After her last run of the 1999 season, No. 15 paused
over the ash pit to drop her fire.
Blowing out No. 15
at the season's end
Twice now I've witnessed an unusual end-of-season ritual at the E.B.T.: Nos. 14 and 15, after pulling their final trains, are run halfway off the turntable, facing into their stalls. Each is then stopped so its tender can be drained -- by unscrewing the hose that leads from the tender to the locomotive and allowing the water to run down into the turntable pit. Then, after everyone is cleared from the vicinity of the paint shop, a crew member carefully opens valve under the boiler, just forward of the cab on the fireman's side. A shrieking jet of steam shoots across the front of the roundhouse for at least a quarter of an hour as the boiler empties. It's quite a sight. Afterwards, one of the diesels nudges the Mike into her stall.
See also: Photos of the final Saturday's trains.
In the last light of afternoon, the M-4 rolled onto the turntable and the crew
aligned it with No. 15's track. Then No. 15 backed out so her tender was on the turntable.
Water released from the hose that connects the tender and locomotive drained into the pit.
A soundless photo can't quite capture how impressive the process is. Although the M-4
sat chugging away on the turntable, you couldn't hear it -- or anything, unless someone
stood next to you and shouted.
From the ash pile you could see steam eddying up against the paint-shop wall.
In a close-up you, begin to get an idea of how powerful the jet of steam appeared to be.