Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Roots of Motive Power Steam Up #5: Speeders
These little vehicles are another favorite at the annual Steam Up, and I think some are called "speeders" while others are called "hand cars", and some speeders have covered cabs for weathering the elements. There are clubs for speeder hobbyists who arrange rail excursions together, by prior arrangement with rail operators. Originally, most of these were used for maintenance work on the rails. This orange one has wooden handles on each end for two people to lift it on or off the rails. A Roots volunteer explained its operation and history to a visitor, then powered up its noisy gasoline motor, and sped off to tour the loop track. Others were powered with human muscle alone. Perhaps you've seen the classic lever pump varieties in old movies and cartoons. In fact, you can check out Kermit the Frog, or Buster Keaton on my Overflow blog.