The Life and Times of Bruce Bramson


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The blog has been moribund for a while, but fortunately, I have not!  There just does not seem to be a whole lot going on in my life worth writing about, so I don’t. However, I found something (again) recently that amused me.

Odd things turn up from time to time. In the two photos that follow lie the origins of my life-long interest in steam engines.

For many years there was a “Lilliput Railway” at Fleischacker Zoo in San Francisco. The real steam engine and a number of passenger cars ran on a 22″-gauge track at the zoo. A high point of any trip to San Francisco in the 40s was a ride behind “Little Puffer”: a 1904-05 Cagney Class “E” locomotive.

On one such occasion my Dad, who then was taking 16-mm movies, captured just a few dozen frames at the very end of a roll of color film. Years later, I had all his movies transfered to VHS.

Today I ran the show and stopped the action long enough to make these pictures of the resulting screen images:


This picture shows the train arriving: the three heads in the foreground are Todd, me, and Rob (l to r).

(You can only seem the top few inches of my head).


In this photo we are seated in the reverse order as the train pulls away.

At some point, probably in the 60s, the railroad was dismantled and stored. It was re-discovered later and rebuilt by the Golden Gate Railway Museum. It has been in service again for many years and is a popular attraction at the zoo. Pictures of Little Puffer after a 2009 rebuild can be see at here and some clips are available at Youtube here and here. Below are two fine photos by Drew Jacksich.



That’s all for now: I cannot get calm enough to comment on the present state of politics in the US!



Written by Editor

April 8th, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Posted in Locomotives,Trains