A big reason why steam fell to diesel was labor costs, a problem that is on full display here. Durango & Silverton K36 482 has just returned from her daily 104-mile trip to Silverton and return, and is now receiving some TLC from the shop crew. No less than three workers are tending to the Mikado's needs. The man on top of the boiler is scrubbing out the circular spark arrestor on top of the stack, which sprays a fine mist of water into the smoke to discourage hot embers from escaping. Another worker tends to the running gear, while the hostler in the cab is dealing with the fire and making sure there is adequate water in the boiler.
All that's left to do is dump the ashes, fill the tender with coal and water, and fill the sand dome with clean, fresh sand before they can tuck 482 away in the roundhouse for the night. Whew!
Durango SilvertonFuture TPOTD