Foggy East Broad Top: Cleaning the Fire. EBT Mikado #15 sits at the ashing station as the hostlers clean her fire and dump ashes, before turning the locomotive over to the crew who will run her for the day. The process is pretty simple. The Engineer, up in the cab, attaches a long handle to the grate shakers on the floor, and then proceeds to shake the grates under the fire, to release the loose ash from the firebox into the ashpan below. That allows the fire to get a cleaner flow of air from beneath the grates. A fire that cannot "breathe" is not an efficient heating system. After the ash has collected in the ashpan, the bottom is then opened allowing it to dump out on the track below. The Fireman on the left, with the water hose, washes any stuck ash out of the ashpan and then quenches any hot coals that may have fallen on the track. The gentleman on the right is simply oiling around, while the rest of the crew is busy.
The ashing pit in the EBT Yard is a pretty informal affair. Unlike some railroads, which had elevated track and concrete pits below, the EBT engines pretty much dump on the turntable lead and the crews then rake the "engine poo" back from the rails. You can see that there's quite a lot of it in the foreground. Back in the day, a lot of railroads used this material as track ballast. At EBT, they did right up until the end.
A look at the one-time coal-hauler, which ran as a tourist railroad for decades and finally ceased operations in 2011. The album includes photos from an October 2010 charter as well as images from the very last Fall Spectacular in October of 2011.