Photo of the Day - Texas type in Vermont

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Photo of the Day - Texas type in Vermont
Posted by wanswheel on Friday, July 07, 2017 1:13 AM

Central Vermont 2-10-4 703 steams through a snowy landscape with northbound freight 429 on the grade south of Roxbury, Vt., in the 1950s.
Paul A. Reynolds photo

 

My father wrote this letter to the editor when he was 14 and working after school as the dispatcher’s messenger. His father and two uncles were CV engineers.

 

Locomotive Engineers Journal, February 1929

The Old St. Lawrence and a New Engine

To the Editor:

The St. Lawrence exists no more. It was scrapped this summer, before the issue of the JOURNAL containing its picture was published. I saw the men tearing her to pieces with crowbars and acetylene torches. I have two pictures in my album which I took while the engine was being scrapped, I was sorry to see the engine being scrapped, but the march of progress cannot be held back. About eleven years ago, when I was three years old, my father let me ride on her, while she was being backed out from the engine house and I rang the bell. In those days the engine was being used constantly. However, for the last five or six years the engine has not been run.

In contrast with the St. Lawrence, the Central Vermont has recently purchased ten new freight locomotives, the 700’s. These engines, of which I am enclosing a picture, are of the Texas 2-10-4 type, and are the largest and most powerful locomotives in New England. Their tractive power, without the booster, with which they are equipped, is 72,500 pounds; with the booster it is 86,500 pounds. This makes them about  fifty percent more powerful than the largest freight engines in operation on the Central Vermont previous to them.

Joseph V. MacDonald

9A Cedar St., St. Albans, Vt.

 

Dad's photo of the 701 appears in Northwestern University's copy of that edition.    Mike MacDonald

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, July 07, 2017 12:47 PM

Nice. ...did you have memories of these giant beasts? Did you ever manage to get a cab ride In a CV locomotive? 

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Posted by wanswheel on Friday, July 07, 2017 1:43 PM

Nope. Two of my brothers rode in a diesel driven by our great-uncle during 1954-55 school year in St. Albans. My oldest brother rode in a steam engine driven our grandfather during school year 1945-46.

 

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Saturday, July 08, 2017 10:06 AM

The CV 2-10-4's may have been the largest steam locomotives in New England but they were relatively small 2-10-4's.  They were low-drivered designs not intended for high-speed freight.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by wanswheel on Saturday, July 08, 2017 12:32 PM

No doubt. Probably could lose a tug of war to an elephant.

There weren't too many 2-10-4's to compare it to in those days.

https://archive.org/stream/railwaylocomotiv39newy#page/10/mode/2up/search/texas

Here's that St. Lawrence engine my grandfather let his 3-year-old son ring the bell of.

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, July 08, 2017 1:13 PM

What a beautiful locomotive the St. Lawrence 109 is. You got to love those easy access steps up for the engineer,  a roomy and great visibility cab although perhaps the boiler goes along the entire length of it, the firemen at the end? Bell located at the far end of the tender. 

There was consideration for people in those days. Great craftsmanship. So classy. 

The elephant at the cab of CV #706 reminds me of a day sitting in a Tim Hortons having a coffee with a fellow teacher and two elephants appeared at the window staring in at us, trunks swaying back and forth. 

For a moment I thought I was in the Twilight Zone. Turns out an exhibit from India was in town and the trainer was taking them out for a walk. '

Sheesh. 

RME
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Posted by RME on Saturday, July 08, 2017 1:23 PM

Miningman
What a beautiful locomotive the St. Lawrence 109 is. You got to love those easy access steps up for the engineer, a roomy and great visibility cab although perhaps the boiler goes along the entire length of it, the firemen at the end? Bell located at the far end of the tender.

You do know that locomotive has been converted to an inspection engine, right?  Seats for the VIPs up front ... perhaps not very comfortable except in winter, and ominously close to the boiler in spots, but no doubt giving a good view of the permanent way ... and only incidentally the usual sort of accommodation at the backhead for the engineer and fireman.

I always thought of the CV 2-10-4s the same way I thought of the MEC class D Hudsons -- they might be small, but they had all the right pieces in the right places for quality work.  In other words much the same design philosophy that was used when building Dixie 576. 

Stands comparison with B&M 3713 quite easily if you ask me -- and that locomotive was one of Lima's very best.

An engine does not have to be large to exemplify good principles; much of the 'disadvantage' of nominally low drivers could be addressed fairly effectively only a few short years later with the usual sort of lightweight-rod-and-better-main-driver "fix" that -- for example -- turned those T&P 2-10-4s from waddling hogs into reasonable excursion-quality power.

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, July 08, 2017 1:52 PM

The CV 2-10-4's were good locomotives, and the B&M crews that I rode with frequently also thought highly of them.  They were certainly the most powerful steam locomotives in New England, more powerful than the B&A and B&M Birkshires or the New Haven 2-10-2s.  But they were not the most powerful lomotives in New England.  That honor goes to the New Haven's EF-3 and EF-3a, the latter with steam-heat boiler added.  Mechanically and electrically a GG-1 on sterods, with more user-friendly cabs.

