Training in training

Twice a year the Monticello Railway Museum in central Illinois raises funds by letting engineer wannabees have a chance at the throttle (under supervision of course!). I gave it a shot in November, 1995.

My steel steed was an ALCO RS-3 originally built to pull commuter trains on the Long Island Railroad. It has a 12 cylinder, turbocharged 244 series engine that puts out 1600 hp. Our train consisted of two passenger cars and a freight caboose. It was snowing which is why the picture is murky. The trip consisted of going several miles down the Museum's mainline (an ex-IC branch) and then going all the way back. Two such round trips and your time is up.

You operate the throttle, reverser, air brakes for the train as a whole and the locomotive's independent brake. You observe the right-of-way, watch the speedometer and the brake air pressure gauges. You listen to your conductor at the rear of the train talking by radio. You comply with Museum and Federal saftey rules. And, yes, you get to ring the bell and blow the whistle (ok, air horn).

Monticello Railway Museum To find out more