Darth Vader stuff

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Darth Vader stuff
Posted by Miningman on Saturday, May 20, 2017 7:40 PM

I use this picture as part of a slide show that acts as a screen saver at work ( not all of it is trains, lots of Field School stuff and students, that sort of thing)

What is striking is that absolutely everything in this picture is gone. The T1, the K4, the heralded Trail Blazer tail car. The tracks are gone, the platform is gone, the passenger trains are gone. Not only that but the PRR is gone. 

Been trying to reconcile that for a long time but the math does not come out right...ever. I know what I'm told as to why, and it's not as if I'm not trying my darnest to understand and keep an open mind. 

There is more to it than what we think or know.

 Darth Vader stuff I tell 'ya. 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, May 20, 2017 8:13 PM

That's not the half of it.  Ever seen that movie "Danger Lights", filmed on the Milwaukee Road in 1930?  EVERYTHING in that movie's dead, the actors, the railroad, the locomotives, the rolling stock (with the exception of the dynamometer car, it's in a museum), I mean everything!

It's not a movie, it's a celluloid mausoleum!

Things change all right, usually for the better, but not always.

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Saturday, May 20, 2017 9:27 PM

And someday about a century down the road someone will post an iconic photo of a 'tied in a knot' freeway overpass, complete with 18-wheelers, captioned with a comment about how everything used to travel in open air, while polluting same.

The poster will then go to the tube station and board a car that fits the evcuated underground tube like a piston, in which he will cover 500 miles in about 40 minutes, propelled by advanced mag-lev and braked by a few ounces per square inch of air ahead of the capsule at the end of the run.

Progress takes no prisoners.

Chuck (occasional SF author)

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, May 20, 2017 9:45 PM

Yes, but, that should be what the PRR becomes.  

Kind of like the Pan-Am spaceship in 2001:A space Odyssey.

Guess they didn't make it either. 

Not the same from your description though...there is no way you can tell me airlines and flights or the highways are preferable to the kind of service we used to have. Those platforms and trains are gone. Not progress. What do people know, few were there that are left. 

Ok ..you can take a train from New York to Chicago which I predict will become more popular and important as time goes by. 

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Posted by erikem on Sunday, May 21, 2017 1:46 AM

Firelock76

That's not the half of it.  Ever seen that movie "Danger Lights", filmed on the Milwaukee Road in 1930?  EVERYTHING in that movie's dead, the actors, the railroad, the locomotives, the rolling stock (with the exception of the dynamometer car, it's in a museum), I mean everything!

The smokestack of the Milwaukee's shops in Miles City is still there along with some of the trackage. At least I think the stack is still there, have a picture of it that I took in 1984.

My dad told me about the pushing match between two engines - not sure if he actually saw it or just heard about it. He was 7 1/2 when the filming took place.

I have bits of memories about riding the Olympian Hiawatha from Seattle to Miles City in '57 - depressing to realize that almost nothing is left of the line I rode on.

 

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Posted by RME on Sunday, May 21, 2017 6:52 AM

tomikawaTT
And someday about a century down the road someone will post an iconic photo of a 'tied in a knot' freeway overpass, complete with 18-wheelers, captioned with a comment about how everything used to travel in open air, while polluting same.

For easy fun in alternate history, just think about 'what if' the 1820s English requirement that steam vehicles 'consume their own smoke' had been enacted as an Act of Parliament and then thoroughly and consistently enforced, including with respect to Goldsworthy Gurney et al.  And that the prohibition had been embraced by other European powers, and become an expectation in America long before things like the Clean Air Act...

I have seen a very thought-provoking discussion of how electrical power generation would have evolved if it had been illegal to release any combustion products directly to atmosphere.  (This later figured into discussions of some clean-coal technique patentability, but I digress).  I have also seen a discussion, only slightly tongue-in-cheek, noting that gas-turbine automobile power might likely have been preferable to piston engines if a very small list of technological things (the major ones iirc being some applied metallurgy, tribology, and recognition of the need for recuerative heat exchange) been present.

The poster will then go to the tube station and board a car that fits the evcuated underground tube like a piston, in which he will cover 500 miles in about 40 minutes, propelled by advanced mag-lev and braked by a few ounces per square inch of air ahead of the capsule at the end of the run

In the SF community, I believe Samuel R. Delany has thoroughly debunked the desirability of this wacky method of transport, even if you could build the damn thing and keep the tube aligned and evacuated.  (Neither he nor I are considering anything but 'train-size' upright seating, not something silly like Hyperloop.)

In any case, he rockets to 'the end of the run' and then ... calls Uber? Gets on some roll-out-the-barrel trolley that still doesn't run within miles of where he's going? Uses his pervasive-computing PAN and/or implants to call up an autonomous PRT BEV that whisks him to his destination on electrified highways and streets equipped and maintained by some John Law financing and tax/spend bubble?  Wheeeee!