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, July 08, 2017 1:52 PM

Ah-ha! Was going to say it looks a lot like the inspection engines of the day, have many pics from many roads with the same characteristics, in differing variations of course, but for some reason ommitted it. 

Well thanks, that clears that up, just in case. 

Wanswheel comes from quite a family of railroaders and must have fond recollections of New England railroading, and some historical pics and stories from generations back. 

They talk about the rust belt and the loss of railroads throughout the East in particular but New England saw very severe and devastating wholesale changes and in rapid order. A way of life just vanished. 

The same was true in South Western Ontario where a myriad of lines kriss-crossed to Georgian Bay, Lake Huron and Lake Erie and not one remains. 

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, July 08, 2017 2:00 PM

Vermont, thanks to state support, has held on to more than the other states, similarly Connecticut.  New Hampshire seems to have lost the most.  Is even one remaining of the three connections from Concord to the west and north?  I know Concord and Clairmont is gone, ditto Plymnoth - Wells River, but is there still track from Concord to White River Junction?

Massachusetts has restored some abandoned track for commuter passenger service, and I assume there is some freight use of at least some of this restored track.  Am I correct?

Connecticut restored one abandoned freight line. 

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Posted by NDG on Saturday, July 08, 2017 2:02 PM

 

Travelled CV years ago. St Albans a great Railroad Town. Nice trip through beautiful country.

Thank You for the information.

So much has changed, hasn't it??

I was told in St. A. that a 700 was earmarked for preservation, but....

Contrary to the usual expression, Time sometimes creates other wounds??

Thank You.

RME
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Posted by RME on Saturday, July 08, 2017 3:24 PM

.

RME
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Posted by RME on Saturday, July 08, 2017 3:25 PM

daveklepper
But they were not the most powerful locomotives in New England. That honor goes to the New Haven's EF-3 and EF-3a, the latter with steam-heat boiler added. Mechanically and electrically a GG-1 on steroids, with more user-friendly cabs.

But show me an EF3 of any subclass that was running at the time Mr. McDonald wrote his letter!  Even the EP3s (that inspired the GG1s in the first place) wouldn't be built for a couple more years...

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Posted by rcdrye on Saturday, July 08, 2017 7:33 PM

Concord to White River Jct peters out a couple of miles north of Concord.  The last remnant of the C&C there is buried in pavement near the NH State Prison.  The short stub in West Lebanon is now owned by G&W and operated as part of the New England Central, acquired a year or so ago from the Claremont Concord Railway, then owned by local lumber distributers LaValley's Building Supply. It's mainly a salt and Propane transload facility. The former C&C stub in Claremont was acquired at the same time, serving salt storage and LaValley's.  CCRR had rights over NECR from Claremont Jct. to Bank, a little over a mile south of the White River Jct station, and from there over the VTRS-operated Washington County on the former B&M to the wye on the east side of the station.  The former White Mountain Division is active on disconnected segments at Concord, Weirs Beach and Lincoln, though the track is in place the entire distance.  Of course the line to Woodsville is long gone, taken up in 1954 except for the last bit north of Blackmount, now gone along with the entire Berlin branch.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, July 09, 2017 8:22 AM

RME:  Of course you are right.  And those Vermont Texans were fine locomotives.  I agree.  Wish one had been preserved.

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, July 09, 2017 1:45 PM

Too much lost in New England. It's just plain bone headed wrong.

Local freight on the B&M

A local freight with soon-to-be replaced 0-6-0 No. 443 switches cars at Reading, Mass., on a cold February day in 1953.
S. K. Bolton Jr. photo

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, July 10, 2017 12:27 AM

At least Reading, Massachusetts, still has the railroad.  Again, it is New Hampshire that has lost the greatest percentage, possibly as high as 80% lost.  Maine probably comes in second, certainly if you include the narrow gauge lines.  Vermont, Rhode Island, and Connecticut are in relatively good shape.

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, July 10, 2017 1:07 AM

Well that"s at least some consolation. 

Boston and Maine, Boston and Albany, Rutland, NYNH&H, Maine Central, Central Vermont, Bangor and Aroostook, Delaware and Hudson...all household names that were important are now fallen flags and fading from memory.  

How about this

 Canadian Pacific 4-6-0s on Newport Hill in Vermont.
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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, July 10, 2017 3:13 AM

Wow.  Triple headers are not common.  Wonder how many cars?

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, July 10, 2017 12:26 PM
4-6-0s were the main freight power in Vermont and were often double or triple headed because of their size.
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Posted by Miningman on Monday, July 10, 2017 12:30 PM
 H. W. Pontin photographed another triple-header.
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Posted by Miningman on Monday, July 10, 2017 12:34 PM
A different triple-header by H. W. Pontin.
 
 The Newport grade.
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Posted by Miningman on Monday, July 10, 2017 7:16 PM

Nothing smallish about it!

706 at White River Junction in 1948.

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