A thick plume of black smoke lay heavily along the top of the locomotive as it labored up the grade. It strained, moving more slowly just short of the culmination of the six-mile climb than it would move at any other point of the trip until it reached its destination. Any observer, if he glanced only casually, might think he was looking at a painting. Very much a still life.
My dear friend! You have ridden in/on a steam engine! So have I. My father was station Agent in AshFork. Then, at Grand Canyon for seventeen years! I know the sound; the feel of those steam engines; the rocking of the plates beneath my feet as the fireman heaved a shuvlefull of coal into the firebox. So do you! I rode the diesle engine one evening from Grand Canyon to Williams with General McArther's son (we had stools behind the engineer and the "fireman" 'co-pilot". ) The trip wasn't legal, but my Dad arrainged it. I was maybe about fourteen - probably older. From Grand Canyon to Williams is mostly downhill. From 7500 feet to 6200 feet or close to that. We left at 8:00 pulling seven or eight pulman cars. I can close my eyes and see the controls. Good story, as usual! Thanks!