Charter Outtakes: "729 bring it ahead. Give us a little smoke." One of the staples of steam photo charters is the smoky run-by. Although a properly fired steam locomotive usually doesn't smoke all that much, most photographers like a decent smoke plume to lead the viewer's eyes to the train...particularly in wide, landscape shots. So it was on this trip that as two dozen photographers prepared to shoot a Western Maryland Consolidation across the valley at Woodcock Hollow, charter operator Pete Lerro radioed the engine crew with the customary request for a little smoke. Perhaps the crew was ready to have a little fun with Pete and his patrons. The resulting run-by was a rather dramatic re-enactment of the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius that destroyed the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. Had the 729 been heading up or pushing a heavy freight, the resulting plume might have been semi-believable....but for a caboose hop? Well, it definitely brought a few smiles and chuckles to the assembled photo line. Needless to say, Pete had 'em back 'er up and do it again. It probably took 5 minutes for the smoke to completely clear. On the next pass, the 729's exhaust was considerably more modest.