Progress takes no prisoners.

And Progress is not always forward.

What was it Stewart Brand said back in my WELL-using days: 'Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road'?

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Posted by Penny Trains on Sunday, May 21, 2017 6:52 PM

I posted this pic on the classic Toy Trains Forum for "Star Wars Day" with the caption: May the fourth be with you! Puny Earthlings!

That's my Lionel 2035 K-esque loco they're blocking.  It looks like a Pennsy stalwart but it's a 2-6-4!

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, May 21, 2017 7:04 PM

I am speechless...no words. It's perfect.

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Sunday, May 21, 2017 7:24 PM

RME

What was it Stewart Brand said back in my WELL-using days: 'Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road'?

My personal take on that idea comes from surfing.  "Either get up and ride the wave or go into the spin cycle under it."

Postulating what kind of transportation system(s) might exist in the near, medium and far future is almost as interesting as research into the systems we have now and their predecessors.  Strangely, like Karl Marx, most authors seem to disregard small-scale transportation as something that 'just happens,' without considering exactly how.  Everybody has starships - each assembled from millions of parts by people/robots/??? with materials and machinery that must have come from someplace.  Few give any consideration to getting around in cities or other limited land areas, or moving goods and equipment.

As things stand now, the least-cost way of moving heavy and low-to-moderate value items is to transport them on existing (and already paid for) railroads.  Building new railroads is an expensive proposition ringed about with political minefields - only justified if sufficient traffic will be handled for a long enough time to return a profit on the original investment.  For the future, I expect that newer, less pollution-prone sources of electrical power will replace on-board diesel engines and fixed fossil fuel-burning power plants connected to electric locomotives by a spiderweb of intricate (and expensive) transmission lines and catenary.  I also see long distance road-haul of container/semitrailer size loads moving to wells and TOFC as economics squeeze the shipping lines' profits.

In the final analysis, it's all driven by money.

As for our hypothetical supersonic subterranean traveler, once at the destination's central transportation hub he might take a local tube car (think NYC or Tokyo subway,) board a 'public people mover' surface vehicle about the size of a golf cart for a computer-orchestrated ride to his dwelling door or, possibly, step onto a moving slideway and let the machinery do the walking.  All of the travel paths for such would be grade-separated from each other and from the nice pedestrian friendly landscaped mall that tops it all.

When, where and how?  No time soon, probably astronomical distance away and because some entity with deep pockets and a long view wants it that way.  Holdeth not thy breath.

Chuck

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, May 22, 2017 12:48 PM

The point of the thread I put up is not about the "future" of advancements. It is "why are the rails, the passenger trains, the platforms, the service, even the mighty PRR, now gone and denied any kind of future". The 3 trains as shown in the photo were miles ahead of anything in Japan and Europe at the time but all is gone and just look at the trains in Japan and Europe today. 

The North Eastern USA and Mid West have similiar geographic areas to Japan and Europe and many cities that could and were interconnected. These passenger services of 1947 should have evolved and stayed miles ahead. Instead most is lost, including the largest Railroad in the world.

So who is Darth Vader? ...Stuart Saunders who green lighted tearing down Pennsylvania Station amongst a host of other crimes?, the ICC and other regulatory government agencies who straightjacketed all of railroading until it collapsed?, General Motors playing dirty and seducing the railroads with the easy-peasy payment plan and promises of riches to come? the groundwork and foundation for crony capitalism by a host of raiders? 

Why are there not fabulous convenient trains marked PRR, NYC, Milwaukee Road, Wabash, with 21st Century advancements whisking us to the cities? 

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Monday, May 22, 2017 11:02 PM

Miningman

Why are there not fabulous convenient trains marked PRR, NYC, Milwaukee Road, Wabash, with 21st Century advancements whisking us to the cities? 

 
For the same reason that there are no Butterfield Stagecoach Line vehicles waiting at the smaller stations, clipper ships among the marine visitors to the Port of New York and Ford trimotors tail-dragging in after landing at O'Hare.  Transportation technology, like all other technology, reaches a zenith, then becomes obsolete and vanishes from the ken of man.  Bits and pieces may end up in museums, fossils may be recovered and restored, but the massive presence has disappeared, and only the efforts of a skilled modeler can invoke it in miniature form.
 
For the massive interconnected webwork of passenger trains, and for many of the rail routes that carried them, Elvis has left the building.
 
