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The Ultimate Steam Page

The Ultimate Steam Page

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Here's a photo of me and my daughter visiting Norfolk & Western class J 4-8-4 No. 611 on its last run to Charleston, SC in November 1990.

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I'm a 60+ year old married father of two and grandfather of three. I worked as an engineer after graduating from Clemson University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1978. In 2017 I retired after a long career.

More than any others, two people inspired my interest in steam locomotives:  my father, and one of my professors at Clemson, Dr. D.W. Bradbury.

My father grew up in the 1920's-1930's, living close to the mainline of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad.  Like most boys his age, he took a great interest in watching steam locomotives thunder through town, and when I was growing up he told me several tales from his youth about his experiences.

Dr. Bradbury made one off-hand remark during a class about seeing a train of dead steam locomotives on the Southern Railway which passed through Clemson during the 1950's.  Dr. Bradbury made a comment about how it was a sad sight, but that steam locomotives were dirty, inefficient, and obsolete.  Something in his manner led me to believe he didn't really believe that, and soon I found myself visiting the school library to find every book I could find on steam locomotives.

For two years in 1982 and 1983, I was employed by the Norfolk & Western Railway (which became the Norfolk Southern Railway during my employment). I had the good fortune to work with a lot of old steam-heads, some of whom, believe it or not, had actually enjoyed working on dirty, nasty, antiquated, aggravating steam locomotives. I got hands-on steam experience assisting with repairs and operation of NKP 765 on several occasions, and I was lucky enough to ride the cab of N & W 611 from Bucyrus, Ohio to Bellevue, Ohio with Mr. Robert Claytor at the throttle. 

I've spent a lot of time collecting books and reading about steam locomotives. In the early 1980's, I corresponded with American Coal Enterprises about employment, and I feel sure that I would have been right there when they lit the first fire if the ACE 3000 had ever been built.

This web page is the result of years of saying "I wonder why nobody writes anything about the ACE 3000, or what's going on with steam around the world, etc." Since this page went on line, I've gotten many e-mails from around the world from people who share my interests. I was even fortunate enough to correspond with steam master Ing. L. D. Porta, who passed away in 2003.

I hope you enjoy this page, too.

Hugh Odom
July 21, 1998 (updated 5 July 2018)


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