California Limited Photo - Real?

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California Limited Photo - Real?
Posted by Roger0215 on Friday, August 23, 2019 5:14 PM

Since I model the Santa Fe, the picture of the California Limited in the Photo of the Day got my attention.  As I looked at the picture it seemed like it wasn't really an action picture but a posed picture of a stationary train with smoke drawn in.  I certainly can be wrong but I have never seen smoke coming out of a stack looking like that.  What do you think?

20190708

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Posted by Penny Trains on Friday, August 23, 2019 7:12 PM

Probably a retouched publicity photo.  Or a very strong headwind!  Wink  Either way for the smoke to be streaming like that, the films of the era would have just left the rods a blur.  I'd guess the train is standing still at the very least since the details are so crisp.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, August 23, 2019 9:30 PM

I concur, Becky.  The photo's just too sharp considering the film and shutter speeds of the time.

Nice shot though!

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Posted by SD70Dude on Friday, August 23, 2019 11:02 PM

That has to be a very old photo.  Just look at the drawbar on the locomotive!

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, August 24, 2019 8:13 AM

Very good, 'Dude!  That drawbar looks like a "last gasp" version of a link-and-pin coupling system.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, August 24, 2019 8:28 AM

Flintlock76
Very good, 'Dude! That drawbar looks like a "last gasp" version of a link-and-pin coupling system.

That IS an interesting adaptation of the typical link-and-pin version of a coupling system, as used on those long 'cowcatcher' pilots.  Nothing less heroic would clear their pronounced, and originally fragile, extension. 

But this is much more interesting than that, a kind of high-Victorian version of the drop-coupler arrangement in Commonwealth cast pilots decades later.  See the long cast or forged gooseneck, presumably counterbalanced but still fitted with lifting yoke? 

What is on the end of that yoke bears some further discussion.  I'd expect Miller couplers (or newer) on this train, and those don't look at all like what I see ... which looks almost like a ball.  Which leads me to wonder if there is a two-piece arrangement that locks a coupler of 'appropriate' kind for recovery onto that yoke when recovery is needed.

There's no doubt at all the smoke is a later 'effect'.  You might see steam-launch exhaust do this, without induced draft action.  But no high-speed train would show this (although artists who had never actually watched one carefully acquired the 'trope' from each other).  Sometimes you see what you expect, not what's actually there, when rendering effects.

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Posted by M636C on Saturday, August 24, 2019 8:52 AM

Roger0215

Since I model the Santa Fe, the picture of the California Limited in the Photo of the Day got my attention.  As I looked at the picture it seemed like it wasn't really an action picture but a posed picture of a stationary train with smoke drawn in.  I certainly can be wrong but I have never seen smoke coming out of a stack looking like that.  What do you think?

20190708

 

This photo appears on page 229 of Dubin's "Some Classic Trains"  and the locomotive is identified as Southern California Railway 54 built by Manchester in 1887. A similar photo illustrates an identical train at Los Angeles said to be in 1887 hauled by SC 53, similar but built by Baldwin in 1886. The California Limited dates from 1891 but these photos may date to 1887 of an unnamed train on that route. Both locomotives were later numbered in the Santa Fe series and lasted until the early 1920s.

Peter

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Posted by rcdrye on Monday, August 26, 2019 9:31 AM

Both Janney and Miller couplers of the era had slots in them to allow drawbars to be inserted and pinned.  The arrangement shown in in the photo was fairly common until the late 1890s.  More interesting question is whether or not there is an air hose on the pilot to allow doubleheading.

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