CNR Oil Burning 4-8-4

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CNR Oil Burning 4-8-4
Posted by SPer on Thursday, May 24, 2018 5:43 PM

Have any Canadian National Northerns were converted to oil to run to Vancouver and Winnipeg. if so, what number of the 4-8-4  Thanks.

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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, May 24, 2018 7:37 PM

www.trainweb.org/oldtimetrains/photos/cnr_steam2/northern.htm

Here's a good start for you with plenty of pics and descriptions. 

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, May 25, 2018 5:04 AM

I find the information on the Web, or rather the selective lack of it, regarding oil-fired Confederations to be surprising.

Oil conversions on the Betty 4-8-2s are well documented.  But the only reference I can find on steamlocomotive.com for 4-8-4s are oil fuel capacities for some of their tenders.

Of course the Canadian PACIFIC 4-8-4s were famously converted to burn oil (using the Selkirk conversions as a model) running to Winnipeg, and perhaps this inspired the question.  

I had thought there was little use of the earlier classes of 4-8-4 in the West from other forum postings.  The 4-8-2s with 14" valves were likely better runners and I suspect the streamlined engines (all coal to my knowledge) were best used where they were.

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, June 16, 2018 11:59 AM

The 4-8-2 Mountains were used in the West, being far more versatile and nimble. Have never heard of a CNR 4-8-4 oil fired conversion, just did not happen. They seldom ventured away from mid Manitoba. The network of trackage in the Prairies and numerous branch lines 'to everywhere' inherited a large number of older smaller pre CNR Northern 4-8-4 steam that was well suited to their roles. Many of these were 'modernized', standardized, and in the later years converted to oil and lasted right up to the Diesel years. 

...but to Overmods point, there is no documentation of oil conversions on CNR 4-8-4's and info is scant because there simply were not any. It would be better if we could find something stating that in the official records and verification. Tenders were interchangeable. I'm sure some serious thought went into converting 4-8-4's to oil and plans put into place to do so but again some kind of documentation is needed.

One of the CRHA Exporail bulletins states that CNR 4-8-4's ran systemwide from Vancouver to the Maritimes but that article seems to be a media piece written shortly after the ' Confederation Class' hit the rails extolling the virtues of the locomotives.

West of Winnipeg was the 4-8-2's territory, the more streamlined Bettys on mainline passenger along with Pacifics,  the workaday on mainline freights along with many Mikes, many oil converted. The lighter numerous Prairie branches of course saw 2-8-0's, Moguls, light Mikes, light Pacifics, of which many were inherited. 

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Posted by SD70Dude on Monday, June 18, 2018 1:19 PM

How could you forget about Ten-Wheelers?  For shame!

https://youtube.com/watch?v=mUEa0r9DVwM

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by SD70Dude on Monday, June 18, 2018 1:29 PM

The Mountains and Santa Fes were both lighter than the Northerns, while developing comparable or greater power (at lower speeds of course for the Santa Fes).

http://www.cnrha.ca/node/707/

http://www.cnrha.ca/node/704/

http://www.cnrha.ca/node/698/

One should also remember that apart from the annual grain rush during most of the steam era the Western lines were not all that busy compared to down East.

CN's mass oil conversions did not start until after the Leduc No. 1 strike of 1947 made the stuff abundant and cheap in Western Canada.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, June 18, 2018 2:14 PM

Yes of course, lots and lots of Ten Wheelers!

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 8:57 AM

But why didn't either the CN or the CP ever buy any modern articulated power?  I understnd the AT&SF got turned off by its jointed boilder experimentals, but all the other USA TR transcons had some.  The AT&SF, CN, and cP were the real exceptions.

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Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 10:15 PM

 Well, it's a good question as to why no modern articulated power was used by the AT&SF, CNR, or CPR. I suspect there are three different answers. 

