Letting off Steam


| January 2005



Richard Backus

Hard to believe, but somehow yet another year has passed by.

For my money, 2004 was a good year for the steam community. Steam show exhibitions and demonstrations across the country witnessed another year of safe, fun and educational steaming. That's the norm, of course, a reality crafted by the practiced and dutiful operation of the equipment belonging to steam engine owners and enthusiasts every where.

But I can't shake the feeling there's a great deal of work ahead of us in preserving the active operation of our equipment. The feeling is motivated by continued pressures from some corners against the safe operation of the equipment we hold so dear.

I'm not suggesting the sky is falling. Far from it. But I do wonder if it isn't time to craft an organization that can effectively address our concerns on a national level.

My thoughts on the subject are hardly unique, and are prompted in large measure by a reader's e-mail expressing concern on this very subject.

"Let me get up on my stump again," the e-mail began. "It seems to me that it would be beneficial for all of us steam enthusiasts to band together for political purposes. We are in a position where the varying states are able to do almost what they wish in regards to steam as a hobby.