Last Class One Railroad to operate 100% Steam

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Last Class One Railroad to operate 100% Steam
Posted by Fr.Al on Saturday, January 20, 2018 1:52 PM

I'm watching Vol.5 of Tell Tale Productions series on the Rutland. The comment was made that the Rutland may have been the last Class One line to operate exclusively with steam. As I recall, no diesels arrived until 1951.

        However, I'm pretty sure that title goes to the N & W. After all, they were building steam locomotives in 1953, the year in which Rutland steam ended. Ironically, I believe it was an old 4-6-0 that was the last steam locomotive, the Bennington Switcher, when the four new 4-8-2's were stored cold in Rutland.

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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, January 20, 2018 2:40 PM

I do not remember what year the new Elkhorn Tunnel made it possible to retire the N&W electrics, but according to Wikipedia( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Norfolk_and_Western_Railway_locomotives ), rthe first diesel-electrics were bought in 1955.

 

Johnny

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, January 20, 2018 4:30 PM

The Rutland was a Class 1? Suppose so, must have been just barely?

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Posted by timz on Saturday, January 20, 2018 4:38 PM

The new Elkhorn tunnel probably opened 1950, so N&W electrics were gone before 1953. I'm guessing N&W was the only Class I with no diesels in 1953-54.

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Posted by rcdrye on Saturday, January 20, 2018 5:10 PM

Rutland's first diesels arrived in 1950.  The 90 class 4-8-2's were only four years old.

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, January 20, 2018 5:18 PM

"The financially troubled Rutland Railroad was in dire need of motive power in 1946 and choose to buy four 4-8-2 "Mountains" from the American Locomotive Company. They were designated as Class L-1 and were assigned road numbers 90 through 93.

These locomotives had 26 x 30 cylinders, 73" drivers, a boiler pressure of 230 psi and exerted 54,312 pounds of tractive effort.

In the early 1950s, the Rutland had replaced most of its older steam locomotives with diesels. Some reports say that they were removed from service late in 1952. Several attempts were made to sell them to Mexico. By 1955, the Rutland could no longer afford to keep the steam locomotive maintenance facilities open for just four "Mountains" so they sold them for scrap. They were sent to Luria Steel in Pittsburgh."

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Posted by Fr.Al on Saturday, January 20, 2018 5:39 PM

Right, the four Mountain types were stored until 1955, but weren't fired up after '53, maybe not even after '52.

    I brought up N & W on the basis of an article by David P. Morgan, something about N & W, 100% steam written circa 1955.

    I think many of us don't mind electrics because they weren't the engines that toppled steam.

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, January 20, 2018 11:02 PM

Re: Rutland 4-8-2's --Just shows you how fast the thinking and decisions, no matter how recent and fully supported, can change....from the stars of being the chosen ones to non-essential in a jaw dropping sequence and turnaround. 

Speaking of non-essential, I see from way up here in my perch above the continent the USA has entered into a Government shut-down and I hear that "non-essential Government employees are being furloughed".....isn't non-essential Govenment employee saying the same thing twice?  ...redundant.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, January 21, 2018 10:31 AM

Not trying to veer into the political here, but back in the 80's when something like this happened President Reagan said "Government shut-down?  Well, let's let it shut down and see if anyone notices!"

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, January 22, 2018 6:34 AM

I believe much was made of N&W replacing its electrification with steam in 1950.  Admittedly their system was still 'steam-powered', just with a little more wiring between the engines and traction motors, and it's interesting to look at the comparative economy (which would be repeated a decade later with the post-merger Virginian electrification with different parameters).

The Rutland example is more notable for tenacity than expedience.  Even with dieselization they were in a hard place in the early '50s, especially considering the fixed expense of operating those large modern engines; by 1955 it is difficult to see how they could maintain the large maintenance base both to operate and maintain those engines for the practical falling traffic.  I am sure they tried to peddle them to anyone offering more than scrap price -- one perhaps sad peripheral detail being that Centipede tenders are directional, so less suited for conversion to MoW cisterns and the like (which kept quite a few tenders from scrap in that era).

This was the age that destroyed the Roosen motor locomotive 19 1001 -- again, not for want of trying! but with the same implacable consequence.

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