The CNR inherited a huge fleet of locomotives from 5 different systems. By the time they got a handle on all those Mikes, Moguls, Ten Wheelers, Pacifics, switchers, and assorted other locos, then developed the CN system we know today the main focus was on Montreal-Toronto passenger service, Southern Ontario fast freight Windsor-East Coast, small branch line service everywhere except perhaps B.C., and Prairie grainger railroading. None of these were well suited to modern day articulated steam. I don't see the Canadian Shield being particularly well suited for behemoths. Perhaps Rainy River to Atikokan but very undulating terrain... they used 2-10-2's there. Coal service Alberta to Vancouver but tight twisty and undulating. They did not even use their dual service Northerns there, not nimble enough. 

Back then, being a Government owned railroad meant extra scrutiny, especially with the $$'s. Not like today!

Santa Fe had their nasty run in with articulated locos early and washed their hands clean of them for good.

CPR did have 0-6-6-0's in the mountains but they proved unsuccessful and were converted to Decapods. They did consider Garretts after the war for their rough terrain Quebec to the Maritime lines but the Diesel quashed that. 

Perhaps the Motive Power heads of all three met for a spot of tea at some Railroad Fair and mutually agreed that Compound Mallets and Simple Articulated were a pox on the industry. 

Here is a picture of a CPR 0-6-6-0.

Very impressive looking 1950 with crew posing. Likely at Field, BC in 1910. 
James A. Brown Collection

 1950 first of six R1 0-6-6-0 articulated engines built especially for pushing on the Big Hill out of Field, BC. Five were Mallet compounds while the last was a simple articulated. 1950 was rated at 660 tons up the 2.2% Field Hill eastward to Stephen compared to 424 tons for the M4 class 2-8-0's being used at the time. 


Unique in that they were the only articulated engines built with cylinders head-to-head between the two frames. The purpose of which was to shorten the drypipes and exhaust pipes connecting the lead unit and thus reduce condensation between high and low pressure cylinders. The box on top of the boiler gave access to the verticle superheater header suspended between the two halves of the boiler. They were also the only articulated locomotives in Canada other than a Vancouver Island logging engine. Built by Angus Shops 10/1909 it was later rebuilt into a 2-10-0 as were all of the other 0-6-6-0's due to high cost for running repairs with no advantage being articulated.

1955 simple mallet 

1955 the only simple (non-compound) articulated 0-6-6-0 testing Angus Shops October 1911. Canadian Pacific

 

American Engineer July 1912 detailed article about 1955.

Canadian Machinery brief article 1955

R2b 5751 rebuilt 11/1916 by Angus. Montreal October 1955 Bud Laws Collection 

5752 brand new rebuild. CPR 6/1911 

5754 with another 5750 hidden behind. St.Luc 9/01/1955 Bud Laws Collection

 

5754 (last of four R2b) on a miserable, cold morning at Bay Shore yard, St. John, NB. was switching the yard as a bitter Fundy fog hung near in the harbour. January 2,1959 Robert J. Sandusky

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 6:25 AM

Good answer, except that an articujlated is MORE nimble for a given number of drivers and equivalent weight on dirvers than one rigid frame.  Articulateds do mean higher locomotive maintenance costs, but reduced track maintenance costs. 

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Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 7:36 PM

Yes I realized the flaw regarding 'being nimble' as I was typing and then hoping someone would not bonk me on the head for that. As you can see you can't put one past Dave! I'm certain both systems CPR and CNR did their homework on this and they simply proved to be unsuitable. Also sure factors like weight, turntables, maintenance, very remote mountainous areas and on and on all showed that whatever they called a cost benefit analysis back in the day simply did not come out right.

Regardless all 3 of these giants of railroading got along just fine without any kind of articulated locomotives. 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 9:45 PM

In Canada, was there some labor push-back against using big articulated locos, on worries that the railroads could get by with fewer crews?