As a model railroad enthusiast, I'm doing my part.  In my garage it is always September, 1964 in the upper reaches of Japan's Kiso Valley.  My miniature steamers don't burn coal, but they look as if they could.  A few of their 1:1 scale prototypes stand in places that I model, stuffed, mounted and generally ignored by their neighbors.  Such is the fate of ALL obsolete technologies.  (Have you seen a vacuum tube AM radio lately?)
 
Chuck (1964-period modeler, occasional SF author)
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Posted by Miningman on Monday, May 22, 2017 11:18 PM

If you think passenger trains are obsolete technology I would suggest you get yourself outside and get some fresh air. 

Take a trip out into a rural area and see a tree or something! 

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 8:01 AM

tomikawaTT

 

 
Miningman

Why are there not fabulous convenient trains marked PRR, NYC, Milwaukee Road, Wabash, with 21st Century advancements whisking us to the cities? 

 

 

 
For the same reason that there are no Butterfield Stagecoach Line vehicles waiting at the smaller stations, clipper ships among the marine visitors to the Port of New York and Ford trimotors tail-dragging in after landing at O'Hare.  Transportation technology, like all other technology, reaches a zenith, then becomes obsolete and vanishes from the ken of man.  Bits and pieces may end up in museums, fossils may be recovered and restored, but the massive presence has disappeared, and only the efforts of a skilled modeler can invoke it in miniature form.
 
For the massive interconnected webwork of passenger trains, and for many of the rail routes that carried them, Elvis has left the building.
 
As a model railroad enthusiast, I'm doing my part.  In my garage it is always September, 1964 in the upper reaches of Japan's Kiso Valley.  My miniature steamers don't burn coal, but they look as if they could.  A few of their 1:1 scale prototypes stand in places that I model, stuffed, mounted and generally ignored by their neighbors.  Such is the fate of ALL obsolete technologies.  (Have you seen a vacuum tube AM radio lately?)
 
Chuck (1964-period modeler, occasional SF author)
 

I see a vacuum tube AM radio every day. It is a Hallicrafters S-38 (the original, not an A or B) in my bedroom. I do need to clean the dust out of the tuning capacitor before I can use it, though. 

Johnny

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Posted by wanswheel on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 10:29 AM

Forget steam trains and great railroads ever existed. Do not forget Penn Central.

https://archive.org/stream/lifeofreasonorph01sant#page/284/mode/2up

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Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 3:30 PM

100% bang on..that's what I'm trying to get across.

Wanswheel, once again, amazing. 

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Posted by RME on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 4:34 PM

Chuck
Such is the fate of ALL obsolete technologies. (Have you seen a vacuum tube AM radio lately?)

Johnny, I think he's combining two obsolescent tastes in one candy bar here -- and he means 'for sale in the marketplace for modern radios', not as a nostalgic enthusiast's piece.  (When the S38 was first for sale, we didn't even have an Olympian Hi or even very many Dieseliners yet...)

AM isn't exactly dead, although the great and fairly costly push to commercialize "AM stereo" went, in my opinion predictably, not much of anywhere.  Tubes -- if you are an audiophile -- are far from obsolete, although I would certainly not call the gear that includes them inexpensive!  There are several advantages tubes have (in the eyes of many critical listeners) over conventional semiconductor amplifiers, especially when driven into certain kinds of load at high output.

I might also mention that many in the intelligence community scoffed at the use of "tubes" in Russian fighter jet radios in the '70s.  A little reflection, however, brought up that tube radios are far less susceptible to electromagnetic pulse effect than even fairly-well-'hardened' solid-state equipment ... which indicated in turn that the Soviets were not above using tactical nuclear devices for air-to-air and city defense...

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Posted by Penny Trains on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 7:24 PM

Miningman
So who is Darth Vader?

Man's greatest enemy has always been "war" in and of itself.  The names, dates, people and places are just scenery for historians.  A war of progress against the traditional railroading norm was plainly at work here.  But the catalyst for the battle being waged in the 1950's and 60's came from one man's actions thousands of miles from the Pennsy.

If you replace the "V-A-D" with "H-I-T-L" you have your agent of change.  Not neccessarily an agent of evil, mind you, at least not in this context; the demise of the Pennsy which took place long after the demise of ol' Shickelgruber.  But change by way of the need for an interstate highway system, better airports, wider and deeper ship channels and heavier rail that became obvious during and after WWII.  The mistake was ignoring the railroads the way the govt. did and throwing all the funding towards the other transportation systems.

So the nazis gave way to the reds and war marched merrily along oblivious as it always is to the collateral damage it causes.  And one thousand rail carriers became one hundred.  And on it goes until one day where there may be only 2 railroads in the US.  (My money is on UP after buying CSX and NS after being merged with BNSF.)

A waking Lithium Flower just about to bloom

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Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 8:17 PM

Penny Trains- Now that is a posting! Chapeau, Madame. My hat is off.

