Prairie' type. It ran on a track gauge of 15 inches, and carried 150 lbs., p.s.i. steam pressure. It was modeled from a logging locomotive, typical of the type owned by many lumber companies years ago. It did burn oil for fuel, but my grandfather converted it to coal. I was the conductor and fireman. My grandfather was the engineer. I learned quite a bit about steam as we ran the train that summer and also in 1969, the last year the park operated.

Ever since 1967, I've traveled with my grandparents on their vacation, to Sioux Falls, and we've attended the Madison, Prairie Village Steam Threshing Jamboree and Antique Festival. Jack Kadinger, always invites us back to run his engine for him at the show. He now owns a Russell, 30-90 HP engine. This engine is in good shape and sure is easy to handle. I've enjoyed running this engine very much. At the Prairie Village show, I've had many opportunities to run different engines.

During the 1971 show, I had the privilege of running an Avery Undermounted 20 HP engine. It belongs to Mr. Kenneth Harris, of Rapid City, So. Dak. The engine was built in 1910, is in excellent condition and is kept well cleaned and polished. I ran the engine when we threshed, sawed lumber, went in the parade, or just to 'play around' with. Incidentally, this engine wasn't damaged in the 1972 flood in Rapid City.

Besides attending the 1972 show at Prarie Village, I also attended the Black Hills Steam & Gas Threshing Bee, held at Alklai, So. Dak. There I helped Rapheal Beug, a relative, run his J.I. Case, 25-75 HP engine. I had a lot of fun running this engine also.

I sure enjoy these two shows very much. Each year I look forward to each one, as I have acquired a lot of friends at these shows. I hope to take in more shows this year, if possible.

Traction engines will always be a favorite of mine, but I'm also a lover of steam locomotives. Probably my favorite is the Union Pacific 800's. At one time the railroad owned 45 engines of this type, now they only have one #844 (# 8444), which is their last active steam locomotive. It is a 4-8-4 'Northern' type. The engine heads several excursions each year, and it sure is thrilling to watch it or ride behind it! The Union Pacific at one time, owned the largest steam locomotives in the world, the enormous 4000's, a 4-8-8-4 mallet type. Too bad these engines aren't running today!

During the summer of 1972, I worked on a steam, tourist railroad in Cripple Creek, Colo., a historic gold camp. The 'Cripple Creek and Victor,' is a 2 foot narrow gauge railroad. There are four locomotives on a line, two 04OT types, (and two mallet types. We had two trains running, headed up by the two O4O's. I was conductor for the railroad, but I also was a fireman at different times. I hope to work there again this summer.

The Rocky Mountain Steam Club, which is primarily based in the Denver - Boulder area of Colorado, was first started in 1959 for the preservation of steam power. I'm currently the secretary of the club, and I'd like to tell you of some of the equipment owned by members.

There are several traction engines which include two Avery Undermounted types, a 20 HP and 22 HP, a Case 30 HP, and a Nichols & Shepard 25-85 HP There are also a few other traction engines in this area, a Case 65 HP, an Aultman Taylor, and an old Aultman 'Star' engine. Most all these engines are in operating condition and our club has a few 'steam-ups' each year.

There are also several stationary steam engines which include vertical engines, horizontal mill engines and a uniflow engine. Our club hopes to build a museum some day to house these engines.

One member in particular, Mr. Ralph 'Mac' McCallister, of Boulder, Colo., is a steam engineer and model builder. He has built two complete locomotives, in 3 inch scale, using a track gauge of 14 1/8 inches. One is modeled somewhat after a Burlington Route, (C.B. & Q. R.R.) 4-4-2, 'Atlantic' type. This locomotive is live-steam, burning coal for fuel. The other locomotive is a Spokane International, diesel switcher, using a Ford auto engine for power. Mac is now building his third locomotive which is modeled after a Denver and Rio Grande Western, '3600' mallet -articulated (class L-132). The boiler has just recently been put on the under frame, with the tender and running gear completed. The locomotive has a wheel arrangement of 2-8-8-4, will carry 200 lbs. p.s.i. steam pressure, will have an automatic stoker, and even air pumps. All in all, this is some locomotive, especially in 3 inch scale! To my knowledge, it is the only one of it's kind in the world. I sure look forward to the day it runs!

To house these locomotives. Mac has built a six stall roundhouse and turntable, with a water tank. He also has about a half-mile of track to run them on. Also, he has a complete steam powered sawmill, which he used to cut ties for this railroad. This includes a boiler, drive engine, cut off saw engine, and a two cylinder, feed engine.

My grandfather and I have helped Mac with his engines quite a bit and I've sure had fun running the boiler and sawmill engine or running his locomotives.

Probably when I'm my happiest, is when I'm around a steam engine. If it's cleaned flues or ashes, oiling around, firing or running the engine, I enjoy it all! There's nothing I like better than running an engine, with the stack barking, and with the heavy smell of coal smoke and hot valve oil in the air. Yes, I've certainly got the 'steam bug,' and I hope to own a steam engine of my own some day. I just wish I'd been born about 15 years earlier, ha!

I'm also a collector of some items of the 'Age of Steam.' My collection includes railroad lanterns, oil cans, locks and keys, etc. 1 also have a steam whistle and a locomotive headlight.

I sure like the Iron-Men Album, as there sure are a lot of interesting articles and pictures in each one, keep up the good work. I look forward to each issue.

If we are to keep the old steam engines running, we must train younger engineers, so, when a young person like myself wants to learn, help him out.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my story, as much as I enjoyed writing it. In the mean time, keep plenty of water in the glass and a good head of steam up!