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Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 11:19 PM

Midland Mike-- Good point. Have to do some searching to see if this was a factor. Since we are more concerned with more modern articulated locos then we have to take into account that many roads had them and they were well established so a precedent was established. 

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Posted by AgentKid on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 11:37 PM

This country simply didn't have the population to support the traffic that would justify the use of large power. Even David P, Morgan commented on how our 4-6-4, 2-8-2, and 2-10-4's were all small for their types.

In 1911 our population was only 7,207,000; in 1921 it was 8,788,000, in 1931 it was 10,377,000, in 1941 it was 11,507,000, in 1951 it was 14,050,000. In school I learned to think about it like the population of the whole country is similar to California, and the poulation of the Montreal-Windsor corridor is similar to New York City.

And the big game then was grain, and it almost entirely moved east, through The Lakehead, Montreal, and Saint John, NB, In recent times Canada exports about 70% of its' production, but back in steam days it was even higher. Even as late as the period we lived in Irricana. Dad recalled that just over 90% of the grain shipped from there in 1956 went east, but by the last full year we were there in 1964 just over 50% went west over the mountains. There was no Asian market before that, and what grain did go over the mountains was for domestic use in BC.

The first year after the CPR moved their headquarters west to Calgary in 1995, the company president gave an interview to the Calgary Herald. He said the CPR handled four big commodities; grain, coal, potash and sulpher. When prices and volumes were good for two of the four, the CPR broke even. When three of the four were good, the company showed a profit, and all four being good was very good. All other business was icing on the cake.

This led to a very unfortunate conclusion: All unit trains - All the time. You fast forward just over twenty years and you come to the point where EHH was sent for. If I think about that anymore I will just fly off the handle, so I will sign off now.

Bruce

P.S. Not about what EHH did, but what led to him having to come here.

 

So shovel the coal, let this rattler roll.

"A Train is a Place Going Somewhere"  CP Rail Public Timetable

"O. S. Irricana"

. . . __ . ______

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Posted by SD70Dude on Thursday, June 21, 2018 12:58 PM

+1 to Bruce's comments.

It has always seemed to me that in addition to the lower overall tonnage CP preferred having helper districts at each steep grade (one could call that the Pennsylvania way) as opposed to having very large engines that could take the train through by themselves.

CN has never had steep mainline grades like many American lines.  The same tonnage that a Big Boy hauled up the Wasatch could probably be handled adequately by a Santa Fe, Northern or Mikado on flatter lines.

I base that math on a Big Boy's tonnage rating, and discussions I have had with a old head who started out firing on one of CN's steeper territories: the Alberta Coal Branch.

A Big Boy was rated for around 4,000 tons up the Wasatch, which is around 80 loaded 50-ton cars.  A CN T-3 Santa Fe was rated for around 40 loads eastward on the Mountain Park Subdivision, which has a eastward ruling grade of 1.1%.  After climbing that hill more cars would be picked up at other mines or sidings, and the train could exceed 80 cars by the time it got back to the mainline.

CN's shop facilities would have required some expensive upgrades (including new, longer turntables) to handle large articulateds, and I suspect CP was in a similar position.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by SD70Dude on Thursday, June 21, 2018 1:24 PM

Miningman

Coal service Alberta to Vancouver but tight twisty and undulating.

Not much of that in the steam era, CN did not start unit coal train operations until 1969, when the Luscar, AB mine (now Teck's Cardinal River operation) re-opened.  Before then most Western Canadian coal had been used locally, much of it in the locomotives!

Sulphur and potash did not start moving in large quantities until after dieselization, and Bruce has already detailed the changing pattern of grain movements.  

There was just not a lot of railway freight traffic out here during the steam era.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, June 21, 2018 3:35 PM

Dude-- Yes I knew that, but some coal for industrial use and wartime going to Vancouver, so coal trains did run but nothing like 60's up to  todays export markets. 

Dont forget the big signs along the right of way saying "We don't need no stinkin' Mallets here". 

 

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