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The Learning Train Workshop

Artistically, there are only four elements that need to be re-created:  (1)  The Train Engine (2) The Tender (which was located just behind the train engine and was used to feed the boiler with cut and split wood for fuel.

(3) The Passenger Rail Car  (4)  The Caboose


While there is only one train engine and one caboose required you can add as many passenger rail cars as you wish.


If you are using the learning train to remember names and faces of classmates and you have 24 students in the class you will need 4 passenger rail cars.  Each rail car has 6 windows.  You use a window for each photo ID of a student= 24.


The widow in the train engine is for the teacher.

At the back-end of the train is where you'll find the Caboose.


The TrainTender-


Each steam engine pulled right behind the engine a special car that supplied both the fuel (wood, coal or oil) and water for the boiler.  The car was called the 'Tender'.


The longer the train trip the larger the Tender. Transcontinental rail road routes across the United States or Austrialia not only required large Tenders but numerous stops along the way to load additional fuel and water.  


The Engineer-

He was responsible for running the train engine, and maintaining safety of the entire train.  He coupled the cars together, handled breaking, stopping, proper speed, and kept careful watch out for obstacles ahead as well as track and bridge safety.


The Fireman-

He was responsible for loading the engine boiler furnace with wood or coal.  In order to keep steam presure high enough to turn the wheels, the fireman was constantly loading the furnace.  Probably the hardest working man on the train.


The Passenger Rail Car-

Passenger cars had two by two seating down both sides of the car.  At the forward right side of the car was either a coal or wood fired heater.  On the left forward side was a water tank or water bottle for use by the passengers thirst.


At the back of each rail car was a water closet as it would be called in the United Kingdom or Austrialia.  In the USA it was called a head or toilet.


During the early days of rail service it was nothing more than a little enclosed room with a locking door.  In the corner was a box with a fold up lid.  When you raised the lid you could look down and see the rails and rail road ties moving by underneath.



History Lesson:

The Caboose has been retired from most all commercial trains for about 20 years.  But prior to that the Caboose was an essential part of every train.  It housed both the Rear Brakeman and the Conductor.  It was the business office of the train where all passenger manifests were kept and shipping bills for materials and supplies were also held in trust.  Located at the center of the Caboose was a window units that stuck out about a foot beyond the normal width of a rail car. This permitted the Rear Brakeman and or Conductor to view forward the entire train. Sometimes the brakes on a single car would lock up causing what was known as a "Hot Box". Sparks would fly and smoke could be seen. If a hot box was spotted the conductor would notify the engineer on the train engine by 2-way radio or by flagging the Head Brakeman, 


The Hot Box was handled in one of two ways.

First the Train would stop and either the head brakeman or rear brakeman would go to where the hot box was and loosen the brake. Or the rear brakeman would walk up from the caboose to where the Hot Box was and loosen the brake while the train was still moving.  Hot Boxes have been known to cause rail car fires, and derailments.  Either were dangerous and life threatening.


History Question:

Prior to the retirement of the Caboose how many crew members were required to operate a train and what were their titles?


(4-four.  Engineer, Head Brakeman or Fireman, Rear Brakeman and Conductor.


The Fireman was eliminated when train engines no longer used wood or coal to heat boilers for the steam engine.


The Caboose


This is where you would place photo ID's of Teaching Assistants, Classroom Helpers, Teachers Aids, School Principal, School Secretary.

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