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Posted by Penny Trains on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 6:19 PM

 

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Posted by erikem on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 6:44 PM

Penny Trains

the demise of the Pennsy which took place long after the demise of ol' Shickelgruber.  But change by way of the need for an interstate highway system, better airports, wider and deeper ship channels and heavier rail that became obvious during and after WWII.  The mistake was ignoring the railroads the way the govt. did and throwing all the funding towards the other transportation systems.

Part of what helped kill the Pennsy were the ludicrous corporate income tax rules as it applied to railroads in WW2. The Pennsy was deferring maintenance on track and rolling stock due to wartime needs to keep traffic flowing. An equitable tax policy would have let the Pennsy set aside the money for the post war future for the deferred work, but the existing tax policy required the Pennsy to show that as profit and thus have to the wartime tax on the "profits".

The situation with railroads and taxes didn't improve much (if at all) after the war. The RR's had to capitalize expenditures on the ROW, where truck and bus companies got to expense the taxes paid for building the post war highways, not to mention the property tax paid by the RR's.

The airlines did benefit indirectly from the Cold War defense build up. The jet engines that made for good bomber performance were also good for airline use, not to mention that almost all airliners are derivatives of the B-47, i.e. thin swept wings with engines mounted in pods under the wings.

RME
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Posted by RME on Thursday, May 25, 2017 11:26 PM

erikem
... almost all airliners are derivatives of the B-47, i.e. thin swept wings with engines mounted in pods under the wings.

As a little treat for the ex-Airliners International subscribers, here is a PDF with some detail on this subject:

https://info.aiaa.org/Regions/Western/PacificNorthwest/Other%20Public%20Documents/2009%20Technical%20Symposium%20Presentation%20Sharing/Presenter%20Presentations/Session%20A%20-%20Skyline%20Room/Benito%20Almojuela/The%20Development%20of%20Boeing's%20367-80%20-%20Almojuela.pdf

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Posted by erikem on Friday, May 26, 2017 10:22 AM

Nice - especially after seeing the 367-80 at the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy museum. Brings to mind that the 707's, DC-8's and 727's are essentially extinct.

What many people don't realize is that air traffic control was largely inspired by RR dispatching.

In the railroad field, some additional extinct technologies include gas turbine locomotives, mainline HVDC electrifications and trackside phone booths.

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Posted by JOHN C TARANTO on Friday, May 26, 2017 10:36 PM

It's not all  gone...

 

 

Make the trip to Ely, Nevada and visit the place where time has stood still.  The Nevada Northern Railway.

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Posted by ndbprr on Monday, June 12, 2017 5:10 PM

I have been waiting for someone to comment on the original picture.  The engine on the right is not a K4s.  No K4s had a freight pilot and this engine does.  In all probability it is an L1s the freight equivalent of the K4.  They were 2-8-2 engines as opposed to 4-6-2 for the k4 utilizing the same boiler.  don"t have a list of engine #s in front of me but that would confirm the engine class.

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, June 12, 2017 6:04 PM

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, June 12, 2017 6:11 PM

Not sure if this is the same engine ^.....difficult to make out the first and last number on the locomotive but I believe you are correct that it is not a K4. This one shown is a 4-8-2. 

With Pennsy's haphazard numbering system it could be a 2-8-2 in which case I have interpreted the number wrong. 

Thanks for Pointing this out. Maybe we can assume the K4 is on the headend of the Trailblazer. 

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, June 12, 2017 6:13 PM

Well heck they took the picture down! Oh well...if we can get good information on the loco number on the right we can identify what it is. 

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, June 12, 2017 6:17 PM

OK got it!...it is #6975 a 4-8-2 M1. 

Says so right on the original photo caption from Classic Trains...duh on me. 

RME
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Posted by RME on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 12:03 PM

Just for grins, can someone who is a PRR motive-power expert list which of the M1s received the footboard pilots, and why?  Did any with footboards subsequently get 'retrofitted' with cast drop-coupler pilots?

I have seen at least one picture as early as 1933 showing an M1 with footboards, so it wasn't something that occurred 'late' in dieselization.

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 7:10 PM

RME
Just for grins, can someone who is a PRR motive-power expert list which of the M1s received the footboard pilots, and why?  Did any with footboards subsequently get 'retrofitted' with cast drop-coupler pilots?

I have seen at least one picture as early as 1933 showing an M1 with footboards, so it wasn't something that occurred 'late' in dieselization.

Engines would be fitted with foot boards when used in yard, local or mine shifter kinds of service to give the trainmen a easy to mount/dismount place to ride the locomotive in the performance of their duties.  Engines can move several thousand feet quicker than men can walk that distance.

         

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