Saturday, February 11, 2012

Turntable Demonstration Day

We girls headed up to Baltimore for the day to see the turntable demonstrations at the B&O Railroad Museum. We got to the museum just in time to see the first demonstration at 11:30. The first locomotive to take a spin on the turntable was the "Atlantic," which is a replica of an 1832 grasshopper locomotive. While the museum staff moved this train on and off the turntable, we could see the vertical pistons pumping, just like the legs of a grasshopper. Evelyn has read about grasshoppers, and seen them (stationary) in the museum, but she had never seen one move - so that was pretty cool!Next up on the turntable was the Lafayette, which the girls have nicknamed the ornery little engine - this trickster is temperamental whenever asked to run during Steam Days. This locomotive is a replica of an 1837 steam engine by the same name.
While the turntable was taking a break, we girls ate lunch and then headed to the North Car Shop, where the BIG locomotives are on display. Evelyn and Julia played inside the cab of their favorite engine, the Allegheny 1604. It's nearly impossible to get the entire locomotive in a picture since it's so long.
Then we went back inside the roundhouse for the 1:30 demonstrations. Here's Evelyn, sitting in front of the open trap door that leads underneath the turntable. The museum has an "armstrong turntable," which means it takes a strong arm to move it (i.e., a human's strength).
The first locomotive to ride on the turntable this afternoon was a replica of the Tom Thumb. This engine has one vertical piston, and, as the Tom Thumb was pushed onto the turntable, the girls enjoyed seeing its piston move up and down (kind of like a single-legged grasshopper). A caboose was the last piece that got to ride on the turntable. We rounded out our day at the museum by walking through the Civil War exhibits and hanging out in the kids' play area.